Sometimes you head to Wikipedia to find answers. But sometimes it doesn’t have all the answers, and it says something like “the exact origins of the use of a chequered flag to end races are lost in history.”
I’ll never use you again, Wikipedia! Never!
So I searched the rest of the internet. Turns out there are a couple of theories to the origins of using a checkered flag to end a race.
1: Horse races used to end with a big meal, and when the meal was ready,they would wave a tablecloth to signal folks to end the race and come get some grub. Wouldn’t you know it? Those tablecloths were checkered!
2: The checkered flag was chosen because the high contrast would be easier to see against the background of a big crowd by dusty goggled racers.
3: Maybe it’s use can be tracked back to it’s use in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup. See the below photo. Why they used it? Maybe because of number 2 above?
So there you have it. I couldn’t find a solid answer. And you want to know a secret? Turns out I didn’t need to search all over the internet. Wikipedia had all those theories right there.
You’re back in my good graces Wikipedia. For now. But don’t be vague or unsure with me again, or I’m going back to my 26 volume encyclopedia set in my attic.
November 6th is the early entry deadline for the Checkered Flag video contest on Zooppa, so get those engines revved and get those entries in!