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27-28 October: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~27 October~

1902: Vincenzo Florio in a Panhard 40HP (5 minutes 21 seconds) won the Padova – Bovolenta race followed by Vincenzo Lancia in a Fiat 34HP and Luigi Storero in a Fiat 12HP.

1957: Buck Baker wrapped up his second straight Grand National champion­ship campaign by wheeling his Chevrolet to a win in the 250-lap season finale at Central Carolina Fairground in Greensboro, North Carolina, US. Baker beat Marvin Panch by 760 points in the title hunt with his 10th win of the ­season.

1963: Team Lotus driver Jim Clark won the first ever Mexican , the penultimate round of the 1963 season, and secured tyre supplier Dunlop their 50th Fastest Lap and 50th Grand Prix victory. The race also marked Graham Hill’s 50th Formula 1 GP. Hill finished 4th behind his team-mate Richie Ginther, tying both BRM drivers at 29 points in the fight for runner-up spot behind already crowned champion Jimmy Clark. This was also the only World Championship Grand Prix where a car raced with the number 13 until Pastor Maldonado selected the number as his permanent race number in 2014.

1973: George Follmer drove a Porsche Carrera RSR to victory in the IROC race at Riverside, California.

Tony Hulman

1977: Tony Hulman passed away in Indianapolis, Indiana after 32 years of presiding over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hulman purchased the dilapidated Indianapolis Motor Speedway from a group led by World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker immediately after World War II. Influenced by three-time Indy 500 winner Wilbur Shaw (who became the track’s president in the early years of the Hulman regime), Hulman made numerous improvements to the track in time for the race to be held in 1946. Following Shaw’s death in a plane crash on October 30, 1954, Hulman stepped into his soon-to-be-familiar role as the “face” of the Speedway. He followed the tradition of launching the Indianapolis 500 with the command, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” Into the 1970s, despite the fact he’d given the command so many times before, he would always practice it extensively beforehand, and on race day, he would invariably pull a card containing the famous words: “GENNNNNTLEMENNNNN, STARRRRRT YOURRRRRR ENNNNNNNGINES!” from the pocket of his suit as he stepped to the microphone. Luke Walton, who with Wilbur Shaw had founded the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, was for many years a sportscaster and worked annually with Hulman (and later with Mrs. Hulman) to ensure each word was delivered with the proper emphasis. His family took on the responsibility of preserving his vision and the heritage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hulman’s wife, Mary Fendrich Hulman, became chairman of the board, while longtime family friend Joseph R. Cloutier was named president.

1996: Bobby Hamilton drove the Petty Racing STP Pontiac to victory at Phoenix, Arizona, US, for his first NASCAR Winston Cup win.

Bobby Hamilton – 1997

1997: Bobby Hamilton drove past Ricky Craven with 16 laps to go, landing his second triumph in NASCAR’s premier series by winning the ACDelco 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham. Hamilton, who drove the Petty Enterprises No. 43, finished .941 seconds ahead of runner-up Dale Jarrett while Craven settled for third place. Jeff Gordon finished fourth while Dick Trickle took fifth on his 56th birthday.

~28 October~

1923: The Sitges Circuit, the first permanent racetrack built in Spain, opened. It was similar in configuration to . The event was for 2-litre GP cars and was won by Albert Divo in a Sunbeam defeating Count Louis Zborowski in a Miller, with a winning speed of 96.91 mph. No prize money was awarded. Unpaid construction overruns caused the builders to seize the gate receipts, leaving the organizers with no money to pay the drivers. As a result, the track was forbidden to host international races again. Drivers also complained about the entry and exit from the bankings claiming the transition from straight to banking and back again was poorly designed. Catalunyan Club and the Penya Rhin continued to hold races in 1925 with little success. It was sold to Edgard de Morawitz in the 1930s. The last known race held on the oval was in the 1950s. The track and surrounding land is currently an operating chicken farm. Because of the high quality of construction, the track and buildings still stand more than 90 years later and are in excellent condition.

1945: Alec Issigonis was one of the class winners in the first English sprint meeting held after World War II, a ½ mile event at Filton Aerodrome, near Bristol. Issigonis returned 32.0 seconds with the lightweight Special, built by himself and George Dawson shortly before the war. The fastest run was made by Bob Gerard (1½ litre ERA) in a time of 26.3 seconds.

1951: Three drivers were within striking distance of the World title coming to the final round of the 1951 season, the Gran Premio de España in Pedralbes: Juan Manuel Fangio (27 points), Alberto Ascari (25) and José Froilán González (21). Ascari was the quickest in qualifying but a poor tyre choice, against the advice of Pirelli, left the Ferraris struggling. Fangio won the race in style and with it the championship. It was to be the first of five world titles he would secure over the coming seven years. Second step on the podium went to his countryman Gonzalez with team-mate Giuseppe Farina back in third.

Rex White

1962: Rex White rallied for what would be his 28th and final victory in NASCAR’s top series, leading just the final three laps in the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Georgia, US. White, the 1960 series champion who competed in partial schedules for the next two seasons before his retirement, outran runner-up Joe Weatherly by 12 seconds at the finish. Marvin Panch took third as the final car on the lead lap. Pole-starter Fireball Roberts led the most laps (144) but faded to a 10th-place finish.

1999: A Jaguar sports car that won the 1956 Le Mans 24-hour race was sold for £1.71m at auction at Christie’s in London. The Ecurie Ecosse D-type was driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson to win the famed endurance race for Scotland in 1956. It had been in Scottish ownership ever since, and was sold at auction by Sir Michael Nairn, who runs a Scottish engineering company.

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