Discover the most momentous motor sporting events that took place this weekend in history….
1947: The Stockholm Grand Prix at Vallentuna was won by Reg Parnell in an ERA A-Type.
1953: Ernesto Ceirano (79) of Fiat, winner of the 1911 and 1914 Targa Florio, died in Turin, Italy.
1958: Communist guerrillas in Havana, Cuba, one day before the second Havana Grand Prix, kidnapped Argentine racing champion Juan Manuel Fangio. Revolutionary Manuel Uziel, holding a revolver, approached Fangio in the lobby of his hotel and ordered the race-car driver to identify himself. Fangio reportedly thought it was a joke until Uziel was joined by a group of men carrying submachine guns. Fangio reacted calmly as the kidnappers explained to him their intention to keep him only until the race was over. After his release to the Argentine Embassy, Fangio revealed a fondness for his kidnappers, refusing to help identify them and relaying their explanation that the kidnapping was a political
1958: Paul Goldsmith drove Smokey Yunick’s Pontiac to victory in the 160-mile NASCAR Grand National race on Daytona’s Beach-Road course. The event was the final NASCAR race staged on the picturesque 4.1-mile course on the shore.
1964: Driving a potent Plymouth with the new Hemi engine, Richard Petty led 184 of the 200 laps to win the 1964 Daytona 500. Plymouths ran 1-2-3 at the finish. The triumph was Petty’s first on a super-speedway. Petty drove his number 43 to victory in 3 hours and 14 minutes. There were three caution flags that slowed the race for 19 laps. The Chrysler teams debuted their brand-new 426 ci Chrysler Hemi engine in this race; NASCAR ordered the teams who had it to sandbag it during practice and qualifying due to their superiority. During the race itself, Richard Petty, who at the time was known best for his skill on short tracks, led 184 of the 200 laps (a Daytona 500 record that stands to this day) and Chrysler teams took four of the top five spots. The transition to purpose-built racecars began in the early 1960s and occurred gradually over that decade. Changes made to the sport by the late 1960s brought an end to the “strictly stock” vehicles of the 1950s; most of the cars were trailered to events or hauled in by trucks. Bobby Marshman would retire from NASCAR Grand National Series racing after the conclusion of this event. For some drivers, this would be their last Daytona 500, as the 1960s were an especially brutal era for NASCAR. Jimmy Pardue was killed later in the year in a test crash. Billy Wade was killed in a tire test in January 1965. Bobby Marshman killed in a test crash in late 1964 at Phoenix. Fireball Roberts died in July from injuries inflicted while racing in the World 600 and Joe Weatherly was killed at Riverside early that year.
1969: Lee Roy Yarbrough chased down Charlie Glotzbach who had an eleven second lead to win the Daytona 500. Yarbrough passing Glotzbach on the final lap. It was the first Daytona 500 that was won on a last lap pass.
1969: The Stardust International Raceway, Las Vegas, Nevada held it last race. It featured a flat, 3-mile (4.8 km), 13-turn road course, and a quarter-mile drag strip. It was built in 1965 by the Stardust Hotel and Casino to attract high rollers to the hotel. In 1966 it began hosting the season finale of the Can-Am championship and two years later staged a race in the USAC Championship Car series. The hotel was sold in 1969, and the new owners largely abandoned the track. Real estate developers Pardee Homes bought the land and built the Spring Valley community on it.
1975: Richard Petty drove his Dodge to a convincing win in the ‘Richmond 500’ NASCAR GN race. Lennie Pond’s Chevy finished second, 6 laps behind Petty. Point leader Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough all skipped the race.
1983: The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 4WD rally car was launched on the same day as its two-wheel-drive road version.
1986: At the Miller High Life 400 rivals Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt battled for the win on the half-mile short track for the better part of the race. In the final five laps, Waltrip rode on the back bumper of Earnhardt, bumping and rubbing the whole way. Waltrip finally snuck underneath exiting turn two with three laps to go. Going into turn 3, Earnhardt spun Waltrip out, but lost control himself and both cars crashed hard. The wreck collected Joe Ruttman (3rd place) and Geoff Bodine (4th place), allowing 5th place Kyle Petty to slip by and take his first-career Cup victory. The incident drew a fine for Earnhardt, raised tempers throughout the garage area, and gave Earnhardt the “Ironhead” nickname. The incident was dramatized in the movie 3.
1992: The Jaguar XJR-14 (cover image) made its race debut in the IMSA Camel GT race at Miami, Florida, USA. Davy Jones started it on pole but finished sixth behind the winning Nissan NPTI-91 of Geoff Brabham.
2008: Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race at the Auto Club Speedway , Fontana, California, US.
2008: Paul Frere died at the age of 91 in Brussels. He competed in 11 grand prix under the Belgian flag, despite being born in France. He never completed a full season, instead taking part in the odd race between 1952 and 1956, but did drive for the works teams of Ferrari and Gordini. At his final F1 race he finished second at Spa Francorchamps behind his Ferrari team-mate Peter Collins. He also had a successful sports car career, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ferrari 250 Testarossa. In later life he became an established motor racing journalist and distinguished himself as one of the first writers to treat the sport as a skill that could be analysed and taught. A corner at Spa Francorchamps named after him in his honour.
2009: The Spygate legal case against McLaren engineers Paddy Lowe, Jonathan Neale and Rob Taylor was dropped, after a ‘no contest’ agreement between the lawyers representing them and the Modena district attorney was reached. In exchange for not contesting the charges of copyright infringement relating to Ferrari’s data, Coughlan paid €180,000, with the other three men paying €150,000 each
1924: Harlan Fengler won the 250 mile season opening AAA Championship race on the 1.25 mile high banked board Los Angeles Motor Speedway. Fengler averaged 116.6 mph in his Miller. It was the 2nd and final Championship race win for Fengler, who later served many years as chief steward for the Indianapolis 500.
1958: The second Cuban Grand Prix (which was run under sportscar regulations) was held on the famous Malecon Avenue, which runs along the waterfront in Havana. Juan Manuel Fangio had been kidnapped by Fidel Castro’s guerrillas and missed the race. The event attracted a crowd estimated at 200,000 people. After only five laps around the Havana street course, local driver Armando Garcia Cifuentes lost control of his Ferrari on oil that had been leaking from Mieres’ Porsche. Cifuentes hit a curb and was launched into the spectator zone along side the Malecon boulevard. He literally ploughed through several rows of people before his Testa Rossa was stopped by a construction vehicle that was left there by some builders. The crash took the lives of six spectators and left thirty injured. Cifuentes himself miraculously survived but was one of the severely injured. In the chaos just after the disaster, he was taken care of by his teammate Abelardo Carreras, who put him on the bonnet of his Testa Rossa and drove him to the hospital. Stirling Moss was declared the winner.
1962: Bruce Homeyer won the ATQMRA TQ Midget race at the Teaneck Armory, Teaneck, New Jersey, US. King Carpenter finished second followed by Frank Pelosa, Lou Fray, Bobby Albert, Len Duncan, Al De Angelo, Jerry Wall, George Cousin, Bruno Brackey, Pete Mourad and Jack Duffy.
1963: “Tiny” Lund drove the Wood Brothers Ford to a storybook win in the ‘Daytona 500’. Lund was filling in for regular driver Marvin Panch, who was injured 10 days earlier in a firey crash while practicing for the Daytona Sports Car race. From his hospital bed, Panch asked Glen & Leonard Wood to let Lund drive his car in the 500. Weather played a critical role in Tiny Lund winning this race; with temperatures reaching up to 75 °F (24 °C) and wind speeds up to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). Lund won by making only four pit stops, but he would not have been able to make the distance on four pit stops had the first ten laps not been run under caution to dry the track from earlier rains. Had the race not started under caution, Lund would have had to make five pit stops, just as Fred Lorenzen and Ned Jarrett did. He was able to win on four pit stops along because of the slow start time. It was Lund’s first career GN win.
1967: LeeRoy Yarbrough and Fred Lorenzen won the twin 100 mile NASCAR GN qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway.
1974: Bobby Allison won the ‘Richmond 500’ NASCAR GN race, 4 seconds ahead of Richard Petty’s Dodge. Allison’s win broke Petty’s 7 race win streak on the .542 mile paved Fairgrounds Raceway oval.
1980: Darrell Waltrip drove the DiGard Chevy to victory in the ‘Richmond 400’ NASCAR GN race. Waltrip took the lead from Richard Petty with 19 laps to go and crossed the stripe 1.2 seconds ahead of Bobby Allison in the Bud Moore Ford.
1985: Dale Earnhardt passed Tim Richmond with 14 laps remaining and then held off Geoff Bodine to win the 400 lap NASCAR GN race at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. Bodine’s Hendrick Chevy finished 3 tenths of a second behind Earnhardt’s RCR Chevy.
1995: The official report into the accident which killed Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994 was made public. The Italian magistrate Maurizio Passarini released a report 500 pages long and concluded that the crash was most likely the result of a steering failure on the car. The definitive reason for the crash is still debated today and the court case rumbled on through the mid-1990s until all Williams staff involved were acquitted.