1895 – The First American Automobile Race; Speeds Top 7 mph

Of course, the various city agencies had to be on the same page first… a few car teams had trouble even getting to the starting line:

Both Haynes and the driver of a Benz car, were stopped by police while driving their cars into the city. They were forced to requisition horses to pull the cars… as the police informed them, they had no right to drive their vehicles on the city streets.

The Chicago Times-Herald race was the first automobile race held in the United States. Sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald, the race was held in Chicago in 1895 between six cars and won by Charles Duryea‘s Motorized Wagon. The race created considerable publicity for the motocycle, which had been introduced in the United States only two years earlier.

On July 10, 1895 the Chicago Times-Herald announced a race to be held in the city, with a winning prize of $5,000 ($139,680 in today’s money). The promotion was an attempt to foster growth of the young auto industry in the United States and to boost newspaper sales. The first automobiles in the nation were produced only two years earlier, and they were so new at the time that the paper’s editors could not easily agree upon a name for them. After considerable wrangling, the editors decided to call it a Moto-Cycle race, and first used the term in a July 15 article.

Further Reading: