announced the Contest Board had called a halt to all sanctioned auto racing in support of the war effort. The plain fact was the Contest Board hadn't even met yet but Kennerdell took that as a directive and when his board did meet dropped the problem in their laps. He had already issued championship sanctions for 1917 (always, even when I was there such schedules were drawn a year ahead) and he asked the board for a directive. Clifford Ireland, a board member and at the time a Congressman, answered calling Kennerdell a weak-livered scoundrel for giving in to the Executive Committee plus many other points including the potential lawsuits it could bring in addition to driving promotors car owners into "outlaw" ranks. The board ordered Kennerdell to "stay the course."
Then when we did go to war Kennerdell, hoping to gain lost favor with the Executive committee did write President Wilson AAA was withdrawing from the sport but not until he had issued sanctions through 1919. The President replied, thanked him but DID NOT direct him to do so. As a result the championships ran as scheduled but Kennerdell dared not publicise the results, points or champions. That remained until Harsnape and 1924.
Aw, Ken, I even get mad now when I write about it. To deny Earl Cooper and such great drivers their recognition was simply a miscarriage of justice to me. I got in hot water -- a lot of times -- and I know Jim Lamb had little use for me because I opposed fining drivers for rule infractions but unless for downright cheating points earned by drivers on the field of battle should be retained. I finally took my argument to Pillsbury and I know I won when I pointed out the press could easily charge AAA with manipulating standings with this practice. I say I won, although I never heard, but from that time on never was aq driver fined a point. I will admit my ire came at the inability to balance point standings down through the years due to fines. Some reports and meetings did mention such fines and amounts but only a few. Today we researchers suffer.
Lately I have been reading between the lines in a lot of my experiences. Following the 1920 point fiasco there didn't seem to be further trouble with standings and points. I wondered about that and asked Ted Allen if someone other than the board office handled the points and his answer was evasive. I said I had the feeling Edenburn did it and, as best I remember, he said "Oh, Eddie was a member of the board and of course the board had to approve all points." When I was unpacking one of these old boxes I came across the carbon of a letter Ted had written to Edenburn when Ted was Secretary. The letter dealt with a race called at 85 miles (100-miler) for rain that had relief drivers. Ted pointed out that his (Eddie's) distribution of points was not covered by any of the written rules and to be prepared in case they got complaints.
Relief drivers were another bone of contention. Sometimes they were awarded points and other times not. There didn't seem to be a uniform method of application. Then, too, sometimes drivers used face masks to hide their identity and drove under other names.
Quite frankly, Ken, I don't think AAA CB ever stopped to realize, especially in the early days, that the sport would grow to be a major one and so records of events and history were badly, if ever handled. The big fight, then, was to make it legitimate and keep it out of the hands of the exhibitionists who claimed auto racing was simply entertainment and show business. The exceptions were Harsnape and Means and, of course, when they were secretaries the chairmen were the active heads so their voices carried little weight. I checked the backgrounds of both men but didn't get much on Means whom I believe was secretary twice but Harsnape was quite a story better untold. He was a brillant California engineer who worked for Pillsbury in the building of Beverly Hills (the city, not speedway) but was a perfectionist. A heavy drinker he died of a massive heart attack in 1929 but his work as CB secretary was unimpeachable. His handwriting was small, precise and compact and he kept a personal leger
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Edited by john glenn printz, 02 January 2013 - 20:39.