The Chicago Times-Herald race was the first motor car race in America. Announced in June of 1895, it was not so much a race as it was a contest, an invitation to test the viability of a self-propelled vehicle.
The contest required vehicles to have at least three wheels and be able to carry at least two people, one of whom was to be an umpire selected by the judges to ride with the driver during
the race. Entrants also had to run their vehicles through a preliminary test. The cars were placed on a machine built by the Chicago City Railway Company that simulated road conditions. Officials measured and noted various aspects of the automobiles’ performances, (fuel consumption, load capacity, tractability, etc.), and compared these findings against the horse and wagon.