Downtown Crawfordsville was alive Friday morning with racing fans crowding together at Marie Canine Plaza, and they weren’t there to see cars trying to beat the light at Market and Green.
Well over 50 people turned out for the unveiling of the historic marker honoring Howard Samuel “Howdy” Wilcox. Wilcox, who was born in Crawfordsville, made a name for himself with many racing sport accomplishments, most notably as the winner of the 1919 Indy 500. With his victory, he became the first Hoosier Indy 500 winner.
Many big names from the racing world, family members of Wilcox and Crawfordsville leaders played roles in the ceremony. Howdy Bell, retired Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio reporter, started the event as Master of Ceremonies. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles, Indy 500 princesses and Montgomery County natives Samantha Storms and Jessika Zachary, IMS Historian Donald Davidson and Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton, among many others, joined Bell in the festivities.
In addition to participants sharing stories about Wilcox, Barton read a proclamation establishing May 1 as Howdy Wilcox Day. Grandchildren of Wilcox himself, Brad Dalton, Scott Wilcox and Kay Simpkins as well as great-granddaughter Alex Paschal made trips from Indianapolis, Oklahoma and California for the event.