Strange Trivia in Sports - Auto Racing

Some strange trivia, facts, records, and events in the history of the sport of Auto Racing including races, firsts, and more.


A. J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, and 2 Volkswagens pulled off one of auto racing's most outrageous and successful stunts. In 1964, during the Nassau Speed Week, a Grand Prix for VWs was held. The 2 drivers devised a strategy for winning the 100-mi. race. As the race began, Gurney came up behind Foyt and began pushing him with his own high-powered bug. After 7 laps, Gurney had pushed Foyt around at such high speeds that they had passed every other car in the race. The 2 drivers kept the tandem positioning until they were within 1/4 mi. of the finish line; then Gurney passed Foyt and came in for the winner's checkered flag. Gurney was disqualified because his car was not a regulation production VW, and that gave the $1,000 prize to the 2nd-place finisher, Foyt. Actually Foyt's car had been one of the slowest entries.

During the 1971 Indy 500, A. J. Foyt's 9-second fuel stop on the 14th lap set a standing record for the fastest pit stop in an official race.

In 1894, the 1st major auto race was held on a course between Paris and Rouen, France. The steam-driven car which won the race had a top speed of about 11 mph.

The citizens of Beisdorf, Germany, endured an afternoon of sports cars whizzing through their town which was on the course of a cross-country race, but when the noisy autos were still speeding through at 4 A.M. the villagers decided they had had enough. They blocked the street with logs. As successive cars came to a screeching halt in front of the barrier the townspeople rushed toward the vehicles and pulled the keys from their ignitions. After a dozen cars were incapacitated, the race was halted and rerouted.

The most rugged test of cars and drivers is the East African Safari which winds through Nairobi, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika, over 3,100 mi. of rocky, steep, and treacherous roads. Drivers have had to rebuild bridges to get across this arduous course. In its 20-year history, there have only been 3 occasions when more than half the starters finished the race. One year, a mere 7 of the original 84 cars crossed the finish line.

The Cortina Run is only 400 yards long, but considering the conditions of the race, that is about all any human can safely tackle. The Cortina offers competition in "auto-bobbing," a daredevil blend of auto racing and bobsledding. The competitors are all national champions or winners of major auto-racing events.

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