21-22 March: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~21 March~

1899: The 75 mile (120.7 km) Nice-Castellane-Nice road race was won by Albert Lemaître driving a Peugeot 20 hp, at an average speed of 26.02 mph (41.87 km/h). He was driving the latest version of rear engined, 2 cylinder, (140 mm bore x 190 mm stroke) Peugeot, in which he also achieved a standing start mile in 1 minute 35 seconds.

1926: Bennett Hill won the 250 mile AAA Championship race on the 1.25 mile high banked Culver City Speedway, California. Hill averaged 131.29 mph at the wheel of a Miller.

1926: A Bugatti T35 driven by Alessandro Consonno won a Grand Prix held at the Pozzo Circuit in Verona, Italy.

1940: Felice Nazzaro (60), legendary Italian racecar driver, a native of Turin, died. He won the Kaiserpreis in 1907 as well as the French Grand Prix in 1907 and 1922 and Targa Florio in 1907 and 1913. His European wins in 1907 resulted in an invitation to compete in the 1908 American Grand Prize in Savannah, Georgia, where he finished third. He returned to the United States for the 1910 event but a damaged rear axle forced him out of the race.

1948: The Gordini 8GC race car was completed and road tested by designer Amedee Gordini.

1948: Chico Landi won the Interlagos Grand Prix in Brazil driving an Alfa Romeo 308.

1954: Pole-starter Herb Thomas guided his Fabulous Hudson Hornet to victory at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta (Georgia, US), prevailing by one car-length over Buck Baker. Thomas’s third win of the season was the 31st of his NASCAR Grand National career. Dick Rathman finished third on the mile-long dirt track.

1968: Cale Yarborough drove a Wood Brothers Mercury to victory in the NASCAR Grand National race at Atlanta, Georgia, USA

1971: The Race of Champions at Brands Hatch was won by Clay Regazzoni in a Ferrari 312B2.

1982: Alain Prost put on a strong performance in his Renault at the Brazilian Grand Prix, taking pole, setting fastest lap and winning the event, though by the disqualification of Piquet, in 1:44:33. John Watson had a great drive to finish second after starting 12th on the grid. Nigel Mansell also had a fine finish in third after starting from the 14th spot. Nelson Piquet in his Brabham, would have won but he was DQ’d but was underweight. Keke Rosberg in his Williams also suffered a similar fate for second place.

1987: Jochen Mass and Bobby Rahal drove Bruce Leven’s Porsche 962 to victory in the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.

1999: Jeff Burton’s crumpled Ford laid in a smoking heap on the frontstretch at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, US as rain began to fall securing his victory in one of the zaniest finishes in NASCAR history. Burton was involved in a crash on lap 163, but managed to keep his car rolling until heavy rains curtail the scheduled 400-miler.

1999: John Force set a NHRA Funny Car speed record of 324.05 mph at Gainesville, Florida. At the same event, Tony Pendragon set an NHRA Funny Car quarter mile e.t. record of 4.779 seconds.

2004: The Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Sepang circuit; Michael Schumacher took pole position and went onto win the race.

~22 March~

1930: Racer Gastone Brilli-Peri was killed at age 36 when he crashed during a practice run for the Tripoli Grand Prix. This famous Italian racing driver won the 1925 Italian Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 to secure the inaugural World Manufacturers’ Championship title for Alfa Romeo. In 1929, still in the Alfa P2 he won the Circuit of Cremona and the Tripoli Grand Prix. Today the stadium of his native city, Montevarchi, is named in his honour.

1930: The first race was held on the “Mountain Circuit” at Brooklands.

1953: Laura Maxine Elmer, the future wife of Briggs Cunningham, drove a Jaguar to victory in the sports car race for ladies at Palm Springs, California, USA.

1958: The Ferrari of Peter Collins and Phil Hill won the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. The Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar and Aston Martin teams returned to WSC competition, and the Aston Martin of Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks led for 4 hours before falling off the pace.

1959: Johnny Beauchamp, who came out on the losing end of the famous photo finish with Lee Petty in the inaugural Daytona 500, came back a month later to win his first NASCAR race, a 100-lap event on the one-mile dirt track of Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, US. No photo finish this time. Beauchamp led every lap and won by one lap over Buck Baker. Twenty-one cars started the race; nine are running at the finish.

1969: Contenders fell out of the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race one by one. The new Porsche 908 Spyders space frames broke up on the rough surface, the Penske Lola broke it’s suspension after leading 17 laps, two Alfas overheated and the third threw a wheel, and wreckage from another car caused overheating on the only Ferrari 312P. The only surviving John Wyer Ford GT40, driven by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver, caught the crippled Chris Amon/Mario Andretti Ferrari just before the finish to take the win.

1974: Racer Peter Revson (35) was killed when his Shadow-Cosworth Formula 1 car crashed during a practice run at the Kyalami track in South Africa. The nephew of Revlon Cosmetics industry magnate Charles Revson, he was an heir to his father Martin’s fortune (reportedly worth over $1 billion). He was a young, handsome bachelor who was described as a “free spirit”. Revson began racing while at Cornell University. In 1968 he was part of the new Javelin racing program established by American Motors (AMC). At the first Trans-Am Series attempt, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Revson and Skip Scott drove to a 12th overall and took 5th in their class. In 1970 he teamed with Steve McQueen to place second in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Also in 1970, Revson was teammates with Mark Donohue in the Penske Racing AMC factory-team Javelins in the SCCA Trans Am. Revson joined McLaren in 1971 and became the first American to win the Can-Am Championship. That same season he finished second in the Indianapolis 500 after posting the fastest qualifying time. He competed in the Indy 500 each year from 1969-1973. In 1972, Revson was named to the McLaren Formula One team. He remained with the team for two years, winning the British Grand Prix and Canadian Grand Prix in 1973, before moving to Shadow in 1974. He is the last American born driver to win a Formula One race (Mario Andretti, who won in later years, is a naturalized American).

1992: Nigel Mansell in his Williams beat Riccardo Patrese in the sister car to win the Mexican Grand Prix. Mansell finished the race in 1:31:53 with Patrese finishing 12 seconds behind. Michael Schumacher finished third in the Benetton, his first ever podium finish in Formula 1. All three finished like they started from the grid, 1 – 2 -3. Though Gerhard Berger had the fastest lap on his way to 4th place finish, 1 lap down from the leaders.

1998: Dale Jarrett fended off Jeff Gordon’s late charge to win the Transouth Financial 400 at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, US. Jarrett led 68 of the 293 laps to win by .228 seconds. Gordon held on for second place with Rusty Wallace third. Jeff Burton, who led 195 laps, faded to fifth place by the checkered flag.

1998: World Rally champion Colin McRae announced he was considering a move to F1 and had tests arranged with Jackie Stewart’s Ford-powered Grand Prix team. “To drive in Formula One is something I have been thinking about for quite some time. If I am competitive in this test then I have to consider what I might be getting into. And if I’m committed, then there’s no reason why I couldn’t make it.” He had already tested for Jordan in 1996. Nothing came of it.

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