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Elgin Road Race Collection Pre-WWII Racing


Fred J. Wagner
The New York Times
July 21, 1912

Four Events Scheduled for the Illinois Course—Road Builder on Short Notice.

The Chicago Automobile Club has decided to sustain the fair name of its city in running the annual Elgin road races.  This club is to co-operate with the Elgin Automobile Road Race Association, and has scheduled for events on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30 and 31—two events each day.  There are a number of manufacturers who are glad that the event did not die after all.  Entry blanks are to be distributed.  The events are well arranged.  On Friday, Aug. 30, the Aurora Trophy Race, for cars of 231-300 cubic inches piston displacement, and the Illinios Trophy event, for the 301-450-inch class will be run.  The former is approximately 152½ miles, and the latter 203 miles.  The course is about eight miles in length.  These events will be run simultaneously, starting at 11 A. M.  In addition to the trophy in each race, $1,000 in cash will be split between first, second, and third best.

Differing from last year, these will be Class C, or non-stock class races instead of stock car events.  The same applies to the Elgin National Trophy event on Saturday, which is to be a Class E non-stock affair, open to Class C cars of 600 cubic inches piston displacement and under.  The distance is 254 miles and the prize the Elgin National Trophy for one year and $1,000 in cash to the winner, $300 for second place, and $200 for third.  There will also be a free-for-all of 306 miles, in which $2,500 in cash will be split between the three placed cars.  The free-for-all and Elgin Trophy races will be run simultaneously, and upon payment of entry fee for both events the same contestants may compete in both with the same car.

Having had two years' experience in running road races, and with the equipment at hand, the splendid course and all, it would be a pity to abandon the race as was first planned by the Chicago Motor Club.  It was most commendable for the Chicago Automobile Club to step into the breach and insure the staging of the meet once again.

I have often wondered how erroneous statements and inaccurate rumors originate.  During the past week I have had it brought forcibly to my attention how facts can be distorted.  There came to my hands a small paper which devoted considerable space to a story regarding the new Metropolitan Motor Speedway.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt was credited with investing largely in the speedway, and cited as being the originator and builder of the celebrated Long Island Motor Parkway, over on Long Island.  The paper stated that it had been informed that the new motor speedway in New York "would prove ultimately an important link in a chain of events that has pointed to a keen rivalry between the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads."

Statements of the above character being so misleading need to be corrected, and those who are responsible for the item of news appearing in their publications should, in justice to themselves and to their readers, seek to be accurate in their statements and correct this impression.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, who is stated to be the founder of the Long Island Motor Parkway, and who is also stated to be heavily financially interested in the Speedway, has never had any, except a remote, connection with automobile races.  He has no connection with the new Speedway.  William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., Vice President of the New York Central, was the man who made possible the Long Island Motor Parkway through his financial support of the same.  William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., is a keen sportsman, and like all motorists, has a keen interest in seeing the Speedway over on the New Jersey meadows made the success which it is destined to be.

At this writing David Bruce-Brown and Ralph De Palma are en route for New York from European shores.  The former cabled me early this week that he is anxious to drive in the big Milwaukee events—the Vanderbilt Cup and the Grand Prize races.

Just what Ralph will say when he learns that he has a new fledgling race driver in the family is hard to state.  Ralph has never been strong for wanting any of his relatives to take up speed work, and now that his brother John has made his debut at Old Orchard Beach, where he is scored several second places and drove tolerably well, the track champion brother may want to give John a little spanking.  The younger De Palma says he will drive in the Galveston meet, which is the next worth-while speed event on the motor calendar, and will also be seen in a number of other events during the season.

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