Events on February 11st
Interesting and notable events from the history of motor sport.
Marshall Teague drove a Hudson Hornet to victory on the beach oval of the 160-mile Daytona Grand National in a Hudson Hornet.
In 1948, Hudson introduced the revolutionary "step-down" chassis design that is still used in most cars today. Until Hudsons innovation all car drivers had stepped up into the drivers seats. The "step-down" design gave the Hornet a lower center of gravity and, consequently, better handling.
Fitted with a bigger engine in 1951, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force on the NASCAR circuit. For the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big.
Excited by the publicity generated by their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to make their cars faster. The Big Three, fearing that losses on the track would translate into losses on the salesroom floor, hurried to back their own cars.
Thus was born the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would contend for nearly every NASCAR race between 1951 and 1955, when rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.
Round 5 Tasman series, Surfers Paradise, Australia. Won by Jim Clark in a Lotus 49-Ford
Jim Clark drove his Lotus 49-Ford to victory in round 5 of the Tasman series, a 100 mile race at Surfers Paradise International Motor Circuit. Practice the day before was marred by confusion over on car advertisements and overseas driver's permits. The Australian sanctioning body (CAMS) did not yet allow advertising to appear on the cars.
This had not been a problem in the New Zealand rounds as New Zealand's sanctioning body was affiliated with England's RAC, which had recently approved advertising and did not require permits where as the Australian governing body was directly affiliated with the FIA. Lotus and BRM did not conform to the advert rule and, as such, weren't allowed to compete in the 10 lap preliminary event (the gates to grid were locked to them!).
Chris Amon won the prelim comfortably over Frank Gardner. The permit problem was resolved by fining drivers $50 and regulations were modified to allow existing advertising.
Clark won the start, despite Pedro Rodriguez rolling forward about a length and a half a second or two before the flag fell. Clark led teammate Graham Hill and series point leader Chris Amon away from the line. On the second corner, Piers Courage grabbed the wrong gear, falling from 3rd to 9th in his F2 McLaren-Cosworth.
Richard Attwood, replacing Bruce McLaren in one of the BRM V12s, retired on lap 5. Amon had passed Hill for 2nd, and on lap 9, put his Ferrari V6 Dino into the lead when Clark briefly slid onto the grass, but Clark was back out front 2 laps later. On lap 16, Courage moved past Hill into 3rd. Amon stayed close to Clark, but on lap 22, came into the pits and retired with a blown head gasket. At almost the same time, Gardner's Brabham-Alfa came in overheating. Courage spun wildly on the 26th lap, dropping to 5th behind Hill and Leo Geoghegan. Rodriguez pitted his BRM V12 with fuel trouble and Gardner returned hoping to salvage a finish. Geoghegan outbraked Hill on lap 33 only to have Hill regain the spot a lap later. 5 laps later, Courage got by Geoghegan's unique Repco powered Lotus 39. Suffering from a week long gastric attack, Geoghegan fell further back and Clark went on to cross the finish line 6.4 seconds ahead of teammate Hill with Courage 3rd and Geoghegan 4th. Amon's point lead was down to 3 over Clark with 3 rounds to go. It was Clark's 12th career win in Tasman Cup races.
Pete Hamilton and David Pearson won the twin 125-mile NASCAR Grand National qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway.
Hamilton beat A.J. Foyt by 3 feet to win the first race. Hamilton made the winning pass when Foyt eased off the throttle for Ron Keselowski's flipping car, allowing Hamilton to close and pass. It was Hamilton's first start in Cotton Owens' Plymouth. Pearson drove his Holman-Moody Mercury by Buddy Baker's Petty Dodge with 6 laps to go to take the second race.
Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, won by Emerson Fittipaldi in a Lotus Ford.
Tasman Cup Formula 5000 race at the Warwick Farm circuit, Sydney Australia, won by Steve Thompson in a Chevron-Chevrolet.
The inaugural NASCAR Clash at Daytona International Speedway won by Buddy Baker.
Buddy Baker beat Darrell Waltrip by one car length to win the inaugural NASCAR Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Baker averaged 193.384 mph for the 10 laps.