Jan 06 2009

The Dangerous Role of the Mechanician

Every race car that participated in the Vanderbilt Cup Races of 1904 to 1910 carried two men, the driver and a riding mechanic called a mechanician. The mechanician assisted with repairs, helped navigate the course, and worked a hand pump to maintain fuel pressure.

As described in my March 28, 2008 post, the mechanician was the most dangeous position on the course. Of the four deaths associated with the Long Island Vanderbilt Cup Races, three were mechanicians.

In the above image, driver Harry Grant and mechanician Frank Lee in the Alco "Black Beast" are seen taking the Westbury Turn at Old Country Road during the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race.


Jan 06 2009 richard lee 8:45 AM

thanks for keeping my great grampas name alive.. Frank Henry Lee~“mechanic”

Jan 06 2009 Howard Kroplick 7:38 PM


It is a pleasure!


Jan 11 2009 jim poole 2:32 PM

I second Richard’s comment.  Thanks for keeping all the names of these racing greats alive for future generations.  You do a great job on this site.  I wish I lived closer to Long Island. But then again, it IS cold up there.

Jan 11 2009 Howard Kroplick 6:36 PM

Hi Jim:

Thanks for the thanks!

Your grandfather Al Poole was one of the best mechanicians in the Vanderbilt Cup Races!




Dec 18 2011 Jon Clifton 6:03 PM

Thanks for keeping the memories of the riding mechanics alive.

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