May 06 2010

A Treasure Box of Long Island Auto Racing Discovered by the Cradle of Aviation

Last month the Cradle of Aviation Museum received a gift of the photographic archives of a man long-associated with Long Island aviation. Among the hundreds of photos in the collection was one box of 265 negatives and glass plates related to Long Island automobile racing.

The images were taken by photographer John Drennan of Mineola from 1935 to 1965 and include photos of Roosevelt Raceway, Freeport Stadium and the Bridgehampton Circuit. The vast majority of these photos have never been published!


The first photos from the collection are 1937 aerial views of Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury looking west. The revised track for the 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Race can seen on the right. The long road on the left is our beloved Long Island Motor Parkway...still operating in 1937. Remember to click on the image to enlarge it.



These two diagrams showed the revised course for the 1937 race. Embarrassed by the modest speeds in the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the track's length was reduced to 3.333 miles and nine turns were eliminated. Note: The special gate (#7) for the Motor Parkway drivers on the top left of the diagrams.


This close-up of the aerial shows the entrance to the track from the Motor Parkway (top left corner). A bridge over the Motor Parkway to the Meadowbrook Polo Field can be seen in the middle of the photo.


This close-up of the lower section of the aerial shows the Motor Parkway Bridge over Merrick Avenue, the "hook" entrance to the Parkway and the Meadow Brook Lodge. Look very carefully to the top and middle of this image and you can see the remains of the temporary road used as part of the 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race course.

I will be cataloging and reproducing the photos from the Drennan Collection and making then available on throughout 2010.


May 09 2010 guy 4:17 PM

This looks like the mother lode! Can you verify that the pit lane is on the south off LIMP and Stewart Ave running counter-clockwise?
I’m particularly interested in The Bridge photos for my own archives.

May 09 2010 Howard Kroplick 8:43 PM

Hi Guy:

Roosevelt Raceway was north of the Motor Parkway and Stewart Avenue. Gate #7 was a special entrance for Motor Parkway drivers.

I will be posting the Bridge photos sometime this month.


May 12 2010 Tom 9:52 AM

Excellent, love to see these photos. As well I look very much forward to seeing The Bridge ones as well as others!

Apr 17 2011 steve l 8:47 AM

more great photos,thanks.looking forward to the Bridge pictures,a group called EMRA ran a Vanderbilt Cup Series there in the ‘70s(unofficial?).It was truly a special place for race fans.Guy’s site is also great.

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