22-23 April: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

~22 April~

1900: The Turin-Pinerolo-Saluzzo-Cuneo-Turin road race was won by L Gastè driving a Perfecta 6 hp tricycle, who completed the 131 km at an average speed of 64.5 km/h.

1907: The Targa Florio held at Madonie over 3 laps of the 92.473 mile circuit, totaling 277.42 miles, was won Felice Nazzaro in a Fiat.

1909: The first British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMCRC) race meeting was held at Brooklands.

1928: Ray Keech set a one-mile land speed record of 207.552 mph driving the 81 litre triple-engined internal combustion White-Triplex at Daytona Beach, US. His record was broken by Henry Segrave on March 11, 1929. Continue Reading →

1934: The Alessandria Circuit Grand Prix, held in Bordino, Italy was won by Achille Varzi in an Alfa Romeo B/P3. The event consisted of two heats with five drivers from each heat going to the final. Scuderia Ferrari driver Tadini led the first heat, run in rain, before being passed by his team mate Chiron. Continue Reading →

1935: Alfred Neubauer, the head of the Mercedes team, ignored Hitler’s instructions that only German drivers should drive German cars and hired the best drivers available to drive the new 3.99 litre, 460 hp W25 at the Monaco Grand Prix. The mechanics looked more like laboratory assistants, the engine oil needed to be pre-heated to become fluid, mechanical parts were covered in electrical heated blankets and the fuel was the same as used in the V1 rockets. Continue Reading →

1937: The 2.267 mile Campbell Circuit opened at Brooklands. The lap record of 77.79 mph was set by Raymond Mays driving an ERA.

1946: Gigi Villoresi drove a Maseratti 4CL to victory in the first post-World War II Grand Prix, in Nice, France. According to some sources this was the first official Formula 1 race.

1951: The San Remo Grand Prix held at Ospedaletti was won by Alberto Ascari driving a Ferrari 375.

1951: Marshall Teague drove his “Teaguemobile” Hudson Hornet to victory in the 150 mile NASCAR Grand National race on the Arizona State Fairgrounds 1 mile dirt oval. On lap 72, Teague hooked bumpers with the lapped car of Al King, sending King’s Ford flipping. Teague stopped, got out of his car and checked to make sure King was OK before continuing in the race. Continue Reading →

1956: Stirling Moss, in a privately entered Maserati 250F, won the Aintree 200, a non-championship Formula One race.

1956: Walt Faulkner (38), the first rookie to win pole position at the Indianapolis 500, died after a qualifying crash at a USAC Stock Car event in Vallejo, California.

1956: Buck Baker drove one of the Kiekhaefer team Chrysler juggernauts to victory in the NASCAR GN race on the 1 mile circular dirt Langhorne Speedway, Pennsylvania, US. Future star Fred Lorenzen made his GN debut, finishing 26th.

1957: Jean Behra in a Maserati 250F won the Pau Grand Prix run over 110 laps of the Pau temporary street circuit in France.

1961: The VI Aintree 200 run to Formula One rules at Aintree Circuit, was won by Australian driver Jack Brabham in a Cooper T55.

1962: In the ‘Virginia 500’ won by his son Richard, Lee Petty made his first start since being badly injured in a 1961 Daytona qualifier, finishing 5th with relief help. Junior Johnson used the outside to move from 26th starting to the lead in 56 laps. Johnson later retired with rear gearing problems.

1973: Vern Schuppan drove his March 722 to victory in the Singapore Grand Prix, a 50 lap Formula Libre race held on the public road Upper Thomson circuit. Singapore’s National Sports Promotion Board was the driving force behind the event (the write-up noted: “few governments of the free world take such a direct interest in motor sport.. Continue Reading →

1979: Richard Petty drove his Chevy to victory in the NASCAR GN ‘Virginia 500’ at Martinsville Speedway. It was Petty’s first short track win since 1975. Petty led the last 130 laps, beating Buddy Baker’s Ranier Chevy to the line by 4 seconds. Continue Reading →

~23 April~

1900: The Thousand Mile Trial began, the most ambitious motoring event ever staged in Great Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria. Organised by the RAC, with aims of letting people up and down the country motor cars, and proving that these devices could travel great distances without breaking down too often. The event started in London with a static exhibition from 14th-21st April, and on this day sixty five vehicles started for Edinburgh via Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Carlisle on the outward leg and Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham on the way back, with static displays, hillclimbs and a speed contest in Welbeck Park en route. Continue Reading →

1933: The first Grand Prix where grid positions were decided by practice time rather than the established method of balloting was held at the Circuit de Monaco. Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari exchanged the lead many times during the race. Varzi won the race on the final lap when Nuvolari’s car caught fire due to over-revving.

1934: Lou Meyer won a 151 mile Stock Car race held on a 1.385 mile dirt road course in and around the Legion Ascot Speedway, California. Meyer averaged 51.33 mph in a Ford.

1938: The Cork International Road Race held at Corrigrohane, the only important race to be run in Eire, was won by René Dreyfus in a Delahaye 145 at 92.5 mph.

1949: Johnnie Parsons won the 100 mile AAA Championship race on the 1 & 1/16 mile dirt Arlington Downs horse track. Even though he was not of legal age, having just turned 19 in March, Troy Ruttman made his AAA Championship debut by using an altered birth certificate.

1962: Bruce McLaren driving a Cooper-Climax T55 won the Lavant Cup at Goodwood.

1962: Rex White drove the Louis Clements Chevy to his 4th win of the season in the rain shortened NASCAR GN race at Bowman-Gray Stadium, North Carolina, US. Rain stopped the race after 108 of the scheduled 200 laps had been run on the 1/4 mile paved oval. Jack Smith was 2nd.

1962: During the 10th Glover Trophy, won by Graham Hill, held at the Goodwood race track, Stirling Moss suffered serious injury at the wheel of his Lotus Climax, cutting short his racing career. On emerging from a 38 day coma, Sir Stirling found he had partial paralysis of his left side. Although he made a full recovery, he felt his reactions were no longer fast enough for racing.

1962: The 22nd Pau Grand Prix, a non-Championship race run to Formula One rules, over 100 laps of a street circuit in Pau, was won by Maurice Trintignant in a Lotus 18/21.

1966: John Cannon drove actor Dan Blocker’s Vinegaroon Special Genie-Olds to victory in the United States Road Racing Championship Sports Car race at Stardust International Raceway, Las Vegas, US. Pole sitter Jerry Grant just made the grid after Dan Gurney fixed an oil leak on the All-American Racers Lola-Gurney/Weslake/Ford. When the green fell on the 90 degree day, Grant and Charlie Hayes took off from the field. Continue Reading →

1967: Mark Donohue drove Roger Penske’s Lola-Chevy to an easy victory in the 180 mile United States Road Racing Championship Sports Car race on the 3 mile Stardust International Raceway, Nevada. Mechanical trouble sidelined Frank Matich, Jerry Titus and Bob Bondurant before the start. George Follmer jumped into the lead at the start with Donohue moving from row 2 into 2nd. Continue Reading →

1967: Richard Petty benefitted from Cale Yarborough’s misfortune to win the NASCAR GN ‘Virginia 500’ at Martinsville Speedway, Virginia, US. Yarborough was 4.5 seconds ahead of Petty when he hit oil from “Big” John Sears blown engine and tapped the wall. Continue Reading →

1967: Mario Andretti drove his Ford powered Brawner-Hawk to victory in the 150 mile USAC Championship race on the 1 mile paved Trenton Speedway, New Jersey, US. Andretti led every lap of the race and lost his only serious challenger when A.J. Continue Reading →

1972: Gary Bettenhausen drove his Penske to victory in the 200 mile USAC Championship race on the 1.5 mile kidney shaped Trenton Speedway, New Jersey, US.

1978: Open-wheel racing suffered a tragedy from which it never fully recovered when a chartered plane carrying eight United States Auto Club officials slammed into a ploughed field near the small community of Arlington, Indiana, US. The group was returning to Indianapolis from the Gabriel 200 USAC/Citicorp National Championship race in Trenton, New Jersey., when the 10-seat Piper Navajo Chieftain went down during a severe thunderstorm shortly before 10 p. Continue Reading →

1981: The FIA ruled that the Lotus 88 “twin chassis” F1 car was illegal, though the rules did not exclude it. The 88 used an ingenious system of having a twin chassis, one inside the other. The inner chassis would hold the cockpit and would be independently sprung from the outer one, which was designed to take the pressures of the ground effects. Continue Reading →

1992: The Smithsonian Institution acquired a Miller 91 Packard Cable Special 1500-cc race car with the intention of displaying it. Harry Miller was the first man to concentrate exclusively on building race cars for sale. While the Duesenberg name dominated American racing in the early ’20s, it was Harry Miller that carried race design into its next era. Continue Reading →

1992: Ronnie Bucknum (56), an American racecar driver, and the first person to drive a Honda-engined car in Formula One died. He participated in 11 F1 Grand Prix’s and drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1967–1970 seasons with 23 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 in 1968–1970.

2000: The 55th British Grand Prix was held at the Silverstone. The race held over 60 laps of the 5.1-kilometre circuit was won by David Coulthard in front of his home crowd driving a McLaren MP4/15. The win was Coulthard’s and McLaren’s first win of the season and the first race not won by eventual 2000 world champion Michael Schumacher.

2006: Michael Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix driving a Ferrari 248 F1. It was Schumacher’s seventh victory at the San Marino Grand Prix, and his fifth win at Imola in six years. It is also the last time to date that the San Marino Grand Prix has been held.

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