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Barney Oldfield
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Auto Racer
    (June 3, 1878-October 4, 1946)
    Born in Wauseon, Ohio
    First racer to complete a mile in under a minute (1903)
    Competed in the Indianapolis 500 twice, finishing 5th each time (1914,1916)
    Appeared in the Broadway musical 'The Vanderbilt Cup' (1906)
    Appeared in the films 'Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life' (1913), 'The Speed Demon' (1925), 'The First Auto' (1927) and 'Blonde Comet' (1941)
    He bought a race car from Henry Ford despite never having driven before and reportedly learned the controls the morning of his first race.
    He was suspended by the AAA for 'outlaw' racing activities and was unable to compete in sanctioned events for much of the prime of his career.
    He was married four times, including twice to Bess Holland.
    He inspired decades worth of policemen to ask speeding drivers, 'Who do you think you are, Barney Oldfield?'
    He reportedly ended up on the receiving end of that line when he was busted for speeding by a cop who did not recognize him.
    He was a champion bicycle racer before taking up auto racing.
    He revolutionized auto racing by sliding wide through the turns like a bicyclist instead of braking.
    His victories in Henry Ford's No. 999 racer made Ford a household name.
    At the height of his fame, he earned $4,000 a day for exhibition races.
    After racer Bob Burman was killed in a rollover crash, he joined auto designer Harry Miller to build the first race car with a roll cage to enclose the driver.

Credit: C. Fishel

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