Indianapolis News and Headlines


Road to 100: 1919

Posted at 5:16 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 17:47:30-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- More than 130,000 Hoosiers fought in World War I, and in 1918, it was over. 

On May 7, 1919, the city held a welcome home day, which included a parade on Monument Circle.

The Salvation Army and Eastern Star prepared more than 20,000 boxed lunches for returning soldiers.

A few weeks later, after suspending the Indianapolis 500 for two years because of the war, instead using the speedway as a landing strip and experimental aircraft test site, it was time to go racing again.

But this time it was not on Memorial Day, out of respect for those who served in The Great War.

Tragedy marred the first half of the race when driver Arthur Thurman died in a crash. Later on, another crash claimed the lives of driver Louis Lecocq and his riding mechanic, who burned to death.

After starting second, Crawfordsville native Howdy Wilcox avoided the fray, and out-dueled the season vet Ralph DePalma to take the checkered flag with an average speed of 88 miles per hour. Wilcox was also the first to break 100 mph in qualifying.

He was the second Hoosier to win the Indy 500. 

It's believed that when Wilcox was in the final stages of the race, the band at the track performed "Back Home Again in Indiana," now the sound that is played before every race.


Road to 100: 1916Road to 100: 1915  | Road to 100: 1914 | Road to 100: 1913 | Road to 100: 1912 | Road to 100: 1911 | Special Section: Road to 100 | Enter to win tickets to the Indy 500 | Start your engines: 100 stories in 100 days

Tune in to RTV6 News at 6 p.m. every night for our Road to 100, where we take a look back at each of the races leading up to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. 

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