Sunday, May 28, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Eppie Wietzes

May 28th, 1938
Eppie Wietzes
Born in Assen, Netherlands.
Wietzes emigrated with his family to Canada when he was 12 years old. He is a two-time Canadian Driving Champion. He participated in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on August 27, 1967 in the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport. He retired on lap 69 with wet electrics. He scored no championship points. Wietzes later experienced success in the F5000 class and won the 1981 Trans-Am Series championship. He was the driver of the first safety car in Formula One, at the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix, taking a Porsche 914 course car on to the track after a collision involving Fran├žois Cevert and Jody Scheckter.

In 1993, he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.
(Photo;asag.sk)

Canadians Villeneuve/Goodyear Involved In Controversial Indy Finish - May 28th, 1995

May 28th, 1995
(Photo;indianapolismotorspeedway.com)
The 79th Indianapolis 500 is won by Jacques Villeneuve. On lap 190, with the field coming back to green on a restart, leader Scott Goodyear of Toronto passed the pace car in turn four, and was assessed a stop-and-go penalty. Goodyear refused to serve the penalty, claiming that the green light was on, and stayed out on the track. Officials stopped scoring him on lap 195, which handed fellow Canadian Jacques Villeneuve the lead of the race, and ultimately, a controversial victory.
(Photo;racing.ap.org)
Scott Goodyear and his wife, Leslie, fight back tears.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Canadian Scott Goodyear Finishes 2nd At Indy - May 27th, 1997

May 27th, 1997
Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame member Scott Goodyear of Toronto, finished 2nd at the 81st Indianapolis 500 behind teammate and polesitter Arie Luyendyk. With two laps to go, Luyendyk led Goodyear. A caution came out on the 199th lap, but the pace car did not come out to pick up the field. Without warning, the green and white flag were displayed at the starter's stand on the final lap, signifying the field was back to racing conditions. None of the cars in the field were prepared for the restart, and yellow lights remained illuminated for many seconds afterwards. Luyendyk held on to win, but controversy erupted regarding the officials' poor handling of the situation. Less than a month later, USAC was permanently removed from sanctioning the IRL and Indy 500, in favor of in-house officiating. It was the third time in his career that Goodyear narrowly lost the Indy 500 in the closing stages.

Friday, May 26, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Miguel Duhamel

May 26, 1968
Miguel Duhamel
(Photo: miguelduhamel.com)
Born in Lasalle, Quebec, Canada.
Miguel is the son of Canadian Motorsport Hall of Famer Yvon Duhamel. He is the second winningest rider in the AMA Superbike series at 32 wins and most wins in the AMA SuperSport series.

He won his first AMA Superbike race in 1990 at Heartland Park Topeka, and was the AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year. He won the 1991 Daytona 200 Superbike race, when he was replacing the injured Randy Renfrow. He also won seven races en route to winning the AMA 600cc SuperSport series championship.

He won the 1992 FIM World Endurance Team Championship with Team Kawasaki France. He was the 1993 AMA 600cc SuperSport champion on his Kawasaki after winning seven races.

Duhamel became the first Canadian to win the AMA Superbike title in 1995. He was named the 1995 AMA Pro Athlete of the Year. He had six consecutive AMA Superbike wins, which broke Wayne Rainey's record five victories. Duhamel also dominated the 600 SuperSport series by winning nine of the 11 events. His eight straight victories broke Doug Polen's record. Duhamel finished third and fourth at the U.S. round of World Superbike, mirroring the results of team-mate Mike Hale.

In 1996 he became the winningest rider in SuperSport with his 28th career victory. Duhamel won his fourth 600cc SuperSport title, after scoring podium in all but three events. Duhamel won four Superbike races and had six podium finishes in ten events.

He won another 600cc Supersport title in 1997, He had five wins and two additional podium finished on the way to his fifth series championship. He had four wins in the Superbikes, and finished second in the points.

Duhamel won four Superbike events in 1998 before he had a season ending accident while qualifying at the New Hampshire International Speedway. He still had lingering injuries as the 1999 season started. He stunned the crowd by winning both the AMA Superbike and 600 SuperSport events at season-opening Daytona 200 races. He had a second place finish at the Sears Point 600 SuperSport race before his season was cut short by crashing at Road Atlanta.

Duhamel won the 2000 Brainerd event in the Superbike Championship. He also won the Road America event for Honda. He had four 2001 AMA U.S. Superbike podium finishes for Honda. He won AMA U.S. SuperSport races at Daytona, Mid-Ohio and Brainerd.

Duhamel swept both 2002 events at Road America, and became the all-time AMA U.S. Superbike winner. He also had five Superbike podium finishes en route to finishing third in the Superbike points.

In 2003 Duhamel was with American Honda. He earned his fourth Daytona International Speedway AMA Superbike victory and made seven additional podium appearances in the series. He also raced in AMA Supersport, taking a win at Brainerd Intl Raceway and two additional series podium finishes.

Duhamel won his fourth Daytona 200 Superbike event in 2004. He had seven additional podium finishes. He had a Supersport victory at Brainerd and two additional podium finishes. He won the 2004 AMA Formula Xtreme championship.

Duhamel won the 2005 AMA Formula Xtreme championship title with four wins and five second place finishes in nine events. He battled Jake Zemke in a close race for the championship. In Superbike he had podium finishes at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio on his Honda.

Duhamel had a crash while practicing at Road Atlanta on August 8, 2007. He suffered a lacerated liver, a perforated lung and a bruised lung.

In 2008 Duhamel again raced for the factory Honda Superbike team in AMA Superbike, riding a CBR1000RR-based Superbike, and scored five top-five finishes. Duhamel finished seventh in the final AMA Superbike point standings.

In 2012, Miguel won the FIM e-Power & TTXGP race despite a three-year break from competition. The Canadian champion had lost nothing of his will to win as he rode the US Barracuda Lightning Racing Team's electric motorcycle.

In February 2016 Miguel Duhamel announced he will come out of retirement to race in the Bol d'Or Classic endurance race in France held September 15-17, 2016.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Bill Adam

May 25th, 1946
Bill Adam
(Photo; twitter.com)
Born in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Growing up in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, Bill has driven everything from Sports cars, Trans-Am, Can-Am, to 1000 hp IMSA GTP prototypes. He has competed in events such as the Sebring 12 Hour, Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

One of the nicest guys I had the chance to crew for, this Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame member helped our team at Horst Kroll Racing to a 1-2 sweep at the Mosport Can-Am, June 1st, 1986.

Bill driving the newly purchased Frissbee-Lola KR4 - Chevrolet V8, placed himself 4th on the grid during qualifying with Horst grabbing the pole. With heavy rain causing and poor visibility the race was stopped on lap 24. Bill on rain tires took over the lead, as a bent rim forced Horst to restart on slicks at the rear of the field.

Still on rain tires and with a rapidly drying track, Bill found his lead slowly slipping away to a hard charging Kroll on slicks. Because of the rain delay the race was shortened by 15 laps leaving a desperate Kroll,with little time and charging hard. I can still remember the excitement of being on the wall with the pit board, flashing Bill and Horst the ever dropping plus-minus signs. With two laps to go we were looking at the best finish in team history. I remember not really caring who won, except that we needed the number one position points for Horst and the championship run, as Bill was a one race deal. Bill had been a favorite of mine ever since his days at Group 44, and over the past three days was a real joy to work with. I could not help but feel a little sorry for him as he sat helplessly on the wrong tires as Kroll charged by with one lap to go. That bent rim turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Horst as he crossed the finish line for his second Can-Am win with Bill less than 1.5 seconds behind.

In the end it was a very good weekend to be part of Horst Kroll Racing with Bill and Horst leaving with a good payday and Horst with the maximum points available for the weekend. On a historical note, Mauro Lanaro of Montreal finished third to give Can-Am its first 1-2-3 all-Canadian sweep.

"Thanks for a great weekend Bill and all the best on your special day"

For more see; Bill Adam Tribute Page

Monday, May 22, 2017

Canada's James Hinchcliffe Grabs "100th Indy 500" Pole - May 22, 2016

May 22, 2016
James "Hince" Hinchcliffe
(Photo:sports.usatoday.com)
Born in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
A year after he almost died while practicing for the Indianapolis 500, James Hinchcliffe will lead the field to green in the 100th running of the famed race.

Hinchcliffe grabbed the pole from Josef Newgarden in the final qualifying run of the day on Sunday with a four-lap average speed of 230.760 MPH. Hinchcliffe had earned the opportunity to run after everyone else by posting the fastest speed in Saturday's preliminary qualifying session. And not only is it Hinchcliffe's first career pole for the Indianapolis 500, it's the first time he's ever qualified first in the IndyCar Series.

The popular Canadian was impaled by a suspension piece the year before, when his car careened into the wall during practice. The suspension piece from the front of the car had severed an artery in his leg. Only due to the quick response by the IndyCar Series safety team was his life saved.

Hinchcliffe drives for Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, a team co-owned by former IndyCar driver Sam Schmidt.


Schmidt was paralyzed in a testing crash in 2000 and spent months in the hospital on a respirator. He founded his team in 2004 and the team won the pole for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with Canadaian Alex Tagliani, in a race won by the late Dan Wheldon.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Canada's Alex Tagliani Takes "Indianapolis 500" Pole - May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011
After acquiring the FAZZT Race Team in 2011, Sam Schmidt Motorsports returned full-time to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and on May 21, 2011, driver Alex Tagliani of Montreal, won the pole position for the 95th Indianapolis 500, the first pole for the team. In the race, Tagliani finished 28th after making slight contact with the wall on lap 148.

The race was won by Dan Wheldon and this was the last win of his racing career.  Four months later, Wheldon was killed in a crash in the IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving the same car Tagliani had qualified on the pole in.
(Photo; "Schmidt & Tagliani 20110521" by Chuck Carroll - Own work)
Sam Schmidt with 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Alex Tagliani.

The race was the culmination of the three-year-long Centennial era, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the track (1909) and the 100th anniversary of the inaugural race in 1911. Throughout May, the race was advertised as the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 and the Centennial Indianapolis 500. Since the race was suspended during World Wars I and II, the 100th running of the 500 would not be held until 2016.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Happy Birthday" Horst Kroll

May 16, 1936
Horst Kroll
Hometown: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.
Born in Germany, Kroll came to Canada at  the age of 20. For more than 25-years he engraved his name in Canadian motor-sport history. As a driver, team owner and car builder, Kroll competed at some of the highest levels of racing in North America.

Kroll won the Canadian Driving Championship in 1968, driving a Kelly Porsche, the same car he beat the factory Porsches in a United States Auto Club race at Watkins Glen. A visit to Kroll's trophy room at his Scarborough condo is testimony to the success this privateer racer has had at every level he has competed. Kroll has done it all, including Formula Vee, Formula A, Formula 5000, Sports Cars, Players GM series and Can-Am.

From his small auto repair shop in West Hill, Ont, Horst manufactured a fleet of 18 Altona Formula Vees, his cars winning the 1969 Canadian Formula Vee Championship, with Brian Steward behind the wheel. Many young drivers including myself got there start in one of Kroll's Altonas.
Horst with his personal Altona - Shannonville 1982

Over the years Kroll provided auto repairs, specialized vehicle restorations and personal racing services. Kroll's cars provided rides for drivers such as, Paul Tracy, Bill Adam, Joe DeMarco, Duff Hubbard, John Graham, Mike Freberg, and Jacques Villeneuve Sr, just to name a few.

Of the many achievements, his biggest accomplishment was winning the 1986 Can-Am Championship, after being runner up the previous year and third in 1984. Kroll made more starts in Can-Am than any other driver, putting  his name in the SCCA record books for the most consecutive top 10 finishes at 18 and the most consecutive finishes at 23. To me these records were most deserving. In over 3 seasons as a crew member with Horst, we never knew what it was like to have a DNF. Anyone who knows Horst will tell you, the one thing that stood out is the never say quit attitude in which he approached every race. 

In 1994 Horst was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Kroll and his Frissbee KR-3 - 2007 VARAC Festival. 
(Photo credit;Gary Grant at thegarageblog.com)

For more on Horst and his run to the championship see; Horst Kroll: A Crew-members Story} Part One - The Introduction