50 TIME MACHINES
WORDS Dave Lewandowski
MAIN IMAGE Walt Kuhn
Whatever the era or the car, it’s skill, smarts
and bravery that have always defined the
racer’s DNA and the quest to be the best.
Newgarden in the
day job, driving for
CFH Racing in the
Series, and (MAIN)
getting a taste of
Indy’s past at the
wheel of the Marmon
Wasp, winner of the
first “500” in 1911.
osef Newgarden grips the Marmon
Wasp’s varnished steering wheel,
Series car, and grins.
A year after Henry Ford introduced the
simple and sturdy Model T, and long
before Arthur Chevrolet filed a patent for
an overhead valve engine, Ray Harroun
– an engineer with the Marmon Motor
Car Company – drove the Marmon Wasp
to victory in the inaugural Indianapolis
500-Mile Race in 1911.
The transaction took 6 hours, 42
minutes and 8 seconds, at an average
speed of 74.602 mph.
Newgarden grins again. He drives
faster on the interstate to visit family in
Tennessee, and is at relatively the same
speed when he pushes the pit speed limiter
button on the steering wheel of his No. 67
CFH Racing Dallara-Chevrolet. But the
relatively modest pace of that 1911 race
doesn’t detract from the accomplishments
of yesteryear’s engineers and drivers in
the 24-year-old’s eyes.
“The Marmon Wasp was state of the art
in 1911. It was high tech and breaking
new ground,” Newgarden says. “I like to
think that’s what we’re doing right now in
the IndyCar Series. We’re always at the
forefront of technology and always seeking
new alternatives to make the sport safer.