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Harroun's original Marmon "Wasp" on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Ray Harroun (January 12, 1879 - January 19, 1968) was an American racecar driver, born in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania.

Contents

Racing career

Harroun is best known for winning the first running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 30, 1911. He is known to have started at least 60 AAA-sanctioned races, during the years 1905-1911. (Statistics on some of the shorter races document only the top three finishers, so some starts resulting in lower finishes may not be known.) From 1909 to 1911, Harroun drove primarily for the team operated by Indianapolis-based auto maker, Marmon. However, at least one 1909 race result shows him driving a Buick. And, statistics from 1905 through 1908 show him driving cars described as "Harroun Custom" and "Harroun Sneezer."

Race Wins

Harroun's race wins included: a 1910 100-mile race at the Atlanta Motordrome; the 1910 200-mile Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway); the May, 1910, 50-mile Remy Grand Brassard Race (also at IMS); three races at Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby); three races at the original Latonia Race Track; and races at tracks in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Long Island and Memphis. He is best known for winning the first Indianapolis 500, driving a Marmon. The last race that he is known to have started was a three-mile race, which he won, at the Fort Wayne Driving Park on September 14, 1911.

Harroun won a total of 8 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the second-most of any driver in the 100-year history of the track. (The only driver with more victories at IMS is Johnny Aitken, with 15 wins in 1909-1916.)

Retroactive Champion Designation

The AAA designated some races each year as "championship" events, during the years that Harroun was driving. However, there was no actual year-long championship, and no points were awarded. In 1927, points were assigned retroactively, and champions were designated for those years. At that time, Harroun was designated the champion for the 1910 season.

The First Indianapolis 500

At the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, his use of what would now be called a rear-view mirror, rather than the riding mechanic specified in the rules, created controversy, but was ultimately allowed. Harroun went on to win at an average speed of 74.602 miles per hour (120.060 km/h). Harroun, who came out of retirement to race in the first 500, would not race after 1911. Harroun's historic Firestone-shod yellow #32 Marmon "Wasp," in which he won the Indianapolis 500, is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Later career

After retiring from racing, Harroun continued engineering work for Marmon, and later for the Maxwell racing team. In 1917, Harroun started his own automobile company, and he continued to work in the automotive industry until his retirement at age 79.

Indianapolis 500 results

Year Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1911 32 28 1 200 88 Running
Totals 200 88
Starts 1
Poles 0
Front Row 0
Wins 1
Top 5 1
Top 10 1
Retired 0

Award

He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2000.

Sources

Scott, D. Bruce; INDY: Racing Before the 500; Indiana Reflections; 2005; ISBN 0-9766149-0-1.

Galpin, Darren; A Record of Motorsport Racing Before World War I.

http://www.motorsport.com/stats

http://www.champcarstats.com

External links

Preceded by
None
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1911
Succeeded by
Joe Dawson
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