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Tag: racing

October 11, 1928 – Alfonso de Portago is born
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October 11, 1928 – Alfonso de Portago is born

Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, Marquis of Portago, better known as Alfonso de Portago, was a Ferrari race car driver, Olympic bobsledder and stunt pilot from Spain, who was born on this day in 1928. Although a storied race car driver, one of his first transportation feats wasn’t by land but by air, when the millionaire heir flew his plane beneath a bridge at age 17, winning a $500 bet.  Above: Alfonso racing at the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix in Havana. Top: Alfonso and co-driver Edmund Nelson at the 1957 Mille Miglia. They'd die later that day. After meeting a Ferrari importer in 1953, Alfonso began a successful racing career. He took first at many prestigious events. Notable wins include the Tour de France automobile race...
September 19, 1932 – Driving 12 cylinders for 24 hours straight
This Day, Videos

September 19, 1932 – Driving 12 cylinders for 24 hours straight

When Pierce-Arrow entered the cylinder wars of the late 1920s and early '30s with a V-12, they had trouble pumping any more horsepower out of it than their straight 8. Notable race car driver and engineer Ab Jenkins got a call from the automaker, hoping he could help. With his assistance, the team added 45 more HP to the engine. Then Jenkins got a wild idea. Jenkins pitched the idea of driving a new 12 cylinder car for 24 hours straight to promote its reliability and power of its new 12-cylinder. Jenkins promised he'd cover more than 2,400 miles, averaging more than 100 miles per hour, all while never leaving the driver's seat. The folks at the luxury automaker were skeptical, to say the least. This included Jenkins friend and Pierce-Arrow sales manager Roy Faulkner. In the end, Fa...
September 7, 1896 -“Get a Horse!”
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September 7, 1896 -“Get a Horse!”

The start of the race When the first auto race to take place on an American race track began on this day in 1896 it started so slow that spectators were shouting, "Get a horse!" The race, sponsored by automobile manufacturers hoping to attract new buyers, took place at the Narragansett Trotting Park in Cranston, Rhode Island. It marked the first time a US auto race was held on a track, opposed to on public streets. Narragansett was a one mile-long dirt oval track at the state fairgrounds that was generally reserved for horse racing. But on this day seven cars took the field to participate in the five lap “Providence Horseless Carriage Race.” After the trot of a start more than 60,000 spectators became wooed as they watched as a Riker Electric complete the five lap race first, averaging...
August 23, 1922 – Chitty Bang Bang takes first place
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August 23, 1922 – Chitty Bang Bang takes first place

On this day in 1922 Count Louis Zborowski drove his car, Chitty Bang Bang, to victory at the Southsea Speed Carnival in England. The vehicle was built by Zborowski with help from his engineer, Clive Gallop. It and three later cars by the same name, would inspire a book, movie and musical all by the name Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. During the Carnival, Zborowski reached 73.1 MPH in the chain driven, customized Mercedes that featured a 23-litre 6-cylinder Maybach aero-engine. However, it was capable of much higher speeds. Chitty 1 debuted at Brooklands in 1921. In the first race it took second place with a top speed of 100.75 MPH with a four-seat body. It was refitted with a two-seat configuration and received an upgraded exhaust system, propelling it to more than 120 MPH. This was the...
August 10, 1907 – The Peking to Paris race is won
Automotive

August 10, 1907 – The Peking to Paris race is won

On January 31, 1907, the Paris newspaper Le Matin issued a challenge to admirers of relatively newfangled machines called automobiles: drive one from China to France. The idea was to show beyond doubt that the automobile was a valuable, necessary means of transportation. The article read, "What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?" The editors of the paper received an astonishing 40 entries for the unimaginably difficult journey across untamed lands from what is now Beijing to the home of the Eiffel Tower. Above: One of the two DeDior cars that raced from Peking to Paris getting some assistanceTop: Auguste Pons with Oscar Foucault ...
July 26, 1998 – Disaster strikes at Michigan International Speedway
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July 26, 1998 – Disaster strikes at Michigan International Speedway

On lap 175 of 250 of the CART series U.S. 500 on this day in 1998 Adrian Fernandez hit the wall at Michigan International Speedway, causing a tire and suspension parts to break loose and fly into the crowd. The wreck resulted in the deaths of three fans. An additional six people suffered injuries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnHpeP4s5L4 Adrian Fernandez 1998 wreck at Michigan International SpeedwayTop: Moment of impact. Image courtesy ESPN Fernandez's hit the wall going upwards of 200 mph. The race was placed under caution but was not stopped, much to the dismay of reporters covering the event. In an effort to prevent further tragedies the fencing was extended to 17 feet high around any grandstand areas.
June 21, 1947 – The first post war Mille Miglia
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June 21, 1947 – The first post war Mille Miglia

The Mille Miglia was an open road endurance race that took place in Italy 24 times from 1927 to 1957. It was on this day in 1947 the first post WWII race took place. The race was won by Italians Clemente Biondetti and Emilio Romano who drove an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Berlinetta Touring. The races began in 1927 when Aymo Maggi and Franco Mazzotti, along with a group of investors, established the race because they were upset about the Italian Grand Prix being moved from their home town of Brescia. The designed a figure-eight type course that ran approximately one thousand miles on public roads. One thousand miles in Italian is “Mille Miglia,” although the first race was actually 1,005 miles. The first event started with 77 racers, of which 51 made it to the finish line. Coming in first was...
May 12, 1973 – “Bloody May” at Indy begins
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May 12, 1973 – “Bloody May” at Indy begins

May of 1973 was a deadly month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, earning it the nickname Bloody May. It began on this day in 1973 when American race car driver Art Lee Pollard, Jr., died in an accident while running practice laps for the Indianapolis 500. Art Pollard Pollard had clipped a wall, an impact that sent his car skidding into the infield grass. When he hit the green, his car dug into the soil and flipped. It slid upside down for several yards before flipping again and then catching fire. His injuries included pulmonary damage from smoke inhalation, burns to his hands, neck and face, and a broken arm. He was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital as a result of his injuries. Just after the green flag flew for the Indianapolis 500, Salt Walther suffered disfiguring burns i...
April 26, 1945 – Racer Dick Johnson is born
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April 26, 1945 – Racer Dick Johnson is born

Richard "Dick" Johnson of Dick Johnson Racing was born on this day in 1945 in Queensland, Australia. He is a part-owner of the V8 Supercar team DJR Team Penske and a former racing driver himself. As a driver, he was a five-time Australian Touring Car Champion and a three-time winner of the Bathurst 1000. As of 2008 Johnson has claimed over twenty awards and honors including a 2001 induction into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame. In 1989 and 1990 Johnson entered in several NASCAR races. It was not a highly successful venture, as his best finish was 22nd during his stint in the series. Johnson officially retired from driving in 1999.
April 25, 1959 – Mario Andretti makes US racing debut
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April 25, 1959 – Mario Andretti makes US racing debut

Mario Andretti, made his US racing debut on this day in 1959, just four years after emigrating to the USA. The superstar driver started his racing career in Italy several years prior. It all began in 1953, at age 13, when he joined Italy’s Formula Junior racing league. Mario and his twin brother Aldo were born in Rina, in Montona, Istria, formerly the Kingdom of Italy, now Croatia. After the move to the US, Mario and Aldo took jobs at their uncle’s auto garage in Pennsylvania. There they earned money to purchase and modify a 1948 Hudson Commodore. Above: Andretti in the winners circle of the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. By Suyk, Koen CC BY-SATop: The Andretti twins' 1948 Hudson On this day in 1959 the brothers entered the car into a dirt track race near Nazareth, Pennsylvania, making the...