Racing History

Torn From The Headlines – Dec. 8, 2010

ON THE DIRT: Drivers power into the first turn at Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Speedway when the track had a dirt surface in 1961. (Chris Economaki Photo)

50 Years Ago – December 7, 1960

Dan Gurney, driving Frank and Phillip Arciero’s 2.5-liter Lotus Monte Carlo, took command on the 40th of 54 laps and went on to win the $10,000-plus Nassau Trophy Race Sunday that closed out the seventh annual International Bahamas Speed Weeks. Gurney completed the 243-mile distance without a pit stop.

25 Years Ago – December 11, 1985

Driving a second No. 63 Bob Hampshire sprint car as a teammate to Jack Hewitt, late-model ace Charlie Swartz won the Southern Sprint Car Classic Sunday at East Alabama Motor Speedway. Lee Brewer, Jr. finished second with Terry Gray, Robert Smith and Robbie Stanley rounding out the top five.

Countdown To 100

The Indy 500 has had a lot of famous drivers in its lineup. Some were not. Indy pundits rate Frank Armi as the most obscure driver to race there since WWII. Armi drove in the 1954 race. He was the last car running, placing 19th, flagged after 191 laps. He didn’t race there again.

Some of the better known drivers to have entered or tried and never made the race include: Leroy Warriner, Ed “Dutch” Schaefer, Neil Bonnett, Ralph Ligouri, Andy Granatelli, Rudi Caracciola, Red Byron, Zora-Arkus Duntov, Ken Schrader, Gordon Reid, Doc Shanebrook, Allen Heath, Frank Luptow, Joe Barzda, Russ Klar, Buzz Barton, Joe Sostilio, John Fitch, Frank Mundy, Danny Oakes.

Newsmaker – H.A. ‘Humpy’ Wheeler

In the days following the announcement of H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler’s surprise “retirement” on May 21, 2008, it became clear Wheeler’s departure from Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and Charlotte Motor Speedway leaned more toward acrimony than ceremony.

“Some of it is on my own terms. I won’t say it all is,” Wheeler said. “Some of it is, and I’ll let it rest at that.”

Though Wheeler was never specific, in several interviews he alluded to disagreements between himself and SMI Chairman O. Bruton Smith as the onus behind his departure.

Recognized as the P.T. Barnum of auto racing, Wheeler had guided the track since 1975 and was instrumental in the development of the popular Legend Cars.

Chris’s Column – October 1, 2008

“Sports-car enthusiasts enjoying their cars at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park got a surprise on Aug. 13 when they were joined by actor-turned- racing driver Paul Newman, who toured the 1.53-mile road course in his Corvette as members of his family followed in his Volvo station wagon. The 83-year-old Hollywood figure, who died Friday, was suffering with terminal cancer, and said it was his way of ‘saying goodbye’ to his favorite track.”

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