Friday, March 16, 2018

"Midget, Sprint & Indy Star" Gary Bettenhausen Dies - March 16, 2014

November 18, 1941 - March 16, 2014
Gary Bettenhausen
Born in Blue Island, Illinois, USA.
Bettenhausen's father was Indianapolis 500 and sprint car legend Tony Bettenhausen. His brother was former CART driver and team owner Tony. Another brother, Merle, was injured in a fiery crash.

Bettenhausen began as a midget car driver. He finished third in the midget car national points in 1967. He won the first leg of the Astro Grand Prix in 1969, which was held in the Astrodome. He won the 1967 and 1970 Turkey Night Grand Prix, the 1972 Astro Grand Prix, and the 1976 Hut Hundred, on his way to a total of 27 career wins in USAC midget car competition.

Bettenhausen won the 1969 and 1971 sprint car championships. He won the 1980 and 1983 USAC Dirt Track champions in a Silver Crown car. A crash at a Championship Dirt Car race in Syracuse, New York on July 2, 1974 crushed his left arm and left it paralyzed. He regained enough mobility to drive but never fully recovered from the injury.

Bettenhausen competed in Champ/Indy style cars from the mid-1960s until 1996. During this time he won six USAC Indy Car races. He made 21 starts in the Indianapolis 500, with his best finish in 1980 when he finished third after starting 32nd in the 33-car field.

In the 1972 Indianapolis 500, Bettenhausen led 138 laps, but suffered a blown engine with only 24 laps remaining, and dropped out to finish 14th.

Bettenhsusen competed in eight career NASCAR Winston Cup events. He had four Top 10 finishes. His highest career finish was a fourth-place finish at the 1974 Motor State 360 at the Michigan International Speedway.

Bettenhsusen was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1993 and the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1998.

Bettenhausen died on March 16, 2014 in Monrovia, Indiana.

Louis Unser Born In Madison County, Illinois - Mar. 16, 1896

Mar. 16, 1896 Oct. 18, 1979
Louis Unser
Born in Madison County, Illinois, USA.
Louis was the uncle of the late Jerry Unser, Jr who died May 17, 1959 of injuries received in a practice accident while preparing for his second Indianapolis 500, Louis J. Unser, race car driver and master engine builder, four time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Sr and three time Indianapolis 500 winner, Bobby Unser. Great uncle of two time Indianapolis 500 winner, Al Unser, Jr, five time Indianapolis 500 starter Johnny Unser, two time Indianapolis 500 starter Robby Unser and the now retired Bobby Unser, Jr who competed in Sprint Cars, Formula Vees and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb.

 Louis won the Pikes Peak Hillclimb 9 times between 1934 and 1953. He died on Oct. 18, 1979, He is buried in Manitou Springs, Colorado, at the foot of Pike's Peak. His epitaph reads "Old Man of the Mountain.

"Former Can-Am Driver" Randy Zimmer Born - March 16th

March 16th
Randy Zimmer
From Williamsville, New York, USA.
Randy has always had an interest in cars and racing. From traveling to pro slot car events at 12, running a kart on home made tracks at 14, to managing his brother’s racing effort at age 16.

His own racing experience started with autocrossing in 1970 at 18. Randy is a fine ex-sample of your everyday, pivateer racer. Often towing the car behind the family vehicle, the driver, the mechenic, the crew cheif. All this was done without any visible support or family fortune, while holding low-paying jobs that allowed time off for racing, focusing on the ones with the best possible purses.

Randy did all this, racing since 1977 in SSC, SSB, SSA, FC, CSR, ASR, GP, GT5, GT4, GT2, Rabbit-Bilstein, Firehawk, Longest Day, Can-Am U2 and O2, CAT-Indycar, ITB, SRF, even more when including testing cars for others.

Despite putting in so much time and effort into his Can-Am career, its ironic that Randy's biggest successes and largest paydays were at the Sherbrooke Ice Races, entering three years and finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. "I've almost always done well at televised races"

Besides managing to stay racing over such a long period, Zimmer's racing highlights have to include; Winning both Rookie and Driver's titles from NYSRRC, winning a Rabbit-Bilstein race at Charlotte, leading the Summit Point Can-Am, causing Bob Anderson of the SCCA to state, "When I saw Randy Zimmer in the lead of a Can-Am, I knew it was time to pull the plug." and a number of satisfying seasons in Rally, winning all three RallySprints he entered and being involved in numerous "First" ever ralllycrosses.

I personally know Randy from Can-Am, during my day at Horst Kroll Racing. The backbone to the series in those days were the guys like Zimmer, Kroll, Macaluso, Gunn and Tempero. The guys who showed up every race, often driving for that payday to keep there effort going, unable to take the chances the big budget drivers could. Randy once said, "trying to keep my pace and let the others self-destruct. It was a costly lesson learned at St. Pete when I decided to run a bent wheel with a new tire on it rather than an older slower tire on a good rim. If I had just finished that race while all the others stumbled, it would have been a good payday. Instead, I was one of the first out of the race."

Randy now lives in Buffalo, New York and works at RooDucts Brake Cooling Solutions. He finally hung up his helmet in 2013 after he started feeling more satisfaction in helping others go faster than doing it himself. Randy Zimmer represented the true racer, the privateer, the guy there for the love of the sport.

Happy Birthday Randy from Canadian Auto Racing and This Day In Motorsport History

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Al Herman Born In Topton, Pennsylvania - March 15, 1927

March 15, 1927 – June 18, 1960
Al Herman 
Born in Topton, Pennsylvania, USA.
Herman drove in the American Automobile Association and United States Automobile Club Championship Car series, racing in the 1955-1957 and 1959-1960 seasons with 11 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in each of those years. He finished in the top ten 3 times, with his best finish in 7th position, in the 1955 Indianapolis 500, earning him Rookie of the Year.

Herman died in West Haven, Connecticut as a result of injuries sustained in a midget car crash at the West Haven Speedway. Herman was involved in a multi-car crash on the first lap of the feature race and his car rolled.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bill Simpson Born In Hermosa Beach, California - March 14, 1940

March 14, 1940 
Bill Simpson
Born in Hermosa Beach, California, USA.
A retired racecar driver, but is best known as a pioneer in the racing safety business with his company Simpson Performance Products.

Simpson started in drag racing and SCCA Formula racing, eventually moving up to the USAC Championship Car series. He raced in the 1968-1974 and 1976-1977 seasons, with 52 career starts. He qualified twentieth for the 1974 Indianapolis 500, and finished thirteenth. He finished in the top ten 11 times, with his best finish in 6th position in 1970 at Milwaukee. He decided to end his racing career in 1977, because he started to think about a telephone call that he needed to make while he was practicing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1958, the 18 year old Simpson broke both arms in a drag racing crash. Simpson later said, "Until then, I was like most drivers. The only time I thought about safety was after I'd been hurt. This time, I was hurt bad enough to do a lot of thinking." 

Simpson's uncle owned a military surplus store, and suggested that he use a cross-form parachute to slow down the drag car. Simpson rented a sewing machine to create a prototype. Simpson got together with his friend dragster driver Mike Sorokin to test the prototype. They tested it by attaching it to a tow hitch, and dumping it from the back of the Chevy wagon while Sorokin drove down a street at 100 mph. The chute was too big for the car, and the car went airborne and crashed into a tree nursery. Both racers were jailed for the incident, but Simpson Drag Chutes was founded.

The first person to inquire about and use his parachute was "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. He evolved his business into a number of other safety items, such as gloves, helmets, restraints and shoes. Simpson designed NASA's first umbilical cords, where he met Pete Conrad. Conrad introduced Simpson to DuPont product Nomex in 1967. Simpson used the product to create fire suits to be used in racing. He took the suit to the 1967 Indianapolis 500 where it was worn by 30 of 33 drivers. Simpson had developed over 200 racing safety products, including three generations of fire suits. Simpson demonstrated the suit's effectiveness in 1987, when he was set on fire while wearing a suit.

Simpson Performance Products was involved in a controversy after the February 2001 death of Dale Earnhardt over whether the seat belt manufactured by the company had malfunctioned. NASCAR's investigation into the crash in part blamed seat belt failure. Simpson received death threats and bullets into his house, which led to his resignation in July 2001. Simpson sued NASCAR for $8.5 million defamation of character suit. Simpson withdrew his lawsuit with an undisclosed settlement.

After leaving Simpson Performance Products, Bill Simpson realized that he still had much to contribute to improving driver safety. After a one year non-compete with Simpson Performance Products expired, he started Impact! Racing in 2002. In addition to the drag chutes and Nomex underwear that Bill Simpson first introduced to racing, Impact! also manufacturers restraints, helmets, race suits, shoes, and gloves for drag racing, NASCAR, Indycar, and other racing applications. In 2010, Bill Simpson sold Impact! Racing to Robbie Pierce and MasterCraft Safety.

Simpson designed a lighter football helmet after attending an Indianapolis Colts football game and witnessing a player being hit in the head by the ball. He has partnered with Chip Ganassi to form Simpson Ganassi Helmets.

In 2003, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

Lee Petty Born in Randleman, North Carolina - March 14, 1914

March 14, 1914 – April 5, 2000
Lee Petty
Born in Randleman, North Carolina, USA.
He is the father of NASCAR legend, Richard "The King" Petty, who would become NASCAR's all-time race winner. With sons Richard and Maurice Petty, he founded Petty Enterprises, which became NASCAR's most successful racing team. He was the grandfather of Kyle Petty, and great grandfather of Adam Petty who died in a racing accident during a NASCAR Busch Series practice session at New Hampshire International Speedway. He is also the grandfather of Ritchie Petty who ran a few races in NASCAR. His nephew Dale Inman worked for Petty Enterprises as Richard's crew chief from the early 1960s until 1981 and during the 1990s.
(Photo: The Pettys at Bristol via photopin (license)
He was one of the pioneers of NASCAR, and one of its first superstars. He was thirty-five years old before he began racing. He began his NASCAR career at NASCAR's first race at the three-quarter mile long dirt track, Charlotte Speedway. He finished in the Top 5 in season points for NASCAR's first eleven seasons. He won the NASCAR Championship on three occasions and the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959.

Lee Petty died on April 5, 2000 at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the age of 86. Lee died just three days after his great-grandson Adam made his Winston Cup Series debut.

In 1990, Lee Petty was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996. He was elected to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He was selected as one of Nascar's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 along with his son, Richard Petty. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, 2011.

"NHRA Greatest 50" Elmer Trett Born - March 14, 1943

March 14, 1943 - September 1st, 1996
 Elmer Trett
Born in Keavy, Kentucky, USA.
Trett started drag racing in the late 1960s at Thornhill Dragway in Kenton, Kentucky. His first racing machine was his Harley-Davidson street bike. Trett owned a motorcycle performance shop in Hamilton, Ohio, and worked primarily on Harley-Davidsons. His family was always a big part of his racing, with his wife, Jackie, and daughters, Gina and Kelly, heavily involved in the family business. In the early part of the '70s, a magazine that featured a double-engined Harley inspired him and he built one and started his professional racing career.

He turned to Top Fuel in 1976 with the twin-engined Sportster. The development of the Harley reached its pinnacle in 1979 when he won his first title with sanctioning body DRAGBIKE. Lighter designs were beginning to eclipse Trett’s 900-pound, double-engined monster, so in 1980 Trett got backing from Harley-Davidson to develop a blown, single-engine nitromethane-burning V-twin. Unfortunately for Trett, Harley-Davidson was going through financial difficulties and was forced the next year to cut most of its racing programs, including Trett’s. Without the factory support, Trett had to make the difficult decision to switch to the more modern designs of the Japanese multi-cylinder machines. He chose Kawasaki.

It was during this period that the Tretts, seeking a little warmer climate, moved the race shop and their home to the mountain community of Demorest, Georgia.

Trett permanently etched his name in the drag racing record books when he became the first motorcycle drag racer to eclipse 200 mph after being clocked at 201.43 at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 1983. The 200 mph barrier was the most coveted milestone in motorcycle drag racing during this era and Trett became an instant celebrity in the motorcycling community for making the hurdle. He became one of the best-known racers in motorcycling and was featured on the covers of nearly all the top motorcycling magazines.

In a 1986 feature in Motorcyclist, Trett described the sensation of riding a Top Fuel motorcycle dragster - perhaps the most treacherous contraption in all of motorsports. “Making a pass on a top fueler is like being shot out of a rifle,” Trett said. “If your aim isn’t perfect, you’re going to miss the target.” He went on to explain that the bike consumed over three gallons of nitro/alcohol mixed fuel during its seven-second run.

Throughout the 1980s and '90s, Trett refined a series of motorcycles and continued to set records along the way. In all, he won eight national Top Fuel championships under three different sanctioning bodies.

Later in his career, Trett did everything he could to keep Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing alive. He took it upon himself to talk to riders in other classes and gave them a helping hand if they made the jump to the Top Fuel. Often this meant helping an archrival that he would have to race against, but Trett worked unselfishly for the benefit of the class of drag racing he loved so much.

Trett was a trendsetting genius in the world of drag bike racing.  During Trett’s career, his incredible home-built dragbikes reset, often shattering, the world elapsed-time and speed records over 15 times, including the legendary, long-standing record blast of 6.06 at the 1996 Prostar Pingel Thunder Nationals.  Trett was the first man over 200, 210, 220, and 230 mph.

The motorcycle drag racing legend and perhaps the greatest Top Fuel rider in the sport’s history, was killed on September 1st, 1996, when he came off his motorcycle at the top end of Indianapolis Raceway Park while making an exhibition run, one of his numerous endeavors to bring more attention to motorcycle drag racing. He was 53. Trett's crash came one day after the fatal crash of Blaine Johnson at the same track. A sad weekend for the motor sport community.

Trett's death came when he was well on his way to a ninth title, and on the verge of becoming the first rider to break into the magical five-second bracket. “He had made several record runs in the low sixes and most people believe he would have broken into the fives by the end of that year.” said Keith Kizer, president of AMA Prostar.

In addition to his induction into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Trett also became the first motorcycle racer to be inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
For his influence and impact on the sport the NHRA recognized Trett as number 50 on its list of the greatest 50 drivers of all time, highly impressive considering the NHRA is an organization showcasing primarily four-wheeled vehicles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Robert Wickens Born In Guelph, Ontario, Canada - March 13, 1989

March 13, 1989
Robert Wickens
Home:Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Robert is currently driving in the IndyCar Series for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. In 2009 he finished in second place in the FIA Formula Two Championship, and in 2010 he was runner-up in the GP3 Series. In his return to Formula Renault 3.5, where he competed in 2008, he won the 2011 season championship with Carlin Motorsport, with backing of Marussia. Wickens then left the series to race in the DTM for the HWA Team.

Wickens left DTM after the 2017 season and signed to drive for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the 2018 IndyCar Series. He would go on to claim pole position in his debut qualifying session on March 10, 2018, for the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but unfortunately while leading the race with 2 laps left, Alexander Rossi made a rookie mistake as a veteran and took out Robert Wickens from the lead, gifting the win to Sebastian Bourdais.

Marco Andretti Born In Nazareth, Pennsylvania - March 13, 1987

March 13, 1987
Marco Andretti
Born in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, USA. 
He is the third generation of the famous Andretti racing family. Son of Micheal and Grandson of Mario. Currently drives the No. 98 car for Andretti Herta Autosport in the IndyCar Series. In the 2003 Barber Formula Dodge Eastern Championship, and was champion in the Barber National and Southern class the following year. Still barely out of high school, he raced in the Star Mazda series in 2005 and also made six starts in the Indy Pro Series. He won three times and finished 10th in points despite only starting half the races.

Marco has had success in series such as the American Le Mans Series, and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, competing in races such as the Sebring 12 hour and 24 Hours of Daytona.

Honda Racing F1 announced in December, 2006 that Andretti would be presented with an opportunity to test their Formula One car, and on December 15, Andretti drove their Formula One car at Jerez in Spain. Honda sporting director Gil de Ferran commented that he had done a good job. Andretti said that he had greatly enjoyed the test but also told reporters that he wishes to enter Formula One only after he has won the Indy 500.

On February 7 and February 8, 2007 Andretti participated in a second Honda Racing F1 test for two days in Jerez, Spain. As in the previous test Marco drove the team's 2006 Formula One car. His (unofficial) fastest lap of the day on February 7 was less than 1.5 seconds slower than Honda team driver Jenson Button's fastest time. His (unofficial) fastest time on February 8 (in rainy/changing conditions) was less than one second slower than that of the 2005 and 2006 Formula One World Drivers' Champion Fernando Alonso's fastest lap.

Lynn St. James Born In Willoughby, Ohio - March 13, 1947

March 13, 1947
Lynn St. James
Born in Willoughby, Ohio, USA.
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.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Johnny Rutherford Born in Coffeyville, Kansas - March 12, 1938

March 12, 1938
Johnny Rutherford
Born in Coffeyville, Kansas, USA.
In 1959, Rutherford started driving modified stock cars in Dallas. He joined the International Motor Contest Association sprint car circuit in 1961 leading it for most of 1962. Rutherford later joined the United States Auto Club (USAC) starting in the Hoosier Hundred and later winning his first championship.

Rutherford set a world record for speed in his first qualifying effort in a stock car during qualifying for the 1963 Daytona 500. Later that year he also had his first start in the Indianapolis 500. Rutherford's first Indy car race win took place at the Atlanta 250. He won the USAC National Sprint Car Championship in 1965.

On April 3, 1966, Rutherford suffered a serious crash at Eldora Speedway. His car flipped out of the track, and he suffered broken arms, a broken finger, and a head injury. He was forced to sit out the 1966 Indy 500.

Rutherford won pole position at the Indy 500 in 1973, 1976, and 1980. In 1973, Rutherford set a one-lap track record of 199.071 mph, falling just shy of becoming the first driver to break the 200 mph barrier at Indianapolis. Victories at the Indy 500 for him came in 1974, 1976 and 1980. In 1984, at Michigan International Speedway, Rutherford set an all time Indy car qualifying lap speed record of 215.189 mph. He became the first driver to win all three 500 mile races, in 1986, by winning the Michigan 500. Rutherford recorded nine straight seasons with a victory making him one of just six drivers in Indy Car history to do so.

In October 1977, Rutherford travelled 'down under' to compete in Australia's most famous motor race, the Bathurst 1000 km (800 mi) touring car race at the Mount Panorama Circuit. There, partnering fellow Indianapolis racer Janet Guthrie, Rutherford drove a V8 powered Holden Torana for the team that had won the 1976 race, Ron Hodgson Racing. Driving a completely unfamiliar car, the steering wheel on the right side of the car, on a 6.172 km (3.835 mi) public road course carved into the side of a mountain, Rutherford qualified 26th out of 60 starters. During practice he complained about his car as it was not as good as the teams lead car driven by 1976 winners Bob Morris and John Fitzpatrick. Morris then got in the car and while not as quick as his own Torana, easily lapped over 5 seconds faster showing the problem was simply JR's lack of familiarity with the car and track. Wisely, JR made a cautious start to the race, but his race would come effectively to an end on lap 8 when he attempted to lap the Ford Escort RS2000 of 1966 winner Bob Holden. The Torana and Escort made contact and Rutherford ended up crashing into an earth bank at the top of The Mountain. The bent Torana was then brought back to the pits on the back of a tilt-tray truck (with the race still going at full speed and cars passing the truck going along the 2 km long Conrod Straight at over 150 mph (241 km/h)). It was then disqualified before being reinstated. Rutherford then completed another 5 laps before finally retiring with Guthrie not getting to drive.

Rutherford's NASCAR Winston Cup career included 35 starts from 1963 to 1988. He won in his first start, at Daytona International Speedway driving for Smokey Yunick. The win, in the second 100-mile Daytona 500 qualifying race, made him one of the youngest drivers ever to win in NASCAR history, in a full points-paying NASCAR race. In 1981, Rutherford drove twelve races, the most he ever raced in a single NASCAR season. In addition, Rutherford competed in five runnings of the International Race of Champions, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1984.

Rutherford's 24th and final start at Indianapolis would be 1988. By that time he was running only a part-time schedule, and was splitting time working as a television analyst on NBC, ABC, CBS and ESPN and radio analyst on Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. He also served as the pace car driver for the PPG Indycar series for most of that period. He failed to qualify at Indy in three attempts (1989, 1990, 1992) and was not able to find a ride in 1991 or 1993. Starting in 1989, Rutherford began serving as the driver analyst on the IMS Radio Network. He was never able to achieve his milestone 25th Indy start.

During the month of May 1994, Rutherford officially retired from racing. At its inception in 1996, Rutherford took a full-time position as an official with the IRL, serving as pace car driver and driver coach. Rutherford also served as a racing consultant for Team Pennzoil.

Johnny's wife Betty was a fixture at his side throughout his racing career. His first Indy 500 win in 1974, with Betty looking on from the pits, helped to end the taboo in American racing against allowing women in the pit area. Rutherford, whom has been invited to The White House on behalf of Indy on multiple occasions, is considered a popular ambassador and spokesman for the sport of Indy car racing.

He was Inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996.

Erwin "Cannonball" Baker Born - March 12, 1882.

March 12, 1882 – May 10, 1960
Erwin "Cannonball" Baker
Born in Dearborn County, Indiana, USA.
In January 1912 he left Indianapolis on a two-speed Indian and covered 14,000 miles in three months, traveling through Florida, down to Cuba and Jamaica, and then to Panama. He took a steamer up to San Diego where he based himself for a while and from there he competed in several endurance runs in both California and Arizona. It was during this time that Baker decided he would attempt to break the transcontinental record. After a record-setting transcontinental drive in 1914, he received his nickname "Cannon Ball" from a New York newspaper writer who compared him to the Cannonball train of the Illinois Central made famous by Casey Jones.

Baker set 143 driving records from the 1910s through the 1930s. His first was set in 1914, riding coast to coast on an Indian motorcycle in 11 days. He normally rode to sponsor manufacturers, guaranteeing them "no record, no money".

In 1915, Baker drove from Los Angeles to New York City in 11 days, 7 hours and fifteen minutes in a Stutz Bearcat, and the following year drove a Cadillac 8 roadster from Los Angeles to Times Square in seven days, eleven hours and fifty-two minutes while accompanied by an Indianapolis newspaper reporter. In 1924 he made his first midwinter transcontinental run in a stock Gardner sedan at a time of 4 days, 14 hours and 15 minutes. He was so impressed by the car, that he purchased one thereafter. In 1926 he drove a loaded two-ton truck from New York to San Francisco in a record five days, seventeen hours and thirty minutes, and in 1928, he beat the 20th Century Limited train from New York to Chicago. Also in 1928, he competed in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race, and set a record time of 14:49.6 seconds, driving a Franklin.

His best-remembered drive was a 1933 New York City to Los Angeles trek in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, setting a 53.5 hour record that stood for nearly 40 years. This drive inspired the later Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, better known as the "Cannonball Run", which itself inspired at least five movies and a television series. In 1941, he drove a new Crosley Covered Wagon across the nation in a troublefree 6,517-mile (10,488 km) run to prove the economy and reliability characteristics of Crosley automobiles. Other record and near-record transcontinental trips were made in Model T Fords, Chrysler Imperials, Marmons, Falcon-Knights and Columbia Tigers, among others.

Erwin G. "Cannon Ball" Baker died of a heart attack at Community Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 10, 1960 at age 78. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

John Nemechek Born in Lakeland, Florida - March 12, 1970

March 12, 1970 – March 21, 1997
John Nemechek
(Photo; Darryl Moran)
Born in Lakeland, Florida, USA.
The younger brother of four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner Joe Nemechek, John followed his brother into racing, running his first race at the age of twelve in an 80 class dirtbike race. After a quick progression to the 250cc class, he moved onto mini-stock cars, where he raced against his brother, and eventually late-model stocks.

When he wasn't racing, Nemechek served as the front-tire changer on Joe's pit crew, and was on Joe's 1992 NASCAR Busch Series Championship winning team. He would begin attempting NASCAR races himself, and ran one Busch Race at IRP in 1994. He finished 30th after his #89 Chevrolet suffered engine failure. The following season, he began racing in the new Craftsman Truck Series, driving at first for Redding Motorsports, and then for his brother's NEMCO Motorsports. In the first year of competition, Nemechek ran 16 races and had two top-ten finishes. He followed that up with two more top-tens in 1996 and a thirteenth place finish in points, running a single truck he built himself titled The War Wagon under his own team, Chek Racing.

On March 16, 1997, Nemechek was running a truck race at Homestead-Miami Speedway when with 25 laps to go, he suddenly lost control of his truck and slammed into the Turn 1 wall driver's-side first, suffering major head injuries. He was extricated and transported to a nearby hospital, where he clung to life over the next five days before finally succumbing on March 21, just nine days after his 27th birthday.

Following the incident, Homestead was reconfigured into a true oval with a six-degree banking to reduce the possibility of the type of crash that killed Nemechek. His brother Joe was able to pay tribute to his brother by winning a Busch Series race that November at the now-reconfigured circuit. He later named his son John Hunter after his late brother.

Casey Mears Born in Bakersfield, California - March 12, 1978

March 12, 1978
Casey Mears
(Photo; Casey Mears via photopin (license))
Born in Bakersfield, California, USA.
He currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Biagi-DenBeste Racing. A former winner of the Coca-Cola 600 and the 24 Hours of Daytona. Mears is the nephew of four time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and the son of IndyCar and off-road veteran Roger Mears. He also works as a NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports 1.

John Andretti Born In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - March 12, 1963

March 12, 1963
John Andretti
(Photo; Saturday Busch Qualifying - Andretti via photopin (license))
Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA.
He is the older brother of racer Adam Andretti, nephew of Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and first cousin to IndyCar champion Michael Andretti and Jeff Andretti. He is the first cousin once-removed to IndyCar driver Marco Andretti. His father Aldo Andretti, Mario's twin brother, retired from driving a race car after he nearly died in an accident. His son, Jarett, is a USAC midget driver.

He has won in CART, IMSA GTP, Rolex Sports Car Series, and NASCAR. What many don't know John had success in Drag Racing also. In 1993, Andretti drove the Taco Bell Express Top Fuel Dragster for owner Jack Clark. He reached the semi-finals in his first national event at Atlanta during the FRAM Southern Nationals, clocking a career-best speed of 299 mph (481 km/h). In that race he beat 1992 T/F Champion Joe Amato in Round 1 and Mopar Express Lube driver Tommy Johnson Jr. in Round 2, but lost to Mike Dunn in Darrell Gwynn's La Victoria Salsa Car in the semi-finals. That race was won by Eddie Hill.

Since 2007, Andretti has co-hosted The Driver's Seat with John Kernan on Sirius Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel 90.

"Sports-car Champ & Fugitive" John Paul Sr. Born - March 12, 1939

March 12, 1939
John Paul Sr

Born in the Netherlands.
The 1979 Trans-Am Champion, Paul is a former class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He won the 1978 World Challenge for Endurance Drivers title and has won of both the 24 hours at Daytona & 12 hours of Sebring. He is the father of former CART, Indy car and Sports car driver John Paul Jr.

Paul Sr served a 15-year prison sentence for a variety of crimes including drug trafficking and shooting a Federal witness. In 2001 he disappeared on his boat while being sought for questioning by officials regarding the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.

Paul started club-level sportscar road racing in the late 1960s, winning the Sports Car Club of America Northeast Regional Championship in 1968. When his wife and son left him in 1972, Paul left racing for a while, living on a sailboat he had purchased. He resumed racing in 1975, now with his son, who had chosen to return to him, as a part-time member of his crew. He appeared at 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Dick Barbour Racing team, taking a class win in IMSA GTX class partnered by Dick Barbour and Brian Redman. This followed his class win in the 12 Hours of Sebring, earlier that season.

In 1979, Paul won the Trans-Am Series race at Mosport by a margin of 33 seconds. He would win a total of six races, en route to winning the Trans-Am title. He had already won the World Challenge for Endurance Drivers title the season before. In 1980, Paul began teaming with his son, and on May 26 Paul remarried to Chalice Alford, holding the ceremony on the infield at Lime Rock Park. Later in the day he teamed with his son to win the day's race, the Coca-Cola 400, making them the first father-son duo to win an IMSA Camel GT race. Even more remarkable, it was Junior's first IMSA GT race he entered. They would pair up again to win the Road America Pabst 500. Paul, Sr., would go on to finished second the IMSA GT series. 1980 also saw his greatest achievement, winning the World Challenge for Endurance Drivers, by just four points over British driver John Fitzpatrick. Paul was not a particularly fast driver, but was consistent and determined. He also completed mainly in his specially modified Porsche 935s prepared by his own team, JLP Racing, operating out of Lawrenceville, Georgia.

His wife vanished without trace in the summer of 1981 and later divorced in her absence to seek marriage with Hope, sister of Hurley Haywood in Haiti. In 1982, Paul Sr., teamed up with his son, to win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.Together, the Pauls would win three races. As a solo driver, Junior would win another four, all in JLP Racing prepared Porsche or Lola-Chrevolet T600. 1982 would be Paul Sr.'s last year as a driver, however. The lack of a major sponsor meant that, even with the team's success, his expenses overcame his earnings. In the paddock and off, Paul Sr. was known for his temper tantrums and mood swings that sent fear into everybody including his son, that helped to contribute to his imprisonment.

The Pauls had their first legal troubles when on January 10, 1979, Paul Jr. and Christopher Schill were caught by customs agents loading equipment onto a pickup truck on the bank of a canal in the Louisiana bayous after dark. Following questioning, when one of them smelled marijuana on their clothing, Paul Sr. was apprehended on his 42-foot boat named Lady Royale, where customs discovered marijuana residue and $10,000 on board. A rented truck was discovered nearby, which contained 1,565 pounds (710 kg) of marijuana. In court, all three pleaded guilty to marijuana possession charges, where each was placed on three years' probation and fined $32,500.

On April 19, 1983, an individual named Stephen Carson was shot in the chest, abdomen and leg in Crescent Beach, Florida. Carson had been given immunity in a drug trafficking case. He testified that John Paul, Sr. had approached him, ordered him into the trunk of his car, and shot at him five times when he fled rather than comply. Paul then fled when a companion of Carson's began shouting. Paul was arrested, but while out on bail fled before his trial. Paul was apprehended by Swiss authorities in January 1985, served a six-month sentence in Switzerland for using a false passport, and was extradited back to the United States in March 1986. At the same time, Paul's son John Jr. pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year sentence, but refused to testify against his father, who had been indicted as the ringleader of a drug trafficking ring that included, among others, both Johns, and John Sr.'s father, Lee. On June 4, 1986, Paul Sr. pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and received a sentence of twenty years, later expanded to twenty-five years after additional sentences were added. Paul served his sentence in USP Leavenworth.

Paul was paroled on July 2, 1999, but soon ran into more problems. Shortly following release, Paul met a woman named Colleen Wood, who would shortly leave her office manager job, sell her condominium and move in with Paul on his 55-foot schooner to embark on a planned five year around the world boating trip. In December the following year, Wood disappeared, never to be heard from again. Police questioned Paul in connection with the disappearance, but no charges were filed. Paul shortly after disappeared himself, likely in violation of his parole. Shortly after, he was spotted by a passerby in the Fiji Islands who had recognized him from an episode of Unsolved Mysteries then sailed back to Europe. He then sold his sailboat via a magazine classified advert in Italy and is believed to be living in Thailand. As of 2015 the case remains unsolved.
John Paul and Colleen Wood

Sunday, March 11, 2018

"Remembering" John Surtees

February 11, 1934 - March 10, 2017
John Surtees
Born In Tatsfield, Surrey, England
Surtees was the son of a south London motorcycle dealer. He had his first professional outing, which they won, in the sidecar of his father's Vincent. However, when race officials discovered Surtees's age, they were disqualified. He entered his first race at 15 in a grasstrack competition. In 1950, at the age of 16, he went to work for the Vincent factory as an apprentice. He made his first headlines in 1951 when he gave Norton star Geoff Duke a strong challenge in an ACU race at the Thruxton Circuit.

In 1955, Norton race chief Joe Craig gave Surtees his first factory sponsored ride aboard the Nortons. He finished the year by beating reigning world champion Duke at Silverstone and then at Brands Hatch. However, with Norton in financial trouble and uncertain about their racing plans, Surtees accepted an offer to race for the MV Agusta factory racing team, where he soon earned the nickname figlio del vento (son of the wind).

In 1956 Surtees won the 500cc world championship, MV Agusta's first in the senior class. In this Surtees was assisted by the FIM's decision to ban the defending champion, Geoff Duke, for six months because of his support for a riders' strike for more starting money. In the 1957 season, the MV Agustas were no match for the Gileras and Surtees battled to a third-place finish aboard a 1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro.

When Gilera and Moto Guzzi pulled out of Grand Prix racing at the end of 1957, Surtees and MV Agusta went on to dominate the competition in the two larger displacement classes. In 1958, 1959 and 1960, he won 32 out of 39 races and became the first man to win the Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT three years in succession.

In 1960, at the age of 26, Surtees switched from motorcycles to cars full-time, making his Formula 1 debut racing in the 1960 BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone for Team Lotus. He made an immediate impact with a second-place finish in only his second Formula One World Championship race, at the 1960 British Grand Prix, and a pole position at his third, the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix. After spending the 1961 season with the Yeoman Credit Racing Team driving a Cooper T53 "Lowline" managed by Reg Parnell and the 1962 season with the Bowmaker Racing Team, still managed by Reg Parnell but now in the V8 Lola Mk4, he moved to Scuderia Ferrari in 1963 and won the World Championship for the Italian team in 1964.

On September 25, 1965, Surtees had a life-threatening accident at the Mosport in Ontario, Canada while practising a Lola T70 sports racing car. A front upright casting had broken. A.J. Baime in his book Go Like Hell says Surtees came out of the crash with one side of his body four inches shorter than the other. Doctors set most of the breaks nonsurgically, in part by physically stretching his shattered body until the right-left discrepancy was under an inch – and there it stayed.

The 1966 season saw the introduction of new, larger 3-litre engines to Formula One. Surtees's debut with Ferrari's new F1 car was at the 1966 BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, where he qualified and finished a close second behind Jack Brabham's 3-litre Brabham BT19. A few weeks later, Surtees led the Monaco Grand Prix, pulling away from Jackie Stewart's 2-litre BRM on the straights, before the engine failed. A fortnight later Surtees survived the first lap rainstorm which eliminated half the field and won the Belgian Grand Prix.

Due to perennial strikes in Italy, Ferrari could afford to enter only two cars for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans instead of its usual entry of three prototypes. Under Le Mans rules in 1966 each car was allowed only two drivers. Surtees was omitted from the line-up and one team Ferrari was to be driven by Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti and the other by Jean Guichet and Lorenzo Bandini. When Surtees questioned Ferrari team manager as to why, as the Ferrari team leader, he would not be allowed to compete, Dragoni told Surtees that he did not feel that he was fully fit to drive in a 24-hour endurance race because of the injuries he had sustained in late 1965. This excuse was deeply upsetting to Surtees, and he immediately quit the team. This decision likely cost both Ferrari and Surtees the Formula 1 Championship in 1966. Ferrari finished second to Brabham-Repco in the manufacturers' championship.  Surtees finished the season driving for the Cooper-Maserati team, winning the last race of the season and finished second to Jack Brabham in the drivers' championship.

Surtees competed with a T70 in the inaugural 1966 Can-Am season, winning three races of six to become champion over other winners Dan Gurney (Lola), Mark Donohue (Lola) and Phil Hill (Chaparral) as well as the likes of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon (both in McLarens).

In December 1966, Surtees signed for Honda. After a promising third place in the first race in South Africa, the Honda RA273 hit a series of mechanical problems. The car was replaced by the Honda RA300 for the Italian Grand Prix, where Surtees slipstreamed Jack Brabham to take Honda's second F1 victory by 0.2 seconds. Surtees finished fourth in the 1967 drivers' championship.

The same year, Surtees drove in the Rex Mays 300 at Riverside, near Los Angeles, in a United States Auto Club season-ending road race. This event pitted the best American drivers of the day, normally those who had cut their teeth as professional drivers on oval dirt tracks, against veteran Formula One Grand Prix drivers, including Jim Clark and Dan Gurney.

In 1970, Surtees formed his own race team, the Surtees Racing Organisation, and spent nine seasons competing in Formula 5000, Formula 2 and Formula 1 as a constructor. He retired from competitive driving in 1972, the same year the team had their greatest success when Mike Hailwood won the European Formula 2 Championship. The team was finally disbanded at the end of 1978.

For a while in the 1970s Surtees ran a motorcycle shop in West Wickham, Kent, and a Honda car dealership in Edenbridge, Kent. He continued his involvement in motorcycling, participating in classic events with bikes from his stable of vintage racing machines. He also remained involved in single-seater racing cars and held the position of chairman of A1 Team Great Britain, in the A1 Grand Prix racing series from 2005 to 2007. His son, Henry Surtees, competed in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Formula Renault UK Championship and the Formula BMW UK championship for Carlin Motorsport, before he died while racing in the Formula 2 championship at Brands Hatch on July 19, 2009.

In 1996, Surtees was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The FIM honoured him as a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2003. Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2008 Birthday Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to motorsport.

In 2013 he was awarded the Segrave Trophy in recognition of multiple world championships, and being the only person to win world titles on 2 and 4 wheels.

In 2015, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering by Oxford Brookes University.

Surtees married twice, first to Patricia Burke in 1962; the couple divorced in 1979. His second wife was Jane Sparrow, whom he married in 1987, and with whom he had three children, Leonora, Edwina and Henry.

Surtees died of respiratory failure on March 10, 2017 at St George's Hospital in London, at the age of 83.

"Remembering" Jim Clark

March 4, 1936 - April 7, 1968
Jim Clark
Born in Kilmany, Fife, Scotland.
Although his parents were opposed to the idea, Clark started his racing in local road rally and hill climb events driving his own Sunbeam-Talbot, and proved a fearsome competitor right from the start. On 16 June 1956, in his very first event, he was behind the wheel of a DKW sonderklasse at Crimond, Scotland. By 1958, Clark was driving for the local Border Reivers team, racing Jaguar D-types and Porsches in national events, and winning 18 races.

Then on Boxing Day 1958, Clark raced against the man who would launch him to super-stardom. Driving a Lotus Elite, he finished second to Colin Chapman in a 10-lap GT race at Brands Hatch. In 1959 he drove a Lotus Elite, finishing tenth at Le Mans partnered with John Whitmore. Chapman was sufficiently impressed to give Clark a ride in one of his Formula Junior cars. In March 1960, the first race for the newly introduced Formula Junior took place at Goodwood, with the winner none other than Jim Clark.

Jim Clark made his Formula One Grand Prix debut, on June 6, 1960, at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Lotus had lost Surtees, as he had gone to the Isle of Man to do some motorcycle racing, so they named Clark as a substitute. He retired on lap 49 with mechanical failure.

Early in his career, the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, his second ever Formula One race, at the extremely fast and dangerous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, he got a taste of reality. There were two fatal accidents at that race, Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey. Clark was later quoted as saying in a 1964 interview: "I was driving scared stiff pretty much all through the race", even though he finished 5th and scored his first points. The next year, Clark was involved in one of the worst accidents in the history of Formula 1 racing. On September 10, 1961, during the Italian Grand Prix Monza, Wolfgang von Trips in his Ferrari collided with Clark's Lotus. Trips' car became airborne and crashed into a side barrier, fatally throwing von Trips out of the car and killing fifteen spectators.

His first Drivers' World Championship came driving the Lotus 25 in 1963, winning seven out of the ten races and Lotus its first Constructors' World Championship. Clark's record of seven wins in a season would not be equalled until 1984 when Frenchman Alain Prost won seven races for McLaren on his way to second in the World Championship. The record would not be broken until Brazilian Ayrton Senna won eight races in the 1988 season, also for McLaren. However, Clark's record is favourable compared to Prost and Senna's as the 1963 championship only consisted of 10 rounds, while 1984 and 1988 were run over 16 rounds. He also competed in the 1963 Indianapolis 500 for the first time, and he finished in second position behind Parnelli Jones and won Rookie of the Year honours.

In 1964 Clark came within just a few laps of retaining his World Championship crown, but just as in 1962, an oil leak from the engine robbed him of the title, this time conceding to John Surtees. Tyre failure damaging the Lotus' suspension distroyed that year's attempt at the Indianapolis 500.

He made amends and won the Championship again in 1965

Clark also won the 1965 Indianapolis 500 in the Lotus 38.
(Photo credit: Borg Warner trophy via photopin (license))
He had to miss the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in order to compete at Indianapolis, but made history by driving the first mid-engined car to win at the fabled "Brickyard," as well as becoming the only driver to date to win both the Indy 500 and the F1 title in the same year. Other drivers, including Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Jacques Villeneuve have also won both crowns, but not in the same year.

At the same time, Clark was competing in the Australasia based Tasman series, run for older F1 cars, and was series champion in 1965, 1967 and 1968 driving for Lotus. He won fourteen races in all, a record for the series. This included winning the 1968 Australian Grand Prix at the Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne where he defeated the Ferrari 246T of Chris Amon by just 0.1 seconds, the closest finish in the history of the Australian Grand Prix. The 1968 Tasman Series and Australian Grand Prix would prove to be his last major wins before his untimely death.

The FIA decreed from 1966, new 3-litre engine regulations would come into force. Lotus were less competitive. Starting with a 2-litre Coventry-Climax engine in the Lotus 33, Clark did not score points until the British Grand Prix and a third place at the following Dutch Grand Prix. From the Italian Grand Prix onward, Lotus used the highly complex BRM H16 engine in the Lotus 43 car, with which Clark won the United States Grand Prix. He also picked up another second place at the Indianapolis 500, this time behind Graham Hill.
BTCC Knockhill 2014 - Jim Clark Lotus 43 Formula One

During 1967 Lotus and Clark used three completely different cars and engines. The Lotus 43 performed poorly at the opening South African Grand Prix, so Clark used an old Lotus 33 at the following Monaco Grand Prix, retiring with suspension failure. Lotus then began its fruitful association with Ford-Cosworth. Their first car, the Lotus 49 featuring the most successful F1 engine in history, the Ford-Cosworth DFV, won its first race at the Dutch Grand Prix, driven by Clark. He won with it again at the British, United States and Mexican Grands Prix; and, in January 1968, at the South African Grand Prix.

Jim Clark was killed in a Formula Two motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany on April 7, 1968. He was originally slated to drive in the BOAC 1000 km sportscar race at Brands Hatch, but instead chose to drive in the Deutschland Trophäe, a Formula Two race, for Lotus at the Hockenheimring, primarily due to contractual obligations with Firestone. Although the race has sometimes been characterized as a "minor race meeting" the entry list was impressive with top-running Matras for the French drivers Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Henri Pescarolo, Tecnos for Carlo Facetti and Clay Regazzoni, Team Brabhams for Derek Bell and Piers Courage, a Ferrari for Chris Amon and McLarens for Graeme Lawrence and Robin Widdows. Team Lotus drivers Graham Hill and Clark were in Gold Leaf Team Lotuses and a young Max Mosley was also in the race, moving up from the Clubman series. The event was run in two heats. On the fifth lap of the first heat, Clark's Lotus 48 veered off the track and crashed into the trees. He suffered a broken neck and skull fracture, and died before reaching the hospital. The cause of the crash was never definitively identified, but investigators concluded it was most likely due to a deflating rear tyre. Clark's death affected the racing community terribly, with fellow Formula One drivers and close friends Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, John Surtees, Chris Amon and Jack Brabham all being personally affected by the tragedy. People came from all over the world to Clark's funeral. Colin Chapman was devastated and publicly stated that he had lost his best friend. The 1968 F1 Drivers' Championship was subsequently won by his Lotus teammate Graham Hill, who pulled the heartbroken team together and held off Jackie Stewart for the crown, which he later dedicated to Clark.

There is a large memorial to Clark at Hockenheim today, but because the track has been reduced in length and the old course reforested, the actual location of the crash is in a heavily wooded area, it is however easily accessible.

He is remembered for his ability to drive and win in all types of cars and series, including a Lotus-Cortina, with which he won the 1964 British Touring Car Championship; IndyCar; Rallying, where he took part in the 1966 RAC Rally of Great Britain in a Lotus Cortina; and sports cars. He competed in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1959, 1960 and 1961, finishing second in class in 1959 driving a Lotus Elite, and finishing third overall in 1960, driving an Aston Martin DBR1.

He took part in a NASCAR event, driving a 7 litre Holman Moody Ford at the American 500 at the banked speedway at Rockingham on October 29, 1967.

He was also able to master difficult Lotus sportscar prototypes such as the Lotus 30 and 40. Clark had an uncanny ability to adapt to whichever car he was driving. While other drivers would struggle to find a good car setup, Clark would usually set competitive lap times with whatever setup was provided and ask for the car to be left as it was.

Jackie Stewart on what made Clark such a good driver: "He was so smooth, he was so clean, he drove with such finesse. He never bullied a racing car, he sort of caressed it into doing the things he wanted it to do".

He apparently had difficulty understanding why other drivers were not as quick as himself. After Clark's death, his father told Dan Gurney that he was the only driver Clark ever feared. When Clark died, fellow driver Chris Amon was quoted as saying, "If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have? I think we all felt that. It seemed like we'd lost our leader."

Jim Clark is buried in the village of Chirnside in Berwickshire.
(Photo;"Clark grave" by Ngchikit - Own work)
Jim Clark's grave in Chirnside, listing him as farmer before racing driver as he had wished.

A life-size statue of him in racing overalls stands by the bridge over a small stream in the village of his birth, Kilmany in Fife.
(Photo;"Jim Clark Memorial 974" by Leo A Capaldi)
Jim Clark memorial sculpture in Kilmany

At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. In 2009, The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest-ever Formula One drivers. He was an inaugural inductee into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. A small museum, which is known as The Jim Clark Room,can be found in Duns.
 Jim Clark memorial at Hockenheimring.

Derek Daly Born in Ballinteer, Dublin - March 11, 1953

March 11, 1953
Derek Daly
Born in Ballinteer, Dublin
He won the 1977 British Formula Three Championship, and competed as a professional racing driver for 17 years participating in 64 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on April 2, 1978. He scored a total of 15 championship points. He also participated in several non-Championship Formula One races.

In 1982, Daly began driving in the CART series and continued through 1989. He started 66 CART races, including each Indianapolis 500 from 1983–1989, except for 1986. He finished in the top ten a total of 21 times, including one podium finish, 3rd position, at Milwaukee in 1987.

In 1990, Daly had the unusual result of finish both first and second at the 12 Hours of Sebring, driving for Nissan.

Daly is known in motor sports circles around the world as a driver, writer, broadcaster, racing advisor, and businessman. He runs a professional services company called MotorVation, and had been a commentator for American broadcasts of the Champ Car series, as well as a public speaker. One of the agencies that represents him is the National Speakers Bureau.

He was also part of the ESPN Speedworld Coverage of the Grand Prix of San Marino in 1994, and therefore called the race in which Ayrton Senna was killed.

Daly later became a US citizen and now resides in Noblesville, Indiana. Daly's son, Conor Daly, is also a racing driver, starting in GP3 driving for the Lotus GP team in 2012, and then continuing on to GP2 in 2014 driving for Venezuela GP Lazarus, and then IndyCar, starting part-time in 2013 and full-time in 2016.

Eddie Lawson Born in Upland, California, USA - March 11, 1958

March 11, 1958
Eddie Lawson
Born in Upland, California, USA.
4-time 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion. His penchant for not crashing and consistently finishing in the points earned him the nickname "Steady Eddie".

Chuck Long, a former army motorcycle messenger and grandfather to young Eddie Lawson taught him how to powerslide a motorcycle on the dry lake beds in the California high desert. Lawson began his motorcycle racing career in the Southern California dirt track circuit. When it became increasingly difficult to find machinery able to compete with the dominant Harley-Davidsons, he switched his attention to road racing. 

In 1979, Lawson finished the season second behind Freddie Spencer in the AMA 250cc road racing National Championship. Afterwards, he was offered a ride with the Kawasaki Superbike team and won the AMA Superbike Series in 1981 and 1982. He also won the AMA 250cc road racing National Championship in 1980 and 1981 for Kawasaki.

Lawson accepted an offer from Yamaha to contest the 500cc World Championship as Kenny Roberts' team-mate for the 1983 season. Lawson spent the 1983 season learning the ropes of the Grand Prix circuit. In 1984, Lawson began winning regularly and won the 1984 World Championship. It would mark the first of four world titles Lawson would go on to win. 

After winning two more titles for Yamaha in 1986 and 1988, Lawson shocked the racing world by announcing he would be leaving Yamaha to sign with their arch-rivals Rothmans Honda as team mate to his own arch rival, Australia's 1987 World Champion Wayne Gardner. By switching teams, Lawson also fulfilled his desire to work with Erv Kanemoto. After Gardner crashed and broke his leg during the third round at Laguna Seca, Lawson went on to win the 1989 title for Honda, becoming the first rider to win back-to-back championships on machines from different manufacturers. By winning with both Yamaha and Honda, Lawson silenced his critics who believed he would not be as successful away from the factory Marlboro Yamaha team.

Lawson also won the ABC Superbikers event at Carlsbad Calif. in 1983 and 1985 which pitted the best riders from several disciplines against each other on a combined dirt and paved course. He was riding a specially equipped factory YZ 490 Yamaha.

In 1990, Lawson won the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race on a Yamaha FZR750R paired with Japanese rider Tadahiko Taira. Lawson also won the Daytona 200 in 1986 and came out of retirement to win it again in 1993. When he retired from GP racing in the early 1990s, he ranked third on the all-time 500cc Grand Prix wins list with 31.

After finishing his motorcycle career, Lawson pursued a career in open-wheel single seater racing in the United States competing in the Indy Lights series and eventually to CART. In the 1996 IndyCar season, he competed in 11 races with his best results being two sixth place finishes at U.S. 500 and the Detroit Indy Grand Prix. His passion for speed remains undiminished and the former World Champion now enjoys driving 250cc Superkarts often accompanied by his great friend and rival Wayne Rainey, who races in a specially modified Superkart to cope with his spinal injuries.

Lawson was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2002. The FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2005.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Jacques Villeneuve Takes Pole In F-1 Debut - March 10, 1996

March 10, 1996
Damon Hill & Jacques Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve becomes the fourth driver to start on pole in their F1 debut.

At the Australian Grand Prix, the race was marked by dominance from the Canadian, who led most of the race but had his debutante run marred by an oil leak late in the race. Williams teammate, Damon Hill, caught and passed Villeneuve, who caked Hill's car with oil leakage. Villeneuve managed to hang on to finish second.

Matt Kenseth Born In Cambridge, Wisconsin - March 10, 1972

March 10, 1972
Matt Kenseth
Born in Cambridge, Wisconsin, USA.
 He retired from full-time racing after the 2017 season after a career racing for Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Kenseth started racing on several short tracks in Wisconsin and won track championships at Madison International Speedway, Slinger Super Speedway and Wisconsin International Raceway. He moved to the ARTGO, American Speed Association, and Hooters Late Model touring series before getting a full-time ride in the NASCAR Busch Series for his former Wisconsin short track rival Robbie Reiser. After finishing second and third in the standings, he moved up in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He won the series' Rookie of the Year title in 2000 and the championship in 2003. The International Race of Champions invited Kenseth to race in their 2004 season as the reigning champion and he won the season championship. In 2009, he won a rain-shortened Daytona 500 and repeated as Daytona 500 winner in 2012.

He is the father of Ross Kenseth. Ross raced a legends car for one year in Wisconsin before starting in limited late model racing as a 14-year-old. As a 16-year-old, Ross won the 2009 championship in the Big 8 Series, a late model touring series in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. He qualified the second fastest for the Snowball Derby in December 2009.

Mike Wallace Born In Fenton, Missouri - March 10, 1959

March 10, 1959
Mike Wallace
Born in Fenton, Missouri, USA.
He is the younger brother of Rusty Wallace, older brother of Kenny Wallace, and uncle of Steve Wallace. His daughter, Chrissy Wallace, and son, Matt Wallace, are also active in racing competition.

Wallace made his Busch Series debut in 1990 at the season-closing Winston Classic at Martinsville Speedway. Starting twenty-fourth, Wallace finished sixth in the #40 Lowes Foods Chevrolet. The next season, he ran nine Busch races for a variety of different teams, and had a third-place finish at Lanier Raceway. He also made his Winston Cup debut at the Pyroil 500, where he finished 31st in the Jimmy Means-owned car. It also marked the first time since the 1950s that three brothers competed against each other in a Winston Cup race, as Rusty and Kenny drove in that race also.

Wallace began 2015 driving for Premium Motorsports in the #66 Sprint Cup car. He began the season by finishing 36th in the Daytona 500. However, after failing to qualify for the next two races he was released. Wallace then had triple-bypass heart surgery in April, keeping him out of racing for the summer.

Rex Mays Born In Riverside, California - March 10, 1913

 March 10, 1913 - November 6, 1949
Rex Houston Mays, Jr.
(Photo;By Source, Fair use,
Born in Riverside, California, USA.
He made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1934 and won the pole in 1935, 1936, and again in 1940 and finished second, he returned the next year and finished second again. Mays won the AAA National Championship in 1940 and 1941. However, World War II suspended racing until 1946, denying Mays of what likely would have been the peak of his career. After the war, Mays again won the Indy pole in 1948 but was knocked out by a mechanical problem.

He was killed at the age of 36 in a crash during the only Champ Car race held at Del Mar Fairgrounds race track in Del Mar, California in November 1949. In this accident, Mays swerved to miss a car that had crashed in front of him. His car went out of control and flipped, throwing Mays to the track surface, where he was hit by a trailing car.

In his honor, the June race at the Milwaukee Mile was called the Rex Mays Classic from 1950 to 1987. In addition, the road racing course just outside his hometown of Riverside held, from 1967 to 1969, a 300-mile Indianapolis-car event called the Rex Mays 300.

Mays was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in the first class in 1990 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1995.

"2 & 4 Wheel World Champ" John Surtees Dies - March 10, 2017

February 11, 1934 - March 10, 2017
John Surtees
(Photo: Stefan Baudy via photopin cc)
Born In Tatsfield, Surrey, England
He was a four-time 500cc motorcycle World Champion, winning that title in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960. He won the Formula One World Champion in 1964, and remains the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels. He founded the Surtees Racing Organisation team that competed as a constructor in Formula One, Formula 2 and Formula 5000 from 1970 to 1978. He was also the ambassador of the Racing Steps Foundation.

In 1996, Surtees was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The FIM honoured him as a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2003. Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

In 2013 he was awarded the Segrave Trophy in recognition of multiple world championships, and being the only person to win world titles on 2 and 4 wheels.

Following the death of Australian Sir Jack Brabham on May 19, 2014 at the age of 88, Surtees was the oldest surviving Formula One World Champion. He is also the second oldest surviving 500cc/MotoGP World Champion behind fellow Englishman Geoff Duke who was born on March 29, 1923.

Surtees died of respiratory failure on 10 March 2017 at St George's Hospital in London, at the age of 83.

For more see; "Remembering" John Surtees.