27-28 November: This Weekend in Motorsport History

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

~27 November~

1911: Ralph Mulford in a Lozier won the seventh Vanderbilt Cup, in the only year it was staged at Savannah, Georgia in a double-header along with the American Grand Prize three days later. An American winner driving an American car, Mulford became an overnight hero. Although facilities at Savannah were hugely improved to accommodate the two events, large crowds caused problems and there were a strong of accidents as spectators spilled onto the course; in one during practice, Jay McNay was killed when he swerved to avoid a wagon.

1956: Future NASCAR great Junior Johnson pleaded guilty to making moonshine whiskey.

1975: The FIA unveiled a 17-race schedule for 1976, the most grands prix ever staged in one season. There were two new events, a second US Grand Prix early in the year and then the first Japanese Grand Prix at the end of the season.

1991: Juha Kankkunen and Juha Piironen won the RAC Rally with a Lancia Delta Integrale 16V.

1992: The Jordan Grand Prix team announced that Rubens Barrichello would make his F1 debut with the team.

2007: Best known as a three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, Hélio Castroneves and his partner, professional ballroom dancer Julianne Hough, won the fifth season of “Dancing With the Stars.”

~28 November~

1885: America’s first race featuring gasoline-powered automobiles was held in Chicago, Illinois, with six vehicles competing: two electric cars, three German Benz automobiles, and one American-made Duryea automobile – cover image. The race was organized by Chicago Times-Herald Publisher Herman H. Kohlstaat, who had announced in early 1895 that his newspaper would sponsor a major race between horseless carriages. Kohlstaat, who was offering $5,000 in prizes, including a first-place prize of $2,000, received telegrams from automobile enthusiasts across America and Europe. At the request of entrants still working on their automobile prototypes, Kohlstaat agreed to delay the race, originally scheduled for the summer, until November 28, Thanksgiving Day. When the fateful day finally came, the streets of Chicago were covered with several inches of snow, but six of the 80 original entrants had managed to show up. Because of weather conditions, the course was shortened to a 52-mile round-trip out of Chicago and back. The flag dropped and Frank Duryea and his five competitors drove into automotive history. A few miles into the race, both electric cars broke down, leaving the Duryea brothers to contend with the three Benz vehicles. The German-built Benz cars, driven by two Americans and a German, were no match for Frank and the powerful two-cylinder Duryea automobile. After 10 ½ hours, despite an accidental two-mile detour, Frank crossed the finish line with no other car in sight, having achieved an average speed of 7.5 mph during the race. The only other vehicle to finish, a Benz driven by German Oscar Mueller, completed the race an hour and a half later, although the Gold Medal was awarded to the Morris & Salom Electrobat II for alleged greater ease of operation.

1949: NASCAR announced that the victory dinner to honor divisional champions would take place in Daytona Beach on 1 February 1950. Red Byron was honored as the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock champion, while Fonty Flock was crowned the champion of the Modified division.

1965: The Angolan Grand Prix for sports cars is won by David Piper in a Ferrari 365P2.

1966: John Surtees, the 1964 world champion, signed a 12-month contract to race for Honda. He had won his title with Ferrari, but walked out on the team midway through 1966 after a dispute, switching to Cooper and winning the Mexican Grand Prix in the last race of the year. The relationship, in which Surtees played a major part in assisting the team develop its F1 challenge, lasted two years and provided one win, in the 1967 Italian Grand Prix.

1977: The new Arrows F1 team moved into their home in Milton Keynes, England.

1982: Ted Field and Danny Ongais drove a Chevrolet-powered Lola T600 to victory in the IMSA three-hour race at Daytona, Florida.

1990: Paco Godia (69) who drove intermittently in Formula One between 1951 and 1958, participating in 14 World Championship Grands Prix and numerous non-Championship races, died.

1992: American racecar driver, Frank Armi (74) whose racing career ended in the mid-1960s, when he became a television and film sound engineer, died.

2006: The start of Lewis Hamilton’s F1 career came on the test track in Barcelona but lasted two laps before his McLaren broke down. Testing alongside David Coulthard and Anthony Davidson, Hamilton was given some words of warning by Coulthard who said he needed a season of testing before being thrown into the fray. “I value David’s opinion,” Hamilton countered. “He is extremely experienced and I have always looked up to him. In some ways he could be right, but I’ve done all I need to do to get to F1. I have got plenty of time to do the testing pre-season and so we will have to wait and see. I am young, fresh and extremely determined to do well in this sport. I want to win.” As it was, he came within one race of winning the title in his first season.



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