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1916 American Grand Prize facts for kids

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1916 American Grand Prize
Race details
Date November 18, 1916
Official name VII American Grand Prize
Location Santa Monica, United States
Course Public roads
Course length 13.519 km (8.402 mi)
Distance 48 laps, 648.934 km (403.312 mi)
Fastest lap
Driver United States Ed Ruckstell Mercer
  • United States Earl Cooper
  • United States Art Patterson

The 1916 American Grand Prize was a Grand Prix auto race that took place at Santa Monica, California, on November 18, 1916.


The race was included on the 1916 AAA National Championship Trail. The race carried championship implications for Dario Resta and Johnny Aitken. Aitken led Resta by 240 points before the Vanderbilt Cup, held two days before the Grand Prize, with a 150-mile event at Ascot Park two weeks after. Resta won the Cup and earned 900 points, while Aitken was forced out on lap 19 with a broken valve. Resta held a 660-point lead entering the Grand Prize, with 1000 available to the winner. As World War I was waged in Europe, the cars were all American-entered, including two Peugeots entered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Aitken and Howdy Wilcox.

Aitken's race ended on lap 1, with a broken piston, while Resta raced into the lead. The IMS team attempted to flag Wilcox into the pits for Aitken to take over the car, but the AAA officials denied them the change. By lap 9, Resta led from Ed Ruckstell's Mercer, the Stutz of Earl Cooper, and Eddie Rickenbacker's Duesenberg. On lap 13, Lewis Jackson's Marmon went through a barrier, killing Jackson and three spectators.

On lap 16, Resta experienced a misfire, and retired soon after. On lap 20, Aitken replaced Wilcox in an attempt to gain as many championship points as he could. (The AAA, however, had set a precedent at Indianapolis by not awarding points to Eddie Rickenbacker in his relief drive.) Aitken led the final 22 laps and took the victory, but Resta had all but secured the championship.

With the United States' entrance to World War I in April 1917, and board track racing taking the national spotlight, road racing in the U.S. became largely dormant. Grand Prix racing did not return until 1936, and did not become a fixture until 1959.


Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Points
1 26 United States Howdy Wilcox
United States Johnny Aitken
Peugeot EX5 48 4:42:47 438
2 8 United States Earl Cooper Stutz 48 + 6.12 520
3 20 United States Art Patterson Hudson 48 + 26:52 270
4 6 United States Clyde Rhoades Hudson 48 + 1:11:18 140
5 21 United States Bill Weightman
United States Eddie Rickenbacker
Duesenberg 45 Flagged
Ret 3 United States Ed Ruckstell Mercer 39 Valve
Ret 23 United States William Cody National-Cody Special 33 Engine
Ret 18 United States George Buzane Duesenberg 27 Piston
Ret 17 United States Eddie Rickenbacker Duesenberg 27 Stripped gears
Ret 1 United Kingdom Dario Resta Peugeot EX5 19 Ignition
Ret 9 United States Cliff Durant Stutz 17 Valve
Ret 24 United States Lewis Jackson Marmon 13 Crash
Ret 14 United States Sterling Price Duesenberg 12 Clutch
Ret 27 United States Omar Toft Duesenberg 10 Clutch
Ret 19 Canada Ira Vail Hudson 9 Piston
Ret 4 United States Eddie Pullen Mercer 8 Crash, fire
Ret 22 United States William Carlton Ono-Owl Special 6 Pump
Ret 11 United States Mike Moosie Duesenberg 5 Clutch
Ret 25 United States Dave Anderson Kissell 5 Valve
Ret 10 United States Emil Agraz Hercules 2 Conrod
Ret 16 United States Johnny Aitken Peugeot EX5 1 Piston
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