Discover the most momentous motor sports events that took p[lace this weekend in history ………
1900: The Long Island Road Race was won by Anthony L Riker driving his special low-sprung Riker Torpedo electric vehicle. The 50-mile race was held on Merrick Road from the Springfield Boulevard intersection in Queens to Bablyon in Suffolk County and back. It was the fourth automobile race ever held in the United States and according to The New York Times, it was “the first automobile 50-mile race ever run in America.”
1925: Renato Balestrero driving an OM 665 won the first Tripoli Grand Prix, held on a racing circuit outside Tripoli, the capital of what was then Italian Tripolitania.The final Tripoli Grand Prix took place in 1940.
1928: The Hispano-Suiza driven by Charles Weymann and Robert Bloch defeated the Stutz Black Hawk driven by Tom Rooney and Gil Anderson in a match race staged at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
1938: Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh, better known as Prince Bira of Siam (now Thailand) or by his nom de course B. Bira, won the second. Campbell Trophy at Brooklands, driving a ERA B-Type.
1949: Juan Manuel Fangio driving a Maserati 4CLT/48 won the Paul Grand Prix.
1954: Herb Thomas dived underneath his brother Donald with 34 laps to go and held on to win the 100 mile NASCAR Grand National race on the 1 mile dirt Orange Speedway, North Carolina. Donald was leading on lap 65 when he had to swerve around a flipping car. Running several lengths behind, Herb used the opportunity to grab the lead. The brothers Hudson Hornets ran nose to tail the remaining laps with Herb edging Donald by a car length.
1960: Glen Wood scored his first career NASCAR GN win, leading all 200 laps on the 1/4 mile paved Bowman-Gray Stadium oval, North Carolina in his Ford.
1960: The 8th Glover Trophy, run to Formula One rules held at Goodwood Circuit, England. The race was run over 42 laps of the circuit, and was won by the British driver Innes Ireland in a Lotus 18.
1964 (18th-19th): The Ford GT40 Mk1’s (chassis 101 and 102) first made their appearance at the Le Mans test weekend. However, they suffered from aerodynamic problems, and one of the cars even crashed after becoming airborne on the Mulsanne straight. The Mk1’s made their debut race at the Nurburgring 1000 Kilometres in May of that year. The car ended up dropping out of the race due to suspension failure. Three Mk1’s were entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964. Although none of the cars finished the race (2 gearbox failures and a ruptured fuel line), Phil Hill set a lap record in his GT40.
1965: Taking the lead when a blown tire sent Marvin Panch into the wall with 11 laps to go, Junior Johnson won the NASCAR GN ‘Gwyn Staley Memorial’ on the .625 mile paved North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina. Johnson had led a total of 345 laps when he made an unscheduled stop for a tire change on lap 370. Continue Reading →
1965: Jud Larson drove the Watson car to victory in the USAC Sprint Car feature on the high banked 1/2 mile dirt Eldora Speedway, Ohio, US.
1968: Bobby Isaac won the 100 mile NASCAR GN race on the 1/2 mile dirt Columbia Speedway, South Carolina, US. It was Isaac’s first win since February 1964. Isaac took the lead on lap 15 and led the rest of the way. Isaac’s lead was so great that on lap 138, he ran out of gas and coasted to the pits without losing the lead. Charlie Glotzbach got around James Hylton late in the race to take 2nd as Dodges swept the top 4 spots. Richard Petty earned no points for his 5th place finish as he failed to submit written entries for the second straight race.
1971: In the Spanish Grand Prix held at Montjuich Park, Jackie Stewart took his Tyrrell from 4th on the grid to win in a time of 1:49:03. Pole sitter, Jacky Ickx, set the fastest lap in his Ferrari on the way to his second place finish, 3.4 seconds behind Stewart. Chris Amon in the Matra, started and finished third. Outside pole man, Clay Regazzoni in the other Ferrari, was out on lap 13 with engine problems.
1971: Not only was it the first IMSA race held at Virginia International Raceway, it was the first race for IMSA’s Grand Touring class. It was hoped that the new subcompact Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega would make their road racing debuts in the event, but none entered. 24 cars and an estimated 10,000 spectators were on hand for the inaugural event of the new series.
1992: Tommy Houston started last in the 30-car field and overcame a record 26 cautions to win the Mountain Dew 300 at Hickory (North Carolina, US) Motor Speedway, marking his last victory in what is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Houston, who was three laps down at one point in the race, led 41 of the 300 laps to edge Bobby Labonte by three-tenths of a second. Chuck Bown finished third. Houston raced with a heavy heart, winning on Easter Sunday a day after his father had died.
1999: In a field of Panoz GT’s, Audrey Zavodski won the inaugural Women’s Global GT Series race, run at Road Atlanta in Georgia. Kiki Wolfkill was second with eventual inaugural series champion, Cindi Lux, third.
1924: A series of 25 mile “Sprints” were held on the 1.25 mile banked board Culver City Speedway, California. 25 mile races were won by Leon Duray (Miller), Pete DePaolo (Duesenberg), Pietro Bordino (Fiat) and Bob McDonough (Miller). Harry Hartz won a 50 mile race in a Miller, averaging the fastest speed of the day, 135.2 mph.
1928: A Hispano-Suiza driven by Charles Weymann and Robert Bloch defeated a Stutz Blackhawk driven by Tom Rooney and Gil Anderson in a $25,000, 24-hour match race. The Stutz damaged its engine at the very start, fell behind as mechanics tried to fix it, and finally succumbed after 18 hours and 56 minutes.
1931: Louis Chiron driving a Bugatti T51 won the Monaco Grand Prix (cover image). With 16 Bugattis in a field of 23 cars, the event was close to being a single-make race. Among the 16 were four factory-team Type 51s driven by the Monegasque Louis Chiron, the Italian Achille Varzi and the French Albert Divo and Guy Bouriat. The real challenge came from the Maserati 8C 2500’s driven by Rene Dreyfus, the Italian Luigi Fagioli and Clemente Bondietti. Rudolf Caracciola with his huge Mercedes SSKL (Super Sport Short Light-Weight) was uncompetitive as his larger car performed poorly around the tight Monaco track. The race was between the blue cars from Molsheim and the red ones from Modena. When the start flag dropped it was Rene Dreyfus in his red Maserati who led into St. Devote, only to be passed by ‘Williams’ on the hill to the Casino, but his lead was short lived as the Brit was sidelined by a broken valve spring, and his race was over. Achille Varzi and Caracciola started closing on Dreyfus and Varzi managed to overtake the Frenchman on the 7th lap. Caracciola struggled with a slipping clutch that gave in on lap 53. Starting slowly, Louis Chiron eventually displayed his talents; gaining back ground with a new lap record time. He caught up with all his opponents and left them behind. Chiron, a native of Monaco, finished the race some 5 minutes ahead of Luigi Fagioli. Jean Bugatti couldn’t control his joy and jumped over the parapet of the bleachers and fell into Louis Chiron’s arms. For the Monegasque, this Monaco Grand Prix victory really confirmed his reputation.
1952: The West Hants & Dorset Car Club ran the ‘Second Ibsley Car Race Meeting’ at the Ibsley Circuit, Ringwood, Hampshire, UK which attracted over 100 entries. The programme consisted of 11 scratch and handicap races with varying distances (from 5 to 15 laps); all were for sports cars or racing cars (Formula Two known at the time as Formula B) and one exclusively for Bentleys. The Formula Two race attracted entries from George Abecassis in an HWM and Connaughts for Ken McAlpine and W.B. Black. David Murray drove a Ferrari 166 and Mike Hawthorn was entered in a Bristol-engined Cooper T20. The Ibsley Grand Prix was won by Hawthorn. Later that year, a young John Surtees made his bike debut at Ibsley, finishing third in his 350cc heat and fourth in the final race.
1953: Lee Petty prevailed in the first race in NASCAR’s top series at Richmond (Virginia, US) Fairgrounds’ half-mile dirt track. Dick Rathman finished second in a ’52 Hudson behind Petty’s ’53 Dodge with pole-starter Buck Baker third.
1954: The VI Lavant Cup run over 7 laps (16.8 miles) of the Goodwood circuit was won by Reg Parnell in a Ferrari 500.
1954: Jean Behra in a Gordini T16 won the Pau Grand Prix.
1957: Chevrolet issued the “1957 Chevrolet Stock Car Competition Guide” to their drivers.
1958: Stirling Moss driving a Cooper-Climax T45 won the non-Championship Formula One Aintree 200 race at Aintree, Liverpool, UK.
1964: Fred Lorenzen nursed his smoking Ford under the checkered just as the engine blew, winning the NASCAR GN Gwyn Staley Memorial 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Carolina, US. Lorenzen’s Holman-Moody Ford began smoking with 5 laps to go on the 5/8 mile paved oval. He managed to run the final laps before the engine blew in a big way as he took the flag. Ned Jarrett finished 200 yards behind, also in a Ford. Jarrett started last (30th) after engine woes kept him from qualifying. Fireball Roberts missed the race after destroying his Ford in a qualifying crash.
1964: Mario Andretti of Nazareth competed in his inaugural Indy car race, in Trenton New Jersy, finishing in 11th place while A J Foyt won the race in a Watson-Offenhauser. The following year, Andretti won the first of his four Indy car championships (also referred to as the U.S. National Championship) and was named Rookie of the Year at the prestigious Indianapolis 500, where he came in third. Andretti went on to become an icon in the world of motorsports. He is the only man to win the Formula One World Championship, the U.S. National Championship (1965, 1966, 1969, 1984), the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring (1967, 1970, 1972) and the Pikes Peak International Hill Club. He was the gracious Honorary Host of the first America On Wheels Gala.
1970: In the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama, Jackie Stewart took his March 701 from the third spot on the grid left the field behind. This was the first F1 win for March. At the end, he was the only one out of five finishers with 80 laps completed in a time of 2:10:58. The second place man, Bruce McLaren in his own car, finished one lap down and Mario Andretti the the other March, came in third. Jack Brabham, the pole sitter and fastest lap man, had an engine failure on lap 61 that put him out. The race was marred by a serious accident involving Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickx. Both of their cars burst into a fireball, and Ickx was slightly burned. He would recover in time for the next race at Monaco.
1970: John Cannon drove a Carl Hogan owned, Chevrolet powered McLaren M10B to victory in the SCCA Continental Championship (Formula 5000) race at Riverside International Raceway in California. Pole sitter Cannon and 2nd fastest Ron Grable pulled clear at the start of the 40 lap race. Entering turn 9 the first time, Chuck Parsons slid sideways and tapped 3rd qualifier Bob Williams, sending Williams’ Wayne Jones Eagle-Plymouth into the wall and Parsons into a 360 degree spin. Williams was out with a bent A-frame and dead motor while Parsons stalled and fell to last before getting his Lola T190 restarted. The race settled in with Cannon leading, Grable filling his mirrors and young Japanese driver Hiroshi Fushida all alone in 3rd in another Jones Eagle-Plymouth. 1967 champ Gus Hutchison moved into 4th in his F1 Brabham-Ford. Fushida retired with a blown motor on lap 28, moving Hutchison to 3rd and he began to close on Grable. Grable’s challenge came to an end when his throttle stuck wide open entering turn 6 with 6 laps to go. Despite simultaneously braking, downshifting and hitting the kill switch, Grable’s Lola took a hard hit into the boiler plate wall, tearing off both left side wheels. When the wrecker moved quickly to assist Grable, Hutchison had to spin to avoid. Without a clutch since the early going, Hutchison had trouble restarting and fell to 8th. With his only serious challenger out, Cannon cruised across the line over a lap ahead of Dave Jordan’s AIR Eagle-Chevy. Jordan in turn, just barely held off Parsons, who had come back from his lap 1 spin to take 3rd.
1970: England Football manager Sir Alf Ramsey started The Daily Mirror World Cup Rally at Wembley stadium. The 96 cars had a 16,000 mile journey before them. It was won by Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm, driving a Ford Escort in Mexico City in May 1970.