1-2 May: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~1 May~

1898: The first recorded fatality in a motor race occurred. The Marquis de Montignac and two riding mechanics were killed at a race in Périgueux, France.

1911: The gates at Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened for practice for the first Indianapolis 500.

1926: Harry Hartz drove a Miller to victory in a 300 mile AAA Championship race that inaugurated the 1.5 mile board Atlantic City Speedway, located in Hammonton, New Jersey, US. Hartz averaged 134.19mph on the track that featured 45 degree banking in the turns and would wind up being the fastest of all the board tracks. Frank Lockhart setting an lap speed of 147.727mph in 1927. The track hosted eight American Automobile Association sanctioned races before the track was demolished in 1933, and is now the site of Troop A of the New Jersey State Police.

1937: The Campbell Circuit at Brooklands for road racing was officially opened.

1955: Britons Stirling Moss and racing journalist and navigator Denis Jenkinson won the Mille Miglia in a Mercedes 300SLR – cover image Aided by Jenkinson’s pioneering navigation techniques, the pair won this great race in just 10 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds, at an average speed of 97.96 mph, which was never to be beaten in the course of the race’s existence.

1963: Graham Hill passed his rookie test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis 500.

1963: Stirling Moss drove a race car for the first time in over a year – since a crash that nearly killed him – in a test session at Goodwood, England. His driving was not up to his own high standard, and he retired from competition.

1964: Lee Roy Yarbrough drove to his first career NASCAR GN victory, winning the ‘Savannah 200’ on the 1/2 mile dirt Savannah Speedway. Jimmy Pardue won the pole, jumped out front and was holding a big lead when the rear end failed on his Burton-Robinson Plymouth on lap 137, giving the lead to Yarbrough. Yarbrough went on to take his Louis Weatherby Plymouth under the checkered flag a lap ahead of Marvin Panch’s Wood Brothers Ford.

1969: The Porsche 917 was formally approved for competition by the FIA.

1972: At the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama, In his Lotus, Emerson Fittipaldi came from his 4th place starting position to win in a time of 2:03:41. Followed by polesitter and fastest lap man, Jacky Ickx in his Ferrari, 18 seconds later. Clay Regazzoni in the other Ferrari was third, coming from his eighth spot on the grid.

1978: The Arena Essex Raceway, a quarter mile stock car and speedway racing track located near Purfleet, Essex (UK), built in the remains of an old cement works overspill site, opened.

1983: San Marino Grand Prix at Imola was won by Patrick Tambay in a Ferrari 126C2B , who dedicated his win to the man he replaced in the Ferrari team, the late Gilles Villeneuve. It was almost a perfect weekend for the Maranello based team with René Arnoux qualifying on pole and finishing 3rd. Renault’s Alain Prost finished in second place, passing Arnoux with 3 laps left after the Ferrari spun in the Acque Mineralli chicane.

1983: Richard Petty picked up career win number 197 in the Winston 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway. On Lap 165 Petty took the lead and led the final 24 laps to take home the checkered flag ahead of Benny Parsons.

1986: Race car driver Bill Elliott set a stock car speed record with his Ford Thunderbird in Talladega, Alabama. Elliott zipped around the track at 212.229 mph.

1988: Ayrton Senna won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

1994: Three-time Formula One champion Ayrton Senna (34) died during the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy, of injuries he sustained after his car went off the track, slid across a long grassy area, and hit a concrete wall at 135 mph.

1994: Dale Earnhardt fended off Ernie Irvan’s late-race charge to win the Winston Select 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Alabama, US. Irvan, who started on the pole and led 78 laps to Earnhardt’s 64, was just .06 seconds behind at the finish. Michael Waltrip came home third.

2002: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that the groundbreaking SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier was in place in all four of the Speedway oval’s corners for the beginning of practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500. Under development by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility since 1998, the SAFER Barrier was designed for multiple impacts by Indy Racing League cars and stock cars during an event.

2005: Jeff Gordon survived an accident-filled day and scored his second straight win in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Gordon held off Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip on a green-white-checkered finish to win his third race of the season and score his second restrictor-plate triumph of 2005 to go along with his Daytona 500 victory. Gordon led 139 of the 188 lap race for his 72nd career win. Continue Reading →

2009: Kyle Busch outran Carl Edwards on a late race restart to win the NASCAR Xfinity (Nationwide) Series Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond Raceway. Busch had worked his way around Edwards for the top spot with 20 laps to go and survived a flurry of late race caution flags and restarts to take the win. It marked Busch’s 24th career win

2010: Kyle Busch dominated the first half of the race but had to rally back with a pass by Jeff Gordon on the night’s final restart to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond Raceway. Sam Hornish Jr.’s crash on the backstretch set up a five lap dash to the finish with leader Gordon lined up with Busch on the outside. Continue Reading →

2016: Brad Keselowski scored his fourth Talladega Superspeedway win in a crash-filled GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race. Keselowski was ahead of the field as another of the many multi-car accidents of the day broke out behind him and went on to win for the second time that season. He wound up leading five times for 46 laps, including the final 17.

~2 May~

1909: The fourth Targa Florio, held at the Grande Circuito delle Madonie over 148.8 km (92.5 mph), was won by Italian Francesco Ciuppa driving a SPA at an average speed of 54.780 km/h (34 mph).

1926: Renato Balestrero, driving an OM 665, won the Coppa Vinci held at Messina in Italy.

1926: The second Tripoli Grand Prix held on a circuit just outside Tripoli was won by François Eysermann in a Bugatti T35.

1942: Oldemar Ramos in an Alfa Romeo 308 won the Sante Fe Grand Prix.

1948: The second Grand Prix des Nations run over 44 laps of the 1.8 mile urban race track located between the lake (Geneva) and the Nations square was won by Giuseppe Farina in a Maserati 4CLT, at an average speed of 64.6 mph (103.9 km/h).

1954: Herb Thomas rolled to victory in a Fabulous Hudson Hornet on Langhorne (Pennsylvania, US) Speedway’s circular mile dirt track. Thomas led the final 75 of 150 laps to collect a $1,685 winner’s prize. Al Keller finished second, one lap down, with Dick Rathman third as part of a top-five sweet by Hudsons.

1959: A Cooper-Climax T51 driven by Jack Brabhan won the International Trophy held at Silverstone, England.

1959: Junior Johnson rolled his Ford in practice, but drove the hastily repaired machine to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Hickory Speedway, (North Carolina, US). Johnson finished two laps ahead of runner-up Joe Weatherly.

1964: The 16th BRDC International Tropy run to Formula One rules, was held on at the Silverstone Circuit, England. The race was run over 52 laps of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, and was won by Australian driver Jack Brabham in his own Brabham BT7.

1972: Buddy Baker became the first stock car driver to finish a 500-mile race in less than three hours en route to winning the Winston Select 500 at the Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega, Alabama. Two years earlier, Baker had become the first racer to break the 200 mph barrier on the same track.

1976: The Spanish Grand Prix was held at Jarama. Austrian Ferrari driver Niki Lauda driving a Ferrari 312T2 was initially declared the winner extending his Drivers’ Championship lead to 23 points

1985: Attilio Bettega (32) died on the 4th stage of the Tour de Corse when he lost control of his Lancia and crashed into a tree which simply ruptured into the driver’s seat and killed him instantly. His co-driver Maurizio Perissinot survived the crash uninjured.

1986: Henri Toivonen (29) died during the seventh kilometre of the 18th stage of the Tour de Corse, Corte–Taverna, when his Lancia went off the side of the road at a tight left corner with no guardrail. The car plunged down a ravine and landed on its roof. The aluminium fuel tank underneath the driver’s seat was ruptured by the trees and exploded.

1999: Michael Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix and set fastest lap. David Coulthard was second, 4.265 seconds back and Schumacher’s teammate Barrichello was third, 1 lap down. Giancarllo Fisichella had a great drive from 16th on the grid to finish 5th behind Damon Hill and ahead of Jean Alesi.

2004: Jeff Gordon scored his second-straight victory of the season, and third at Auto Club (California) Speedway in the Auto Club 500. Gordon was able to outdistance his rivals in a fuel mileage strategy to score his 66th career Cup Series win. Gordon’s Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson was second, coming from the 19th starting position after crashing his primary car in Friday’s opening practice session.

2009: Kyle Busch celebrated his 24th birthday with a win in the NASCAR Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond Raceway to give him a sweep of the weekend. Busch scored his third Cup Series victory of the season and became the third driver in Richmond history to sweep a Cup-Xfinity Series weekend. Busch passed Jeff Gordon on Lap 352 of 400 and held on to the checkered flag.

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