How things have changed in 113 years since Henry Ford’s first — and only — race win


What a difference 113 years make.

In the first and only race he ever drove in, Henry Ford beat Alexander Winton to the finish line on Oct. 10, 1901 in a race simply called “Sweepstakes” at the Detroit Driving Club in Grosse Point, Mich.

The race was noteworthy because Henry’s participation marked what would be the official start of the Ford Racing program, as well as a precursor to formation of The Ford Motor Company less than two years later in June 1903.

In a fun and rather interesting side-by-side comparison by Ford Racing to celebrate Henry’s win on this day 113 years ago, here’s how the car Henry Ford raced back then and the event he competed in compares to today’s Ford Fusion and Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Laps: 10 (1901), 334 (2014)

Number of participants: 2 (1901), 43 (2014)

Average speed of race: 46 mph (1901), 158.308 mph (from last year’s race)

Attendance: 8,000 (1901), 100,000 (2014) – both approximate numbers

Winner’s purse: $1,000 (1901), $319,441 (last year’s race)

Trophy: Cut-glass punch bowl (1901), Bruton Smith Piston Trophy (2013)

Location: Detroit Driving Club (1901), Charlotte Motor Speedway (2014)

Track type: One-mile oval (1901), 1.5-mile superspeedway (2014)

Racing surface: Dirt (1901), asphalt (2014)

Team members: 4 (including driver and riding mechanic in 1901), 20 (2014)

Frame: Ash wood, reinforced with steel plates (1901), metal (2014)

Horsepower: 26 (1901), 850 (2014)

Maximum RPM: 900 (1901), 9,000 (2014)

Top speed: 72 mph (1901), 200 mph (2014)

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Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.