23-24 September: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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Momentous motor sports events that took place during this weekend in history …..

~23 September~

1905: The Vanderbilt American Elimination Trial was held to determine the five entries for the Vanderbilt Cup from 12 American candidates. Albert Dingley driving a Pope-Toledo 60 hp won the 113.2 mile race.

1934: Luigi Fagioli, won the Spanish Grand Prix at Lasarte in a Mercedes-Benz W25/34.

1939: P. MacArthur pulled across the finish line in Ballinascorney, Ireland, winning the last Irish hillclimb before World War II. Hillclimbing events usually took place on a public road, and they became wildly popular in Great Britain and Ireland during the early days of the automobile. Cars of all shapes and sizes would race up a hill, with drivers gunning their engines and showing off the prowess of their new motor car. Cheered on by a crowd of onlookers, the fastest car up the hill won. World War II brought an end to hillclimbs and car racing in general, as manufacturers funneled their efforts into military production. However, hill climbing returned after the war, more popular than ever.

Herb Thomas
Herb Thomas

1951: Herb Thomas took the lead from pole-starter Billy Carden in the 160th lap and leads the rest of a 200-lap main event at Charlotte Speedway, North Carolina, US becoming the first driver in NASCAR’s top series to win three races in a row. Thomas, in a Fabulous Hudson Hornet, led 105 of the 200 laps on the .75-mile dirt track, site of the the first NASCAR Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) race. Shorty York took second place with Donald Thomas third, both in 1950 Plymouths.

1961: Stirling Moss won the Gold Cup race at Oulton Park, England in a Ferguson-Climax P99, the final victory in a major race for a front-engined car.

1972: The famous Crystal Palace racing circuit in London held its final meeting, ending a 45-year racing tradition. The closure had been announced a few weeks before the beginning of the 1972 seas

Crystal Palace circuit
Crystal Palace circuit

on, prompted by noise complaints and safety concerns.The circuit opened in 1927 and the first race, for motorcycles, was on 21 May 1927. Continue Reading →

1973: Confusion in Canada after the safety car is deployed. Peter Revson was eventually declared the winner after starting from second on the grid, driving a McLaren M23. This turned out to be Revson’s last victory and podium finish in Formula One. Continue Reading →

1975: Rene Thomas (89), winner of the 1914 Indianapolis 500 and former holder of the land speed record, died in France.

1978: Mario Andretti drove a Penske-Cosworth to victory in the last USAC Championship Indy car race at Trenton, New Jersey, US.

1990: British driver Nigel Mansell took his only victory of the season in his Ferrari 641, and his last for Scuderia Ferrari at Portugeuse Grand Prix. He finished over two seconds ahead of Brazilian driver and series points leader Ayrton Senna driving a McLaren MP4/5B. Mansell’s team mate French driver Alain Prost kept his fading championship hopes alive with a third placed finish.

~24 September~

1896: Thirty-two entrants started the 1,060-mile Paris-Marseille-Paris race. The competition was the first to be divided into stages, ten in all. During the pauses the machines were put into parcs fermés (secured parking areas), supervised by the police. Only 13 vehicles arrived in Marseille ten days later and the drivers had undergone every kind of adventure, including Léon Bollée running off the road and hitting a tree. Émile Levassor’s partially eponymous Panhard et Levassor skidded and turned over in a ditch. Levassor was injured, but his co-driver, Charles d’Hostingue, continued after leaving Levassor in the care of some spectators. Levassor never recovered from the injury and died in Paris the following year. Another Panhard et Levassor, driven by Émile Mayade, won the race in 67 hours 43 minutes, at an average speed of just over 15 mph.

1900: The first race at the Trenton Fairgrounds (New Jersey, US) was held, but there was no further racing there until 1907. Regular racing began in 1912 and continued until 1941. A new 1 mile dirt oval was opened in 1946.Continue Reading →

Avus circuit, Berlin
Avus circuit, Berlin

1921: The first race at the Avis circuit in Germany was won by Fritz Von Opel driving an Opel.

1933: The Spanish Grand Prix held over 30 laps of a 17.750 km road circuit in Lasarte for a total distance of 532.500 km, was won by Louis Chiron driving an Alfa Romeo.

1967: Gulf Mirages finished 1-2 in the sports car race at Skarpnack, Sweden, with Jo Bonnier finishing ahead of Paul Hawkins.

1972: Tyrrell’s Jackie Stewart won the Canadian Grand Prix by nearly 50 seconds from Peter Revson and Denny Hulme.

1989: Gerhard Berger took his first, and only, victory of the season for Ferrari at the Poruguese Grand Prix. Alain Prost finished in second place for McLaren, strengthening his championship chances after his team-mate and rival Ayrton Senna had been involved in a collision with Ferrari driver Nigel Mansell which resulted in them both retiring. Mansell had just been black flagged at the time of incident for reversing back into his pit box after overshooting it during a stop. Continue Reading →

1995: After flattering only to deceive in Belgium and in Italy, David Coulthard finally won his first Grand Prix at Estoril, Portugual for Williams, after starting from pole position. Michael Schumacher was second in a Benetton, with Damon Hill third in the latter Williams car.

2000: Tony Stewart drove from 27th starting position to seal a season sweep at Dover International Speedway, Delaware, US running away to victory in the MBNA 400. Stewart led 163 laps in his seventh career win in NASCAR’s premier series, beating runner-up Johnny Benson to the checkered flag by 6.752 seconds. Continue Reading →

2000: Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at Indianapolis before a sellout crowd estimated at 225,000. Schumacher’s Ferrari teammate, Rubens Barrichello, finished second and Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third in a Jordan

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