Harry C. Knight was born in Jonesboro, Indiana. He started racing in AAA in 1910 with a Wescott. He competed in the races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the labout day weekend that year, finishing 2nd in the 100-mile Race Free-for-all behind Eddie Hearne in a Benz on the 3rd ofSeptember and fifth in the 50-mile Race Free-for-all on the 5th, a race also won by Eddie Hearne.
Knight is perhaps best remembered for bing involved in the accident that was one of the causes of the confusion over who acually won the first Indy500 on May 30th, 1911.
Ralph DePalma in a Simplex had the lead around the sixty mile mark. Bruce-Brown was in second with Knight moving up into third. Ten miles further on and Bruce-Brown passed DePalma. Johnny Aitken had moved up to third in his National with Knight now fourth.
Bruce-Brown still led at the eightieth and at the ninetieth mile mark, now followed by the two Loziers of Teddy Tedzlaff and Ralph Mulford. Knight was still in fourth place but Aitken had dropped back to fifth.
The order after the first 100 miles was Bruce-Brown, Mulford, Wishart, Joe Dawson, Merz, Turner, Knight, Burman, Aitken and DePalma.
At 110 miles Bruce-Brown was still leading with Mulford second. De Palma was back near the front in third. At the 140 mile mark De Palma moved ahead of Mulford for second and Knight had moved back up to fourth.
Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon No. 32, took the lead and held it at the two hundred mark, setting a new record for the distance of 2:43:21. Bruce-Brown in his Fiat 28 was second with Mulford third followed by Spencer Wishart and Harry Knight.
Around the 240 mile mark, Joe Jagersberger lost control of his Case when a steering joint broke. The car swerved down the track with Jagersberger trying to get it under control. It hit the judges stand, continued down pit lane and back out onto the track where his riding mechanic, D. Anderson, was thrown out and ended up sprawled out in the middle of the circuit.
Harry Knight is attended to after crashing in the 1911 Indy 500
The starter, Wagner, tried to flag down the oncoming cars. Knight was next on the scene. He swerved to avoid the prostate mechanic, heading toward the judges stand and into the pit lane where he hit the Apperson of Herbert Lytle and the Fiat of Eddie Hearne. Knight and his mechanician, John Glover, were thown some distance.
While all this was going on there was no one in the scoring stand. To add further to the confusion the timing wire strung across the track broke several times during the race and the cars had to be scored manually.
Harroun and Mulford had started side by side, 28th and 29th, and had a ding-dong battle between themselves as they raced to the front of the pack. On about the 160th lap Harroun blew a tire about halfway down the back straight and had to limp around to the pits on the rim. Mulford swore that he lapped Ray during his slow trip to get a new tire.
Mulford was given the checkered flag before Ray Harroun but took three extra laps as a precaution. By the time he finished the third extra lap, Harroun was in the winner's circle and Mulford's protests were fell on deaf ears.
Knight ran at Indy again the following year driving a Lexington but retired with engine trouble and had the same problem in September on the drit oval in Columbus Ohio. He was driving a Kinnear Rovan in a 200 mile race on the dirt oval at Columbus when he lost his life on July 4th, 1913. His riding mechanic, Milton Michaelis, died a few hours later in hospital. Three other drivers died that day in races at other locations.