May 30 2011

Newsday: “Vintage race cars celebrated at Indy 500”

Just returned from Indy with amazing photos, videos and stories...will post during the rest of the week. For today, these are highlights of Robert Cassidy' s weekend coverage of the story in Newsday:

Vintage race cars celebrated at Indy 500

Friday May 27, 2011 4:06 PM By Bobby Cassidy

We are doing a story for Sunday's paper on the 1909 Alco-6 racer, known as the Black Beast. It is owned by Howard Kroplick, of East Hills, and the car ran in the very first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. One hundred years later, five cars from that original race will take a parade lap around the Brickyard.

The Marmon Wasp, pictured above left, with the Black Beast, courtesy of Kroplick, won the inaugural race and will also participate in the pre-race ceremony.

"It's going to be amazing, after all of these years, to have these cars back on the track in Indianapolis with 300,000 people watching," said Kroplick. "And one hour later, on the same track, you will have modern race cars with all the latest technology."

Check Sunday's newspaper and for more on this story.

The Black Beast also won the 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race on Long Island. Here's a little more about the Vanderbilt Cup Race.

"The Cup races were the first of their kind in this country," said Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum. "It ran fromfrom 1904 to 1910, but not in 1907. There was a lot of controversy because safety was constantly questioned. The safety of the parkway and the safety of the cars themselves. The spectators would stand dangerously close to the cars careening around the race course."

According to Gress, some Long Island residents put up signs that read: "Chain your dog and lock up your fowl."


Original Indy Car rides Again

Sunday,May 29, 2011 by Robert Cassidy- Newsday

Now Owned by LIer, speedster that raced in first 500 hits track today

One hundred years after competing in the inaugural version of the automobile race now known as the Indianapolis 500, the Black Beast is back.

Sunday marks the centennial of the first Indy 500 -- then called the International 500-Mile Sweepstakes -- and a 1909 Alco-6 racer now owned by a Long Island man has returned to the Brickyard for one more lap.

Organizers have brought together five cars from the original race to be driven around the track in a pre-race ceremony by past Indy winners. Emerson Fittipaldi (1989 and 1993) will drive the Black Beast.

Click here for Robert Cassidy's Black Beast video.



Black Beast's triumphant return to Indy

Monday May 30, 2011 3:30 PM By Bobby Cassidy-Newsday

The 1909 Alco 6 racer, known as the Black Beast, was invited back to Indianapolis to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Indy 500. The Black Beast finished 33rd in the initial race. Trading Paint reached out to Howard Kroplick, of East Hills, who owns the car, to see how the parade lap at the old Brickyard went.

"The day was spectacular," said Kroplick. "The Black Beast made the entire lap at the fastest speed of any of the 1911 parade cars. The 1911 winner Marmon stalled near the start and we were asked to go out first."

Two-time Indy 500 champ Emerson Fittipaldi drove the car with Kroplick riding shotgun as the mechanic.

"Emerson Fittipaldi was wonderful," said Kroplick. "We both wore vintage leather racing helmets and waved to the thousands in the stands. We averaged around 50 miles per hour and reached a max of 68 mph- the fastest that I ever have been in the Beast."

According to Kroplick, after the parade lap, the Black Beast was asked to be placed behind the ABC/ESPN booth as the backdrop for the pre-race broadcast.

Links to related posts on

Archives: 2011 Indy 500 Centennial Celebration

Archives: Indy 500 Races


Jun 01 2011 Rosemary Lucas (Steve's wife) 11:33 AM

How exciting!!! Congratulations and thanks for sharing the thrill with us. This was definitely a dream come true and a real honor for this wonderful Beast whom we have all grown to admire. Your smiles said it all !! Happy Anniversary to you and your wife—I don’t think you can top this one !

Jun 25 2011 Rick Jorgensen 3:04 PM

Congrats Howard!
  The “Beast” deserved this after the unfortunate problems back in 1911. This time the ALCO came in ahead of the “Marmon Wasp”
  You will be getting the centerfold of the GEAA Gazette this coming month.
Your Fan,
Rick A. Jorgensen
Editor & Founder of GEAA

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