This week is the 125th anniversary of the first automobile race in the US. The race took place in Chicago and was a 50 mile round trip between Chicago and Evanston. We should go and at least witness the finish. Don’t forget to take a list of things not to do to protect the time continuum. We will need James’ Oldsmobile, so climb in, and we’ll be off.
Top Ten things Not to Do at the First Motor Car Race in the US in 1895
10 Do not complain when only six of the 89 racers entered actually made it to the starting line. If you do, at best, no one will care. At worse, you’ll be overheard by the editor of the Chicago Times-Herald, the sponsor of the race. ( It seems he is not in a good mood, Miikka. A freak snowstorm dumped ten inches of snow and prevented the other starters from showing up. I see he is handing you a snow shovel. Good luck clearing the first 25 miles.)
9 Do not tell Tiny, the WWF champ, that you would like to ride in his entry. If you do, at best, he won’t hear you above the engine noise. At worst, since he has to have a race official riding with him, he will assume you are trying to overweight his vehicle. (It is easy to explain a perceived slight away with Tiny. Of course, you have to allow him to toss you at least ten feet, Miklos. I know the landing isn’t always perfect.)
8 Do not place your money on the electric car entries. If you do, at best, you only bet what you could afford to lose. At worst, you put up the deed to your ranch. (You see, Millard. The two electrics that made the starting line had battery failure after a few minutes. So much for supporting green technology. It will be interesting to see you explain away a deed from 2019.)
7 Do not mention to the race organizer that you figure the race to last at least an hour. If you do, at best, he’ll think you are kidding. At worst, he’ll think you are drunk. (Although the race was only fifty miles, Milos took over ten hours for the first-place finisher to arrive. I noticed the organizer is pointing you out to a couple of Keystone cops. It might be a long night.)
6 Do not try to sell advertising to the first Benz team. If you do, at best, they will laugh. At worst, they’ll tell their sponsor, Macy’s of New York. (Don’t look now, Min, but I think that is a Pinkerton private investigator looking at you. I’m sure the Macy’s wonder what you are up to by soliciting their driver.)
5 Do not ask where you can get a Bud Lite. If you do, at best, someone will think you are talking about a candle. At worst, you’ll ask a guy named Bud. (Good going, Minoru. Bud thinks you are mocking him, and now he wants satisfaction. He talks about a bare knuckle fight. I hope you have some boxing experience.)
4 Do not predict that one of the three Benz cars will be the winner. If you do, at best, everyone will ignore you. At worst you’ll make the prediction to Frank Duryea. (Nice move, Misha. Frank was the winner of the race in a car that he and his brother built. He is not happy with you,, so don’t try to get a selfie with him and his car.)
3 Do not belittle the $2000 dollar first prize for the winner. If you do, at best people will think you nuts. At worst, the sponsor will be highly up set. (That $2000 in 1898 is equivalent to over $60,000 in today’s dollars, Miska. That kind of money didn’t grow on trees. The sponsor has decided to toss you out. Good sailing.
2 Do not wait around for the second place finisher. If you do at best someone will buy you a drink. At worst, you’ll miss dinner waiting. (The second place car came in two hours later than the first, Mjolnir. It was a Benz and was the only other care to finish.)
1 Do not congratulate Mr. Macy on his car’s finish. If you do, at best he’ll not hear you. At worst, he will think you are putting him on. You see, Modi. The Macy sponsored Benz collided with a streetcar on the way to Evanston and with a sleigh and then a horse drawn hack on the return trip. It never made it back.)