1909 AAA Championship Car season

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1909 AAA Championship Car season
AAA National Championship Trail
Season
Races 24
Start date June 12
End date November 6
Awards
National champion United StatesGeorge Robertson (unofficial)
← 1905
1910 →

The 1909 AAA Championship Car season consisted of 24 races, beginning in Portland, Oregon on June 12 and concluding with a point-to-point race from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona on November 6. There were three events sanctioned by the Automobile Club of America in Lowell, Massachusetts. The de facto National Champion as poled by the American automobile journal Motor Age was Bert Dingley. Points were not awarded by the AAA Contest Board during the 1909 season. Champions of the day were decided by Chris G. Sinsabaugh, an editor at Motor Age, based on merit and on track performance. The points table was created retroactively in 1927 keeping Dingley as champion. In 1951 the championship standings were reworked, stripping the traditional champion of his title and giving it to George Robertson. All championship results should be considered unofficial.

Schedule and results[edit]

Date Race Name
Distance (miles)
Track Location Type Notes Pole Position Winning Driver
June 12 Portland Race 1 (43.8) Portland Road Race Course Portland, Oregon 14.6 mile road course Stock class, costing $1600 or under Howard Covey
Portland Race 2 (43.8) Limited to stock chassis of less than $3000 Charlie Arnold
June 12 Wemme Cup Race (102.2) Free-For-All class. Bert Dingley
June 18 Indiana Trophy Race (232.74) Crown Point Road Race Circuit Crown Point, Indiana 23.27 mile road course Limited to stock chassis of maximum of 300 ci Joe Matson
June 19 Cobe Trophy Race (395.65) Limited to stock chassis of over 300 ci Louis Chevrolet
July 5 Denver Trophy Race (290) Brighton Road Race Course Denver, Colorado 14.5 mile road course Limited to stock chassis, Open engine Eaton McMillan
July 10 Ferris Trophy Race (202.42) Santa Monica Road Race Course Santa Monica, California 8.417 mile road course Limited to stock chassis, light cars Harris Hanshue Harris Hanshue
July 10 Shelter Trophy Race (202.42) Limited to stock chassis, heavy cars Bert Dingley
August 19 Prest-O-Lite Trophy Race (250) Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis, Indiana 2.5 mile dirt oval Stock chassis, 301–450 ci; Billy Bourque and his riding mechanic Harry Holcomb fatally injured[1] Bob Burman
August 20 G & J Trophy Race (100) Stock chassis. Lewis Strang
August 21 Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race* (245) Limited to stock chassis; Charles Merz broke through the outer fence, crashed into a crowd, and rolled over; his mechanician Claude Kellum was thrown out and died along with two spectators, Howard Jolliff and James West; others were injured[2] Leigh Lynch
September 6 Vesper Club Trophy Race** (212) Merrimack Valley Course Lowell, Massachusetts 10.6 mile road course Limited to stock chassis, 301–450 ci Lee Lorimer Bob Burman
Yorick Club Trophy Race** (159) Limited to stock chassis, 231–300 ci, John Coffey Louis Chevrolet
Merrimack Valley Trophy Race** (127.2) Limited to stock chassis, 161–230 ci; Arthur Otis, a passer-by, who had entered the foggy race track, fatally struck by Joe Matson's car in practice[3] Joseph Grinnon Billy Knipper
Lowell Trophy Race** (318) Limited to stock chassis, 451–600 ci George Robertson
September 29 Riverhead Class A*** (227.5) Riverhead Road Race Course Riverhead, New York 22.75 mile road course $4001 and over; James Bates, riding mechanic for Herbert Lytle, fatally injured[4] Ralph DePalma
Riverhead Class B*** (182) $3001–4000 Frank Lescault
Riverhead Class C*** (136.5) $2001–3000 William Sharp
Riverhead Class D*** (113.75) $1251–2000 Louis Chevrolet
Riverhead Class E*** (91) $851–1250 Arthur See
October 9 Philadelphia Race (202.5) Fairmount Park Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 8 mile road course Stock Chassis George Robertson
October 23 Portola Road Race (258.16) Portola Road Race Course San Leandro, California 21.18 mile road course A tire which had flown off Howard Hall's car knocked down a spectator, Peter McKiterick, who later succumbed to his injuries.[5][6] Jack Fleming
October 30 William K. Vanderbilt Cup (278) Long Island Motor Parkway Long Island, New York 12.64 mile road course Limited to stock chassis, 301–600 ci Lewis Strang Harry Grant
November 6 Cactus Derby (480) Los Angeles to Phoenix California to Phoenix Point to Point Limited to stock chassis Joe Nikrent
Louis Nikrent

* Race halted at 235 miles due to track breaking up. AAA report states that race was halted at 245 miles.

** Event sanctioned by Automobile Club of America, 301–450, 231–300 & 161–230 run simultaneously.

*** All classes run simultaneously.

Leading National Championship standings[edit]

The points paying system for the 1909–1915 and 1917–1919 season were retroactively applied in 1927 and revised in 1951 using the points system from 1920.

 #  Driver Sponsor Points
1 George Robertson* Simplex 1480
2 Louis Chevrolet Buick 1300
3 Joe Nikrent Buick 1110
4 Bob Burman Buick 1100
5 Bert Dingley Chalmers-Detroit 920

* Bert Dingley was poled as national champion in 1909 and held his championship when points were applied in 1927. These are the final standing as of 1951 after AAA revised the championship trail for 1909. The earliest know occurrence of George Robertson holding the title was in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 program.

See also[edit]

American Championship car racing

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Two perished in auto race". The Evening Citizen. Ottawa, Canada. Associated Press. August 20, 1909. 
  2. ^ "Death claims further toll". The Evening Sentinel. Rochester, Indiana. August 23, 1909. 
  3. ^ "Fatal injury to man at Lowell". The Day. New London, Connecticut. August 31, 1909. 
  4. ^ "All records broken; spill costs one life". Daily Press. Newport News, Virginia. Associated Press. September 30, 1909. 
  5. ^ "Flying tire may cost man's life". Oakland Tribune. October 24, 1909. Archived from the original on December 7, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Victim of flying auto tire dies". The San Francisco Call. December 15, 1909. 

General references[edit]