Speedways Develop Automobiles - Dickson

This article written by on of the National Motor Vehicle Company's top executives, George Dickson, was published in the January 9, 1910 Indianapolis Star. Dickson was an officer of the National company but I have yet to figure out how the corporation was organized. Guy Wall, who is credited with designing Joe Dawson's 1912 winning car, may have been the top engineer and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Co-Founder Arthur C. Newby was perhaps president - or maybe not - as again, from what I have read it simply is not clear. I can say that these three men were in very important leadership positions. That said, any article written by or quoting any one of the three of them was significant to employees of and investors in the firm in the day.
The overarching theme of the article is Dickson's view was the most effecive test of a motor car in the day was a purpose-built speedway. Specifically the Indianapolis Motor Speeway, Brooklands and the Atlanta Speedway are noted. Road courses, mile or less dirt tracks and even tours like Glidden are dismissed as less useful largely because they did not allow sustained high-speed driving.
Here's a line from the article: "Track racing discloses the weaknesses of construction, design, material and workmanship as no other test possibly can."
Dickson contended that a driver can compensate for limitations of the car through careful driving, essentially nursing it through rough periods during endurance tours. Racing the car, he said, provides "merciless strain at top speed." The pace of a car at 80 MPH amplifies any imperfections of the running surface to produce tremendous stress on the frame, axles and other components of the cars.
Dickson downplays the value of bragging rights through advertising and stresses more the mechanical engineering value of simply punishing the equipment to literally beat the weaknesses out of it. Dickson distinguishes between the speedways and the mile dirt horse tracks. He does not directly explain why but I assume it is a matter of length primarily (to allow the driver to fully unwind the engine) and running surface of dirt versus some kind of paving secondarily.
Dickson presents the view that the debate of paving materials - gravel vs. concrete vs. brick - had not been fully resolved. However he posited that brick appeared to be superior as the Brooklands concrete had apparently already showed signs of crumbling in the face of freezing and thawing weather even though the English track had only been open less than three years. The natural "straightaway track" of Daytona Beach is the noted exception and apparently found quite acceptable by Dickson.
Dickson touches on the danger of the speedways as evidenced by the tragedies of accidents at Indianapolis in August 1909. He presents the view that these dangers had largely dealt with satisfactorily which had to be a reference to the brick paving of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is especially noteworthy in light of the fact that National briefly released word that it planned to withdraw from racing as a result of the August Indianapolis accidents.
Dickson concludes with comments on the importance of racing stock cars as opposed to purpose-built race cars. He felt that manufacturers should be required by racing rules to sell their race cars at the price of a stock model to create a disincentive for investing heavily in costly "freak" cars.

SpeedwayTesting010910.pdf932.24 KB