December 2, 1916 – A bloody race in Uniontown

On this day in 1916 a brand new wooden board racetrack in Hopwood, just outside Uniontown, Pennsylvania, opened its gate to welcome spectators to its first race. While racing was particularly dangerous in those days, tragedy struck at Uniontown Speedway before that first race ever happened. During practice in the days prior to the first green flag a driver and a ride along mechanic were both killed in an accident. The incident didn’t warrant too much concern, as the first race continued as planned.

Construction of Uniontown Speedway in 1916.

That first event, a AAA Championship race, would prove disastrous. During the race there would be five more deaths, including two spectators. One driver navigated the storm and captured the first checkered flag of Uniontown Speedway. It was Louis Chevrolet behind the wheel of a Frontenac.

Tommy Milton’s car on fire at Uniontown Speedway in 1919. Note the track construction.

The Uniontown Speedway remained open through June 1922. It’s final race was the 1922AAA National Championship. Jimmy Murphy, driving a Duesenberg-Miller, won the race and a $3,000 solid silver trophy.

Cover photo: a 1919 lineup at Uniontown Speedway