21-22 August: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~21 August~

1903: America’s first transcontinental motor race, stretching from New York City to San Francisco, finished. It was won by Tom Fetch and M. C. Karrup in two Model F Packards, having travelled an average of 80 miles per day for 51 days. The two travellers generated great interest as they drove through many rural areas where automobiles were a rare sight. In one instance, a couple of Nebraska farmers, suspicious of the vehicles, threatened Fetch and Karrup with shotguns.

1938: Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz W154/38 won the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten

1959: Rex White started from the pole and posted a wire-to-wire victory at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US. Glen Wood finished second, 10 seconds behind on the flat quarter-mile oval. Lee Petty took third, two laps down in the 200-lap main event.

1968: The Mazda Cosmo 110S, featuring a Wankel rotary engine, made its racing debut at the Nurburgring in Germany

1983: Klaus Ludwig and Tom Coconis drove a front-engined Ford Mustang GTP to victory in the IMSA Camel GT Budweiser 500 at Elkart Lake, Wisconsin, USA. It was the first race and only win for the car.

1988: Future F1 driver Johnny Herbert’s career was thrown in doubt after he was caught up in a huge accident at Brands Hatch in an F3000 race. Herbert’s legs took the brunt of the impact and he was lucky not to lose one of his feet. He astonished doctors with his determination to recover and despite still struggling to walk properly, he finished a heroic fourth on his F1 debut for Benetton in Brazil in 1989.

1994: Geoff Bodine started on the pole and dominated the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan Inter­national Speedway, US. Ernie Irvan was critically hurt in a practice crash the day before the race.

2000: A biography of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone was pulled from publication after legal wrangles and allegations against the author by Ecclestone, according to a report in London’s Times newspaper. Among several claims made in the book, is that the donation of one million pounds to the British Labour Party before the last election was an attempt to ensure Formula One was exempted from the banning of tobacco advertising, a claim which Ecclestone denies: “I gave the money because I was asked to by a third party,” said Ecclestone. “I’ve always been Tory, though I actually think now that all Blair has been as prime minister is watered-down old Conservatism.”

2005: Istanbul Park, also known as the Istanbul Racing Circuit or initially Istanbul Otodrom, a motor sports race track near İstanbul, Turkey staged the first Turkish Grand Prix. Because of the nature of the circuit the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix weekend saw exciting on-track action, with many drivers spinning off throughout the weekend due to pushing too hard, particularly at Turn 8 where Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren-Mercedes) ran wide with two laps to go following a tangle with the Jordan of Tiago Monteiro. This allowed Fernando Alonso (Renault) to take second place behind Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes) an event which had a significant bearing on their battle for the World Championship headed towards its culmination.

~22 August~

1937: Mercedes finished 1-2-3 at the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. After the start, Hans Stuck (Mercedes W125) chopped across the nose of the other drivers to take the early lead, followed by Rudolf Caracciola (Mercedes W125) and Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union Typ C). Rosemeyer was soon in trouble though, under pressure from Hermann Lang (Mercedes W125) he skidded off the circuit and was bogged down in the wet ground.

1954: Juan-Manuel Fangio won the Swiss Grand Prix to become World Drivers Championship for the second time. Works Ferrari driver José Froilán González needed to win to stay in contention to beat Mercedes driver Fangio on points and after finishing 2nd to Fangio, he still had 23 1/7 points to Fangio’s 42. With the rules in place at the time, González could not overhaul Fangio’s total with 2 races left.

1956: Billy Myers scored the last of his two victories in NASCAR’s premier series, lapping the field in a 250-lap feature at Norfolk Speedway, Virginia, US. Myers, the 1955 NASCAR Sportsman champion, was one lap ahead of Jim Paschal at the finish. Rex White finished third on the 4/10-mile dirt track.

1982: John Fitzpatrick and David Hobbs won the IMSA Pabst 500 IMSA race at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in a Porsche. The Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5 GTP racer driven by Bill Adam and Bob Tullius finished third in its race debut.

1983: Nimrod Racing Automobiles was disbanded. The partnership was founded in 1981 between racing driver and car dealer Robin Hamilton and chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda, Victor Gauntlett. The project was intended to build sports prototypes for the World Endurance Championship and IMSA GT Championship using Aston Martin V8 engines.

1999: Juan Pablo Montoya won the CART Target Grand Prix at the Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois, US.

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