96-H 9242

Passed in House

Jun. 13, 1996.


WHEREAS, a record-breaking attendance figures indicate that the largest spectator sport in this country is auto racing in its various forms, with the most popular being held on oval race tracks; and

WHEREAS, two of the premier sanctioning bodies in this country, the United States Auto Club (USAC) and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) race almost exclusively on oval tracks; and

WHEREAS, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has this year inaugurated a new oval track racing series, designated as the Indy Racing League (IRL), which has just successfully concluded its first season, with races at Disney World, Phoenix and Indianapolis; and

WHEREAS, the very first oval track race in the United States took place on September 7, 1896, one hundred years ago, as part of a one-week series witnessed by 50,000 fans at Narragansett Park Speedway, a one-mile irregular dirt fairgrounds track, located between Auburn and Knightsville in Cranston, Rhode Island; and

WHEREAS, this first oval race featured seven contestants, five of whom drove Duryea automobiles while the other two drove electric-powered vehicles; and

WHEREAS, roaring off with the starter's command, "Now go, if you can," the winner of the event was A.L. Riker, driving his homemade Riker Electric, covering the five mile distance in 15 minutes and 1 second; and

WHEREAS, for years thereafter the "Providence 100" was a regular stop for such world-famous Indianapolis drivers as Barney Oldfield, Ralph DePalma, Ira Vail, Eddie Rickenbacker, Tommy Milton, Earl Cooper, Joe Boyer and Louis Chevrolet;

NOW BE IT RESOLVED, That the 100th anniversary of the first oval race in this country, held on September 7, 1896, at Narragansett Park Speedway, Cranston, Rhode Island, be appropriately recognized and commemorated by the Honorable House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and that Anton "Tony" George, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, be congratulated on bringing the sport of auto racing full circle, back to its roots in Rhode Island

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