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Having read about an automobile race in France, Kohlsaat decided he'd host America's first auto race in Chicago. The year was 1895 and automobiles were still a great curiosity. Kohlsaat, owner/publisher of the Chicago Times Herald, planned to exploit the growing interest in motoring by sponsoring a 54-mile race from downtown Chicago to nearby suburb Evanston, Illinois, and back. The match was open to all comers, foreign or domestic, whether powered by gas, electricity, or steam. The top prize: $2,000 (that's 50,000 2016 dollars).