American Auto Racing: The Milestones and Personalities of a Century of Speed / Edition 1

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As soon as there were automobiles, there was racing. The first recorded race, an over road event from Paris to Rouen, France, was organized by the French newspaper Le Petit Journal in 1894. Seeing an opportunity for a similar event, Hermann H. Kohlsaat—publisher of the Chicago Times-Herald—sponsored what was hailed as the "Race of the Century," a 54-mile race from Chicago's Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois, and back. Frank Duryea won in a time of 10 hours and 23 minutes, of which 7 hours and 53 minutes were actually spent on the road.

Race cars and competition have progressed continuously since that time, and today's 200 mph races bear little resemblance to the event Duryea won. This work traces American auto racing through the 20th century, covering its significant milestones, developments and personalities. Subjects included are: Bill Elliott, dirt track racing, board track racing, Henry Ford, Grand Prix races, Dale Earnhardt, the Vanderbilt Cup, Bill France, Gordon Bennett, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Mercer, the Stutz, Duesenberg, Frank Lockhart, drag racing, the Trans Am, Paul Newman, vintage racing, land speed records, Al Unser, Wilbur Shaw, the Corvette, the Cobra, Richard Petty, NASCAR, Can Am, Mickey Thompson, Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, and Formula One. Through interviews with participants and track records, this text shows where, when and how racing changed. It describes the growth of each different form of auto racing as well as the people and technologies that made it ever faster.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786412358
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/5/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 231
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

J.A. Martin has written features on motorsports for several newspapers and lives in Baltimore. Thomas F. Saal is a former editor of the newsletter for the Automotive Historical Society and lives in Lakewood, Ohio.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      x
Introduction      1

1. Race of the Century: Nineteenth Century That Is      3
2. The Man Who Invented Racing: The Bennett Rules      5
3. Uniquely American Tracks: Dirt Ovals      6
4. The Great Race: New York to Paris, the Long Way, 1908      9
5. The Race That Started an Empire: Henry Ford and the 999      11
6. The Vanderbilt Cup: 1904-1916      13
7. The First Superstars: Oldfield, DePalma and Mulford      16
8. A Full Day of Racing: Twice Around the Clock on a Dirt Oval      20
9. Indianapolis Motor Speedway      22
10. Mercer: America's First Great Race Car      26
11. Stutz: The Car That Made Good in a Day      27
12. United States Grand Prix: Prewar      28
13. The Brothers Duesenberg      31
14. Duesenberg Wins at the French Grand Prix      33
15. Holy Trinity and the Miraculous Motors: Miller, Offenhauser, Goossen      35
16. Frank Lockhart      38
17. Land Speed Record: To 1939      39
18. Sticks Instead of Bricks: Racing on the Boards      40
19. The Vanderbilt Trophy, Roosevelt Raceway Revival: 1936-1937      42
20. High Speeds in the High Desert      44
21. Bill France Builds NASCAR      46
22. Blue Crown Specials      49
23. Haulin' Shine and Racin' Hell: Good Ole Boys      51
24. He Did It His Way: Cunningham Challenges Europe      53
25. It Sure Sounded Like a Winner: Novi      56
26. Wilbur Shaw: The Man Who "Owned" Indy      58
27. Pikes Peak: The Race to the Clouds      59
28. Drag Racing: From Main Street to Mainstream      62
29. The Best Revenge Is Revenge: The Mighty 300s      65
30. Tony Hulman: IMS and USAC      67
31. The Tweedy Jacket Set: Sports Car Club of America      69
32. Carrera Panamericana: The Pan American Road Race      71
33. The Race of Two Worlds: Monza 1957-1958      72
34. Run What You Brung: Formula Libre at Lime Rock      74
35. All American Sports Car: Corvette      75
36. A.J. Foyt: Winning Was Everything      79
37. Rear Engine Revolution      81
38. When Holman and Moody Meant Ford      84
39. Garlits Goes to the Rear      86
40. America's First World Champion: Phil Hill, 1961      88
41. Total Performance: Ford Takes on Everyone      90
42. The White Winged Warriors: Chaparral      93
43. Karting: If You Don't Have a Kart Experience, You Don't Have a Prayer      96
44. Carroll Shelby's Greatest Product, and the Cobra      97
45. Linda Vaughn: Racing's Big Sister      101
46. Andy Granatelli and the "Whooshmobile": STP Turbine      102
47. The Greatest Field in the History of Racing: 1967 Indianapolis 500      105
48. If You Can't Buy 'Em, Beat 'Em: Ford Takes LeMans      107
49. The Eagle Flies at Spa      111
50. Richard Petty Becomes "King Richard," 1967      113
51. Unlimited Dreams, Dominant Reality: Can-Am      115
52. Movies Go Racing, and a Few Get It Right      119
53. Sprints and Midgets      121
54. Sports Cars or Stock Cars? Trans-Am      124
55. Everyone's Mr. Speed: Mickey Thompson      127
56. It Sure Sounded Good on Paper: Formula 5000      129
57. Records Without Limitations: Land Speed Record, Postwar      131
58. We're Just Racing for Trophies: The SCCA Runoffs      134
59. More Than Acting Like a Racer: Paul Newman      136
60. Wings and Wide Tires Exploit the Wind: McLarens and Eagles      137
61. IMCA: Racing Within ($) Limits      141
62. New Tracks Built: 1949-1971      142
63. The Unfair Advantage: Roger Penske and Mark Donohue      145
64. I Can Go Slow Faster Than You Can: Bracket Racing      150
65. This Time with More Rules and More Competition: Can-Am Reborn      151
66. DIRT on Dirt      152
67. A Great Idea Sold Out: International Race of Champions      154
68. American Formula One: Shadow, Penske and Parnelli      156
69. A True "World" Champion: Mario Andretti      158
70. Road Racing Goes Professional: John Bishop and IMSA      162
71. United States Grand Prix, Postwar      165
72. Unser, the First Clan of Racing      168
73. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville: Bill Elliot in 1985      173
74. World of Outlaws      175
75. Tracks Lost: 1971-1986      177
76. Eight in a Row, Nissan GTPs      178
77. The New Fuel of Racing: Sponsorship      181
78. It's More Than Just an Old Car Thing: Vintage Racing      184
79. The Open Wheel Schism: CART, the IRL and All Those Egos      186
80. Gordon Doesn't Take Lanier      191
81. The Viper Strikes for Dodge      193
82. Who's This Guy Panoz?      194
83. The Luck of Being Earnhardt      196
84. Sports Car Split: IMSA/SportsCar/USRRC/ALMS/Grand Am      200
85. The New Speedways: 1986 On      202
86. Lo Tech with Hi Excitement: NASCAR Trucks      204
87. A Day for History: John Force, Kenny Bernstein and Shirley Muldowney      206
Epilogue      209
Bibliography      211
Index      213
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