18-19 September: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~18 September~

1915: The Narragnasett Park Asphalt Speedway in Providence, Rhode Island staged its first races. The location was Cranston, Rhode Island. Banking of the paved oval was approximately 20 degrees, and it was almost certainly the first true Super Speedway in North America.The 100-mile main event was won by Eddie Rickenbacker in a Maxwell.

1948: The first race meeting took place at the Goodwood race circuit, West Sussex, England organised by the Junior Car Club and sanctioned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

1949: The first race meeting took place at the Goodwood race circuit, West Sussex, England organised by the Junior Car Club and sanctioned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

1953: Charles de Tournaco (26) died. A wealthy Belgian, de Tournaco took up racing encouraged by his friend Jacques Swaters who would later become his country’s Ferrari importer. He finished seventh in the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix in an Ecurie Francorchamps Ferrari 500 and took a fourth place in the non-title Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay in an HWM.

2001: Organisers of the US Grand Prix ended speculation that the September 30 event could be cancelled in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, said the race would go ahead “with deep respect for those affected by last week’s tragedies”.

2006: Olivier Panis announced his retirement from Formula One, ending a 12-year participation in which he had won once in 157 starts. In 1997 he was lying in third in the championship when he crashed in the Canadian Grand Prix, breaking his legs and missing the remainder of the season. He never again featured on the podium, and spent his last two years as a test driver.

~19 September~

1953: NASCAR’s first night-time superspeedway, a 220-mile Modified-Sportsman race at Raleigh Speedway, was marred by tragedy. Bill Blevins and Jesse Midkiff are killed in an opening-lap crash. Officials were unaware that Blevins’ car has stalled on the backstretch during the pace lap. The 60-car field got the green flag and the crashed occurred seconds later. Buddy Shuman won the race, which was shortened to 170 miles. The Raleigh Speedway was a 1 mile paved oval. Rivaling Darlington for finest track in the south, Raleigh opened in 1952 with an Indy Car race won by Troy Ruttman. NASCAR first came to the track in late May 1953, a race run the same day as the Indianapolis 500. That race goes down in history as the race Jocko Flocko attacked Tim Flock under green, costing Flock the victory to remove him. The monkey no longer raced in Grand National competition. NASCAR was so impressed with the track, it led them to schedule a big-purse 220-mile Modified and Sportsman race for mid-September. This Modified / Sportsman race was surrounded with much fanfare from the auto racing community. For the track however, this was just part of a series of battles with the local community and government. The track was not in an isolated area and the people in the area were not happy about the traffic and noise it brought.

1964: The first British Drag Race festival began at the Blackbushe Airport, a few miles from London.

1971: Jackie Stewart underlined his credentials with victory in a Canadian Grand Prix to record his sixth win of a season in which he had the drivers’ championship done and dusted by August. The race had to be stopped after 64 of the scheduled 80 laps because track marshals were unable to see each other through the rain and mist. The day was overshadowed by the death of 37-year-old local driver Wayne Kelly in a Formula Ford race earlier on, the accident causing a delay to the start of the grand prix.

1992: Cory McClenathan, in a Top Fuel dragster, ran the 1/4-mile in 4.799 seconds at Reading, Pennsylvania, becoming the first NHRA driver to run the 1/4-mile in less than 4.8 seconds.

1996: Jeff Gordon won the last NASCAR Winston Cup race ever run at North Wilkboro Speedway in North Carolina, US.

2004: Kurt Busch scored a lopsided victory in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Raceway (US), site of the first race of the new Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., were tied for the points lead with nine races left.

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