Graph Racers... no shortage of sites already covering this in great detail. A little more digging and I found several site crediting this game to Martin Gardner, who wrote the Mathematical Recreations column in Scientific American for many years (more). My Dad was always a regular reader of this magazine, so that my educated guess where he found it. There are other site listed the origin of this game as unknown or uncredited, so it's possible Gardner was simply the first to write about it.
Racetrack (also image at right)
Race Car Game
Racetrack_(game) at Wikipedia
Vector Racer (online implementation vs human and AI players)
[Edit/Update: Another good information source on this game at Chesswanks.com.]
The game Triplanetary features the same movement system on a hexagonal grid, and one of the scenarios is a race where each player must travel to each planet and return to Earth first. (On something of a tangent, one of my favorite books as a kid was Lester Dey Ray's Rocket Jockey, a high-adventure story of a race around the planets). It would not be difficult to create your own "space race" graph paper game either, if one were so inclined (and I might be so inclined).
Oh yes, vector movement, did I mention that before? This game was my first introduction to vectors, and it is still used educationally for that purpose.
Part 2 (finally posted, but it did not turn out too well).