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17-18 August: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history …….
~17 August~

1952: Bob Flock, made his first start since breaking his neck in a crash at Mobile, Atlanta, US., on November 25, 1951 and won the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National event at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. Flock’s little brother Tim finished second and held on to his narrow points lead.

1952: Alberto Ascari driving a Ferrari 500 won the Dutch Grand Prix (F2) held at Zandvoort. The ERA made its final Formula 1 appearance, but the G Type designed by David Hodkin and driven by Stirling Moss was forced to retire. The Frazer-Nash also made its final appearance, but the 421, patterned on the pre-World War II BMW 328 by designer H J Aldington and driven by Ken Wharton, retired with transmission problems.

1968: The first British eight second run at Santa Pod Raceway was recorded by Tony Densham. An 8.891/173.16 alongside the Oldsmobile powered Geronimo of Mick Tickner, was the quickest unblown fueler outside the USA at this time. Densham received a cheque for £50 as the prize for the first eight second run.

1969: The Porsche 917 made its racing debut, with Jo Siffert competing in the Can-Am Mid-Ohio race in Lexington, Ohio, US without success.

1973: The automotive engineer and mechanic Fred Offenhauser (84) who designed the Offenhauser racing engine, nicknamed the “Offy”, which dominated competition in the Indianapolis 500 race for decades, died.

Tiny Lund

1975: Racer DeWayne ‘Tiny’ Lund (45) was killed during the Talladega 500 in Talladega, Alabama, US. He was a journeyman racer-for-hire in the top level NASCAR Grand National Series, running partial seasons for a number of years, including a victory in the 1963 Daytona 500. Lund saw his greatest success in the NASCAR Grand American Series, where he was the season champion in three of the four full years the series was run – Lund won 41 of the 109 Grand American events that ran. Lund stood 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed about 270 lbs., earning the ironic nickname “Tiny”.

1975: Vittorio Brambilla took his first Formula One win at the Austrian Grand Prix for March. The race was shortened by heavy rain, meaning that only half points were awarded. It was Brambilla’s only Formula One win in his seven-year Grand Prix career. He took a 27-second win over British driver James Hunt in his Hesketh 308. Eight seconds further back was the Shadow DN5 of British driver Tom Pryce in the first of just two podiums in his abbreviated career.

1980: Reserve Lotus driver, Nigel Mansell, made his Grand Prix debut at the Osterreichring, Austria. The future world champion retired with a broken engine after 40 laps and suffering burns after he raced in overalls soaked in fuel after a pre-race incident. The race was won by French driver, Jean-Pierre Jabouille driving a Renault RE20. The win was Jabouille’s second and last Formula One Grand Prix victory. It was also his first points finish in over a year since his previous victory at the 1979 French Grand Prix. It would also be the last points finish of his career. Jabouille won by eight-tenths of a second over Australian driver Alan Jones driving a Williams FW07B. Third was Jones’ Williams Grand Prix Engineering team mate, Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann.

1980: Cale Yarborough took command 12 laps from the end and roars to victory in the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Yarborough (US), a 2012 inductee to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, started second and finished 2.3 seconds ahead of runner-up Neil Bonnett. Donnie Allison held on for third place.

Niki Lauda

1985: Austrian driver Niki Lauda announced his retirement. The three times F1 World Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984, is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport’s two most successful constructors. More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run two airlines (Lauda Air and Niki). He is also Bombardier Business Aircraft brand ambassador. He was also a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari and team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years. He is currently working as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends and acts as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. Lauda was seriously injured in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, during which his Ferrari burst into flames and he came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. However he recovered and returned to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix.

1986: Alain Prost won the Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring in a McLaren MP4/2C-TAG, with Ferrari drivers Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson second and third respectively. With Drivers’ Championship challengers Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna all retiring, Prost moved into second place in the Championship, two points behind Mansell.

1994: Luigi Chinetti (93), Italian-born racecar driver, who emigrated to the United States during World War II and became an American citizen, died. He was a driver in 12 consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans races, winning 3 times, and also won the Spa 24 Hours race twice. He was the long-time American importer of Ferrari automobiles to the United States. At the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans race he drove the first Ferrari ever to win the event, and set a record as the only three-time winner of the race to that date. In 1951, he was the riding mechanic in the Ferrari 212 that won the grueling Carrera Panamericana race, a 2,100-mile (3,400 km), five-day competition across Mexico.

~18 August~

1945: The first post-World War II speed event in England was staged on a grass and earth course at Naish House, near Portishead. It’s impossible to imagine today just how everyone felt after the traumas and uncertainty of WW2, finally ended just three days earlier on VJ Day, but the Bristol Motor Cycle & Light Car Club, galvanised by the enthusiastic Dick Caesar, quickly ushered in a new era of British motorsport with a hillclimb at one of its pre-war venues. Preparations in the summer of 1945 involved liberally placing straw bales at various danger points, and removing some molehills on the final bend. A crowd of six or seven hundred onlookers lined the hill to watch the competitors from as far afield as Leicester and Sussex among the 25 motor-cycle and 35 car entrants. The vehicles were run singly up the hill, with car and motorcycle classes alternating. Peter Falconer, making smooth and clean climbs, using just a foot or so of the banking, was fastest of the bikes, and also overall fastest time of day, with 48.6 sec. on his 500 Triumph Speed Twin, beating the pre-war record of 56.0 seconds.

1957: Stirling Moss driving a Vanwall 57 won the Pescara Grand Prix, near Pescara, Italy. The race, which was the only Formula One World Championship race at the track, is best remembered for being held at the longest ever circuit to stage a Formula One World Championship Grand Prix. The 25 km/16 miles long track is now part of the SR16bis on the coast of

Pescara. It was also the first of the two consecutive Italian races, and after the subsequent race at Monza was complete, it became the first time that two Formula One races had been held in the same country in the same year. The temporary public road circuit used for this race was located near the picturesque town of Pescara. It was extremely dangerous; so much so that Enzo Ferrari, a man not known for compassion for his drivers, did not send his team to the race out of fear for his drivers’ safety. The main straight at Pescara ran along a 500 foot high cliff. The total lack of safety on the circuit meant that if a driver were to go off the course there, they would most likely drive off the cliff into the Adriatic Sea. The race drew a crowd in excess of 200,000 spectators.

1963: Jim Clark driving a Lotus-Ford won the 200-mile USAC Championship race at Milwaukee Speedway in West Allis, Wisconsin, US. This was the first major US race won by a rear-engined car.

1966: David Pearson steered a Cotton Owens-prepared Dodge to win the Sandlapper 200 at Columbia (South Carolina, US) Speedway. Pearson, a five-time winner over his career at the half-mile dirt track, led 33 laps and nipped Richard Petty by a car-length at the finish. Curtis Turner, who led 134 of the 200 laps, faded to a third-place finish as the last car on the lead lap.

1974: Carlos Reutemann won the Austrian Grand Prix for Brabham.

1985: French driver Alain Prost driving a McLaren MP4/2B won the Austrian Grand Prix held at Österreichring. It was Prost’s fourth victory of his championship-winning season. Prost won by 30 seconds over Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus 97T. Italian driver Michele Alboreto driving a Ferrari 156/85 finished third, tying Alboreto and Prost in the championship. In what was to be the last race for the venerable Cosworth DFV V8 engine until 1987, Tyrrell’s Martin Brundle failed to qualify giving the race the distinction of being the first ever all-turbo Formula One Grand Prix starting grid.

1991: Dale Jarrett prevailed in a photo finish over Davey Allison to win his first NASCAR Winston Cup event in the Champion Spark Plug 400, Michigan, US Jarrett edged Allison by 10 inches in the closest finish in Michigan International Speedway history.

2002: The Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring was won by Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello with his teammate Michael Schumacher finishing second. This victory gave the Constructors Title to Ferrari. Williams-BMW driver Ralf Schumacher finished third.

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