James Frank Duryea (October 8, 1869, Washburn, Illinois - February 15, 1967, Saybrook, Connecticut), along with his brother Charles Duryea, invented and built the first American, road-tested gasoline-fueled automobile in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1892-1893. They first test-drove the vehicle on September 20, 1893 in what is now Chicopee, Massachusetts; however, the Duryea's feat was not recognized until November 10, 1893, when Frank test-drove the automobile again -- this time down Springfield's Taylor Street in Metro Center, past their garage at 47 Taylor Street.
On November 28, 1895, Frank Duryea won the first motor-car race in the United States, a 54-mile loop along the lakeshore from Chicago to Waukegan and back again. The race was a harrowing one--It was held during one of Chicago’s great snowstorms, and the contestants’ cars got stuck in snowdrifts, slid into other vehicles and stalled repeatedly. Duryea, who completed the race in 10 hours and 23 minutes, traveled at an average speed of 5 1/4 miles per hour.
The world’s first "moto-cycle" race, an 80-mile jaunt from Paris to Rouen in July 1894, had clearly demonstrated the merits of the Daimler gasoline motor--though 12 of the 46 cars that started the race were steam-powered, none of the finishers were--and had generated a great deal of publicity for the horseless carriage. Herman H. Kohlstaat, the publisher of the Chicago Times-Herald and a tireless booster of the newfangled automotive technology, decided to drum up interest in the motor wagon by sponsoring a similar race. More than 80 people entered, most of whom were building their own cars at home; as a result, the event had to be postponed twice because the vast majority of the racers weren’t yet ready. Only two people made it to an exhibition race at the beginning of November: Frank Duryea of Springfield, Massachusetts, driving a "buggyaut" that his brother Charles had designed, and Oscar Mueller of Chicago, driving his father’s imported Benz. (Mueller won the race; Duryea had swerved to avoid a farmer’s wagon and had fallen into a ditch.)