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Peter Revson on the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1972. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)

50 Years Ago: March 1974

Editor’s Note: Each month in recognition of SPEED SPORT’s 90th anniversary, the SPEED SPORT Insider will use the National Speed Sport News archives to look back at what happened in the racing world 50 years ago.

Top Story

Crash Claims Peter Revson

Failure of a front-suspension part was responsible for the March 22 fatal crash of American racing ace Peter Revson the South African Motor Club said.

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The headlines declaring Peter Revson’s death in the March 27, 1974 issue of National Speed Sport News. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)

Revson, 35, died on impact when his UOP Shadow Formula 1 car crashed into an Armco barrier and overturned during a test run prior to the South African Grand Prix.

The car flipped on top of the rail and burst into flames. Revson, a nephew of the head of the Revlon cosmetics company, was dragged from the burning car, twisted around the railing, by fellow drivers Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi and Eddie Keizan, who first had to right the overturned machine. ·

Doctors said Revson was wearing a gold locket around his neck, a present from his friend, the former Miss World, Marjorie Wallace of Indianapolis. It said, “If not for you-Marji.”

Hill, who was one of the first to reach the accident scene, said he was sure Revson had not miscalculated 

the dangerous Crowthorne Corner, known as Barbeque Bend at the Kvalami road circuit. 

Revson was. touching 160 mph when the car went straight at the turn and smashed into 

the steel railing. 

“The car jacknifed and left the track. It was the suspension that failed,” said Francis Tucker, chairman of the South African Motor Racing Club.

Revson had completed 190 miles of practice during the morning session and had posted exceptional times, second only to the clockings of Fittipaldi.

Other News

Whitlock Gets New Job: Joe Whitlock has accepted the newly created position of director of communications with NASCAR. Whitlock, 38, who is presently employed by International Speedway Corp., began his new duties on March 11. His duties will include those of news director, as he will replace the departing Phil Holmer in that position.

Donohue Gets Media Honor: Retired driver Mark Donohue received two final honors courtesy of the American Auot Racing Writers and Broadcasters Ass’n. Donohue was one of 10 drivers elected to the All-American team and he was also the top vote getter as the Driver of the Year, earning him the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy.

Binford Named Chief Steward: Thomas W. Binford, an Indianapolis businessman and president of the Automobile Competitions Committee — U.S. has agreed to serve as chief steward of the 58th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Binford, in accepting the bid, invited all officials connected with the 1973 race to serve on his staff.

The Winners

Unsers Go One-Two At Ontario: Their biography is entitled “The Unbelievable Unsers,” and the two brothers Jived up to that billing March 10 at Ontario Motor Speedway as they dueled to the wire in the fifth annual California 500 before some 50,000 sunbaked fans.

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Headlines proclaim Bobby Unser a winner over his brother Al in March, 1972. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)

For the final 170 laps, they dueled for the lead on the 2.5-mile paved oval, with Bobby bringing his Olsonite Eagle home first, six-tenths of a second ahead of Al’s Viceroy Eagle in the closest finish since the track’s opening race in 1970.

Yarborough Sets The Pace: Cale Yarborough won two consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races aboard Junior Johnson’s No. 11 Chevrolet. Yarborough defeated Bobby Isaac by a full lap to win the Southeastern 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for the second straight season. He followed that victory with another dominant score in the Atlanta 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Puterbaugh Is Reading Standout: Bill Puterbaugh, away from victory lane on the USAC sprint car trail since 1971, returned there after winning the 40-lap season opener at the Reading (Pa.) Fairgrounds. Driving the McNamara Motor Express Chevy owned by Lee Elkins, Puterbaugh started eighth and took the lead from Jan Opperman en route to victory.

Martinsville Masters: Jimmy Hensley and Carl “Bugs” Stevens claimed victories in the Dogwood Classic at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hensley copped the late model sportsman portion of the event, while Stevens outran Richie Evans in the modified headliner.

The Advertising Department

Valvoline celebrated winners on the race track with a full-page ad in the March 20 issue of National Speed Sport News that touted the success of Cale Yarborough in NASCAR competition and Mike Mosley on the Indy car circuit.

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Valvoline celebrated winners on the race track with a full-page ad in the March 20 issue of National Speed Sport News. (SPEED SPORT Archives photo)