West Side Racetrack

Wichita, Kansas – October 10, 1916

 

 

Wichita Eagle

October 11, 1916

Page 9

 

Smashed Records and Fence

 

Driving Barney Oldfield’s Famous 300-Horsepower Car Cap. Kennedy Makes Half Mile in 35

 

Four Machines Plow Through Rail

 

Thrills for 4,000 Spectators

 

            Grippingly Interesting and sensationally spectacular were the automobile races witnessed by thousands at the West Side track yesterday afternoon.  Four men crashed through the fence and managed to escape uninjured.  W. E. Crum, driving a Buick, went through the fence at the north end of the track during the five-mile race and succeeded in getting back on to finish the race.  Again, during the Twenty-five-mile race, Crum went through the fence, this time going through the inside fence at the north end of the field, damaging the car so he had to withdraw.

            Two records were established by Captain Harvey Kennedy, one a new Kansas track record for the mile on a half-mile track.  Mr. Kennedy broke the Kansas one-mile record while driving a Maxwell twice around the track in 1:10.25.  This lowered its former record five seconds.  In driving Barney Oldfield’s 300-horsepower front drive Christie, Captain Kennedy established a new half-mile record going one lap in 35 seconds, his being three seconds lower than the old record for the half-mile.

            Jerry Wonderlich in a Marquette Buick was able to grab three first places.  He took first in the five-mile race.  This was one of the most hair-raising races of the afternoon.  In the first few laps, Crum went through the north outside fence and was able to get back into the race when the crowd was expecting to see the ambulance which went to the scene, drive off to the hospital him within.  No sooner had the crowd subsided from that crash until Lee Oldfield in his Oldfield Special hit the inside fence at the south end of the track, his car turning completely around while crushing the fence for yards.  In the four-mile relay race between Ed Carlitz and Jerry Wonderlich, Carlitz crashed through the north inside fence in his National damaging the car so that it was out of the races for the rest of the afternoon thus throwing the race to Wonderlich.

            Miss Ruth Law raced with Wonderlich in a two-mile speed event, she driving her airplane and he the Marquette Buick.  Miss Law was an easy winner.

 

List of Entries

Driver

From

Automobile

Lee Oldfield1

Washington, Iowa

Oldfield Special Stutz

Ed “Speedy” Carlitz

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

National

Teddy Jennings

 

Keaton

King Kelley

 

Mercer

Capt. Harvey Kennedy2

 

Edwards Special Maxwell

Jerry Wonderlich

San Francisco, California

Marquette Buick

W. E. Crum3

Wichita, Kansas

Buick

Hugh Doyle

 

Sunbeam

 

 

Time Trials (incomplete list) – 2 Laps

Driver

Automobile

Time

Jerry Wonderlich

Marquette Buick

1:07.20

Capt. Harvey Kennedy2

Edwards Special Maxwell

1:10.75

 

 

Exhibition Time Trial – 1 Lap – Time:  35 seconds

Driver

Automobile

Capt. Harvey Kennedy2

Barney Oldfield’s Christie

 

 

Exhibition Airplane vs. Automobile Race – 4 Laps

Finish:

Driver:

From:

Automobile:

1

Ruth Law

 

Airplane

2

Jerry Wonderlich

San Francisco, California

Marquette Buick

 

 

10 Lap Race - Time:  6:27

Finish

Driver

From

Automobile

1

Jerry Wonderlich

San Francisco, California

Marquette Buick

 

W. E. Crum3

Wichita, Kansas

Buick

 

Lee Oldfield1

Washington, Iowa

Oldfield Special Stutz

The above is an incomplete list of the entries in this race.  Both Crum and Oldfield crashed and did not finish this race.

 

 

Relay Race – 8 Laps – 2 cars entered

Finish

Driver

From

Automobile

1

Jerry Wonderlich

San Francisco, California

Marquette Buick

2

Ed “Speedy” Carlitz

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

National

 

 

Feature – 25 Laps – 4 cars entered – Time:  14:58.5

Finish

Driver

From

Automobile

1

Jerry Wonderlich

San Francisco, California

Marquette Buick

2

King Kelley

 

Mercer

3

Hugh Doyle

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sunbeam

4

W. E. Crum3

Wichita, Kansas

Buick

Hugh Doyle finished this race on a flat tire.  W. E. Crum crashed and did not finish.

 

 

 

Ruth Law (1887-1970) in her Airplane in 1916

Department of the Navy, Bureau of Aeronautics, Naval Aircraft Factory, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives at College Park

 

 

 

 

1  Leonidas Wellington “Lee” Oldfield (1889-1978) was born at Newton, Kansas and was not related to Barney Oldfield.  In fact, Barney Oldfield claimed that race promoters would purchase old race cars that Barney Oldfield had driven and then have Lee Oldfield drive them while claiming to the assembled crowd that there was a family connection between the two when there was not.  Lee Oldfield is best known for crashing a green #11 Knox race car into a crowd of spectators at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York on September 16, 1911 killing eleven of those spectators.  President William Howard Taft had left those races just moments before the accident happened. The eleven fatalities in this race were the most anywhere to that date, and would remain the most in the United States until there were twelve fatalities at the Yellow River Dragstrip in Georgia on March 2, 1969.  Oldfield’s accident is said to have been the origin of the superstitions that it was bad luck to drove a green race car and that car numbers that read the same up-side-down as they did right-side-up (such as the number 11), were bad luck.  Lee Oldfield attempted to qualify for the 1912 and 1937 runnings of the Indianapolis 500 but his times were too slow for him to qualify for either race.  Lee Oldfield passed away at Cathedral City, California.

 

2 The races on this day at West Side Racetrack were promoted by Alfred H. “Captain Harvey” Kennedy of Pasadena, California.  Kennedy was fatally injured less than eleven months later while participating in an auto race at Lima, Ohio on August 31, 1917.

Ernie Crum

Wichita Daily Eagle

 

 

3 William Ernest “Ernie” Crum (1888-1952)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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