5-6 October: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~5 October~

1912: American Grand Prize, the seventh and final race of the 1912 Grand Prix season, was held at the Wauwatosa Road Race Course in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sanctioned by the American Automobile Association, Caleb Bragg in a Fiat S74 won the race by over 15 minutes from Erwin Bergdoll. Bragg’s average speed was 68.397 mph (110.074 km/h). The event was marred by the death of two time and defending winner David Bruce-Brown in a practice accident. His car was repaired by Barney Oldfield and driven to a fourth place finish.
1919: 21-year-old Enzo Ferrari made his racing debut, finishing 11th in the Parmo-Poggia di Berceto hill climb in a Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN) vehicle.
1924: Parry Thomas set the first Montlhery lap record, of 42.4 seconds at a speed of 131.89 mph (212.26 km/h) in a Leyland, during a Match Race against Ernest Eldridge in a 300 hp aeroplane-engined chain-driven Fiat and Duray in a 8 cylinder D’Aoust on the Sunday of the first meeting at the newly opened track. Eldridge won the race at 121.04 mph (194.8 km/h), after the Leyland developed tyre trouble.

1935: The first Donington Grand Prix was held – the first-ever Grand Prix held in Britain on a road track. Run over 120 laps of 2.55 miles of Donnington Park, Leicestershire, England, a total of 306.24 miles. The race was won by Richard ‘Mad Jack’ Shuttleworth driving an Alfa Romeo B/P3. The 1936 race garnered a much larger field and in 1937 the Grand Prix was granted full international status. Up until the outbreak of World War II Donington was witness to epic battles between Mercedes and Auto Union. Tazio Nuvolari driving an Auto Union Type D won the 1938 race at the age of 46. Bernd Rosemeyer won the Grand Prix of 1938. Unfortunately the world intruded and during the war Donington was used by the War Office as a vehicle depot. It was not until 1956 that it was abandoned. Eventually it was purchased by Tom Wheatcroft, who spent many years to restore the track and built up the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in the world. Currently the track conducts a full slate of racing including motorcycle, GT and Formula3. 1993 saw the first Grand Prix raced at Donington since before the war.
1969: Jochen Rindt, driving a Lotus 49B-Ford, won his first Grand Prix, the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York.
1969: Graham Hill made his record 90th consecutive Grand Prix start.
1980: Dale Earnhardt held off Cale Yarborough down the stretch to win the National 500, scoring his first Charlotte Motor Speedway (North Carolina, US victory. Earnhardt, who led 148 of 334 laps in a Rod Osterlund-owned Chevrolet, finished 1.83 seconds ahead of Yarborough at the 1.5-mile track near his hometown of Kannapolis, North Carolina, US. Pole-starter Buddy Baker finished third with Ricky Rudd fourth as the last driver on the lead lap.
2008: Carl Edwards sparked a 12-car crash during the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega, Alabama, US that involved half of the Chase field. Travis Kvapil, who had the pole position, held the lead until he was passed by Carl Edwards on lap nine (cover image). The race was first stopped 63 laps later when a multi-car collision was triggered by Brian Vickers, and was restarted 17 minutes later, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading the field. A second red-flag period was triggered after Edwards ran into teammate Greg Biffle starting a chain-reaction accident involving a further ten drivers. Tony Stewart led the field for the remainder of the race, until Regan Smith passed him below the yellow line (out of bounds line) on the final lap. Stewart was therefore handed the victory, and Smith was demoted from second to 18th. The race had a total of ten cautions, and 64 lead changes among 28 different drivers, setting a new Sprint Cup Series record. It was Stewart’s first victory of the season, his first at Talladega Superspeedway, and the 33rd of his career. The result advanced him to seventh in the Drivers’ Championship, 232 behind leader Jimmie Johnson who extended his lead to 72 points over Edwards. Toyota extended its lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, twelve points ahead of Ford in second place. Chevrolet remained in third with a 41-point advantage over Dodge with six races left in the season. The race attracted 7.44 million television viewers.

~6 October~

1906: The third Vanderbilt Cup Race was held, considered the most competitive in the series, featured 17 cars from France, USA, Germany and Italy. The field included several of best European drivers including; Vincenzo Lancia, Camille Jenatzy, Felice Nazzaro and Louis Wagner. The 10 laps of the 29.1 course made it the longest Vanderbilt Cup ever held on Long Island. The race attracted a huge crowd estimated at 150,000 to 200,000. The victory of driver Louis Wagner and his riding mechanic Louis Vivet was the third consecutive win for France. Wagner called the race “certainly the most nerve-wrenching contest in motoring history,” and later wrote a magazine article about the horror of racing through roads crowded with people. The finish of the race was marked by the use of a checkered flag for the first time.
1957: Bob Welborn, with relief help from Possum Jones, won the Sweep­stakes 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Welborn’s convertible Chevrolet outran the 40-car field of sedans and convertibles. It was Welborn’s first NASCAR Grand National win.

1962: Jack Brabham, in the second Formula 1 appearance with his new Brabham, finished 4th in the United States Grand Prix, becoming the first driver to earn championship points driving a car of his own design.
1968: British drivers Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and John Surtees came first, second and third respectively, in the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York.
1973: At Watkins Glen, with Jackie Stewart having already clinched his third World Championship, Francois Cevert (29) was killed during Saturday morning qualifying, while battling for pole position with Ronnie Peterson. In the fast left-right uphill combination called “The Esses”, Cevert’s car was a little too far over towards the left side of the track, getting a bump from the kerbs. This made it swerve towards the right-hand side of the track, where it touched the track’s signature powder blue safety barriers causing it to spin and crash into the barriers on the other side of the track at a near 90° angle, uprooting and lifting the barrier. Cevert died instantly of massive injuries inflicted by the barrier, which cut his body in half between his neck and hip.
1974: Helmuth Koinigg (25) died in a crash in the 1974 United States Grand Prix, in only his second Grand Prix start. Running near the back in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Koinigg’s car suffered a suspension failure, pitching it head-on into the Armco barrier. The speed at which Koinigg crashed was relatively minor, and he ought to have escaped the scene uninjured. Unfortunately, as with a number of other circuits at that time, the Armco was insecurely installed and the bottom portion of it buckled as the vehicle struck it. The car passed underneath the top portion, which remained intact, decapitating Koinigg and killing him instantly.
1985: Nigel Mansell won his first Grand Prix, the European at Brands Hatch from third on the pole in a Wiliams-Honda. Ayrton Senna got pole position for the 6th time in the season for Lotus-Renault, averaging 140.106 mph (225.479 km/h), the first time anyone had lapped the circuit faster than 140 mph. Senna finished second with Mansell’s team-mate Keke Rosberg finishing third.
1995: Racer Russell Phillips (26) died when his Oldsmobile crashed during the Winston 100 NASCAR Sportsman Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, US.
1996: Terry Labonte moved to within one point of NASCAR Winston Cup standings leader Jeff Gordon with a win at Charlotte, North Carolina (US) Gordon had won 10 races to Labonte’s two, but the points race was the closest in NASCAR history.
2002: Dale Earnhardt Jr. out drove the field in a rare caution-free, fuel-mileage race at Talladega Superspeedway, winning the EA Sports 500 to extend his dominance at the 2.66-mile Alabama track. The victory was the third in a four-race Talladega win streak for Earnhardt, who led 56 of the 188 laps. Tony Stewart finished second, .118 seconds behind Earnhardt, to take the points lead from 30th-place Mark Martin. Stewart later went on to score the first of his three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles. Ricky Rudd came home third, followed by Kurt Busch and Jeff Green in the top five.

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