Aug 17 2011

What Hampered the Marmon Wasp During 2011 Indy 500 Parade Lap

The 2011 Indy 500 Parade Lap was led by the historic 1911 Marmon Wasp, winner of the first Indy 500. Although successful in completing two parade laps, the Marmon had difficulties starting and running. The cause of the Wasp's problems was recently discussed on the Yahoo Racing History Board, along with a request for assistance.


The 1911 Indy winner Marmon Wasp and the Alco Black Beast on the track before the Parade Lap


The Black Beast approaches the Marmon Wasp.


When the Marmon had trouble running, the "Black Beast" was asked to take the lead.

What happened to the Marmon during the Parade Lap? Tom Williams of Temperance, Michigan reported on the Yahoo Racing History Board: "The Marmon Wasp,Ray Harroun's 1911 Indianpolis 500 winning car, threw a rod as Parnelli Jones drove it on the 100th Anniversary 500 parade lap. Anyone know of a spare Marmon engine/block. The Speedway could use one."

Steve Hammatt President, Skagit/Snohomish Reg Group HCCA responded with a suggestion: "According to the last published HCCA Roster, there are 17 Marmons listed; 5 ea 1910, 5 ea 1911, 4 ea 1912, 1 ea for 1914, 1915 and 1916. I recognize a few of the owners that very well may have additional parts for their vehicles.

If anyone knows where Marmon engine parts can be found, please send an email to me at [email protected] .

Links to related posts on

The Marmon Wasp can be seen at the 1:03, 2:25 and 4:22 marks of this video of the 2011 Indy 500 Parade Lap:

The Marmon Wasp -Winner of the 1911 Indy 500 Race

In the Indy Formula One Garage and On the Track: The Marmon Wasp that Won the 1911 Indy 500

Archives: Videos -Alco Black Beast at the 2011 Indy 500 Parade Lap

Archives: 2011 Indy 500 Centennial Celebration

Archives: In the Indy Formula One Garage

Archives: Indy 500 Races

Index: Archives on


Aug 19 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:13 PM

From E. Dean Butler:

“Today one of my guys from Zakiras Garage was at a shop near Indy where he saw the 1911 Marmon Wasp. The damage from the recently-thrown rod is not all that bad. The crankcase will be welded and a new rod is being made. Good news!!!”

Nov 18 2011 Paul Hudson 10:07 AM

Loved the videos and pictures. I was helping push the Wasp to try to get it started. When it finally fired up, A.J the mechanic fell and was being dragged down the track. I ran around and picked him before he was run over by the rear wheel. My wife got pictures of the whole event and I would love to share them with you. Truly one of the greatest experiences of my life!

Nov 18 2011 Howard Kroplick 11:34 PM

Hi Paul:

Thanks for the memories. If you have any photos to share from the parade lap, please email them to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .



Nov 25 2011 Howard Kroplick 11:35 PM


Thanks for the amazing photos. I will feature them next week.


Leave a Comment