Monday 21st June 1937
Born on this day, John Cannon, sports car racer from England, who raced under the banner of Canada. He raced in the USRRC series, the CanAm Series and the L&M Continental Series (Formula 5000). In the USRRC he drove for Nickey Chevrolet in a Dan Blocker, of Bonanza fame, sponsored Genie/Vinegaroon
In the first year of the Can Am he was the top finishing Canadian propelled by a fourth-place finish in the opening event at his home course, St Jovite. Cannon duplicated that accomplishment in 1968 propelled by a famous win over the dominant McLaren team in a very wet race at Laguna Seca. He also attained top Canadian status in 1973.Cannon also ran in the Continental Series (Formula 5000) in 1969 and 1970 where he was champion in 1970, driving for St Louis trucking magnate Carl Hogan, in the Hogan-Starr racing McLaren M-10B. Racing in the following Tasman series in 1971, Cannon made the M10 fast but unreliable at Levin and Wigram but against the larger field of talented drivers in the Australian races found the local experience of Matich, Allen, Gardner, Bartlett and McRae very difficult for any foreigner to match, first time in the Antipodes.
Cannon participated in one World Championship Formula One Grand Prix, on October 3, 1971 in the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. He finished 14th, thus he scored no championship points. He also participated in one non-Championship Formula One race, the Questor Grand Prix, finishing up in 12th. During 1971 he also ran strongly in a number of rounds of the European F2 championship, impressing many.
Cannon also made 15 starts in the USAC Championship Car series while driving on a part-time basis from 1968 to 1974. His best finish was 2nd place in the second race at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in 1968. He also finished a career best 27th in series points that year. He also attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1970 and 1974 but failed to make the race both years.
In 1975-76 he returned to US F5000 series with a March 741 modified for F5000, and ran in midfield, with best results 4th at Riverside in 1975 and 6th on the same track in 1976 in the last US F5000 races. Although Cannon,held the Ferrari dealership for LA, finance and engine costs limited his form in highly competitive final years of US F5000, however he proved competitive when he ran a few rounds in the UK Shellsport F5000/F1/Libre series in 1976 and ran the Australian F5000 Rothmans series at the start of 1976 proving as fast as the best Australian F5000 drivers Goss and Schuppan and actually won one round. His last serious racing was two years later in the Australian Rothmans, aged 45 where he managed a single, third place, purely on reliability
He was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1993. It is widely thought[by whom?] that had Cannon entered the sport seriously at an early age, he might have had a significant F1 career. His son Michael has built a career as a race engineer. During the 2006 season at Forsythe Racing in the Champ Car World Series he was race engineer for A. J. Allmendinger.
Ever active, Cannon died in New Mexico, USA, on 18 October 1999 from injuries received in the crash of an experimental aircraft.