Grand Rapids picker finds uncommon auto racing {photograph}


Allan Brown isn’t positive if it’s the oldest {photograph} ever taken of a Grand Rapids space auto race.

Brown, a motorsports writer and historian from Comstock Park, mentioned he has by no means seen an older one, although, and he has been going to races for the reason that early Nineteen Fifties.

The photograph offered to Brown was taken throughout a race held on July 8, 1916 on the previous West Michigan State Fairgrounds in Comstock Park, and it’s printed it on the entrance of a postcard. The shot was taken from the infield and reveals a pack of automobiles racing down the entrance stretch of the observe that featured a 1.125 mile filth oval.

West Michigan State Fairgrounds

The West Michigan State Fairgrounds in Comstock Park hosted this race on July 8, 1916 in Comstock Park, Mi. Indiana racer Ora Haibe received the 100-mile race. (Courtesy photograph)

The postcard was delivered to MLive’s consideration through a Grand Rapids ‘picker’ who wished to stay nameless. He mentioned he acquired the postcard from the property of a Grand Rapids historical past fanatic, and the picker’s plan is to promote it throughout a seven-day public sale on eBay starting Sunday, Jan. 31.

The picker did grant MLive permission for Brown to assessment it.

“That’s fairly cool,” Brown mentioned. “The very first (driver) appears to be like like (1915 Indianapolis 500 winner) Ralph DePalma. It’s very attainable. He ran a automotive that appeared similar to that. In case you look carefully, there are two guys in every automotive. You had a using mechanic and the motive force. You need to look shut, however you might have two individuals in every automotive.

“A few of these automobiles would have run the Indy 500. In case you have been capable of blow it up and spot them, you possibly can determine who’s who.”

The postcard has a Charlotte, Mi., dateline, and it’s dated Aug. 2, 1916. The photographer, who signed his title Walter, mailed it to a good friend, and he defined that the photograph was from a race on July 8, ’16 in Grand Rapids.

An article printed within the Grand Rapids Herald on July 9, 1916 confirmed that there was a race the day earlier than, and Eddie Haibe received the 100-miler. The motive force’s title was truly Ora Haibe of Guilford, Ind., who completed tenth within the Indy 500 in Might of 1916.

The article defined how Haibe ‘plunged by the fence on his ninety-fifth lap, hitting a pile of lumber.’ However Haibe pulled his automotive out, returned to the observe and be out DePalma for the win. Haibe accomplished the race in 1 hour, 46 minutes, 3 minutes and 40 seconds.

The race was sanctioned by the American Vehicle Affiliation, though it was not included within the 1916 championship level standings. The AAA sanctioned the Indy 500 by 1955.

Based on Brown’s guide, The Historical past of America’s Speedways, Previous & Current, the West Michigan Fairgrounds opened in 1903. It could be later referred to as the Grand Rapids Speedrome, which finally closed in 1966 as a result of extension of the US 131 expressway.

“No,” Brown mentioned when requested if he has seen an older auto racing photograph from the Grand Rapids space. “There was an image years in the past on the Meijer, and it appears to me that it was on Alpine that confirmed the Fairgrounds throughout an auto race.

“The infield was packed, however I didn’t see any race automobiles on the observe or within the pits or something. They have been 10-deep within the infield standing however there have been no race automobiles. That might have been throughout that very same interval in time (1916).”

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