Year
1936

Scottish racing legend Jim Clark born

On this day in 1936, Jim Clark, who will dominate Formula One (F1) racing in the mid-1960s and win two F1 world championships, is born in Scotland.

Clark grew up on a farm and as a teenager began competing in local car races. Initially, Clark’s family was less-than-enthusiastic about his involvement in racing and Clark himself was shy and disliked being in the spotlight when he won. However, according to his biography at Formula1.com: “Goaded on by his friends, the reluctant racer began to take it more seriously, demonstrating an outstanding natural talent that amazed everyone, and certainly surprised the man himself.”

In 1960, the Scotsman began his F1 racing career, competing for the British-based Team Lotus. (The team, which was established in the early 1950s, was dominant on the F1 circuit in the 1960s and 1970s, collecting seven F1 constructors’ championships and six drivers’ titles before it was disbanded in the mid-1990s.) Clark had some harrowing experiences early on. While competing in just his second Grand Prix, at Spa in Belgium, he narrowly missed hitting the body of a fellow competitor, who had been killed in a crash, on the track. Several laps later, Clark’s teammate and friend Alan Stacey lost control of his car after being smacked in the face by a bird and died. The following year, at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Clark was involved in a collision with German driver Wolfgang von Trips of the Ferrari team. The accident, which was not considered Clark’s fault, killed the German driver and more than a dozen onlookers.

Starting in 1962, things improved for Clark and for the next four seasons, he typically only ever lost a race due to mechanical problems. An oil leak prevented Clark from collecting the championship title in 1962; however, in 1963 he won seven out of 10 Grand Prix races and took home the championship. Another oil leak caused him to miss out on the championship crown in 1964, but the following year he won six out of 10 races and claimed his second world championship. Also in 1965, he gained fame in America when he won that year’s Indianapolis 500 after leading the race for 190 out of 200 laps.

Clark collected his 25th Grand Prix victory in South Africa in 1968, passing the iconic Argentine driver Juan-Manuel Fangio’s (1911–1995) record of 24 Grand Prix wins. However, later that year, on April 7, 1968, Clark’s life was cut short at a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim in West Germany, when his car experienced a tire failure and crashed. The 32-year-old Scotsman died with a record of 25 wins in 72 starts and 33 pole positions.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini is born

On this day in 1965, Khaled Hosseini, author of the best-selling novel “The Kite Runner,” is born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hosseini’s semiautobiographical book was credited with helping to educate Western readers about Afghanistan, a country many of them knew little about. As a ...read more

FDR inaugurated

On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, delivered outside the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal”–an expansion of ...read more

Task Force sends memo to the president

In a draft memorandum to the president, the Ad Hoc Task Force on Vietnam advises that the administration send 22,000 more troops to Vietnam, but make deployment of the additional 185,000 men previously requested by Gen. William Westmoreland (senior U.S. commander in Vietnam) ...read more

Knute Rockne born

On this day in 1888, Knute Rockne is born in Voss, Norway. He would go on to become one of the most successful coaches in the history of college football, coaching Notre Dame during their golden era in the 1920s. Rockne won three undisputed national championships with the ...read more

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis marry

On this day in 1952, actor and future President Ronald Reagan marries his second wife, actress Nancy Davis. The couple wed in Los Angeles at the Little Brown Church in the Valley. Nancy Davis, whose real name is Anne Frances Robbins, met her husband in 1951. (MGM Studios signed ...read more

Founder of Chisholm Trail dies

Jesse Chisholm, who blazed one of the West’s most famous trails, dies in Oklahoma of food poisoning.Although the trail named for him later came to be one of the major cattle-drive routes between Texas and Kansas, Jesse Chisholm was a frontier trader, not a cattleman. Born in ...read more

John Lennon sparks his first major controversy

In England, no one took much notice of the John Lennon quotation that later set off a media frenzy in America. Chalk it up to a fundamental difference in religious outlook between Britain and America, or to a fundamental difference in sense of humor. Whatever the reason, it was ...read more

John Candy dies

The larger-than-life comedic star John Candy dies suddenly of a heart attack on this day in 1995, at the age of 43. At the time of his death, he was living near Durango, Mexico, while filming Wagons East, a Western comedy co-starring the comedian Richard Lewis.Born in 1950, ...read more

DC-7 crashes in Cameroon swamp

A Trans-African DC-7 crashes on takeoff in Douala, Cameroon, on this day in 1962. A simple mechanical failure doomed the flight and its 111 passengers and crew. This was the first single-airplane disaster in history in which more than 100 people died. The DC-7 was a charter ...read more

The head of Murder, Inc. is executed

Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the head of Murder, Inc., is executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Lepke was the leader of the country’s largest crime syndicate throughout the 1930s and was making nearly $50 million a year from his various enterprises. His downfall came when several ...read more

Martha Stewart is released from prison

On this day in 2005, billionaire mogul Martha Stewart is released from a federal prison near Alderson, West Virginia, after serving five months for lying about her sale of ImClone stock in 2001. After her televised exit from the facility, Stewart flew on a chartered jet from ...read more

Dulles asks for action against communism

Speaking before the 10th Inter-American Conference, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles warns that “international communism” is making inroads in the Western Hemisphere and asks the nations of Latin America to condemn this danger. Dulles’s speech was part of a series of actions ...read more

Lincoln inaugurated

On this day in 1861, Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th president of the United States. In his inauguration speechLincoln extended an olive branch to the South, but also made it clear that he intended to enforce federal laws in the states that seceded.Since Lincoln’s election in ...read more

Woodrow Wilson’s first inaugural address

With trouble brewing between the great nations of Europe, Thomas Woodrow Wilson takes office as the 28th president of the United States on this day in 1913, in Washington, D.C.The Virginia-born son of a Presbyterian minister, Wilson became president of Princeton University in ...read more