Automobile Racing, one of the most popular sports in the world, have races run with wide coverage on television - before millions of fans. It tests the skills of the drivers, the speed capabilities of the vehicles, and the endurance of both. The first racing cars were motorized versions of horse-drawn carriages and wagons. The first race was a reliability demonstration from Chicago to Waukegan, Illinois, in November 1895, while the first American oval-track race, held at the Rhode Island State Fairgrounds in Cranston in 1896, was won at an average speed of 43.1 km/h. Racing in the United States became popular two years later, with the opening of 4-km brick-surfaced Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Later on, the speeds of the cars increased and the condition of road improve as well, so cars designers began designing cars specially to be raced. Racing cars now fall into two broad categories. First are open-wheeled vehicles, in which the wheels are not under fenders. The other categories of racing cars are closed-wheeled with an enclosed cockpit. Automobile racing was seen only in the United States and continental Europe until the 1930s. Then the popularity of the sport began to spread. As the European countries wanted to show off their empires, races were held in Italian and French African colonial outposts, such as Tripoli, Libya, and Casablanca, Morocco. Smaller nations, such as Monaco, San Marino, and Macau, also wanted the prestige and status by being part of racing. Throughout the mid-20th century the sport continued to grow, with interest in the F1 races (strongest outside the United States), and interest in Indy car racing strongest within the United States. In the 1950s sports car racing became increasingly popular. By the 1980's, many automobile races were televised, and by the 1990s automobile racing was ranked as one of the major spectator sports in the world. Today automobile racing is a major sport in most...
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