13-14 November: This Weekend in Motorsport History

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

~13 November~

1955 Pole-starter Tim Flock fended off hard-charging Curtis Turner to win at Hickory (North Carolina, US) Speedway’s 0.4-mile dirt track, marking his 36th victory in NASCAR’s top division. Flock, who won 18 times in the 39 races he entered in his title-winning ’55 season, led 183 of the 200 laps and wound up seven seconds ahead of runner-up Turner. Lee Petty, who shared the front row with Flock at the start, took third place as the final driver on the lead lap.

1966: British driver John Surtees won the final race of the inaugural Can-Am season, in the Las Vegas Valley in Nevada, driving a Chevrolet-powered Lola T70, to become the series’ first champion.

1986: Racer Franco Cortese (83), winner of the 1951 Targa Florio, died.

1988: Alain Prost recorded his 35th career win at the Australian Grand Prix despite suffering major handling problems after hitting debris while McLaren team-mate Ayrton Senna took second despite a malfunctioning gearbox. It was a sign of how dominant the McLarens had been that even with these handicaps the pair still finished well ahead of the field.

1994: Michael Schumacher won his first World Driver’s Championship in controversial style at the Australian Grand Prix. Heading into the race, the final Grand Prix of the season, Benetton driver Michael Schumacher was leading the Drivers’ Championship with 92 points; Williams’ driver Damon Hill was second on 91 points, one point behind Schumacher. Williams led the Constructors’ Championship with 108 points, while Benetton were 5 points behind with 103. Schumacher took the lead at the start, with Hill second behind him. The order remained the same until lap 36. Hill was catching Schumacher when the Benetton driver went off the track at the East Terrace corner, hitting a wall with his right side wheels before pulling back onto the track. Hill had rounded the fifth corner of the track when Schumacher pulled across the track ahead of him to the left. At the next corner Hill attempted to pass Schumacher; the two collided when Schumacher turned in. Schumacher was eliminated on the spot. Hill attempted to continue the race and pitted immediately, but retired from the race with irreparable damage to the car’s front left suspension wishbone. As neither driver scored, Schumacher took the title. The race also marked he last appearance in a Formula One Grand Prix of the first incarnation of Team Lotus, previously seven-time Constructors’ Champions. It was also the 31st and last Grand Prix victory of Nigel Mansell’s Formula One career.

2005: Nigel Mansell was on the top step of the podium again after winning the Altech Grand Prix Masters in Kyalami, South Africa from Emerson Fittipaldi in front of a crowd of 70,000. “I started on pole and that was the critical factor today given how hard I was pushed by Emerson,” said Mansell. “He just didn’t give up and nor did I expect him to.

~14 November~

1945: Tony Hulman purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from Edward Rickenbacher for $750,000.

1948: Red Byron won the final race of NASCAR’s inaugural season at Jacksonville, Florida, US. Byron, winner of 11 of the 52 NASCAR-sanctioned events, edged Fonty Flock by 32.75 points to capture the inau­gural championship.

1965: Hap Sharp, driving a Chaparral, won the first race at the Stardust Road Course in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. It featured a flat, 3-mile (4.8 km), 13-turn road course, and a quarter-mile drag strip.

1993: Rusty Wallace nailed down his 10th win of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, (US). Despite posting the most wins, as well as the most top-five and top-10 finishes, Wallace fell 80 points shy of winning the championship. Dale Earnhardt took his sixth NASCAR Winston Cup title.

1998 Larry Kopp became the inaugural NHRA Pro Stock Truck champion when he qualified for the final race of the season in Pomona, California, US.

2003: The BMW Williams team announced that Nico Rosberg and Nelson Piquet Jr would test for the team at Jerez de Frontera in the first week of December to evaluate whether either had the potential to be test drivers in 2004. Jaguar Racing also announced that it would test Red Bull backed Christian Klien and Townsend Bell at Valencia at the end of the month. Both Rosberg and Klien went on to race for Williams and Jaguar Racing while Piquet Jr secured a Renault drive in 2008.


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