Grand Prize Plans - 1910

The article in attachment GrandPrize111409 was originally published in the November 14, 1909 Indianapolis Star. It focuses on the prospects of staging the American Grand Prize, now called by some the original United States Grand Prix, in 1910 after the event went into hiatus in 1909 after its inaugural running in 1908. The article also discusses prospects for an increase in the number of American road races in 1910.
The article asserts that it was a virtual certainty that the road races for the cups of the Cobe Trophy, Vanderbilt Cup, Fairmount Park, Riverhead and Portola races would all be renewed. Despite this optimism neither Riverhead or Portola took place. More races than ever were predicted and with great benefit to the automotive industry. As for the Grand Prize, the article predicted a spring or early summer event which proved to be inaccurate as the race would not run until November.
One of the prerequisites to an official 1910 schedule - the article says - was a final decision on rules for governing the sport on an international level. This was, in the day, an expected outcome of a convention called the International Association of Recognized Automobile Clubs. America's representing body was the Automobile Club of America (ACA), a fact that was at the heart of the great civil war with the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 1908.
The article observes that not only was auto racing becoming popular across the nation, transcending its status as "a novelty in the East," but also it required more than "ordinary stock car competition" to engage followers. This was a serious debate in the day as manufacturers wanted to push stock car competition as they resisted the expense of designing purpose-built or "freak" racers.
The article reports that in Europe the forces resisting a resumption of the French Grand Prix (referred to simply as "The Grand Prix") had largely evaporated. While there might have been a change in the climate, the French Grand Prix would again fail to appear on the motoring calendar in 1910 - not to be resumed until 1912.
At the time the plans for running the American Grand Prize was to conduct it on a course comprised of the Long Island Motor Parkway supplemented by the area's public roads. This was to be the same course the Vanderbilt Cup would use. Per the 1908 agreement with the ACA and the AAA a separate company, the Motor Cups Holding Company, would manage the events. This "new" organization was headed by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Many of the directors of what the article called the "peace pact body" were stockholders in the Long Island Motor Parkway - a privately owned concrete highway, the first "modern" American road for automobiles.
In the end the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup was a tragic event with the deaths of two riding mechanics and injuries to spectators. The only surprise is that the carnage was not worse. As they had throughout the history of the event since 1904 specators had crowded the course and even ran in front of oncoming racers during competition.
The deaths and injuries combined with years of facing the impossible challenge of crowd control the irresponsible judgment of continuing to hold the event under these conditions was halted. The American Grand Prize was postponed and it returned to its original venue from 1908 - Savannah, Georgia.

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