4-5 September: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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


~4 September~

1904: The first major Italian race, the Florio Cup, was won by Vincenzo Lancia driving a Fiat at 71.90 mph. Vincenzo Florio, the founder of the event, came third.

1905: The first Coppo Florio race was staged on the Island of Sicily with 21 competitors including its patron Vincenzo Florio driving a Mercedes. The winner was Carlo Raggio in an Itala.

1916: The 2-mile Cincinnati (Ohio) Board Speedway opened with a 300-mile event featuring 29 cars piloted by the country’s premier racing drivers including Howdy Wilcox, Dario Resta, Tommy Milton and Louis Chevrolet driving Dusenbergs, Stutzs and Frontenecs. Josef Christieans in a Sunbeam set the fast time in qualifying with a speed of 110 mph. The race was won by John Aitken in a Peugeot at 97.

1921: The first Italian Grand Prix, held at the 10.7 mile (17.3 km) circuit near Brescia, was won by Jules Giux in a 3 litre Ballot.

1923: The 1919 Indianapolis 500 winner Howdy Wilcox (34) died at Altoona Speedway board track in Tyrone, Pennsylvania in a car crash. He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

1927: Robert Benoist in a Delage 15-S8 won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza run to Formula Libre regulations.

1950: NASCAR’s first superspeedway race, the Southern 500 at the Darlington International Raceway, South Carolina, US, was won by Johnny Mantz in a Plymouth P19 two-door sedan. Darlington International Raceway was the first asphalt super speedway to host a NASCAR event.

1960: British teams boycotted the Italian Grand Prix held on the banked Monza track on safety grounds. Phil Hill recorded his first Formula 1 World Championship title winning the race in his Ferrari Dino 246. His efforts marked the final World Championship-qualifying Grand Prix victory, pole position and fastest lap achieved by a front engined Formula 1 car.

1966: Jack Brabham became the first man to win the World Drivers Championship in a car he had built himself. At the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Brabham watched from the pits as John Surtees who needed victory to win the title, retired after 32 laps with engine trouble.

1989: Bob Glidden driving a Ford Thunderbird at Indianapolis, USA, achieved the highest terminal velocity ever recorded at the end of a 440 yard run for a petrol driven piston engine – 191.31 mph.

1997: Bob Keselowski used a second-half surge to win the Virginia is for Lovers 200 at Richmond International Raceway, marking his only career victory in 86 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Keselowski, father of current Sprint Cup title contender Brad Keselowski, led 82 of the last 98 laps on the .75-mile track and was 3.059 seconds ahead of runner-up Jack Sprague at the finish. Jay Sauter came home third.

2005: The Italian Grand Prix marked only the second time in history that every car that started the race was still running at the finish. It was won by Juan Pablo Montoya in his McLaren from the Renault’s of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella, who dedicated his podium finish to Michele Alboreto, the last Italian on the podium at Monza before him.

2005: Kyle Busch (20), became the youngest driver ever to win a NASCAR Cup Series race when he outdueled Greg Biffle in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway (US).

2009: The day Crashgate took off, with the announcement from the FIA it was going to charge Renault following claims by Nelson Piquet Junior that he had deliberately crashed his Renault at the previous year’s Singapore Grand Prix under team orders. The hearing was set for September 21 but by then Renault boss Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds had quit.

2011: UK racing and stunt driver Jamie Morrow performed 280 donuts non-stop at the Silverstone race circuit in Northamptonshire, behind the wheel of a Westfield Sport 1600. Morrow burned rubber and spun circles for more than 17 minutes in front of a 5,000-strong crowd at the Trax Ultimate Performance Car Event, eclipsing the previous record of 161 donuts set by fellow British stunt driver Terry Grant just months earlier in February 2011.

 ~5 September~

1896: The first race held on a track in the U.S. took place at Narragansett Park near Providence, Rhode Island on September 5, 1896. The race was won by Andrew L. Riker of New York on the Riker Electric Trap No. 1. The Riker employed two Riker electric motors mounted on the rear axle, with 32-100 amp accumulators mounted in a ‘battery’.The Riker finished the five mile distance first in 15:01. Second was an Electrobat built by Morris & Salom of Philadelphia, :13 seconds behind, and a Duryea gasoline carriage another 3:33 behind. Riker later became chief engineer at Locomobile in 1902 and was elected the first president of the Society of American Engineers (SAE) in 1904.

1926: Louis Charavel ‘Sabipa’ in a Bugatti T39A won the Italian Grand Prix run over 60 laps of the 10 km circuit at Monza. It was the final race of the 1926 AIACR World Manufacturers’ Championship season, which was won by Bugatti. The World Manufacturers’ Championship, also known as Automobile World Championship, was a competition organised by the AIACR between 1925 and 1930.

1948: Curtis Turner bagged the doubleheader at North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Carolina, US Turner won the opener from the pole. An inverted start for the second event failed to slow Turner, who slashed through the field to beat ­runner-up Bob Smith, who owned the cars he and Turner are driving.

1948: Ferrari made its Grand Prix debut finishing third at the Italian Grand Prix in Turin behind an Alfa Romeo and a Maserati.

1954: Juan Manuel Fangio won the Italian Grand Prix for Mercedes, in a race that lasted nearly 3 hours, from the Ferrari trio of Mike Hawthorn, Umberto Maglioli and Frolian Gonzalez. Karl Kling and Alberto Ascari had led the race early on but their retirements meant that Stirling Moss chased victory in his Maserati. Sadly for Moss, a forced oil change followed by an engine failure ended his hopes, leaving Hawthorn to follow Fangio home.

1955: In his fourth start since returning from injuries suffered at Charlotte in May, Herb Thomas drove to victory in the Southern 500 at Darlington, South Carolina, US. A crowd of 50,000 watched the factory-backed teams duel.

1956: Curtis Turner edged teammate Joe Weatherly for a Convertible Series victory in the first NASCAR race held at McCormick Field, currently the home of the Asheville (North Carolina, US) Tourists minor-league baseball team. Turner and pole-starter Weatherly ran 1-2 in Pete DePaolo-owned ’56 Fords in the 150-lap race on the quarter-mile asphalt track. Bill Lutz finished third, one lap down.

1960: Mechanics Paul McDuffe and Charles Sweatland along with race official Joe Taylor were killed when two cars crashed into the pit area during a NASCAR race in Darlington, South Carolina, US.

1970: Jochen Rindt (28) – cover image – lost his life in an accident during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Denny Hulme, who was following Rindt at the time, described the accident as follows: “Jochen was following me for several laps and slowly catching me up and I didn’t go through the second Lesmo corner very quick so I pulled to the one side and let Jochen past me and then I followed him down into the Parabolica, […] we were going very fast and he waited until about the 200 metres to put on the brakes. The car just sort of went to the right and then it turned to the left and turned out to the right again and then suddenly just went very quickly left into the guardrail” Upon impact, a joint in the crash barrier parted, the suspension dug in under the barrier, and the car hit a stanchion head-on. The front end of the car was destroyed. Although the 28-year-old Rindt was rushed to hospital, he was pronounced dead. The German-born driver, who drove for Austria throughout his career, had a 20-point lead in the world championship and, as none of his rivals were able to exceed his total of 45 points by the end of the season, he became the sport’s first and only posthumous champion. Rindt started motor racing in 1961, switching to single-seaters in 1963, earning success in both Formula Junior and Formula Two. In 1964, Rindt made his debut in Formula One at the Austrian Grand Prix, before securing a full drive with Cooper for 1965. After mixed success with the team, he moved to Brabham for 1968 and then Lotus in 1969. It was at Lotus where Rindt found a competitive car, although he was often concerned about the security of the notoriously unreliable Lotus vehicles. He won his first Formula One race at the 1969 United States Grand Prix. Overall, he competed in 62 Grands Prix, winning six and achieving 13 podium finishes. He was also successful in sports car racing, winning the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, paired with Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 250LM.

1971: At the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, only 0.61 seconds separated the race winner, Peter Gethin from the fifth placed driver. This race is often referred to as the fastest Formula One race of all time, with a record average speed of 150.754 mph, a record that was not broken until 32 years later at the 2003 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. None of the 6 points-scoring drivers had ever previously won a Grand Prix.

1976: James Hunt used a weekend off in his successful title campaign to race in the Formula Atlantic series in Canada at Trois Rivieres. It was the highlight of the Formula Atlantic season and the street circuit attracted a host of F1 names. However, all of them were soundly beaten by championship leader Gilles Villeneuve, who Hunt, on his return to the UK, immediately recommended to his McLaren team.

1993: Mark Martin racked up his fourth straight victory with a win in the rain-delayed Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina (US). Martin was 1.51 seconds in front of Brett Bodine when the race ended 16 laps short of its scheduled distance due to darkness.

2004: Elliott Sadler won the inaugural Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway (US). It was the first year for the event, which had been the traditional Labor Day Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway since 1950.

Leave a Reply

365 Days Of Motoring

Recent Posts



I We have no wish to abuse copyright regulations and we apologise unreservedly if this occurs. If you own any of the material published please get in touch.