Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cliff Hucul Born In Prince George, BC - August 21st, 1948

August 21st, 1948
Cliff Hucul 
(Photo; Vukie1953 via photopin cc)
Born in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.
Cliff is a former USAC and CART series driver. He raced in the 1977-1981 seasons, with 24 combined career starts, including the 1977-1979 Indianapolis 500. He finished in the top ten 8 times, with his best finish of 4th position in 1979 at Texas World Speedway. He later made two NASCAR Winston Cup starts in 1986, finishing 40th and 31st.

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Paul Menard Born In Eau Claire, Wisconsin - August 21st, 1980

August 21st, 1980
Paul Menard

(Photo; PDA.PHOTO via photopin cc) 
Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA.
 He currently competes full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 21 Ford Fusion for Wood Brothers Racing, and part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske. He is the son of Midwestern home improvement tycoon John Menard Jr., founder of the Menards chain.

Menard's racing career began at the age of eight when he won the Briggs Junior Karting Class Championship in his native Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He later won the Briggs Medium Class Champion before working his way up to higher level racing. He began ice racing at the age of 15 and won 10 International Ice Racing Association events in his career. He continues to compete in IIRA events in and around Wisconsin. In the summers he raced legends cars on short tracks in Wisconsin. He borrowed Bryan Reffner's Late Model for a week winning his heat race and placing around fourth in the feature. He decided to build his own late model and raced the car three to four times per week. In an interview with Motorsports Minute, Menard said he chose stock cars over Indy Cars because there was no feeder series for Indy Car in his native Wisconsin.

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"NASCAR Legend" Elmo Langley Born - August 21, 1928

August 21, 1928 - November 21, 1996
 Elmo Langley
Born in Creswell, North Carolina, USA.
He was a NASCAR driver and owner. Langley primarily used the number "64" on his race cars during his NASCAR career. From April 1989, through November 1996, Langley served as the official pace car driver for all Winston Cup events.

Langley began his racing career racing modified cars in Virginia and Maryland in 1952. Langley came in to NASCAR as a Driver/Owner in 1954. In 1966 he partnered with Henry Woodfield and created Langley-Woodfield Racing. That same year Langley won the only two races of his long career. After the second race of the 1969 season, Langley and Woodfield split and Langley continued to run a team on his own returning to the driver/owner role.

Langley finished 5th in season points in 1969 and 1971, 6th in 1968 and 1970, 7th in 1972, 8th in 1975, and 9th in 1967 and 1973. His final full season was as a driver for Langley Racing in 1975.

He continued to drive in a few select races until 1981 when he hung up the helmet for good. Langley began to field his familiar #64 for other drivers to develop their career including Tommy Gale, Joe Millikan, Jimmy Hensley and Ken Schrader. Langley shut down his team after the 1987 season.

On April 15, 1988, Langley was named as the crew chief for Cale Yarborough and Dale Jarrett with his duties in effect after that year's First Union 400 where he attended as an observer.

Elmo's very last race was the Battle of the NASCAR Legends race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1991. The race featured such drivers as Cale Yarborough, Junior Johnson, Pete Hamilton, and Donnie Allison. The winner was Langley, beating Yarborough to the line by about 3 feet on the last lap.

On November 21, 1996, Langley was in Suzuka, Japan to drive the pace car in the Suzuka Thunder Special 100 Exhibition race, when during a test drive he began to experience chest pains. He was subsequently taken to the Suzuka General Hospital where he was pronounced dead when his heart stopped beating before arrival. NASCAR legend Buddy Baker was in the pace car at the time Langley suffered his heart attack, and was one of the last people to see Elmo still alive.

Langley was married to Nancy and had four sons; Elmo Jr., Raymond, William and Steven. He lived in Harrisburg, North Carolina.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

"USAC Sprint Car & NHRA Drag Racer" Doug Kalitta Born - August 20, 1964

August 20, 1964
Doug Kalitta
(Photo; nhra.com)
Home:Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.
Kalitta formerly raced in USAC events. He was the 1991 USAC rookie of the year in the midget series, and won the 1994 championship in the sprint car category. Kalitta won 21 USAC events: 14 in midget races and 7 in sprint competitions.

In 1998 he joined the NHRA, becoming a top fuel drag racer. Kalitta finished second in the top fuel points race in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2016. He is fifth on the all-time top fuel wins list; the most recent of his 42 victories came in winning at the World Finals in Pomona in 2016. Kalitta also has 88 career final round appearances.

Kalitta has a wife, Josie Kalitta, a son Mitchell Kalitta, and a daughter Avery Kalitta. Kalitta's father is the now-deceased Doug Kalitta Sr., and he is the nephew of Connie Kalitta, a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Scott Kalitta, an NHRA driver who died on June 21, 2008 in a racing accident, was his cousin. He owns the airline Kalitta Charters.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mark Donohue Dies From Crash Injuries - August 19, 1975

March 18, 1937 – August 19, 1975
Mark Donohue
Born in Haddon Township, New Jersey, USA.
 Nicknamed "Captain Nice", and later "Dark Monohue", was known for his ability to set up his own race car as well as driving it to victories. Donohue is probably best known as the driver of the 1500+ bhp “Can-Am Killer” Porsche 917-30 and as the winner of the 1972 Indianapolis 500.
(Photo; www.flickr.com)
Donohue died on August 19, 1975, from injuries as a result of a crash. Donohue recently had arrived in Austria for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring race track following a successful closed-course speed record attempt at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama just a few days earlier. During a practice session, Donohue lost control of his March after a tire failed, sending him careening into the catch fencing at the fastest corner on the track, Vöest Hügel. A track marshal was killed by debris from the accident, but Donohue did not appear to be injured significantly. It is said that Donohue's head struck either a catch fencing post or the bottom of the wood frame for an advertising billboard located alongside of the racetrack. A headache resulted, however, and worsened. After going to the hospital the next day, Donohue lapsed into a coma from a cerebral hemorrhage and died.

For more see; Tribute To Mark Donohue 

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Louis Schwitzer Wins First Indianapolis Motor Speedway Race - August 19th, 1909

August 19th, 1909
In front of some 12,000 spectators, automotive engineer Louis Schwitzer wins the two-lap, five-mile inaugural race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with average speed of 57.4 mph.

(Photo; historicindianapolis.com)
Louis Schwitzer (center)
Conceived by local businessmen as a testing facility for Indiana's growing automobile industry, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would later become famous as the home to the now world-famous "Indianapolis 500" race, which was first held in 1911. In that inaugural race, Schwitzer drove a stripped-down Stoddard Dayton touring car with a four-cylinder engine. He achieved an average speed of 57.4 mph on the new track, which was then covered in macadam, or crushed pieces of rock layered and bound by tar. Later, the speedway would be covered with 3.2 million paving bricks, which earned it its enduring nickname, "The Brickyard."

And in comparison to Schwitzer's inaugural race speed of 57.4 mph, after 100 years of history at the famed Brickyard;

May 10, 1996
Arie Luyendyk of the Netherlands,
  photo credit: United Autosports via photopin cc 
turned in an unofficial practice lap of 239.260 mph, which is the fastest single lap speed to this date.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

"Remembering" Mark Donohue

March 18, 1937 – August 19, 1975
Mark Donohue
Born in Haddon Township, New Jersey, USA. 
At the age of twenty-two, while a senior at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, Donohue began racing his 1957 Corvette. He won the first event he entered, a hillclimb in Belknap County, New Hampshire. He graduated from Brown in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

Donohue won the SCCA national championship in an Elva Courier in 1961. An experienced race driver named Walt Hansgen recognized Donohue's ability and befriended him, eventually providing an MGB for Donohue to race at the 1964 Bridgehampton 500-mile SCCA endurance event, which he won. Hansgen arranged for Donohue to become his teammate in 1965, co-driving a Ferrari 275 at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, which they finished in 11th place. That year, Donohue also won two divisional championships: in SCCA B Class in a GT350 and in SCCA Formula C in a Lotus 20B.

Donohue was hired on March 29, 1964 by Jack Griffith as Design Engineer for the Griffith, née TVR Grantura Mk III, powered by a Ford 289 cid  V8 engine. During his stay at Griffith Mark drove the Griffith-owned Shelby 289 Cobra making his mark on the SCCA circuit. In 1966, thanks to his friendship with Hansgen, word quickly spread to the Ford Motor Company about the young driver. Ford immediately signed Donohue to drive one of their GT-40 Mk II race cars campaigned at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by the Holman & Moody racing team. Le Mans proved frustrating for Donohue. Hansgen died while testing the GT40 in preparation for Le Mans so Donohue partnered with Australian Paul Hawkins. Donohue and Hawkins only completed twelve laps due to differential failure and finished 47th. Earlier that year, co-driving with Hansgen, Donohue finished third at the 24 Hours of Daytona and second at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

At Hansgen's funeral, Roger Penske spoke to Donohue about driving for him. In his first race for Penske, at Watkins Glen in June 1966, Donohue qualified well but crashed the car at the top of a hill, destroying the car.

Donohue was invited back to Le Mans by Ford in 1967. Ford had developed a new GT, the Mark IV. Donohue co-drove in the #4 yellow car with sports car driver and race car builder Bruce McLaren for Shelby American Racing. The two drivers disagreed on many aspects of racing and car setup, but as a team were able to muster a fourth-place finish in the endurance classic.

In 1967, Penske contacted Donohue about driving Penske's brand new Lola T70 spyder in the United States Road Racing Championship.
(Photo: Mark Donohue - 1967 Lola T70 Mark 3 via photopin (license))
(Mark Donohue - 1967 Lola T70 Mark 3)
Donohue dominated the 1967 United States Road Racing Championship, driving a Lola T70 MkIII Chevrolet for Roger Penske. Donohue raced in seven of the eight races that year, winning six and finishing third at the Laguna Seca Raceway round behind Lothar Motschenbacher and Mike Goth. In 1968, Donohue and Penske returned to defend their USRRC championship with the McLaren M6A Chevrolet. Donohue dominated the series, even though he suffered three DNFs during the season due to mechanical problems.

Donohue began his Trans-Am series campaign in 1967, winning three of twelve races in a Roger Penske-owned Chevrolet Camaro. In 1967 and 1968, Trans-Am schedule included the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Donohue finished fourth at Daytona and won the Trans-Am class at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

1968 would be a banner year for Donohue in the Trans-Am series, as he successfully defended his 12 Hours of Sebring victory by partnering with Craig Fisher and driving his Penske Chevrolet Camaro to victory. Donohue went on to win 10 of 13 races, a Trans-Am series record which would stand until Tommy Kendall went 11 for 13 in the 1997 Trans-Am championship, winning the first 11 races that year in his All-Sport liveried Mustang.

During their enormous success in Trans-Am, Roger and Mark would begin to experiment with their Camaros. They discovered that dipping a car in an acid bath would eat away small amounts of metal, which in turn made the car incrementally lighter, and allowed it to be driven faster around the track. The 1967 Z-28 won its last race by lapping the entire field. During a post-race inspection, race stewards discovered that the car was 250 pounds lighter than the 2800-pound minimum weight requirement. Donohue was about to have his race victory taken away for cheating, but Roger Penske stepped in. Penske warned that any disqualification would have the potential of motivating Chevrolet to pull all support for the Trans-Am series. After considering the potential consequences, the race stewards allowed Donohue's victory to stand, but the rules for the 1968 season incorporated a change whereby all cars would be weighed during the technical inspection before the race. Penske and Donohue did not stop acid-dipping after this, however. Continuing the practice of reducing weight allowed them to place weights of certain sizes strategically in specific locations within the car, thus helping to balance the car while being driven on the limit. They continued to use the "lightweight" car in 1968, at the Sebring 12-hour race. They changed the grille and taillight to the 1968 model, and then painted both cars identically. They sent the legal weight car through the technical inspection with the number 15 and again with the number 16 on it. Then they put both cars in the race, number 15 and 16, one car being 250 pounds lighter. They won the race, finished 3rd overall, and went on to win 10 out of 13 races that year.

In 1969, Penske and Donohue raced in their first Indianapolis 500, where Donohue finished seventh, winning the rookie of the year award. Donohue raced at Indianapolis each year following, finishing second in 1970 and 25th in 1971.

In 1970 new Javelin team owner Roger Penske, and driver Mark Donohue, would breathe new life into the AMC team. Donohue drove the Javelin to three victories and finished second overall in the manufacturer’s championship, and missed the driver's championship by only two points. In 1971 Donohue won the final six races in a row, and seven out of nine, to become the Trans-Am Champion. In the final race of the season, all three Javelins finished in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places making AMC the season winner among all manufacturers. Donohue raced in several NASCAR Grand American races, a NASCAR pony car division from 1968 until 1971.
(Photo; www.pinterest.com)
In the 1972-1973 season, driving an AMC Matador for Penske Racing in NASCAR's top division, the Winston Cup Series, Donohue won the season-opening event at Riverside in 1973. That race was Penske's first NASCAR win in a long history of NASCAR participation and remains to this day, the last non-regular (non-full schedule) driver (road course ringer) to win a NASCAR Winston Cup road race.

(1972 McLaren Offenhauser Indy Car - Alex Lloyd driver)

(Photo: #66 1972 McLaren Offenhauser Indy Car via photopin (license))
Donohue won the 1972 Indianapolis 500, driving for Roger Penske. He finished the race in his McLaren-Offy setting a record speed of 162 mph, which would stand for twelve years. The victory was the first for Penske in the Indy 500.

Between 1972 and 1973, Penske Racing was commissioned by Porsche to assist with development of the 917/10. Donohue extensively tested the 917-10, offering up his substantial engineering knowledge to the Porsche engineers in order to design the best possible race car to compete in the Can-Am series. During testing of the 917-10 at Road Atlanta, Donohue had recommended larger brake ducts to the Porsche engineers, in order to provide more efficient cooling, and thus less fade and degradation as a race wears on.

The Porsche engineers obliged, but in doing so, caused the new brake ducts to interfere with the bodywork closure pins, which attach the bodywork to the car. Coming out of turn seven, the rear bodywork flew off the car at approximately 150 mph (240 km/h), causing the car to become extremely unstable. The car lifted off the ground and tumbled multiple times down the track. The front of the car was completely torn away, leaving Donohue, still strapped to his safety seat, with his legs dangling outside the car. Amazingly, Donohue only suffered a broken leg. George Follmer, Donohue's old Trans-Am teammate, resumed testing the 917-10 while Donohue was recuperating. In classic Donohue style, Donohue said of Follmer testing his car "It just doesn't feel right. Seeing another man driving your car, a car you know so well. I imagine it must feel like watching another man in bed with your wife".

Porsche, Penske, and Donohue quickly started the development of the 917-30, complete with a reworked aerodynamic "Paris" body and a 5.4-liter turbocharged Flat-12 engine whose output could be adjusted between approximately 1100 and 1500 bhp by turning a boost knob located in the cockpit. During the development of this motor, the German Porsche engineers often asked Donohue if the motor finally had enough power. His tongue-in-cheek answer was "it will never have enough power until I can spin the wheels at the end of the straightaway in high gear."

Donohue set the world closed-course speed record driving the Porsche 917-30 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama on August 9, 1975. His average speed around the 2.66-mile high-banked oval was 221.120 mph (355.858 km/h). Donohue held the world record for eleven years, until it was broken by Rick Mears at Michigan International Speedway.
(Photo; www.flickr.com)
The 917-30 is referred to, erroneously, as "The Can-Am Killer" as it dominated the competition, winning every race but one of the 1973 Can-Am championship, however, the SCCA imposed fuel limitations for all Can-Am races due to the existing Arab Oil Embargo. Because of this, Porsche and McLaren withdrew from the series. It generally is considered one of the most powerful and most dominant racing machines ever created.

Donohue raced in the inaugural IROC series in 1973/74, racing identical, specially-prepared Porsche RSRs. Of the four-race series, Donohue won the first and third of three races at Riverside and the final race of the year at Daytona. The only person to beat Donohue was his former Penske Trans-Am teammate, George Follmer. In winning the first IROC championship, Donohue beat the best-of-the-best racing drivers of that era from all of the major championships, such as Denny Hulme, Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Peter Revson, Bobby Unser, and Gordon Johncock.

The pressures of racing and designing the car took their toll on Donohue. Donohue announced that he would retire from racing after the 1973 Can-Am season. In addition, the horrific events at the 1973 Indianapolis 500 and the subsequent death of his friend, Swede Savage, pushed him to quit. His retirement was short-lived, however, as he was lured back to full-time competitive driving by Roger Penske when Penske formed a Formula One team, Penske Cars Ltd, to compete in the final two events of the 1974 Formula One World Championship, and to continue competing in 1975 with the new Penske PC1.

Donohue previously had debuted in Formula One on September 19, 1971 with a Penske-sponsored McLaren at the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park, finishing on the podium in third place. After being lured out of retirement by his former boss, Penske, Donohue returned to Formula One, entering into the final two races of the 1974 Formula One season. Donohue finished in 12th place at the Canadian Grand Prix, but failed to finish at the United States Grand Prix.

A full-on assault of the 1975 Formula One season was planned. The 1975 season turned out to be a difficult one for Donohue and Penske. Donohue was able to muster 5th place finishes at the Swedish Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix, but the new Penske PC1 chassis proved problematic, as evidenced by three retirements in the first six races. At the Austrian Grand Prix, Donohue's career, along with Roger Penske's Formula One aspirations, would take a tragic turn.
(Photo: Mark Donohue driving March 751 via photopin (license))
(Mark Donohue driving March 751)
Midway through the 1975 F1 season, Penske abandoned the troublesome PC1 and started using the March 751. During a practice session for the race, Donohue lost control of his March after a tire failed, sending him careening into the catch fencing at the fastest corner on the track, Vöest Hügel. A track marshal was killed by debris from the accident, but Donohue did not appear to be injured significantly. It is said that Donohue's head struck either a catch fencing post or the bottom of the wood frame for an advertising billboard located alongside of the racetrack. A headache resulted, however, and worsened. After going to the hospital of Graz the next day, Donohue lapsed into a coma from a cerebral hemorrhage and died on August 19, 1975.

In 2003, in commemoration of Penske Racing's 50th NASCAR win, Nextel Cup driver Ryan Newman drove a Dodge Intrepid painted to resemble Donohue's 1973 AMC at the fall Rockingham, North Carolina, race. Penske's first NASCAR win came at the hands of Donohue.

Roger Penske's new Penske Racing complex in Mooresville, North Carolina is decorated with various murals of Donohue and his racing cars, most notably the AMC stock car and the various Porsche prototypes that Donohue drove through his career.

Mark Donohue was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2006.

Mark Donohue chronicled his entire racing career in the book, The Unfair Advantage. The book documents his career from his first races to his final full season of racing the year before he was killed. This was not merely a celebrity autobiography, but a detailed, step-by-step record of the engineering approach he took to getting the absolutely highest performance from every car he drove, always looking for that elusive "unfair advantage". Donohue along with Penske, were pioneers in many rights, some as notable as the use of a skidpad as a tool for developing and perfecting race car suspension designs and setups. The book told how Donohue learned to exploit the antilock braking system and the powerful turbocharged engine of several prototype Porsches, as well as how he learned from various mishaps, including a near-fatal crash. Penske and Donohue also improved upon a process called "acid dipping" when racing in the 1967 and 1968 Trans-Am series, as discussed above. The book was published shortly before Donohue's death.

The book was re-released in 2000 by Bentley Publishers. It includes information and additional photography that was not available before the first edition was published, but understandably had few new events to describe, aside from the author's death.

Donohue's racing tradition is carried on by his son, David Donohue, a successful road racer in his own right. He currently races a Daytona Prototype Porsche Riley for Brumos Racing in the Grand-Am racing series, who won the 2009 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Andy Pilgrim Born In Nottingham, England - August 18, 1956

August 18, 1956
Andy Pilgrim
Born in Nottingham, England.
Pilgrim is a British-born racing driver, who became a United States citizen in 1998. He currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida.

He began racing an IMSA Renault Cup Renault Alliance in the 1980s. His professional racing began in 1996 when he made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut. He joined the Chevrolet Corvette factory team in 1999. In 2001 he was selected as teammate for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Kelly Collins in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the team finished second in class. He also won the 2001 Petit Le Mans. After the 24 Hours of Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Sr. promised to someday put Pilgrim in a NASCAR stock-car, a promise he was unable to fulfill due to his death a few weeks later during the 2001 Daytona 500. However Pilgrim  made his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut in 2011 at Infineon driving the 46 Car for Whitney Motorsports, where he finished 26th.

He left the Corvette program in 2004 but stayed with General Motors, driving for the winning team at the Daytona 24 in a Doran-Pontiac and spending the rest of the season driving for the new Cadillac CTS-V factory team in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series. The following year Pilgrim won the driver's championship in that series in his CTS-V. Staying with the team, he finished 3rd and 2nd in the series in 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 he also made his NASCAR Busch Series debut, driving two road course races for Earnhardt, Jr.'s JR Motorsports team. The purpose of the ride was to fulfill Dale Earnhardt's promise to Pilgrim. One of them was at Montreal in the inaugural NAPA 200 in which he almost won but had run out of gas on a restart losing the race, and barely avoided Marcos Ambrose who was crashing as a result of being tapped by Robby Gordon. Pilgrim's best finish in the Busch series is 15th in both races.

In 2008 he continued to drive the SPEED World Challenge CTS-V, although it is now a privateer team rather than a factory program, sponsored by Remington. In 2009, Pilgrim joined Randy Pobst as part of the K-Pax team, campaigning the Volvo S60 in the SPEED World Challenge. He resulted fourth in the drivers standings in 2009 and 2010.

Pilgrim made his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut in 2011 at Infineon driving the 46 Car for Whitney Motorsports, where he finished 26th.

Also in 2011, Pilgrim rejoined GM in World Challenge driving the factory Cadillac CTS-V Coupe alongside Johnny O'Connell. He was fifth in 2011, runner-up in 2012, third in 2013 and fourth in 2014.

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Dale Jarrett Takes His First Cup Victory - August 18, 1991

August 18, 1991
Dale Jarrett, the son of two-time Grand National Champion Ned Jarrett, drove the Wood Brothers/ Ford to a '10 inch' margin over Davey Allison to win his first career NASCAR Winston Cup race, the "Champion Spark Plug 400" at Michigan International Speedway.

This win was the start of an impressive career, leading to the 1999 Winston Cup Series Championship and a total of 32 NASCAR Winston Cup victory's. His victories include; the "Daytona 500" in 1993, 1996 and 2000, the "Brickyard 400" in 1996 & 1999, the "Coca-Cola 600" in 1996, the "Winston 500" in 1998 and the "Budweiser Shootout" in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Dale Jarrett was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Three Italians Complete 1-2-3 Ferrari Netherlands Sweep - August 17, 1952

August 17, 1952
Alberto Ascari,  Nino Farina, and Luigi Villoresi all of Italy, completed a 1-2-3 sweep for Ferrari at the "Grand Prix of the Netherlands", at Circuit Park Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands.

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Al Unser Wins USAC Champ Car "Tony Bettenhausen 200" -

August 17, 1969
Al Unser finished ahead of brother Bobby Unser to win the USAC Champ Car Series "Tony Bettenhausen 200" at Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wisconsin, USA.

"3-time F-1 World Champion" Nelson Piquet Born - August 17, 1952

August 17, 1952
Nelson Piquet
(Photo credit: CJM-Photography via photopin cc)
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A 3-time Formula One World Champion, Piquet has been ranked among the greatest Formula One drivers in various motorsport polls.

Piquet had a brief career in tennis before losing interest in the sport and subsequently took up karting and hid his identity to prevent his father discovering his hobby. He became the Brazilian national karting champion in 1971-72 and won the Formula Vee championship in 1976.

With advice from Emerson Fittipaldi, Piquet went to Europe to further success by taking the record number of wins in Formula Three in 1978, defeating Jackie Stewart's all-time record. In the same year, he made his Formula One debut with the Ensign team

In 1979, Piquet moved to the Brabham team and finished the runner-up in 1980 before winning the championship in 1981. Piquet's poor performances in 1982 saw a resurgence for 1983 and his second world championship. For 1984-85, Piquet had once again lost chances to win the championship but managed to score three wins during that period.

He moved to the Williams team in 1986 and was a title contender until the final round in Australia. Piquet took his third and final championship in 1987 during a heated battle with team-mate Nigel Mansell which left the pair's relationship sour.

Piquet subsequently moved to Lotus for 1988-89 where he experienced his third drop in form. He eventually went to the Benetton team for 1990-91 where he managed to win three races before retiring. His final victory came at the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix.

After retiring from Formula One, Piquet tried his hand at the "Indianapolis 500" for two years. He also tried his hand at sports car racing during and after his Formula One career. Piquet is currently retired and runs several businesses in Brazil and manages his sons Nelson Piquet Jr. and Pedro Piquet.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Michael Schumacher Wins "Hungarian Grand Prix" - August 16, 1998

August 16, 1998
Michael Schumacher of Germany, drove his Ferrari to a 9.433 second victory, over the McLaren/Mercedes of David Coulthard, in the "Marlboro Hungarian Grand Prix" at Hungaroring, Mogyorod, Hungary. Defending World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve of Canada, finished third in a Williams.

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"Winningest Driver In ARCA History" Iggy Katona Born - August 16, 1916

August 16, 1916 - December 4, 2003
Egnatius "Iggy" Katona
Born in Toledo, Ohio, USA.
He is most famous for his performance in the ARCA series in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, where he won six championships and 79 races, the latter of which stood as a series record until Frank Kimmel surpassed it in 2013. Other ARCA records held by Katona include most starts with 630, oldest race winner at 57 years old, Daytona International Speedway, 1974 and most consecutive seasons with a win with 19, from 1953–1971.

Katona started out racing motorcycles in local races in Michigan and Ohio at age 21, winning nearly every race he entered.

After a brief tour of duty in the Army during World War II, he turned to midget car racing. Building his own engines and chassis and with his two sons Ronnie and Jim as crew members, Katona found success on four wheels as well, including winning 14 feature races in a row at Detroit's famed Motor City Speedway dirt oval.

In 1952, fellow Toledoan John Marcum created his Midwest Association for Race Cars as a Northern counterpart to the Southern stock car series of the day, Bill France, Sr.'s NASCAR. Katona was a force in the series from the beginning, finishing 3rd in the series' inaugural campaign in 1953, 2nd in 1954 and winning the championship in 1955, 1956 and 1957. His 4th MARC championship came in 1962 driving his #30 Ford.

Although he developed his racing skills on the short tracks of the Midwest, Katona adapted well when the MARC changed its name to ARCA and began racing on superspeedways in 1964, winning the ARCA race at Daytona three times. He won his 5th and 6th titles in 1966 and – at the age of 51 – 1967. His consistency was his biggest asset; he finished in the top ten in series points 21 straight seasons, from 1953-73.

Egnatius "Iggy" Katona died December 4, 2003 in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was 87.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Carl Edwards Born In Columbia, Missouri - August 15, 1979

August 15, 1979
Carl Edwards
(Photo; "Carl Edwards at the Daytona 500" by Nascarking)
Born in Columbia, Missouri, USA.
He last competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Prior to that, he drove the No. 99 Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing. He won the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series championship and nearly won the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, but lost by a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart. Edwards is well known for doing a backflip off his car to celebrate a victory, which was a result of saving himself from a potential fall when he had his first win.

Prior to becoming a full-time driver, Edwards was working as a substitute teacher while pursuing his racing career. Edwards is a first cousin once removed to fellow NASCAR driver Ken Schrader, who told Edwards early in his racing career to get dirt track experience before going to Cup; he would later take the advice. In light of this relationship, Edwards is often referred to as "Cousin Carl." Edwards would give a business card to other teams for his services before getting a ride with Roush Racing.

Achievements  & Awards;
2007 NASCAR Busch Series Champion
2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Winner
2007 Prelude to the Dream Winner
2015 Coca-Cola 600 winner
2015 Bojangles' Southern 500 winner
2005 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year
2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year
2007 NASCAR Busch Series Most Popular Driver

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Sam Schmidt Born In Lincoln, Nebraska - August 15, 1964

August 15, 1964
Sam Schmidt
(Photo; alchetron.com)
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
Sam is a former Indy Racing League driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights series team owner. After graduating from Pepperdine University, he became a successful businessman, eventually purchasing his father's parts company in 1989 at the age of 25. He raced at a competitive amateur level, supported by his business income, but dreamed of someday driving in the Indianapolis 500.

He first drove professionally in 1995 in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series at the age of 31, by racing standards an unusually old age to begin a professional career. Nonetheless, he won Rookie of the Year honors. In 1997 he made his first IRL start and became a rising star in the league, raced in 3 consecutive Indianapolis 500's, and netted his first victory from the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999, finishing fifth in series points that year.

During that offseason, while testing in preparation for the 2000 season, Schmidt crashed at Walt Disney World Speedway on January 6, 2000. The accident rendered him a quadriplegic, and put him on a respirator for five months. After leaving the hospital, Schmidt, no longer able to actually drive a racecar, realized he needed to find a new passion and follow it. Inspired by meeting quadriplegic Formula One team owner Sir Frank Williams, he founded Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which has become the most successful team in the history of the Indy Lights series, winning the 2004 series championship with Thiago Medeiros, the 2006 title with Jay Howard, and the 2007 title with Alex Lloyd. Sam Schmidt Motorsports was a full-time IndyCar series team in 2001 and 2002, and continues to participate annually in the Indianapolis 500. In the Firestone Indy Lights series, as of August 2009 the team had posted 30 victories out of 100 starts.

After acquiring the FAZZT Race Team IndyCar team in 2011, Sam Schmidt Motorsports returned full-time to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and on May 21, 2011, driver Alex Tagliani won the pole position for the Indianapolis 500, the first pole for the team.

Sam now lives in the Las Vegas area and travels over 100 days per year despite his medical condition. In addition to the motorsports enterprise, Sam established the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation to further the cause of paralysis research, treatment and quality of life issues.
(Photo; "Schmidt & Tagliani 20110521" by Chuck Carroll - Own work)
Sam Schmidt with 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Alex Tagliani.

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