11-12 September: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~11 September~

1938: The V-16 Alfa Romeo Type 316 made its racing debut in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza as Guiseppe Farina finished second to the Auto Union Type D driven by Tazio Nuvolari.

1949: The fourth race of the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock season was held at Langhorne Speedway, Pennsylvania, US. Red Byron won the pole. Curtis Turner, the “Blond Blizzard” out of Roanoke, Virginia, out dueled Bob Flock and came home first in the celebrated 200-mile Strictly Stock race at the famed circular Langhorne Speedway before 20,000 spectators. Sara Christian, leading female driver out of Atlanta, finished sixth in a sterling performance. Her effort in the grueling 200-lapper prompted race officials to escort her to victory lane to join winner Turner in the ceremonies. Turner drove his Oldsmobile into the lead in the 141st lap when Bob Flock went to the pits for a tire change. Turner led the rest of the way to pocket the $2,250.00 first prize. Flock scampered out of the pits and finished second, 20 seconds behind the winner. Third place went to point leader Red Byron as Oldsmobiles finished 1–2–3. Frank Mundy and Bill Blair rounded out the top five, both driving Cadillacs. Forty-five new Strictly Stock automobiles went to the starting post, the most cars to stat a race in the 1949 season. Turner averaged 69.403 mph. Byron and Sosebee earned the front row starting positions in qualifying. Fonty Flock, however, registered the fastest time in “Speed Trials” with an 80.140 fast lap. Fonty challenged Byron and Sosebee at the start, but the engine in his Buick blew after three laps. Sosebee struggled with tire problems and wound up 19th. Len Brown drove a 1947 Ford Convertible in the 200-mile championship chase—the first person to drive an open-top vehicle on the premier NASCAR Stock car tour. Brown managed to come home 28th—earning $25.00 for his day of work. Accidents took out Pepper Cunningham, Walter Minx and Chick DiNatale. Tim Flock was a contender for victory until sidelined by a lost wheel.

1954: Austria’s Rupert Hollaus (23) died after crashing his NSU during a practice run at the 1954 Nations Grand Prix in Monza, Italy. Rupert Hollaus had only began his Grand Prix career in 1952. A year and a half later, in the 1954 season, aboard a works NSU 125 Rennfox, he would totally dominate the 125cc Class, winning the first four Grand Prix races, Isle of Man, Ulster GP, Dutch TT and the German Grand Prix

1955: Juan-Manuel Fangio led home Piero Taruffi for a Mercedes 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza to put the crowning glory on his championship season. Notably, it turned out to be the last Grand Prix for the victorious Mercedes-Benz team and the next time a fully-owned Silver Arrows team appeared was in 2010, after their takeover of Brawn Grand Prix. It was also the last Grand Prix for Karl Kling, Roberto Mieres and 1950 Champion Nino Farina.

1962: Pole-starter Ned Jarrett led all 250 laps to prevail in an attrition-filled race, the first for NASCAR’s top series at Dog Track Speedway in Moyock, North Carolina, US. Jarrett won four of the series’ seven races at the facility, which began life as a quarter-mile dirt oval before converting to a third-mile paved track. Jarrett won $775, which translates to $3.10 per lap. Joe Weatherly finished second, one lap off the pace as Curtis Crider claimed third, 10 laps down at the finish. Only six of the 15 starters were running at the end.

1977: During the final of the Alfasud Europe Cup, the support race to the 1977 Italian Formula One Grand Prix at Monza circuit, an advertising board where about sixty spectators had climbed up to watch the races, suddenly collapsed throwing all the people down. Part of the advertising board hit other spectators seated on the branches of the trees all around, and other people sitting under the structure was crushed. One spectator died from thoracic crushing and other 35 people sustained several injuries, 5 of them were seriously wounded.

1978: The world of F1 was left in shock when it was announced the popular Swede Ronnie Peterson had died as a result of complications following his accident during the first corner pile-up at the start of the previous day’s Italian Grand Prix. As the cars hurtled towards the first corner, Riccardo Patrese had collided with James Hunt, setting off a chain-reaction that launched Peterson’s Lotus into the barriers, tearing it in half before it burst into flames. Hunt ran back and braved the flames to drag Peterson clear of the wreck. As Peterson lay on the track fully conscious but with broken legs, it took 20 minutes for medical aid to come, and when it did the priority was Vittorio Brambilla who had been hit on the head by a flying wheel. Peterson, whose injuries were not considered life threatening, was taken to hospital and operated on that evening. But a bone marrow embolism entered his bloodstream, and he died the following morning. Had he received medical attention more promptly he would probably have survived.

1983: Nelson Piquet won the Italian Grand Prix for Brabham after team mate Riccardo Patrese suffered engine failure. This was the first time a Cosworth powered car failed to finish in the points since the 1967 French Grand Prix.

1988: Gerhard Berger led home Michele Alboreto for a timely Ferrari 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix as McLaren failed to win for the only time in the season. As usual, the two McLarens lined up on the front row with Ayrton Senna on pole, the Ferrari duo behind. The order did not change until Prost uncharacteristically retired with an engine failure on lap 35, leaving Senna to close in on another easy victory in the closing laps.

1994: Damon Hill won the Italian Grand Prix for Williams-Renault. The day after the Grand Prix, Lotus went into receivership. Lotus had brought an upgraded Mugen engine to Monza, allowing Johnny Herbert to qualify in a season-best fourth place, but hopes that he may score points in the race were ended in a first corner accident with Eddie Irvine, who was given a one-race ban suspended for three races for his driving.

1995: Kieth Odor (33) died during a race at the AVUS circuit in Berlin. He was running third behind Winkelhock and Peter Kox when his Primera was pitched against the left wall by a front left suspension failure, which was probably triggered by the way he was riding the high kerbs of the chicanes installed in the temporary track. The Nissan spun twice and stopped sideways in the middle of the track, in the fast approach to Nordkurve.

1995: British racer Keith Odor was killed during the Super Touring Car race at the Avus track in Germany when his disabled Nissan was broadsided by an Audi driven by Frank Biela.

2004: Jeremy Mayfield won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Rich­mond International Raceway, Virginia, US. Mayfield ended a winless skid dating back to June 2000. He also grabbed one of the coveted spots in the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”

2005: Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix contested over 44 laps of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for McLaren, beating Fernando Alonso in a Renault by nearly 30 seconds. Jenson Button finished third for the BAR team.

~12 September~

1897: Giuseppe Cobianchi drove a Benz to victory in an Italian road race from Arona to Stresa and back. He covered the 22 miles/35 km in 1 hour and 34 minutes at an average speed of 13.5 mph/22 kph.

1926: Alfred Neubauer introduced a code system for communicating with drivers during his first appearance as manager of the Mercedes-Benz racing team in a race at the Solitude circuit near Stuttgart, Germany – Otto Merz led the team to a one-two-three finish.

1937: Rudolf Caracciola (cover image) in a Mercedes-Benz W125 took an early lead from pole at the Italian Grand Prix at the Montenero Circuit in Livorno. Hermann Lang was second but he soon took the lead from Caracciola, the two Mercedes drivers pushing each other hard. Team manager Alfred Neubauer was not impressed by the internal fighting. The partisan crowd were disappointed when the Italian Nuvolari retired and gave his car to Farina. The two leading Mercedes had a fierce fight to the flag with Caracciola blocking any attempt to pass by Lang. Rosemeyer in an Auto Union couldn’t match their pace and Caracciola held on for a win with Lang just 0.4s behind him at the flag.

1965: Jackie Stewart led home Graham Hill for a BRM 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix. Pole-sitter Jim Clark, who driving for the Lotus-Climax team, who had secured the 1965 Drivers’ Championship at the previous race, retired with fuel-pump failure with a handful of laps to go.

1971: Peter Revson and Denny Hulme, driving McLaren M8F-Chevrolets, finish 1-2 for Team McLaren in the Can-Am race at Donnybrook, Minnesota, US.

1980: Stephen Reisten ran the UKs first seven second run on a bike, 7.87/174.(Mark Coles) at the World Finals event held at the Santa Pod Raceway, Northampton, England

1987: Mark Martin rose up from 16th starting position to win the Freedlander 200, the final race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on the old .542-mile Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway, Virginia, US. Martin, who led just 16 of the 180 laps, scored the third of his 49 career wins in the series.

1993: Damon Hill got away with a first-corner collision with Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger to win the Italian Grand Prix from Jean Alesi and Michael Andretti. Hill was down to ninth at the end of the first lap but steadily carved his way through the field to close on team-mate Alain Prost and with only four laps remaining, Prost’s blown engine handed Hill his third consecutive victory.

1999: With Michael Schumacher out of the championship picture having broken his leg at Silverstone, Mika Hakkinen was expecting a clear run to his second successive drivers’ title, but Eddie Irvine had other ideas. Hakkinen took pole and led the race but an uncharacteristic error saw him crash into retirement on lap 30. Although Heinz-Harald Frentzen went on to win the race, Irvine’s sixth place finish drew him level on points with three rounds remaining. “A raging Hakkinen flung away his steering wheel, brushed aside marshals as he stomped the ground in exasperation, threw down a glove to release more frustration and ultimately slumped on to his haunches to weep in his hands,” noted the Independent.

2004: At the Italian Grand Prix staged at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Ferrari took a 1-2 in front of the delighted Tifosi, with Rubens Barrichello ahead of team mate Michael Schumacher.

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