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Slants on Sports

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Make a habit of glancing through the classified advertising columns. They may have a surprise in store for you.

The 500 mile classic at the Indianapolis speedway that is held every Memorial Day is considered the most gruelling test in the whirligig speed world. Notwithstanding, the drivers of these rumbling juggernauts spent all year grooming their racing chariots and their super-special gas buggies so that they may have the dough that is needed to roll their stock to that little Indiana town. For, besides being the most risky race of the year, it is by far the richest. That is why the Indianapolis 500 mile speedway is the Broadway main stem of the men who live with gears, pistons, drive shafts and speed all year long.

As a result these men can be found on any dirt track in the country during the year where a century note, five hundred or a grand may be picked up as first-prize money. Especially around Labor Day when almost every county in the land holds special speed races as added attractions to annual fairs. But what is not so widely known is the fact that the dirt saucers are the most dangerous because once a car gets behind, the lagging driver has to eat dust and like it. He cannot do anything to help himself but trust to luck and pray that the guy in front goes through the rail.

The Indianapolis grind requires courage, stamina, a car that will stand the strain and superb driving ability. The ordinary dirt track races need these same qualifications, perhaps in a greater degree because added to the necessary prerequisites is the ability to drive blind through dust, dirt and debris.


The 150,000 buggie fans who annually plunk their eight bits on the line as they click through the turnstiles are not the only thrill-seekers because people throughout this country are willing to part with a goodly number of shekels in order to watch the dizzy pace of the drivers on the turns. They come, not so much to see men whirl around a saucer track at fantastic and monotonous speed, but to seek new thrills, escapes and flirtations with death. At times they witness death itself. They are a happy lot, but a morbid lot too.

The other day we drove our anti-Nazi flivver (it balks every time it passes a German beer garden) over to Woodbridge, N. J. A 100-mile grind was on the bill as the main event and a pal of this department had invited us over for the fireworks. This chap is one of the few Jewish speed drivers in the dirt-track business and drives under the name of Harry Dunn. His real name is Harry Dannowitz.


“Our business,” said Harry, “is pretty risky. However, it is not nearly as risky as some of the folks who pay to see us would have it. We have the same chances in a race of coming out unscratched as regular mail pilots and transport mechanics.”

“Don’t you,” we interpolated, “ever feel at the beginning of a race that you’re heading for certain disaster? Don’t you feel as if you’re driving to death on an express car?”

“Don’t make me laugh,” says Harry. “Keep your eyes peeled on me in this race. I’ll be back here in one hour, safe and sound.”


There were nine drivers with as many different types of cars entered in this tame little hundred-mile dash down the old dirt road. They were signalled to start, after having warmed and tuned their motors, and John Ulesky, of Newark, N. J., was away first and with a fast start. Our pal Harry Dannowitz—Dunn to you—was next in line. Before the race was ten minutes gone the stands knew for a certainty that the race was to be decided between Ulesky and Dannowitz. They were setting a pace that left the rest of the field far behind. Ulesky was burning up the road and Dannowitz was forced to drive through his opponent’s dust. Twice his car skidded sickeningly as the machine took the turn at the far corner of the field at a terrific pace. However, when the race was nearly three-quarters gone—the lap man had signalled that Ulesky’s car had covered sixty-nine laps—something happened that brought the spectators to their feet, a shiver in every spine, and a lump in every throat.

The two dust-belching juggernauts were roaring along at the rate of one hundred miles an hour. Ulesky was still leading Dannowitz, by about ten yards. However, as the two cars neared the far turn of the field, Ulesky’s machine skidded and almost stood stock still for a fraction of a second. But even split seconds count when the pace is a hundred miles an hour. Harry Dannowitz, needing all the years of skill and experience at his command in this perilous moment, jammed on the brakes. The car responded for a moment but the rubber lining burnt itself out soon after. Then rearing itself on its hind wheels due to the force of the sudden stop, Dannowitz’s car seemed to leap bodily upon the machine of Ulesky. A deathly silence pervaded the field for an instant, broken only by the roar of the other cars at the end of the track and by the shrill shriek of an ambulance siren.

Immediately after the rest of the field had whisked by the ambulance surgeon rushed to the two wrecked cars. By some peculiar whim of fate the two drivers were only slightly injured. Harry Dannowitz is entered in another race at Hohokus, N. J., this Sunday and is driving in a borrowed car.


Gino Garibaldi and Dick Shikat have been billed as the feature attraction for tonight’s card at the Velodrome. If Shikat beats Garibaldi, and we think he will, the former champion will insist on a match with Jim Browning and Jim Londos, in that order.

The Shikat-Garibaldi feature tops an interesting array of engagements. In a special forty-five minute bout Sandor Szabo, Hungarian champion, goes against Wee Willie Davis of Virginia. Also on the bill are Abe Kashey, who takes on Mike Romano, and Hans Steinke, who meets Jack Washburn. Dr. Harry Fields, the Jewish medico, meets Bobby Stewart of Tennessee.

Make a habit of glancing through the classified advertising columns. They may have a surprise in store for you.

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