Racing History Minute - March 14

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
last year
3,912 posts

March 14 - or 3/14 or "Pi Day" for many - has had it's share of racing (or at least racing stories) over the decades. A couple of them have been discussed here previously including:

1971 - a dominant performance by the King in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham

1993 - a race that wasn't - the snowed-out "spring" race at Atlanta

A recap of several other Pi Day races.

In 1954, Troy Ruttman won the 100-lap AAA stock car race at the half-mile, dirt Carrell Speedway in Gardena, California.

Eleven years later on March 14, 1965, stock car races were held pretty much coast to coast.

Out west, Bill Amick won the 200-laps, 50-miles NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model division race at the quarter-mile San Jose Speedway in California. The race was the second of two PCLM races at the track in the 1960s. NASCAR returned to San Jose in the 1970s for a multi-year run with its Winston West Series cars.

In one of the stranger racing stories I've ever read or heard, Ron Hornaday Sr. couldn't race because his car was sold out from under him. Apparently the car's new home was at Paramount Studios for use in the movie Red Line 7,000. Coincidentally, Hornaday himself was involved in an unscripted wreck in 1964 while doing stunt work for the same film.


As noted in the article, Cliff Garner, a veteran of many PCLM races throughout the 1960s, spun and flipped. He finished the race 17th - dead last - after completing only 3 laps.

Moving to the central U.S., Jack Bowsher won the ARCA race at Meyer Speedway in Houston, Texas. Bowsher was on a tear in early 1965 as he won ARCA races in Corpus Christi, Austin and Houston. He returned on March 21 to notch another ARCA win at Meyer - his 4th in a row and 4th in seven days.

In the east, NASCAR's Grand National regulars raced at Orange Speedway in Hillsboro, NC in the second annual Joe Weatherly Memorial race.

The field during a pace lap as the drivers await the green. - from Ed Sanseverino collection

Junior Johnson started P1 and dominated the race. He led the first 137 laps and was in great shape to lead the rest of the way. But then.

Johnson blew a tire with 30 laps to go. Ned Jarrett slipped by Junior and led the rest of the way to pick up the win.

The only caution in the race was the result of a wreck and flip by RR's own Gene Hobby. Some photos from Gene's collection:




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 03/13/17 03:26:53PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
last year
9,092 posts

Interesting article about Ron hornaday, sr.'s unplanned crash while filming for red line 7000 at Ascot.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
last year
3,912 posts

Also, David Pearson won the Bold City 200 in Jacksonville, FL on March 14, 1972. The race was the inaugural event for the short-lived Grand National East series. Charlie Blanton was second. Both drivers piloted Camaros field by owner Toy Bolton.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
8 months ago
3,912 posts

Another Pi Day race was the 1976 Southeastern 400 at Bristol won by Cale Yarborough. 1976 was the first of a two-year experiment of reducing Bristol's races to 400 laps. Both races were restored to 500 laps in 1978 - the same year lights were added for the summer race.

Woody Delbridge has shared some nice photos from the March 1976 weekend.

http://racersreunion.com/gallery/ss=%221976%20southeastern%20400%22




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 03/14/17 10:24:59AM