14-15 August: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~14 August~

1921: The first race was held at the Cotati Speedway in Santa Rosa, California, US. Eddie Hearne in a Duesenberg-Distil won the 150-mile event. It was a mile-and-a-quarter around with 38 degree banked corners, built of 2,000,000 feet of lumber.

1955: Pole-starter Fonty Flock drove a Carl Kiekhaefer-owned Chrysler to victory in the Mid-South 250 at Memphis-Arkansas Speedway in LeHi, Ark (US), registering the 17th of his 19 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series. Flock led 88 of 167 laps on the 1.5-mile dirt track.

1960: Jack Brabham led home Bruce McLaren to win in Portugal for a Cooper-Climax 1-2. Jim Clark took his first podium in third.

1962: A 1962 Studebaker Avanti driven by Andy Grantelli at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, US set 29 national stock car records.

1967: Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and racecar driver Bob Anderson (36) died in Northampton General Hospital from chest and neck injuries sustained while testing at Silverstone, in which he slid off the track in wet conditions and hit a marshal’s post.

1977: The world’s longest ever rally, the Singapore Airlines London to Sydney rally, started in Covent Garden, London. The race was won at Sydney Opera House on 28 September by the British team of Andrew Cowan, Colin Malkin and Michael Broad in a Mercedes 280E. They were followed home by team-mate Tony Fowkes in a similar car.

1977: Future World Champion Alan Jones won his first Grand Prix. The Australian driver took his Shadow DN8 to a twenty-second victory at the Austrian Grand Prix over local hero Niki Lauda in his Ferrari 312T2. It would be the only race victory for Shadow Racing Cars during its eight-year Formula One history.

1983: Alain Prost won the Austrian Grand Prix for Renault at Österreichring.

1987: Stefan Johansson destroyed his McLaren but was unhurt after hitting a deer at nearly 180 mph during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Oesterreichring.

1988: Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque, died in Maranello, Italy, aged 90. Enzo grew up with little formal education. At the age of 10 he witnessed Felice Nazzaro’s win at the 1908 Circuit di Bologna, an event that inspired him to become a racing driver.

~15 August~

1934: Guy Moll (24), winner of the 1934 Monaco Grand Prix, was killed when his Alfa Romeo P3 crashes during the Coppa Acerbo voiturette race in Pescara, Italy

1939: Rene Dreyfus in a Delahaye won the ‘Million Franc’ challenge run at the Montlhery (France) circuit, beating a Bugatti and a Sefac.

1947: Ferrari made its racing debut in Pescara, Italy, finishing second. This speedy debut should have come as no surprise, for Enzo Ferrari had been a race-car driver before forming Ferrari. Although his racing stable, Scuderia Ferrari, remained Alfa Romeo’s official racing team, Ferrari began building his own cars after World War II. Ferrari soon acquired a reputation for speed and quality and went on to win many Grand Prix races.

1948: Al Keller spanked the 48-car field in a 200-mile NASCAR Modified race at Langhorne’s circular one-mile dirt track. Runner-up Buck Barr finished 18 laps behind Keller. Only 14 of the 48 starters manage to finish.

1948: At Pescara, Italy, an OSCA sports car was raced for the first time. Sadly the car driven by Franco Cornacchia, suffered engine failure. Officine Specializzate Costruzioni Automobili – Fratelli Maserati SpA was founded in 1947 by Ernesto Maserati (engineering manager) and his two brothers Ettore, and Bindo (operations managers) who had all left Maserati.

1952: Racing into the dark took place for the first time at Goodwood with the News of the World International Nine Hour Sports Car Race – which started at 3.00pm and finished at midnight. Modifications were made to the circuits infrastructure by fitting floodlights to illuminate the grandstands and pits, the kerbs were given a coat of luminous paint and a beer tent was laid on, although due to post-war licensing laws it had to stop serving grog before the race ended! Sponsorship and plenty of pre-event publicity was provided by ‘The News of The World’ newspaper inclusive of £2,500 in prize money which represented a powerful incentive for the ‘local’ works teams and privateers to enter in force. Jaguar and Aston Martin entered three car teams of C-types and DB3’s in the field of 32 cars. Aston Martin caused a stir as the one of their cars burst into flames whilst being refuelled. Despite this the Aston of Peter Collins and Pat Griffith went onto win at 71.09 mph.

1957: The Pescara Grand Prix, Italy, the only event which was not a national Grand Prix ever to count as a World Championship qualifying round, was won by Stirling Moss in a Vanwall at 95.52 mph.

1971: Jo Siffert took pole and the win for BRM at the Austrian Grand Prix. On lap 36, Stewart’s race ended with a violent accident – his left rear driveshaft broke and the wheel was torn off. He emerged unhurt to be greeted as World Champion following Ickx’s retirement.

1971: Bobby Allison took the lead from Richard Petty with three laps left to win the Yankee 400 at Michigan International Speedway (US). Allison swapped the lead 14 times with Petty over the last half of the race and ultimately led 155 of the 197 laps. Petty wound up second, three seconds behind, with Buddy Baker third, one lap down.

1976: John Watson took his first Formula One win, taking the chequered flag in Austria for Penske.

1982: Elio de Angelis, driving a Lotus 91, won the Austrian Grand Prix at Osterreichring by less than 1/10th of a second over Keke Rosberg in a Williams FW08. It was the first Formula 1 victory for de Angelis and 72nd and final win for Lotus under the direction of Colin Chapman.

1993: Damon Hill claimed his first Grand Prix win at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He became the first son of a World Champion to win a race himself. Riccardo Patrese scored his final podium finish, and Derek Warwick his final points, while Gerhard Berger scored his only podium of the season.

1999: Mika Häkkinen driving for the McLaren team won the Hungarian Grand Prix after starting from pole position. David Coulthard finished second in the other McLaren with Eddie Irvine finishing third for Ferrari. The remaining points-scoring positions were filled by Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan), Rubens Barrichello (Stewart) and Damon Hill (Jordan).

2003: NASCAR announced that Sunoco would replace longtime sponsor Unocal as the Official Fuel of NASCAR beginning in 2004. Unocal and its predecessor Pure Oil and Union 76 had supported NASCAR since 1952.

2004: Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari F2004 won the Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring.

2005: A1 Team Ireland joined the A1 Grand Prix series, taking the competitor list to 18 countries, reaching every habitable continent on the planet.

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