13-14 February: Thus Weekend in Motorsport History

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

~13 February~

1949: Nino Farina drove a Ferrari 125 to victory in the Temporada race in Rosario, Argentina.

1955: Lee Petty won the 100 mile NASCAR Grand National race on the 1/2 mile dirt Speedway Park oval in Jacksonville Florida. Petty’s Chrysler took the lead when leader Dick Rathmann pitted his Hudson for fuel with 10 laps to go. Until then it appeared Rathmann was headed for his first win of the season. Rathmann still finished second with fellow Hudson pilot Herb Thomas third and the Olds 88s of Buck Baker and Junior Johnson rounding out the top five. It was Petty’s second win in three 1955 season races.

1960: Jimmy Bryan, driving a Mercury, won the USAC stock car race on the dirt track at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona, US.

1960: Buzz Barton won the final IMCA Sprint Car race of the Florida State Fair series, and Pete Folse was crowned the Florida State Champion at the Florida State Fair, Tampa, Florida, US

1961: Enzo Ferrari introduced the mid-engined Ferrari Dino 156 Formula 1 car, to comply with then-new Formula One regulations that reduced engine displacement from 2.5 to 1.5 litres, similar to the pre-1961 Formula Two class for which Ferrari had developed a mid-engined car also called 156.

1972: Wayne Shugart won the 40-lap NASCAR Late Model Sportsman race at the Jacksonville Speedway, Jacksonville, Florida, US. Eddie MacDonald Jr. finished second followed by David Ezell, Tiny Lund and Eddie MacDonald Sr.

1975: Bobby Allison and David Pearson won the twin 125 mile NASCAR GN qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. Driving the Penske AMC Matador, Allison pulled away from Dick Brooks’ Ford on a restart to win the first race by 1.6 seconds. Buddy Baker led the first 27 laps before blowing a tyre and spinning to set up the restart. In the second race, Pearson squeezed the Wood Brothers’ Mercury by Richard Petty on the last lap to win by a car length.

1976: Paul Russo, AAA / USAC driver from 1934 to 1965, died. He started racing midget cars in 1934. He went with a contigent of midget car drivers to Hawaii in the winter of 1934-35. He was the 1938 AAA Eastern Midget Champion. Russo won the first race held at the Nutley Velodrome in New Jersey in 1938. He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1940-1941, 1946-1954, 1956-1959 and 1962 seasons with 85 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in each year but 1951 and 1952. He finished in the top ten 49 times, with 3 victories, at Springfield (1950), Detroit (1951), and Williams Grove (1952). His best finish at Indy was fourth in 1957, although he co-drove with Tony Bettenhausen to a second place finish in 1955. His brother Joe and nephew Eddie have also raced at the Indianapolis 500. Russo was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1992.

1986: Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt won the twin 125 mile Daytona 500 qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway.

1986: Bobby Allison won the 30th annual Goody’s 300 Busch Grand National Series race at the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, Florida, US. Geoff Bodine was second followed by Darrell Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Davey Allison.

1987: Jimmy Spencer won the 100-lap Richie Evans Memorial Modified race and Lee Faulk won the Late Model race at the New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, US.

1997: Alain Prost bought out Ligier to set up the Prost Formula One team.

2004: Three-time Polish National rally Champion Janusz Kulig (35) died in a road accident when a train hit his car. The crossing keeper was blamed for the accident.

2005: Maurice Trintignant (87), a very versatile driver with Gordini and then Ferrari, winning the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours race with partner Froilan Gonzalez, died. 1954 was also the year of his debut in Formula 1 and taking the checkered flag in Monaco in 1st place in 1955, he became the first Frenchman to win a World Championship Grand Prix


~14 February~

1937: The Flatenloppet ice race run on a small lake (Flaten) 7 km south of downtown Stockholm, Sweden was won by Eugen Björnstad, Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza.

1948: The Eva Duarte Perón Grand Prix held over 50 laps of the 3.032 miles Palermo Park road circuit was won by Luigi Villoresi in a Maserati 4CL.

1960: Junior Johnson won the second Daytona 500 by being the first stockcar driver to exploit “drafting”. He took advantage of Bobby Johns’ misfortune who had a seven second lead with 8 laps to go when the rear window of his Pontiac was sucked out. Johns spun wildly off turn 2, coming to a stop inches from Lake Lloyd as Johnson raced by. Johns still managed to finish 2nd. Tom Pistone and Tommy Herbert were injured in separate accidents. John Masoni, owner of Johnson’s Chevrolet, gave the net earnings to charity saying that he was in racing for fun, not profit.

1962: Racer Lex Davidson (42) was killed in Sandown Park, Vitoria, Australia when he crashed while practicing for the Australian Grand Prix.

1965: The first rain-shortened Daytona 500. Leader Marvin Panch and Fred Lorenzen made contact on Lap 129, as rain began to fall; Panch spun out, and Lorenzen won when the race was finally called on Lap 133.

1971: Richard Petty led teammate Buddy Baker across the line in the Daytona 500. It was Petty’s 3rd Daytona 500 win. Petty’s Plymouth finished 10 seconds ahead of Baker’s Petty Enterprises Dodge with A.J. Foyt third in the Wood Brothers Mercury. Foyt was leading with laps to go when he ran out of gas, losing a lap in the process. Foyt unlapped himself in the final 20 laps, but couldn’t catch the Petty team. Donnie Allison was leading at the time of the last yellow, but he was eliminated after his Mercury darted into the wall during the last caution lap. Petty averaged 144.462 mph.

1973: Kenny Weld won the 30-lap Super Sprint car Winternational Sprint Series race at the Florida State Fair, Tampa, Florida, US. Second to Weld at the finish was defending IMCA Champion Ray Lee Goodwin followed by Jan Opperman, Thad Dosher, Lonnie Jensen, David James, Jerry Camfield, Doc Dawson, Roger Larson and Bobbie Adamson.

1974: Driving a Porsche 911 Carrera, Mark Donohue won the final race of the inaugural International Race of Champions, commonly called the IROC, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. This victory, which clinched the first IROC championship for Donohue turned out to be his final victory in a race car as he was killed in a 1975 Formula One crash while testing for the Austrian Grand Prix.

1974: Bobby Isaac and Cale Yarborough won the twin 125 mile NASCAR GN qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. Isaac, the 1970 NASCAR GN champion, had recently returned to racing after a retirement.

1980: During the first of the Twin 125 qualifying race in sight of the Daytona 500, driver Ricky Knotts from Michigan lost control of his Oldsmobile , after the car’s hood suddenly blew off. Knotts crashed into the wall on the outside, bounced back to the center of the track and was violently hit by the Mercury 39 driven by Wangerin, then spun across into the inside retainer. A total of nine competitors were involved in the accident. Knotts died instantly having struck his head into the wall.

1988: The 1988 Daytona 500 was the first race requiring the use of new restrictor plates, mandated because it was felt the speeds were getting too high at the super-speedways, as demonstrated at Bobby Allison’s crash at Talladega in 1987. Before the race, there was much uncertainty about how well these would work. In the 1988 500, Bobby Allison beat his son Davey Allison to the finish line for the win; father and son celebrated together in Victory Lane.

1993: Jeff Gordon made his first Daytona 500 start. He made quite a splash, finishing in the top five.

1997: Jacques Calvet and Alain Prost, owner of the Prost Grand Prix stable, signed a partnership deal for the Formula 1 World Championships from 1998 onwards. Peugeot agreed to supply V10 engines for three years.

2001: Nigel Mansell announced his plans to make yet another return as an F1 driver, albeit in a two-seater Minardi. The news quashed fanciful rumours that he would be making a full return with the team and partner Fernando Alonso all season. The deal was in fact to perform demonstration runs at certain events as part of a corporate entertainment package being run by team-boss Paul Stoddart.

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