DENVER - (January 22, 2002) - A major sports comeback is happening this year. Two legendary names have joined to form a most dynamic team. Western Union, a worldwide leader in money transfer services, and one of America's oldest and well-known ...
DENVER - (January 22, 2002) - A major sports comeback is happening this year. Two legendary names have joined to form a most dynamic team. Western Union, a worldwide leader in money transfer services, and one of America's oldest and well-known brand names, will support Duesenberg Brothers Racing, one of the proudest names in racing history, in its return to the Indianapolis 500. Duesenberg, the American icon that once dominated the "Indy 500" and went on to produce some of the most sought after passenger cars ever built, is returning to the Speedway, 75 years after its last Brickyard victory. Duesenberg is back.
Keith Duesenberg announced today that his family, racing under the name Duesenberg Brothers Racing, would be returning to the site of much of their success, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to participate in this year's 86th Indianapolis 500. Duesenberg Brothers Racing is the same name used by his family's famous car builders, Fred and August Duesenberg, who are members of the Racing Hall of Fame.
Duesenberg racecars were part of the earliest years of the Indianapolis 500, originally called the Brickyard. In 1914, the Duesenbergs scored their first top-ten finish with Eddie Rickenbacker at the wheel. Rickenbacker would later become America's top flying ace in World War I and would eventually own the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But this was only a glimpse of the glory yet to come for the car known as "The Power of the Hour."
The Duesenbergs roared into prominence in the 1920s, becoming the first American-built car to win a European Grand Prix in 1921. This feat would not be equaled until Dan Gurney's 1967 victory in his Eagle. In the 1922 Indianapolis 500, Duesenberg Brothers' cars captured all but third and ninth place. In 1924, Duesenberg celebrated yet another win. 1925 saw Peter DePaolo driving a banana-colored "Duesie" in the victory lane. DePaolo became the first race winner to average over 100 mph, with a winning average speed of 101.13 mph. Rookie driver George Souders gave the Duesenberg's their fourth win of the decade in 1927.
Duesenberg, Inc., went on to produce America's first luxury cars of choice for the rich and famous in the 1930s. In Hollywood, the Duesenberg became the mark of a star. Movie stars Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Mae West were "Duesie" owners. Business tycoons W. Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes and John Dodge, heir to the Dodge fortune, were also Duesenberg owners. A young Tony Hulman, the wealthy businessman-sportsman who later bought the Indianapolis Speedway, also drove a Duesenberg. It is said that when H.M. Alfonso XIII, the King of Spain, was exiled, his Duesenberg was the only car he took with him. Even gangland figures and their politically prominent cohorts preferred Duesenbergs, due to their powerful chassis and speed.
"This is a dream I've been pursuing since my family introduced me to my first Indy 500 when I was seven," said Keith Duesenberg. " Racing is my family's heritage and we are thrilled to be introducing to a new generation what it means to be a 'real Duesie'."
"I can't tell you how exciting it is to be teaming with our Speed Team partner Western Union and going to the world's premier racing event, the Indianapolis 500," continued Duesenberg. "Combined, the Duesenberg family and Western Union have more than 225 years of history in America. Between us, we have quite a story to share."
The Duesenberg team is speaking to a number of drivers. Final decisions concerning what equipment the team will utilize will be announced shortly. Duesenberg Brothers Racing has been developing the team and personnel the last two years, competing in the USF3 Championship Series and C.A.R.T.'s Formula Atlantic Series.