27-28 February: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~27 February~

1914: Ralph DePalma beat his arch-rival Barney Oldfield to win the 9th Vanderbilt Cup in Santa Monica, California. Equipped with enormous engines and almost no suspension or steering technology, the pre-World War I US race car was a hunk of metal on wheels capable of propelling itself over 60mph on dirt tracks. Driving the cars was as much a test of brute strength and raw courage as it was a test of skill.

1915: Italian Dario Resta, driving a Peugeot EX3, won the American Grand Prix race through the streets of San Francisco, California. He followed this with a victory in the Vanderbilt Cup. After leading during the final stages of that year’s Indianapolis 500, he finished second to Ralph DePalma when his car skidded and he had to make a pitstop for tires

1921: Ralph DePalma won the featured 50 mile AAA Championship race on the 1.25 mile Los Angeles Motor Speedway board track. DePalma averaged 107.39 mph at the wheel of a Ballot. DePalma, Roscoe Sarles, Jimmy Murphy and Tommy Milton won earlier 25 mile races.

1927: One of the most bizarre races ever took place inside a six-storey building in Paris. To celebrate the opening of a new garage and sports club for the city’s most wealthy residents, Robert Benoist, a famous racing driver at the time, invited 15 drivers to race up a series of ramps to the building’s roof. The ‘hill-climb’ was not timed as there were concerns that drivers might be overly competitive and crash. However, it was a huge success and gained the garage a considerable amount of publicity.

1955: Tim Flock was declared the winner of the 160-mile Daytona Beach race when Fireball Roberts’ Buick was disqualified on a technicality. Flock won for team owner Carl Kiekhaefer, who made his maiden voyage in NASCAR a successful one.

1960: Racer Ettore Chimeri (35) was killed during a practice run for the Cuban Sports Car Grand Prix, after his Ferrari 250TR crashed through barriers and plunged 150 feet into a ravine. He participated in one Formula One World Championship Grand Prix, the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix on 7 February 1960, in his Maserati 250F (a car he owned, previously raced by Juan Manuel Fangio and Francisco Godia, prepared in Venezuela and sold to an Italian buyer sometime after his death) failing to finish the race having experienced electrical problems. He scored no championship points.

1965: Ned Jarrett wom the 100-mile race at Spartanburg, South Carolina, US by an incredible 22 laps. Only 16 cars started the race.

1965: Dennis Wing (25) was killed during a practice run for the Australian Grand Prix in Hobert, Tasmania.

1972: Richard Petty took the lead when Bobby Allison ran into a recurring tire problem, going on to win the 500 lap Richmond 500 NASCAR GN race on the .542 mile paved Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. Petty’s Plymouth finished more than a lap ahead of Allison’s Monte Carlo.

1994: In Rusty Wallace’s second start in a Ford, he rode to victory in the Goodwrench 500 at Rockingham, South Carolina (US). Wallace and the Roger Penske team switched from Pontiacs to Fords during the off-season.

2005: Mark Webber kicked off the new Formula 1 season by driving the previous year’s Williams across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In order for the event to take place, the busy commuter bridge was closed for two hours. Speaking after the event Webber said: “Thundering with 900 bhp over that time-honoured structure was an amazing feeling. The engine sound over the ocean was fantastic. I just can’t thank everybody enough in my home state New South Wales who made this show for the fans possible.”


~28 February ~

1914: Eddie Pullen won the 5th ‘American Grand Prize’ in his Mercer. Resuming after a one year break, the race was held for the first time on an 8.417 mile course of streets in and around Santa Monica.

1925: The last Aston Hill Climb, a speed hill climb on public roads up Aston Hill near Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, England was staged. The hill’s enduring claim to fame came when Lionel Martin and his partner Robert Bamford achieved success with their self-built ‘special’ car, and hence named their fledgling car manufacturing business Aston Martin. The original course started about 20 metres away from the ‘T’ junction with the B4009 – Upper Icknield Way, and finished level with the house at the top of Aston hill, a distance of 0.75 miles (1.21 km) and a climb of approximately 80 metres. The distance was subsequently reduced to 1,000 yards (910 m). A 750 yards (690 m) version was used in 1921, a 1,200 yards (1,100 m) course in 1922, and both 1,400 yards (1,300 m) and 968.5 yards (885.6 m) in 1923. The ciimb records are 87.6 seconds (750 yard course) set in 1904 by S F Edge in a 1904 and 58.6 seconds (1000 yard) established in 1912 by a 20 hp Crossley.

1960: Richard Petty, the king of stock car racing, recorded his first Grand National victory at the old Charlotte, North Carolina, fairgrounds. Eight months earlier Richard had edged out his father, Lee, at the Grand National race in Lakewood, Georgia, only to watch his victory reviewed on the grounds of his own father’s protest. The protest was upheld, and Lee Petty was awarded the win.

1964: Timmy Mayer (26) was killed in the second practice session of the Longford Grand Prix, Australia.

1965: Richard Petty, driving in a drag race at the Southeastern International Dragway in Dallas Georgia, lost control of his car and it went into the spectators killing an 8 year old boy.

1965: Ken Miles Lloyd Ruby driving a Ford GT40 Mk.II won the Daytona 2000 km.

1971: A.J. Foyt won the 500 mile NASCAR GN race at Ontario Motor Speedway, Ontario, California.

1980: Qualifying for the South African Grand Prix was marked by spectacular crashes involving Marc Surer and Alain Prost. Surer failed to negotiate a bend and smashed head-on into a trackside wall. He was trapped for half an hour before he could be freed and taken to hospital

2000: Tony Schumacher drove his Top Fuel dragster through the 1/4 mile at 330.23 mph at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. His speed is nearly 4 mph faster than his previous record in 1999.

2001: Under the ownership of Paul Stoddart, Minardi won its race against time to launch its new car just days ahead of the opening race of the season. The car was revealed with few sponsors on it and the team admitted it team was still in the hunt for a major backer. Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques were the team’s drivers but Stoddart didn’t have particularly high expectations heading into the first race.

2005: President General Pervez Musharraf attended the official launch of A1 Team Pakistan at the spectacular Lahore Fort as A1 Grand Prix made history, by being the first to run a single seat race car in Pakistan.




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