Oldfield Wins 1914 "Cactus Derby"

The great Los Angeles-to-Phoenix off-road race (more commonly known as "The Cactus Derby") was another of the terrific classics from the sport's early days. In its 1914 edition, track racing legend and barnstormer Barney Oldfield entered the same Stutz racer he had piloted to fifth place in that year's Indianapolis 500. Many questioned his judgment, saying the Stutz was designed for the Brickyard, not the gullies and craggy terrain of the open desert and mountains the course took her contestants.
 
Nevertheless, Oldfield forged ahead, encountering hail, freezing temperatures, narrow mountainous paths and unusual torrents of rain. At one point he had to hale a mule team to extract him from a swollen river. Through it all, Barney Oldfield prevailed and was awarded a medal to proclaim him, "Master Driver of the World." I wrote this article and it originally appeared in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 program.

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