Archive for May 14, 2013

Featuring personal items and lifetime achievement awards from the collections of the first consecutive race winner of the Indianapolis 500, Wilbur Shaw

Friday, May 24, 2013 at 6 pm EST
Indiana Landmarks Center

Ripley Auctions is pleased to present Important Racing Memorabilia, an auction offering personal Items from the collections of Wilbur Shaw, the first consecutive race winner of the Indianapolis 500, on Friday, May 24th at 5 pm.

The sale includes the prototype of today’s winning Indy 500 driver’s ring, the Borg Warner plaques Shaw received for each of his three Indy 500 wins, as well as a selection of other trophies and awards, photographs and memorabilia. Also offered will be personal items from Shaw’s office and home, including furniture, cherished collections of guns and knives, and other keepsakes.

One truly unique and highly desirable collectible to be offered is the men’s gold ring with an enameled checkered flag, conceived as a gift to Wilbur Shaw from his wife to commemorate his three Indy 500 wins. This special gift to Shaw became the model for the rings that are now world-famous and awarded annually to the winning driver of the Indy 500.

Three Borg Warner trophies to be sold in the sale represent 3 of the first 5 trophies of this type. The 1939 and 1940 trophies represent the first time a driver won consecutive Indy 500 races. Auction records show that only a small number of Borg Warner plaques have previously sold at auction. These other Borg Warner plaques, considered to be of less historic interest, each sold in the range of $30,000 – $50,000.

A sterling silver cup to be offered, which will certainly never be weighed for scrap value, is engraved with the words “Water from Wilbur.” It was introduced in the Indy 500 winner’s circle by then track president, Wilbur Shaw, to the winner of the 1949 race. The tradition of serving water from the cup lasted only a few years before giving way to the beverage currently offered to race winners – milk.

An historic item with direct relation to the founding of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has garnered the attention of 20th century Indianapolis history buffs. In 1940, Wilbur Shaw was awarded the Prest-O-Lite Trophy. This trophy was initially awarded to Bob Burman in 1909, the first year of Indianapolis Motor Speedway racing, by the Presto-O-Lite Company owners Carl G. Fisher and James Allison. The trophy was awarded again in 1910 to Tom Kincaid and over the interim years to drivers leading the Indy 500 at 200 miles or possibly for various other criteria. This was the last year for the Prest-O-Lite trophy presentation and was considered to be retired in Shaw’s possession.

Additional awards include Shaw’s Motorsports Hall of Fame trophy, 5 AAA Championship medals, the first Strauss Award, and Wilbur Shaw’s personal leather jacket bearing the Champion 100 MPH Club embroidered medallion. The “100 MPH Club” was considered to be “the most exclusive club in America.”

Personal memorabilia and gifts including helmets used as prototypes for the first driver helmets; aviation, hunting and fishing mementos; and furniture from Shaw’s offices and homes will also be sold.

Donald Davidson, recognized as the only full-time historian of any motorsports facility in the world, calls Wilbur Shaw “one of the great names in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” In a promotional video produced by Ripley Auctions for the sale, Donald goes on to answer the question, “who are the most important people in IMS history?” by saying “If Wilbur Shaw isn’t one of the 3 or 4 names you mention, you got it wrong.”

Ripley Auctions owner and principal Dan Ripley has managed auction sales of several highly important collections of motorsports memorabilia. Previous auction clients have included families of Augie and Fred Duesenberg, and Clarence Cagle. A memorable sale was conducted for the family collections of Jigger Sirois with all proceeds donated to Riley Children’s Hospital. Ripley Auctions is the current entity of a 4-generation family business that has ties to Carl G. Fisher and the earliest years of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Important Racing Memorabilia Sale Details:

Important Racing Memorabilia will be a live auction, conducted by catalog. The sale will take place at the historic Indiana Landmarks Center, on the near north side of downtown Indianapolis. A digital catalog will be posted online in advance of the sale. Online bidding, and live audio/video broadcast will be provided by Artfact. Bids will be accepted by absentee and by phone. Registration required in advance.

Ticketed reservations will be required, and are limited. Tickets will be available online at or by calling (317) 251-5635.

Auction preview will be day-of-sale. Requests for personal preview prior to sale day will be considered. Please direct all requests for information to Ripley Auctions. No advance auction preview times or information will be provided by Indiana Landmarks Center.

Image Information:

1. 1939 Borg Warner Trophy
2. Shaw’s gold and diamond ring, which later became the prototype for the 500 winner’s ring
3. “Water from Wilbur” sterling silver trophy cup
4. Prest-O-Lite Trophy, awarded from 1909 – 1940
5. 100 Mile an Hour Champion Club Jacket

High resolution versions of these and other images are available upon request.

About Ripley Auctions:

With offices in Indianapolis, IN and St. Louis, MO, Ripley Auctions is a specialty auction house devoted to providing outstanding customer service to buyers and sellers alike. Combining the resources and experience of our longstanding, well-respected sister company Antique Helper Auctions with an innovative approach to marketing and selling collectible items to an international online audience, Ripley Auctions a unique resource for collectors in the Midwest.

Current areas of specialization include American Art, 20th century design and decorative arts, African American Fine Art, Italian & American Studio Glass, Collectibles and Important Sports Memorabilia.


By: Wm. LaDow

Monday, May 13, 2013

As reported to the Post-Tribune – A Chicago Sun-Times Media Company

INDIANAPOLIS – The busiest day since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened, brought about both a jump in speeds and practice laps as increasing temperatures made for better track conditions.

With only 24 hours of open track practice left before the run for the Pole on Saturday, teams continue to balance tire inventories (they have 33 sets, but need 10-12 for race day) and engine mileage, as many teams are approaching their mandatory 2,000 mile change over limit.

Speeds climbed across the board as 25 of the 32 cars who hit the track, posted laps above the 220 mph mark, with a total of one second separating the top 26 speeds of the day.

One again an Andretti Autosport entry led the way as Marco Andretti, in his No.25 RC Cola car utilizing a new Chevrolet engine, posted a lap at 225.100 mph, edging out Penske’s Helio Castroneves who had laid down a lap of 225.075 mph.

Marco, although quickest on the day was stoic in his comments saying: “Obviously it helps when you can simulate a mini-race, so we had that luxury and we’ve been taking full advantage of it, and personally I feel like that’s how the Ganassis beat us last year. It was the first year for me that pole was in reach, so I got too fascinated with just how fast would the car go instead of getting the proper car underneath you for the race. And everybody’s like, ‘Last year you were really strong in the race,’ and this and that, but the car was a handful in the race, and obviously it bit me there in the end. So we knew we needed to make some gains, and we have so far. But obviously we know how Indy goes; it’s early.”

Castroneves, running the No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet was also measured in his response on the early speed successes: “Right now we’re trying to follow the schedule. We’re not worried about the result. Rick Mears always says that (Indy) is two races, and right now we’re worried about the first race, which is qualifying. Plus there is the weather and things like that, so we’re not thinking about the result. I dream about it, about becoming a four-time winner, but right now you have to work before you achieve your dreams. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

Several drivers made their debut for this year’s Indy 500 field. Townsend Bell got up to speed in a hurry posting a lap in excess of 221 mph in only eleven laps.  Dale Coyne Racing driver Pippa Mann completed her “refresher course” running 35 laps on the day and getting up to 220.500 mph. Rookie Conor Daly, driving the No. 41 A.J. Foyt-ABC Supply Honda-Dallara completed his Rookie Orientation Program in short order and joined the field running 37 laps, with a best of 219.044 mph.  Daly is an Indy 500 legacy, as his father Derek, was a rookie here in 1983, eventually running in six Indianapolis 500s.

Young Daly, who just returned this weekend from racing GP3 in Barcelona acclimated himself quite well on Monday, getting up to speed quite quickly. He was clearly elated on his opportunity to drive for Foyt stating: “Today was really cool. I really enjoyed my first few laps around here. The car feels great, very comfortable to drive, easy flat all around every lap. It’s crazy for me to think we have four more days of practice, which is something that I’m not used to, but it’s really nice. I’m excited that we can keep working at it and see where we end up.” (What you expected?): “It’s always a bit of an unknown at first. I was a little bit iffy on how does the car feel, what does it feel like, and as soon as I got up to speed where you could really feel the downforce kick in, then it was fine. It was harder to go slower than it was to go fast. It’s nice to go fast.” (What does it mean to be racing at Indy?): “It’s incredible; I really can’t describe it. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of, and I’m still dreaming, so it’s very, very cool. I’m just so thankful to be a part of this organization.”

Daly’s AJ Foyt Racing teammate Takuma Sato in the No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda noted: “It was a very productive day. We made some changes and collected very good data from them, and everything went according to plan. I’m happy to see all of the progress. It’s nice to see that Conor got up to speed very quickly so we are able to go to the proper test plan for the two cars tomorrow.”

Thirty-three cars have passed technical inspection. Thirty-two drivers have been on the track to date and turned 1,799 laps today and 3,009 laps this month. Only driver not yet on track was 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier in the No. 91 Lazier Partners car, who has not turned any laps so far this month.

Open Practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continues Tuesday Noon till 6pm.


Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday May 12, 2013 Walt Kuhn