Leon Duray"Jigger" Sirois ... Born ... He started racing UMARA midgets in 1957, IMCA sprint cars and USAC. Though he never qualified for the Indianapolis 500, Sirois is most known in racing circles for events surrounding his qualifying attempt in 1969. He took to the track on Pole Day and achieved a speed of 161.535 mph before his qualifying attempt was called off by his car owner (who thought the speed was not fast enough to make the race). Shortly afterwards, it began to rain, and qualifying was washed out. If Sirois had completed his qualification attempt, he would have won the pole (as the race's slowest qualifier's speed of 160.851 mph was not enough to bump Sirois). However, he made two more unsuccessful qualifying attempts and did not make the field. After that he came back to attempt to make the field every year up until 1975, failing to make the field every time. Outside of the Indy 500, he made 10 other starts in USAC Championship Car racing. His best finish was 5th place at Phoenix International Raceway in 1969. Sirois is the son of former Indy 500 mechanic Frenchy Sirois, who worked on the cars of Lee Wallard, Sam Hanks, and Jimmy Bryan. Jigger is named after driver Leon Duray. Jigger Sirois was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in January 2014.
Arthur Chevrolet... Died ... AAA driver 1909 to 1920. One of 3 brothers that emigrated to America and went into auro racing.
Brother of Chevrolet namesake Louis Chevrolet, committed suicide at age sixty in Slidell, Louisiana, on this date. Louis and Arthur made their names as car racers in the first decade of the century. Known for their fearless driving styles, both brothers raced against American racing legend Barney Oldfield. The brothers came into contact with General Motors founder William Durant when Durant-impressed by their racing talents-invited the pair to audition for the job of chauffeur. He reportedly took them to a track and raced them. Louis won the race, but Durant gave Arthur the chauffeur job. He offered Louis a position on GM's elite Buick Racing Team. Chevrolet raced and designed for Buick during the years of Durant's GM Presidency. When Durant stepped down, new GM President Charles Nash took the money away from the Buick Racing Team. Durant asked Louis and Arthur to start a new venture. As Louis put it, Durant asked him to build a car, "So I built one." Born racers, Louis and Arthur designed a performance car that became the first Chevrolet. Durant wanted something to compete with GM's lower-priced models (or was it Ford?). Disappointed with Durant's demands for an economy car, Louis and Arthur eventually left Chevrolet to pursue their own racing and design endeavors. The brothers worked closely together for their entire careers. They designed aircraft engines, car engines, and continued to race. In spite of designing many successful engines, the Brothers Chevrolet had little gift for finance, and they often were pushed out of their endeavors before they could reap the rewards due to them. By 1933, both men were broke and their racing careers were over. Louis returned to Detroit to work as a mechanic in GM's Chevrolet division. In the late 1930s he suffered a series of strokes which incapacitated him and finally killed him. With his brother dead and no fortune to speak of, Arthur, a broken man, took his own life.
Curtis Turner won a hard fought NASCAR Grand National race on the 1 mile dirt Langhorne Speedway. 5 different drivers exchanged the lead 7 times over the 150 laps. Tim Flock and Bill Blair, in a Cadillac, swapped the lead three times in the first 8 laps before Flock's Lincoln prevailed and 23 year old rookie Bill Rexford moved to 2nd. The two ran nose to tail around the circular track for 25 laps before Rexford got by. 18 laps later, the motor began to sour in Rexford's Olds, moving Turner out front. Ray Erickson roared by Turner on lap 84, and it appeared Erickson might take his first GN win. But a rock went through the radiator on Erickson's Mercury, retiring him on lap 114. Turner regained the lead and led until the checkered, winning by a lap. Turner's Olds was on Dunlop tires. It was Erickson's last GN start of the year, as he lost an arm in a hot rod crash a short time later (he did return to run some GN races).
Johnnie Parsons wins the 100 mile AAA Midget race at the1/2 mile Los Angeles Fairgrounds, Pomona, CA over Manuel Ayulo and Bill Vukovich.
Bill Schindler , driving the Malamud #29, won the 30-lap AAA Eastern Sprint Car race on the 1/2 mile dirt Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA.
Darel Dieringer scored a wire-to-wire victory in the NASCAR GN 'Gwyn Staley Memorial 400' on the 5/8 mile paved North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Owner Junior Johnson had just put a 374 cubic inch motor in Dieringer's Ford stating that the 427 c.i. motors were a disadvantage when it came to fuel use & tire wear.
Dan Gurney drove a Mercury Cougar to victory in the 'Green Valley 300' SCCA Trans-Am race on the 1.6 mile Green Valley Raceway in Smithfield, Texas. The Texas state flag dropped to signal the LeMans style start with drivers running to their cars. Ron Dykes jumped into the lead in a Mustang and at the end of lap 1 it was Dykes, Freddie Van Beuren and Gurney with Jerry Titus up to 4th after starting 28th on the grid. Titus had rolled his Mustang in final practice the day before and had to run his patched up car in an early morning consolation race to even make the field. On lap 2, Titus passed Gurney and Van Beuren in one fell swoop to move into 2nd and took the lead one lap later with an inside dive around Dykes. Once in front, Titus pulled away. On lap 40, Titus pulled into the pits and stepped out of the car to have ice water poured on him. Titus returned over 2 minutes later, but continued to have problems with the heat, forcing him to make more stops before being relieved by Dykes, who had retired. The practice roll had closed off the left side air ducts, adding to Titus' heat problems on a day with both temperature and humidity in the 90's. With Titus' stop, Parnelli Jones took the lead in his Cougar. Jones led until stalling following his pit stop. The stall cost Jones a lap and gave teammate Gurney the lead. Gurney went on to win by that margin, giving the Lincoln-Mercury Cougar team it's first win in Trans-Am competition.
Rollie Beale wins the USAC Sprint Car race at the Eldora Speedway .
David Pearson, making his first start in the Wood Brothers Mercury a winning one, drove to victory in the NASCAR GN 'Rebel 500' at Darlington Raceway. It was Pearson's first win in more than a year as he was with the ill-fated CV Enterprises attempt to return Pontiac to GN racing. The Wood Brothers car was vacated by A.J. Foyt, who left to concentrate on Indy Cars. Richard Petty ran with Pearson until 2 unscheduled tire stops dropped him a lap behind. Petty still finished 2nd. Fred Lorenzen made another comeback, this time in the Hoss Ellington Ford, running just behind the lead group until blowing the engine on lap 46.
Kyle Larson won the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 410 race at the Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Pa.. Lance Dewease finished second followed by Freddie Rahmer, Ian Madsen and Anthony Macri.
Kevin Thomas Jr. won the 30-lap Larry Rice Classic USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Bloomington Speedway, Bloomington, In. Brady Bacon was second followed by Kyle Cummins, Shane Cottle and Chris Windom. Click to watch the feature highlights video.