Fred Wagner, perhaps better known as “Pop” Wagner, was as well known by the racing fans of his era as all but the most prominent drivers. During a career that started in 1899 and spanned more than three decades, he served as official starter for most of the important championship races on all types of race courses, including the Indianapolis 500s of 1911 and 1912.
Through much of his early career, the starter was virtually the chief official; Wagner flagged according to his own observations rather than at the direction of others. He set the standards for other officials to follow and his sportsmanship contributed to the steadily growing popularity of auto racing. Promoters and participants alike sought his sound advice on all matters pertaining to racing.
Courtesy of Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum