Torn From The Headlines – Nov. 3, 2010

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THREE AMIGOS: California open-wheel racers Wally Pankratz (left), Ron “Sleepy” Tripp (center) and Robby Flock pose for NSSN Editor Chris Economaki at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway in April 1991. (Chris Economaki Photo)

THREE AMIGOS: California open-wheel racers Wally Pankratz (left), Ron “Sleepy” Tripp (center) and Robby Flock pose for NSSN Editor Chris Economaki at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway in April 1991. (Chris Economaki Photo)

50 Years Ago – November 2, 1960

Colby Scroggins, driving the jet-black Blairs Offenhauser sprint car, won the 100-lap Grand Prix Saturday night at Ascot Stadium in Los Angeles, bringing down the curtain on the California Racing Ass’n season. Don Davis finished second in the race and edged Danny Jones by 44 points for the championship.

25 Years Ago – November 6, 1985

Brett Hearn inherited the lead on lap 191 when Alan Johnson’s car ran out of fuel and the driver of No. 20 Pepsi modified went on to win the Skoal Bandits 200 Sunday at Flemington (N.J.) Fair Speedway. Jimmy Horton finished second with Billy Pauch third under Harry Dee’s checkered flag.

Countdown To 100

It has been said that the month of May is two races: the dash for the pole position and the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, the Indianapolis 500.

One driver stands head and shoulders above all who have set their sights on the pole position. Rick Mears, who spent his 15 year Indianapolis 500 career (1978-1992) driving for Roger Penske at Indianapolis, recorded a record six pole positions.

Mears sat on the front row 11 times and six times consecutively. Three of his four Indianapolis 500 wins came from the pole position and all of his wins were generated from the front row. Six pole positions and four wins — no one has more.

Newsmaker – Alex Zanardi

Just walking into Eurospeedway Lausitz some 20 months after the accident that cost him his legs would have been a huge accomplishment for Alex Zanardi. But the two-time CART champion needed more.

As part of his role as grand marshal for the 2003 edition of the Champ Car German 500 on May 11, Zanardi completed 13 laps at speed in a No. 66 Reynard-Ford painted like the car he crashed with 13 laps remaining in the 2001 edition of the race.

The Italian looked like he had never been away, clocking a series of 194-mph laps.

“It was just fantastic,” said Zanardi, who used a hand throttle, but braked using one of his specially designed prosthetic legs.

Chris’s Column – September 10, 2003

“Now that Bill Elliott is reportedly planning retirement, he advocates elimination of power steering in NASCAR Winston Cup cars. His contention is it would be better than returning to bias-ply tires, cutting spoiler size or shortening front air dam depth in making races more competitive. Taking away power steering would ask more of the driver he notes, reminding in the pre-power steering era, Darlington was a 35-second track. Now it’s a 30-second track.”