Torn From The Headlines – Dec. 1, 2010

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FROM THE TOP: NASCAR Grand National cars circle Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway during the first event held at the historic .533-mile oval on July 29, 1961. Jack Smith won the race, but not without relief from Johnny Allen. (Chris Economaki Photo)

FROM THE TOP: NASCAR Grand National cars circle Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway during the first event held at the historic .533-mile oval on July 29, 1961. Jack Smith won the race, but not without relief from Johnny Allen. (Chris Economaki Photo)

50 Years Ago – November 30, 1960

Don Davis, the newly crowned California Racing Ass’n champion, dominated the 40-lap USAC sprint-car feature Sunday at the Rodeo Grounds in Clovis, Calif. It is believed to be the first time since the pre-war days of Jimmie Wilburn that an “outlaw” driver beat the big leaguers in his first time out.

25 Years Ago – December 4, 1985

Lyn St. James became the fastest woman closed-course racer in history Nov. 26 when she circled the 2.66-mile Alabama Int’l Motor Speedway at 204.223 mph. Driving a Ford Probe Prototype used in the IMSA Camel GT Series, St. James established a total of 13 national and international closed-course speed records.

Countdown To 100

There is a roller-coaster effect in all competition. Some of the best Indy 500 drivers have experienced it in the race following their biggest victory.

A week after his stirring 1960 triumph, Jim Rathmann failed to qualify at Milwaukee and went home with $20.

A winning Indy 500 car should mean more success. Pat Flaherty’s John Zink Special was bumped the following year and also in 1959.

Bill Vukovich is often called Indy’s greatest driver. The Maserati Wilbur Shaw won two 500s with may have been its greatest car. Bill Vukovich passed his driver’s test in it, but didn’t qualify.

George Salih’s laydown, which won both the 1957 and 1958 races, was the first car out in 1959.

Newsmaker – Car of Tomorrow

NASCAR’s much-anticipated Car of Tomorrow made its racing debut on March 25, 2007, at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and was promptly panned by Food City 500 winner Kyle Busch in victory lane.

“I’m still not a fan of these things. They suck,” Busch said. “I didn’t see any highlights out there. It was tough to pass. It was kind of boring.”

The debut of the new Nextel Cup Series race car was the culmination of a more than five-year project that focused on three key areas — safety enhancements, improved competition and cost containment.

The car was utilized in 15 additional races during the 2007 season before being implemented for the full 2008 schedule.

Chris’s Column – June 13, 2007

“Deep concern is being voiced by Iowa promoter Ralph Capitani for the future of weekly sprint-car racing at his Knoxville Raceway, as well as the ability of other Iowa tracks to survive widespread attendance downturns. Weekly revenues at Knoxville’s 410 sprint-car programs no longer cover the $29,000 purse, and revenue from the widely popular Knoxville Nationals event is now being used to supplant weekly show purses, a situation that cannot continue, says Capitani.”