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MARCH 31

1946
Jimmy Wilburn, driving the Riverside #39, won the 20-lap AAA Eastern Sprint Car race on the 1 mile dirt Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA.
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1956
Kevin Cogan... Born ... A former racecar driver who drove in Formula One and Indy cars. He ran the Indy 500 twelve times with a best finish of 2nd in 1986.
Ralph DePalma... Died ... AAA driver from 1909 to 1933. Ran the Indy 500 ten times and won in 1915.
Johnnie Tolan won the 100 lap USAC Midget race at the South Mountain Speedway , Phoenix, AZ.
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1957
Johnny Thomson won the 30 lap USAC Sprint Car race at the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway, Reading, PA.
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1963
Fireball Roberts, In his first drive for the Holman-Moody Ford team, won the NASCAR Grand National 'Southeastern 500' at Bristol International Speedway. Roberts took the lead with 7 laps to go when teammate Fred Lorenzen had to pit for a splash of fuel. After the race an angry Lorenzen questioned how it was that he ran short on fuel, while his new teammate didn't.
Don Branson won the 30 lap USAC Sprint Car race over Roger McCluskey, Jim Hurtubise, Elmer George and Allen Crowe at the Williams Grove Speedway, Williams Grove,PA.
Len Duncan won the ARDC Midget race at the Old Bridge Stadium, Old Bridge,NJ.
Leroy Felty won the Super Modified race over Bobby Abel, Roger Sowers, Neil Haight and Gene Goodling at the Susquehanna Speedway, Newberrytown,PA.
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1964
Andy Granatelli's 4-wheel drive Novi Indycars damaged in a garage fire at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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1966
Nick Firestone... Born ... An American former race car driver from Phoenix, Arizona. His great-grandfather Harvey Firestone founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1900. Nick competed in 42 Indy Lights races from 1993 to 1996. His best finish was a pair of second places his rookie year (1993) at Nazareth Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile. He finished 6th in points in both 1993 and 1994, his best season result . He attempted to qualify for the 1999 Indianapolis 500 for McCormack Motorsports but failed to make the field.
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1968
Cale Yarborough won a controversial NASCAR GN 'Atlanta 500' on the 1.5 mile Atlanta International Raceway oval. Leader LeeRoy Yarbrough was black flagged with 33 laps to go, alledgedly for jumping the last restart. The lapped car of Frank Warren paced the field on the single file restart, only to bog down when he gunned the motor. Cale & LeeRoy split Warren's Chevy and NASCAR blackflagged LeeRoy. LeeRoy ignored the flag for 5 laps before NASCAR officials urged owner Junior Johnson to bring the Mercury in for a stop & go penalty. Cale took the lead when LeeRoy made the stop, and cruised to a 9 second win in the Wood Brothers Mercury. Johnson protested, but NASCAR ruled that LeeRoy had jumped the two previous restarts and had been warned.
Bobby Unser, taking the lead when Mario Andretti pitted for fuel with 5 laps to go, went on to win the USAC Championship 'Stardust 150' on the 3 mile Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unser took the lead on the start from pole sitter Dan Gurney. Gurney retired before the end of the first lap after bending the suspension on his Eagle when he shot off the track at the end of the long back straight. Gurney later said that rocks and dust thrown into his face by Unser's car had caused him to go off, a charge Unser later denied. Gurney was only one of the cars that retired with damaged suspension after going off into the rock strewn dirt along the course. Andretti took the lead from Unser on the backstretch on lap 4 and began pulling away, leading by 12 seconds by the half-way mark. Unser's Eagle ran out of fuel as he took the checkered 2 seconds ahead of Andretti. Joe Leonard finished 3rd, one lap down. It was Unser's 2nd career win (aside from Pike's Peak), both coming on road courses (the first at Mosport in '67). Only 17 cars started what would be the only Indy Car race held at Stardust, one being Gary Bettenhausen in an upright dirt car.
Larry Dickson won the 30 lap USAC Sprint Car race at the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway, Reading, PA. Ray Tilley finished second followed by Bill Puterbaugh, Rollie Beale and Bobbie Adamson.
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1974
Dave Evans... Died ... AAA driver from the 1920's and 30's.
Jan Opperman won the 40 lap USAC Sprint Car race at the Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH. George Snider finished second followed by Bruce Walkup, Lee Osborne and Pancho Carter.
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1979
Leigh Earnshaw won the Midget race at the Thompson Speedway , Thompson, CT. ( Click here for the race report. )
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1989
Rick Crawford won the All Pro Stock Car race at the Hialeah Speedway , Hialeah, FL. ( Click here for the race report. )
Rick Downey won the NARC Sprint Car race at the Silver Dollar Speedway , Chico, CA. ( Click here for the race report. )
Jac Haudenschild won the World of Outlaws Prelimimary Sprint Car race at the Memphis Motorsports Park , Memphis, TN. ( Click here for the race report. )
Terry Gray won the opening round of the NCRA-USA Sprint Car race at the Lawton Speedway , Lawton, OK. ( Click here for the race report. )
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1993
Chip Mead... Died ... USAC / CART driver from the 1980's.
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1996
Jeff Gordon wins the Food City 500 over Terry Labonte at the Bristol Motor Speedway , Bristol, TN.
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1998
Tim Flock... Died ... One of NASCAR's early pioneers, and a two time series champion. He was a brother to NASCAR's second female driver Ethel Mobley and NASCAR pioneers Bob Flock and Fonty Flock.
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2003
Fermin Velez... Died ... He was a two-time winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring. He was also a driver in the Indy Racing League, racing in the 1996-1997 seasons with 6 career starts, including 2 at the Indianapolis 500.
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