Briarcliff Stock Car Race an American First

Yorktown agreed to suspend speed limits for the event

Date: April 24, 1908

In 1908, Briarcliff Manor founder and businessman Walter W. Law had an idea: host a Grand Prix on the Hudson Valley’s dirt roads. The Briarcliff Trophy Stock Car Race became the first of its kind, challenging auto companies and racecar drivers to try their craft on real country carriageways. The town of Yorktown agreed to suspend speed limits for the event; the New York Central Railroad added extra trains to accommodate tourists; and Marconi Wireless Telegraph prepared regular cables to update fans in Manhattan. Spectators bought viewership spots on hilltops above the course, setting up picnics and bonfires to watch. And, as the sun rose on April 24, 1908, dozens of cars floored at over 75 mph raced from just south of the Croton Reservoir to the Kensico Dam. 

 

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