THIS DAY IN MOTORSPORTS
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MARCH 12th



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ONE DAY

MARCH 12

1882
Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker... Born ... He was a motorcycle and automobile racing driver and organizer in the first half of the 20th century. In 1908, Baker purchased an Indian motorcycle and began entering and winning local races. His most famous victory came in 1909 at the first race ever held at the newly built Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Baker also raced at the 1922 Indianapolis 500, placing 11th in a Frontenac. He later became the first commissioner of NASCAR. Baker was inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
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1915
Robert "Red" Byron... Born ... He was a NASCAR driver who was successful in the sanctioning body's first years. He was NASCAR's first Modified champion (and its first champion in any division) in 1948 and its first Strictly Stock (predecessor to NEXTEL Cup) champion in 1949.
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1938
Johnny Rutherford ... Born ... USAC / CART driver from the 1960's to 1992. He raced in 24 Indy 500's and Texas-raised "Lonestar J.R." won the prestigious 500 mile race three times: in 1974, 1976, and 1980. Rutherford also dabbled in stock car racing, making 35 NASCAR Winston Cup starts from 1963 to 1988. Rutherford won in his first start, at Daytona International Speedway driving for Smokey Yunick. The win was for the second 125-mile qualifying race (see Gatorade Duel), which was, at the time, a points-paying NASCAR race. In 1981, Rutherford drove twelve races, the most he ever raced in a single NASCAR season. In addition, Rutherford competed in 5 editions of the International Race of Champions -- 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1984. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993.
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1950
Troy Ruttman won the 30 lap Pacific Coast AAA Sprint Car race at the Carrell Speedway, Gardena, CA.
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1960
Ernie Reeves won the Modified race at the Hollywood Speedway, Hollywood, FL. ( Click here for the race report. )
Jack Arnold won the Modified race and Buzzy Reutimann won the Sportsman race at the Sunshine Speedway, St. Petersburg, FL. ( Click here for the race report. )
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1963
John Andretti... Born ... One of the most versatile race car drivers in American history, winning in Indy car, NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters, endurance racing and NASCAR racing. John is the son of Aldo Andretti, John has a brother named Mark who had a talent for racing, but chose a different route, they both are nephews of IndyCar racing legend Mario Andretti (Aldo's twin), cousin of Mario's sons Michael and Jeff, and godson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A. J. Foyt.
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1972
Bobby Isaac won the NASCAR Winston Cup 'Carolina 500' at the North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham, NC. Richard Petty was second followed by Jim Vandiver, LeeRoy Yarbrough and Dave Marcis.
Sammy Sessions ,driving the Amerling Chevy, won the 40 lap USAC Sprint Car race at the Tri County Speedway, West Chester, OH. Rollie Beale finished second followed by Johnnie Parsons Jr., Jackie Howerton, Jim McElreath, Larry Dickson, Charlie Masters, Lee Kunzman, Al Smith and Don Nordhorn.
Bob Senneker won the 35-lap Late Model Stock Car race at the Heidelberg Raceway , Carnegie, PA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Gerald Chamberlain won the 35-lap RSCA Modified Stock Car race at the Reading Fairgrounds , Reading, PA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Ed Zirkle won the Super Sprint Car race at the Susquehanna Speedway , Newberrytown, PA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Kenny Weld won the Super Sprint Car race at the Hagerstown Raceway , Hagerstown, MD. ( Click here for the race report. )
Alton Jones won the Late Model Modified Sportsman race over Gene Tapia, Wayne Niedecken and Bob Davidson at the Five Flags Speedway, Peensacola, FL.
Burt Foland won the BCRA Midget race over George Benson, Rick Davidson, Ken Nichols and Ken Petersen at the All American Speedway, Roseville, CA.
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1978
Casey Mears... Born ... USAC / CART/ IRL and NASCAR driver. He is the nephew of four time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and the son of Indy and off-road veteran Roger Mears.
Ed "Dutch" Schaefer... Died ... Eastern midget racer from the 1940's to the 1970's. Remembered as the man who saved the ARDC from extinction. Schaefer was elected President of the oldest midget racing club in the East in 1952. Near the point of extinction, Dutch managed to hold together a small group of devoted ARDC car owners and drivers, and brought the club and midget racing on the East Coast, back into the limelight.
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1989
Bobby Gill won the All Pro Stock Car race at the Five Flags Speedway , Pensacola, FL. ( Click here for the race report. )
Stevie Smith won the Sprint Car race at the Williams Grove Speedway , Mechanicsburg, PA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Tommy Ellis won the 200-lap NASCAR Busch Grand National race at the Martinsville Speedway , Martinsville, VA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Mike Ewanitsko won the 200-lap NASCAR Winston Modified Tour race at the Martinsville Speedway , Martinsville, VA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Ronnie Thomas won the 100-lap Late Model race at the Martinsville Speedway , Martinsville, VA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Doug Hoffman won the DIRT-DIRT South Civil War Modified Stock Car race at the Devil's Bowl Speedway , Mesquite, TX. ( Click here for the race report. )
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1995
Rick Muther... Died ... USAC / CART driver from the 1960's & 1970's.
Jeff Gordon wins the Purolator 500 over Bobby Labonte at the Atlanta Motor Speedway , Atlanta, GA.
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2000
Dale Earnhardt wins the Cracker Barrel 500 over Bobby Labonte at the Atlanta Motor Speedway , Atlanta, GA.
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2006
Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR race over Matt Kenseth at Las Vegas International Speedway.
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