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16-17 October: This Weekend in Motorsport History

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

~16 October~

1904: Vincenzo Florio in a Darracq 80HP won the Padova to Bovolenta 10km race, in a time of 4 minutes 48 seconds. He also won the 1km sprint, followed by Guido Bigio in a Itala 24HP .

1949: The Wilkes 200, the eighth and final race of the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock season, was held at North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Carolina, US. Kenneth Wagner won the pole. Bob Flock took the lead in the closing stages when mechanical problems kayoed Bill Blair and edged Lee Petty to win the season finale.

1955: Stirling Moss and Peter Collins won the Targa Florio driving a Mercedes 300 SL. The race was held over 13 laps of the 44.64 miles of the Circuito delle Madonie Piccolo, giving a distance of 581.604 miles.

1955: Norm Nelson drove a Kiekhaefer Chrysler to victory in the abbreviated NASCAR Grand National race at Las Vegas (US). The event was shortened from 200 to 111 laps due to ­several wrecks and darkness.

1960: Bill Krauss drove a Maserati Tip 61 to victory in the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix sports car race at Riverside, California, US.

2011: Race car driver and 2-time Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon (33) died in a fiery crash during the IndyCar world Championships at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

~17 October~

1931: Henry Birkin driving a Maserati 26M won the Mountain Championship at Brooklands.

1933: Barney Oldfield became the first to drive a farm tractor more than one-mile-a-minute, reaching 64.2 mph in a special Allis-Chalmers in Dallas, Texas, US. The event was staged to attract financing for a planned land speed record attempt.

1947: Baroness Hélène van Zuylen van Nijevelt van de Haar née de Rothschild (84), the French socialite who entered the 1898 Paris–Amsterdam–Paris Trail using the pseudonym Snail, thus becoming the first woman to compete in an international motor race, died.

1971: Richard Petty took advantage of Bobby Allison’s misfortune to prevail in the Delaware 500 at Dover International Speedway, Delaware, US. It was the 18th of 21 victories for Petty that season, which ended in his seventh and final championship in NASCAR’s top series.

1971: The final race held at Langhorne Speedway (Pennsylvania, US) took place, with Roger Treichler claiming the checkered flag at the National Open for Modified stock cars.

1981: The Las Vegas Grand Prix also referred to as the Caesar’s Palace Grand Prix was won by Alain Jones in a Ferrari. It was the final race of the 1981 Formula One season, and saw Nelson Piquet win the first of his three World Championships.

1998: Jeff Gordon passed Kenny Irwin, Jr., with 38 laps remaining and hustled to victory in the rescheduled Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Florida (US). For the first time, a race was staged under the lights at Daytona. Gordon won for the 11th time in the 1998 season and was virtually assured of winning his third championship.

1999: Dario Franchitti won the CART Honda Grand Prix in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia.

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