29-30 May: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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


~29 May~

1895: The first automobile race in Italy, a 62-mile round trip between Turin and Asti, was won by Simone Federmann in a Daimler omnibus.

1901: The 1901 Gordon Bennett Cup, formally titled the II Coupe Internationale, was a motor race held on public roads in France between Paris and Bordeaux, concurrently with an open-entry race over the same course. Initially, France were to defend the Cup against Great Britain, however prior to the start, the sole British entry was forced to fit tyres of foreign manufacture making it ineligible for the Cup. The race was therefore competed by three French entries, the maximum permitted from one country under the rules, guaranteeing that they would retain the Cup. Continue Reading →

1932: The tenth Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring was a mix of 23 cars comprising three different classes of which only six cars started in the class over 1500 cc, where Rudolf Caracciola in the factory Alfa Romeo was the favorite. Louis Chiron and Rene Dreyfus came from France, the former in a works Bugatti and the latter with an independent Bugatti entry, courtesy of Chiron. German colors were defended by three independently entered 7. Continue Reading →

1954: Stirling Moss and Reg Parnell won races during the first motor racing event at the new Aintree circuit, near Liverpool. The circuit was located within the famous Aintree Racecourse and used the same grandstands as horse racing. Built in 1954 as the “Goodwood of the North”, the circuit hosted the Formula One British Grand Prix five times in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962.

1955: Bob Sweikert won the Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 128.213 mph. The race is notable to many as the race in which Bill Vukovich was killed in a crash while seemingly on his way to an

1960: Stirling Moss scored his first ever win for Lotus when he won the Monaco Grand Prix driving Rob Walker’s Lotus 18. This was the first Formula One race for Ginther and the first for a mid-engined, Ferrari Grand Prix car, the 246P. Jack Brabham was disqualified on lap 41 after officials ruled he was pushed started.

1971: Al Unser became the first racer to win a single-day purse of over $200,000 at the Indianapolis 500. The race was marred by a crash involving the pace car at the start. Eldon Palmer, a local Indianapolis-area Dodge dealer, lost control of the Dodge Challenger pace car at the south end of the pit area, and it crashed into a photographers’ stand, injuring 29 people, two seriously. Continue Reading →

1972: George Follmer drove an AMC Javelin to victory in the SCCA Trans-Am race at Bryar Park, New Hampshire, US.

1972: In the first full run of the Porsche 917/10 Can-Am racer, at a secret test session at Mosport Park in Canada, Mark Donohue

1977: A.J. Foyt, known as “SuperTex,” became the first four-time winner of the Indy 500, driving a Coyote-Foyt of his own design. Continue Reading →

1983: Jackie Ickx and Jochen Mass drove a Rothman’s Porsche 956 to victory in the World Endurance Championship race on the Nurburgring in Germany.

1988: Alain Prost beat Ayrton Senna off the line and controlled things from there, leading home his teammate for a McLaren one-two. In fact, the finishing order was something of a Noah’s Ark situation as they were followed by the Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto, the two Arrows drivers of Derek Warwick and Eddie Cheever, and then Alessandro Nannini and Theirry Boutsen, whose naturally-aspirated Ford-powered Benettons had no answer for the pace of the turbo cars at Mexico City’s high altitude.

1994: Al Unser Jr won the 78th Indianapolis 500 in 3:06:29 (255.89 kph/159 mph). After finishing tenth, John Andretti flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, to race in the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. He was the first man to do this.

1994: The Spanish Grand Prix held at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona was won by British driver Damon Hill driving a Williams FW16. It was also Williams first win of the season, and a cathartic win for the team still shocked from the death of Ayrton Senna a few weeks earlier at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Hill won by an impressive 24 seconds over German driver Michael Schumacher who for most of the race was stuck in fifth gear in his Benetton B194.

1994: Youthful Jeff Gordon hustled past Ricky Rudd with nine laps to go and goes on to win the Coca-Cola 600 staged the Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina (US). It was the first career NASCAR Winston Cup win for the 22-year-old.

2000: The first six second Pro Stock run took place at the Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire, England.

2000: The European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring was won by championship leader Fernando Alonso for the Renault team. McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen almost won but crashed at the start of the final lap whilst leading, due to a suspension failure caused by heavily degraded tyres.

2005: Dan Wheldon became the first Englishman since Graham Hill in 1966 to win the Indianapolis 500, while Danica Patrick stole the headlines by becoming the highest-finishing woman in the history of the Indianapolis 500 by finishing fourth, earning Chase Rookie of the Year honors for her performance. She was also the first woman to lead a lap in the prestigious race.

2007: Production at the 73-year-old Windsor Casting Plant in Canada ended as the Ford Motor Company continued to transform its North American automotive operations into a profitable and sustainable business. The Windsor Casting Plant opened in 1934 and employed 500 people. It produced cylinder block castings for 4. Continue Reading →

2011:After dominating the entire weekend, Daniel Ricciardo lost the win through no fault of his own when he came in for his scheduled pit stop, only to find that his pit crew weren’t ready for him. The delay cost him the lead – and the win – to Lewis Hamilton, who’d had some help in the wet phase early in the race when a struggling Nico Rosberg let him past. Rosberg ended up a distant seventh as Sergio Perez grabbed one of his impressive occasional podiums. Continue Reading →

2016: After dominating the entire weekend, Daniel Ricciardo lost the win at the Monaco Grand Prix through no fault of his own when he came in for his scheduled pit stop, only to find that his pit crew weren’t ready for him. The delay cost him the lead – and the win – to Lewis Hamilton, who’d had some help in the wet phase early in the race when a struggling Nico Rosberg let him past. Rosberg ended up a distant seventh as Sergio Perez grabbed one of his impressive occasional podiums.

~30 May~

1903: The first American motorcycle hill climb was held at Riverdale in New York state.

1911: Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indianapolis 500, averaging 74.6mph in the Marmon Wasp. The Indy 500 was the creation of Carl Fisher. Continue Reading →

1912; Ralph DePalma’s Mercedes broke its connecting rod after leading 196 laps. Joe Dawson, in a National, won after leading the only 2 laps of his Indy career. No driver has ever matched DePalma’s 196 fruitless laps in the lead, (only not being in the lead for the first two and the last two laps) and only Billy Arnold’s 198 lap domination of the 1930 race has topped DePalma’s time at the front; no driver has equalled or undercut Dawson’s 2 laps led by a winner, the fewest ever.

1913: French born Jules Goux driving a Peugeot L76 recorded a 13 minute, 8 second victory over second place Spencer Wishart in the Indianapolis 500. Goux’s victory was the first race, excluding the first, won by a rookie driver.

1914: France took its second consecutive Indianapolis 500 victory, this time with René Thomas. Also, in a technological breakthrough, inaugural race winner Ray Harroun, in charge of the United States Motor Company team, developed a fuel-sipping carburetor that ran on kerosene. Driver Willie Carlson’s Maxwell chassis proceeded to run the race to an eventual ninth-place finish on a mere 30 gallons; with the price at $0.06 a gallon, Carlson’s total $1.80 fuel bill stands as the most economical performance in motor racing history.

1916: The 6th International 300-Mile Sweepstakes Race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The management scheduled the race for 120 laps, 300 miles (480 km), the only Indianapolis 500 scheduled for less than 500 miles (800 km). Although the common belief is that the race distance was changed due to the onset of World War I, it was in fact Speedway management that changed the distance in order to make the race shorter and more appealing to fans. Continue Reading →

1919: Col Jesse G Vincent drove a Packard Twin Six as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 – a special Packard with a 299-cid V-12 driven by Ralph DePalma finished 6th, the only time a V-12 engined car finished this race. Racers Louis LeCocq of France and Arthur Thurman of Washington state were killed during the event, which was won by Howdy Wilcox in a Peugeot.

1921: Indianapolis 500 was won by Tommy Milton. Ralph DePalma led 109 laps but his connecting rod broke and he rolled to a halt. DePalma never led another Indianapolis 500, retiring after the 1922 race. Continue Reading →

1922: Jimmy Murphy became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 from pole position. He was accompanied by riding mechanic Ernie Olson.

1923: Despite suffering loss of circulation and blistering in his hands due to shrinkage of his tight-fitting, ‘White Kid’ gloves, Tommy Milton became the first driver to win the Indianpolis 500 twice.

1924: Lora Lawrence Corum started the Indianapolis 500 in the entry, and was relieved during the race by Joe Boyer. Boyer drove the Duesenburg to victory, and both drivers were credited as “co-winners” for the 1924 race. Boyer led the first lap of the race in his original entry. Continue Reading →

1925: Ralph DePalma’s nephew, and former riding mechanic, Peter DePaolo won the Indy 500. Depaolo was the first to average over 100 mph on his way to victory.

1927: Rookie George Souders won the Indianapolis 500 by eight laps, the largest margin since 1913. Many racing pundits viewed Souders’ race as the most surprising, ‘longest-shot’ 500-Mile Race win in history until 1987.

1928: Jimmy Gleason had a good lead in the Indianapolis 500 when he stopped for water for the radiator on lap 195. A crew member missed the radiator and doused the car’s magneto. Gleason was out and Louis Meyer won.

1929: Louis Meyer stalled on his final pitstop at the Indianapolis 500, handing the race to Ray Keech, who was killed in a racing crash just two weeks after the ‘500’.

1930: Billy Arnold took the lead on lap three at the Indianapolis 500 and was never headed again. Arnold’s 198 laps in the lead has never been bettered.

1931: Indianapolis 500 1930 winner Billy Arnold was 5 laps ahead on lap 162 when his rear axle broke causing him to crash. His wheel flew over a fence and hit and killed 12 year old Wilbur Brink who was sitting in his garden on Georgetown Road. Arnold and his mechanic were injured. Continue Reading →

1932: Fred Frame won the Indianapolis 500 from 27th starting position, and was the eighth different leader of the race, a record at the time.

1933: The largest Indianapolis 500 field to date with 42 starters. Louis Meyer won after one of the most violent races ever, with five drivers or mechanics killed and several others seriously injured. During practice, Bill Denver and his riding mechanic Bob Hurst were killed in a crash. Continue Reading →

1935: The newly introduced yellow ‘caution’ light, requiring drivers to slow and hold position, made its first appearance in the Indianapolis 500 race, to eventual race winner Kelly Petillo’s advantage as many of the late laps are disrupted by rain, neutralising Petillo’s race long battle with Rex Mays and Wilbur Shaw.

1936: Louis Meyer becomes the first driver to win a third time at Indianapolis 500. He notably celebrated in victory lane with a bottle of buttermilk, which later started the famous tradition of serving milk in victory lane at Indianapolis. Lawson Harris served as Meyer’s riding mechanic. Continue Reading →

1938: Floyd Roberts driving the ill-fated Burd Piston Ring Special, dominated to win the Indianapolis 500 by three laps. Roberts’ car started in the pole position, and was the first car to win from that start since 1930. Roberts led 92 laps, posted an average speed of 117. Continue Reading →

1939: Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Floyd Roberts (39), driving the same car he drove into victory circle in 1938, died in a crash coming off the second turn onto the backstretch on lap 107. Wilbur Shaw won his second 500, driving a Maserati.

1940: Wilbur Shaw sets up a commanding lead at Indianapolis 500 until rain bought out the caution for the last 50 laps and guided Shaw to his third victory, and the first by a driver in consecutive years.

1941: Floyd Davis’ car was relieved by Mauri Rose, who went on to win the Indianapolis 500. Davis joined L.L. Continue Reading →

1946: Tony Hulman, the new Speedway President presided over his first Indianapolis 500 race, won by George Robson. Sadly, Robson would be killed later that year.

1947: Bill Holland led 143 laps of the Indianapolis 500 before being overtaken by team mate Mauri Rose. The team had displayed an ‘EZY’ signal, telling the drivers to hold station to the finish. Holland thought Rose was a lap behind and let him past. Continue Reading →

1948: Veteran driver Paul Pappy outran 19-year-old rookie Fireball Roberts to win the 40-lap Modified championship race at Jacksonville. It was the first time Roberts emerged as a stout contender.

1949: After two years of failures to his teammate, Bill Holland finally won the Indianapolis 500 for himself, giving Lou Moore his third consecutive victory.

1950: The fifth race of the 1950 NASCAR season was run at Canfield Speedway in Canfield, Ohio, US. The event was staged on the same day as the Indianapolis 500 — hence the title of the “Poor Man’s 500”. Jimmy Florian won the pole. Continue Reading →

1951: Lee Wallard in a Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser won the Indianapolis 500.

1952: Bill Vukovich led for 150 laps at the Indianapolis 500 until his steering pin broke and he crashed on lap 192. Twenty-two-year-old Troy Ruttman took the checkered flag, the youngest-ever winner.

1952: Herb Thomas, a 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, drove a Fabulous Hudson Hornet to victory in the Poor Man’s 500 at Canfield (Ohio, US) Speedway. Bill Blair finished second by a margin of four feet as the only other car on the lead lap. Bob Moore took third, one lap down on the half-mile dirt track.

1953: The one-mile superspeedway in Raleigh, North Carolina, US, joined NASCAR and presented a Memorial Day 300-miler. Fonty Flock came from his 43rd starting position to win. Tim Flock fell to third in the final laps when he pitted to remove monkey copilot Jocko Flocko from his car.

1953: On the hottest day on record for the running of the Indianapolis 500, Bill Vukovich led for 195 laps and cruised to a win by nearly three laps over 1952 rookie of the year Art Cross. Vukovich won without relief help in a race that saw one entry being driven by as many as five separate drivers, and suffered the death of driver Carl Scarborough due to heat prostration.

1955: After two wins and leading 485 laps out of a possible 656 (74%), Bill Vukovich (36) was killed on lap 57 of the Indy 500 after crashing out of the lead. Rodger Ward broke a rear axle and a back marker tangled with him in front of Vukovich, whose car hits them and vaults over the backstretch wall into a car park. Bob Sweikert won after Art Cross blows his engine on lap 169 and Don Freeland lost drive on lap 179. Continue Reading →

1956: The AAA dropped out of sanctioning racing after the 1955 Vukovich crash at the Indianapolis 500 and public outcry that briefly followed, and the tragedy at Le Mans that same year. The USAC was formed to sanction Indianapolis style racing. Pat Flaherty won.

1957: After thirteen years of trying, Sam Hanks finally won the Indianapolis 500, and then, amidst tears, became the second winner, after Ray Harroun in 1911, to announce his retirement in victory lane. Hanks’ win came in a radical “lay-down” roadster chassis design created by engineer George Salih that, with the engine tilting 72-degrees to the right, gave the car a profile of a mere 21 inches off the ground. Salih built the car next to his California home, and was rewarded with victory as both designer and owner after stepping out on a financial limb in entering the car himself.

1958: Fireball Roberts drove his Chevrolet to a big win in the 500-mile NASCAR Grand National race at Trenton, New Jersey (US). The race was the first 500-miler staged north of Darlington (North Carolina, US).

1958: A huge wreck in turn three on the opening lap of the Indianapolis 500 wiped out several cars, and driver Pat O’Connor was fatally injured. Jimmy Bryan was the race winner. The race featured young rookie A. Continue Reading →

1959: A record sixteen cars finished the entire Indianapolis 500 miles as Rodger Ward held off Jim Rathmann for the win.

1960: Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward took the lead from three-time runner up Jim Rathmann on lap 194 but slowed with tyre trouble and Rathmann retook the lead on lap 197 to win. Tragically, two spectators in the infield were killed, and several are injured, when a homemade scaffolding collapsed at the start of the race.

1961: A.J. Foyt, in his fourth 500, looked set for a win, leading Eddie Sachs, until his crew signal that Foyt’s last pit stop didn’t get enough fuel in car. Continue Reading →

1962: A historic pole day at Indianpolis as Parnelli Jones broke the 150 mph barrier in qualifying. Rodger Ward and Len Sutton finished 1-2 for Leader Cards Racing.

1963: Parnelli Jones won the Indianapolis 500 despite his car (nicknamed “Calhoun”) spewing oil from a broken tank for many laps. Officials put off black flagging him until the oil level dropped and the trail stopped. Colin Chapman, whose English built, rear-engined Lotus Ford finished second in the hands of Scotsman Jim Clark, accused the officials of being biased towards the American driver and car. Continue Reading →

1964: A tragic day as fan favorite Eddie Sachs and rookie Dave MacDonald were killed in a fiery crash on lap 2 of the Indy 500. Fans looked on in horror while the billowing black smoke became visible for miles, and the race was stopped for almost two hours. When the race resumed, Bobby Marshman dominatesd the early laps before driving too low in the third turn and tearing off the radiator cap to drop out, which then put pole-sitter Jim Clark into a commanding lead before his Dunlop tyres shredded and broke the car’s suspension. Continue Reading →

1965: Paul Hawkins crashed into the harbour during the Monaco Grand Prix at Monte Carlo, which was won by Graham Hill driving a BRM P261. He is one of only two Formula One drivers, along with Italian Alberto Ascari, to have crashed into the harbour in Monaco during a Grand Prix. He escaped from the crash unhurt. Continue Reading →

1966: Jackie Stewart led the Indianapolis 500 by over a lap when his oil pressure dropped too low on lap 192 and his car stalled. Fellow rookie Graham Hill led a total of 10 laps to win, the first rookie winner since 1927. Eleven of the 33 starters, a whole third of the field, were eliminated in a first lap accident. Continue Reading →

1967: The Indianapolis 500 was stopped on lap 19 due to rain and completed the next day (May 31). Parnelli Jones’ STP Granatelli turbine car (“Silent Sam”) led for 171 laps until a transmission bearing failed on lap 197 and Jones coasted to a halt. A. Continue Reading →

1968: On lap 174 of the Indianapolis 500 Lloyd Ruby’s engine misfired allowing Joe Leonard’s STP Lotus turbine into the lead. Leonard’s leading Lotus flamed out on a lap 190 restart and rolled to a silent halt. Bobby Unser sailed by to win. Continue Reading →

1970: Al Unser won his first Indianapolis 500 driving the Johnny Lightning Special. It was the first Indy 500 with a million dollar purse. Stock car racer Donnie Allison was named Indy Rookie of the Year after finishing fourth.

1976: The Monaco Grand Prix was contested over 78 laps of the 3.3 km street circuit for a race distance of 257 kilometres. The race was won by Ferrari driver Niki Lauda, who had also taken pole position in his Ferrari 312T2. Continue Reading →

1976: Rain stopped the Indianapolis 500 on lap 102. Two hours later, the race was about to be restarted, but rain fell again. Officials called the race at that point and Johnny Rutherford was declared the winner. Continue Reading →

1982: Gordon Johncock, who had previously won the rain-shortened 1973 race, was the winner of the Indy 500. Rick Mears finished second by a margin of 0.16 seconds, the closest finish in Indy 500 history to that point.

1993: Dale Earnhardt overcame three penalties, one for rough driving, to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina (US). Earnhardt took a 129-point lead in the championship chase over Rusty Wallace, who raced despite injuries suffered at Talladega.

1993: Emerson Fittipaldi won the 77th Indianapolis 500, after taking the lead with 16 laps to go, at an average speed of 157.2 mph.

1999: Both McLaren’s finally made it to the end of the Spanish Grand Prix with Mika Hakkinen winning from David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher third. The title of unluckiest driver had to go to Jacques Villeneuve. He ran third in his BAR in the early stages after making a monster start and was potentially in the fight for a podium when his rear wing broke. Continue Reading →#

1999: Kenny Brack won the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, which marked the 90th Anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brack drove for four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Continue Reading →

2004: As Michael Schumacher won the European Grand Prix easily (the standard for 2004), Takuma Sato was providing all the excitement. He’d qualified second on the grid and, despite a bad start, fought back throughout the race to be in contention for a podium. He was running third but, in true Sato style, went for a massive lunge on Rubens Barrichello into the first corner. Continue Reading →

2004: Buddy Rice won a rain-shortened 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race for team owners Bobby Rahal, the 1986 “500” winner, and late-night talk show host Dave Letterman, an Indianapolis native.

2010: At the Turkish Grand Prix an epic four-way fight at the front between the two Red Bull and the two McLaren drivers ended in huge controversy. With 19 laps to go all four drivers were running nose to tail and second-placed Sebastian Vettel went for a move on Mark Webber for the lead. He got past, but moved across on Webber a touch too early. Continue Reading →

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