18-19 March: This Weekend in Motor Sport History


1927: Wade Morton set a US stock car record, driving an Auburn 8-88 1,000 miles at an average speed of 68.37 mph at the Atlantic City Speedway, New Jersey, US.

1929: Bill Lowe drove a Lombard to victory in the 1100cc class of the Australian Grand Prix, held at Phillip Island.
1972: Bobby Unser led most of the way to win the 150 mile USAC Championship race at Phoenix International Raceway. Unser pulled away from Mario Andretti following a restart with 3 laps to go, crossing the line 4 seconds ahead of Andretti’s Parnelli Jones Colt-Offy. In qualifying, Unser’s new Eagle-Offy shattered the lap record with a speed of 141.966 mph, seven mph above the previous mark.

1973: Peter Gethin drove his Chevron B24 to victory in the opening round of the European Formula 5000 series on the Brands Hatch circuit. The race was a preliminary to the following day’s non-championship F1/F5000 ‘Race of Champions’. Gethin, the ’69 and ’70 European F5000 champ, won the pole and led the 25 lap race wire to wire. 3 time Tasman and ’72 U.S. F5000 champ Graham McRae ran 2nd despite an overheating motor until a deflating tire sent his McRae GM1 spinning off circuit with just 5 laps to go. Carl Hogan brought his American F5000 team over for the weekend and U.S. driver Brett Lunger finished a lonely 2nd in a Lola T330. Tony Dean was 3rd, also in Chevron B24. The entire 20 car field was Chevrolet powered. Jody Scheckter, David Hobbs (in the other Hogan Lola), Gijs van Lennep, Teddy Pilette and future F1 drivers Guy Edwards, Bob Evans and Ian Ashley made up what had to be one of the best fields in European F5000 history. Hobbs finished 5th, last car on the lead lap, but was uncompetitive. When asked afterwards why he was so slow, Hobbs said “There was nothing wrong with the engine.”

1973: Henri Pescarolo, Gerard Larrousse and Francois Cevert teamed in a Matra-Simca to win the ‘6 Hours of Vallelunga’ World Championship for Makes race, in Italy. The winning trio completed 290 laps of the Vallelunga circuit, finishing a lap ahead of the Ferraris of Tim Schenken/Carlos Reutemann and Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman.

1973: “Dyno” Don Nicholson became the first NHRA Pro Stock racer to reach 150 mph at the end of the 1/4-mile when he run 150.50 mph at Gainesville, Florida, USA.

1977: José Carlos Pace (32), Brazilian Formula One driver was killed in a light aircraft accident, just days after the 1977 South African Grand Prix, in which Tom Pryce was killed after running over Jansen Van Vuuren. The track which hosts the Brazilian Grand Prix annually now, as a tribute to him, bears his name, Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

1978: Gordon Johncock won the USAC Championship ‘Jimmy Bryan 150′ at Phoenix International Raceway. Johncock and Danny Ongais dueled for the win until the clutch began slipping on Ongais’ Interscope Parnelli/Cosworth. Pat Patrick’s Wildcat/DGS entries finished 1-2 with Steve Krisiloff a career best second. Ongais won the pole with a 24.76 lap (145.396 mph). In the preliminary Mini Indy (Super Vee) race, future NASCAR star Tim Richmond won in his first start in the class.

1995: Fermin Velez, Eric van de Poole, and Andy Evans drove a Ferrari 333SP to victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

2001: Michael Schumacher won the Malaysian Grand Prix held at Sepang from pole and outpaced his teammate Rubens Barrichello who finished second 23 seconds behind. David Coulthard finished third and his teammate Mika Hakkinen, set the fastest lap but could do no better than 6th at the finish.

2003: Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven battled in one of the greatest last-lap finishes in NASCAR history at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. The two cars pounded each other relentlessly around Darlington Raceway for the entire final lap, and engaged side-by-side coming out of the final turn. Slamming fenders and turning into each other down the frontstretch, the two cars crossed the line together, with Craven taking the victory by 0.002 seconds. It was the closest finish in NASCAR history, since electronic scoring equipment had been introduced.

2009: Madame Tussauds unveiled a waxwork of Lewis Hamilton in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race suit. This wax replica cost around £150,000 and took over six months to complete.


1900: The first race in Savannah, Georgia, US, the 342 mile Challenge Trophy for stock cars, was won by Lewis Strang in an Isotta-Fraschini.

1911: Teddy Tetzlaff, driving a 46 hop Lozier defeated th 90 hp Fiat of Ralph DePalma in a match staged at the Playa del Rey Motordrome in Los Angeles, California, US.

1960: Jim Clark drove a Ford-Cosworth powered Lotus 18 to victory in the Formula Junior race at Goodwood, England. It was the first win for a Lotus 18. In second place was motorcycle world champion John Surtees making his 4-wheel race debut in a Ken Tyrrell entered Cooper-BMC.

1972: Emerson Fittipaldi drove his Lotus to victory in the non-championship F1 ‘Race of Champions’ at Brands Hatch. Fittipaldi grabbed the lead from polesitter Peter Gethin’s McLaren at the green and went on to take the checkered flag 14 seconds ahead of Mike Hailwood’s Surtees. It was the first win for Lotus in more than a year. Jackie Stewart and the Ferrari and Brabham teams skipped the event.

1995: South African driver Trevor Blokdyk died of a heart attack at the age of 59 while working as a farmer. He competed in F1 between 1963 and 1965 but only qualified for one race, in 1965, in a Cooper T59.

2006: The Malaysian Grand Prix held at Sepang was won by Giancarlo Fisichella driving a Renault R26, who took the final of his three victories in F1. His team-mate, Fernando Alonso, finished second to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship standings to 7 points. Jenson Button took the first podium in a Honda by finishing in third place.

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