Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline August 2017

The Great American Eclipse

On August 21, 2017, there will be a total eclipse of the sun that has been dubbed as the “Great American Eclipse”. According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the last total eclipse to touch Missouri occurred on August 7, 1869, and it only clipped the northeast corner. The last total eclipse to cover this much of the United States happened before there was a United States.

Join members of the Triumph and MG Clubs for a picnic and viewing this once in a lifetime event at Shelter House #3 in the Crows Creek Park at Smithville Lake on August 21st at 11:45AM. The partial phase of the eclipse will start at 11:41AM with totality at 1:07PM lasting 2m 20s. Bring your own picnic lunch, drinks and lawn chairs and meet at the shelter house at 11:45AM. Those wishing caravan should meet at the second level of the parking garage at Dillard’s in Zona Rosa (this is where the All British was held for several years) at 10:45AM for an 11:00AM departure. The park charges $5 per vehicle entry fee. Special eclipse viewing glasses will be available compliments of the Club.

Directions to the shelter house from the intersection of Highway 169 and Highway 92 in Smithville: East on Highway 92 approx. 5 miles to Eastern; Left on Eastern 1/2 mile to NE 156th St; Left on 156th St 1/4 mile to Short Ln; Right on Short Ln 1 mile to County Road E; Left on County Road E approx. 1 mile to Crows Creek Campground Road; Left on to Crows Creek Campground Road to Shelter House #3.

Questions – Larry Taylor - 913-620- 8703. Email:

Editor’s Note: This invite is from the Kansas City MG Car Club. There may be other MG Clubs or organizations closer to us that may host the Eclipse event. As of this writing I was unable to locate additional venues.

by Facia Nearside

In the United States in 1909 only a few miles of road in the entire country were paved. Even worse for the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, race tracks of that period were simply dirt ovals which had been built for horse racing. Yet the newly formed American Automobile Association announced it would boycott all future events at the speedway until “significant improvements” in the track’s gravel surface were made.

Carl Fisher and his partners began looking for a solution to the problem. Following tests it was decided bricks would provide the most durable and appropriate surface for racing. 3.2 million ten-pound bricks were hand laid to do the job, and even before completion the nickname “brickyard” had been coined. By December 1909 the track was ready and speeds soon increased to over 100 mph confirming its success. In 1910 various length races were held almost every weekend and a national aviation meet featuring Wilbur and Orville Wright was also conducted.

In 1911 a change in strategy led to only one race per year. On Memorial Day, May 30, 1911, 80,000 spectators turned out to see the first 500-mile race. Forty cars competed with Ray Harroun taking the checkered flag. All 39 other cars had a mechanic riding with them, but Harroun opted to save weight by driving solo. In order to see what was happening behind him on the track, that day Harroun used a device never before seen on an automobile.  He called it a rear-view mirror.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has had many improvements over the years, and is of course no longer entirely brick. But in order to pay homage to its humble but successful beginnings, the brickyard is still paved with one yard of bricks at the start/ finish line.
Reprinted from British Boots & Bonnets Chronicle— June 2017 issue.

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