1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race

The First International Road Race Held in the United States

Location: Nassau and Queens Counties, Long Island
Date: October 8, 1904

The inaugural William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Cup Race in 1904 was the first major international road race in the United States. Although William K. Vanderbilt Jr. was only 26, he was heir to a transportation fortune and had figured prominently in auto racing for nearly 10 years since sponsoring auto races as a teenager. After six hours, 56 minutes, and 45 seconds, George Heath’s French Panhard was the first car over the finish line for the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race, averaging 52.2 mph. Only one minute and 26 seconds behind in total time, the Clement-Bayard finished in second place. What followed over the next six years was a tumultuous spectacle of romance, intense competition, and reckless danger.