Savannah Campaigns for Grand Prize

This article was originally published in the February 27, 1910 Indianapolis Star. It concerns the effort the Savannah, Georgia's community leadership made to attract the American Grand Prize to their city for the upcoming racing season. The inaugural edition of the event took place on Savannah's public roads and was seen as an outstanding success due to a fast, well prepared running surface and the excellent policing to restrain spectators the Long Island venue lacked.
Upon the news that the International Congress of Automobile Clubs had placed the event on their calendar for October 1910 Savannah had the green light to lobby their cause. A meeting of the Savannah Automobile Club was called to plan a campaign. Letters were sent to both the Automobile Club of America (ACA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) to plead the southern city's case. They had a lot of credibility too because of the rousing success in 1908.
The problem, as it is too frequently with just about everything, was politics. The true organizers of the race were a cluster of wealthy businessmen and society elite that had inherited their wealth. Headed by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. the organization they had formed was the Motor Cups Holding Company and they possessed a decided bias to the Long Island Motor Parkway course. The Motor Cups Holding Company formed as part of a settlement in a dispute over governing authority of American auto racing between the AAA and ACA that raged through much of 1907 and 1908.
The success of 1908 made Savannah a favorite with the drivers who dreaded Long Island, notorious for its lack of crowd control that allowed spectators to flood the course. The drivers were forced to plunge through at racing speed as the clusters of people parted way in the nick of time.
While the Motor Cups Holding Company and the ACA scheduled the 1910 Grand Prize for Long Island a disastrous Vanderbilt Cup that saw two fatal accidents and spectator injuries on the same course just days prior to the planned Grand Prize contest changed their minds. The race was postponed and rescheduled in November for Savannah as their auto club scrambled to prepare their course. In the end stand-out American driver David Bruce-Brown would emerge a winner at the wheel of a Benz racer. 

Savannah022710.pdf343.87 KB