Monday, October 14, 2019

"Sprint Car Hall of Fame Legend" Bob Sall Dies - October 14, 1974

January 22, 1908 - October 14, 1974
Bob Sall
Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA.
He made 4 AAA Championship Car starts from 1934 to 1937. He competed in the 1935 Indianapolis 500, driving in a radical front wheel drive Miller chassis powered by a Ford V8 engine. He retired with steering problems, finishing 29th.

Bob Sall was a top sprint car driver in the 1930's, specialising in short oval racing. Having been an owner/driver throughout most of his career, he was a “money driver”, and was almost always around at the finish of a race. Bob Sall’s documented racing victories from 1930 through 1941 include sixty-eight AAA Sprint Car wins, three CSRA (Central States Racing Association) Sprint Car triumphs, three AAA Midget race wins, one IMCA Sprint Car victory, and one sprint car win of unknown sanction for a total of seventy-six race victories.

He did occasional Midget and Stock Car events and later became NASCAR's Eastern field manager.

Bob Sall died in Creamridge, New Jersey on October 14, 1974. He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1992.

Jason Jarrett Born In Conover, North Carolina - October 14, 1975

October 14, 1975
Jason Jarrett
Born in Conover, North Carolina, USA.
Jarrett is a former competitor in the NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Racing Series, and has not driven in competition since 2005. He is the son of 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett and the grandson of two-time champion Ned Jarrett.

Jason's racing career was launched in the World Karting Association, where in 1993 he claimed the WKA's Sprint Division Championship of the Carolina's Cup at North Carolina Speedway located in Rockingham, North Carolina.

1994 saw Jarrett return to Hickory Motor Speedway, a track that had provided early success for both his father and grandfather. While competing in the Limited Sportsman Division, he scored one victory and one pole, along with earning Rookie-of-the-Year honors. In 1995, Jarrett moved into the Winston Racing Series Late Model Stock Division, where he spent the next three seasons honing his skills at the famed oval.

The 1997 season proved extremely busy for Jarrett, as he competed in a total of 46 late model events between Hickory Motor Speedway and Tri-County Speedway located in Hudson, North Carolina. Between 1997 and 2000, Jarrett competed in over 40 NAySCAR Busch Series events.

In 2001, Jarrett began his ARCA RE/MAX Series career, with second place finish in the final ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings and Rookie-of-the-Year honors. 2002 he was 3rd, and 2003 2nd again as well as earning the Bill France Triple Crown Award.

After the 2005 season he retired from racing. Starting in 2007, Jarrett worked for his father's company, Dale Jarrett Incorporated, as a project manager. In 2010, he joined Germain Racing as a spotter for drivers Casey Mears and Max Papis in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Three years later, he left the organization to join Stewart-Haas Racing as the spotter for driver Ryan Newman. Jarrett currently spots in all three NASCAR national series, for Newman in Cup, Ryan Truex in the Xfinity Series, and John Hunter Nemechek in the Camping World Truck Series. 

Career highlights include; The 1993 World Karting Association Sprint Division Championship, the 1994 Hickory Motor Speedway Limited Sportsman Division Rookie of the Year, the 2001 ARCA RE/MAX Rookie of the Year, 2nd in the ARCA RE/MAX Championship in 2001 & 2003, 3rd in the ARCA RE/MAX Championship in 2002 and the winner of the 2003 Bill France Triple Crown Award.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tim Sauter Born In Necedah, Wisconsin - October 13, 1964

October 13, 1964
Tim Sauter
Born in Necedah, Wisconsin, USA.
He has competed in the American Speed Association, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the NASCAR Busch Series, and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He was the 1999 ASA National Tour Champion. He is the son of Jim Sauter, and the brother of NASCAR drivers Jay and Johnny Sauter.

Miaskiewicz Out Battles Kroll In St. Louis Can-Am - October 13, 1985

October 13, 1985
Rick Miaskiewicz of St Louis, out battled Horst Kroll of Toronto, for his 3rd win of the 1985 Can-Am season at St Louis International Raceway, and take a 9 point championship lead over Kroll, going into the final race of the season. 

Horst Kroll

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Mark Dismore Born In Greenfield, Indiana - October 12, 1956

October 12, 1956
Mark Dismore
Born in Greenfield, Indiana, USA.
Mark is a former driver in the Indy Racing League and the 1990 Toyota Pacific champion as well as the winner of the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona with Dan Gurney's All American Racers in a Toyota GTP car with co-drivers Rocky Moran and P. J. Jones.

He made 3 CART starts in 1991 but was badly injured in a practice crash for the Indianapolis 500, when his car veered sharply towards the entrance of pit road at the exit of Turn 4 and back-ended the fence, only to careen across the pit lane and smash virtually head on at sizeable speed against the edge of pit wall, virtually ripping the car in two pieces. Among the injuries he suffered, the most severe was a broken neck.
He was largely out of open wheel racing until the 1996 Indy 500 where he drove for Team Menard though he did try to qualify in the 1992 Indianapolis 500 for Concept Motorsports in an outdated Lola/Buick. In 1997 he drove a second car at the Indy 500 for Kelley Racing and would become a full-time fixture there until the 2001 season. He returned to Menard for a partial season in 2002. Dismore has a single IRL win coming in the fall 1999 Texas Motor Speedway race and also finished a career-best third in points that season. Among his 62 career IRL starts he won four poles. He also represented the IRL in the International Race of Champions in 2000 and 2001.

He is married with two children. He now owns and operates New Castle Motorsports Park, a Karting facility in New Castle, Indiana, as well as Comet Kart Sales in Greenfield, Indiana. 

New Castle Motorsports Park is the home of Indiana karting's signature event, the Dan Wheldon Cup weekend races, held after the INDYCAR season ends. The Wheldon Cup weekend consists of a Pro-Am race with INDYCAR stars on Saturday and a 200-mile, 200-lap endurance karting event Sunday, the Robopong 200 Dan Wheldon Cup.

"West Coast Stock Car Legend" Lou Figaro Born - October 12, 1920

October 12, 1920 - October 25, 1954
Louis Figaro
Home: South Gate, California, USA.
Figaro competed in 16 NASCAR Cup Series races from 1951 to 1954, picking up one victory in the 1951 event at Carrell Speedway in Gardena, California. During the early years of late model stock car racing on the west coast, no name was more well known than that of Lou Figaro.

Figaro started his racing career in the early 1930’s and drove everything he could get his hands on. He liked stock cars, and by the end of WWII had decided to direct most of his energy to that type of racing. He was always a Hudson man and when the Hudson Hornet came out in 1951, Lou was there driving one of Jimmy Dane’s cars. He ran the Mexican Road Race with a Hudson and nearly lost his life in that effort. Lou raced with AAA, NASCAR, IMCA and WAR and won many races. He was especially fast on the high bands of Oakland, and the ½ mile dirt at Carrell Speedway.

He won the 1953 WAR Championship for Late Models and in 1954 had decided to concentrate on running NASCAR Grand National events in the south. He was killed in an accident during the 1954 Wilkes 160 at North Wilkesboro Speedway on October 24, 1954, when his vehicle smashed through the guardrail and overturned with three laps left. He died in the hospital the following day.

In 2002, Figaro was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. His granddaughter, Tracy Figaro-Davis, accepted.

"Long Time Endurance Racer" Bill Auberlen Born - October 12, 1968

October 12, 1968
Bill Auberlen
Born in Redondo Beach, California, USA.
Auberlen is an American factory race car driver known for his affiliation with BMW, driving cars made and run by the famous German marque for a number of years. His career started in the 1970s in motocross, with Auberlen moving to IMSA GTU in 1987. He stayed there until 1997, his last year resulting in him winning the championship. During his time in the IMSA Series he had also become the 1996 Peruvian Formula Three champion. Other competitions Auberlen has competed in during his career include the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series (1999-2003), driving a BMW V12 LMR in 1999 and 2000 for Schnitzer Motorsport. During the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 2000, his BMW did a spectacular back flip over the same hump over which Yannick Dalmas backflipped in a Porsche 911 GT1 in 1998.

Auberlen briefly stepped up to Grand-Am's Daytona Prototype class in 2003, in addition to driving a BMW 325i for Turner Motorsport in World Challenge touring. Auberlen won both the 2003 and 2004 Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship behind the wheel of a Turner Motorsport BMW 325i. By doing so, Auberlen ended an eight-year Honda / Acura domination of the series.

For 2004, Auberlen dedicated himself to the production-based World Challenge GT class for BMW Motorsport's Prototype Technology Group team, earning the series championship for BMW. In 2005, Auberlen continued to drive for BMW PTG in Grand-Am's GT series, while also driving for Panoz Racing in IMSA's American Le Mans Series. In 2006, Auberlen is once again exclusively driving BMW's, an M3 for Sigalsport's Grand-Am GT team, an M3 for Turner's Grand-Am team and an M3 for BMW PTG's ALMS team.

Bill Auberlen has driven BMW cars in more races than any other driver in the world. He has won six professional auto-racing championships, four with BMW power. He has competed in over 500 professional races to date, 339 in BMWs. His results include 91 race victories, 188 podium finishes, 56 pole positions, 83 fastest race laps and 110 records. For the past two seasons, Auberlen has driven the BMW M6 GTLM in the IMSA GTLM class for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
In addition to his racing success, Auberlen has designed and built fast boats and bikes. Using motorsport technology, he developed X Power Drive, a high-performance boating outdrive, engineered a custom 1554-hp Chevrolet engine that powered his open-bow Carrera catamaran to numerous world speed and acceleration records. He also built a custom turbocharged 420 hp motorcycle.

Bertil Roos Born In Gothenburg, Sweden - October 12, 1943

October 12, 1943
Bertil Roos
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden.
He participated in a single Formula One Grand Prix, his home race in 1974, from which he retired with transmission failure. Despite enjoying early promise in winning the US Formula Super Vee title in 1973, and also doing well in Formula 2 in Europe and Formula Atlantic in Canada, Roos only received one shot at Formula One. He and his team, Shadow, did not get on particularly well, and ultimately the team chose to work with Tom Pryce instead. Roos went back to the USA and Canada, where he continued racing. Still racing in the 1980s, Roos was a two-time Can-Am champion in the 2 liter and under category.

In 1975, he created an eponymous racing school in Pennsylvania, USA near Pocono Raceway. The school is accredited by the SCCA to be able to recommend graduates for race licenses at the regional and national levels.

"NASCAR Veteran Morgan Shepherd Born" - October 12, 1941

October 12, 1941
Morgan Shepherd
Born in Ferguson, North Carolina, USA.
He competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 89 Chevrolet Camaro for Shepherd Racing Ventures. He is a born again Christian who serves as a lay minister to the racing community. He has been competing in NASCAR for 50 years. 

Shepherd became the second-oldest race winner after Harry Gant in 1993, when he won the spring race at Atlanta at the age of 51 years, 4 months, and 27 days.

Shepherd became the oldest driver to lead an Xfinity Series race at the age of 70 when he led 3 laps in the 2012 Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway. He was also the oldest to start a Sprint Cup race at the 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 at age 72.

"NASCAR" Hall Of Famer" Ned Jarrett Born - October 12, 1932

October 12, 1932
Ned Jarrett
(photo credit: Ted Van Pelt via photopin cc)
Born in Conover, North Carolina, USA.
The Jarrett family is known as one of the first families in NASCAR history. Ned is the father of Dale Jarrett, who earned his first NASCAR championship in 1999 and currently is a race broadcaster for ABC/ESPN. Ned and Dale became the second father-son combination to win Cup championships (after Lee Petty and Richard Petty). Ned has spotted for Dale in the past. Ned's other son is Glenn Jarrett, who was a regular Busch Series driver and had a few Winston Cup starts in the 1980s. Glenn now covers cable television as a race broadcaster. Ned also has a daughter Patti, who before becoming a mom, also worked in racing. Patti is married to Jimmy Makar, who worked with Dale Jarrett for three years at Joe Gibbs Racing, and won the 2000 championship crew chief with Bobby Labonte. Dale's son Jason Jarrett also had numerous Busch and a few NEXTEL Cup starts, with several wins in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

Jarrett was best known for his calm demeanor, and he became known as "Gentleman Ned Jarrett", yet he was an intense competitor when he put his two hands on the steering wheel of a NASCAR Grand National stock car. Jarrett was introduced to cars early in life: his father let him drive the family car to church on Sunday mornings when he was nine years old. Ned started working for his father in the sawmill by the time he was 12, but racing was what he wanted.

Ned drove in his first race in 1952 at Hickory Motor Speedway. He drove a Sportsman Ford that he co-owned with his brother-in-law, and finished tenth. This did not go over well with his father. His father told him he could work on cars but not drive them. Once, his brother-in-law was sick for a race and asked Ned to fill in for him. Ned used his brother-in-law's name and came in second in that race. That worked out so smoothly that Ned drove in a few more races under an assumed name, but was finally caught by his father after winning a race. His father told him if he was going to drive to at least use his own name.

Jarrett raced in his first national race at the 1953 Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway. He was out after 10 laps after the engine leaked oil. Jarrett was the 1955 track champion at Hickory Motor Speedway. Jarrett came in second driving in the Sportsman series in 1956, and won the 1957 and 1958 championships.

In 1959, he was looking to pursue a career in the Grand National series. He purchased a Junior Johnson Ford for $2,000. He did not have enough money to cover the check, so he waited until the bank closed to write the check, entered two races, and won them both to cover the cost of his car. In 1960, he won five races and took the championship over Rex White in 1961. He was among the top five drivers in 22 races and missed being among the top ten drivers only 12 times out of 46 races, with one win.

In 1964, Jarrett joined team owner Bondy Long and with the support of Ford won 15 times but lost the championship to Richard Petty. Jarrett picked up his first superspeedway win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In 1965, Jarrett became a super star when he won 13 races and another Grand National championship. He placed among the top five in 42 of the 54 races that he ran. The 1965 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was one of the wildest races in NASCAR history. Rookie driver Buren Skeen died after two cars ran into the side of his car in the early laps. Sam McQuagg was leading the race, when Cale Yarborough tried to muscle past McQuagg for the lead. Yarborough flew over the guardrail, rolled around six times, and ended up at the end of the parking lot by a light post. Yarborough waved to the crowd as he walked back to the pits. A video clip of the wreck was used on ABC's Wide World of Sports for several years. With 44 laps left, Fred Lorenzen and Darel Dieringer were fighting for the lead far ahead of Jarrett. Lorenzen's motor expired, and even before he could get into the pits Dieringer's motor started smoking too. Dieringer continued at a slower pace to finish third. The race was won by Ned Jarrett by 14 laps and 2 car lengths, which is the farthest margin of victory in NASCAR history.

In 1966, Jarrett was in the run for another championship when Ford announced that they were withdrawing from NASCAR. With that, Jarrett decided that it was time to retire at the young age of 34. Jarrett is the only driver to retire as the NASCAR champion. Jarrett left racing and dealt in real estate and other business ventures before coming back to racing as a broadcaster. He also was the track promoter for Hickory Motor Speedway.

In the early 1960s, Ned began a radio program on WNNC in Newton, North Carolina. His taped show was replayed and locally sponsored, in part by station owner Earl Holder, who gave Ned both a taping facility and recording studio time for a moderate rate to fill in local programming. It is believed by some that this radio station, WNNC, where Dr. Jerry Punch also began his career on the local high school radio station staff in 1965, was probably the beginning of the radio career of Ned Jarrett. Jarrett would sometimes record more than one radio show at a time in order to facilitate the distance required to compete in what was then the "Grand National" circuit of NASCAR.

Later, in 1978, Jarrett became a radio broadcaster on MRN Radio. He interviewed United States President Ronald Reagan live at the 1984 Firecracker 400 at Daytona, the race famous as Richard Petty's 200th win. Ned also hosted a daily radio program about racing on MRN Radio called "Ned Jarrett's World of Racing" until May 15, 2009, when he announced he would retire from the program. Joe Moore became the show's new host the following Monday, May 18.

Jarrett also has been a television broadcaster on CBS, and ESPN, as well as a host for the original Inside NASCAR on TNN and NASCAR Tech on FSN. He called several of NASCAR's more memorable television moments. Ned called his son Dale's first victory in the 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Dale banged Davey Allison's fender at the finish line in what was then the closest finish in NASCAR history. Another famous moment was when he called Dale's victory at the 1993 Daytona 500, openly siding with his son on the last lap and coaching him home to victory over Dale Earnhardt. Embarrassed by his loss of objectivity, he tried to apologize to Earnhardt after the race, but Earnhardt merely smiled and said, "I'm a father, too."

On May 26, 2007 Ned returned to the booth to call the Carquest Auto Parts 300 Busch race alongside Andy Petree, Jerry Punch, and his son Dale.

1961 Grand National Champion
1965 Grand National Champion
1957 Sportsman Division Champion
1958 Sportsman Division Champion
1965 Southern 500 Winner
Led Grand National Series in wins two times (1964, 1965)

Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)
Myers Brothers Memorial Award (1964, 1965, 1982, 1983)
National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (1972)
North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (1990)
International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1991)
Oceanside Rotary Club Stock Car Hall of Fame (1992)
National Auto Racing Hall of Fame (United States) (1992)
American Auto Race Writers & Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame (1992)
Jacksonville, Florida Speedway Hall of Fame (1993)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (1997)
Talladega Walk of Fame (1997)
Hickory Metro Sports Hall of Fame (2001)
NASCAR Hall of Fame (2011)

To Buy This Item
Fact-filled and brimming with dynamic full-color photographs and other fun features, "The Jarretts" is a fast-paced yet in-depth look at the accomplishments of the legendary NASCAR clan who make the sport a true family affair.

Friday, October 11, 2019

"The Wollongong Whiz" Wayne Gardner Born In Australia - October 11, 1959

October 11, 1959
Wayne Gardner
Born in Wollongong, Australia.
Gardner is a former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and touring car racer. His most notable achievement was winning the 1987 500 cc Motorcycle World Championship, becoming the first Australian to win motorcycling's premier class. His success on the world motorcycle racing circuit earned him the nickname The Wollongong Whiz.

Gardner made a one-off appearance at the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gardner was entered in the Riley & Scott with Philippe Gache and fellow ex-motorcycle rider Didier de Radiguès. They qualified 26th, but failed to finish due to engine problems after completing 155 laps.

Following his victory in the 1987 500 cc World Championship, Gardner was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1988's Honours List. The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme honored him as a MotoGP Legend. He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1991. He received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

Jimmy Hensley Born In Ridgeway, Virginia - October 11, 1945

October 11, 1945
Jimmy Hensley
Born in Ridgeway, Virginia, USA.
With a career spanning 27 seasons in all three of NASCAR's elite divisions, Hensley may be best remembered for his Rookie of the Year award won in 1992, his 15th season in the series, and for his nine career Busch Series wins. He spent most of his career working as an oil truck driver in addition to racing. He was best known as being a substitute driver for many teams. He was also the 1985 & 1987 Busch Series Most Popular Driver and the 1996 Craftsman Truck Series Most Popular Driver.

Lynn St James Sets New Woman's Speed Record - October 11, 1987

October 11, 1987
Lynn St. James sets a new women's national closed-course speed record of 212.577 mph at Talladega Super Speedway, driving a Ford Thunderbird.
Lynn is a retired Indy Car driver with 11 CART and 5 Indy Racing League starts to her name. She is one of seven women who have qualified for the Indianapolis 500, and became the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 "Rookie of the Year" award. She also has two victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and 1 win at the 12 Hours of Sebring. She has competed in endurance racing in Europe, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, where in 1979 her team placed first and second in class. She founded the 501 Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation in 1994 and is a motivational speaker.

"Canadian Auto Racing Legend" Wallie Branston Born - October 11, 1923

October 11, 1923 - November 7, 2013
Wallie Branston
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Branston had many achievements including being a founding member of the Toronto Stock Car Racing Club and being inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. In the late 1940s and 1950s Wallie became a popular figure and consistent winner on local Stock Car Racing Tracks. He was one of the first stock car racers in Canada to have major sponsorship, driving a series of Gorries and Bardahl sponsored stock cars. He raced on both dirt, pavement, road courses and ovals. He raced sports cars and was a rally driver.

A fan favourite at Pinecrest and the CNE Speedway, the Star once announced in a headline, “Branston is matinee idol of CNE stock car addicts.” After winning his fifth race early in the 1953 season, the Star’s Jim Proudfoot recounted how it took 20 minutes for the victorious driver to extricate himself from the winner’s circle, as he signed autographs, shook hands, and accepted congratulations.

He was also the “human battering ram” on the daredevil “Canadian Aces” team that went up against the Ward Beam Hell Drivers when that barnstorming troupe made its annual stop at the “Ex” in August.

In 1954, he raced in a Nascar Cup Series event at the Monroe County Fairgrounds at Rochester, N.Y., his contest ending on lap 52 of 200 when he crashed his ’53 Oldsmobile. The race was won by the legendary Lee Petty.

When his racing days ended, he spent fifteen years as the Starter at Mosport. From 1961 until 1975, during the glory years when sports cars, the Can-Am, the Trans-Am, Formula One, U.S. Auto Club stock cars and just about everything else you can think of raced there, Branston was front-and-centre, waving the green flag to start races and the checkered flag to signal the end of competition.

It was hard to miss him. Attired in black dress pants, white shirt, yellow bow tie and red sports jacket, he pretty much stood out. And his high leaps while waving the checkers are the stuff of legend, including this legendary photo from 1967 as he gave the checkered flag and the Grand Prix win to Sir Jack Brabham in a downpour on the winding course at Bowmanville, Ont..
Branston once said the F1 races gave him his biggest thrills. “Jackie Stewart used to call me by my first name, ” he said. “It can’t get any better than that.”

Throughout his life an all-’round booster of the sport, Branston was a longtime director of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, and in 1997 was inducted himself. On November 7, 2013, Wallie Branston, passed away at age 90.

For more on Wallie Branston see Norris MacDonald's column in


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Dale Earnhardt Jr Born In Concord, North Carolina - October 10, 1974

October 10, 1974
Dale Earnhardt Jr
(Photo: Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway via photopin cc)
Born in Concord, North Carolina, USA.
He is a team owner, author, and an analyst for NASCAR on NBC. Earnhardt competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro for his team JR Motorsports. He is the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, Sr. He is also the grandson of both NASCAR driver Ralph Earnhardt and stock car fabricator Robert Gee, the brother of Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, the half-brother of former driver Kerry Earnhardt, the uncle of driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, the stepson of Teresa Earnhardt, and the older half-brother of Taylor Nicole Earnhardt-Putnam.

Earnhardt's success at Daytona International Speedway throughout his career has earned him the nickname "Pied Piper" of Daytona. He is a two-time Daytona 500 winner, having won the races exactly 10 years apart (2004 and 2014), and has won the Most Popular Driver Award fourteen times (consecutively from 2003–2016). He has an estimated net worth of $300 million.

Earnhardt, Jr. owns Hammerhead Entertainment, a media production company that created and produces the TV show Back In the Day, which aired on SPEED. Hammerhead also produced "Shifting Gears", a show on ESPN2 that chronicled his 2008 team switch.

He is partners with a group of investors who are building Alabama Motorsports Park, a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway. The track is located near Mobile, Alabama and will feature stock car racing, kart racing and a road course. This will join with his partial ownership of Paducah International Raceway. Earnhardt has also opened a bar named Whisky River in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina in April 2008; he later opened a second Whisky River in Jacksonville, Florida. As of 2013, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has his own signature line of eyeglass frames, partnering with NY Eye Inc. In August 2012, Earnhardt, Jr. entered the automobile dealer business, opening Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Buick-GMC-Cadillac in Tallahassee, Florida in association with car owner Rick Hendrick. He has an estimated net worth of $300 million.

Earnhardt, Jr. is a passionate Washington Redskins fan and has been known to have Redskins scores relayed to him during races. "During the race season, I'm under caution, I'm getting stats and numbers told to me over the radio during the race," Earnhardt said. "I've got to know. I can't concentrate on what I'm doing if I don't know what the Redskins are doing. My fans tell me if I lose, it ruins their week. But if the Redskins lose, it ruins my week." Earnhardt once dreamed of playing football for the Redskins, but states that he "wasn't built" for it. "I was 5–3 when I got my driver's license at the age of 16," he said, "so I wasn't going to make much of a football player." He currently owns a Learjet 60 private jet with the tail number N8JR.

Earnhardt, Jr. also owns a graveyard of wrecked race cars on a property in North Carolina. Some of the most notable cars include Juan Pablo Montoya's 2012 Daytona 500 car that collided with the jet dryer, David Gilliland's 2014 5-hour Energy 400 car that was destroyed in a violent impact with the tri-oval wall, and Earnhardt, Jr.'s own 2014 Duck Commander 500 car that was wrecked from incidental contact with wet infield grass on lap 12 that cut a tire.

On June 17, 2015, Earnhardt announced his engagement to his longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann. After winning his 14th Most Popular Driver Award in 2016, he announced their marriage would take place on New Year's Eve. They got married at Richard Childress' Childress Vineyards in Lexington, North Carolina.

In October 2017, Earnhardt revealed that he and Amy were expecting their first child, a girl, due May 2, 2018. Their daughter Isla Rose Earnhardt was born on April 30, 2018.

This Day In Motorsport History - Home Page

James Hunt Wins "US Grand Prix at The Glen" - October 10, 1976

October 10, 1976
(Photo; Serbian car fans via photopin cc)
Austrian Niki Lauda arrived in the United States for the next to last race of 1976 clinging to an eight point lead over Britain's James Hunt in the Driver's Championship. Overnight, snow fell on the circuit, but the sun eventually came out on Sunday and warmed things up quite a bit as 100,000 fans, the largest paying crowd ever at The Glen, came out to see the Championship battle. Stuppacher was the only one who failed to qualify, while the others would begin the race for the first time without the flag waving efforts of lavendar-suited starter Tex Hopkins, a Watkins Glen icon. A signal light took the place of Hopkins, and at the light, Scheckter jumped ahead of Hunt and led into the first turn. They were followed by Brambilla, Peterson, Lauda, Depailler, John Watson's Penske, the Lotus of Mario Andretti and Jacques Laffite's Ligier.

Scheckter and Hunt began to draw away immediately, with the Tyrrell 2.5 seconds ahead after five laps. After being held up by Brambilla for four laps, Lauda moved into third, 5.8 seconds behind Hunt. Meanwhile, a battle was being waged for fourth among Brambilla, Peterson, Laffite, Carlos Pace, Watson, Clay Regazzoni, Andretti and Jochen Mass. Hans-Joachim Stuck, who had seen his fine sixth-place qualifying effort wasted by a slipping clutch on the grid, was working his way forward and had now reached the end of this group.

Further down, on lap 15, the Ensign of Jacky Ickx went wide in Turn 6, a left-hander entering the 'Anvil' section of the course (known among spectators as 'The Boot'). The car suddenly snapped right and hit the Armco barrier head on. The nose went under the bottom rail, and the car split in two with the rear section spinning back onto the track in flames. Ickx stepped out of the wreckage of the cockpit and hobbled to the grass, where he collapsed with injuries to both his legs and ankles. He was incredibly lucky to be alive; Emerson Fittipaldi, who had been following him, said it was one of the worst accidents he had ever seen, and that he could hear the explosion of the car hitting the barrier above his engine and through his helmet and earplugs. Watson slowed briefly for the wreck, and was passed by Regazzoni and Mass before he got back up to full speed, putting him back to ninth place.

At the front, Scheckter's Tyrrell was losing grip as his fuel load lightened, and Hunt was getting quicker in the chasing McLaren. The gap closed to 1.3 seconds on lap 29, then half a second on lap 30. Finally, on lap 37, Hunt moved inside at the end of the back straight and took the lead. He pulled away by over two seconds in the next two laps, but on lap 41, he missed a gear in the chicane while trying to get around some backmarkers, and Scheckter was through again. The South African maintained his lead until lap 46, when Hunt again passed him at the end of the straight and took the lead for good to claim his sixth win of the season. Just six laps from the finish, on lap 53, Hunt set the fastest lap of the race, as Scheckter made sure of keeping his second place.

Lauda, struggling with oversteer on hard tires in the cold, barely beat Hunt's McLaren teammate Mass to the line to keep his third place. The Austrian's courage was evident to the well-wishers, photographers and VIPs around him when he stepped from his car and removed his helmet to reveal a balaclava soaked in blood. He claimed four valuable Championship points, however, and still led by three points with one race to go.

"Road Racing Veteran" Tony Adamowicz Dies - October 10, 2016

May 2, 1941 - October 10, 2016
Tony Adamowicz
Born in Moriah, New York, USA.
He was an American racing driver, active from 1963 until his death. He won the Under 2-Liter class of the 1968 Trans-Am Championship and the 1969 SCCA Continental Championship.

Adamowicz was born to Polish immigrants in Moriah, New York and raised in Port Henry, New York. He began his career with the US Army and worked as a communications staffer at the White House during the late 1950s and 1960s. It was during his time in Washington DC that Adamowicz took up auto racing.

He started racing with a Volvo PV 544 in neighbouring Maryland in 1963. He later contested the Under 2-Liter class of the 1968 Trans-Am Championship in a Porsche 911, then raced in the Can-Am Series and Formula A/Formula 5000, winning the 1969 SCCA Continental Championship. He had an opportunity to race in the 1970 Indianapolis 500, but during the first lap of his qualifying attempt in his Eagle-Offy the yellow light was shown and Adamowicz slowed. However, the yellow was an error and Adamowicz was ordered to continue with the other 3 laps. The first lap, 6 mph slower than his others, dragged down his average to a point where he was bumped from the field. He got in another car but crashed in practice before having a chance to requalify.

Adamowicz returned to sports cars, racing TransAm in an Autodynamics Dodge Challenger as teammate to Sam Posey, achieving second place in the 1971 24 Hours of Daytona in a Ferrari 512M, shared with Ronnie Bucknum, and third place in the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans with Sam Posey in the same car.
(Photo;Motorsport Retro)
After the decline of the Can Am and F5000 formulas, he moved to IMSA series and won the 1981 GTU championship in an Electramotive Nissan 280ZX and 1982 and 1983 GTO championships in an Electramotive 280ZX-T.

He returned to prototypes in 1984 but had little success at that level and retired after the 1989 24 Hours of Daytona. He then competed in select vintage races in the same 1969-model Eagle racing car in which he won the 1969 SCCA Continental Championship.
(Photo;Sports Car Digest)
Tony Adamowicz in 1969 Gurney Eagle.
The car is now owned by Doug Magnon, the founder of the Riverside International Automotive Museum, and prepared by mechanic Bill Losee. It bears the identical livery it carried back in 1969. As the Eagle had been parked immediately after the 1969 season, and was not run again until following its restoration in 2008, Adamowicz remained the only driver to actually have driven this car.

Adamowicz was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Early in 2015, Adamowicz was diagnosed with brain cancer, glioblastoma. He died on October 10, 2016 at the age of 75.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mario Andretti Drives His Final CART Event - October 9, 1994

October 9, 1994

(Photo credit: IndyCar-030 via photopin (license))
This race was the record 407th and final IndyCar race for the great Mario Andretti. He qualified twelfth, but for the pace laps was given honorary pole position. Former CART flagman Nick Fornoro came back to wave the green flag for Mario's last race.

Canadian Paul Tracy won the pole and set a new track record of 1:10.058 seconds. On Lap 82 Mario's career ended a few laps too early as he slowed with engine failure and ended 19th. Tracy won the race finishing ahead of Raul Boesel, who finished second for the fifth time in his IndyCar career. Fellow Canadian Jacques Villeneuve was third, followed by Emerson Fittipaldi, Teo Fabi, Arie Luyendyk, and Adrian Fernandez also on the lead lap. Next came Nigel Mansell one lap down. This race was also the last for Mansell. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Home Hero" Gilles Villeneuve Wins Canadian Grand Prix - October 8, 1978

October 8, 1978

(Photo; Archives de la Ville de Montréal via photopin cc)
Canadian racing legend Gilles Villeneuve celebrated his first victory in Formula 1 before a home crowd at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

The Canadian Grand Prix has been part of the Formula One W byorld Championship since 1967. It was first staged at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario as a sports car event before it alternated between Mosport and Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Quebec after Formula One took over the event. After 1971, safety concerns led to the Grand Prix moving permanently to Mosport. In 1978, after similar safety concerns with Mosport, the Canadian Grand Prix moved to its current home on Île Notre-Dame in Montreal.

The first winner in Montreal was Quebec native Villeneuve, driving a Ferrari. Before the race, in pre-race interviews Mario Andretti noted that he thought that the circuit has been designed in favour of Gilles Villeneuve, a comment that was picked up by local press. Andretti responded to the comments on race day morning, stating that he is "not critical of the race organizers", but instead "critical of our own FOCA officials who were sent over here to approve the track."

Poor weather and rain on Friday morning meant that the first practice session began 20 minutes later than scheduled. When the session did start, the two Ferrari drivers were fastest, Carlos Reutemann fastest with a lap of 2:02.600, ahead of team-mate Villeneuve.

The second practice session held on Friday was in damp weather conditions as the track dried, with Reutemann again fastest, with a lap of 1:57.900. Wet weather greeted the teams again on Saturday morning for a 90 minute practice session, although conditions got better towards the end of that session, allowing Lauda to go fastest with a time of 1:51.700, Keke Rosberg, Andretti and Watson completing the top four.

The entry of 28 cars had to be trimmed to 22 before the race, and those who failed to qualify were, unusually, from six different teams. They were Clay Regazzoni of Shadow, Beppe Gabbiani of Surtees, Arturo Merzario in the car bearing his name, Hector Rebaque in a privately run Lotus, Rolf Stommelen of Arrows and Michael Bleekemolen of ATS.

There were uncharacteristically bad performances from Reutemann, who took third in the championship with Ferrari, but could only qualify 11th, and the Tyrrells of Patrick Depailler and Didier Pironi, both also regular points scorers but down in 13th and 18th. Piquet was 14th on his debut for Brabham.

The top ten was just as interesting as the bottom six, as eight different cars were featured. Jacques Laffite was the lowest ranked of these, putting his Ligier 10th. World champion Andretti was also off the pace for Lotus, qualifying 9th. Hans Joachim Stuck drove very well to put the other Shadow 8th, beating his more decorated team mate Regazzoni by over two and a half seconds. Brabham, one of only two teams to have two cars in the top 10 (the other was Lotus), had Watson and Lauda 4th and 7th. They were split by Alan Jones's Williams, a sign of continuing improvement for the team and their Australian driver, who had finished 2nd the last time out at Watkins Glen, and Emerson Fittipaldi, who dragged the uncompetitive Copersucar up to 6th.

Home favourite Villeneuve put the Ferrari 3rd, a good performance from the Canadian who had been outperformed by team mate Reutemann all season. He was beaten to 2nd by Jody Scheckter of Wolf, who had also been improving of late. However, pole was a surprise. Jean-Pierre Jarier, who had fallen out of favour with ATS earlier in the season and been dropped in favour of drivers such as Alberto Colombo, Hans Binder and Harald Ertl, had last been semi-competitive with Shadow back in 1975 and had been drafted in by Lotus to replace Ronnie Peterson after his tragic death at Monza two races previous, took pole by just 0.011 seconds from Scheckter. This was no surprise after the Frenchman had set the fastest race lap in his first appearance for the team at Watkins Glen, but was classified 15th due to running out of fuel when in 3rd place.

The race started with Jarier in the lead, but Jones had a magnificent start, jumping up from 5th to 2nd. This meant that Scheckter dropped to 3rd, Villeneuve to 4th and Watson down to 5th. Andretti had jumped up past Lauda and Stuck and was holding 6th. Fittipaldi was a casualty on the first lap, sliding off the track into the mud and retiring. Stuck joined him at the same spot a lap later.

There was more drama in the race on lap 6, particularly for the Brabham team. First, Lauda had a brake failure and was out. Shortly afterwards, Andretti attempted to pass Watson in the other Brabham, and the two made contact, dropping almost right to the back of the field. This allowed Patrick Depailler up to 5th and Reutemann in the other Ferrari into 6th. Three laps later, Watson had an accident of his own, and was out for good.

The next retirement was on lap 17, when Bobby Rahal in the second Wolf suffered fuel injection problems and reduced the field to 17 runners.

Jarier had opened up a lead of 20 seconds at this point, as Jones in second was holding up the faster cars of Scheckter and Villeneuve behind him. However, on lap 18 Scheckter found a way past, and Villeneuve followed him through a lap later. At the same time, Depailler was dropping down the order with technical issues, allowing Reutemann into 5th and Derek Daly in the Ensign up to 6th. Daly was passed by Riccardo Patrese not long afterwards.

A good few laps ensued for Ferrari, as the very fast Villeneuve fought his way past Scheckter, who everyone knew was to be his team mate at Ferrari in 1979, for 2nd on lap 25. On lap 27, current team mate Reutemann battled past the slow Jones into fourth. Jones also slipped behind Patrese two laps later.

Daly moved back up to 6th on lap 33 when Jones dropped back even further with his own technical problems, but the Irishman was under severe pressure from Didier Pironi in the other Tyrrell. Lap 38 saw another retirement, that of René Arnoux in the Surtees with oil pressure difficulties.

The recovering Depailler fought his way past first team mate Pironi and then Derek Daly to take back 6th place on laps 47 and 48, just when trouble was beginning for fellow Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier, leading the race for Lotus, which first became apparent when Jacques Laffite was able to unlap himself in the Ligier. Three laps later, Jarier was out with no oil pressure. This was tragic for the Frenchman, who was looking certain to take his first victory, but fantastic for the Canadian fans, whose hero Villeneuve now looked set to take his. This allowed Daly back into the points in 6th.

1976 World Champion James Hunt crashed out two laps later, an unhappy end to his last race for McLaren, with whom he had had so much success, as it was known that the following year he would move to Wolf to replace Scheckter. He was followed out of the race by Laffite's Ligier a lap later, who had transmission problems.

From then on, the order did not change, and Villeneuve came home to take his first Grand Prix victory in front of his own fans.
He was followed home by his Ferrari team mate for the following year, Jody Scheckter and his current team mate Carlos Reutemann, 13 and 19 seconds behind respectively. Patrese took 4th in a solid and uneventful race, with Depailler's race to fifth anything but uneventful. Derek Daly came home sixth to secure his and Ensign's first ever points finish.

Villeneuve was killed in 1982 on his final qualifying lap for the Belgian Grand Prix. A few weeks after his death, the race course in Montreal was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after him. Gilles Villeneuve was one of the first people inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, and is so far the only Canadian winner of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

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