1916 American Grand Prize

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

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 miles)
Distance 48 laps, 648.934 km (403.312 miles)
Fastest lap
Driver United States Ed Ruckstell Mercer
First Peugeot
Second Stutz
Third Hudson


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.[1] Resta won the Cup and earned 900 points, while Aitken was forced out on lap 19 with a broken valve.[2] 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   Howdy Wilcox
  Johnny Aitken
Peugeot EX5 48 4:42:47 438[a]
2 8   Earl Cooper Stutz 48 + 6.12 520
3 20   Art Patterson Hudson 48 + 26:52 270
4 6   Clyde Rhoades Hudson 48 + 1:11:18 140
5 21   Bill Weightman
  Eddie Rickenbacker
Duesenberg 45 Flagged
Ret 3   Ed Ruckstell Mercer 39 Valve
Ret 23   William Cody National-Cody Special 33 Engine
Ret 18   George Buzane Duesenberg 27 Piston
Ret 17   Eddie Rickenbacker Duesenberg 27 Stripped gears
Ret 1   Dario Resta Peugeot EX5 19 Ignition
Ret 9   Cliff Durant Stutz 17 Valve
Ret 24   Lewis Jackson Marmon 13 Crash
Ret 14   Sterling Price Duesenberg 12 Clutch
Ret 27   Omar Toft Duesenberg 10 Clutch
Ret 19   Ira Vail Hudson 9 Piston
Ret 4   Eddie Pullen Mercer 8 Crash, fire
Ret 22   William Carlton Ono-Owl Special 6 Pump
Ret 11   Mike Moosie Duesenberg 5 Clutch
Ret 25   Dave Anderson Kissell 5 Valve
Ret 10   Emil Agraz Hercules 2 Conrod
Ret 16   Johnny Aitken Peugeot EX5 1 Piston
  1. ^ Wilcox was awarded a number of points proportional to his laps in the car. Aitken was awarded no points for his relief drive.


  1. ^ "none". Detroit News. 7 November 1916. p. 15.
  2. ^ "1916 William K. Vanderbilt Cup". Champ Car Stats. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2011.

Grand Prix Race
1916 Grand Prix season
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1915 American Grand Prize
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1958 United States Grand Prix