Joe Tracy Interviewed

This article was originally published in the August 3, 1905 issue of The Automobile. This is a nice piece that provides a great of the 1905 James Gordon Bennett Cup race from the point-of-view of one of America's adopted sons, Irish-born Joe Tracy. Tracy immigrated to the United States at 19 and proved himself as a talented mechanical engineer and race car driver. Best known for his exploits in the Vanderbilt Cup Races where he won the 1906 American Elimination Trial (a qualifying round to select American entires for the international contest) and set finished third in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race.
Tracy was one of two American representatives in the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup, and this article is essentially an interview with Joe upon his return to the United States. Tracy finished near the back of the field after suffer clutch trouble and a broken drive chain to one of his Locomobile's rear wheels. Interesting highlights of the interview include how he was literally learning the 85.35-mile course during the race. The race consisted of four laps and Tracy indicated that he did not start feeling comfortable with the circuit until after completing the first lap. It was his first opportunity to tour the course in a race car.
Tracy compared the general atmosphere of the contest to what he had experienced in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race, but found the French Auvergne far more challenging as it present few straight stretches, but hundreds of curves and turns. As for color, Tracy's riding mechanic, Al Poole, sustained his driver by pushing chocolates into his mouth during the race. When the stopped for service during lap three, the two men refreshed themselves by washing their faces with cologne. When they were waved off the course when the race ended, a generous Frenchman shared roasted chicken and champagne with the famished me.
Another detail in this article worth noting is that Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher was part of the the American party traveling to France and back. He returned with many of his colleagues on the White Star liner, The Celtic. White Star, of course, was the British ship company that produced the Titantic.

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