1915 DES MOINES SPEEDWAY
Des Moines Speedway was a high banked track built from timber by the Prince Speedway Company.
The track banking was advertised as ten degrees on the straights and forty degrees in the corners making speeds of up to 100mph posible on the one mile circuit, The venue boasted a grand stand that would seat ten thousand people and an underground tunnel to the infield that would allow six thousand cars to park and watch the racing from there own cars.
Two major events were held at the venue, a three hundred mile race in 1915 that was over shadowed with tragedy and in 1916 a one hundred and fifty mile race that ran without to much trouble followed by a fifty mile open event for mainly locals the following day.
1915 300 LAP RACE
August seven 1915 twelve car started the event with the current Indy 500 champion Ralph De Palma off pole with qualifying speed of 97.8mph
On lap 37 Joe Cooper blew a tyre in his Sebring Special and lost control coming onto the front straight, the car smashed through the railing at the top of the track, Cooper was trapped in the wreck and died as the result of a broken neck, his riding mechanic Louis peio was thrown clear and lived.
The second crash on lap 237 once again tyre failure would claim the life of another driver in Billy Chandler.
The race would be won by Ralph Mulford and second place went to Ralph De Palma.
1916 150 LAP RACE
Ralph De Palma would win the 150 lap race in his Mercedes and set a world record time of 35.2 seconds for the mile.
The Speedway would close in 1917, The war had a huge effect on the venue so the wooden structure was dismantled and sold off to cover company debt.