8-14 November: : Motoring Milestones


Discover the most momentous motoring events that took place this week in history …….

100 years ago this week, Oakland General Manager George Hannum announced that testing of the new cooper-cooled engine had been unsuccessful [8 November 1921]……. The world’s first traffic jam happened in Washington DC, on Armistice Day [11 November 1921]. It lasted 3 hours and involved 3,000 vehicles. The jam began as the procession of world leaders led by President Warren G Harding drove from the US Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery to bury the Unknown Soldier…….80 years ago this week, at 3am drivers in Budapest switched to driving on the right. Bizarrely the rest of Hungary had changed at 3am on 6 July 1941! [9 November 1941]…….. 70 years ago this week, Tim Flock took the lead on the 14th lap and breezed to victory in the 100-mile NASCAR Grand National event at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, US [11 November 1951]. It was the first official NASCAR race staged at the venerable one-mile oval. Young Jesse James Taylor, runner-up in the 500-miler at Darlington, was critically injured in an early spill……..50 years ago this week, the 10-route Spaghetti Junction motorway interchange was opened north of Birmingham (UK) city centre, incorporating the A38 (M) (Aston Expressway) and the southern section of the M6 motorway [10 November 1971]. The interchange would have a total of 12 routes when the final stretch of the M6 was opened the following year……..The film Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Richard Matheson, based on Matheson’s short story of the same name, was released [13 November 1971]. It starred Dennis Weaver as David Mann, a terrified motorist stalked on a remote and lonely road by the mostly unseen driver of a mysterious tanker truck. Unable to escape the demonic big rig, David finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the monstrous truck…….40 years ago this week, 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 [8 November 1981]. 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……..30 years ago this week, Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone, and the rest of the FIA’s Sportscar Commission met in a hotel at Heathrow Airport in London, England [11 November 1991]. When the meeting ended, the Sportscar World Championship was terminated. Later, lobbying by Peugeot kept it active for one more year……20 years ago this week, Bill Elliott passed Dodge teammate Casey Atwood with five laps remaining to end a personal seven-year winless streak with a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway (US) [11 November 2001]. Elliott gave Ray Evernham his first win as a NASCAR Winston Cup team owner…… the following day [12 November 2001], Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan and Mario Haberfeld teamed up to win the Granja Viana kart race in Sao Paulo. The race, which lasted for over six hours, attracted over 100 entries including F1 drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Ricardo Zonta.


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