Category archives for: Racing History

Looking Back – March 16, 2011

STOCK CAR MAN: Mario Andretti enjoys the spoils of victory after winning the 1967 Daytona 500 NASCAR stock-car race at Daytona Int’l Speedway. (Chris Economaki Photo)

In 1961, Stirling Moss, England’s top road racer, turned down Al Dean’s offer to drive one of the Dean Van Line Specials in the Golden Anniversary Indianapolis 500 on May 30. Dean made the offer via telegram and Moss replied: “Greatly appreciate your offer Indianapolis car but regret only interested in competing with British car. Regards and good luck — Stirling Moss.”

1939 European Championship Was Title Nobody Won

HARD RACERS: Rudolf Caracciola (left) and Hermann Lang during the 1937 European racing season. (Mercedes Photo)

In the 1930s, The International Ass’n of Recognized Automobile Clubs sanctioned a European Drivers Championship for Grand Prix cars consisting of the established national Grand Prix races, called Grandes Epreuves, literally “great tests.”

Looking Back – March 9, 2011

CHAMPIONS: A.J. Foyt and World Driving Champion Jackie Stewart, who was working television for ABC at the time, pose for a photograph during the April 1973 NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Chris Economaki Photo)

Lamar Sloan outran Rod Perry and “Rags” Carter to win the modified stock-car feature Saturday night at Hialeah (Fla.) Speedway, but the evening will be best remembered for a pit-area fight between Bobby Allison and “Pee Wee” Griffin. Allison sent Griffin’s modified into the fence during the feature and Griffin, thinking the move was intentional, retaliated with his fists.

French Showgirl Became A Popular Racing Driver

DRIVER’S SEAT: French driver Helle Nice behind the wheel of an early era racing car. (Bob Gates Collection Photo)

Born Mariette Helene Delangle in a small French village, she grew up disgruntled with the slow-paced French-country lifestyle. She wanted excitement, and, at 16, pursued that desire in Paris. Attractive, slim, athletic, she changed her name to Helle Nice and found fame as a model for “risqué” postcards, and as an exotic dancer.

Looking Back – March 2, 2011

THE FRONT ROW: The front row for the 1973 USAC championship Indy car race at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway. That’s polesitter Peter Revson closest to the camera, with Al Unser in the middle and Mario Andretti on the outside. (Chris Economaki Photo)

After a tiring month as chief of operations for NASCAR Speedweeks, Bill France finally relaxed late Sunday following Marvin Panch’s Daytona 500 victory and said, “The race was safe, the weather was beautiful, the crowd was enormous, everything was perfect.” France wasted no time in predicting, “Attendance for the fourth Daytona 500 next year will be 15 percent larger.”

Built In 1958, Vaca Valley Raceway Still Sits Idle

SITTING IDLE: The outline of Vaca Valley Raceway can still be seen in the countryside between Sacramento and San Francisco. (Dann Shively Photo)

Sitting just off of Interstate 80 midway between Sacramento and San Francisco are the remains of a multi-purpose raceway waiting for someone to step in and rescue it.

Looking Back – Feb. 23, 2011

PHOENIX FLIERS: Fans in temporary grandstands watch the field file past during the 1990 United States Grand Prix Formula One race held on the streets of Phoenix. (Chris Economaki Photo)

Lee Petty won the 150-mile Cannonball Division race for compact stock cars Sunday at Daytona Int’l Speedway. The former hog farmer from Randleman, N.C., averaged 83.564 mph over a tricky 3.1-mile course. Petty’s Plymouth Valiant was 44 seconds ahead of “Fireball” Roberts’s Pontiac Tempest at the checkered flag.

Hamilton Drove Petty Car To Surprising Daytona Victory

IN THE BIRD: Pete Hamilton in his Petty Enterprises Plymouth Superbird during the 1970 season. (Racing One Photo)

The winner of the 12th running of the Daytona 500, which took place Feb. 22, 1970, at Daytona Int’l Speedway, was a driver few could have predicted.

Looking Back – Feb. 16, 2011

TEAM STRONG: Richard Petty (43) leads Petty Enterprises teammate Pete Hamilton during the July 1970 NASCAR weekend at Daytona Int’l Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Chris Economaki Photo)

Bob DeJong and Dean Holden won the 30-lap features as the indoor midget season concluded with two nights of racing at California’s Oakland Exposition Building. Tommy Copp finished fifth in the Saturday finale to claim the Pacific Coast Indoor Racing Championship. Copp, who won the 1959 title, edged Johnny Baldwin by 17 points.

West Coast Ace Veith Made 11 Indianapolis 500 Starts

IN THE HUNT: Bob Veith was a contender to win the 1958 Indianapolis 500. (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photo)

Bob Veith raced in 11 Indianapolis 500s. He never won, but that mattered little. Just competing in the 500 fulfilled his dreams and, he believed, defined him as a driver — and with good reason.

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