Jun 04 2011

Exclusive Video: Emerson Fittipaldi Driving the Alco Black Beast During the 2011 Indy 500 Parade Lap

This ten-minute "thrill of a lifetime" video documents two-time Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi and Howard Kroplick driving the restored Alco Black Beast during the 2011 Indy 500 Race parade lap on May 29, 2011. Over the 2 1/2 mile lap, the racer averaged 45 mph with a maximum speed of 68 mph. Highlights to look for:


0:30: Aerial of the Black Beast and 1911 parade racers during ABC's pre-race coverage.


1: 14: The 1911 Indy winner Marmon Wasp and the Alco Black Beast on the track at 8:30 am.


1:53: Emerson Fittipaldi gives a thumbs up at 9:50 am.


2:00: The Black Beast begins to roar.


4:22 After 100 years, the Black Beast passes the Marmon Wasp and is asked to take the lead.


6:58: Emerson Fittipaldi puts the Black Beast into third gear and reaches 68 mph


7:35 The Black Beast passes the "yard of bricks".


9:12: Mario Andretti congratulates Emerson Fittipaldi and Howard Kroplick

Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com

Archives: 2011 Indy 500 Centennial Celebration

Archives: Indy 500 Races



Jun 05 2011 penny havard 6:33 AM

CONGRATULATIONS on your ‘victory’ at Indy.

Jun 05 2011 Dick Rowley 9:07 AM

Fantastic!! The car sounds like it wanted to get back out there. Like all good things over way too soon. Just wait for 2111.
Congratulations and thanks again for your site and the video. Always a pleasant start to Sunday.

Jun 05 2011 Ernie Finamore 9:54 AM

WOW! A lap of Indy in the Black Beast, driven by two time winner Emmo. How COOL was that? Are you still smiling? Thanks for the video, and for all of your efforts. See you at the next event. Congrats!!

Jun 05 2011 Dennis Kelly 10:34 AM

That must have been great Howard!  Congratulations and thanks for preserving this piece of history!

Jun 05 2011 Walt Gosden 2:40 PM

Congratulations Howard, the thrill of a lifetime, and you shared it with us all. Thank you so much.

Jun 05 2011 Bob Lang 4:19 PM

Congratulations Howard!  It was so great that you got a chance to run your car at the 100th Indy 500.  Emmo seemed to be running the same groove that he would have with the cars of today.  It must have been a big thrill for him too.

Thanks for the video and the chance to get a first hand look at the Black Beast on the Speedway!

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:34 PM

From Andy H:

“Fantastic run Howard!  What an experience!  Ride with Emerson, meet Mario, be at Indy - WOW!Congratulations!!”

Jun 05 2011 Jeremy Rosenblad 7:34 PM

NICE JOB beating the marmon

maybe they will let you guys comeback for a 10 lap “exhibition race” ie rematch. since it looks like the marmon had the mechanical difficulty’s this time. and fans of the marmon will “contest” this “win”.

In any case good job and wasn’t there another alco racer in the Vanderbilt cup races in addition to this one… i seem to remember 2 cars. what happened to the other one? does it still exist?

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:42 PM

Hi Jeremy:

The only Alco to run in the Vanderbilt Cup Races was the Black Beast. However, as noted on the September 9, 2010 post, the Black Beast apparently had a back-up racer:


Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:45 PM

From John P:

“Awesome, simply awesome.  I could hear you hollering all around the track.  And at times I thought Fittipaldi was gripping the wheel so tight that he was going to tear it off!

Congrats on a great experience!  Thanks for sharing it!!

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:51 PM

From Robert R:


What a great testimonial to you and your team, Howard.  The car ran perfectly, and sounded terrific.

Interesting to note that Emerson pretty much followed the line one would take in a modern-day Indy car.

What an historic moment.”

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:53 PM

From Walter C:

“What a fabulous ride!  How proud and gratified you must be. What a thrill to ride along with you.”

Jun 05 2011 Jeremy Rosenblad 7:57 PM

Wonder what happened to it.

It would be nice to have more then one. Also has anyone ever tried to track the history’s of all of the cup cars after they were done with the races.

Not just the winning cars but the ones that didn’t win.

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 7:57 PM

From Michael C:

“Fantastic, Howard!  Must have been quite a thrill (I assume those are your hoots and hollers on the audio)!”

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 8:08 PM

From Wayne Carroll Petersen:

What a memorable and historical time for you and your team. Congratulations! I noticed that Bill Evans attended with the Blitzen Benz. Because of people like you American history is being preserved. Wish I could have been there.”

Best regards,
Wayne Carroll Petersen
Barney Oldfield great great nephew

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 8:14 PM

From Ron R:

“Hi Howard and All of our LIMP’ers :

Just a quick note to say Congratulations and Joy to you for a most joyous blog and history making event never seen before !!!!  What beautiful days of joy must have come to you and a great life changing experience !!!!  My best to you always !!!!!  What could be next ????  Perhaps a repeat next year…..Emerson did a nice job and the meeting with Mario Andretti was beautiful also !!!!!!  HOORAY AND CHEERS AGAIN   !!!!”

                          Cordially,  Ron

Jun 05 2011 Howard Kroplick 8:24 PM

From Jan H:

“You are a lucky guy.  And you made it happen.  Lead the parade lap.  68 mph!  Emmo, Mario, family, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Jun 05 2011 DON CORIE 10:08 PM


Jun 05 2011 Ken Wiebke 11:02 PM

Thanks for sharing this fabulous experience.  What a thrill to ride along by watching the video.
My impression was had you wanted to, The Beast had plenty more to give.

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:13 AM

From Seth G:

“That was a great video of the lap you took at the Indy 500!  That was a proud moment for you & the team.”

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:34 PM

From Bruce R:

“Howard,  Thanks for sending your film.  It was wonderful.  You must have been thrilled.  What a climax to this relatively new dimension to your life.”

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 1:03 PM

From Art L:

“Saw ya take that lap…”

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 1:09 PM

From Sam B:

“Short, perhaps, of your first drive as owner of Bête Noir, that ride around the Brickyard has got to be the zenith of your automotive adventures to date, and with the Fit as your chauffeur and then having Andretti there to boot is icing on a very rich cake indeed!”

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 1:11 PM

From George H:

“Just fantastic to watch!!Whenever anyone asks me who won 2011 Indy 500,I’ll tell them it was “The Black Beast”!! “

Jun 06 2011 Al Velocci 7:19 PM

Howard,                              Thoroughly enjoyed watching your trip around the Indy race track. Thanks for letting us ride along and share the expierence. It had to be the thrill of a lifetime for you. Al.

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 9:13 PM

From Art Lloyd III:

“Seeing the Beast coming down that main straight away at Indy this year was wonderful…”

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 9:20 PM

From Tom J:

“Thank you so much for the wonderful video…I can only imagine the thrill of the ride on the Beast.”

Jun 06 2011 Howard Kroplick 11:13 PM

From Marty M:

“Howard…FANTASTIC…Well done…and what FUN!!!!”

Jun 07 2011 Bob Klement 9:11 AM

I’d be really surprised if the smile ever leaves your face after this, Howard. Watching it was thrilling - experiencing it must be beyond description.

And revenge over the Wasp - sweet!

Jun 07 2011 Michael McCabe 4:01 PM

Great video, Howard. The Alco looked awesome on the track. Congratulations!

Jun 07 2011 Howard Kroplick 10:12 PM

From DC:

Thanks for sharing!”

Jun 08 2011 Oren B 1:09 AM

You grabbed me with the Indie video. What a kick!

Jun 08 2011 Noel Gish-Trustee Vanderbilt Museum 11:07 AM

Howard—I imagine that you are still grinning from ear to ear even after a week or more. The Vanderbilt Museum congratulates you on the achievement. If I could get the Vanderbilt Cup away from the Smithsonian I would let you hold it just to complete the experience.Great video——the sights and sounds-the engine-the wind—just terrific.
      Noel Gish

Jun 10 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:02 AM

Hi Noel:

I am still on an adrenaline rush!  I hope to see you on Sunday, July 10th when I will bring the Black Beast back to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum for the car show fundraiser to benefit the Lustgarden Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research:



Jun 10 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:03 AM

From Chuck D:
“The video was a blast - congratulations. You certainly seemed to have a well deserved great time! Now that you are in the driving circles of such icons as Fittipaldi and Andretti, you need to get yourself a pair of those fancy black Italian racing shoes Fittipaldi had on his feet!
Thanks for sharing”

Jun 10 2011 Howard Kroplick 12:03 AM

Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments!


Jun 10 2011 Howard Kroplick 8:15 AM

Dave M:

“Thanks for sharing the Indy video. The track is big when traversed at “normal” speed. Usually the onboard images are at 200MPH when the spectators are all a blur.

It is a pleasure to watch your joie de vivre!”

Jun 10 2011 Howard Kroplick 8:16 AM

Dave Mo.:

“Wonderful photos and video.

Congratulations on your marvelous achievement. “

Jul 27 2011 Marc Hillman 6:31 PM

We met at Eisenhower Parks Nassau Counties Motor Parkways recent News advent. I was with the Ford Model A Club, and no I wasn’t one of your many passengers. The Black Beast is truly a beautiful piece of machinery. I was wondering if you knew of Lake Ronkonkoma’s upcoming “First Annual Sunday Drive” I know you’re very busy, but the Heritage Society would surely find the Black Beast #8 a special addition to the advent.
Please see attached short cut to their website:
The person to contact is Ellen and I’ll be glad to give you her number if you email permission.
Thank you
Marc Hillman

Jul 27 2011 Howard Kroplick 10:48 PM

Hi Marc:

The Black Beast is scheduled to lead the parade! It should be fun.



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