Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp
With more than 80,000 fans looking on from the grandstands of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a $25,000 prize purse up for grabs, the inaugural Indianapolis 500 got underway on this day in 1911. Some figures state as many as 100,000 actually watched trackside as 40 drivers zipped around the Brickyard. Finally, after six hours, 42 minutes and 8 seconds, the checkered flag flew. Ray Harroun, driving his Marmon Model 32-based Wasp, took the victory, or so it seemed. A controversy was brewing.
Bob Burman, Louis Disbrow, Jack Tower, and Joe Grennon at the 1911 Indianapolis 500
Harroun had outfitted his car with a rearview mirror, an invention of his own, which allowed him to be the only racer to compete without a riding mechanic. He was cited as a haza...