28-29 August: This Weekend in motor Sport History

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

~28 August~

1904: The Louisiana Purchase Trophy Race at the St Louis World Fair, Missouri, US was won by Barney Oldfield driving the Peerless Green Dragon.

1922: The famous Autodromo motor racing track, was completed in Monza, north of Milan, Italy. Set in a busy industrial centre along the Lambro River, this track, with its elliptical shape and concrete banked curves, was said to be the fastest in the world.

1960: Jack Brabham made the third fastest climb at Ollons-Villars hillclimb event in Switzerland with a Formula 2 Cooper.

1966: The first British Drag Racing Championship began at the Santa Pod Raceway, England. This meeting saw the use of handicapped starts for the first time and in the dragster division final Tony Gane hung on to a 2.1 second advantage in his 500cc Rudge engined Wicked Lady, to beat Les Turners blown 1500cc dragster. One of Tonys crew members was a teenager by the name of Dennis Priddle. In the Dragster divisions Allan Herridge took his Cadillac powered rail to a new B class speed record of 129.37. Tony Densham set a new Class E E.T. record of 12.672 in ‘The Worden’ and J. Fisher set a new F class speed record of 96.58mph in his BMC powered machine. D. Farrell set a new B class Competition Altered E.T. record of 12.980 seconds. In the Sports & GT section G. Tyack took his Cobra to a new E.T. record of 12.750 in the C class. Modified Production saw four new records set. A. Wemyss set a new class B speed record of 107.64 in his Dodge, E. Ellis took his Ford to a new D class E.T. record of 15.617 and B. Harvey took his lotus Cortina to set both ends of the E class record at 16.692/81.97. Production saw J. Watcher set a new B class E.T. record of 14.376 followed by a new speed record of 95.84, while R. Duffell took his Volvo to a new E class speed record of 66.84.

1966: Lothar Motschenbacher won the USRRC race at Mid Ohio in Lexington, Ohio, US, driving the McLaren-Olds owned by actor Dan Blocker.

1971: Tiny Lund surged in front when Dave Marcis’ rear gearing failed, leading the rest of the way in the Buddy Shuman 276, the final race for NASCAR’s premier series at Hickory (North Carolina, US) Speedway.

1977: English driver Mike Parkes (45) who participated in 7 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 July 1959, died. He achieved two podiums, and scored a total of 14 championship points. He also secured one pole position

1983: Rene Arnoux drove a Ferrari 126C3 to victory in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Ferrari team mate Patrick Tambay finished second, with John Watson third in a McLaren. Derek Warwick’s fourth-place finish resulted in the first points for both himself and the Toleman team.

1986: Bob Glidden made the first NHRA Pro Stock 7.3 second quarter mile pass at Indianapolis, Indiana. His exact time was 7.377 seconds.

1988: Ayrton Senna led home Alain Prost in a McLaren 1-2 to win the Belgian Grand Prix.

1994: Damon Hill won the Belgian Grand Prix for Williams after Michael Schumacher was disqualified due to excessive wear on his Benetton’s skid block (the mandatory wooden plank introduced at Germany). This indicated that the car’s ride height was too low, hence an illegal aerodynamic advantage.

1999: During his first season with the BAR team, Jacques Villeneuve demonstrated the same penchant for risk-taking as his father during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix. Villeneuve always attempted to take the daunting Eau Rouge flat out and destroyed his car on the famous corner. Team-mate Ricardo Zonta had an even bigger crash on the same corner and also walked away unscathed.

1999: In the closing laps of the popular Saturday night Rattle Hill Cage race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt led Terry Labonte and Jimmy Spencer. Labonte pulled alongside Earnhardt in turn four, and the two cars touched as they took the white flag for one lap to go. Going into turn 1, Labonte took the lead. In turn 2, Earnhardt tagged Labonte in the rear bumper, sending Labonte spinning down the backstretch. Earnhardt went on to win, and Spencer slipped by for second. Terry Labonte, however, collected six other cars and wrecked. When Earnhardt climbed out of the car in victory lane, many of the 170,000 fans booed and waved the finger. Defending his action, Earnhardt said in his victory lane interview, “(I) didn’t mean really to turn him around, I meant to rattle his cage.” Earnhardt was widely criticized for the move, and others criticised NASCAR officials for not penalising him.

2005: After Alex Zanardi lost both legs in a horrific Champ Car accident in 2001, few people thought he would ever return to racing but he proved everybody wrong when he triumphed in a World Touring Car Championship event in Germany driving a specially modified BMW.

2005: Martin Groves established the outright hill record for Gurston Down Motorsport Hillclimb in Wiltshire, England. He completed the 1057 yards (967 metres) long course that rises a total of 140 feet (43 metres) in 25.85 seconds.

2008: Phil Hill, the first American driver to win the Formula One World Championship, died in Salinas, California at the age of 81. Hill began driving for Ferrari in 1959 and claimed the first grand prix victory by an American driver in nearly forty years the following season. His biggest achievement, however, came in 1961 when he claimed the drivers’ title in difficult circumstances.

~29 August~

1914: The last hillclimb held in England before World War I, organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Motor Club at Style Kop, Staffordshire, was won by William Morris (Lord Nuffield) driving a Morris Oxford.

1964: Graham Hill won the Tourist Trophy race at Goodwood, England, driving a Ferrari 330P.

1976: British driver James Hunt driving a McLaren M23 won the Dutch Grand Prix on his 29th birthday. The weekend was marred by the death of track marshal Ron Lenderink (29) during a touring car support race.

1982: Keke Rosberg won the 1982 world championship with Williams despite winning just one race all season at the Swiss Grand Prix. The race was held in Dijon, France with motor racing still banned in Switzerland following the 1955 Le Mans disaster. Rosberg started eighth on the grid and overtook Alain Prost late on to secure victory.

1992: Darrell Waltrip scampered to victory in the Bud 500 at Bristol, Tennessee (US), the first race at the facility since the track was resurfaced with concrete.

1999: David Coulthard won the Belgian Grand Prix after clashing with team-mate Mika Hakkinen into the first corner. Hakkinen had qualified on pole but was slower off the line, allowing Coulthard to pull alongside. The pair then touched into the first corner as Coulthard muscled his way past on the inside. Hakkinen’s second place allowed him to overtake Eddie Irvine by a single point at the top of the drivers’ standings.

2004: Contested over 44 laps, the Belgian Grand Prix was won by Kimi Räikkönen, taking his and McLaren’s only race win of the season from tenth place on the grid. Second place for Michael Schumacher won him his seventh World Championship, after beating third-placed Rubens Barrichello.

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