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Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500


The New York Times
May 18, 1915

De Palma Arrives at Indianapolis and Shares Favorite Honors with Resta.

INDIANAPOLIS, May 17.—Drivers at the speedway for the Indianapolis five-hundred-mile race on May 1 are now divided into two factions, Peugeot and anti-Peugeot.  The latest cause for disagreement arises over the fact that if either Bragg or Babcock fail to qualify their "Baby" Peugeots in the elimination trials for that contest, Dario Resta, Captain of the team, may be sent in to turn the trick.

Despite the fact that Burman pulled this stunt last year, and got away with it, too, taking Disbrow's car through the eliminations for him, there is a lot of talk of preventing a similar occurrence this season.  It is unfair to entrants of individual cars, it is argued, to let one man qualify all three cars of a team.  In other words, every driver being considered just as much a part of the race as his car, he should be made to stand on his own feet and qualify himself, it is believed.

What will be done in the matter is unsettled, the question being one purely for the American Automobile Association to determine.  Dave Beecroft, official representative of this outfit, is expected here now shortly, when an authoritative statement on the subject may be expected.  The qualification problem, together with the Burman-Harroun argument as to what constitutes a certain make of car, and what does not, is expected to keep the American Automobile Association busy for some time.

Daybreak is becoming the favorite hour for time trials by contestants, few railbirds having the hardihood to venture forth early in the morning.  A general desire seems evident among contestants to keep their very best performances under cover, and there are rumors of laps turned in sensational time, while the surrounding countryside was asleep.  One of the best performances to date is that of Earl Cooper in his Stutz, who reeled off fifty miles in 4 minutes and 18 seconds, at average of better than 87½ miles an hour.

Spee dis the slogan this week, the efforts of contestants to snatch seconds away from Father Time being scheduled to culminate in the elimination trials for that contest, May 20, 21, 22.

Thirty-three out of the forty-one cars nominated are to prove themselves eligible for he race under the law of the survival of the fittest, the other eight passing into oblivion.  The bitterest kind of competition is expected to result.

The order of the time trials will be in the inverse order of entry, the last car starting first, and the first starting last.  This is o give the early entrants a chance o figure on the other fellow's performance, so that he may judge his own accordingly.  Three trials will be allowed to each man, the best of the three to count.

Arranged at present, the cars with their drivers will start as follows:  1, Bals special, Hill; 2, Shambaugh, Shambaugh; 3, Duesenberg, no driver named; 4, Mais, Mais; 5, Kleinart, Klein; 6, Cino, McNay; 7, Mulford, Mulford; 8, Harroun, Orr; 9, Burman-Peugeot, Burman; 10, Cino-Purcell, Purcell; 11, Sunbeam, Limberg; 12, Sunbea, Grant; 13, Sebring, Cooper; 14, F. R. P., Whalen; 15, F. R. P., Keene; 16, F. R. P., Hughes; 17, Emden, Donaldson; 18, Bergdoll, Haupt; 19, Bugatti, Oldfield; 20, Mercer, Nikrent; 21, Mercer, Ruckstell; 22, Mercer, Pullen; 23, Bergdoll, G. Bergdoll; 24, Bergdoll, E. Bergdoll; 25, Peugeot, Bragg; 26, Peugeot, Babcock; 27, Peugeot, Resta; 28, Stutz, Wilcox; 29, Stutz, Cooper; 30, Stutz, Anderson; 31, Delage, J. De Palma; 32, Cornelian, Chevrolet; 33, Duesenberg, O'Donnell; 34, Duesenberg, Alley; 35, Du Chesneau, Brown; 36, Sunbeam, Graham; 37, Sunbeam, Porporato; 38, Mercedes, R. De Palma; 39, Maxwell, no driver named; 40, Maxwell, Rickenbacher, and 41, Maxwell, Carlson.

Ralph De Palma has been added to the galaxy of stars now in Indianapolis for the big race, arriving from Detroit with his two Mercedes cars, a four and a six.  The four-cylinder car, which he will drive, he has had rebuilt, with the idea of cutting down its wind resistance.  It has been made considerably narrower and a trifle longer, so as to cleave the atmosvphere to greater advantage.  It is the car that won the French Grand Prix and the last two races a Elgin.

De Palma's arrival has had a peculiar effect on the betting odds.  To date Dario Resta had practically ruled as favorite.  Now he is forced to share honors with the hard luck champion.

A new speedway record for the year has been set by Howard Wilcox in his Stutz, the blond youth reeling off a lap on the Hoosier Oval in 1:34:08, an average of ninety-five miles an hour.

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