29-30 April: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

~29 April~

1899: A car named La Jamais Contente driven by Camille Jenatzy became the first vehicle to go over 100 km/h (62 mph) at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France. The alloy torpedo–shaped electric vehicle which set a land speed record of 65.79 mph (105.88 k/h) had two direct drive Postel-Vinay 25 kW motors, running at 200 V drawing 124 amps for about 68 hp, and was equipped with Michelin tyres.

1934: George Eyston, driving the Flying Spray at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, st a land speed record for diesel-powered vehicles, covering the flying kilometre at 159.0004 mph

1948: Bob Gerard driving a ERA B-Type won the 176 mile Jersey Road Race held in St Helier. George Abecassis finished second and Reg Parnell in third. Another famous name in post-war motor racing who participated in 1948 was Roy Salvatori.

1951: Dale Earnhardt, one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, was born in North Carolina, US. In 1979 Earnhardt was named Winston Cup Rookie of the Year and the following year won the first of his seven Winston Cup Series championships. Driving the black No. Continue Reading →

1962: The 7th Aintree 200 motor race, run to Formula One rules, was held at Aintree Circuit, England. The race was contested over 50 laps of the circuit, and was won by British driver Jim Clark in a Lotus 24.

1962: Miami’s Bobby Johns won the NASCAR Grand National ‘Volunteer 500’ on the 1/2 mile Bristol International Speedway, Tennessee, US. Johns led 430 of the 500 laps on his way to a 6 lap victory in a Pontiac owned by his father. Fireball Roberts led the first 61 laps before a coil problem cost him 12 laps in the pits. Continue Reading →

1973: At the Spanish Grand Prix held at Montjuich Park, Lotus driver, Emerson Fittipaldi had a great drive from his 7th spot on the grid to win the race in 1:48:18 over Francois Cevert in his Tyrrell 42 seconds back. Third spot went to George Folmer in his Shadow who also had a great drive coming from his 14th spot on the grid. Polesitter Ronnie Peterson had the fastest lap and was going well until gearbox trouble put him out on lap 57.

1973: Brian Redman won the season opening SCCA Formula 5000 race at Riverside International Raceway, California, US. A new race format debuted featuring two 60 mile qualifying heats followed by a 100 mile final. At the start of the 100 mile feature race, Brett Lunger jumped into the lead followed by Redman and Jody Scheckter. Continue Reading →

1984: The Belgian Grand Prix was held at Zolder. Ferrari’s Michele Alboreto secured his first career pole position and his first win for Ferrari, becoming the first Italian to win for the Prancing Horse since Ludovico Scarfiotti won the 1966 Italian Grand Prix. Team mate René Arnoux qualified 2nd in what would be the last all-Ferrari front row until the 1988 British Grand Prix.

1984: Geoff Bodine scored his first career NASCAR GN win by taking the 500 lap race on the 1/2 mile Martinsville Speedway, Virginia, US. It also marked the first GN victory for car owner Rick Hendrick. Bodine took the lead from Bobby Allison with 49 laps left and took his Chevy across the line 6 seconds ahead of Ron Bouchard’s Jack Beebe Buick

2001: Michael Schumacher won the Spanish Grand Prix driving a Ferrari F2001 even though he was 40 seconds behind Mika Häkkinen on the penultimate lap. The Finn, who had lapped the third placed Juan-Pablo Montoya, suffered from a hydraulic failure on the final lap of the race. This handed Michael Schumacher probably one of his luckier wins as he was suffering with a bad vibration.

2002: Bob Akin, American industrialist and race car driver died. Four days earlier he was gravely injured in a violent crash while testing a powerful 1988 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo for the Walter Mitty Challenge. His injuries included a broken neck, left leg, left shoulder and right arm, along with third-degree burns over 15 percent of his body. Continue Reading →

2007: A1 Team Great Britain broke the home race curse, winning the Brands Hatch Sprint race at the 2006/07 season finale. Forty-two races into the series, Great Britain became the first team to win on home soil.

~30 April~

1899: Ettore Bugatti driving a Prinetti & Stucchi won the 90 km Turin-Pinerolo-Avigliani-Turin road race.

1921: The Miller 183 8-cylinder engine made its racing debut in a 150-mile race in Fresno, California, US.

1925: Pete DePaolo won the ‘Raisin Day Classic’ 150 mile AAA Championship race at Fresno Speedway, California, US. DePaolo averaged 104.8 mph in his Duesenberg.

1932: The British Empire Trophy at Brooklands was won by John Cobb driving a Delage V12/LSR.

1937: Peter Walker established the first lap record to be recognized for the twisting Campbell course at Brooklands who’s ERA lapped at 70.11 mph.

1950: The Paris Grand Prix, a Non-Championship Formula One motor race was held at the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry. It was the fourth race of the 1950 Formula One season. Contested over 50 laps, the race was won by Talbot-Lago driver Georges Grignard, who finished four laps ahead of Louis Gérard, who finished second in a Delage, with Marc Versini third, also in a Delage. Continue Reading →

1956: The Mille Miglia was held on a course made up entirely of public roads around Italy, mostly on the outer parts of the country on 28–29 April 1956. The route was based on a round trip between Brescia and Rome, with the start/finish, in Brescia. It was the 3rd round of the 1956 World Sportscar Championship season. Continue Reading →

1956: Junior Johnson took advantage of Fred Lorenzen’s engine woes to win the NASCAR GN ‘Virginia 500’ Sweepstakes race at Martinsville Speedway, Virginia, US. Johnson was 4 laps behind when leader Lorenzen’s Ford made a lengthy pit stop with engine trouble. Despite having a 2 lap lead and being repeatedly given a pit board reading “EZ”, Johnson refused to let up. Continue Reading →

1961: Walt Hansgen led a Maserati 1-2-3 finish in the SCCA National sports car event at Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Virginia, USA.

1966: Richard Petty won the Darlington 400 NASCAR stockcar race in a Plymouth Belvedere at Darlington, South Carolina.

1967: Taking the lead when Bobby Allison spun and collected 2nd place Dick Hutcherson, Richard Petty won the NASCAR GN ‘Richmond 250’ on the Virginia State Fairgrounds 1/2 mile dirt oval, Virginia, US. It was Petty’s 54th career GN win, tying father Lee atop the career wins list at the time. Allison, making his first start in the Cotton Owens Dodge, was out front when he spun on lap 150, taking 2nd running Hutcherson with him as Petty roared past. Continue Reading →

1967: Mark Donohue drove his Roger Penske Lola to his 2nd straight USRRC Sports Car victory, winning the 70 lap, 182 mile race at Riverside International Raceway, California, US. Donohue had won the season opener at Las Vegas the previous week. Pole winner George Follmer jumped into the lead on the start with Donohue following and Lothar Motschenbacher again moving his McLaren-Chevy from 12th to 3rd. Continue Reading →

1970: Richard Petty prevailed as little known independents starred in the NASCAR GN ‘Columbia 200’ on the 1/2 mile dirt Columbia Speedway, South Carolina, US. Petty, driving the Don Robertson Plymouth, started 7th, behind surprisingly strong independents. Wisconsin’s Larry Baumel was on the pole followed by Johnny Halford, Frank Warren and Cecil Gordon. Continue Reading →

1972: Richard Petty took advantage when 2 leaders were sidelined in the last 110 laps, going on to win the NASCAR GN ‘Virginia 500’ at Martinsville Speedway. Bobby Isaac led a total of 268 laps in the Krauskopf Dodge, leading on lap 391 when the engine blew. David Pearson then led in the Wood Brothers Mercury until the transmission housing broke with 30 laps to go. Continue Reading →

1987: Bill Elliott set the all-time NASCAR qualifying record, winning the pole for the Winston 500 at a speed of 212.809 mph (342.483 km/h) (44.998 seconds). The record still stands due strictly to the use of the carburettor restrictor plate, mandated after the 1987 season.

1994: Roland Ratzenberger (33) who was competing in his first Formula 1 season for Simtek was killed instantly during practice for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, when struck a wall. His was the first death in a Grand Prix weekend in 12 years; the next would take place less than 24 hours later.

1995: Damon Hill driving a Williams-Renault FW17 won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. Following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola the previous year, the track was heavily modified for 1995. New chicanes were built at Tamburello and Villeneuve corners, Aqua Minerale chicane was removed and replaced by a right-hand corner, Rivazza was eased and the final corner became a single chicane, rather than the 5th-gear sweep previously. Continue Reading →

2003: Peter Raymond George “Possum” Bourne, (47) a champion New Zealand rally car driver died of head injuries sustained in a non-competitive car crash on April 18, 2003. He was driving the Race to the Sky track, which is normally a public road, for the event held in Cardona, near Wanaka, New Zealand. Driving his Subaru Outback, he collided head on with a Jeep Cherokee driven by rally driver Mike Barltrop who claimed that Possum was speeding. Continue Reading →

2007: Seven-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher honoured the success of his county in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, by presenting A1 Team Germany with the World Cup trophy at the series’ end of season awards ceremony.

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