4-5 April: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~4 April~

1915: Bob Burman won a match race at Ascot in California driving a Peugeot powered by a Harry Miller built engine. This was the first race win for a Miller built engine.

1948: Clemente Biondetti drove a 2-litre Ferrari to victory in the revived Giro di Sicilia, in Italy.

1959: Buddy Baker finished 14th in his NASCAR Grand National debut, at Columbus, South Carolina, US.

1959: The only Champ Car race to be held in Daytona was won by Jim Rathmann on 4/4/59. The average speed of the race was 170.261 mph, setting a record that would stand for 14 years.

1963: NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett notched his first victory of the season at Augusta (Georgia, US) Speedway, in an unusual race shortened by dust. Jarrett starts third and led 104 of the 112 laps run, 88 short of the scheduled distance. Richard Petty finished second with Curtis Crider third.

1982: Niki Lauda driving a McLaren-Cosworth MP4/1B won the US West Grand Prix held on the temporary street circuit at Long Beach. It was the 18th victory of Lauda’s career, and his first for McLaren. Canada’s Gilles Villeneuve crossed the line in third, but he was disqualified after the race when a protest of his Ferrari’s rear wing was upheld by the officials.

1993: Mario Andretti scored the 52nd and final victory of his Champ Car career 4/4/93 with a victory in Phoenix. Andretti took the lead with 29 laps to go when leader Emerson Fittipaldi cut a tyre and crashed. The victory made Andretti the oldest driver to ever win a Champ Car race at the age of 53 years, one month and seven days.

2004: The Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F2004. It was the first Formula One race to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the Middle East.

2009: Up until this date, the late and great Juan Manuel Fangio held a little known record. For nearly 55 years the five-time World Champion was the only driver ever to put a brand new car on pole position in both of the first two Grands Prix of a debutant team. That was back in 1954, driving a silver arrow Mercedes-Benz. Jenson Button, in the new Brawn Formula 1 car, scored the 2nd pole position in a row for Brawn GP at the Malaysian Grand Prix with the driver and team thus matching the Fangio/Mercedes achievement. The race was due to be contested over 56 laps, but due to torrential rain, the race was stopped after 31 laps. The race was won by Jenson Button.. Nick Heidfeld was classified second for BMW Sauber with Timo Glock third for Toyota. As the race did not reach the required 75% distance (42 laps) needed for full points to be awarded, half-points were given instead for only the fifth time in Formula One history, and the first since the 1991 Australian Grand Prix. The race distance of 171.833 km, was the fifth shortest ever covered in a World Championship Grand Prix. Brawn GP became only the second constructor to win their first two World Championship Grands Prix since Alfa Romeo won the first two ever, in 1950.

~5 April~

1953: Dick Passwater scored an upset victory in the 150-lap race at Charlotte Speedway, North Carolina, US. Five different drivers led in the final 25 laps, and Passwater took the lead with just three laps to go.

1963: Richard Petty took the lead from pole-sitter Dave Marcis in the 339th lap and led the rest of the Northwestern Bank 400 at North Wilkesboro (North Carolina, US) Speedway. Bobby Allison finished second with Darrell Waltrip third in a top-three sweep by NASCAR Hall of Famers.

1964: Fred Lorenzen, driving the Holman Moody Ford, won the Atlanta 500, becoming the first driver to win the same NASCAR race three years in a row.

1992: Alan Kulwicki hustled past Dale Jarrett with 27 laps remaining to score a narrow victory in the Food City 500 at Bristol International Race­way, Tennessee (US). It was the fourth win of Kulwicki’s NASCAR Winston Cup career.

1992: Nigel Mansell driving a Williams-Renault FW14B won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. His teammate Riccardo Patrese finished second and Michael Schumacher took third for the Benetton team. In qualifying Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese were dominant in their Williams-Renaults, the pair ahead of Ayrton Senna’s McLaren by almost two full seconds. Mansell had a silly accident at the end of qualifying when he did not need to be lapping quickly. Berger was fourth with Michael Schumacher fifth in his Benetton ahead of Jean Alesi’s miserable Ferrari F92A, Martin Brundle’s Benetton and the Dallara-Ferrari of Pierluigi Martini. The top 10 was completed by the March-Ilmor of Karl Wendlinger and the Ligier-Renault of Thierry Boutsen. Before the parade lap Berger’s McLaren failed to fire up and so he had to start the race from the pitlane. Mansell made a terrible start and Patrese took the lead while Nigel found himself holding off Schumacher and Senna. Mansell emerged ahead while Senna used an outside overtaking manoeuvre to keep the young German under control. Mansell had a look at taking the lead on the first lap but Patrese closed the door firmly. For the next few laps they battled as they pulled away from the rest of the field. It took Schumacher until 13 before he managed to get ahead of Senna and he then began to charge after the two Williams drivers. Senna soon dropped behind Brundle and Alesi as well and he disappeared with an electrical problem after 17 laps. Brundle also disappeared after a brush with Alesi. In the midfield there was an embarrassing moment for Guy Ligier when both his drivers, Erik Comas and Thierry Boutsen, collided while battling Johnny Herbert’s Lotus for seventh place.

1998: Mark Martin passes Chad Little with 30 laps remaining and motors to a close victory in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (US). Little and third-place finisher Robert Pressley enjoyed the best finishes of their careers. A 13-car crash on the opening lap took out many of the top contenders

2000: Lee Petty (cover image), an early star of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the patriarch of a racing dynasty that includes his son, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, died at the age 86 in Greensboro, North Carolina, US. Lee Petty won more than 50 races during his career, including three NASCAR championships, the first driver to rack up that many championship titles. He also won the first-ever Daytona 500, held in 1959.

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