Harry Hartz was at the top of his game in 1926, the year he went on to win the AAA National Championship, with three wins and a second place in the Indianapolis 500. The fourth race of the season on May 1st, 1916 was at the brand new Atlantic City Board Track, and Hartz won the 300-mile race and $12,000 with his 122 c.i. supercharged Miller Special. He drove nonstop and set a new record for the distance.
His win took 2 hrs. 14:14 at an average speed of 135.2 m.p.h., and was almost six m.p.h. faster than the earlier record set by Peter DePaolo in February on the Fulford-Miami board track with his Duesenberg. You can watch a British Pathe video of the race below, with excellent footage of the impressive track, the race and Hartz at the finish.
DePaolo, who might have won the race were it not for fuel line troubles on the 194th lap finished in second place winning $6000 and third at $3000 was taken by Bob Mc Donogh who won the pole position. There were twelve Millers, three Duesenbergs and one Bugatti in the event.
The new mile and a half oval was built by board track expert Jack Prince of Oakland, California. The Atlantic City Speedway Association was the owner of the facility, and Charles M. Schwab, of the Bethlehem Steel Corp. and the Stutz Motor Car Co., was a director of the venture.
The race track was a steeply banked 1.5 mile long and fifty foot wide oval that was built to handle speeds of 160 m.p.h. Four and a half million board feet of lumber were consumed to build the structure. It was lined with a fifty foot wide apron on the inside of the racing surface.
The grandstand at the track could hold 60,000 fans, and there was room for over 200,000 more spectators and parking for 60,000 cars. The facility that was built towards the end of the board track era only hosted races for two years before it closed. Studebaker then used it for a test track and stock car record setting for a couple of years, and it was finally torn down in 1933 when much of the lumber was sold and the remainder was burned.
The racers head off for the start at Atlantic City – “Automotive Industries” May 6, 1926.
“Automotive Industries” June 24, 1926, U-Loy Chrome Vanadium Steel advertisement below with Harry Miller. Included are Indianapolis winner Lockhart, 2nd. place Hartz and 3rd. Woodbury.