Ricky Rudd is amongst NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Named stock car racing “Iron Man”, Ricky Rudd set a Cup-record of 788 straight races between 1981 and 2005. A very consistent NASCAR driver, Ricky Rudd is known for his top-standard of driving. Ricky Rudd has left an indelible mark on the history of NASCAR racing and remains a NASCAR icon.
Ricky Rudd was born in Chesapeake of Virginia, USA on 12 September 1956. From the young age of 8, Rudd had an interest in racing as he began competing in go-kart races. A talented performer behind the wheel, Ricky Rudd was the winner of the International Karting Federation National Championship in 1971. After participating in both karts and motocross races he advanced to NASCAR’s top series as a Winston Cup driver in the year 1975. Rudd’s first major NASCAR race took place in Rockingham where he came in 11th place after starting in 26th position. In 1977 he was given the title of NASCAR Rookie of the Year. He later joined his father’s NASCAR team. He gained numerous victories during the 1980s. In 1991 Ricky Rudd came in 2nd at the NASCAR Winston Cup. He followed this in 1992 by winning the International Race of Champions.
Ricky Rudd has many great achievements to his name. One of these was his win at the 1997 Brickyard 400 held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That same year he had his 500th consecutive start in the NASCAR Winston Cup. Rudd had wins at Pocono and Richmond in 2001 At the end of his 2002 season, Rudd became a part of Wood Brothers Racing. Between 1975 and 2003 Ricky Rudd had posted 23 wins, 191 Top-Five finishes and 361 Top-Ten finishes.
Ricky Rudd decided to take a break from NASCAR driving at the end of the 2005 season. He stood in from time to time for Tony Stewart in 2006, and made a come-back in 2007 before retiring from the sport. Rudd was amongst 2007’s inductees into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. A truly skilled, reliable and talented NASCAR driver, Ricky Rudd continues to support NASCAR from the sidelines.
Sir John Arthur “Jack” Brabham, OBE was born in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville on April 2, 1926. At the young age of 15 he left school and went to work in an auto repair garage but later became an Australian racing driver and a Formula One champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966.
He served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II and then in 1946 he opened a small repair business. His interest in cars led him to race midget cars and during his first season he won the NSW Championship. It was in 1955 when Jack Brabham made his Grand Prix debut at the British Grand Prix, driving his own personal Maserati 250F. Later on he joined the Cooper Car Company team who initiated the running of cars with engines at their rear, something many of his peers laughed at. This move was advantageous as the weight is concentrated on the rear wheels giving more traction. Brabham won the World Championships both in 1959 and again in 1960.
In 1961 Brabham and Ron Tauranac founded the Brabham Racing Organisation. Jack did not do well with the new engine limit of 1500 cc in Formula One, making no wins, but later when it was changed to 3000 cc he won the championship in a Brabham-Repco. This made him the first driver in Formula One World Championship to win a race in a car carrying his name. After racing for one more year Brabham decided to break away from racing by selling his share to Ron Tauranac and heading back to his home country Australia.
All three of Jack Brabham’s sons – Geoff, Gary and David – are involved in racing in one way or another. Over the years Brabham was given many awards. He was named 1966 Australia’s Man of the Year and was awarded Order of the British Empire in 1967 by the Queen and appointed Knight Bachelor in 1979. In 1990 he was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Then in 2006 Brabham was honoured, along with the marque Cooper at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Brabham, in 2008, was named an Officer of the Order of Australia because of his services to Motor Sports.
Juan Manuel Fangio, also known as “The Maestro”, a legendary race car driver. Master of Formula One when it first began, Fangio was a 5-time World Champion. His record of wins was only recently defeated by Michael Schumacher who himself said that he could never be greater than Juan Manuel Fangio.
Juan Manuel Fangio was born in Argentina on 24 June 1911. His parents were originally from Italy. Fangio’s grand racing career began in 1934. He chiefly took part in long-distance races on the dirt roads of South America. Fangio won the Gran Premio del Norte of 1940, a race that takes some 2 weeks and covers a distance of 10 000 km. Following World War Two, Fangio began racing in Europe. Although one of the oldest drivers around, Juan Manuel Fangio quickly caught the eye of spectators. Fangio’s success truly came when he began racing with Alfa Romeo in 1950, winning his first championship title in 1951. In 1952 he was racing for Maserati when he sustained a neck injury in an accident at Monza. The next year he continued with Maserati, coming in second for the season. Fangio moved to Mercedes in 1954. He once again took home the World Championship title. Mercedes later discontinued participating in racing after the Le Mans disaster of 1955.
Juan Manuel Fangio went on to race for Ferrai in 1956 and won his fourth title. Maserati once regained Fangio in 1957. He again cruised to victory, winning his fifth title. Very few will forget his remarkable performance at Nurburgring of Germany. Fangio drove his last race in 1958, the French Grand Prix. An amazing driver many believe that no one will ever meet Fangio’s record for wins against starts.
Following his retirement as an F1 driver, Juan Manuel Fangio became a representative of Mercedes-Benz. He became an International Motor Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 1990. In 1995 Juan Manuel Fangio died at a grand age of 84 and is now buried in the Balcarce cemetery in Argentina. The tale of Fangio is one that will continue to be told for many generations to come and Formula One fans will never forget Fangio, the racing legend.
Also known as the Flying Finn, Keijo Erik Rosberg was considered to be one of the most exciting and daring racing drivers of all time. His fast and furious style of driving livened up races, entertained fans and earned him his place in the Hall of Fame. Though not a terribly successful Formula One driver, Rosberg enjoyed a long and prosperous career in the driver’s seat of many different vehicles. In fact, his winnings eventually allowed him to purchase his own Lear jet as well as property in Munich, England, Austria and Ibiza. More than this, though, his unique style of driving made him into a sort of racing legend – a hero who never gave up but instead was determined to try harder.
Rosberg was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1948, to Finnish parents who were studying in Sweden at the time. Though both parents held down secular jobs on returning to their home country, both competed in rallies regularly. Thus racing was a passion which entered Rosberg’s life from a very young age. Whilst still a toddler he managed to crash the family car into the garage door. Shortly afterwards the undeterred Rosberg took to karting. By the time he was a teenager he was an accomplished kart racer looking forward to pursuing new goals.
Originally he intended to follow the footsteps of his parents – holding down a secular career whilst pursuing his passion part time. But his career path was on a collision course with motorsports and by 1973 he was Finnish kart champion five times over as well as a Scandinavian and European champion. In 1975 he decided to change his game somewhat and he moved up to Formula Vee and Super Vee at which he was also highly successful. Before long he began racing Formula Two and travelling the world in order to compete. He nicknamed himself ‘Keke’ so that the media could remember his name. Keke Rosberg was so successful at racing that it became his profession – one which supported him well. When the money ran low, Rosberg would endorse products or throw in a sale’s pitch which would see him through to his next big winning.
His Formula One career took off with a bumpy start since he was unable to drive for any top-rated teams. Thus management and equipment always brought him down though he handled each car so aggressively that it competed with the best. In 1980 he got a lucky break when Alan Jones unexpectedly retired and Keke Rosberg was the only available replacement. Now at the wheel of a more reliable vehicle, Rosberg was whizzing around the track and keeping fans gasping. Two years later he only had one Grand Prix win under his belt but he also had enough points to become the 1982 World Champion. Unfortunately, Keke Rosberg’s hard-hitting style of driving started to wear him out. He had pushed every car he’d driven to its absolute maximum and he’d earned respect from fellow competitors and admiration from fans. He eventually retired from Formula One racing but stayed in the industry, caring for the future careers of Mika Hakkinen and Nico Rosberg amongst others.
Mario Andretti – a name spoken with respect in auto racing circles. A master on the Formula One and NASCAR track, Mario Adretti has certainly left a major mark on the history of auto racing. Andretti, an Italian-American, has had a remarkable driving career with 4 IndyCar title wins and numerous F1 victories.
Mario Gabriele Andretti, along with his twin brother Aldo, was born on 28 February 1940 in Italy. In 1948 due to the occupation of his homeland by Yugoslavia, his family promptly departed, finally coming to reside in Nazareth of Pennsylvania, USA. Andretti’s racing career began in 1959 as he raced around a dirt track in a Hudson. His first year of racing saw Mario Andretti coming in 3rd place at the Indianapolis 500. 1964 was the year Andretti began racing in the USAC series. He also took part in a variety of forms of auto racing such as drag racing.
Mario Andretti also had a keen interest in Formula One. His first race was at Watkins Glen in 1968 and his first win for Ferrari was in 1971. Andretti’s focus really shifted to F1 driving in the mid-1970s. He began driving for the Parnelli team. He took the Lotus to its limit, developing a fantastic racing car that took an amazing full lap lead at Mount Fuji track. 1978 was a remarkable season with 6 wins in his brilliantly designed Lotus 79. Unfortunately after his previous grand successes as a Formula 1 driver, Andretti failed to gain victory from 1979 onwards. However his career in F1 reminded all why he was a champion as he competed with Ferrari in 1982. Andretti continued racing IndyCars during the ’80s.
Through his racing days Mario Andretti received much recognition, along with many awards and titles. Amongst these are the 1978 F1 World Champion, Inductee of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000 and Inductee of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1996. He was even named “Driver of the Century” in 2000 by Associated Press and RACER magazine. Andretti was honored by the Italian government in 2006, by being awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.
Today Mario Andretti is a successful business man. He has set up the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley and has business interests in car dealerships, petroleum, the Mario Andretti Racing School as well as the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games center. However, Mario Andretti will always be remembered as one of the greatest race car drivers ever.