It is, dag-gone it, the Marmon Wasp, not the "Mormon" Wasp.
While I am entirely sure that the LDS church has found within its ranks a statistically-likely number of race car drivers and designers, that pointy-tailed car was from Marmon. They're still around.
Driver Ray Harroun was the Motor Speedway's first solo entry; all other cars had riding mechanics and to accomodate safety worries (OMG! He has no one to nag him!), he had a rearview mirror installed. Commonly credited as the first user, almost certainly the first race car driver to use one...but idea had been written up in a tech magazine some years before. So he's not the inventor.
I don't so much mind it when they get the latter wong; it's a debatable point. But sheesh, it sure does grate to hear talking heads and J. Random Strangers refer to The Mormon Wasp. (Just exactly how likely is it that any Mormon, ever, would call a yellow-and-black, stinger-tailed car anything but a bee, anyhow? C'mon, people, how hard is this? Have you not seen any Utah iconography?)
3 weeks ago