Feb 09 2011

The Vanderbilt Cup Race Courses (1904-1910)

The six Vanderbilt Cup Races from 1904 to 1910 were held on five different courses on Long Island. The last three races from 1908 to 1910 were partially held on the Long Island Motor Parkway.

1904 Course


The race course traversed 30.24 miles of public roads in the center of Long Island. Triangular in shape, Jericho Turnpike, Massapequa-Hicksville Road, and the new Hempstead-Bethpage Turnpike formed its sides. Running clockwise and beginning in Westbury, the three long stretches of roads were connected by major turns in Jericho, Plainedge, and Queens. The plan called for a 10-lap race with drivers stopping in two “controls” on each tour of the course. The controls were in the towns of Hicksville and Hempstead, the largest population centers in Nassau County. At the controls, the cars were stopped, inspected, and allowed to proceed slowly over railroad tracks led by officials on bicycles. Deducting the length of the two controls, one lap of the course was 28.44 miles making the race 284.4 miles.

Length of Course (Miles): 28.4

Length of Public Roads in Course (Miles): 28.4

Length of Long Island Motor Pkwy in Course (Miles): 0.0

Number of Laps: 10

Distance of Course (Miles): 284.4

1905 Course


Many drivers, including 1904 winner George Heath, were critical of the Hempstead and Hicksville controls which required the cars to stop for periods of two and six minutes. In response, the AAA Race Commission modified the 1905 course to eliminate the stops in large towns and reduce the number of sharp turns. The new layout was 28.3 miles long, still through rural Long Island. The start-finish line and grandstand were moved to Jericho Turnpike in Mineola, approximately four miles west of the 1904 location.

Length of Course (Miles): 28.3

Length of Public Roads in Course (Miles): 28.3

Length of Long Island Motor Pkwy in Course (Miles): 0.0

Number of Laps: 10

Distance of Course (Miles): 283.0

1906 Course


For the third time in as many years, drivers in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race faced a new course layout. The construction of a new trolley line stretching from Queens to Mineola forced a redesign of the western section of the course from its 1905 configuration. The grandstand returned to its 1904 site on Jericho Turnpike in Westbury. The first 12 miles of the new 29.7-mile course was unaltered from 1905, including the turns at Jericho, East Norwich, and Bull’s Head Hotel in Greenvale. The remaining 17.7 miles presented hilly sections and more challenging turns than drivers had seen before. After heading south on Glen Cove Road, the revised course included a “Hairpin Turn” in Old Westbury, two new turns in Roslyn, the challenging hills in Manhasset Valley, and two more turns in Lakeville. The final challenges were a turn at Krug’s Hotel in Mineola and a nearby railroad crossing heading back east on Jericho Turnpike.

Length of Course (Miles): 29.1

Length of Public Roads in Course (Miles): 29.1

Length of Long Island Motor Pkwy in Course (Miles): 0.0

Number of Laps: 10

Distance of Course (Miles): 297.1

1908 Course


The 1908 course was finalized in late September, including only 9 miles of the Long Island Motor Parkway and 11 new Motor Parkway bridges over and under public roads. The remainder of the course was 16.46 miles of public roads, primarily Round Swamp Road, Plainview Road, Jericho Turnpike, and Ellison Road.

Length of Course (Miles): 23.46

Length of Public Roads in Course (Miles): 14.46

Length of Long Island Motor Pkwy in Course (Miles): 9.0

Number of Laps: 11

Distance of Course (Miles): 258.06

1909 and 1910 Course


The same course was used for both the 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races. At 12.64 miles, the course was shorter than those for any previous Vanderbilt Cup Race and for the first time did not cross railroad tracks. The Long Island Motor Parkway made up only 5.15 miles of the total distance with Old Country Road and Massapequa-Hicksville Road making up the majority of the public roads used. Organizers believed the shorter course would decrease the intervals of time between appearances of cars and also provide more exciting entertainment for spectators.

Length of Course (Miles): 12.64

Length of Public Roads in Course (Miles): 7.49

Length of Long Island Motor Pkwy in Course (Miles): 5.15

Number of Laps: 22

Distance of Course (Miles): 278.08

Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com:

Archives: Courses

Archives: Vanderbilt Cup Races


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