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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Barney Oldfield


The New York Times
April 6, 1904

Drastic Action Taken by American Automobile Association.


Prominent Chauffeur Charged with Taking Part in Unsanctioned Events—Far-Reaching Effects Looked For.

Barney Oldfield, the racing automobilist, who holds the world's record of 0:35 for a mile on a circular track, was disqualified, together with E. C. Hausman, at a meeting of the Racing Board of the American Automobile Association, held at the headquarters, 753 Fifth Avenue, yesterday afternoon, by the passage of the following resolution:

Resolved, That inasmuch as Barney Oldfield and E. C. Hausman have by their action in competing in unsanctioned events at Savannah, Ga., on Feb. 23, and at Birmingham, Ala., on March 8, disqualified themselves under Rule 6 of the racing rules of the American Automobile Association, that the secretary be instructed to advise promoters of all future race meetings sought to be sanctioned by the Racing Board, under the rules of this association, that Messrs. Barney Oldfield and E. C. Hausman are disqualified as above; that sanctions to such promoters will not be granted unless such disqualification is enforced.

Resolved, That said disqualification be continued until further action on the part of this Racing Board.

This disqualification will prevent Oldfield from competing a the Empire City track or at any of the so-called "circuit" automobile race meetings which are held by the principal clubs of the country as long as it stands.  Oldfield is a professional chauffeur, although no distinction between amateur and professional drivers is made by the American Automobile Association.  As unsanctioned events are few and unimportant, Oldfield will be practically debarred from all competition as long as his disqualification stands.

Much interest was taken in automobile circles in the matter because Oldfield's is the first case of a defiance of its rules with which the American Automobile Association has had to contend, and it has been hinted that Oldfield's defiance of the association is an attempt to test the strength of the organization as regards its control of automobile racing and that the disqualification will be disregarded by the promoters of race meets not conducted by regular clubs.

The Racing Committee also considered the matter of a new classification for vehicles, and agreed to recommend to the association the adoption of the classification employed by the Automobile Club of France, which is as follows:

Class 1, vehicles weighing from 650 to 1,000 kilos; Class 2, vehicles weighing from 400 to 650 kilos; Class 3, vehicles weighing from 250 to 400 kilos; Class 4, vehicles weighing from 50 to 250 kilos.

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