SI Vault
John Bentley
October 25, 1954
Since the fourth Vanderbilt Cup race in 1908?last of the big American road events for Grand Prix cars?racing in the U.S. has steadily steered away from diversity and the open road in favor of commercialized speed and endurance on the closed-track oval. Similarly, racing has been less and less used as a proving ground for automotive development. Detroit built its own testing grounds, drew its lessons from manufacturing experience, and today concedes few passenger-car improvements to racing beyond the rear-view mirror, the balloon tire and the high-compression engine.
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October 25, 1954

Review Of The Year

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Earnings & points: Andrews $3,500?200 pts.; Thomas $2,500?160 pts.; Finney $1,500?140 pts.

The race: Andrews was last to make climb, delayed by installation of new transmission borrowed from another car. Setting new record, Andrews clipped 35.7 sec. from 1953 time of Louis Unser (known as The Old Man of the Mountains for having won the event eight times).


100 miles; 1 mile dirt; crowd 30,000. Total prize money $15,000. 18 started?10 finished 100 laps.

1. Bob Sweikert (Lutes Truck Spcl) 90.03 mph.
2. Don Freeland ( Bob Estes Spcl).
3. John Tolan (Anderson Spcl).

Earnings & points: Sweikert $3,750?200 pts.; Freeland $2,700?160 pts.; Tolan $1,500?140 pts.

The race: Sweikert took the lead from pole-position man Don Freeland on lap 47 and held it to finish. Refusing pit stop, Sweikert braved possibility of a blowout from a frayed tire. Forced to slow on 85th lap to save rubber, he finished ? mile ahead of Freeland.


100 miles; 1 mile dirt; crowd 17,876. Total prize money $23,600.18 started?9 finished 100 laps.

1. Jimmy Bryan (Dean Van Lines Spcl) 84.65 mph.
2. Bob Sweikert (Lutes Truck Parts Spcl).
3. Sam Hanks (Belanger Spcl).

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