People, Places & Racing News

MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN RACING FROM 2007

Things you may want to remember from the 2007 racing season, courtesy of National Speed Sport News.

-The IndyCar Series tested on the road course at Daytona International Speedway in January. It was the first Indy car test at the track since 1959.

-Erica Santos became the first female winner in the history of the Northeastern Midget Association July 10 at Stafford (Connecticut) Motor Speedway.

-Noted motorcycle racers Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael each took up careers in stock-car racing, piloting late-model stock cars.

-International Speedway Corporation began a $10-million renovation at Darlington Raceway, which includes a new tunnel and the repaving of the historic 1.33-mile egg-shaped oval.

-National Speed Sport News unveiled the redesigned website, www.nationalspeedsportnews.com, in July.

-A.J. Foyt celebrated his 50th anniversary of competing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

-The Prelude to The Dream dirt-late-model race featuring NASCAR drivers was televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.

-Jon Stanbrough won 30 non-winged sprint-car races.

-Prior to what would be a disappointing IndyCar Series season, Marco Andretti tested a Honda Formula One car.

-The Firestone 200 at Nashville Superspeedway was only the third postponed IndyCar race in the 12-year history of the series. The race was held the next day, a Sunday.

-The Porsche Cayenne V8 made its Grand Am debut in the Sunchaser 1000k and went the distance at Miller Motorsports Park, powering the Spirit of Daytona Fabcar driven by Guy Cosmo and Marc-Antoine Camirand.

- Juan Pablo Montoya teamed with Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in his first attempt, overshadowing Pruett, who won for the first time after many years of competing in the twice-around-the-clock event.

-Ohio tabbed Highway 118, which runs past Eldora Speedway, Earl Baltes Highway.

-Sean Michael earned $30,000 for winning the inaugural Dream Race Extreme sprint-car race at Port Royal Speedway in Pennsylvania.

-Ashley Force was voted Hottest Female Athlete by an Internet poll on AOLSports.com.

Looking back at the 2007 auto-racing season, there were several notable deaths.

Bill France, 74
The son of NASCAR founder William G. France, William Clifton France died June 6 at age 74. France had fought a long battle with cancer. He is remembered as an innovator and the man that took NASCAR from a southern-based sport and made it an international sensation.

Wally Parks, 94
Parks founded the National Hot Rod Association in 1951. The one-time editor of Hot Rod magazine, took drag racing from a street sport and transformed it into a multimillion-dollar corporate sport. Parks died September 28.

Eric Medlen, 33
One of Funny Car racing’s rising stars, the son of master mechanic John Medlen, died from injuries he suffered while testing his Ford at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway. Medlen’s death led to several monumental safety modifications for the Funny Car division.

Benny Parsons, 65
The 1973 NASCAR champion succumbed to complications of cancer in January. A successful race car driver, Parsons became even more well known for his work as an analyst on ESPN and NBC’s coverage of NASCAR racing.

Bobby Hamilton, 49
The 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, Hamilton died of cancer in early January. A former short-track racer from Tennessee, Hamilton was a winner in all three major NASCAR series—Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series.

Bruce Kennedy, 53
The husband of International Speedway Corporation executive Lesa France Kennedy was killed when his plane crashed into a Florida neighborhood in July.

John Blewett III, 33
The third-generation modified driver was killed in an accident that also involved his brother, Jimmy, at Thompson (Connecticut) International Speedway in August.

Mike Swims, 42
Long-time dirt-late-model racing promoter Mike Swims lost his battle with cancer in late September.