Remember us from about a month ago? This photo, initially shared by David Longstreth, appeared in a February 5 post. Said to be Barney Oldfield, observant David Greenlees suspected otherwise. Robert Rampton noted on February 6 that this was taken at a Cactus Derby finish and suggested that the driver was Joe Nikrent. Indeed, these gents were Joe and Louis Nikrent in their winning Buick at the November 6-7, 1909 L.A. to Phoenix Road Race. Here is a more complete scene, taken about the same time as the photo above.
The L.A. to Phoenix Road Race, later known as the Cactus Derby, finished in 1909 while a territory fair was going on in Phoenix. Finishers of that race ran in a track competition at the fairgrounds and this photo was probably taken there. Note the uniformed guys and the bandstand. Another feature of this photo that I just love is the condition of the starting crank handle. What did they whack out there in the desert? A rock in the night, or gravel when they plunged through a dry wash? Having done that, they’d have had an interesting time using it to start the car at any subsequent stops.