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Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Frank Croker


The New York Times
November 9, 1904

He Makes New Amateur Figures from One to Twelve Miles. BERNIN BEATEN BY KULICK

Latter Wins Sensational Race at Empire City Track by One-fifth of a Second.

Frank Kulick, driving his twenty-horse power racing car, and Frank Croker in his seventy-five-horse power car which he raced in the Vanderbilt cup event, were the star competitors yesterday at the closing automobile races of the season on the Empire City track, near Yonkers.  Another notable competitor was Earl Kiser, who was anxious to establish new world's records up to fifteen miles, particularly for those from one to eight miles, inclusive, for which Barney Oldfield made new figures last week, but Kiser failed to do what many automobile enthusiasts had expected.  His machine was not running properly, the gear being out of order, and after three attempts he quit after going eleven miles.  M. G. Bernin and Paul Sartori met in an interesting match race of ten miles, but Bernin had the advantage from the start.

Frank Croker established new amateur world's records from one up to and including twelve miles.  On the next mile one of his forward tires broke, which forced him to retire, but he received a rousing reception from the large crowd.  It was Croker's first appearance as a track competitor, but he handled his machine admirably, and although his fastest mile in his exhibition was a fraction over 57 seconds, he did a mile on the track in the morning in 0:56½.  His time for the twelve miles was 11:32 1-5.  How thoroughly he broke the amateur records may be seen from the fact that his time for the five miles was 4:48, the former record being 5:14.

Frank Kulick, whose little twenty-horse power car has attained considerable fame this season, added still further to its reputation by creating new world's records in the light-weight gasoline machine class from one to three miles inclusive.  Notwithstanding the fact that in the third mile of his five-mile international race he broke the centre bearing of his car, he finished ahead of M. G. Bernin, making the most sensational finish ever seen on the Empire track in an automobile meet, for the two machines were so close as they crossed the line that only one-fifth of a second in time separated them.

This race had for its starters in the final five-mile heat Kulick, Bernin, driving W. Gould Brokaw's sixty-horse power French car, and Paul Sartori, driving the ninety-horse power Italian car of Alfred G. Vanderbilt.  Kulick's low, rakish-looking car took the lead at the start, but only by a few feet, as the three racers got away well together.  Bernin kept close behind the little American car, but Kulick was in his best trim and let his racer out for full speed.  The spectators went wild with excitement, and as they came by for the first mile loud cheers greeted the drivers.  Kulick led by a few yards, making the mile in 0:59.  On his second mile, while Kulick increased his speed, doing it in 0:55, a new record for his class of car, making his time for two miles 1:54, breaking his own previous record by 2 2-5 seconds.  The third mile he finished in 2:51, beating his own former record by 2 1-5 seconds.  Half a mile further he met with his accident, and about the same time Sartori dropped out.  Kulick maintained his lead, although Bernin at the time was barely a sixteenth of a mile behind.  W. Gould Brokaw came down on the track and in his excitement waved his cane in the air every time that Bernin came flying by.  The latter picked up half the lead that Kulick had over him as the fourth mile was finished, and the race for the final mile was a hot one.  Coming down the stretch Bernin put on all of his power, and the two cars flew toward the judges' stand at lightning speed.

"He'll catch him.  He'll do it," exclaimed Mr. Brokaw.

Kulick, however, had just enough in reserve to win, but it was so close that fifty feet more and he would have lost.  A margin of one-fifth of a second for a five-mile automobile race is almost if not entirely unique, and the judges all agreed that it was the closest race ever seen on the track.


One-Mile Handicap.—Won by A. Comacho, driving 6½-horse power Rainey car, (350 yards.)  Time—1:19 2-5.  L. C. Hutcheson, driving 4½-horse power Oldsmobile, (350 yards.) second.  Time—1:39 4-5.  R. G. Howell, driving 7-horse power Oldsmobile, (250 yards,) third.  Time—1:42 2-5.

Ten-Mile Match Race between M. G. Bernin, driving W. Gould Brokaw's 60-horse power Renault, and Paul Sartori, driving Alfred G. Vanderbilt's 90-horse power Fiat.—Won by Bernin.  Time—9:54.  Sartori's time—9:59 2-5.  Bernin's time by miles—First, 1:02 2-5; second, 2:00 1-5; third, 2:58 2-5; fourth, 3:57 2-5; fifth, 4:56 2-5; sixth, 5:56; seventh, 6:55 3-5; eighth, 7:54 4-5; ninth, 8:55; tenth, 9:54.

International Cup.—First Heat, Three Miles—Won by Frank Kulick, driving 20-horse power Ford.  Time by miles—First, 1:03; second, 2:02 2-5; third, 3:03 4-5.  Philip Adams, driving 25-horse power Standard, second.  Time—3:26 4-5.
No other starters
Final Heat, Five Miles—Starters—Kulick, in 20-horse power Ford; M. G. Bernin, in W. Gould Brokaw's 60-horse power Renault, and Paul Sartori, in Alfred G. Vanderbilt's 90-horse power Fiat.  Won by Kulick.  Time—4:48 2-5.  Bernin, second, 4:48 3-5.  Sartori broke down.  Kulick's time by miles—First, 0:59; second, 1:54; third, 2:51; fourth, 3:49; fifth, 4:48 2-5.

Exhibition, Fifteen Miles Against World's Records, by Earl Kiser, driving the Winton Bullet.—Time by miles—First, 0:56 3-5; second, 1:54; third, 2:53; fourth, 3:54; fifth, 4:53 2-5; sixth, 5:53; seventh, 6:52 4-5; eighth, 7:55 2-5; ninth, 9:01 4-05; tenth, 10:09; eleventh, 11:11 3-5; broke down in twelfth mile.  This was Kiser's third attempt.  On his first trial he only did five miles, as follows:  First, 1:00; second, 1:54; third, 3:06 1-5; fourth, 4:10; fifth, 5:14.

Exhibition, Twenty Miles Against Amateur Records, by Frank Croker in 75-horse power Simplex.—Time by miles—First, 0:57 3-5; second, 1:55; third, 2:52 3-5; fourth, 3:50 2-5; fifth, 4:48; sixth, 5:45 4-5; seventh, 6:45 2-5; eighth, 7:43; ninth, 8:41; tenth, 9:38 2-5; eleventh, 10:35; twelfth, 11:32 1-5; tire broke before finishing thirteenth mile.  World's amateur records established in all miles from 1 to 12, inclusive.

Empire Handicap, Five Miles.—Won by Guy W. Vaughan, driving 40-horse power Decauville, (55 seconds;) M. G. Bernin, driving W. Gould Brokaw's 60-horse power Renault, (scratch,) second.  Time—6:40 2-5.  Five starters.

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