Oct 23 2012

VanderbiltCupRaces.com Exclusive: Barney Oldfield Preparing for the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Despite a long racing career dating back to 1902, Barney Oldfield's first Vanderbilt Cup Race was the 1914 294-mile race held in Santa Monica. Wayne Carroll Petersen, the great great nephew of Barney Oldfield, has provided these photos of  Oldfield preparing for the Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Wayne, thanks so much for sharing your family's historic photos!


Howard Kroplick

Oldfield seen with his ever-present trademark cigar and his mechanician George Hill.

Oldfield drove a Mercer owned by Californian privateer George Bental. The car was one of the three Mercers among the 16 entries.

After briefly taking the lead with little more than one lap to go in the Vanderbilt Cup Race, Oldfield noticed a frayed tire and stopped at his pit. A frantic effort ensued, and Oldfield returned to the track pushing his yellow Mercer harder than ever. As depicted in this classic Peter Helck painting, despite closing on his rival, Oldfield fell short and De Palma’s aging Mercedes flashed across the finish line 1 minute and 20 seconds ahead of the Mercer. De Palma’s race time was 3 hours, 53 minutes and 41 seconds for an average speed of 75.6 miles per hour, making him the second two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup. DePalma scored the first place cash prize of $3,000 while Oldfield settled for $2,000.

The 1914 Vanderbilt Cup Race was captured as the backdrop for a Mack Sennett slapstick Keystone film "Mabel at the Wheel" later called "Hot Finish" starring Mabel Normand, Ben Turpin, Mack Sennett and, as the villain, Charlie Chaplin. Watch the puzzled spectators look on as Mabel and Charlie show the true meaning of "slaptick" comedy.


Oct 28 2012 Wayne Carroll Petersen 1:59 PM

Thanks for posting.
Best regards,
Wayne Carroll Petersen


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