27-28 March: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the momentous motor sorts events tat took place this weekend in history………. 

~27 March~

1927: Fernando Minoia and Giuseppi Morandi won the first Mille Miglia in an O.M. The Mille Miglia (Thousand miles) was an open-road endurance race which took place in Italy twenty-four times until to 1957.

1949: Fonty Flock won his fourth Modified championship race in a row in the 40-lap feature at North Wilkes­boro Speedway, North Carolina, US. Red Byron, the 1948 NASCAR champion, was unable to ­compete due to illness.

1955: Alberto Ascari in a Lancia D50 won the Turin Grand Prix at Parco Valentino, Italy.

1960: Lee Petty finished first in the controversial 100-mile race at North Wilkesboro (North Carolina, US) Speedway. Petty bumped his way past Junior Johnson with 14 laps remaining to claim his 49th career NASCAR Grand National win. Petty was pelted with rocks and debris in ­victory lane.

1965: A heavy downpour in the seventh hour flooded the course and slowed speeds to 30 mph, but didn’t stop the Chaparral team of Jim Hall and Hap Sharp from easily winning the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. A Cobra Daytona won the GT class.

1967: NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison drove from the pole position to land his fourth victory in NASCAR’s premier series, winning by two laps at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US. Richard Petty finished second with John Sears third on the flat, quarter-mile asphalt track.

1978: Tony Trimmer in a McLaren-Cosworth M23 won the Evening News Trophy at Brands Hatch.

1983: One of the most remarkable drives of modern times saw John Watson storm to victory after starting the Long Beach Grand Prix in 22nd place on the grid. Nobody has come from further back to win a race. His McLaren team-mate, Niki Lauda, started in 23rd and took second place despite suffering from leg cramps in the closing stages.

1994: An easy win for Michael Schumacher in the opening race of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix, and no happy ending for local boy Ayrton Senna who span off 15 laps from the end as he vainly chased his rival. Schumacher finished a lap ahead of Damon Hill, but had to survive a technical appeal which lasted well into the night. No so lucky was Eddie Irvine who was suspended from the next race after being blamed for a spectacular and potentially serious four-car pile-up.

1994: Dale Earnhardt enjoyed a resounding victory in Darlington’s TranSouth 400, South Carolina (US). The 7.4-second triumph over runner-up Mark Martin was Earnhardt’s ninth career win on the venerable Darlington track, one shy of David Pearson’s all-time mark of 10 wins on the 1.366-mile oval.

~28 March~

1909: The Coliseum Motordrome in Los Angeles, California, US, opened with Jake De Rosier setting four motorcycle world records. The wood plank raceway was the first of its kind anywhere in the world; built right in the middle of the Ballona Wetlands. It was 1/3 mile long, and was the first board track built specifically for racing motorcycles.

1925: The last speed hillclimb was held on a public road in Great Britain, the Essex MC meeting at Kop Hill, Buckinghamshire. It was stopped when the ex-Mays Bescia Bugatti, Cordon Blue, driven by an Oxford University undergraduate, Francis Givens injured a spectator.

1928: Tazio Nuvolari driving a Bugatti T35C won the Pozzo Circuit Grand Prix at Pozzo.

1948: The Necochea 1000 miles at Playas de Necochea in Argentina was won by Oscar Galvez in a Alfa Romeo 308.

1954: Dick Rathmann came from last to first to win the 125-mile race at Oakland Speedway in California (US). The track consisted of dirt corners and paved straightaways.

1970: Racer D Ndahura was killed in Uganda during the East Africa Safari when his care was struck by a flash flood.

1971: The Questor Grand Prix held at the Ontario Speedway, was won by Mario Andretti in Ferrari 312B.

1976: The first American Grand Prix was held at Long Beach, California, the first of two races held in the USA that year. The race was dominated by Clay Regazzoni who won from pole position and set the fastest lap in his Ferrari. The street circuit was hard on the cars and only five completed the 80 laps.

1982: Sam Ard rolled to his first win of the season in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series in the Dogwood 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Virginia, US. Butch Lindley finished second with fellow series legend Jack Ingram third. Pole-starter Geoffrey Bodine wound up fourth on the .526-mile track.

1993: Dale Earnhardt scrambled back from a one-lap deficit to win the TranSouth 500 at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina (US). Earnhardt’s victory ended a personal 10-month losing skid. Alan Kulwicki finished sixth in what was destined to be his final race.

1993: Brazil hosted the second round of the F1 championship; after numerous accidents in the rain on the same lap left the track littered with debris, the safety car was used for the first time in the modern era for eight laps. The event also saw Ayrton Senna secure McLaren’s 100th race win, despite a stop-go penalty, and Damon Hill’s first podium after he finished second to the great Brazilian. “I could see there was a chance to win.” Hill said, “but I couldn’t keep up with him and was anxious to keep my second place and at last break my F1 duck.” Michael Andretti and Gerhard Berger survived a spectacular cartwheeling crash on the first lap, both walking away with barely a scratch.

2008: Jean-Marie Balestre (86), who once was the most powerful man in motor sport for 13 years as president of the Federation Internationale de Sport Automobile (FISA) between 1979 to 1991, died.

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