Indianapolis News and Headlines


1913 Indy 500 winner drank champagne mid-race

Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 09:58:08-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Great Flood of 1913 killed more than 100 people and left thousands homeless.

In just two days on March 24 and 25, Indiana experienced storms that dumped the equivalent of two to three months of rain. Communities along the Wabash, White and Ohio rivers were affected the most.

Here's an excerpt from the National Weather Service about the incident:

The flood of March, 1913, is without parallel in the history of Indiana. Water states reached were from 2 to 8 feet higher than those recorded in any previous flood; the loss of life and property was unprecedented; thousands were driven from their homes, fleeing for their lives; transportation lines were helpless through loss of track and bridges; telephone and telegraph lines were crippled; communities were cut off from communication with the outside world for from 24 to 48 hours; cities were deprived of light and power by the flooding of power plants; isolated towns were threatened with famine; and for a period of 3 days or more the great commercial enterprises of the State were at a standstill.

SNAPSHOT: Photos of the Great Flood in 1913 - Click the photo below for more

Two months later, the city continued to dry out, and the then-named International 500 Mile Sweepstakes Race rolled on. This third running of the Indy 500 was the first of the races where a significant presence of overseas racers began to enter.

Jules Goux, the first Frenchman and European to win the race, was one of those foreign entrants.

Goux, along with his riding mechanic, reportedly drank four small bottles of champagne during the race, taking the opportunity to drink during pit stops.

He is reportedly quoted as saying, "Without the good wine, I would not have won the race."

Goux's winning margin of 13+ minutes is the largest ever in Indianapolis 500 history.

Charlie Merz, who ultimately finished in third place, finished the final lap even after his car caught fire. His riding mechanic crawled on the hood to beat the flames as they raced for the checkered flag. 

Road to 100: 1912Road to 100: 1911 | Special Section: Road to 100 | Enter to win tickets to the Indy 500 | Start your engines: 100 stories in 100 days

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