The 1906 Finish
First Use of Checkered Flag to Finish a Race
As Wagner was about to win the contest, starter Fred Wagner waved what is believed to be the first checkered flag used to signify the finish of an auto race. Standing on the railing above the flag, Willie K saluted the victor. The winning Darracq averaged 62.7 mph over the 297.1-mile race. Lancia’s F.I.AT. finished second, only three minutes and 18 seconds behind, followed 16 seconds later by Arthur Duray’s Lorraine-Dietrich.
Crowd Swarms on to Jericho Turnpike
More than 200,000 spectators attended the race, breaking the attendance record set at the 1905 race. After the race was called, the crowd once again filled Jericho Turnpike around the grandstand.
Louis Wagner Wins Again for France
The victory of driver Louis Wagner (left) and his riding mechanician Louis Vivet was the third consecutive win for France. Wagner called the race “certainly the most nerve-wrenching contest in motoring history,” and later wrote a magazine article about the horror of racing through roads crowded with people.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle Cover
While the press praised the entertainment value of the race, the death to a spectator also fueled editorials crying for crowd control reform. The bone of contention was the continued use of public roads. Two days after the race, AAA President John Farson appointed a special committee to look into developing a privately owned speedway. At an October 18, 1906, meeting William K. Vanderbilt Jr. was named president of a newly formed “Automobile Highway Association.” The company would later become Long Island Motor Parkway, Inc., responsible for developing the first road built specifically for the automobile.
- “The Vanderbilt Cup”: The Broadway Musical
- The 1906 American Elimination Trial
- Preparing for the 1906 Race
- The Start of the 1906 Race
- Crowds on the Course
- Action in Manhasset
- The Hairpin Turn in Old Westbury
- Action Around the Course
- The Trials and Tribulation of Shepard’s Hotchkiss
- The 1906 Finish
- 1906 Race Statistics
- 1906 Race Summary
The 128-page book by Howard Kroplick, a researcher and lecturer on the races, contains rare images of the races from the archives of major museums, libraries and private collectors. The book Vanderbilt Cup Races of Long Island will be available from Arcadia Publishing in March 2008.continue reading-->