March 25 might have marked the season opener for the 2012 Indy Car Series, but that wasn’t the only Indy Car- event that piqued the interest of auto racing fans that weekend; they were also keeping a watchful eye on Antique Helper’s March 24 Art & Antiques Auction, featuring racing memorabilia from the estate of Clarence Cagle, the former long-time track superintendent.
The crowning jewel of the collection was the 1909 poster from the inaugural auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Absentee, floor, Internet and telephone bidders were all on the throttle during an intense bidding session that quickly saw the price on the rare piece of auto racing history rise from its high estimate of $7,000 to a flat out bid of $24,000, from telephone buyer.
“I could not imagine a more important piece of track memorabilia,” said Dan Ripley of Antique Helper. “I took a personal interest in marketing this poster and the final price illustrates that others found it just as appealing.”
Cagle’s relationship with Indianapolis Motor Speedway dates back to 1945, when Tony Hulman acquired the track from Eddie Rickenbacker. Cagle worked there for 30 years as Track Superintendent, later becoming Vice President of Speedway Corp.
Items offered in the March 24 auction included 500 and other race-related merchandise spanning Cagle’s career at the track. Bidders found pit badges, patches, belt buckles, books and programs, bolo ties, jewelry and Cagle’s own personalized Shriners Bell Helmet.