Road Race Analysis - 1909

The article in attachment RoadRaces121209 was published in the December 12, 1909 Indianapolis Star. This article is a re-print from the trade journal, Motor Age, and provides an analysis of the performance of cars and drivers of the 1909 auto racing seaon in road races. This is an important point as the data does not reflect accomplishments in oval track or beach races.
A table at the beginning of the article lists the various cars that finished first, second or third. Following that is a list of the cars that were entered in races during the year but failed to finish among the top three. Below find the brand names of the car with the numbers of first, second and third place finishes listed respectively.

The box also listed marques that failed to finish in the top three:
American; Selden; Thomas; Acme; Welch; Rainer; Overland; White; Atlas; Renault; Allen-Kingston; Mitchell; Regal; Studebaker; Durocar; Franklin; Premier; Haynes; Rambler; Corbin; Hudson; Mercedes; National; Acme; Tourist; Speedwell; Comet; Packard; Oldsmobile; Sunset; Kissel Kar; Elmore; Pennsylvania; Dorris and Ford.
One of the primary conclusions of the article was that American-made stock cars were out-performing the products of foreign manufacturers. This is a flawed conclusion in that only a handful of cars from other countries competed in the United States and they were not factory backed entries.
The article reports that there were 27 road races involving a total of 223 cars of which only 18 were of foreign make. Only one of the races was won by a non-American car, a Fiat at an event in Riverhead, Long Island. The article also reports that there were 21 road races in 1908, each averaging 229.9 miles. The average 1909 road race distance was 211 miles. Sixty different makes of cars competed in these events with 14 of them accounted for wins. Referring to the chart, Chalmers-Detroit and Buick led the way with victories. Pope-Hartford secured four wins - all on the Pacific Coast. One of the most outstanding triumphs noted is at Portola meet near Oakland, California.
Chalmers-Detroit's win at the Wemme Cup at Portland, Oregon is noted as sensational. Driver Bert Dingley averaged 58.7 MPH in the company's "40" model. A Chalmers "30" in the hands of Joe Matson won the Massapequa Cup on Long Island.
Buick was credited with winning the fastest road race of the year worldwide with Louis Chevrolet's 69.9 MPH pace at Riverhead. Simplex is noted for winning twice despite only four starts. Likewise Apperson had only 10 entries and came away with two victories with three other top-three finishes. It is noted that Stoddard-Dayton withdrew from racing in the second half of the year. Alco made only two starts, with driver Harry Grant winning the Vanderbilt Cup but retiring from the Lowell race while leading.
The article notes the cars that were "in the mile-a-minute class," but it is hard to know what this means. By 1909 I assume most cars competing could 60 MPH over a mile in a straight line. This could mean cars that averaged that speed for a lap over one of the courses. The marques noted are:

The remainder of the article assesses the accomplishments of the drivers. The "stars" of the day are listed:

The article offers the opinion that no one driver had asserted himself as the star of the year, unlike the previous year in 1908 when Lewis Strang won major events at Lowell, Briarcliff and Savannah. He had a pretty miserable year in 1909 with six starts and no finishes.
It does point to Dingley and Robertson as standout performers. Dingley is reported to have competed in seven road races, winning two, was second three times and third once. An interesting point is made about Dingley's early career in saying that he "served his novitiate" under Herb Lytle and was even that driver's riding mechanic in the 1905 James Gordon Bennett Cup race. Robertson started only four road races but won at Lowell and the Philadelphia Founder's Cup at Fairmount Park while scoring a second in the Indiana Trophy and a third in the Cobe Trophy.
The other driver highlighted for road racing prowess was "big" Harris Hanshue who rode for Apperson as riding mechanic with Joe Matson in the Cobe Trophy. More to the point he drove to victory in the Ferris Trophy at an average speed of the then-impressive 64.45 MPH. Hanshue also won the "big car" class at Portola as well as running second in the "free-for-all" event on the program. Hanshue finished second at the Mount Baldy hill climb and fourth in the Los Angeles-to-Phoenix off road race.
The article reports that Bob Burman focused more on oval or "track" racing than road racing, unlike his Buick teammate Chevrolet. Harroun, Knipper and Matson are noted for their success in cars of smaller engine capacity. Matson won the Indiana Trophy and the Massapequa Sweepstakes while Harroun won the Wheatley Hills - both of the latter two races were support events for the Vanderbilt Cup.

RoadRaces121209.pdf1.88 MB