The Lost Championship of 1905

Few people know it, but the first national championship awarded by a points system occurred in 1905. The AAA sanctioned a national championship for track racing and announced it in May. The prime contenders were Barney Oldfield, Louis Chevrolet and Webb Jay. The schedule included tracks at Empire City (New York), Charter Oak (Hartford, Connecticut), Brunots Island (Pennsylvania), Morris Park (New Jersey), Glenville (Ohio), Kennilworth (Buffalo, NY), Readville (Boston, MA), Providence (Rhode Island) and Poughkeepsie (New York). Oldfield, Jay and Winton Bullet II driver Earl Kiser were injured in spectacular accidents. Kiser and Jay were hurt badly enough that their careers were curtailed. Oldfield recovered to win the championship after Chevrolet inexplicably dropped out. The 1905 racing season provided one of the most interesting years of early American auto racing. Legendary names like Chevrolet and Oldfield played huge roles, the first points awarded championship played out and serious accidents to three of the sport's biggest stars threatened the cancellation of auto racing in general.

This June 15, 1905 article from The Automobile reports on the first ever AAA national championship points race at Morris Park in New York. The star of the day - and the day was June 10 - was Fiat driver Louis Chevrolet, who won the national championship race with Dan Wurgis in the REO (Ransom E. Olds) Bird finishing second. The card included several other events to provide entertainment for a crowd of several thousand spectators.

This Motor Age article covers the national championship race meet June 28 - 29 at Brunots Island outside of Pittsburgh. Fiat driver Chevrolet dominated the entire race meet, and won the 10 mile national championship final with Oldfield and his Peerless Green Dragon second. The article was in the paper's June 31 edition.

This article covers the September 9, 1905 running of the national championship race meet at the Readville track near Boston. Barney Oldfield and the Green Dragon had a great day, setting new track records and winning the national championship race. The victory finally pushed him into the lead in the point standings over Louis Chevrolet, who simply stopped competing in the national championship races in August.

This article from The Automobile covers the June 17 national championship race meet at the Charter Oak race track near Hartford, Connecticut. Louis Chevrolet (Fiat) was again the man to beat, but lost the national championship final to Barney Oldfield on the Peerless Green Dragon. This is a rich article supported by good images and includes a complete breakdown of the results of all the contests.

This is an extremely important collection of articles about the 1905 AAA national championship and one of the great (and forgotten) stars of the sport's nascent days, Earl Kiser. The first article is from the August 17, 1905 edition of The Automobile. The first article focuses on Kiser's tragic accident describing the scene in colorful, even graphic detail.

This article is a huge find for American auto racing historians. It is evidence that the first auto racing national championship awarded through a points system occurred in 1905. This is significant as there has been a long running debate about when the first national championship actually occurred.

This article appeared in The Automobile on May 18, 1905. Reference the Horseless Age article in this section because both of these pieces of content are a huge find for American auto racing historians. They are evidence that the first auto racing national championship awarded through a points system occurred in 1905.

This front page article in the August 24, 1905 edition of Motor Age boldly proclaims that track racing is "doomed to die." The feature article is supported by sidebars and a grim-looking editorial cartoon. All of this provides a flavor for the criticism leveled at auto racing, and especially racing on horse tracks during this tumultuous and sometimes violent era. This is a must read for anyone seeking to understand how the sport was viewed at this point.

This is a nice collection of articles concerning Webb Jay's August 18, 1905 career ending accident at the Kennilworth track in Buffalo. The first is from The Automobile published August 24.

This collection of articles is full of details about the second national championship race meet held during 1905 at the Morris Park track in New York. The national championship race was won by Webb Jay in the "Whistling Billy" White Sewing Machine Company steam engine racer. Jay set an astounding time for a track mile at 48.6 seconds to demonstrate the awesome power and torque of steam power.