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Which races determined the AAA American Champion?


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#1 aportinga

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 03:17

I'm compiling as many races (Pre 1950) as possible from 3 quality sites in efforts to determine an International Champion for each year. I have gone from 1894 to 1909 today and designated a scoring system equal to todays WDC (10,6,4,3,2,1). However in my documentation of American races I have found American AAA Champions starting in 1902 but no major race until the Vanderbilt Cup which began in 1904...other then Times Herald - 2 races of 1895 & the Cosmo Magazine race of 1896.

Anyone know how the American Championship AAA was determined - or of any sites which may help me?

Thanks!

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#2 Joe Fan

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 07:25

Have you tried motorsport.com? They have race by race accounts of all the pre-1950 Indy Car races. I am not sure which races counted for the championship, I assume all, but you might trying posting this question on the Nostalgia Forum at Trackforum.com. Their Nostalgia Forum has some of the most knowledgable people you'll find in the area of IndyCar/sprint car history.

#3 ensign14

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 07:48

The champions up until about 1920 were retrospectively awarded by the secretary to the AAA (Haresnape?). Except for 1916, which Dario Resta won - despite Johnny Aitken hopping from car to car in the final event to try to muster enough points.

Is there a separate thread here?

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 12:35

A concise answer from Peter Higham's "Guinness Guide to International Motor Racing"

In 1926-27 the secretary of the AAA Contest Board Val Haresnape retrospectively announced champions for 1909-15 and 1917-19 based on all AAA races, whether they be a five mile dash, class result or city-to-city marathon. The confusion was compounded in 1951 when historian Russ Catlin firther revised the official AAA records. He published new champions for 1902-08, amended the 1909 Haresnape champion from Bert Dingley to George Robertson and gave the 1920 series to Tommy Milton rather than to original winner Gaston Chevrolet.

Higham goes on to list all the Haresnape and Catlin champions, together with a list of winners of all races included from 1909. He does not attempt to list the races included by Catlin for 1902--08.

#5 aportinga

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 14:10

Thanks everyone!

#6 aportinga

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 14:39

Here's a great site I found that details the races which dictated the American National Champion...

http://www.rumbledro...om/10stats.html

:clap:

Now all I need are the races form 1902-1908.

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 15:17

I have all this and more. Indeed, an RVM column was done on this and there are several more in the works as I lay out my view of the history of American racing.

Readers' Digest version:

1902 -- magazines begin to select drivers as "champions"

1908 -- AAA establishes the Contest Board with support of the manufacturers

1909 -- Contest Board begins to sanction races

1909 -- National Championship Trail established

1916 -- Contest Board creates National Driving Champion, won by Dario Resta

1920 -- Second National Driving Championship awarded, won by Gaston Chevrolet

1926 -- New Sec'y of Contest Board, Haresnape, begins process of retroactively naming AAA National Champions back to the establishment of the Contest Board; Milton named 1920 National Champion as a result of including all events sanctioned for the Championship Trail

1954 -- Russ Catlin begins publication of a series on the AAA National Championship which revises some of the earlier selections for National Champions

The Motorsport.com site has information that Phil Harms has generated as well as the original material published by the AAA and then Catlin. The scoring system devised for 1916 was used for those events from 1909 to 1915 and 1917 to 1919.

Contrary to my earlier belief -- which seems to mirror the perception of many others -- the awarding of the retroactive championships was not done with any "evil" or "shady" intent to manipulate the record. In 1909, it simply never occurred to the AAA to run a championship! From 1902 until 1915 and again in 1917 to 1919, national motoring magazines generally selected their "Driver of the Year," a selection based on a subjective rather than objective basis.

Indeed, I am working on this article and several other items concerned with American racing at the moment.

As for the events for a "world championship" go to Hans' list at 8W -- in America, the Vanderbilt Cup and the ACA Grand Prize races along with the International Sweepstakes are about all you'll find until perhaps 1915 when there was an explosion of 500 mile and other events of 250 miles or so in length when the board tracks really hit the scene. It is very slim pickings outside the International Sweepstakes from about 1927 until 1941 with the exception of the two "Vanderbilt Cup" events of 1936 and 1937.

As many are aware, the magnum opus on the National Championship that Catlin began in 1951 was never completed, the articles in the 1954/1955 issues of Speed Age being the begining stages of that project which never got beyond 1917.

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 15:23

Originally posted by aportinga
Here's a great site I found that details the races which dictated the American National Champion...

http://www.rumbledro...om/10stats.html

:clap:

Now all I need are the races form 1902-1908.


There were none. Only the Vanderbilt Cup events and the ACA Grand Prize race at Savannah really being truly major events.

Rumbledrome is well worth the visit and does an excellent job of portraying the essence of the era.

#9 aportinga

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 16:13

As for the events for a "world championship" go to Hans' list at 8W -- in America



Thanks Don...Could you clarify on the above though...

Rumbledrome is excellent. However as in most cases they provide only the winner of each race and thus it's imposible to apoint those points for 2nd-6th place to drivers who earned them.

There were none. Only the Vanderbilt Cup events and the ACA Grand Prize race at Savannah really being truly major events.



Funny because I picked up the following from DeepThrottle.com - where I learned of the magazine matter in determining drivers...According to the site...

1902 Harry Harkness
1903 Barney Oldfield
1904 George Heath
1905 Victor Hemery
1906 Joe Tracy
1907 Eddie Bald
1908 Louis Strang

Were all considered American Champions.

#10 Don Capps

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 17:35

Originally posted by aportinga
Funny because I picked up the following from DeepThrottle.com - where I learned of the magazine matter in determining drivers...According to the site...

1902 Harry Harkness
1903 Barney Oldfield
1904 George Heath
1905 Victor Hemery
1906 Joe Tracy
1907 Eddie Bald
1908 Louis Strang

Were all considered American Champions.


Here is the link to Hans' winners' list: http://www.kolumbus....ellman/gpw0.htm

From DeepThrottle
1902-1908: National champions are selected by country's sports writers.

1909: First year national championship is decided by points for selected races. Only three of 24 races are on an oval (all Indy). Twenty are on natural road courses, and one is a point-to-point race (LA to Phoenix).


Well, so much for my column....

The first statement is almost correct. There were no "National Champions" recognized by the AAA or ACA from 1902 to 1908. Several magazines did select what should correctly be called a "Driver of the Year." Beginning in 1908, Chris G. Sinsabaugh did a season review in Motor Age and selected a driver as his choice as the best driver of the year begining with the 1909 season. His choices were:

1909 Bert Dingley
1910 Ralph Mulford
1911 Harvey Herrick
1912 Ralph De Palma
1913 Earl Cooper
1914 Ralph De Palma
1915 Earl Cooper

These were Sinsabaugh's personal choices and since there was no recognized National Champion at the time and Motor Age was perhaps the leading automotive publication of the time, these were generally accepted by most at the time and later as "National Champions."

Here is the list from DeepThrottle -- which is also the same as found in many other places. Note the differences (in red) from those of Motor Age and the Haresnape (in blue revisions:

1902 Harry Harkness
1903 Barney Oldfield
1904 George Heath
1905 Victor Hemery
1906 Joe Tracy
1907 Eddie Bald
1908 Louis Strang

1909 George Robertson Bert Dingley Bert Dingley
1910 Ray Harroun Ralph Mulford Ray Harroun
1911 Ralph Mulford Harvey Herrick Ralph Mulford
1912 Ralph Depalma Ralph De Palma Ralph De Palma
1913 Earl Cooper Earl Cooper Earl Cooper
1914 Ralph DePalma Ralph De Palma Ralph De Palma
1915 Earl Cooper Earl Cooper Earl Cooper
1916 Dario Resta
1917 Earl Cooper
1918 Ralph Mulford
1919 Howard Wilcox
1920 Tommy Milton


Those in green were added by Russ Catlin to the AAA lists in 1951 as the result of research he was conducting on the National Championship. Although some attribute these as Catlin's personal choices, there is reason to believe that these are derived from contemporary journals. However, it is clear that Catlin clearly agreed with them. These only appear in the AAA (and later USAC) lists after 1951.

When Catlin started his work on the National Championship, he baldly stated that those championships from 1909 to 1915 were the the invention of the contemporary magazines. Catlin then applied the points system used in 1916 to those events designated by the Contest Board as part of the "National Championship Trail" from 1909 to 1915. That is where the variation from the Haresnape revisions in 1909 comes from on Catlin's part.

1920 is another kettle of fish: Tommy Milton -- an absolutely superb and unfortunately little remembered driver these days -- was twice given an award by the Contest Board for 1920. One for second place in the National Championship and the other was for being the National Champion! Naturally, this amused our Tommy to no end. Interestingly enough, Milton was soon switched back to second place in 1920 behind Gaston Chevrolet until the records were revised in 1951 and he once again replaced Chevrolet -- although recipients of the medal given by the Contest Board to the National Champion lists Chevrolet as the 1920 Champion, not Milton.

The Contest Board did not award championships for the 1917 through 1919 seasons, although it continued to sanction races during that period.

And there is plenty more where all this came from....

#11 fines

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 18:19

The reason for the 1920 jumble seems to be that six of the eleven championship races that year did not count for the championship, since the organisers/promoters failed to pay the (not substantial, iirc) championship fee! Those were three 50-milers held on the Beverly Hills board track on March 28, two 225-mile races at the Uniontown board on June 19 and September 6, and a 200-miler at the Fresno board track on October 2.

When the championship was won posthumously by Gaston Chevrolet there were some reservations, especially since Chevrolet had only one major finish all year, that being his win at Indy which was good for 1,000 points, while Milton with a win at Tacoma, a second at the Elgin Road Race and third at Indy could only muster 930 points. Additionally, he had also won both Uniontown events and the last Beverly Hills blast.

In November 1926, the AAA contest board gave the title to Milton, only to revoke that decision two years later. By 1951, however, history was changed by Russ Catlin.

#12 aportinga

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 19:10

fines - where did u obtain this data?

Thanks BTW

#13 Don Capps

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 19:21

Michael, Bingo!

By 1929, Chevrolet was back on the lists as the 1920 Champion until 1951/1952 when Catlin included the events which did not pay the full amount of the fees to the Contest Board -- although the events mentioned by Michael were sanctioned, they were not included in the championship since the "surcharge" -- if you will -- for a Championship Trail event was not paid. At least, that how it was explained to me when I pointed out that the events cited were sanctioned events since the Contest Board was death on "outlaw" events.

Also, were there 10 events or 11 events sanctioned and were there five or six races that counted towards the Championship? I have five as counting towards the championship, not six.

Here are the races that Phil Harms has listed at Motorsport.com:

1920-02-28: Beverly Hills, CA -- Jimmy Murphy
1920-03-28: Beverly Hills, CA -- Art Klein
1920-03-28: Beverly Hills, CA -- Tommy Milton

1920-03-28: Beverly Hills, CA -- Jimmy Murphy
1920-05-30: Indianapolis, IN -- Gaston Chevrolet

1920-06-19: Uniontown, PA -- Tommy Milton
1920-07-05: Tacoma, WA -- Tommy Milton
1920-08-28: Elgin, IL -- Ralph De Palma

1920-09-06: Uniontown, PA -- Tommy Milton
1920-10-02: Fresno, CA -- Jimmy Murphy

1920-11-25: Beverly Hills, CA -- Roscoe Searles


For some reason, there seems to be some variance on the number of races on 28 March. There were four, only one of which counted for the championship, the 250-miler and not any of the three 50-mile sprints. Events I have in blue were on the Championship Trail and those in red were not.

Also, there was a change in how points were computed for the 1920 season, the 1916 system being dropped.

#14 humphries

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 11:27

Don et al

Reviving this thread for a reason.

As has already been stated there were no official AAA Championships for the years 1902-1915 and 1917-1919. Whatever the intentions of Val Haresnape or Russ Catlin their "championships" were simply a rewriting of history. The races selected were in reality stand-alone events and the drivers desire to win was based solely on the satisfaction of winning and/or the desire to acquire the largest share of the purse; the gaining of championship points was not a consideration but had it been then entries for a race or the tactics during a race may well have been totally different, and hence the results. As motor racing historians we should not condone the rewriting of history. Lets leave that to the likes of Hollywood. At best, the retrospective championships should be no more than a trivia footnote.

Feel better with that off my chest!

A more worthwhile approach to this great period of American auto racing would be to relate these races to the type of permit issued at the time by the AAA and re-integrate them with the "non-championship" races sanctioned with the same permit, of which there may have been many. This is where I need the advice of the knowledgeable. Could the races be sensibly classified as "invitational", "open", "co-sanctioned" and/or "national trail" or what, and if so, which were which!?


John

#15 Don Capps

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 14:25

This past weekend I finished the initial converting and formatting of information for the AAA/ NASCAR/ USAC/ SCCA/ CART/ IRL project that I am doing for the IMRRC. It is a very, very, very rough draft and has lots and lots and lots and lots of work to be done on it. It is in MS Word and using Arial 10pt it is already over 3,000 pages -- 3,100 and climbing.

It is intended to be a collaborative effort with those here on TNF who might be interested in participating in such an endeavor.

It is appropriate to give a deep bow and a tip of the hat to Phil Harms at this point since he picked up the flag and charged into the melee when others faltered.

After some lengthy consideration, I decided to approach this project as an American story and so sin on the side of being inclusive and providing a better context to how we got to where we are today.

Although the data is naturally the first item to get squared away, I am also very concerned that the "story" of the also be told as well as possible -- which means that this is a project which by its very nature will be open-ended and a "living history" if you will.

Below is what is currently on the title page and samples of what I have done so far:

A Record of American Racing

An Incompleat History

Of

THE AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP

A Record of
The National Championship Trail Since 1909
and
The National Championship Since 1916
and
Other Related Events Since 1895

Including
The NASCAR Speedway Division, 1952 and 1953
and
The Sports Car Club of America
Formula SCCA Grand Prix, Continental,
and Formula 5000 Championships,
1967 to 1976

As Compiled For
The International Motor Racing Research Center
Watkins Glen, New York



National Championship Trail 

Event Number Twelve



2nd Harry Harkness Trophy

Sheepshead Bay Speedway

Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York

28 October 1916



Distance: 50 laps of 2.0-mile planked board oval speedway for 100.0 miles.

AAA Sanction No. 990

Promoter: United Services Association

Starter: F.J. Wagner	Referee: C.G. Sinsabaugh

Attendance: 10,000 to 20,000



Results

1st	Johnny Aitken

	No. 10 Indianapolis Speedway Team Peugeot Special Peugeot EX3

	50 laps, 56 min 37.65 sec, 105.956 mph	$4,000, 500 points

2nd	Frank Galvin

	No. 11 Indianapolis Speedway Team Premier Special Premier

	50 laps, 56 min 45.35 sec, $2,500, 260 points

3rd	Howdy Wilcox

	No. 1 Peugeot Special Peugeot EX5

	50 laps, 57 min 10.53 sec, $1,500, 140 points



Lap Leaders

Lap 1			Dario Resta, Peugeot

Laps 2 and 3		Johnny Aitken, Peugeot

Lap 4			Dario Resta, Peugeot

Laps 5 and 6		Johnny Aitken, Peugeot

Laps 7 and 8		Dario Resta, Peugeot

Laps 9 thru 11		Johnny Aitken, Peugeot

Laps 12 thru 29		Dario Resta, Peugeot

Laps 30 thru 39		Johnny Aitken, Peugeot

Laps 40 thru 44		Frank Galvin, Premier

Laps 45 thru 50		Johnny Aitken, Peugeot



Lap Prize Money:

$1,400	Johnny Aitken, Peugeot

$1,400	Dario Resta, Peugeot

$300	Frank Galvin, Premier



Did Not Start

Ralph De Palma	Peugeot Special Peugeot, Engine – crankshaft

Milt McBride		Olsen Special Mason Wisconsin

Bert Watson		Olsen Special Mason Duesenberg

Andy Burt		Ogren Special Mason Duesenberg

Otto Henning		Ogren Special Ogren Miller

Rae Lentz		Lentz Special Romano Curtis





PPG Indy Car World Series

Round Number One



Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Long Beach Grand Prix Course

Long Beach, California

1 April 1984



Distance: 112 laps of 1.67-mile street circuit for 187.040 miles.

Weather: Sunny, cool	

Attendance: 55,000



Results

1st	Mario Andretti

	No. 3 Newman-Haas Racing Budweiser Lola T800 'HU01' Cosworth DFX

	112 laps, 2 hr 15 min 23.0 sec, 82.989 mph

2nd	Geoff Brabham

	No. 18 Kraco Racing Electrolux Kraco Car Stereo March 84C '84C/15' Cosworth DFX

	112 laps, 2 hr 16 min 26.2 sec

This is intended to be publication distributed in an electronic format and so as versions are readied for use there is thought that it will be converted to Acrobat PDF. This is all getting the cart (...sorry...) ahead of the horse since the basic document has to be done before any of that is even considered.

Any of you will to pitch in, the door is wide open. All contibutions will be acknowledged. This is not "my" work, I simply see myself as the compiler or editor of the vast sea of information available into a workable package.

Anyhow, that is what I am attempting to do.

#16 m.tanney

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 17:10

  Whenever this subject comes up, I'm troubled by a memory of something I read years ago. In the first few years of Racer magazine, the historian John Printz was listed on the masthead. I don't think he wrote any articles, he was more of a consultant. Sometime - I think in the first year or two - there was a brief item in the front section of an issue of Racer that mentioned that Printz had found evidence of an American championship in, IIRC, 1905. This was a real championship with a defined (though, IIRC, small) series of races, a scoring system, etc. The winner was Barney Oldfield, who would have been driving the second Peerless Green Dragon. I wish I could remeber more of the details. If anyone has a collection of Racer backissues, they might want to have a look for this brief item. Or, if anyone knows Mr. Printz...
  As I understand it, Mr. Printz is one of the leading authorities on the AAA national championships. I've been told that an article he wrote for an early CART yearbook provides an excellent explanation of the various championships, revisions, etc.

#17 Don Capps

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 17:24

Exactly why I have felt, well, compelled to get this thing off the ground. I have waited for decades for the Russ Catlin or John Printz or Phil Harms or whoever history of this sort of racing and it never happened. There is much that I keep finding out as I pore through AAA records or other materials and that is only a small piece of when one realizes that others are also finding here and there.

Indeed, as mentioned, it was the material Russ Catlin, then John Printz, Ken McMaken, and James O'Keefe -- and later Phil Harms -- produced that really got me interested in this whole field of motor racing in the first place as a historian.

I have all the early issues of Racer and do remember the Printz item. I will look for it later today.

Does this mean that "m.tanney" is on-board? ;)

#18 Phil Harms

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 04:47

I hesitate to get into this topic since there are so many facets to it and some subjects -- such as 1920 --- can be argued strongly and with great persuasion from either side.

Some of the decisions that were made years ago in reconstructing the non-official standings really do defy reason. How three obscure races in Portland, OR started 1909 is hard to explain.

I maintained the original Catlin points for the early years mainly because it was the easiest way do do it. I corresponded with Russ for several years and he acknowledged that the early point totals, other than 1916, were suspect. But he praised Harsnape's work and didn't want to change it. As well, he admitted a great admiration for Milton and indicated that that had something to do with the 1920 points. His position was that the award to G Chevrolet was made soon after the fatal Beverly Hills race by the AAA and emotions won out.

As for the Catlin series in Speed Age, he completed it thru 1941. This monthly feature spanned the gap when Speed Age was taken over by another publisher and the checks stopped. Russ wanted to put the whole thing into a book but never could sell it. Bob Russo acquired most of Catlin's files and his daughter has them now. Other than AAA correspondence, I doubt that there is anything that hasn't been uncovered by other researchers.

It is tempting to play revisionist and clean up the early years but does it really matter? These were labeled AAA National Championships but is it right to ignore the Grand Prize races because they were sanctioned by the ACA and not the AAA? There were logistic problems back then; many fine west coast drivers never drove east of the Rockies.

The data I've had put on motorsport.com is just one person's research. It has errors --- none intentionally --- more than I would like. The weakest point is in the tech areas; the topic relating to the Resta Spl. is a good example. I continue to get corrections. My intent has never been to correct or revise history, just put out on the web the boxscores. It is cheaper than doing a book, which I'd love to do. Don't we all.

I believe it was in 1904 or 1905 the AAA announced a national championship, complete with points, and a list of races that were to be included. Probably in Motor Age. I never saw a followup.

Again, this is a great topic. I learned a great deal, as I often do on this forum.

#19 fines

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 19:32

Originally posted by Phil Harms
I maintained the original Catlin points for the early years mainly because it was the easiest way do do it. I corresponded with Russ for several years and he acknowledged that the early point totals, other than 1916, were suspect. But he praised Harsnape's work and didn't want to change it. As well, he admitted a great admiration for Milton and indicated that that had something to do with the 1920 points. His position was that the award to G Chevrolet was made soon after the fatal Beverly Hills race by the AAA and emotions won out.

This last point is (interesting) news to me, but other than that I can only add that those early championship points listings are indeed very, very suspect. I've done the arithmetics many times over, and there are a lot of question marks that probably can't be solved without access to contemporary magazine articles. I'd really love to see, say, the top ten scorers for each year as they were given at the time! The "official" AAA figures don't make very much sense, actually... :(

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#20 humphries

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 00:07

Fines

With the exception of 1916, up until 1919 there were no scorers - at the time!

Why play fantasy motor-racing? What is the point of trying to understand something that never happened? Noboby scored any points. There were no b****y championships.

John

#21 fines

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 12:54

I'm not talking about those years, because these championships only existed in the fantasies of Messrs Haresnape and Catlin. I am talking about the way they manipulated the real championships from 1920 onwards, and I don't mean 1920 exclusively! The way Catlin added up the points simply doesn't make sense - for a start I believe he used the wrong scoring for the years 1920 to '22. I can't be sure if the original AAA way of counting did make sense, but I sure would like to know. Anyone with partial AAA point standings from any time between 1920 and 1922?

#22 Don Capps

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 01:46

I think Phil put this in perspective when he once noted that revisiing the revisionists and correcting all the many, many times where the AAA champions have been cited is something perhaps borders on the impossible. That those lists are generally accepted there is no doubt. Such is the power of "if you say or print something often enough....."

#23 Phil Harms

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 05:04

Originally posted by fines
I'm not talking about those years, because these championships only existed in the fantasies of Messrs Haresnape and Catlin. I am talking about the way they manipulated the real championships from 1920 onwards, and I don't mean 1920 exclusively! The way Catlin added up the points simply doesn't make sense - for a start I believe he used the wrong scoring for the years 1920 to '22. I can't be sure if the original AAA way of counting did make sense, but I sure would like to know. Anyone with partial AAA point standings from any time between 1920 and 1922?


My point standings for 1921 and 1922 came from original AAA sanction reports provided to me by Russ Catlin; I believe the same are available on Gordon White's microfilm. The same can be found in the World Almanacs for 1922 and 1923, which tabulate points for each race for the previous years of 1921 and 1922. The Almanac point standings must, however, be taken with the understanding that they are not complete ---- I assume, because of publishing deadlines the final races of the are not included. But for what is included, you can get an idea as to how points were allocated. And these tables were published at the time, not recreated years later.

Just looking at the points doesn't tell the whole story. The AAA had a habit of taking away points for any one of many possible infractions. As an example, Pietro Bordino lost a total of 195 points in the early races of 1922 for failure to file an entry for Indianapolis. I think he returned to Italy with his Fiat. And the numerous spring sprint races makes figuring out points for each individual race difficult. Ken McMaken did the detail work on that puzzle years ago; I seem to remember using his data to complete my box scores.

Mistakes do happen. In checking out this topic I find that I made a mistake in giving Leon Duray 50 points for Indpls when it should have gone to Roscoe Sarles as a relief driver.

#24 fines

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 09:28

Originally posted by Phil Harms
My point standings for 1921 and 1922 came from original AAA sanction reports provided to me by Russ Catlin; I believe the same are available on Gordon White's microfilm. The same can be found in the World Almanacs for 1922 and 1923, which tabulate points for each race for the previous years of 1921 and 1922. The Almanac point standings must, however, be taken with the understanding that they are not complete ---- I assume, because of publishing deadlines the final races of the are not included. But for what is included, you can get an idea as to how points were allocated. And these tables were published at the time, not recreated years later.

I must admit to being surprised to learn about that! So it seems the AAA had a rather quirky way of allocating points :lol:

Heck, I need to take another look at this area and maybe start a new thread? :lol:

#25 Phil Harms

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 12:22

Originally posted by fines

I must admit to being surprised to learn about that! So it seems the AAA had a rather quirky way of allocating points :lol:

Heck, I need to take another look at this area and maybe start a new thread? :lol:


Altho the points distribution was well defined, there were other rules -- mostly undefined -- that certainly could be considered quirky. As an example, usually you had to be running at the finish to earn points. In tabulating finishing positions, cars running were always placed ahead of cars
eliminated, regardless of laps completed. And the AAA would take away and restore points, often in somewhat secret meetings, so that if you follow the published points throughout the year you sometimes find drivers losing points for no reason, then regaining them later. And their policy towards points for relief drivers seems to be rather inconsistant. Sometimes relief driver always received proportional points, other times they only received points if they did not start the race.

Actually Catlin, as far as I know, did no revising of points. He tried to make them consistant by eliminating the infractions and such. The AAA Contest Board was always a VERY political griup and they guarded the AAA control of US racing very carefully. At the same time the AAA, as a group, would have little to do with racing --- to them, the Contest Board was sort of the bastard at the family reunion. Catlin's article on the AAA in Auto Quarterly is very enlightening; He had access to all of the minutes of the secret meetings and when the AAA left racing after 1955, he acquired them.

#26 Don Capps

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 15:41

I think Phil has put all this in a nutshell. I have the Gordon White microfilm and one must pay very close to attention to the whole story as well as the individual parts. The allocation of points to finishers and points to relief drivers necessitates a true shift from the mentality which has prevaded racing data & statistics for some decades now -- looking at and putting such data into current terms. This is why I am so adament about the importance of the story of an event or season as well the statistics.

Errors of omission, brain fade, interpretation of partial/ incomplete/ illegible data, and the ever present problem of just bad or poor data plus the element of "revisionism" the part of the researcher makes this line of research "veeeery interrresting" as Arte Johnson used to say. Oh, and let us never forget the other minor problem of infomation that some seem to consider "proprietary" and keep (literally) under lock and key so as to retain "control" over the information for personal purposes -- nor will I mention the "ego" problem since it is a two-edged sword and works to hamper more than a few potential collaborative works. Of course, there are loads of great and wonderful people poking around out there who are willing share whatever they have without blinking an eye. This latter group is the one making the difference.

Plodding behind Phil in the furrows of his work and that of others, I can only say that my entire view of this field of research has taken a great leap from the point from where I started my intitial poking around -- at the suggestion of Paul Sheldon no less!

#27 fines

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 16:10

Originally posted by Phil Harms
Actually Catlin, as far as I know, did no revising of points. He tried to make them consistant by eliminating the infractions and such.

Hmm... : Sounds a bit like revising to me, actually. I have to confess that I am always a little bit at sea to understand that character Russ Catlin. I never did know him, haven't read much of him first-hand, and thus can only judge from a distance. Actually, I really don't want to judge him, because that's not my business, but I'd like to know how I should rate his work. And there are two pictures I get: One is that of an enthusiast, one of those "without-whom" persons who make our life today so much easier. The same goes for Phil here, naturally!!! :up:

The other aspect of Catlin is that to me he seems to be a bit of an autocrat. Perhaps I'm wrong here, but I sometimes get that sort of feeling. Hmm... :

When I have a little more time I will make a more detailed analysis to make my point clearer. It's not "only" the running-at-finish, or the relief drivers that trouble me, there's more to it! Bear with me...

#28 fines

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 16:17

Originally posted by Phil Harms
I maintained the original Catlin points for the early years mainly because it was the easiest way do do it. I corresponded with Russ for several years and he acknowledged that the early point totals, other than 1916, were suspect. But he praised Harsnape's work and didn't want to change it. As well, he admitted a great admiration for Milton and indicated that that had something to do with the 1920 points. His position was that the award to G Chevrolet was made soon after the fatal Beverly Hills race by the AAA and emotions won out.

I would like to get back to this point which, as I said before, rather surprised me! I was always under the impression that at the time of that fateful Beverly Hills race, it was more or less clear that Chevrolet had won. I'd really like to see a points standing published before Thanksgiving! Anyone?

#29 ensign14

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 08:24

Just another fly in the Championship ointment... :lol:

Consensus seems to be that Barney Oldfield was named champion but didn't really care or race for it. As if the season was made up as it went along.

#30 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 04:15

Originally posted by fines
I would like to get back to this point which, as I said before, rather surprised me! I was always under the impression that at the time of that fateful Beverly Hills race, it was more or less clear that Chevrolet had won. I'd really like to see a points standing published before Thanksgiving! Anyone?


Okay, work with me on this....and show that "emotions" didn't have a damn thing to do with it....

Los Angeles Times, 24 October 1920, page VII, Speed Demons Gathering:
"There seems to be two causes of excitement in the big 250-mile event. One is the title of speedway champion for 1920, which will go to either Gaston Chevrolet, Tommy Milton, Jimmy Murphyy or Ralph De Palma, depending on the positions in which they finish Thanksgiving Day."

Los Angeles Times, 21 November 1920, page VII, Standings of the Drivers:
"To date there have been four championship races, the 250-mile event on the Los Angeles Speedway Thanksgiving Day being the fifth and final event of the 1920 seson for which championship points are awarded. The standings of the drivers at the present time follow:

Gaston Chevrolet.....1030
Tommy Milton.............930
Jimmie Murphy............805
Ralph De Palma..........605
Rene Thomas.............520
Ralph Mulford.............350
Joe Thomas................301
Eddie Hearne.............205
Ira Vail.......................140
Eddie O'Donnel..........110
Ken Goodson...............61
Art Klein...................... 60
Jean Chassagne..........50
Roscoe Searles............40
Tom Alley.....................36
Joe Ford......................35
John De Palma.............10"

Chicago Daily Tribune, 26 November 1920, page 1, Gaston Chevrolet Killed in Big Auto Race:
"Gaston Chevrolet, younger of the two famous auto racing brothers, was killed near the end of the 250 mile race on the Los Angeles speedway today when, it developed at the end of the race, he had won the national automobile racing championship for 1920, on a point basis....
"Chevrolet's point total for the season in the championship competition was 1,030, all acquired previously to today's race. Milton, who did not finish today, had 930....."

Boston Daily Globe, 26 November 1920, page 1, Two Killed, One Dying in Auto Race Crash:
Sub-headline, "Dead Driver Had Won 1920 Point Championship"
"Chevrolet, it developed, had won the National Championship for 1920 on a point basis...."

Los Angeles Times, 26 November 1920, page III 1, Chevrolet, Though Dead, Is Speedway Champion:
"Gaston Chevrolet is the dead speedway champion of America."

The Washington Post, 26 November 1920, page 1, Two Meet Death in Big Auto Race:
"Chevrolet, it developed, had now (sic) the National Championship for 1920 on a point basis...."

The Chicago Daily Tribune, 30 January 1921, page D 5, has an article entitled "Leading Race Drivers of 1920" which featues a points table of the five events which counted towards the National Championship, as provided by the A.A.A..

The events listed are: Los Angeles, Feb. 28; Indianapolis May 30; Tacoma, July 5; Elgin, Aug. 21; Los Angeles, Nov. 25.

Does this help? :rolleyes:

#31 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 04:37

Sorry, couldn't find this one when I needed it....

Los Angeles Times, 12 September 1920, page VI 1, Chevrolet Is Still Leader:
"Chairman Richard Kennerdell of the A.A.A. Contest Board has just given out the the official standings of the drivers in the battle for the speedway championship for 1920. These standings are official and complete to date and will not be changed until the Thanksgiving Day 25-mile race at Beverly, which is the only remaining event of the season carrying championship points. The points follow:
Gaston Chevrolet.....1030
Tommy Milton.............930
Jimmie Murphy............805
Ralph De Palma..........605
Rene Thomas.............520
Ralph Mulford.............350
Joe Thomas................301
Eddie Hearne.............205
Ira Vail.......................140"

So, is it safe to assume that Gaston Chevrolet always was the 1920 National Champion? That any malarkey about the Contest Board never revealing the points during the season and that the decision was made on an emotional basis is complete and utter nonsense? Is there now enough evidence to put an end to this nonsense about who was "really" the 1920 National Champion?

Damn, there are actually times when I miss not having RVM as a means to pound crap like this over the head with a sledge hammer....

#32 LaRacasse

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 17:56

I take it that you think that Chevrolet is the indisputable Champion for 1920. I do not disagree with that, necessarily. He was, after all, named Champion at the time, and only subsequent meddling has altered that fact.

However, can you shed some light on something for me? Why were only five events chosen to pay points, AND, WHEN were they chosen?

I have read that several tracks' events would have been included except for the payment of a special sanctioning fee to the AAA. Is this true? And, if it is, why were these fees not paid by these various tracks? Were the fees new, and perhaps unknown of? Or, were they excessive? Also, at that time, would the AAA sanction an event even if the Championship Trail fee had not been paid.

Thanks,

Derek

#33 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 00:03

Originally posted by LaRacasse
I take it that you think that Chevrolet is the indisputable Champion for 1920. I do not disagree with that, necessarily. He was, after all, named Champion at the time, and only subsequent meddling has altered that fact.


I sense, however, that is still doubt in your mind as to this.... If this is the case, see the Last Item.

Originally posted by LaRacasse
However, can you shed some light on something for me? Why were only five events chosen to pay points, AND, WHEN were they chosen?


Good questions to which I don't have the answers you are demanding. I can only suggest -- since the Contest Board records are a bit of a challange -- that the events for the National Championship were announced at the year-end meeting of the Contest Board in 1919. And why five? Judging from the scheduled announced for the 1917 National Championship, which had eight events on it, the Contest Board was perhaps "down-sizing" from the previous season's schedule of over a dozen events. To have a National Championship with only five events on it in 1920 would not out of synch with such thinking for 1920. That is only supposition on my part.

Keep in mind that the Contest Board had not held the National Championship in the 1917 thru 1919 seasons due to the Great War and its aftermath as well as its own internal struggles over continuing to sanction motor contests. Not everyone within the A.A.A. was supportive of the Contest Board and its activities, especially since it did not seem to pay its way as originally intended.

Originally posted by LaRacasse
I have read that several tracks' events would have been included except for the payment of a special sanctioning fee to the AAA. Is this true? And, if it is, why were these fees not paid by these various tracks? Were the fees new, and perhaps unknown of? Or, were they excessive? Also, at that time, would the AAA sanction an event even if the Championship Trail fee had not been paid.


Would, coulda, shoulda are words that are the bane of historians since they often demonstrate a lack of acceptance with what happened.

Let me ask you a question: Where did you read that? It would be nice to know.

As for the Contest Board allowing an event to be run under its sanction without the fee being paid, dream on! No way, Jose! No money for the sanctioning fee, no sanction, end of discussion.

It is generally accepted that the promoter of June Uniontown event opted to not pay the additional money necessary to get a sanction for a championship event and one can assume that he did the same for the September event. However, this appears to be a decision that was entirely his call and the additional amount was not all that much. It was simply a means of cutting his costs.

Last Item.


Derek -- and others, if you don't have a coppy of the Bob Russo article from the January 1987 issue of Indy Car Racing, "Perspective: The 1920 Championship." It remains one of the few in-depth discussions of the 1920 season. However, I maintain that Russo got it wrong -- quite wrong. Russo provides what is baically a conspiracy theory as to the actions of Kennerdell and the announcement of a 1920 National Champion.

Alas, although I have some of the various Official Bulletins and other material from the AAA Contest Board, I lack the materials which Russ Catlin seems to have rescued from the DC dumpsters where most of the other files from the Contest Board ended up. Had Russo access to those minutes that he credits Catlin for rescuing, it would have been very important for him to quote from them or at least provide direct references to them.

If you accept the Russo version of things, then what I have found in my recent research efforts constitutes a media conspiracy -- especially on the part of the Los Angeles Times -- so that Gaston Chevrolet would be named the 1920 National Champion.

My research is far from complete, but it appears that what I have managed to dig up this week makes the Russo thesis -- the conspiracy theory to cover up a bungle by Kennerdell -- a bit more of reach than it was previously. The various newspapers I have surveyed do not mention a "national championship" at the first event held at the Beverly Hill Speedway on 28 February. Not is there any mention of a "national championship" at the the sprint races held at the Beverly Hills Speedway a month after 250-mile event. Likewise, nothing for the International Sweepstakes event on 30 May at Indianapolis. Ditto of the Uniontown event in June.

However, at the Tacoma event we have the LA Times of 6 July, "Tommy Milton Sets the Pace," making a mention of the "national A.A.A. racing championship." It simply states that Milton added to his points as a result of the win. In 11 July, the LA Times article "Milton's Victory Puts Him in Line" makes specific mention of the championship. It mentions that although Chevrolet was leading the championship with 1000 points prior to the event, was fortunate to score more points at Tacoma. The final round in the championship is stated as being at Beverly Hill on Thanksgiving Day with two events left, the Elgin in August and Uniontown in September.

The Chicago Daily Tribune of 18 July specificaly mentions Elgin as being a championship event: "the A.A.A. championship affiar on the Elgin course August 14." In the August 8 LA Times, lists the "Present Standing" of the championship with: Chevrolet 1015 points; Milton, 670; Murphy, 665; Thomas, 520; and so on. The 15 August Chicago Daily Tribune mentions Milton and Murphy as being second and third in "A.A.A. points" to Chevrolet.

Then, there a most curious part of an article in the 29 August LA Times. After Elgin, it has Milton adding 250 points to his total to increase his total to 1220 with Chevrolet at 1030 points and Murphy at 965. The New York Times of 29 August has a similar item in its article with De Palma passing Chevrolet by winning the 500 points at stake in the event, "the last race to count for the 1920 title." Pity the poor historian! But this seems to be more a matter of math errors: De Palma was listed as having 105 points on 8 August in the LA Times, so 500 + 105 would equal 605 points. Adding 250 + 670 equals 920 points, not 1220.

There is no mention of the September Uniontown event being in the championship. Then there is the 12 September issue of the LA Times which seems to have its math correct and has Chevrolte at 1030 points, Milton with 970, Murphy at 805, and De Palma at 605. The 19 September issue of the LA Times reports Milton's quitting the Duesenberg team and that he lags 100 points behind Chevrolt in the "official standings for the Speedway title fro 1920."

There is no mention in the reports on the Fresno race of it being a championship event, but the 10 October LA Times states that the "Fresno race was not a championship event as far as points towards the the title are concerned. Also, the 31 October LA Times in an article on De Palma being asked to head the Ballot effort at the "French Grand Prix" in 1921, mentions that the "battle for the championship of 1920 threatens to be the hottest track duel in the history of racing. For the first time since the momentous year when Dario Resta, Johnny Aitken and Eddie Rickenbacker came out to the Santa Monica road race..... there are four drivers who have a chance to get away with the honors."

Then there is the rest of everything already cited. In additon to the 30 January 1921 Chicago Daily Tribune listing of the 1920 standings, the 26 December Washington Post also has a listing of the season's standings, which happen to match those in the Chicago paper.

I think that is reasonable to assume that -- barring the discovery of a conspiracy within the Contest Board minutes, Gaston Chevrolet can be considered the 1920 National Champion.

#34 LaRacasse

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 03:50

Mr. Capps:

I agree that Chevrolet was the 1920 Champion. I guess I question the AAA's management and running of the Championship. But then again, as you suggest, the AAA had its own problems and issues at that time, and it is not a perfect world.

This is a new, yet fascinating subject to me. I am attempting to learn here, not be an advocate. At least not at this stage. My questions are designed to fill gaps in my knowledge, and try to make sense of things.

Where did I "read" about the sanction fee issue? On here, of course. Indeed, in this very thread.

#35 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 04:06

Believe me, there are lots and lots of gaps in my own knowledge that I am still trying to track down....

However, there is not really all that much interest in things such as this on the forum any more, but what the hell, someone has to be a nuisance and I seem to fill that role quite well. Besides, one never knows what might come of nowhere and make your day.

#36 LaRacasse

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 04:27

As you know, I have a special interest in the Uniontown Speedway. Am I on completely sound footing to say that Uniontown played a role in the 1921 and 1922 Championship seasons?

Although they actually raced at Uniontown from 1916 through 1922, I believe only '21 and '22 involved "Championship Events."

#37 Jim Thurman

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 10:44

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps

If you accept the Russo version of things, then what I have found in my recent research efforts constitutes a media conspiracy -- especially on the part of the Los Angeles Times -- so that Gaston Chevrolet would be named the 1920 National Champion.


I don't accept the Russo version, but an interesting thought to consider...

Don, I see the point standings prior to that fateful Los Angeles Motor Speedway race, but have you run across anything definitive and not contradictory as far as the rewarding of points for each of the races run to that point?...race by race?

Is there any possibility that the AAA made a mistake in tabulations or the media did and they essentially painted themselves into a corner?

There are countless examples of current media jumping and running on something without a reliable source or the slightest bit of fact checking, the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders story being the latest, and it's something getting more pronounced and more frequent on an almost weekly basis, but I digress...

Is it possible that it wasn't a media "conspiracy", but a series of errors based on what was originally incorrect information regarding the points distribution? Certainly a posthumous champion is a lot more exciting angle to go with if you are a newspaper editor.

While this seems like wild speculation, I certainly can see how it could have (yes, there's that phrase - coulda) happened.

It would all hinge on checking varying accounts race by race to see if there are any points discrepancies. The initial reports would have likely come through a wire service or from Los Angeles Times account.

There is also a thought that the AAA might not have wanted a "posthumous" champion as it could have been a public relations nightmare. Not to mention not having a "national champion" to promote at 1921 events. The former would not have seemed as likely as it would have a decade later in wake of Randolph Hearst's exploitive attacks on racing.

While the situation I present is a "coulda", there's no disputing the nightmares the media of the last 20 years will cause researchers. And, again, it's generally getting worse (though the Associated Press finally seems to have gotten it's act together on Auto Racing - for the most part).

As always Don, interesting findings, thanks for posting them.

#38 Jim Thurman

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 10:49

Derek,

Sanctioning fees are still very much a factor in racing. The recently closed Mesa Marin Raceway declined to pay the sanctioning fee to NASCAR for either a Truck race or West Series event one recent season (they returned the next). Purely a promoters decision, as likely was the case with Uniontown and some of the other non-championship status races, as Don rightly points out.

#39 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 09 December 2005 - 11:05

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
I don't accept the Russo version, but an interesting thought to consider...

Don, I see the point standings prior to that fateful Los Angeles Motor Speedway race, but have you run across anything definitive and not contradictory as far as the rewarding of points for each of the races run to that point?...race by race?

Is there any possibility that the AAA made a mistake in tabulations or the media did and they essentially painted themselves into a corner?


The Chicago Tribune article of 30 January 1921 has a complete, event by event tally for the entire season.... and the math seems to work quite well.

If you want a copy of the Tribune article (it is in PDF), I can send it to you via email.

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#40 Jim Thurman

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:46

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


The Chicago Tribune article of 30 January 1921 has a complete, event by event tally for the entire season.... and the math seems to work quite well.

If you want a copy of the Tribune article (it is in PDF), I can send it to you via email.


Don, ok...that answers that part. Yes, please do send that along when you can. I'd appreciate it.

#41 fines

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 17:07

Well, I'll have to check the details when I'm online again at home, but in the meantime this confirms my suspicion that the Milton deal was done later.

Thank you, Don!

#42 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 19:13

Indianapolis Star, 1 May 1921, page 36, "Uniontown Races in Championship Awards This Year."

"Efforts were made by many of the drivers last year to have the Uniontown races counted as championship point events but the matter was taken up too late to have the order entered, according to the information received this year."

#43 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 17:49

For 1915, Earl Cooper is usually trotted out as the "champion" for that season, but "Motor Age" selected Gil Anderson for the speedways and Earl Cooper for the road courses, splitting its honors into two divisions. "Motor," C.G. Sinsabaugh, selected Resta as the Speedway champions with Rickenbacher as the runner-up.

-- The Syracuse Herald, 19 December 1915, page 16.

#44 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 11:09

The [i]Wisconsin State Journal[/] (Madison), dtaed 25 May 1930, has an article entitled "Cooper Only Three Time Champ," on the front page of the "Automotive" section. Interestingly enough, the years of the championships are never mentioned in the article. The article is a story on the pursuit by De Paolo and Meyer for their third titles.

#45 DCapps

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 15:40

Recently, thanks to yet another reminder of one's mortality and that one's "borrowed time" does eventually begin to run out, I decided to put aside my longtime project on the first quarter century of US racing and pull something off the shelf. This is the result of the INDYCAR organization and its continued inability to deal with the past, that something better known as History. The idiocy on the names being inscribed on the Astor Cup beginning with 1909 was bad enough, but their web site is simply a mess in many instances should one wish to investigate its "Past Winners" tab. Even after the hammering that INDYCAR got for their not-so-historical historical record books, the minions at INDYCAR are still as clueless as ever -- if not worse.

 

As with that indomitable sailor, Popeye, there came the where, "I have has enuf'..."

 

Here is a statement that's been on the INDYCAR site since some point in 2017:

 

***INDYCAR has begun the process of digitizing our historical records dating back to 1909 and the earliest days of our sport. You are viewing an initial phase of this project. Please continue to visit this page and follow us on social media for updates as we continue to expand this historical experience.

 

Sitting in the basement of the IMS Museum are five filing cabinets containing whatever Contest Board material managed to pass into official hands after it ceased operations, the material that Gordon White had placed on microfilm approaching four decades ago. If INDYCAR has such documentation as hinted at in the above statement, it is news to a lot of people. Needless to point out, five years later and zip, nada, nothing from INDYCAR. Not to mention that a third-grader could probably do a better job when it comes to the "past winners" material. Typos and no end of stupid errors plague the site.

 

What I pulled literally off the shelf was a project that I originally sketched out longhand while bouncing between various garden spots of Southwest Asia at about the time the last posts were made in this thread. When I became a Non-person, in other words.

 

It was to be a three volume historical record of championship and Indy car racing, with the first covering the most difficult part, the AAA era ending in 1955. The second and third volumes I changed a bit after pulling it off the shelf. The second volume would cover USAC and CART, 1956 to 1995, and the third would now cover the IRL, CCWS, and INDYCAR, 1996 to the present. To my amazement, there still is not a history -- or at least one would a hoot -- covering this aspect of motor sport history. Probably zillions of GP/F1 histories generally plagiarizing from the Formula One Register and a few other sources, pages upon pages on the IMS and its events, diddly-squat on this topic.

 

Just to make things clear, here is the only listing of AAA national champions that either the Racing Board or the Contest Board actually recognized contemporaneously:

 

 

 

1905

Barney Oldfield

1916

Dario Resta

1920

Gaston Chevrolet

1921

Tommy Milton

1922

Jimmy Murphy

1923

Eddie Hearne

1924

Jimmy Murphy

1925

Peter DePaolo

1926

Harry Hartz

1927

Peter DePaolo

1928

Louis Meyer

1929

Louis Meyer

1930

Billy Arnold

1931

Louis Schneider

1932

Bob Carey

1933

Louis Meyer

1934

Bill Cummings

1935

Kelly Petillo

1936

Mauri Rose

1937

Wilbur Shaw

1938

Floyd Roberts

1939

Wilbur Shaw

1940

Rex Mays

1941

Rex Mays

1946

Ted Horn

1947

Ted Horn

1948

Ted Horn

1949

Johnnie Parsons

1950

Henry Banks

1951

Tony Bettenhausen

1952

Chuck Stevenson

1953

Sam Hanks

1954

Jimmy Bryan

1955

Bob Sweikert

 

 

 

 

Speaking of the INDYCAR site, here are a few examples as to why I decided to finally do what should have been done ages ago:

 

This should have Arthur Means, Russ Caitlin, and Bob Russo happy as little larks...

02/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Jimmy Murphy Duesenberg - - 
03/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Art Klein Peugeot - - 
03/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Jimmy Murphy Duesenberg - - 
03/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
05/31/1920 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Gaston Chevrolet Frontenac - - 
06/19/1920 Uniontown Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
07/05/1920 Pacific Coast Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
08/28/1920 Elgin Road Race Course Road Course Ralph DePalma Ballot - - 
09/06/1920 Uniontown Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
10/02/1920 Fresno Speedway Board Jimmy Murphy Duesenberg - - 
11/25/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Roscoe Sarles Duesenberg - -

And, speaking of 1909, see if you notice anything amiss...other than than there never being a national championship sanctioned by the AAA in 1909, that is...

06/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course Bob Burman Buick - - 
06/11/1909 Cactus Derby Course Point-to-Point Joe Nikrent Buick - - 
06/12/1909 Portland Road Race Course Road Course Howard Covey Cadillac - - 
06/12/1909 Portland Road Race Course Road Course Charles Arnold Pope Hartford - - 
06/12/1909 Portland Road Race Course Road Course Bert Dingley Chalmers Detroit - - 
06/18/1909 Crown Point Road Race Course Road Course Joe Matson Chalmers Detroit - - 
06/19/1909 Crown Point Road Race Course Road Course Louis Chevrolet Buick - - 
07/05/1909 Brighton Road Race Course Road Course Eaton McMillian Colburn - - 
07/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course William Knipper Chalmers Detroit - - 
07/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course Louis Chevrolet Buick - - 
07/10/1909 Santa Monica Road Race Course Road Course Harris Hanshue Apperson - - 
07/10/1909 Santa Monica Road Race Course Road Course Bert Dingley Chalmers Detroit - - 
08/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course George Robertson Simplex - - 
08/19/1909 Indiana State Fairgrounds Dirt Oval Bob Burman Buick - - 
08/20/1909 Indiana State Fairgrounds Dirt Oval Louis Strang Buick - - 
08/21/1909 Indiana State Fairgrounds Dirt Oval Leigh Lynch Jackson - - 
09/10/1909 Fairmount Park Road Course George Robertson Simplex - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Ralph DePalma Fiat - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Frank Lescault Palmer Singer - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course William Sharp Sharp Arrow - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Louis Chevrolet Buick - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Arthur See Maxwell - - 
10/24/1909 Portola Road Race Course Road Course Jack Fleming Pope Hartford - - 
10/30/1909 Long Island Motor Parkway Road Course Harry Grant Alco - -

Although the ACA and the AAA were at least talking in 1909, thanks to the formation of the Motor Cups Holding Company, I seriously doubt that the ACA/AAA would have included the ACA-sanctioned Lowell event in its counterfactual championship. Just Saying. Oh, check the dates and venues, as well.

 

There is more, of course, but why beat a dead horse.

 

Realistically, due to health considerations and being slower than ever when it comes to writing, I will probably manage to only focus on the AAA era. That it is the most problematic era is also the reason that my desire is to focus upon it.

 

It is going to have to be a digital project, given that I cannot even imagine a publisher giving it a second thought, which is fine. 

 

I also realize that outside Michael and perhaps only a half dozen or so will even care about such an opus. If it becomes evident that I will not be able to complete it, hopefully, I do plan to pass it on to someone else.

 

HDC


Edited by DCapps, 18 May 2022 - 16:14.


#46 10kDA

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 19:28

Well Mr Capps, I applaud your effort and motivation. History of all kinds continues to be displaced down The Memory Hole, often for no other reason than demands on current bandwidth placed by The Oh-So-Important Present. So, thank you for taking on the job. I'm sure you'll get a few more expressions of gratitude, which - technically - may avoid the "thankless task" designation. It's entirely possible your efforts will put a stop to endless repetition of inaccuracies which seem plausible due only to their officially sanctioned source. For example, photo ID's and descriptions in the San Diego Air & Space Museum's online photo archive.

 

Another appropriate quote from Popeye:

 

"Whoa! Enuf is too much!"

 

Talk about motivating... 



#47 Risil

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 19:46

Very best of luck Don. I'm looking forward to reading what emerges.



#48 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 20:21

It's a worthy project and much needed, fair play to you for taking it on Don.


Edited by Richard Jenkins, 18 May 2022 - 20:22.


#49 Henri Greuter

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 07:02

Recently, thanks to yet another reminder of one's mortality and that one's "borrowed time" does eventually begin to run out, I decided to put aside my longtime project on the first quarter century of US racing and pull something off the shelf. This is the result of the INDYCAR organization and its continued inability to deal with the past, that something better known as History. The idiocy on the names being inscribed on the Astor Cup beginning with 1909 was bad enough, but their web site is simply a mess in many instances should one wish to investigate its "Past Winners" tab. Even after the hammering that INDYCAR got for their not-so-historical historical record books, the minions at INDYCAR are still as clueless as ever -- if not worse.

 

As with that indomitable sailor, Popeye, there came the where, "I have has enuf'..."

 

Here is a statement that's been on the INDYCAR site since some point in 2017:

 

***INDYCAR has begun the process of digitizing our historical records dating back to 1909 and the earliest days of our sport. You are viewing an initial phase of this project. Please continue to visit this page and follow us on social media for updates as we continue to expand this historical experience.

 

Sitting in the basement of the IMS Museum are five filing cabinets containing whatever Contest Board material managed to pass into official hands after it ceased operations, the material that Gordon White had placed on microfilm approaching four decades ago. If INDYCAR has such documentation as hinted at in the above statement, it is news to a lot of people. Needless to point out, five years later and zip, nada, nothing from INDYCAR. Not to mention that a third-grader could probably do a better job when it comes to the "past winners" material. Typos and no end of stupid errors plague the site.

 

What I pulled literally off the shelf was a project that I originally sketched out longhand while bouncing between various garden spots of Southwest Asia at about the time the last posts were made in this thread. When I became a Non-person, in other words.

 

It was to be a three volume historical record of championship and Indy car racing, with the first covering the most difficult part, the AAA era ending in 1955. The second and third volumes I changed a bit after pulling it off the shelf. The second volume would cover USAC and CART, 1956 to 1995, and the third would now cover the IRL, CCWS, and INDYCAR, 1996 to the present. To my amazement, there still is not a history -- or at least one would a hoot -- covering this aspect of motor sport history. Probably zillions of GP/F1 histories generally plagiarizing from the Formula One Register and a few other sources, pages upon pages on the IMS and its events, diddly-squat on this topic.

 

Just to make things clear, here is the only listing of AAA national champions that either the Racing Board or the Contest Board actually recognized contemporaneously:

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of the INDYCAR site, here are a few examples as to why I decided to finally do what should have been done ages ago:

 

This should have Arthur Means, Russ Caitlin, and Bob Russo happy as little larks...

02/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Jimmy Murphy Duesenberg - - 
03/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Art Klein Peugeot - - 
03/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Jimmy Murphy Duesenberg - - 
03/28/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
05/31/1920 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval Gaston Chevrolet Frontenac - - 
06/19/1920 Uniontown Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
07/05/1920 Pacific Coast Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
08/28/1920 Elgin Road Race Course Road Course Ralph DePalma Ballot - - 
09/06/1920 Uniontown Speedway Board Tommy Milton Duesenberg - - 
10/02/1920 Fresno Speedway Board Jimmy Murphy Duesenberg - - 
11/25/1920 Los Angeles Motor Speedway Board Roscoe Sarles Duesenberg - -

And, speaking of 1909, see if you notice anything amiss...other than than there never being a national championship sanctioned by the AAA in 1909, that is...

06/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course Bob Burman Buick - - 
06/11/1909 Cactus Derby Course Point-to-Point Joe Nikrent Buick - - 
06/12/1909 Portland Road Race Course Road Course Howard Covey Cadillac - - 
06/12/1909 Portland Road Race Course Road Course Charles Arnold Pope Hartford - - 
06/12/1909 Portland Road Race Course Road Course Bert Dingley Chalmers Detroit - - 
06/18/1909 Crown Point Road Race Course Road Course Joe Matson Chalmers Detroit - - 
06/19/1909 Crown Point Road Race Course Road Course Louis Chevrolet Buick - - 
07/05/1909 Brighton Road Race Course Road Course Eaton McMillian Colburn - - 
07/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course William Knipper Chalmers Detroit - - 
07/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course Louis Chevrolet Buick - - 
07/10/1909 Santa Monica Road Race Course Road Course Harris Hanshue Apperson - - 
07/10/1909 Santa Monica Road Race Course Road Course Bert Dingley Chalmers Detroit - - 
08/09/1909 Merrimack Valley Course Road Course George Robertson Simplex - - 
08/19/1909 Indiana State Fairgrounds Dirt Oval Bob Burman Buick - - 
08/20/1909 Indiana State Fairgrounds Dirt Oval Louis Strang Buick - - 
08/21/1909 Indiana State Fairgrounds Dirt Oval Leigh Lynch Jackson - - 
09/10/1909 Fairmount Park Road Course George Robertson Simplex - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Ralph DePalma Fiat - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Frank Lescault Palmer Singer - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course William Sharp Sharp Arrow - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Louis Chevrolet Buick - - 
09/29/1909 Riverhead Road Race Course Road Course Arthur See Maxwell - - 
10/24/1909 Portola Road Race Course Road Course Jack Fleming Pope Hartford - - 
10/30/1909 Long Island Motor Parkway Road Course Harry Grant Alco - -

Although the ACA and the AAA were at least talking in 1909, thanks to the formation of the Motor Cups Holding Company, I seriously doubt that the ACA/AAA would have included the ACA-sanctioned Lowell event in its counterfactual championship. Just Saying. Oh, check the dates and venues, as well.

 

There is more, of course, but why beat a dead horse.

 

Realistically, due to health considerations and being slower than ever when it comes to writing, I will probably manage to only focus on the AAA era. That it is the most problematic era is also the reason that my desire is to focus upon it.

 

It is going to have to be a digital project, given that I cannot even imagine a publisher giving it a second thought, which is fine. 

 

I also realize that outside Michael and perhaps only a half dozen or so will even care about such an opus. If it becomes evident that I will not be able to complete it, hopefully, I do plan to pass it on to someone else.

 

HDC

 

 

 

I regrettably recognize some of your sentiments as for how (the wrong????)  people at the right places feel about history being preserved and being preserved and recorded correct.

Even more recent US open wheel racing history is a chore to sort out into details. The dominance and importance of that one certain `quadrangle` in the Mid-West and all that came along with that is definitely charming but no help all the time.

 

But I also feel that you will be taking on this project and eventually this being to the benefit of more people than you think you will.

 

Thanks for devoting your time to this effort.



#50 DCapps

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 14:08

As I initiallly contemplated the three volumes of what I eventually decided to entitle The Historical Record of Championship and Indy Car Racing, I chose that title very carefully. In the beginning, I actually considered doing Volume II, the USAC and CART 1956 to 1995, first. However, as much as I felt that it was a good starting point given my defining an Historical Record as being both the usual race data and the narrative that provides context and interpretation of events and seasons, the disaster that is the AAA era finally won out. A major attraction to Volume II was the level of conflict that can be found during those four decades. Not only the USAC/CART Rounds 1 and 2, but the challenges of ACCUS, NASCAR, SCCA, television, the IMS, FISA, and so forth and so on. Lots of meaty material to wrap around what I hoped would be a much, much better presentation of the race material crammed into the usual boxscores (an adaptation of the Formula One Register template as suggested by Paul Sheldon -- who actually was the genesis of all this, by the way...) and as a result of thinking as to how better format all this.

 

The notion of footnotes being littered through the monographs was a no-brainer, of course. How in the world can you possibly produce a possible reference work and not provide sources? Well, "auto racing historians" generally avoid them, of course. Then again, as Henri suggest, writing motor sport history is certainly a chore given the plentitude of details to sort out. However, that is what historians do. Interpretations will fall short, factual errors will occur, and the dreaded editorial glitches will manifest themselves, and so on, but that is why I would hope that the volumes would be "living documents." That is, the Michaels of the world will revise and update as necessary and warranted: references added, along with footnotes, and topics reexamined and new interpretations suggested.

 

I only wish that I had JGP, Phil, David, Paul, and several others around to kick things around with as I slog through this.


Edited by DCapps, 19 May 2022 - 14:09.