27-28 July: This Weekend in Motor Sports History

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

~27 July~

1902: The first of the classic Italian Susa-Mont Cenis hillclimb meeting was held, over a timed 16.8 mile course. Vincenzo Lancia (Fiat) won the event at an average of about 27.5 mph.

1908: The fifth Glidden Tour ended in Saratoga Springs, New York and was won by E A Renting in a Pierce-Arrow.
1947: Charles Van Acker drove the Offenhauser-powered Tucker Partner Special to victory in the AAA Championship race in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US.
1948: (Joel) Woolf Barnato (53), winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928, 1929 and 1930 in his only three entries in the race, and Director of both Bentley Motors Ltd and Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd, died following a medical operation – cover image.
1963: Mario Andretti entered his first road race. He won the race at Lime Rock, Connecticut, USA, driving a front-engined midget. Mark Donohue is second in a rear-engined midget.
1969: Moises Solana (33) died when his McLaren M6B crashed during the hillclimb at Valle de Bravo-Bosencheve in Mexico.
1969: Richard Petty outran David Pearson for a one-car-length win at Smoky Mountain Raceway in Maryville (Tennessee. US). Petty led 127 of 200 laps on the half-mile asphalt track, where he won six times in his career.
1969: Denny Hulme drove his McLaren M8B to victory in the Can-Am race in Edmonton, Canada. Chris Amon in a Ferrari 612 was second. This was the best ever Can-Am finish for Ferrari.
1980: Neil Bonnett drove his Mercury to a narrow decision over Buddy Baker to win the Coca-Cola 500 at Pocono, Pennsylvania, US. Title contender Richard Petty crashed hard on the 57th lap and suffered a broken neck. Tim Richmond, making his NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National debut, finished 12th.

1986: Nelson Piquet in a Williams-Honda FW11 won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Alain Prost’s car ran out of fuel on the finishing straight of the last lap. Instead of retiring, Prost got out of his car and tried to push it to the finish, to great applause from the crowd. The finish line was too far, though, and he never reached it. He was classified sixth in the race, and he was running third when his car ran out of fuel, and he was passed by Nigel Mansell and René Arnoux.
1997: Contested over 45 laps, the German Grand Prix was won by Gerhard Berger for the Benetton team, from a pole position start. Michael Schumacher finished second in a Ferrari, with Mika Häkkinen third for the McLaren team.
2008: The Car of Tomorrow was used for the first time at Indianapolis. The Goodyear tires suffered bad wear patterns, causing blowouts in some cases after only 8-10 laps of green-flag racing. After several blowouts and crashes early in the race, NASCAR mandated lengthy competition cautions at roughly 10-lap intervals for teams to change tires. The longest stretch of green flag racing all day was a mere 12 laps, effectively making the race, according Dale Earnhardt, Jr., a series of heat races with a ten-lap feature at the end. Fans, competitors, and media were highly critical of the event, which was rendered largely uncompetitive. Jimmie Johnson survived the tire problems to win, after only a mild challenge at the end by Carl Edwards.

~28 July~

1900: The 837 mile Paris-Toulouse-Paris race, run over three stages, was won by Pierre Levegh, French racing driver, world-class ice hockey & tennis player, driving a 24 hp Mors with pneumatic Michelin tyres. He took a commanding lead and was never seriously challenged (by a field of the previously dominant Panhard & Levassor cars). His winning time was 40.2 mph. Levegh died in a crash at LeMans when his car launched over barriers, killing 83 spectators and injuring A series of fatal accidents on the 1903 Paris-Madrid race brought an end to the staging of point-to-point events on the open roads.
1905: Driving his 90-bhp Napier, British driver Clifford Earp covered the flying-kilometre in 21.4 seconds (103.53 mph) at the second sprint meeting to be held along Blackpool Promenade (England), equalling the world land-speed record established by Frenchman Paul Baras in his 100-bhp Darracq at the Ostend Speed Trials the previous November.
1922: Pietro Bordino and Felice Nazzaro in a Fiat 570 became the first to drive around the newly completed racing circuit at Monza, Italy.
1935: Tazio Nuvolari scored his most impressive victory, thought by many to be the greatest victory in car racing of all times. He won the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, driving an old Alfa Romeo P3 (3167 cc, compressor, 265 hp) versus the dominant, all conquering home team’s cars of five Mercedes-Benz W25 (3990 cm³, 8C, compressor, 375 hp (280 kW), driven by Caracciola, Fagioli, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Geyer) and four Auto Union Tipo B (4950 cc, 16C, compressor, 375 hp (280 kW), driven by Bernd Rosemeyer, Varzi, Hans Stuck and Paul Pietsch). This victory is known as “The Impossible Victory”. The crowd of 300,000 applauded Nuvolari, but the representatives of the Third Reich were enraged.

1946: Robert Mazaud (39) was killed when his Maserati 4CL crashed during the Nantes Grand Prix – the first racing fatality in major post-World War II competition. The race was won by ‘Raph’ driving a Maserati 6CM.
1956: Curtis Turner started on the outside of the front row and roared to victory in the NASCAR Convertible Series at Ft. Wayne (Indiana, US) Speedway. Teammate Joe Weatherly finished second on the .625-mile dirt track in a 1-2 sweep by Ford ragtops owned by Pete DePaolo. NASCAR Hall of Famer Glen Wood came home third, three laps down.

1957: Jean Behra driving a BRM P25 won the Grand Prix de Caen (France), the marque’s first major racing victory.
1985: Davey Allison made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut with a 10th place finish at Talledega, Alabama, US.
1985: Emerson Fittipaldi won his first CART Indycar race in the Michigan 500 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, USA.
1991: The AAR Eagle-Toyota MkIII scored its first win when Juan M. Fangio II drives one to victory in the IMSA GTP race at the Del Mar Fair Grounds in San Diego, California, US.
1991: Nigel Mansell cruised to his third straight win in a Williams-Renault at the German Grand Prix, leading home Riccardo Patrese, Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger, Andrea de Cesaris, and Bertrand Gachot. Ayrton Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap for the second straight race, allowing Mansell to close to within eight points of Senna in the drivers championship.
1991: Dale Earnhardt led the final 28 laps and thwarts a gaggle of foes on the final lap to win the DieHard 500 at Talladega, Alabama, US.
1996: On the first lap of the Marlboro 500, staged at the Michigan International Speedway, Michigan (US), Emerson Fittipaldi tried to overtake Greg Moore for third place in turn 1, but they had contact and Fittipaldi’s car spun into the outside wall. As the result of the accident, Fittipaldi had his seventh cervical vertebrae smashed. The accident ended his professional career.
1996: Jeff Gordon surged past a thinned-out field to win the shortened DieHard 500 at Talladega, Alabama (US) for his sixth win of the season. Dale Earnhardt escaped with a broken sternum and a fractured collarbone after a 20-car crash.

1996: The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim was won by Damon Hill from pole position, in a Williams-Renault FW18.
2002: Michael Schumacher won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim for Ferrari, with Juan Pablo Montoya in second, and Ralf Schumacher, Montoya’s Williams team-mate, in third. Both Arrows cars retired from the race with mechanical problems, and it would prove to be the last race the team would compete in. It was the first Grand Prix to be held at Hockenheimring since the track was redesigned, which had seen the forest sections of the track removed and hence the length of the track shortened.

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