Call For Claiming Rules

This article originally appeared in the March 13, 1910 Indianapolis Star. It is another interesting example of the ongoing debate about stock cars versus purpose-built or "freak" racers. Even though American Automobile Association (AAA) rules clearly put a priority on stock car racing this article suggests that teams representing manufacturers were circumventing the rules.
That is the charge of Windsor T. White of the White Motor Car Company (best known for their steam cars, especially "Whistling Billy") who calls for claiming rights fees allowing any competitor to purchase any other entry if he desires. I don't know if this is the first documented suggestion of such a rule but it certainly is an early example. Among White's concerns was inadequate tech inspection.
White's concerns were summed up in the following quote: "I think no one will dispute the statement that there has been much ground for dissatisfaction with and distrust of the stock car racing situation. The examination of contesting cars at race meets is necessarily of the most superficial character and generally discloses nothing more than that the cylinders are of the proper dimensions and that the general arrangement of parts is the same as in the stock model. Such an examination cannot reveal, for example, whether or not the racing car has a chrome-nickel steel crankshaft (when real stock cars of the same make use only common machine steel) or whether or not there has been a similar substitution of materials throughout."
White contended that further evidence arising suspicions included the practice of teams rushing their machines by express train from town to town in order to use them race after race. There would be no reason for this practice, White charged, if the racers were true stock cars. They could simply acquire another stock car at the next destination. That was his argument although I think it is easy to see that the cars were allowed some modification by the rules and continuously using different cars at each new venue could get expensive.
White believed a claiming fee would not only put an end to rule-violating modifications but also encourgage more manufacturers to enter the sport. White reasoned it would be more appealing if everyone could be sure they were competing against pure stock cars and not have to develop technology and special parts to keep up.

RacingReform031310.pdf330.75 KB