History was made on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and it wasn’t a stock car hitting speeds of 200 mph. A record-setting lap was recorded at the AMS, but it wasn’t the typical high-speed feat one might expect at a facility where stock car racing’s elite have set records fr decades.
Instead, adding to the 56-year-old track’s lore was a century-old relic. A 1909 Stevens Duryea Torpedo Speedster, owned by Fayetteville’s Drena Miller, became the oldest car ever to complete a lap on the 1.54-mile asphalt oval.
The vehicle is the oldest continually-driven car in Georgia, and it was the centerpiece in the Million Dollar Salon at this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama, which has become one of the Southeast’s largest automotive festivals in just its third year and a celebration of everything that runs on a motor.
At the wheel was owner Drena Miller and turned a “fast” lap of just over two minutes and 26 seconds, topping out at 43 mph and officially securing a spot herself into Atlanta Motor Speedway history. Flagging the lap was Ed Clark, Atlanta Motor Speedway president.
“Fun, really, really nice,” Miller said of turning a lap in her 107-year old vehicle on the AMS racing surface. “(It’s) different from touring with the car, but I loved it. I didn’t have it at top speed, but I also didn’t know – never having gone around the track before, what I could do to it. I could probably go another five miles per hour or so faster”
Originally built in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts in the early 20th century, the vehicle has nearly all of its original mechanics still intact. Only minor upgrades to its tires, headlights, brakes and starter have been applied.
For perspective, 1909 was the year the first Lincoln penny was minted in Philadelphia. Miller has owned the vehicle for about 30 years and still drives it on a regular basis on the roads near Fayetteville and on various tours around the U.S. and abroad.
“Touring, you have to watch for pot holes and animals and other people and cars and this was just ‘drive,’ and it was fun,” she added.