7-8 November: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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

7 November

1951: NASCAR published its first official newsletter from its new offices on Peninsula Avenue in Daytona Beach, Florida, US. The NASCAR Newsletter consisted of four pages.

1963: “Miss STP” Paula Murphy (cover image), became the first woman to pilot an Indycar around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when she drove 5 laps in a Novi during a tyre testing session. Murphy claims to always have had an interest in driving, first learning how as a teen when she “kinda stole my mother’s car- and off I went,”1 but her first exposure to auto racing occurred after her move to California. Coworker Jean Calvin, an automotive journalist and driver, invited Murphy to attend the 1956 Santa Barbara Memorial Day Race. Although Murphy assumed any woman competing in auto racing couldn’t be feminine, she joined the Women’s Sports Car Club, an organization that encouraged women to participate in administrative tasks associated with racing. After becoming well-versed with the less-glamorous side of racing, Murphy purchased her first car, a 1954 MG-TF, in 1956 and began competing in ladies’ races. In 1963, Murphy decided to devote herself entirely to racing and quit her desk job. This was also the year she decided to compete in men’s races, as ladies’ races were being increasingly phased out of competitions. Other Racing Accomplishments: • Set border-to-border records in 1963 cross-country drive. Murphy and 2 co-drivers set the east-west record, driving from Los Angeles to New York in 49 hours, 37 minutes. After a few days of rest, the team drove to Mexico and broke the north-south record while driving a Tijuana-Vancouver-Tijuana course. • Part of a crew sponsored by Studebaker that set 370 new speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats during one week of Oct. 1963. This included the women’s land speed record with an internal combustible engine. Murphy averaged 161.29 mph. • In November 1964, she became first woman to drive a jet-powered car, The Avenger, (10,000 horse power J-46). Murphy was able to reset her own land speed record at Bonneville with a two-way average of 226.37 mph and reaching a top speed of 243 mph. • First woman to obtain fuel Funny Car license from the UDRA and NHRA, when 1966after initially being turned down by both organizations. • Set records in Formula 4 and Formula 6 class of NHRA in 1966 while competing against men. • Twice set NASCAR women speed record. • Participated in a “drive around the world” to celebrate America’s bicentennial in 1976, completing the trip in 104 days.

1965: NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett outdueled Bobby Isaac in the Tidewater 300 at Dog Track Speedway in Moyock, North Carolina, US to post the final victory of his 50-win career in NASCAR’s premier series. Jarrett started second and led 56 of the 300 laps on the 1/3-mile asphalt track. Isaac, who started from the pole position and led 172 laps, took second place, one lap down. Buddy Baker finished third, three laps off Jarrett’s pace.

1965: In 1964, Art Arfons, a drag racer from Ohio (US), built a land-speed racer in his backyard using a military surplus J79 jet aircraft engine with an afterburner. Arfons christened the vehicle Green Monster, and in September took the racer to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to join in the race to set a new land- speed record. On October 5, the Green Monster jet powered to 434.022 mph–a new land-speed record. However, Arfons’ record would only stand for six days, for on October 13, Craig order lasix canada Breedlove set his second land-speed record when he reached 468.719 in his jet-powered Spirit of America. In 1965, Arfons returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats in a revamped Green Monster, and on this day shattered Breedlove’s record from the previous year, when he raced to 576.553 mph across the one-mile course.

1968: Ian Raby (46) died three months after a serious accident at Zandvoort in a Formula Two race. He was initially treated in the Netherlands before being flown back to a London hospital by the Grand Prix Medical Service and appeared to be recovering before his condition worsened. A superstitious man, he carried a rabbit’s foot, preferred red cars with white wheels and refused to race under No. 13.

1975: Piero Dusio died aged 76. Dusio, an Italian amateur pre-war champion, founded Cisitalia whose little D46 racers found wide favour, unlike the Porsche-based Tipo 360 Grand Prix car. He attempted to qualify a self-entered Cisitalia D46 for the 1952 Italian GP when well into his fifties.

1993: Three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna earned his final victory in Formula 1 with a win at the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide. His career ended with 80 Formula 1 victories when he was killed in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Senna has often been voted as the best and most influential Formula One driver of all time in various motorsport polls.

8 November

1963: Anthony Joseph “A. J”. Foyt set an unofficial Indianapolis Motor Speedway track record of 154.5 mph in tire testing.

1981: Neil Bonnett got past Darrell Waltrip at the start of the final lap and holds on to win the Atlanta Journal 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Georgia, US), marking his 10th victory in NASCAR’s top series. Bonnett led 200 of 328 laps in the Wood Brothers Ford, finishing a car-length ahead of Waltrip, who edged Cale Yarborough by a fender for the runner-up spot. Bobby Allison and Jody Ridley completed the top five.

1985: Racer Masten Gregory (53) died. A race winner at SCCA racing level in the US, Masten Gregory’s big international break came by winning the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000km race sharing the car with Luigi Musso, Eugenio Castellotti and Cesare Perdisa. This led to his Formula 1 debut shortly after with Mimmo Deiís Scuderia Centro Sud at Monaco. Driving the privateer Maserati 250F to a great 3rd place, he became the first American to stand on the podium of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Injury made him miss a number of races in 1958, but driving for Cooper in 1959 he finished 3rd at the Dutch Grand Prix and 2nd in Portugal. Still he was dropped at the end of the season and the privateer teams he raced with, like Centro Sud, Camoradi International, UDT Laystall and Reg Parnell Racing, never allowed a break through in F1. So Masten concentrated on his sports car career winning the 1961 Nurumburging 1000km race in a Birdcage Maserati with Lucky Casner and in 1962 the Canadian Grand Prix sports car race at Mosport Park in a Lotus-Climax. After the 1964 season as Ford works driver he won the 1965 Le Mans 24 hours race sharing a North American Racing Team Ferrari with Jochen Rindt. That same year came his debut at the Indianapolis 500 where he was running fifth when he retired. After his friend Jo Bonnier was killed at Le Mans in 1972, Masten got disenchanted with the sport becoming a diamond trader. He succumbed to a heart attack during a holiday trip in Italy in 1985.

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.