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Did any World Champions start off in oval racing?


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#1 MPea3

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Posted 01 October 2001 - 23:38

i almost hesitate to ask this, since the very mention of the word "oval" usually starts the flamers, but i'll ask anyway. which world champions started their careers racing on ovals? i can think of 3, but i'll let some others come up with answers before saying the 3 i'm thinking of...

:)

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#2 Gary C

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Posted 01 October 2001 - 23:49

are we talking Formula 1 here? How about Mario Andretti?

#3 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:10

yes, formula 1, and yes, mario andretti is one i had in mind.

#4 Hurricane

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:28

I doubt any series would start with ovals....Hmmm, those kart formulas maybe..Correct me if i am wrong please..

#5 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:29

Originally posted by Hurricane
I doubt any series would start with ovals....Hmmm, those kart formulas maybe..Correct me if i am wrong please..


perhaps you misunderstoof my question. i asked which world champion F1 drivers began their careers racing on ovals. the first one mentioned, mario andretti, started racing on ovals at the same time as his brother, aldo, in pennsylvania.

#6 Gary C

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:30

Can we include Jacques Villeneuve in this??

#7 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:32

Originally posted by Gary C
Can we include Jacques Villeneuve in this??


i don't think so, but i could be wrong.

#8 Gary C

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:33

OK. How about Phil Hill?

#9 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:35

Originally posted by Gary C
OK. How about Phil Hill?


that's two, it's my understanding that his actual racing career started at ascot park. he's my least certain of the 3 though, and there's no mention of it on his webpage.

#10 Gary C

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:40

How about Jack Brabham?? Did he maybe start on dirt track ovals in Aus? (apologies for so many posts, it's a slow night on the nightshift here in London!).

#11 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:41

yep, midgets on ovals in au. :) i think that's all....

#12 Gary C

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:45

does this mean I win a bun or something???

#13 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 00:49

depends on what the term "bun" means on your side of the pond...

two buns make a bum in the US!

#14 Gary C

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 01:02

Ha! Over here a bun is a sort of cake that you have with your afternoon tea!

#15 MPea3

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 01:08

would a doughnut do?

;)

#16 rgagne

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 01:18

Originally posted by Gary C
Can we include Jacques Villeneuve in this??


I am not sure if these have any ovals, but JV started in "Tourisme Alpha" (1988), then 4 years in F3 (Italian championship), then Toyota Atlantic, and then he went to indy in 1994.

RGagne

#17 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 01:49

Originally posted by MPea3


that's two, it's my understanding that his actual racing career started at ascot park. he's my least certain of the 3 though, and there's no mention of it on his webpage.



Technically speaking, yes Phil Hill did his first few competitive races on oval tracks. But to suggest that he came out of an oval racing background would be misleading.

Prior to his first race he had competed in at least two rallys in his MG-TC (one of which he won) and the Santa Barbara Time Trials running solo against the clock.

His first race was in the TC at Carrell Speedway (a half mile oval) in Gardena, California on July 24, 1949 - a race he won. That same year he did three midget races on ovals at Gilmore Stadium and at San Bernadino. I have no record of him at Ascot Park (as stated above).

There was no road racing on the west coast at this time. Watkins Glen was the first in 1948 followed by Bridgehampton in 1949 and Elkhart Lake in 1950. The first west coast road races were in 1950 and Phil Hill debuted at Santa Ana in his Jaguar XK-120.

The point here is that while you can legitimately say that Mario Andretti came up through - and made his name in - oval racing, the same is not true of Phil Hill by any stretch. But yes he did debut on an oval.

#18 Jim Thurman

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 04:46

Originally posted by Mike Argetsinger



Technically speaking, yes Phil Hill did his first few competitive races on oval tracks. But to suggest that he came out of an oval racing background would be misleading.

His first race was in the TC at Carrell Speedway (a half mile oval) in Gardena, California on July 24, 1949 - a race he won. That same year he did three midget races on ovals at Gilmore Stadium and at San Bernadino. I have no record of him at Ascot Park (as stated above).

The point here is that while you can legitimately say that Mario Andretti came up through - and made his name in - oval racing, the same is not true of Phil Hill by any stretch. But yes he did debut on an oval.


I was going to mention that. Carrell Speedway was a half mile dirt oval located a mile or so from where Ascot Park was built. Ascot Park opened as Los Angeles Speedway in 1957, so Phil Hill would not likely have raced there.

I had heard that Phil Hill ran a few Midget races at Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles. I hadn't heard about his racing at San Bernardino, which has had to have been the Orange Show Stadium.

From time to time in the 90's, Phil Hill would turn up at BCRA Midget races in Northern California.


Jim Thurman

#19 911

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 06:04

Originally posted by Jim Thurman


I was going to mention that. Carrell Speedway was a half mile dirt oval located a mile or so from where Ascot Park was built. Ascot Park opened as Los Angeles Speedway in 1957, so Phil Hill would not likely have raced there.


Speaking of Carroll Speedway, didn't Bob Bondurant race motorcycles there before he switched to sports cars?

I'm impressed with the knowledge of the posters on this forum. Collectively, I'm sure you all could write an excellent book on the history of motor racing.;)

911

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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 11:22

Although not WDC, Derek Warwick started his career on ovals and was IIRC World Champion in stockcars (British version).

#21 bobbo

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 12:58

Please correct me if I am wrong ( and I probably am!), but didn't Mario start racing in hill climbs?? Somehow I seem to remember this, but my ex - wife disposed of most all my racing (and other) stuff.

Thanks!

Bobbo

#22 Dave Ware

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 16:22

Bondurant did start on motorcycles and I have seen a picture of him racing a cycle on an oval.

Didn't Brabham or Frank Gardner race ovals before going to England?

Dave

#23 Gerr

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 20:16

Fangio's first races in Balcarce were on a local horse track,likely an oval.

#24 Vitesse2

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 20:46

Originally posted by Dave Ware
Didn't Brabham or Frank Gardner race ovals before going to England?


Yes, both of them ran in Aussie midgets. Black Jack was NSW champion in his first season.

#25 FEV

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Posted 02 October 2001 - 21:03

If we continue with non-WC drivers let's add the Villeneuve bros. They started in snowmobile racing where most of the races are run oval ice or snow ovals.