Auto Racing Must Be Outlawed!

[singlepic id=1541 w= h= float=center] This was the rally cry of senator Richard L. Neuberger of Oregon, in this January 1959 article from Mechanix Illustrated. Four years after the Le Mans disaster, a year Brock Yates labeled “one of professional sports car racing’s worst years,” Neuberger decried auto racing as “wanton, tragically unnecessary bloodshed.” In an age where it was considered safer to be thrown out of a car during a crash, where Moss and Jenkinson set a record speed of 100mph on public roads, before FIA-approved race suits and crowd safety barriers, Neuberger found the only rational choice was to ban all forms of auto racing in America—before a disaster like Le Mans struck the greatest nation on Earth. [singlepic id=1542 w= h= float=center] To Neuberger, auto racing was equivalent to the bloody Roman gladiatorial battles or Spanish bullfighting: a degrading spectacle that cheapened human life and corrupted youth—much like comic books or rock n’ roll (hey, it was the 1950s!). “Does it make any sense to permit continuation of a sporting activity when the death of a driver or two in a major race is considered normal?” he asked. Was auto racing an affront to a “civilized nation?” Was it a Red Menace (the red being the blood of innocent spectators, of course) that threatened to destroy the very values of America that separated us from the barbaric Soviets? Either way, it’s an insight into a period when auto racing was genuinely dangerous enough for politicians to call for its abolishment. [nggallery id=52] AUTO RACING MUST BE OUTLAWED! (Modern Mechanix Blog)

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