Webb Jay at Morris Park (New York)

This image originally appeared in the May 24, 1905 issue of Motor Age. The the White Sewing Machine Company, - which survived until 2006 - was one of the 19th century manufacturers that ventured into the automobile industry. Their main marketing strategy was to promote their products through auto racing. Webb Jay, pictured here, was their star driver. Jay scored a number of victories at horse track venues and hill climbs. He had an exceptional year in 1905 battling with headliners  Louis Chevrolet and Barney Oldfield. An unfortunate accident at the Kennilworth horse track in Buffalo put an end to his career when he suffered a severe concussion. He eventually recovered, but never returned to racing.
In this photo, Jay and his White steamer (called "Whistling Billy"), are kicking up dust at the Morris Park track in the Bronx. Morris Park was struggling at this time as the new Belmont track in nearby Long Island was squeezing them out as a premier horse track. Management was attempting to convince the world that they had successfully transformed Morris Park into a facility dedicated for auto racing.
Packing tremendous torque off the corners, Whistling Billy was a terror in the mile and half mile dirt track races across the country in 1905. The racer was a major force in the short sprint races of 1905, but never proved itself in contests of longer distances. A White steamer attempted the Vanderbilt Cup in 1905, but suffered engine failure at the start of the elimination trials and then endured a series of setbacks in the Cup race. One White steamer did score a significant long distance victory in the 1908 Los Angeles-to-Phoenix Desert race.  As for Jay, his short career ended when he crashed through a fence at the Kennilworth track in Buffalo, New York. He suffered a severe concussion that required months to heal. Despite mending, he never returned to auto racing. Jay did remain in the automotive industry.

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