A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Swimming isn’t a sport. Swimming is a way to keep from drowning” (10/22)
“Time kills all deals” (10/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/22)
“New York stabs you in the heart; Los Angeles stabs you in the back” (10/22)
“If the military wanted you to have a family, they’d have issued you one” (10/22)
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Entry from June 18, 2013
“To finish first, first you must finish” (auto racing adage)

"To finish first, first you must finish” is a popular saying in auto racing. Everyone wants to finish first, but speed is not important if the car can’t endure the race course and cross the finish line. “For a rebuttal there is an old ‘Indy’ saying: ‘To finish first first you must finish’” was cited in print in 1964, but the “old ‘Indy’ saying” was clearly used before 1964.

It is not known who first said it. Race car driver Rick Mears is often credited with the line, but he was born in 1951 and was not even old enough to drive in 1964.


6 June 1964, Rockford (IL) Register-Republic, “Road Roamer: Car Builders Work Five Years Ahead” by Robert Monahan, pg. 14B, col. 3:
For a rebuttal there is an old “Indy” saying: “To finish first first you must finish.”

4 August 1964, The Evening Standard (Uniontown, PA), “Sports Standard” by Tod Trent, pg. 10, col. 2:
We like the motto which auto racing drivers have adopted as their own—“To finish first, you must first finish.”

Sports Illustrated
February 08, 1971
ay Chihuahua! What A Race
Daytona’s 24 Hours took a fender off Roger Penske’s bold blue Ferrari (above) and cooked the gearbox of Pedro Rodriguez’ Porsche—which responded to surgery just in time to win a dramatic finish

Robert F. Jones
(...)
Roger hoped to qualify his car as early as possible, winning the pole if he could but not dallying late into the week in order to do so. “I want to qualify fast, then pull this engine and put in a fresh one,” he said. “There’s a very sensible saying in this kind of racing: ‘In order to finish first, first you have to finish.’ I want as little wear on this machine as possible.”

25 June 1971, Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH), “Dietrich will race at Mid-Ohio,” pg. 19, col. 3:
“We obviously haven’t built all our cars to go fast and set records but just last a few laps,” Bill Koch said. “Instead, we try to remember the old racers’ adage that to finish first, first you must finish.”

Google Books
The Motor
1972
Pg. 35:
Mark Donohue explains a point to Penske as he climbs out of the lndy car ‘To finish first, first you must finish”.

OCLC WorldCat record
SUPPLY-SIDE - TO FINISH FIRST, FIRST YOU MUST FINISH - There’s never enough time to accomplish what you want, or space to digest the lessons you’ve learned in Formula One, especially if You’re not one of the top teams. Determined to make the best use of its resources, Jordan Grand Prix asked Celerant Consulting for help. The results have more than paid for themselves.
Publisher: Cincinnatti, OH : Gardner Publications, Inc., 2001-
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Automotive design & production. 115, no. 7, (2003): 38
Database: ArticleFirst

Twitter
Toby Adriano‏
@Wealthy2hear
To finish first, you must finish...Rick Mears
9:13 PM - 19 Aug 09

motorsports.com
Ryan Dalziel closes title gap after podium at Mid-Ohio
Starworks team happy with third place, Ryan Dalziel ready for return to Le Mans

Added: Monday at 1:55pm (June 17, 2013—ed.)
(...)
Ryan on Le Mans: “The competition gets tougher every year and it is 13 years since Viper were there and a lot has changed since then, but it is a realistic goal for us to aim for a finish. We would love to get a podium and, ultimately, everyone wants to win.

“The old saying ‘to finish first, first you must finish’ is so true at Le Mans. Based on the reliability of the car at Sebring, Laguna and Long Beach, the car is running pretty faultlessly, so we are confident on the reliability and the signs are that we have the speed to be competitive.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, June 18, 2013 • Permalink