Barney Oldfield Goes Hollywood


Derided by critics, Barney Oldfield saw himself first as an entertainer and secondly as a race driver. He was competitive and took pride in his accomplishments, which were significant. He was a master of early sprint racing on dirt horse tracks and held every track record from 1 to 50 miles in 1904. He mastered road racing as well, winning major events in Venice, California as well as finishing second in the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup. Also in 1914, he was the highest finishing American driver in a domestic car (Stutz) in the Indianapolis 500 and then later used the same machine in the Los Angeles to Phoenix off-road race (the closest thing to the Baja 500 in its time) to win the "Master Driver of the Universe" medal. His critics complained about his barnstorming in staged races against other cars or even airplanes - but Barney understood his audience and delivered what they hungered for. He briefly appeared in a Broadway Play inspired by the Vanderbilt Cup road race (1906) and later appeared in Hollywood movies, including this one, "Barney Oldfield's Race for Life."


Hollywood Barney