6-7 March: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

~6 March~

1898: The two-day race over a distance of 140 mile (236 km) began. It was won the following day by Fernand Charron driving a 8 hp Panhard et Levassor through a rain soaked, rut filled course. Gilles Hourgières, René De Knyff came in second and third, both also driving Panhards

1915: Dario Resta, driving a Peugot, won the 10th Vanderbilt Cup Race at the Pan-Pacific International Speedway in San Francisco, California.

1927: Emilio Materassi driving Bugatti T35C won the Tripoli Grand Prix.

1934: The Auto Union Type C Grand Prix car made its public debut at the Avus Track in Berlin, Germany with Hans Stuck setting a world record by covering 134.9 miles in one hour.

1952: Marshall Teague drove his Hudson Hornet to victory in the 100 mile NASCAR Grand National race on the 1/2 mile dirt Speedway Park oval. Teammate Herb Thomas was second, giving the Teaguemobile Hudsons their second straight 1-2 sweep. It was Teague’s 7th and last career Grand National win as he soon left for the AAA circuit.

1955: Lee Petty surged to the lead in the 65th lap and led the rest of the 200-lap main event in the last NASCAR Grand National race at Oglethorpe Speedway in Pooler, Georgia, US. Don White finished second and pole-starter Dick Rathman, who led the first 64 laps, took third. The half-mile dirt track, which opened just outside of Savannah in 1951, still hosts weekly racing events.

1976: The South African Grand Prix at Kyalami saw Niki Lauda win in a Ferrari from his outside pole position over James Hunt who finished just over a second behind. Hunt also sat on pole for the race. Jochen Mass finished third, 45 seconds back

1986: A car accident in France resulted in Formula One team principal Frank Williams sustaining a spinal cord injury and becoming tetraplegic. While driving a Ford Sierra rental car from the Paul Ricard Circuit to Nice airport, Williams lost control of the car which then rolled over causing him to be pressed between his seat and the roof resulting in a spinal fracture between the 4th and 5th vertebra. He had not been wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. Williams’ passenger and the team sponsorship manager Peter Windsor sustained only minor injuries. Since the accident, Williams has used a wheelchair.

1988: Neil Bonnett comes from the 30th starting position to win at Rockingham. Bonnett edges Lake Speed by less than a second. The first four finishers are running hoosier tires.

1989: John Bowe drove Ford Sierra to victory in the ATCC Group A race at Amaroo Park, New South Wales, Australia.2005: Giancarlo Fisichella in a Renault R25 won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne.

2006: The fastest speed over a quarter of a mile in Top Fuel Dragbike racing of 245.36 mph (394.87 km/h) was achieved by Larry “Spiderman” McBride (United States) at South Georgia Motorsports Park, Valdosta, Georgia, United States.

2006: NASCAR Chairman Brian France announced that Charlotte, North Carolina (US), had won the bidding to be the host city for a new NASCAR Hall of Fame. Construction was due to be completed no later than spring 2010. A voting process to induct Hall of Fame ­members was under consideration.


~7 March~

1954: Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd won the sportscar race at Sebring, Florida, in Briggs Cunningham’s 1.5-liter OSCA. Porfirio Rubirosa drove his 3.3-liter Lancia D24 to second place.

1966: Jackie Stewart drove his BRM to victory as the 1966 Tasman Cup series came to an end with a race on the public road circuit at Longford. Stewart also won the series championship and scored 4 wins on the season.

1970: The great Australian racing driver Jack Brabham enjoyed his 14th and last Grand Prix win at South Africa’s Kyalami circuit. Brabham’s career was long by motor racing standards, lasting more than 15 years. He won the world title three times, in 1959, 1960 and 1966 and is the only world motor racing champion to win the championship (in 1966) in a car of his own design, the Brabham.

1971: Richard Petty won a controversial ‘Richmond 500’ NASCAR GN race on the 0.542 mile paved Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway. Because Petty, Benny Parsons and James Hylton’s cars failed tech inspection and Bobby Allison missed time trials, the 25 car grid was formed without the four drivers. After a closed door meeting between the promoters and NASCAR officials, it was announced that the starting field had been expanded to 30. The cars that failed tech would be allowed to start at the rear if made legal. Petty said his car (with too much engine setback, altered wheel base and a fuel tank that was too low), could not be made legal. So the rules were changed again, allowing Petty to start 30th with a smaller restrictor plate. Bobby Isaac’s Krauskopf Dodge was also found with the fuel tank too low and was also required to use the smaller plate as was Allison’s Dodge. Petty charged through the field to 5th by lap 30 and took the lead on lap 135, leading all but 18 laps from that point. Petty’s Dodge finished 2 laps ahead of Isaac. After the race, Isaac’s car owner Nord Krauskopf threatened to quit the circuit over the ruling.

1976: Dave Marcis took the lead from Richard Petty with 11 laps left to win the Richmond 400 at Richmond (Virginia, US.) Fairgrounds Raceway. Petty finished three car-lengths back in second place as the only other car on the lead lap as Bobby Allison took third place, a lap off the pace. The victory was the second of five in NASCAR’s top series for Marcis, who retired after the 2002 Daytona 500.

1980: Legendary American stockcar driver Lee Roy Yarbrough (cover image) was admitted to a mental institution after trying to kill his mother by putting his hands around her neck. All attempts to rehabilitate him (either in Florida or in North Carolina) failed and Lee Roy eventually died in 1984 after a fall while suffering from a traumatic brain injury. During his career, Yarbrough won the Daytona 500 and the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, the World 600 at Charlotte, the Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C., and the Dixie 500 at Atlanta. His total winnings were more than $450,000. He was involved in severe crashes at the Texas International Speedway in 1970 and at the Indianapolis Speedway in 1971, and he also nearly died from a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Returned to Racing. He made a comeback in 1972, finishing in the top 10 in nearly every race he entered, but he left the circuit in 1973 to work for a construction company in Jacksonville owned by relatives.

1993: James Adamo died at the Daytona 200 in crash caused by front brake failure, causing bike and rider to strike trackside barrier.

1993: Davey Allison led all but four of the final 157 laps and throttled his Ford to an easy win in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond Inter­national Raceway, Virginia (US).

1999: The Burton brothers, Jeff and Ward, finished 1-2 in the Las Vegas 400, US, the first of three times they finished 1-2 in the 1999 Cup season. In 372 common Cup races, these were the only times they finish 1-2 and Jeff won all three.

2004: The Australian Grand Prix held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F2004. Michael Schumacher won the race for Ferrari from pole position in a very dominant fashion, with his team-mate Rubens Barrichello finishing behind him in second. This one-two finish gave Ferrari a strong 9 point lead in the constructors’ standings after just one race.

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