The Racing Twenties Essay

1365 words - 5 pages

While automobile racing is a sport that is firmly ingrained in American culture now, it wasn't always the mature sport we see today. The motorsport that tests a driver's precision, reflexes, and car is only around 110 years old. There is a decade in racing history that many NASCAR fans never think about, and that is the 'Roaring Twenties'. The 1920s really laid the groundwork for the fierce competition seen in the 1930s with innovation in car technology, skilled racing teams, and new championship events. Of course, this innovation wasn't without consequences, as auto racing isn't the safest sport. NOT COMPLETE
While this period is interesting in the development of auto racing, it wasn't a new sport at the time. The first race occurred in 1894 as a local competition in France, put on by a Paris magazine. This Paris-Rouen race was an overall test of a driver's skill and the quality of their 'horseless carriages'. The following year saw the first organized races, and they quickly crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Chicago had its own race in 1895. By 1900 there was an international competition, known as the Gordon Bennett Cup. The cup was awarded for five years before it was eclipsed by the Grand Prix, which was organized by the Automobile Club de France. The Grand Prix, held in 1906, was the first race to be driven on a circuit rather than a straight road. This was because a previous event had resulted in too many dead drivers and pedestrians. NOT COMPLETE
Stock Car racing, which is the current-day NASCAR, came from the 'Noble Experiment' of the 1920s. Prohibition was supposed to stop the transportation of alcohol, but it also started a large criminal movement around brewing alcohol, known as bootlegging. To transport moonshine, a type of home-brewed alcohol, 'moonshine runners' would drive it in fast cars in the middle of the night. Since the owned the fast cars already, the drivers would race them during the day. Thus stock car racing was born.
The 1920s saw a heightened interest in auto racing and the introduction of several racing events. Currently, the highest achievement for any race-car driver is the Triple Crown, which is a term applied to winning the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix. The Indy 500 was already active when 1920 rolled around, and the latter two held their first races in the same decade.
Known as the International 500-Mile Sweepstakes in 1920, the Indy 500 had already been running for 9 years. It had become a popular pastime, and had an attendance of 85,000 [FACT CHECK] spectators in 1911. Unfortunatly, the decde started out badly in Speedway, Indiana. Gaston Chevrolet, brother to the founder of the Chevrolet company, died in a crash with another driver. After he had been killed, officials realized he had won the race in points. The New York Times said, "Chevrolet, who was 28 years old, was the youngest of three racing brothers, the others being Louis and...

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