Thursday, Nov 07 2013

Presentation “The Thrill of the Chase-The 1909 Long Island Stock Car Derby”,  Malverne, NY

“The Thrill of the Chase”

Sponsored by the Greater New York Region AACA

Unearthing the History of a Long Forgotten Road Race

You undoubtedly remember the thrill of tracking down that car that you just HAD to have! You had some leads and tips on how to locate it, but it was elusive. There were twists and turns as you gradually got closer to the mother lode of information on where to find it and who to contact to make the deal.

Bob Barauskas knows that thrill full well – not only in terms of tracking down and waiting patiently for the car of his dreams to become available, but also in terms of tracking down the history of a long forgotten road race.

You would never guess how this all started. Bob and his wife, Lynn, own the property in Riverhead that has been in his Lynn’s family since the early 1800’s. Bob wanted to find out more about the history of the farm and the family members. is a fabulous tool, as many of you know, and Bob found a lot of information there. Bob found an article about an automobile race in 1909 that started in Riverhead and went east to Mattituck, on the North Fork, and back past the reviewing stand on the northern end of Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead, and round and round five times before reaching the finishing line. The race, known as the Long Island Stock Car Derby, garnered support from people in the developing car industry who were trying to prove what cars could bring to changing the way that business could change and grow, new communities could be developed and more opportunities to see new parts of the countryside. New industries could develop.

A Buick dealer in Manhattan was very enthusiastic about supporting the Riverhead to Mattituck race. He saw it as a warm-up, so to speak, for the Vanderbilt Race that was scheduled to take place later that year. In fact, some of the same drivers were in the race. One name that you will find familiar is Louis Chevrolet. And, of course, there was William K. Vanderbilt Jr. also, among many seventeen others. Unfortunately, there was a death of one of the mechanicians, the support person for the driver, and the race got a lot of negative publicity. The Long Island Stock Car Derby, as it was commonly known, was never run again, although other races continued throughout the country.

All of this information, and a whole lot more, came to light as Bob continued the chase for information, some seven years ago. And Bob is still searching for details of the race.

On Thursday, November 7, Bob will share some of his vast knowledge about this Riverhead to Mattituck Road Race through his presentation and photographs. Be prepared to come early in order to see the vast collection of photos on the side tables, and then enjoy the other photos that will be on the screen while Bob talks.

Bob is an interesting presenter who is a car collector himself, lead the Peconic Bay Region AACA for 9 years, was Co-Editor of the PBR-AACA award-winning newsletter, “The Blue Smoke”, was co-chair of the 2004 Eastern Division Tour on Long Island, co-chaired and chaired the annual Peconic Bay Swap Meet where he continues to be famous as the chef of the iconic Clam Chowder. Bob has also been President of the Suffolk County Historical Society from 2009 until the present and is a Member of the Society of Automotive Historians. Through his active role in Riverhead, Bob was active in supporting the commitment to re-position downtown Riverhead as an east-end but of cultural and business activity and participated in supporting the renovation of the historic Vail-Leavitt Music Hall at the cross-roads of old downtown Riverhead.

Today Bob is continuing the thrill of seeking out more leads about the Riverhead-Mattituck Race and will share his up to the minute discoveries with you through his presentation.

Reserve Thursday night, November 7, following the 8pm general meeting, for Bob’s exciting presentation.

Location: American Legion Hall

Address: 1 Legion Place, Malverne