12-13 October: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history …………

~12 October~

1912: Riding mechanic Tony Scudelari died from injuries suffered 12 days earlier when the Fiat driven by David Bruce-Brown crashed during practice for the Grand Prize race in Milwaukee, US.

1928: Racer Fred Comer (35), who was born in Topeka Kansas in 1893, died from injuries sustained in a racing accident at Rockingham Park in New Hampshire, US. Like many drivers of his era, he was a board track racing specialist and made 43 AAA Championship Car starts on the board ovals with one win in 1926 on the Atlantic City track and one pole. He also made four starts in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of 4th place in 1926. He finished a career best 5th in 1924 AAA National Championship points.

1929: First running of the BRDC 500-mile race at Brooklands. It was won by Jack Barclay & Frank Clement driving a Bentley at an average speed of 107.32 mph.

Tazio Nuvolari – winner of the 1936 Vanderbilt Trophy race

1936: The Vanderbilt Cup (formally known as I George Vanderbilt Cup) was a Grand Prix was held at the Roosevelt Raceway near Westbury, Long Island, New York City, US. It was the fourth and last race of the 1936 AAA Championship Car season, not counting the non-championship events. The race, contested over 75 laps of 6.39 km (3.97 mi), was won by Tazio Nuvolari driving a Alfa Romeo 12C-36 after starting from eighth position. This was the first time that the Vanderbilt Cup was held since 1916. George Washington Vanderbilt III, the nephew of the founder of the Vanderbilt Cup, William Kissam Vanderbilt II, sponsored a 300-mile race (480 km) in 1936 at Roosevelt Raceway. Just like in the original races, European drivers were enticed by the substantial prize money – Scuderia Ferrari entered three Alfa Romeo racers. However, because of little American competition and an unexciting course layout, the race was organised for only two years. Both races were won by Europeans. After 1937, the Vanderbilt Cup would not be raced until 1960.

1946: Driving an open-wheel car, Ted Horn won the first race at the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond, Virginia (US) on a ½-mile dirt track. Set within the grounds of the Virginia State Fairgrounds, otherwise known as Strawberry Hill, the circuit soon rose to prominence, gaining its first NASCAR event in 1953.

Johnny Ritter

1948: Midget racing great Johnny Ritter was fatally injured while changing a tire on his midget at the Medford Bowl in Massachusetts, US. Standing just 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) tall and weighing 135 lb (61 kg), Ritter was “one of the best” board track drivers of his time, racking up an unequalled winning record. He scored five wins in a row at the velodrome in Nutley, New Jersey and four straight at the Coney Island Velodrome. At Castle Hill Speedway in the Bronx in 1940, Ritter won the 150-lap race from last place, an “unprecedented” performance for an outboard midget. He claimed the national flat track racing title that year, also, and the Heiserman championship in 1940 and 1941. Ritter often won against opponents in larger and more powerful cars.

1954: Hershel McGriff drove an Oldsmobile to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Macon, Georgia, US. Tim Flock finished second in his first start since quitting the tour following his disqualification at Daytona.

1957: Only 900 spectators watched Fireball Roberts wheel his Ford to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Newberry Speedway in South Carolina, US. To this day, it remains the smallest trackside attendance in NASCAR history.

1958: Chuck Daigh won the USGP for sports cars at Riverside, California, driving a Scarab MkII.

1969: Bruce McLaren won and Denny Hulme finished second, both driving McLaren M8B-Chevrolets, in the Laguna Seca, California, USA, Can-Am race. It was the seventh 1-2 finish by Team McLaren during the season.

1986: Benneton recorded its first Formula 1 win, with Gerhard Berger at the Mexican Grand Prix. Benetton ran on Pirelli tyres, and their relative durability compared to competitors on Goodyear tyres played to the team’s advantage. Berger won this race due to not having to make a pit stop for a fresh set of tyres. It would also prove to be the final win for the turbocharged BMW engine.

1997: Terry Labonte took the lead in the final two laps and edged his younger brother Bobby at the ­finish line in the DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama, US. It was the 19th career win for the two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion.

~13 October~

Barney Oldfield – “Golden Submarine”

1918: Barney Oldfield, driving the “Golden Submarine” (cover image) for Will Pickens, raced in his last competitive event, an IMCA sanctioned race on the dirt track in Independence, Missouri, US.

1923: Alvis made its racing debut at Brooklands, with Major Maurice Harvey winning the 200-mile race at a record 93.29 mph.

1963: Junior Johnson soared to a dominant victory in the National 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina, US leading 209 of 267 laps for his 34th win in NASCAR’s premier series. Johnson, who started second in a Ray Fox-owned Chevrolet, finished 12 seconds ahead of runner-up Fred Lorenzen, who led 20 laps. Pole-starter Marvin Panch finished third with Fireball Roberts fourth as Fords swept positions two through four.

1968: The first race staged at the two-mile (3.2 km) moderate-banked D-shaped Michigan Speedway in Irish Hills Michigan, US) was won by Ronnie Bucknum in the Weimberger Homes Special. The track is used primarily for NASCAR events. It is sometimes known as a “sister track” to Texas World Speedway, and was used as the basis of Auto Club Speedway. The track is owned by International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Michigan International Speedway is recognized as one of motorsports’ premier facilities because of its wide racing surface and high banking (by open-wheel standards; the 18-degree banking is modest by stock car standards). Michigan is the fastest track in NASCAR due to its wide, sweeping corners, long straightaways, and lack of a restrictor plate requirement; typical qualifying speeds are in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h) and corner entry speeds are anywhere from 215 to 220 mph (346 to 354 km/h) after the 2012 repaving of the track.

1996: Damon Hill won the World Championship in Suzuka, Japan and became the first and only son of a Formula One world champion to win the title. That season Hill equalled the record for starting all 16 races of the season from the front row, matching Ayrton Senna in 1989 and Alain Prost in 1993. Despite winning the title, Hill learned before the season’s close that he was to be dropped by Williams in favour of Frentzen for the following season. Hill left Williams as the team’s second most successful driver in terms of race victories, with 21, second only to Mansell. Hill’s 1996 world championship earned him his second BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, making him one of only three people to receive the award twice – the others being boxer Henry Cooper and Mansell. He was also awarded the Segrave Trophy by the Royal Automobile Club. The trophy is awarded to the British national who accomplishes the most outstanding demonstration of the possibilities of transport by land, sea, air, or water.

2002: Jamie McMurray, making his second start since replacing the injured Sterling Marlin, led the final 31 laps for a stunning upset in Charlotte’s UAW-GM Quality 500, North Carolina, US. McMurray became the quickest winner in NASCAR Cup Series history since Johnny Rutherford won in his first start at Daytona in 1963.

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