Mar 24 2014

Behind the Scenes: Velocity Channel’s AmeriCarna Vanderbilt Cup Race Episode

The 30-minute program on the Vanderbilt Cup Races shown on the Velocity Channel’s AmeriCarna series was outstanding. Since the program was initially broadcasted on March 4, 2014, over 9,000 new viewers have visited

The Vanderbilt Cup Race episode will be repeated throughtout the spring and summer. On Long Island, repeats of the Velocity Channel's AmeriCarna series can be seen on Cablevision's #27 and #727 (HD Channel), DISH Network #246, FIOS (631 HD) and Direct TV #281.

Here is a "behind the scenes" account of the making of this program.


Howard Kroplick


A three-minute preview:

Question: What is AmeriCarna?

This 10-part series on Discovery’s Velocity channel features racing icon Ray Evernham (left) “chasing down cars that had a profound impact on shaping our national identity.” Evernham is considered one of the greatest crew chiefs of all time with 47 wins and three championships with Jeff Gordon. He is co-owner of the AmeriCarna series with Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports (right). Among the featured  AmeriCarna guests in its first year were Ron Howard, Mike Love and Brad Paisley. The series has been renewed for a second season.

When and where was the Vanderbilt Cup Race episode filmed?

The episode was filmed on April 27-28, 2013 in Roslyn, Huntington, Westbury, Old Westbury and Lebanon, New Jersey.

Waterfront at Roslyn, Roslyn, NY

Primary filming took place at the Black Beast Garage at the Waterfront at Roslyn

Ray was surprised at the size of the 680 cubic inch 6-cyclinder engine.

Showing Ray the manual fuel pump.

Ray was a wonderful, friendly interviewer . We had a lot of fun, which I believe showed up in the filming.

Ray gave a big smile when we joked that the mechanician was the most important person on the racing team…just like a crew chief.

Where did the Black Beast go for a ride?

I took Ray for a two-mile trip through the historic Village of Roslyn.

Which historic Vanderbilt Cup Race locations did we visit?

Ray  and I visited three historic Vanderbilt Cup Race course locations; the 1906 Hairpin Turn in Old Westbury (left), the 1904 and 1906 grandstand location in Westbury and the 1908 Ellison Road railroad bridge in Westbury.

The house at the Hairpin Turn in Old Westbury remains basically unchanged since 1906.

Next stop was the “sacred ground” of the Start/Finish line and grandstands for the 1904 and 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

The same view as seen in 1904.

Why did Ray decide to visit Chrysler’s Chrysler?

Ray Evernham was fascinated that I was restoring Walter P. Chrysler’s 1937 C-15 TownCar. Chrysler had once worked as a plant manager for an Alco locomotive factory.

After spending a day with me, Ray visited Steve Babinsky’s Automotive Restorations facility in Lebanon, New Jersey. The Chrysler can be seen in the middle of the photo, taken almost one year ago.

Steve is showing Ray the unique spring loaded automatic window and door locking system of the car.

How did Ray get to see the Vanderbilt Cup Trophy?

Persistence! After weeks of trying, they received a go ahead.

I really enjoyed watching Ray’s excitement on finally tracking down the Vanderbilt Cup trophy.

Another highlight was seeing the Harry Grant and the Alco on the trophy.

Closing Credits

It was wonderful to see the closing credits with one of my favorite photos in the background of Willie K. at the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race.


Mar 09 2014 Walt Gosden 10:24 AM

A really wonderful show and presentation, with a great perspective on the history of the Vanderbilt Cup races and how they were a major impact on car racing in the USA as well as the development of the automobile. Very well edited, with a lot of period images (thank you Howard!) This show doesn’t have the hype/focus of the majority of the other car shows on Velocity - find cars, talk the owners out of the, resell them for a big $. What a refreshing change to view a show about cars that focus on their history not the current value $ wise.

Mar 09 2014 Ken Harris 10:27 AM

Thoroughly enjoyed the Americarna presentation.  Excellent work by the team of Howard and Ray!


Mar 09 2014 Jan Hyde 11:54 AM

How did Ray learn about the ALCO?  What prompted him & his producers to make the episode?  How many video cameras, technicians?  Did they offer to pay you anything?  The video clips are good.

Mar 09 2014 H. Robert Greenbaum 11:56 AM

You are terrific.  I called Paul Bergman to watch yesterday.
Paul’s Father Sig and my Dad Sonny were huge fans of Phil Kroplick.
So were we all.  And, Heshy, we are certainly in your Fan Club, even if I serve as
Mechanician Emeritus.

Mar 09 2014 Bruce Adams 12:07 PM

Great Show, Howard !
You have brought the Vanderbilt Cup and The L I Motor Parkway to the nation again. 
I enjoy speaking with people in California, say at Pebble Beach, who all seem to know about the early Long Island races and the Motor Parkway, with a great deal of this information resulting from your work and from shows like this starring the Black Beast as a vehicle to help show the Motor Parkway and early racing on Long Island.

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 1:21 PM

Jan, the producers found out about the Vanderbilt Cup Races and the Alco from this website. There were two cameras for the shoot and two Go-Pros on the Black Beast.  The AmeriCarna staff were two cameramen, one sound person, a director, a production manager and Ray. Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) received a donation for my participation in this program.

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 1:23 PM

Bruce, note the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society plate on the front of the Black Beast.

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 1:24 PM

Thanks all for the positive feedback. Much appreciated!

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 2:40 PM

From Linda C.

Love this!!!

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 2:42 PM

From Ray:

I caught the show on Velocity last night and it was fantastic! You did a great job giving them just what they needed to make a fine TV show while bringing attention to the Vanderbilt Cup Races. Bravo!!

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 3:24 PM

From Len M.

Saw the velocity Channel show this weekend—quite nicely done. Enjoy your newsletter immensely

Mar 09 2014 Chris H. 4:39 PM

More !!!

Mar 09 2014 Bobby 8:35 PM

Awesome..!  What a fun show…!  Very nicely produced….  Great job and thanks for sharing the newsletter too…

Mar 09 2014 Howard Kroplick 10:09 PM

From: Bruce L:

Very impressed with Americarna! Great job

Mar 10 2014 R Troy 12:03 AM

Are there any future showings of this episode?  No TIVO slot the first time, just heard about the recent showing after being away.



Mar 10 2014 Frank Tedesco 10:08 AM

The episode was AWESOME! I really enjoyed it. Thank you Howard for the web site and for offering the Black Beast for us to see (and hear!) through out the year. Who else does that with a 1 of 1 race car!

Mar 10 2014 Eric 6:36 PM

Great episode, thanks!

Mar 11 2014 Ted 7:23 PM

I’m glad that I mentioned , you can only watch it on cablevision #27/727 if you have HD, because you added it in ( ). Now more people will know about it. Be back later

Mar 13 2014 Ted 2:47 PM

Finally going to watch it, at my daughters house on Sunday, she invited us, for my wife’s birthday, which is tomorrow, she’s taping it tonight for me and maybe you’ll get another website fan, her husband

Mar 17 2014 Ted 12:15 AM

It was awesome. I think the best part was when Ray got to see the Vanderbilt Cup Trophy, the excitement it gave him, the amazement that he actually saw it live and up close. There were part that I have never seen. I wanted to watch it again, but didn’t have the time

Mar 28 2014 Howard Kroplick 3:51 PM

From Richard Lester:

I just watched you in the AmeriCarna show - what a terrific job you did.
It was fantastic!! I really enjoyed it.

Mar 29 2014 Howard Kroplick 1:22 AM

From Josh Houghton:

The checkered flag was a cool bit of info. Glad you talked about the Vanderbilt Cup races, that is a fantastic subject that I hope gets more light shed on it.

Mar 29 2014 Howard Kroplick 1:23 AM

From Douglas Bauer:

awesome show , keep those vintage race cars coming ,especially the indy cars , but how about a CanAm car

Mar 29 2014 Howard Kroplick 1:34 AM

From Andrew S.

Just watched the AmeriCarna episode. So great to see you on tv.  You did an excellent job. The Smithsonian should give you that trophy - it’s a shame to have it locked away and not displayed.

Leave a Comment