The story of Lebanon racer Cyrus Patschke has been largely lost to time, but it’s no less exceptional today.

Born in Lebanon in 1889, Patschke was a driver during the dawn of racing. He rubbed elbows (and possibly tires, too) with pioneer racers such as World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker, and worked as an engineer for Upton in Lebanon and Acme in Reading.

Patschke’s fame came from his 1911 appearance at the wheel of Ray Harroun’s car in the Indianapolis 500 during a substitution period in which Patschke helped advance Harroun’s position from fifth to first, which Harroun would keep to win the race.

Indy 500 racer Ray Harroun in the winning vehicle, the yellow Marmon “Wasp,” which Cyrus Patschke drove for a portion of the event. (

Read More: Taking a few laps back into Lebanon’s little-known racing history

You can learn all this and more at the Lebanon County Historical Society’s upcoming public program on Patschke. On Sunday, Oct. 23, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Patschke’s grandchildren will tell his story, along with extraordinary images documenting the dawn of racing from a local perspective.

The Historical Society is at 924 Cumberland St., Lebanon. There is no cost to attend the program, which is sponsored by Carol and Ed Hickey.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Do you want to see more from LebTown?

Support local news. Cancel anytime.

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.