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Start Your Engines! All About Racing!

When it comes to sport and play, one of the forms of entertainment that gets spectators screaming with excitement is car racing. In this sport, drivers and their high speed vehicles race in competitions across the globe. As soon as automobiles were invented, the race was on for the best driver and the best car, even when there were horseless carriages and unpaved roads races were held. Since the very first racing competition in the 1800’s, major competitions have been established. Some of these are: The Vanderbilt Cup, The Peking-Paris Race, The Indianapolis 500, and the Monaco Grand Prix to name a few.

The first auto race to take place was held in Paris in 1894. However, the first race in the United States happened in 1895, taking place in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. In this race, drivers were speeding on a round trip race from Chicago to Evanston. The drivers’ speed at that time was only 7.5 mph. Frank Duryea won that first American auto race. Although the first open road race took place in 1894, close circuit road racing did not occur until three years after the first American race, this happened in 1898 in France. By the 1900’s, France was the leader in car racing and drivers took to the road at speeds of 80.46 kph. However, due to the risk of spectators and farm animals being in harm’s way, road races in Europe decreased. It wasn’t until after World War I, that racing cars took on a whole new look, being modified with special interior work like specialty drivers seats, even the gas tanks, tires and frame work were modified, changing a street car into a racing car for professionals.

As spectators watching from the stands, car racing may look like the perfect sport to get into if you are into speed and modified cars that are souped-up and blazing around the track. From the make and model of the car on the track, it may look like your standard street vehicle, except for the writings and advertisement on the body of the car. However, there is much more that goes into preparation of turning a street car into a racing machine. For instance, the design of a race car will require more than an air bag and seat belt to keep the driver safe while driving at high speed. The modification of cars begins first with the concept of keeping the driver safe from injuries.

Racing cars are equipped with three elements, support of the vital body parts like the head and upper and lower body parts. The second element is having a chassis that holds securely the seat and the driver for high speed driving and of course collisions, which means the driver must also wear a harness. Race cars are also equipped with anti-intrusion panels and safety cells that protect the cockpit and driver. Unlike a regular street car that you drive everyday under normal speed, the race car comes equipped with crushable structures that decelerate the body. Crash structures absorb the energies of collisions at high speed. Street cars do not have such structures, only a bumper and a fender. When building or modifying a vehicle for racing, it is important to keep in mind the driver’s line of sight, the position and distance of the steering wheel, the gauge placements and pedal leverage and position. All controls should be positioned as not to get in the way of the steering wheel.

When it comes to speed, cars, and racing tracks; there are different kinds of racing and each one has their own different element that makes them different and unique. One of the most popular racing venues is that of the Formula1 Car Racing event. The vehicle used in this race has a body frame that sits close to the ground. The driver sits in an open cockpit. Unlike the first car to race in the 1800’s, the Formula1 car uses an electronic system that helps the driver keep the car under control. Another aspect of this racing machine is that the car can run to over 220 mph. The Formula 1 competition is known to be the fastest racing competition today.

Another style or type of racing is the Stock Car Competition. These cars can race on pavement or dirt roads. A stock car vehicle is one that has not been modified or changed for racing. However, drivers can alter the look of their vehicles by adding features that will make them more adaptable for racing.

Last but not least is the dragster competition or race. With this race, the drivers race on a straight line track from start to finish. It does not do laps on an oval track. A dragster car is light in weight and it also has a high speed level, for instance, its speed level is higher than that of the stock-car.

NASCAR Racing is a competition involving stock-cars. This organization was started by Bill Frances Sr., who was also a stock-car driver. Some of the well-known names associated with this racing completion are Jim Roper, Lee Petty, Buck Baker Herb Tomas and Paul Goldstein. However, it was Jim Roper who won the first NASCAR GRAND in 1949.

When it comes to auto racing competitions, one of the most popular is that of the INDY 500. This competition is a 500 mile race. This celebrated competition comes with a festival parade, which took place for the first time in 1957. When a driver of this competition wins this race, they walk away with the Borg-Warner Trophy.

Today, we have all kinds of motor races. Spectators flock to see bikes, motorcycles, cars and monster trucks in competition to see who the best is. Regardless of the race, competitions are based on the reliability and performance of each vehicle and how well the driver knows his craft of being a race car driver. Racing is loud, fast and in some cases, illegal when there are no rules and regulations, especially when people participate in street racing.

For more information on the exciting entertainment of auto racing, please see the following links.

  • American Racing: A Diversity of Innovation On this page, you will find a brief history of American auto racing. Photos show drivers such as Henry Ford and Frank Duryea with their first racing cars.
  • History of Stock-car Racing Information from Appalachian State University provides a brief history of Stock-car Racing. Also included is information on Bill France, the organizer of NASCAR.
  • NASCAR This website gives detailed information on NASCAR history. It speaks of the early years. Also included are impressive photos highlighting this competition.
  • Indy Car Racing This is a very informative website that highlights Indy Car Racing. Photos are included which gives an explanation of the images in the article.
  • The First American Auto Race The information here is from the Library of Congress. Article highlights some of the early American races such as the Indianapolis 500. Article also has black and white photo images.
  • About Auto Racing This website encyclopedia gives detailed information on all the types of auto racing. Article covers such things as history, speed racing and much more.
  • Early Days of Southern Car Racing The information on this website provides a brief history of Southern auto racing. The article includes interesting photo images with explanations of the images in the pictures.
  • Early Auto Racing Gallery This is a photo gallery with information on early auto racing. Images are in black and white, showing older model cars that were used in racing.
  • Race Car Classes This article gives a brief introduction into the classes of auto racing. You will find information and photos on such things as Sports 2000, Showroom Stock and Production cars used in auto racing.
  • Drag Racing The information found here highlights the sport of drag racing. The photos show what is taking place around the racing track, from the spectators to the drivers.
  • Indy 500 History A brief history highlighting the history of the Indy 500. You will find fun facts, statistics and traditions of this popular competition.
  • NASCAR History From the website of NASCAR, the article gives in depths look at NASCAR history and the vision of Bill France Sr.
  • LeMans Series This is the official website of the American Le Mans race series.
  • World Rally Championship This page describes Rally car racing and the world rally championship.

Wriiten by: Milan Alcot