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13-14 April: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~13 April~

1910: Four thousand people were on hand at the new Los Angeles Motordrome on a weekday during the track’s opening week to see Barney Oldfield smash the half mile racing record, driving more than 100 mph in his Blitzen-Benz on the mile round course made out of 2-by-4 planks. The Playa Del Rey track was built in 16 days and was wide enough for four cars to race abreast. Sports writers called the track the “Pie Pan” because it sloped down from the outer edge.

1936: Rudolph Caracciola drove a Mercedes to victory in the Monoco Grand Prix. Heavy rain contributed to a series of accidents, while a broken oil line on the Alfa Romeo of Mario Tadini led to so many wrecks in the chicane out of the tunnel it was almost impassable.[1] The Mercedes-Benzes of Louis Chiron, Luigi Fagioli, and Manfred von Brauchitsch, as well as Bernd Rosemeyer’s Typ C of newcomer Auto Union, were all eliminated. Tazio Nuvolari in the Alfa Romeo 8C benefitted from the chaos, only to suffer brake fade, and Rudolf Caracciola, proving the truth of his nickname, Regenmeister (Rainmaster), took the checkered flag. He was followed by Achille Varzi and Hans Stuck, both for Auto Union.

Bob Welborn

1958: Bob Welborn started from the pole and rolled to victory in the NASCAR Convertible Series at Asheville-Weaverville (North Carolina, US) Speedway. Banjo Matthews starts and finishes second, and Frankie Schneider does the same in third place. Welborn’s second straight win was one of eight that season, helping him clinch the series championship.

1958: Luigi Musso in a Ferrari 246 won the Syracuse Grand Prix held at Syracuse Circuit in Sicily, Italy. For most of its existence, it formed part of the Formula One non-Championship calendar, usually being held near the beginning of the season before the World Championship races.

1958: Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly finished first and second in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta (US). Turner and Weatherly were in potent Fords ­prepared by John Holman and Ralph Moody, successors of Peter DePaolo on Ford’s premier racing team.

1960: Stirling Moss lost his driving licence for a year after being convicted of dangerous driving.

1969: Porsche rebounded from their disappointments in the U.S. rounds, overwhelming the field in the 1000 Kilometer World Sports Car Championship race on the Brands Hatch circuit. Jo Siffert and Brian Redman led from lap 5 and paced a 1-2-3 sweep for the newly Firestone shod Porsches. Lola hit recurring suspension problems, giving the Group 4 win to the Mike Hailwood/David Hobbs Ford GT40.

1975: Niki Lauda driving a Ferrari 312T won the 27th BRDC International Trophy non-championship Formula One race held at Silverstone, Northants, England.1979: David Kennedy in a Wolf-Cosworth WR won the International Gold Cup held at Oulton Park, England.

1980: David Pearson, making his first start in the Hoss Ellington Chevrolet, was out front when rain ­curtails the Rebel 500 at Darlington (South Carolina, US) after 258 miles. It was Pearson’s 105th career NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National victory.

1986 Spanish Grand Prix

1986: At Jerez, Ayrton Senna, in a Lotus, beat Britain’s Nigel Mansell, to win the Spanish Grand Prix. The win, by a mere 14/1000ths of a second, was the narrowest win in Formula One history.

1997: The Argentine Grand Prix held at Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez in Buenos Aires, Argentina was won by Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams-Renault FW19. Eddie Irvine finished second for the Ferrari team and Jordan driver Ralf Schumacher came in third.

1997: Jeff Gordon nudged past Rusty Wallace on the final lap to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Tennessee, US. Twenty caution flags fly and 132 laps are run in single-file ­formation.

~14 April~

1926: The first Maserati Tipo 26 racing car was first produced. It had a steel ladder-type frame supporting a supercharged inline-8 engine with a three-speed manual transmission and an aluminum two-seater bodywork made by Medardo Fantuzzi. The engine featured crankshaft-driven Roots supercharger, twin gear-driven overhead camshafts and a dry sump lubrication; to comply with the 1926 Grand Prix regulations the displacement was fixed to 1.5 litre.

1929: Prince Pierre inaugurated the first Monaco Grand Prix, with a lap of honour in a Torpedo Voisin driven by Charles Faroux. It was set up by wealthy cigarette manufacturer, Antony Noghès, who had set up the Automobile Club de Monaco with some of his friends. This offer of a Grand Prix was supported by Prince Louis II, with a prize of 100,000 French francs. Course Director, Louis Chiron was notable by his absence at the starting line, as the young Monegasque had enrolled in the Indy 500. There were 16 cars on the starting grid, positions drawn by lots: 8 Bugattis, 3 Alfa Romeos, 2 Maseratis, 1 Licorne and 1 Mercedes SSK. Williams went on to win the Grand Prix in a green 35B Bugatti in 3 hours, 56 minutes and 11 seconds, with an average speed over 100 laps of 49.83 mph (80.194 km/h). The race was a phenomenal success.

1946: The first post-World War II automobile race in the United States is a stock car event held in Daytona Beach, Florida, and was won by Red Byron in a Ford.

1951: Motorcycles made their one and only ever appearance at Goodwood circuit. The main 500cc race was won by future star Geoff Duke on his Norton from Doran (AJS) and Dale (Norton).

1952: Alberto Ascari driving a Ferrari 500 won the Formula 2 Pau Grand Prix.

1952: George Wicken, the “Flying Milkman”, won the International London Trophy race at Brand Hatch, England, driving a Norton-powered Cooper Mk6.

1960: Matra announced receiving a $1.2 million loan from French government to develop a 3-litre racing engine for use in Formula One and prototype sportscar racing.

1964: Ronnie Bucknum became Honda’s unlikely choice to spearhead their Grand Prix challenge back. Honda engineers had seen him racing a Porsche 904 at Sebring and felt that his lack of an international racing pedigree had its attractions since he could test and race the RA 272 without raising undue attention or expectations.

1984: Ron Bouchard edged Geoff Bodine by half a car-length for his first victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Darlington Raceway (South Carolina, US) in the Dixie Cup 200. Bouchard took the lead in the 139th lap and led the rest of the way in the 147-lap event. Bobby Allison finished third with division legends Sam Ard and Jack Ingram fourth and fifth. Bouchard swept both Darlington races that year for his only two wins in the series; the triumphs came three years after his only win in NASCAR’s top division, an upset victory at Talladega Superspeedway

1985: Bill Elliott drove his Ford Thunderbird to victory in the 500 mile NASCAR GN race at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina. Elliott led the final 36 laps and took the checkered 1.8 seconds ahead of Darrell Waltrip, who edged Tim Richmond in a great duel for second.

Indy Lights

1986: The inaugural season of Indy Lites opened at Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The original Indy Lights series was formed as an open-wheeled racing series that acted as a developmental circuit for CART from 1986 to 2001. It was founded in 1986 as the American Racing Series (ARS). The series was renamed Indy Lights in 1991. The CART-sanctioned series became widely popular and secured the title sponsorship of Firestone. Later, Firestone’s subsidiary Dayton Tires took over as tire supplier and title sponsor. A spec-series, CART Indy Lights used March chassis (essentially a modified 85B Formula 3000 chassis, renamed to Wildcat) from 1986 to 1992. Lola provided chassis from 1993 to 2001. Buick V6 engines were used for its entire existence. The ARS/Indy Lights series’ championship winners included two CART champions, two IndyCar Series champions, seven CCWS race-winners and two Formula One drivers. The Indy Lights schedule closely followed that of the CART series, with the noteworthy exception of Indianapolis. The series typically had a gap of up to a month while the primary CART teams raced at the Indy 500. The races were usually held the morning of the CART series races, as an undercard, support event. In early years, the Indy Lights series skipped superspeedway races such as Michigan, but eventually found its way to race there. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, CART was suffering from financial problems. Meanwhile, in 1996, the rival Indy Racing League was formed. CART canceled the minor league outright after the 2001 season. By this time, the Toyota Atlantic series was equally effective in providing CART with new drivers. In addition, the Atlantics served as a springboard for such drivers as Greg Ray, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Richie Hearn to enter the IRL. The Atlantics effectively became CART’s primary feeder system, and later became Champ Car World Series’ official in-house feeder championship for a time.

1993: Speedway President Tony George, and the president of NASCAR, Bill France, Jr. jointly announced that the inaugural Brickyard 400 would be held Saturday August 6th, 1994 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The 400 was the first race other than the Indianapolis 500 to be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1916. In its inaugural season, the Brickyard 400 became NASCAR’s most-attended event, drawing an estimated crowd of more than 250,000 spectators in 1994. It also pays NASCAR’s second-highest purse, second only to the Daytona 500. The term “Brickyard” is a reference to the nickname historically used for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When the race course opened in 1909, the track surface was crushed stone and tar. That surface was the cause of numerous and sometimes fatal accidents, so the track was repaved with 3.2 million bricks in time for the inaugural Indy 500 in 1911, giving rise to the name Brickyard. Over time the bricks have been covered with asphalt, and now only a one-yard strip of brick at the start/finish line remains exposed. From 2005 to 2009, the race was known as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard under a naming rights arrangement with Allstate Insurance. From 2011 to 2014, Big Machine Records was the presenting sponsor. From 2011 to 2016, Crown Royal was the title sponsor of the race; Under Crown Royal sponsorship, the race was part of Crown Royal’s “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, in which the race is named after an armed forces member or first responder nominated by fans.[3][5] Accordingly, the 2016 race was branded as Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard. The names of the winners of the Brickyard 400 are inscribed on the PPG Trophy, which is permanently housed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 on August 6, 1994. He is the most-successful driver in the history of the race, with a record five victories and three pole positions. Hendrick Motorsports has been the most successful team with nine total wins and five poles. The race is currently part of the Super Weekend at the Brickyard, which features races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series, and previously the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The stock car races are on the oval, while the sports car events were conducted on the speedway’s road course layout.

1986: Terry Labonte tied Richard Petty’s streak of 513 consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup starts, capping a perfect weekend by winning the First Union 400 from the pole at North Wilkesboro Speedway in Wilkes County, North Carolina (US). Chevrolets finished 1-2-3-4-5 in the race.

2002: The San Marino Grand Prix was held at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. It was won by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher. His team mate Rubens Barrichello finished second and Williams-BMW driver Ralf Schumacher finished third. It was the first one-two finish for Ferrari, in another dominating season for the team.
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