27-28 June: This Weekend in Motor Sport Hiostory

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

~27 June~

1901: The Paris-Berlin Trail began. Run over 687 miles and three stages (June 27th Paris-Aachen – 285 miles; June 28th Aachen-Hanover – 278 miles and June 29th Hanover-Berlin – 186 miles) the race was won by Henri Fournier (France) driving a Mors in a time of 15 hours 33 minutes 6 seconds. Charles Stewart Rolls with mechanic Claud Crompton entered in a Mors and finished 18th. In retrospect the trail is sometimes referred to as the VI Grand Prix de l’ACF.

1902: The first Susa-Mont Cenis (Italy) speed hillclimb was won by Vincenzo Lancia in a Fiat.

1914: The International Austrian Alpine Run was one of the most famous races of its time. August Horch took part in an Audi for the first time in 1911 and won first prize. This encouraged him to enter an Audi team in the challenge trophy in the years 1912 to 1914. Audi won the team prize in each of these three years. The Alpine Challenge Trophy was presented to the Audi drivers on this day.

1926: The smallest field ever to start a classic Grand Prix was made up of just three Bugattis, at the French Grand Prix at Miramas. One driven by Jules Goux completed the 100-lap distance, one finished 15 laps behind and the third retired.

1948: The San Remo Grand Prix, a non-Championship Voiturette motor race was held at the Autodromo di Ospedaletti, in San Remo, Liguria, Italy. Contested over 85 laps, it was won by Alberto Ascari in a Maserati 4CLT/48, starting from pole position. Luigi Villoresi finished second also in a Maserati 4CLT/48 and Clemar Bucci third, driving a Maserati 4CL 1502.

1965: Jim Clark in a Lotus Climax won the French Grand Prix on his way to clinching the World Drivers Championship. This race turned out to be the last win Jim Clark would score with the Lotus 25. It was the last time he ever drove the car in a World Championship race. It was also Clark’s third win in four races, and his second grand slam finish of the season.

1982: David Pearson rolled from the pole position to land his only victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, winning the Coca-Cola 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, US. Pearson, who made just six Nationwide starts in his Hall of Fame career, led a sweep of the top four positions by Pontiac drivers. Dale Earnhardt finished second with Phil Parsons third.

1994: Samuel Hanks (79), believed to be the only Indianapolis 500 driver to participate in the race before World War II, serve in the war effort, then return to race again after the war, died. It has also been conjectured that Hanks may have been a distant relative to Abraham Lincoln. He is remembered as a fair but determined racer, recognized, respected and admired as a true sportsman. In 1957 Sam won with a radically new race car built by George Salih. With its Offenhauser engine mounted on its side with the cylinders in a transverse lateral plane, and a low silhouette, the car allowed a new record average speed of 135.601mph. Immediately after bringing the car to Victory Lane, Sam announced his retirement. He went on to serve as the Director of Competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1958 through 1979 and as a consultant to numerous companies before retiring to Pacific Palisades.

1999: Contested over 72 laps of the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the French Grand Prix was won by Heinz-Harald Frentzen driving a Jordan car after starting from fifth position. Mika Häkkinen finished second driving for McLaren, with Rubens Barrichello finishing third for the Stewart team. The remaining points-scoring positions were filled by Ralf Schumacher (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Eddie Irvine (Ferrari). Häkkinen extended his lead in the World Drivers’ Championship to eight points over Schumacher, with Irvine a further 14 behind.

~28 June~

1925: The first Belgian Grand Prix was staged in Spa-Francorchamps, and won by Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo P2. Ascari’s car dominated the race so completely that he could even eat and drink slowly during a pit stop. The 36-year-old Ascari was killed while leading the 1925 French Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 in the first race at the new Autodrome de Montlhéry south of Paris. He left behind a seven-year-old son, Alberto, who would become one of the greats of Formula One racing in the early 1950s and who would also die behind the wheel at the age of 36.

1931: Legendary moonshiner (bootlegger) in the rural South who became one of the early superstars of NASCAR in the 1950s and 1960s, Junior Johnson (cover image) was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He won 50 NASCAR races in his career before retiring in 1966. In the 1970s and 1980s he became a highly successful NASCAR racing team owner. He sponsored such NASCAR champions as Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip. He is also credited with discovering slipstreaming.

1936: The Grand Prix de l´Automobile Club de France was held as a sports car race on the Montlhéry track and was won by Jean-Pierre Wimille / Raymond Sommer (Bugatti T57G).

1957: Tony Bettenhausen drove a Novi to a new closed course speed record of 177.046 mph at Monza, Italy, in qualifications for the “Race of Two Worlds”. It was intended as an exhibition event, allowing American teams from the United States Auto Club (USAC) National Championship to compete directly against teams from the Formula One World Championship based in Europe. The two types of cars competed on the banked oval at Monza which had been completed in 1955. Due to the similarity to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the USAC teams ran the Indianapolis 500, the event earned the nickname Monzanapolis. American drivers and teams won the event in both the years in which it was run. Jimmy Bryan won the 1957 event, while Jim Rathmann swept the 1958 race. Although some Formula One teams did participate and even built special cars specifically for the event, several withdrew over safety concerns. Continued concern over the speeds on the track and the cost of the event led to the race being cancelled after the 1958 running.

1960: Juan Jover (56), the first Spaniard to drive in Formula One died in a road accident when his convertible left the road and fell off a cliff near Sitges in Catalonia.

1964: Drag racer Tom McEwen was nicknamed “The Mongoose” after defeating Don “The Snake” Prudhomme at Lions Dragstrip in California, beginning a legendary rivalry.

1964: Racecar driver Dan Gurney won the French Grand Prix in his Brabham BT7. This victory was Gurney’s second Grand Prix win, adding to his fifteen-year career total of over thirty Formula One racing victories. Gurney, who honed his driving skills slaloming through orange trees in Riverside, California, is widely renowned for his accomplishments in nearly every area of racing, including Grand Prix, Indy Car, NASCAR Stock cars, and Sports Car racing. The only driver besides Mario Andretti to win races in each of the major motorsports categories, Gurney has raced in twenty different countries, drove twenty-five different cars, and won forty-eight races. In 1965, Gurney started All-American Racers, a racecar manufacturing and design company, with partner Carroll Shelby. One of the original founders of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), Gurney also developed the “Gurney flap,” an Indy racecar part, and introduced the use of a full-face helmet to Indy and Grand Prix racing. In the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix, Gurney took first place in a car he built himself–the last Formula One Championship race that he would take part in before retiring from racing in 1970.

1998: Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F300 won the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. His teammate from the United Kingdom, Eddie Irvine finished second. Mika Häkkinen, driving a McLaren-Mercedes finished in third. The weekend clashed with France’s Round of 16 World Cup game.

2009: Joey Logano (USA) at the age of 19 years, 1 month, 4 days became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR race when he won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, USA. He broke the previous record by nearly 15 months. Logano’s nickname is “Sliced Bread,” as in he is the greatest thing since.



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