50 Years Ago — May 3, 1961
Fred “Jiggs” Peters, the old pro from Neshanic Station, N.J., gave up sharpening lawn mowers just long enough Sunday to win the 100-mile ARDC-USAC midget race on the one-mile circular dirt speedway in Langhorne, Pa. Peters, going non-stop in the Ken Brenn Offy, established a track record of 98.041 mph, completing the century grind in 1 hour, 1 minute and 11.92 seconds.
25 Years Ago — April 30, 1986
Three factory-backed IMSA Camel GTP cars were destroyed in a spectacular crash during the L.A. Times/Ford Grand Prix of Endurance Sunday at Riverside (Calif.) Int’l Raceway. The accident took place on lap 36 when Doc Bundy, Lyn St. James and Chip Robinson went into turn one side-by-side. Rob Dyson and Price Cobb won the race in a Porsche 962.
Chris’s Column — October 27, 1976
“Terre Haute and Indy Fairgrounds promoter Don Smith recently acquired the famous ‘Black Deuce’ Hector Honore Offy driven to IMCA sprint-car championships by Bobby Grim and the late Pete Folse. Now Chevy powered, it was found running a downstate Illinois sprint-car circuit and will be restored to its original condition, reports Don. He also picked up the famous No. 73 McNamara Trucking midget formerly handled by the late ‘Iron Mike’ Nazaruk.”
Newsmaker — Al Unser
Al Unser ushered in a new era of USAC National Championship racing on June 27, 1976, when he won the Schaefer 500 at Pocono Int’l Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
The victory was the first in America’s premier open-wheel series for the V-8 Ford-Cosworth engine, culminating two years of development by Cosworth and the Vel’s/Parnelli Jones Racing team.
“There are many advantages to the V-8,” said Unser, who led 109 of the 200 laps. “You could see it out there today. In fact, most teams would prefer a V-8, but nobody can get one like (A.J.) Foyt’s.”
Unser also used Ford-Cosworth power to win two more races — Milwaukee and Phoenix — later in the year.
Countdown To 100 — 2006 — Sam Hornish, Jr.
Sam Hornish, Jr. pulled off an incredible move yards from the checkered flag to win the 90th Indianapolis 500, driving a dagger into the heart of an Andretti.
Hornish earned his first Indy 500 triumph and record 14th for team-owner Roger Penske. Hornish was the 10th different driver Penske has led to victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Coming down the final straightway, Hornish dove to the inside of leader Marco Andretti and crossed the finish line .0635 seconds ahead of the rookie for the second-closest finish in Indy 500 history.
Michael Andretti finished third followed by Dan Wheldon, who led 148 laps but suffered a punctured tire late in the race, and Tony Kanaan.