Indianapolis Cars Tackle Vanderbilt Cup

These attachments contain articles about the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup. A few of the articles from the Indianapolis Star focus on teams of cars from Indianapolis-based manufacturers that competed in the event.
Attachment VCR090509 contains an Indianapolis Star article published September 5, 1909. The article reported pivotal news as there had been considerable speculation about the future of the Vanderbilt Cup Race. This was true for a number of reasons, but primarily two.
First, the race had been nearly impossible to manage crowd control and a spectator had been struck and killed by a race car in 1906. By using courses that stretched on for miles over public roads it was simply impossible to restrain the hordes of people that swarmed the area. The drivers were literally racing through crowds of people at some points.
Secondly, in the previous year factions of the sport largely represented by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the Automobile Club of America (ACA) had become embroiled in a political struggle of massive egos for control. A compromise manifested in the form of the Motor Cups Holding Company had been established with all interested parties represented in officer-level roles. Nonetheless, the race came within a hair's breadth of being canceled the previous year (1908) and concerns still lingered.
A "telegraphic poll" conducted by the Manufacturers' Contest Association (MCA) of the domestic automobile manufacturers yielded resounding support for the continuance of the event. This technique was the quickest way in the day to canvass an audience and deliver a rapid reply. The car companies, when posed a question about the desirability of staging the Vanderbilt Cup in 1909 responded with a resounding, "yes!"
The remainder of this relatively brief article touches on the rules of the race, primarily the race car specifications. Check these points out:

  • The Vanderbilt Cup race was announced as open to cars of sub-classes 1 (451 to 600 cubic inches) and 2 (301 to 450 cubic inches), per 1909 AAA rules.
  • A cup (this would come to be known as the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes) was to be offered for class 3 cars (231 to 300 cubic inches).
  • Another cup (soon to be revealed as the Massapequa Hills Sweepstakes) was announced for class 4 machines (161 to 230 cubic inches).
  • In order to improve the chances of policing the course the intention to shorten its distance was announced but that it would still incorporate a portion of the Long Island Motor Parkway and select country roads.

Attachment VCR091909 contains an Indianapolis Star article originally published September 19, 1909. Much of the article simply repeated the news from the article reviewed above. This includes a reiteration of the four car classes based on engine capacity. It also briefly mentions there would be three simultaneous races of the four classes. It goes further to explain that the event would look a lot like the previous year's Long Island Motor Parkway Sweepstakes (October 10, 1908) that combined different classes of cars. That race, however, did not run simultaneously with the main event, the Vanderbilt Cup.
I think it is important to note that the article reaffirms the important role of the MCA in defining the classes of race cars. The hard news in the article is that the AAA, MCA and Motor Cups Holding Company confirmed a race date: October 30, 1909.
Attachment VCRNews092709 is from the September 27, 1909, Indianapolis News. We find here more repetition of the decision of the vested interests to stage a stock car race. The distances of class races and definition of the classes by engine capacity are reviewed. Also discussed is the Long Island Motor Parkway Sweepstakes, referred to in this instance as an "automobile derby." Several entries are mentioned, including Mercedes, Fiat, Rainer and Apperson cars.
Curiously, the article injects a non-sequitur topic by noting a "cross-continental race" featuring a car carrying a message from President Taft. The courier died en route, but no explanation is provided. The effort was restarted from Philadelphia. It had been two weeks since Taft sent the message.
Attachment VCR101009 contains an Indianapolis Star article originally published October 10, 1909, updating some of the entries being filed for the Vanderbilt Cup. Both private owners and manufacturers were drawn to the event.
The European marques were represented by private owners and the first one mentioned is Clifford V. Brokaw and his Isotta racer. Joe Seymour was noted as his driver. Much was expected of the powerful National Motor Vehicle Company team and interestingly they were said to be entering the same cars for drivers Johnny Aitken and Charlie Merz that they used in the inaugural auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.
As a point of interest, the entry fee for the different classes ranged from $250 to $500. The article indicates that the formula for determining this amount was based on the value of the event prize or trophy. The fee was a multiple of the trophy which was worth about $3,000.
The article notes the feud between ACA and the AAA as well as the ACA's decision to cancel the 1909 American Grand Prize for a year. It also underscores that with that decision the Vanderbilt Cup was arguably the grandest, most important auto race of the year. This was true even in the face of successful major road races at Lowell and Fairmount Park and the first races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The decision to shorten the course to 12.64 miles by about half the length of previous years is discussed. Apparently, the manufacturers supported the decision and the rationale was reported that they believed the new configuration would make for a closer race with shorter gaps between cars passing the grandstand.
Attachment VCRNews101509 contains a brief article focusing on the National team's entries in the Vanderbilt Cup. Art Newby is reported to have just returned to Indianapolis from New York - everyone used trains to efficiently travel across states in the day - to finalize the entry of two of his cars. While Johnny Aitken was firmly assured as one of the drivers, the decision about the wheelman for the second car - Merz or Tom Kincaid - was up in the air. The question centered on Merz' readiness to return to racing after the tragedy of the recent Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Another Indianapolis News article from the very next day (Attachment VCRNews101609) reports that another Indianapolis-based factory was entering two cars - one for the Vanderbilt Cup, the other for the Wheatley-Hills Trophy. They were the Marmon 32 stock cars that had raced with some success at the August Indianapolis Motor Speedway race meet. The drivers were Ray Harroun and Harry Stillman.
By October 18 the Indianapolis News was reporting (Attachment VCRNews101809) that two more Indianapolis manufacturers had entered the famous contest. These were Marion and Cole. It also notes that Apperson of Kokomo had entered.
Another article in the same attachment reports that Ralph Mulford and Cyrus Patschke had won the Brighton Beach 24-hour "grinder." The established a new world's record for the distance, eclipsing the mark George Robertson had established the previous year at the same track. Marion was the only Indianapolis-built car in the race and finished fifth. Lewis Strang and Charles Stutz were the drivers.
Attachment VCRNews102209 contains another Indianapolis News brief from October 22 touting the Indianapolis entries. An American car is added to the list that already included National, Marmon, Marion, and Cole. Hugh Harding is listed as the Apperson Jackrabbit driver, filling in for Herb Lytle, who is reported to be injured. Three Fiat entries are listed as well for Ed Parker, Lewis Strang, and Eddie Hearne.
Attachment VCRNews102309 contains an Indianapolis News article that reports that practice for the big race was underway. Of particular interest is the outstanding work of National's Johnny Aitken in recording the fastest lap of the course up to that point for an average of 69 mph. Strang, who previously had been reported to be a Marion driver, was at the wheel of a privately entered Isotta and matched Aitken's speed. Harry Stillman was also praised for recording a 60 mph lap around the 12.64-mile course in muddy conditions.
This attachment contains other short items about subjects other than the Vanderbilt Cup. One is an endurance tour organized by the New Orleans Automobile Club and supporting the Louisiana Good Roads Convention. F.B. Hower, the chairman of the AAA endorsed the sanction. Fred J. Wagner was named the starter. The dates planned were November 20-21. Although it is not entirely clear, the report seems to indicate that a six-hour high-speed race was also on tap.
Another short report focuses on another endurance tour but in Paris, France. The article notes that with the cancellation of the French Grand Prix that year, there were no major European races. That placed a new level of focus on the tour, which was scheduled for December 5 through December 19. The event was open only to single cylinder cars for daily runs of approximately 125 miles at a 15.5 mph pace.
Finally, we learn of race track being constructed in San Antonio. Plans called for races to christen the track November 14-17 during the last four days of an international fair in the city. The track was a .75-mile length, with an experimental sloping earth wall around the track. It was a safety structure, done with the hope of slowing cars instead smashing them.
Attachment VCR102409 contains an Indianapolis Star article that again provides limited news. It was an incremental update on how the field of entries was shaping up with some smaller items of interest such as a list of the most influential people in New York social circles most likely to attend. Much of the rest of the article was a reiteration of event attributes that had already been reported: the length of the course, the engine capacity of the four classes of cars and the fact that three races would be conducted simultaneously.
One new item was that there would be a second trophy presented to the top Class 2 car in the Vanderbilt Cup even if that machine proved to be the overall winner. The name of this award is not revealed but from other sources, I can tell you it was called the "Donor's Cup." Obviously, it gave the disadvantaged smaller bore cars something to shoot for.
Stressed in the article is that the character of the race had changed markedly because for the first time it would be a stock car contest and not a competition for purpose-built race cars. This reflected the desires of the MCA and their belief it was in their best interests to showcase the products that they would actually sell consumers.
There is a relatively long list of the "who's who" of New York in the article. Provided here are those not mentioned elsewhere in this analysis and with a Google search links to additional information can be obtained. Check out the article for the more extensive list:

The list of entries included both car and driver. They appear below:
Vanderbilt Cup

Wheatley Hill Sweepstakes

Massapequa Sweepstakes

The article in attachment VCR102509 was originally published in the October 25, 1909, Indianapolis Star. It focuses on the work of race teams from Indianapolis-based automobile manufacturers, in particular, Marmon and especially National. Marmon drivers Stillman and Harroun are noted as well as Aitken and Merz of National.
Special mention is made that Indianapolis Motor Speedway co-founder and National President Arthur C. Newby was on hand to supervise the work of his two-car team. Aitken created a sensation when he recorded four laps of the 12.64-mile course in excess of 70 MPH. Aficionados predicted record-breaking speeds for the distance of the race and the Nationals figured prominently in their prognostications about the outcome of the race.
Attachment VCR102609 contains a very brief, three paragraph article from the October 26, 1909, Indianapolis Star. It describes the previous day's track conditions as treacherous due to overnight rains that created boggy conditions over the dirt and crushed stone country roads that made up over seven miles of the course. Aitken remained the pace setter with lap speeds in excess of 50 MPH. American Automobile Company - another Indianapolis business - driver Willie Haupt also was called out for his speed.
The article also notes that the course had been "completely oiled" and the corners banked. Also, all the ruts and holes in the country roads were filled with the best of Peekskill gravel.
We'll apologize up front for the poor quality copy of the Indianapolis News article in attachment VCRNews102709. It's all there, but remember patience is a virtue. To get started, let's enjoy the lead paragraph of the article.
"What has been the greatest automobile racing season ever known in the history of the sport in this country will in a measure be brought to a successful conclusion on Saturday with the race for the Vanderbilt Cup, the blue ribbon of the motor racing world. The race this year will be particularly interesting to Indianapolis followers of the most daring of all sports because of the fact that six Indianapolis-made cars, manned by Indianapolis crews, are listed among the entries."
This paragraph is followed by calling out the National entries of Johnny Aitken and Charlie Merz - in cars number 7 and 8 respectively. Marmon's entry of Harry Stillman in their number 15 car. Note that Ray Harroun was entered in a second Marmon in the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes, a shorter support race for smaller bore cars. So, Harroun was not entered in the Vanderbilt Cup. Inaccurately, the article refers to the driver as,  "E.A. Harroun." Another inaccuracy is that George L. Reiss, the entrant of the Marion car, was the driver. He was not. The driver was Adolph Monson.
The article asserts that the Indianapolis entries had been among the fastest in practice. The report also predicts that the 1909 edition would be the greatest since the race started in 1904. In the end, though, that was not the consensus of those attending. New rules had been introduced to make the event a contest of stock cars.
The article reiterates points we have already discussed in analyzing articles published earlier. Again we learn of the different classes, the three simultaneous races and other trophies for the support races. Entry lists are also repeated. Here, though, the quality of the article - copied from library microfilm - is very poor. It would be unfortunate if this was all we had to rely on, but, fortunately, we have better artifacts.
One important made is that the race was starting now at the break of dawn as in the past but at 9 AM. This changed the character of the event for spectators as they had been accustomed to the adventure of camping the night before which became an all-night party of revelry, card games, drinking, games of chance, placing bets, and protracted conversation. This proved to dampen enthusiasm for the event as the fan experience was fundamentally changed.
Attachment VCR102809 contains an October 28, 1909, Indianapolis Star article reporting on race practice. With a decided Indianapolis manufacturer bias the paper again thrills at Aitken's fast pace, at lap averages of 67.66 MPH reportedly the fastest on the course. He bested his teammate Merz by 23 seconds on their fast laps. Marmon's Stillman reportedly logged the longest practice run to that point with six consecutive laps. All of this was accomplished despite foggy conditions that reportedly sharply limited visibility.
Event Founder William K. Vanderbilt Jr. is quoted with a prediction for a fast, safe race. His words appear in the article:
"This year's Vanderbilt Cup race will be the best, fastest and safest contest of the kind ever held in this country. With favorable weather conditions, I am convinced that a new American road record will be made by the winner. The altering of the conditions of the race so that only stock cars will compete this year is in my opinion, a distinct advance. Under the new rules, I think the contest will show that the American-built car is now on even terms with the foreign machine."
For me, the most interesting tidbit from the article is the entry by Wall Street financier George Wishart of a Mercedes racer for his son Spencer. The younger Wishart, who would finish second in the 1913 Indianapolis 500 was a talented amateur driver who unfortunately lost his life at the 1914 Elgin road race at just age 24.
Information about this exciting driver is hard to come by so this article offers rare insight. According to the article, Wishart had been driving cars for three years starting when he was 17. The article says he "won two cups at the White Plains track." The report also says he drove a six-cylinder Napier in Europe. Wishart was expected to practice the following day as was Elmer Knox in the Atlas "two-cycle."
The brief Indianapolis News article in attachment VCRNews102809 yields some interesting information about personalities of the day. Published October 28, 1909, it reports that Henry Birkhardt Harris, a famous Broadway producer, entered a 50 HP Simplex in the Vanderbilt Cup. Harris three years later became one of the victims of the Titanic tragedy but was survived by his celebrity wife, Renee Harris. Harris placed various bets on aspects of the race totaling $10,000 - a small fortune at the time. Among the people he wagered with was actor William Collier Sr. and Raphael "Al" Hayman, other well-known stage theater personalities of the day. 
We also learn from this article that William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. could not resist scorching the course in his personal Mercedes. In doing so, he narrowly averted calamity when a tire burst and forced him to fight for control. He was able to successfully bring the car to a halt and later that evening he entertained newspaper men, officials, and select members of elite society at the Garden City Hotel on Long Island. Also attending were top officials Arthur Pardington and Starter Fred Wagner. The plan was to review race rules and procedures and draw for starting positions.
Next up, we have an October 29, 1909, Indianapolis News article in attachment VCRNews102909. This article reports on the results of a meeting presided over by Art Pardington the previous evening. The purpose was to select starting positions for the race based on the luck of the draw. The order had little bearing on the end result as cars were sent away one at a time, the clock beginning on their individual effort after they given the order to start. Elapsed time of each entry determined their finishing position.
The meeting was held at the Garden City Hotel, which served as headquarters for the event. All the drivers, the crews, the technical committee and Starter Fred J. Wagner attended. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. had a conflict and could not attend.
In addition to determining the starting order, rules were reviewed. A.L. McMurtie, the chairman of the technical committee, told drivers what they could and could not do to their cars during the race. He also announced that the cars would be weighed and examined at Garden City at 8:30 AM. The article reports a car count of 26 entries - 16 for the Vanderbilt, four for Wheatley Hills, and six in the 1500-pound Massapequa class, which was to start first. The 1800-pound Wheatley Hills cars would be sent away one at a time following the Massapequa field, and then finally, the main event. The Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes was 15 laps or 189.6 miles. The Massapequa Sweepstakes as ten laps for 126.4 miles.
Fiat driver Lewis Strang drew position number one for the 2400-pound Vanderbilt Cup cars. Much was made of the Indianapolis-built American's number two starting position for that 22-lap, 278.08-mile contest. 

Attachment star10309 contains an Indianapolis Star article published October 30, 1909, that focuses on the setting in Long Island, New York the night before the race. The auto race from its inception in 1904 had taken on a life of its own in that it captured the imagination of the citizenry and swelled into a community festival with a raucous reputation for all-night drinking and partying. With colorful flair, the article describes the sense of wonder and vibrancy of a community charged by anticipation. Check out this excerpt:
"Beginning at nightfall the roads leading to the grandstand and to the vantage points along the course were alive with the whir and clatter of automobiles churning their way past sleeping farmhouses and through deserted stretches while their lamps drenched the darkened landscape with light. Nearer the course the machines came to be numbered by thousands and peanut vendors, hot coffee hucksters, fruit peddlers and thrifty farmers with everything to sell from sandwiches and programs to parking places mingled with the crowd crying for their wares.'
The article asserts that many of the masses swarming upon the 12.64-mile course sought vantage points to witness "death and annihilation." Much of the course consisted of public roads - aside from a stretch along the privately owned, concrete-paved Long Island Motor Parkway - where people could claim a spot for the day at no charge. A $100,000 bond was filed with the Nassau County government to insure against damage to community property.
The article discusses the favorites for the Vanderbilt Cup and specifically names Lewis Strang (Fiat); Louis Chevrolet (Buick); Joe Seymour (Isotta) and Willie Haupt (American). It further explains that there were four classes of cars competing. Two of the classes were running for the Vanderbilt Cup while smaller cars were entered in two other events: the Massapequa Sweepstakes for the smallest cars at 1,500 pounds or more and the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes for machines 1,800 pounds or more.
The Massapequa race was 10 laps or 126.4 miles. The Wheatley was 15 laps or 189.6 miles. The Vanderbilt Cup race was 22 laps or 278.08 miles for cars of two classes, one for 2,400 pounds and the other for not less than 2,100 pounds. The Star had a nice local angle to the event in that six Indianapolis-made cars were entered in the races.
Among the Indianapolis entries were two Marmons (Ray Harroun in the Wheatley Hills and Harry Stillman in the Vanderbilt); two Nationals (Charlie Merz and Johnny Aitken in the Vanderbilt); American (Wilie Haupt - for whatever reason this car never competed) and a Marion for Adolph Monsen (also reported as "Al") in the Wheatley Hills.
The article you'll find in attachment VCRNews103009 is from the Indianapolis News, the Hoosier capital city's evening newspaper. Because it was published in the afternoon, the deadline allowed it in many instances to provide same-day coverage of events. Here we learn that Harry Grant won the Vanderbilt Cup for ALCO
Grant reportedly finished the 278.8-mile race with a time of four hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds to average 61.25 mph. The only other car to complete the distance was the Fiat of Ed Parker, coming home in four hours, 30 minutes and 58.6 seconds. There were two other cars on the course, the Atlas of Elmer Knox and the Mercedes of Spencer Wishart.
The article notes that Ray Harroun won the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes race in three hours, 10 minutes and 21.4 seconds. Chalmer-Detroit's Joe Matson won the Massapequa Sweepstakes in two hours, nine minutes and 52.4 seconds.
The article reports that the consensus opinion on the race was that it was "anything but the success of former years." Although the article estimates that the number of spectators between 75,000 and 100,000, this was seen as the lowest attendance since the inaugural event in 1904. Keep in mind the only paid admission was for reserved seating in a small grandstand for Society's elite. The average person simply arrived at the public roads course and took a vantage point roadside. 
The race management was also criticized because of a mistake in scoring that had Grant running in second place well into the last lap. Only by a real-time protest by ALCO officials directly to Vanderbilt were the records analyzed and corrected. This, the article emphasizes, averted the entire day turning into a fiasco.
Louis Chevrolet is credited with recording the fastest lap when he was caught at 61.25 on his fourth tour. This was slower than in previous Vanderbilt races which allowed big, purpose-built cars. This is contradicted later in the article, crediting him with a 70 mph lap average. Knipper, in the Chalmers-Detroit, was at the front from lap five to 20, just two rounds from the checkered flag.
The article describes an orderly start starting at 9 o'clock. Lewis Strang and Louis Chevrolet were fan favorites, as measured by the applause. One car, the Fiat of Eddie Hearne struggled, pitting at the end of the first lap. The Wheatley Hills Marion of Monson had an engine fire after two laps.
Bugles blared at start-finish - where the grand stand was - to alert officials and onlookers that a car was approaching. Throughout the race's history officials and police would shout, "Car Coming" all along the course in an attempt to get some of the most unwise spectators to get off the racing surface where they would wander in the middle of the contest.
The article presents a reasonable accounting of the race but requires diligence. Because of the one-by-one start with each driver being timed from his departure and the time on track actually determining race position, it was hard to follow. The order of the cars on the track as those at start-finish watched them tick off each lap had little bearing on their running order. Mitchell's Simplex was the first Vanderbilt entry to complete a lap. The article reports that National teammates Aitken and Merz stormed by along with Chevrolet and Knox in the yellow Atlas in close proximity and the spectacle thrilled fans.
A sidebar in the attachment offers some great color to the setting and circumstances. One point to note is the assertion that this, the fifth Vanderbilt Cup race had been "reduced to the level of an ordinary stock car contest."
Here's another useful excerpt:
"The twenty-five cars entered in the three races were sent away in three detachments. The first of these consisted of six cars ranging from 20 to 25 horsepower and competing for the Massapequa trophy. The entrants for the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes, four in number, followed next, in a class of their own. The fifteen contestants for the Vanderbilt Cup made up the third division.
"As the time for the start approached the scene at the grandstand for the start approached the scene at the grandstand and in the sunken supply pits immediately fronting it took on the aspect of activity. One by one the contesting cars were trundled up to the starting line and ranged two abreast. The low-powered entries in Class 4 for the Massapequa trophy were to get away first and were given the head of the line. Immediately following came the medium-powered contestants for the Wheatley Hills trophy, and bringing up the rear the cars participating in the race for the Vanderbilt Cup."
There is some brilliant color of the weather conditions and general setting in the next excerpt.
"A brilliant sun and a cloudless day favored the spectators, but a cold wind which swept across the Jamaica plains caused spectators to dance at a lively rate about huge camp fires, and incidentally stiffened the arms of drivers and made it necessary for both driver and mechanician to dress as for a polar dash rather than an automobile race."
"At every turn where the prospect of spills was greatest, the crowds were banked and it was only by the greatest efforts that the special policemen were able to hold back the throngs of morbidly curious so eager to be 'in at the death' in the event of fatal mishaps that they were willing to constantly jeopardize their own lives. A distinguishing feature of the race this year, as compared with previous contests, was the number of American cars and American drivers."
"All of the entrants in the Vanderbilt Cup, with the exception of four Italian and one German car, were of American make. In the two lesser events, all of the cars entered were American. The course was dry as a bone and before the first car came to the line it was freely predicted that new Vanderbilt Cup record would be made."
"...Sir Thomas Lipton (Lipton Tea Founder) was one of the early arrivals, accompanied by a party of friends. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., was early on the scene and took personal charge of the events. At 7:30 Louis Chevrolet drove his Buick car up before the grand stand. Seated at his side was his pretty little French wife who held in her arms their son, a chubby little three-year-old youngster, bundled up in furs and sporting a pair of 'sure enough' goggles."
The article notes officials on hand for the race.

  • William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. (referee)
  • S.M. Butler (judge of the course)
  • Harry Payne Whitney (judge of the course)
  • Henry Sanderson (judge of the course)
  • Fred J. Wagner (starter)
  • A.R. Pardinton (contest director)

Among the elite of Society noted were.

One of the things this article does that you will rarely see is to provide a list of the riding mechanics for each car. Unfortunately, in the overwhelming number of cases, only the last name is supplied. Still, you might want to take a look. Nonetheless, I can provide you a short list of names who were probably among the most prominent of in the profession. Here they are.

Attachment VCR103109ii contains an October 31, 1909, Indianapolis Star article that reports on the results of the races. It takes a decidedly critical tone reflected in the headline, "Brand Cup Event As Mere Mockery." The article begins with a box chock-full of facts from the value of the sterling silver loving cup trophy to the length of the course and the three races to the names of winning cars and drivers. It is a handy reference.
The Star called the event "the hollowest mockery" of its former grand self while sharing that Harry Grant and his 60 HP Alco racer triumphed by covering the 22 laps of the 12.64-mile course in four hours, 25.42 seconds. Much beyond that the details of the race are largely not covered as most of the article simply summarizes the start and the finish.
Plenty of driver and car names are referenced such as second place Edward Parker who drove a Fiat as well as William "Billy" Knipper the pilot of a 40 HP Chalmers-Detroit who covered the third greatest distance despite not finishing the race. The other two cars on the course when the race was called were a Mercedes driven by Spencer Wishart and the Atlas of Elmer Knox.
The article also highlights the winners of the two support races, the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes and the Massapequa Sweepstakes won by Harroun and Joe Matson in another Chalmers-Detroit respectively. The Wheatley Hills race started but four cars with only two finishing: Harroun (in a run away) and a very young Howdy Wilcox driving a Columbia. Indiana Trophy winner Joe Matson took home the Massapequa Sweepstakes trophy with the Maxwell cars of Martin Doorley and Arthur See finishing second and third.
The article takes a critical tone in commentary about the idea of running three races on the same course simultaneously, but, as race fans know, that has been common practice in sports car racing for decades. One issue highlighted is that the course became littered with wrecked machines or those stalled by a variety of mechanical maladies.
Further compounding the general impression the Vanderbilt Cup was not the grand classic of the past was a scoring error late in the race that put Grant in the Alco a lap down. The scorers simply missed his 20th lap. Alco Company Officer Arthur N. Jervis protested vehemently and not until he got the attention of William K. Vanderbilt Jr. was he able to gain satisfaction. By utilizing the course's extensive telecommunications system Vanderbilt was able to telephone observers at far corners of the course to confirm that Grant had completed the lap. Confirmed, Grant cruised on to a solid victory covering the 278.08 miles at just faster than 60 MPH.
The article notes some of the top officials of the race including Vanderbilt who acted as referee; Fred J. Wagner (starter) and Judges Sam Butler; Harry Payne Whitney and Henry Sanderson. Arthur Pardington served as contest director - according to the article. Among the elite of Society in attendance were Sir Thomas Lipton (Lipton Tea); August Belmont; Elbert Henry Gary (the article refers to him as "F.H." Gary but I believe this to be an error, not  100% certain); Alfred Vanderbilt; Frederick G. Bourne; Charles G. Gates and Edwin Gould.
The article concludes in a somewhat curious fashion by reporting on the start of the race. Understand that in these days of early road racing the cars were released not simultaneously but sequentially, typically with a gap of about one minute. These times were recorded and the outcome was determined by computing the driver who had spent the least amount of time on the track in completing the race.
In some instances, the driver that was first to finish was not the winner because he had started several minutes ahead of another driver who spent less elapsed time on the track. If you started ahead of a driver and finished ahead of him you needed to have the time gap between your completion and his exceed the head start you were provided. Yes, it was confusing for observers but enough fans understood the situation to be entertained.
The article provides additional detail on the fortunes of various cars and drivers, including the much heralded Lewis Strang and his Fiat. Strang had failed to start on time because in a freak accident a rock had punctured his radiator. He ended up starting the race some six laps down, over one fourth of the contest.

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