Sunday, October 1, 2023

1978 - Watson Posts Convincing Victory in Oktoberfest Main

Dave Watson receives congratulations from La Crosse Interstate Speedway promoter Larry Wehrs after winning the Oktoberfest 200. – Wayne Mioskowski Photo

West Salem, Wis. (October 1, 1978) – Not even a blown engine suffered after winning the day’s second 50-lap event could prevent Dave Watson from claiming the 100-lap championship feature to take the overall title in La Crosse Interstate Speedway’s ninth annual Oktoberfest 200 for late models on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to his Sunday triumphs, Watson won the 20-lap race of champions and his dash, Saturday night, to dominate the three-day event. Watson earned $2,225 from the $20,650 purse for his efforts.

Joining Watson in the feature winner’s circle on Sunday was Doug Strasburg of Johnson Creek, who captured the afternoon’s initial 50-lap headliner.

Just after Watson had captured the second 50-lapper, his car’s engine gave way, forcing his crew to install a new powerplant prior to the 100. Fortunately, the crew had proven equipment to utilize. That same engine which Watson used to win the USAC Fair Stock 150 at the Milwaukee Mile in August, was hurriedly installed in the racer and Watson started the 100-lap finale in the ninth position.

Polesitter Joel Laufer grabbed the lead as the green flag waved but Steve Burgess, driving a brand-new 1978 Camaro, took over the top spot on lap 7.

Mark Lamoreaux, at the wheel of a Camaro he recently had purchased from Burgess, moved into contention moments later and overhauled Burgess to claim first place on lap 13.

Racing bumper-to-bumper, Lamoreaux and Burgess then pulled away from the rest of the field, with Burgess regaining the lead on lap 39.

Burgess remained in front until lap 43 when he spun in turn four, giving the lead back to Lamoreaux, and necessitating the event’s first caution flag. Burgess was able to resume racing, but the mishap dropped him from first to seventh in the standings.

Prior to the caution, Watson had been running third, about a half a lap behind the pacesetters. However, the caution permitted him to make up a major portion of that deficit and as the field readied for the restart, Watson found himself in fifth place with Pat Schauer fourth, John Ziegler third and Jim Back in second.

Another yellow came out on lap 45 when Jim Weber spun in the first turn.

After the green flew once again, Watson made his move, quickly passing Schauer, Ziegler, and Back, and then overtaking Lamoreaux to claim first place on lap 48.

Back took second from Lamoreaux 10 circuits later and Ziegler and Schauer advanced to third and fourth, respectively, on the 70th round. Two more trips around the 5/8-mile oval, Schauer took third from Ziegler.

However, no one was able to keep pace with Watson the rest of the way and at the checkered flag, the Milton chauffeur held a full straightaway advantage over Schauer, who had taken second from Back on lap 99. Back settled for third with Ziegler fourth and Burgess completing the top-five.

Earlier, Lamoreaux had dominated the first part of the opening 50-lapper, leading the first 28 circuits before Tom Reffner took over. Although his car began smoking just as he gained the upper hand, Reffner remained in front while Strasburg, and Tony Strupp battled Lamoreaux for second place.

Strasburg, who had started fifth, finally took second but seemed to have little hope of catching Reffner until the final circuit. Then, the differential broke on Reffner’s car, forcing him to slow his pace entering the second turn. Strasburg nearly slammed into Reffner’s suddenly slowing mount but avoided contact and soared into the lead.

Strupp, who had started on the pole, put on a strong closing rush but had to settle for second place at the finish. Lamoreaux paced third, Weber fourth and Reffner hung on to finish fifth.

Reffner, who had won Oktoberfest titles in 1970 and 1975, had established himself as one of the favorites for the overall title on Saturday, setting fast time (20.513) and winning the first 10-lap dash. However, racing despite the loss of oil in Sunday’s first 50-lapper damaged the engine in his 1978 AMC Concord and he lasted only two laps in the 100-lap finale.

Polesitter Bob Jusola paced the first five laps of the second 50-lapper before Marzofka, who won the 1978 La Crosse late model crown, took over.

Watson, who had started ninth, used the outside groove to pass Marzofka on lap 10 but Marzofka regained the top spot five laps later.

Remaining in the outside grove, Watson surged back into the lead on lap 17 and led the rest of the way despite constant pressure from Marzofka, who settled for second. Third place went to Schauer with Johnny Boegeman taking fourth and Jusola rounding out the top five.

Results –

1. Dave Watson, Milton
2. Pat Schauer, Watertown
3. Jim Back, Vesper
4. John Ziegler, Madison
5. Steve Burgess, Fall Creek
6. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
7. Mark Lamoreaux, Bloomington, Minn.
8. Larry Hicks, Lake Geneva
9. Dick Stang, Prior Lake, Minn.
10.John Boegeman, Shakopee, Minn.
11.Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek
12.Bob Jusola, Centuria
13.Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
14.Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
15.Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills
16.Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
17.Axel Dahlberg, Mauston
18.Joel Laufer, Hartford
19.Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
20.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

1984 - Bryan Reffner Snares Close Oktoberfest 100

Bryan Reffner scored the biggest win of his career by capturing the 100-lap late model feature in the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday afternoon at La Crosse Interstate Speedway. – Lowell Dalsoren Photo

West Salem, Wis. (September 30, 1984) – Twenty-year-old Bryan Reffner held off Ted Musgrave and his father Tom Reffner to capture the 100-lap late model feature of the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday afternoon at La Crosse Interstate Speedway.

Lyle Nowak took the lead at the start of the main event from his pole position, but John McNamara overtook Nowak to gain the top spot on lap 2. McNamara paced the 25-car field until the ninth round when the younger Reffner took command. One lap later, the first caution of the event came out.

When the race resumed, Reffner continued to lead while Terry Baldry moved up to second. On lap 15, another yellow flag flew when Steve Murgic and Bob Iverson spun in turn three.

Reffner maintained his lead after the mishap and at lap 25 was followed closely by Baldry, Steve Holzhausen, and Musgrave. Bob Weis brought out another yellow on lap 31. One lap later, Tim Cox spun, forcing another slowdown.

Bryan Reffner retained the lead through the mishaps, but Musgrave overtook Baldry for second place on lap 42.

For the remainder of the race, Reffner used the outside groove thus forcing Musgrave to try the inside of the track. A broken differential on Baldry’s car knocked the Omro driver out of the race on lap 60, while the top three; Bryan Reffner, Musgrave, and Tom Reffner, pulled away from the field.

For the final 13 circuits, Reffner held off several attempts by Musgrave to get by on the inside. The elder Reffner took advantage of the duel to gain ground on the pair and pulled right up behind Musgrave.

At the finish, the top three crossed the finish line bumper-to-bumper with the young Reffner scoring the victory. Musgrave held off a determined Tom Reffner while Steve Burgess and Rick Wateski filled out the top five.

Tom Reffner fought off Wateski for the final 18 laps to win the first 50-lap feature, which was comprised of odd-number cars. Steve Burgess scored a relatively easy victory in the second 50-lapper for even-numbered cars.

Results –

1. Bryan Reffner, Rudolph
2. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
3. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
4. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
5. Rick Wateski, La Crosse
6. Bob Gunn, Madison
7. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
8. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
9. Tim Cox, Wildwood
10.Bob Iverson, Escanaba, Mich.

1973 - Miller Wins Rockford National Short Track Title


Mike Miller receives the spoils for his victory in the National Short Track Championship 200-lapper at Rockford. Jody Deery (at extreme right) looks on. – Bernie Tappa Photo

Rockford, Ill. (September 30, 1973) – Young Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., out-drove a star-studded field to win the 200-lap National Short Track Championship event for late model stock cars on Sunday afternoon.

Starting in the ninth position by virtue of his second fastest qualifying time, it took 77 laps for Miller to find his way through heavy traffic on the quarter-mile asphalt oval into the fourth spot. On lap 92, Don Leach of Beloit, Wis., who was running third, got the tail end of his Chevelle into the turn three wall. It didn’t put him out, but it gave Miller and three other cars a chance to go by him.

Miller would slip by the thundering Mustang of Wayne Stallsworth of Aurora, Colo., on lap 94 for second, putting him right behind race-long leader Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill. The red flag waved on lap 103 for the mandatory 11-minute pit stop.

When the green flag waved out on the restart, Miller jumped by Shear for the lead and from there it was his race the rest of the way.

The Saturday portion of the three-day event was very slow in getting underway. Heavy rains on Friday cut down on practice, and flooded the infield and pit area. Pumps were set up and worked steadily into the afternoon. Cars would finally get out on the track to dry it out and then it would mist again.

It was late in the evening when time trials finally got underway and it was the Wisconsin flash, Dick Trickle, that was one of the first cars out and he set fast qualifying time. The later cars seemed to be hauling mud out on the track when qualifying and the surface became slippery. When Joe Shear, the track record holder at Rockford, finally hit the asphalt, he was unable to crack the top 10 fastest.

Sunday dawned gray but thee track would be totally dry and everything went of smoothly, although a little late. Denny Falko of Aurora, Ill., and Joe Shear won 30-lap qualifying features to gain a starting berth in the 200-lap feature.

Results –

1. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit
3. Wayne Stallsworth, Aurora, Colo.
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
6. Tom Jones, Northbrook
7. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
8. Danny Bellard, Beloit, Wis.
9. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
10. Ed Hoffman, Niles

1962 – White Cops IMCA Championship


Johnny White is joined by car owner Dizz Wilson after winning the 30-lap IMCA big car feature at Winchester. The victory clinched the IMCA national title for White. - Wayne Bryant Photo

Winchester, Ind. (September 30, 1962) – Hard-driving Johnny White gathered all the marbles available on Sunday afternoon as he won the 30-lap Frank funk Handicap at Winchester Speedway.

White, who hails from Warren, Mich., edged Tampa, Fla., ace Pete Folse for the IMCA big car championship in what was one of the closest title contests in the 47-year history of the International Motor Contest Association.

Driving the Dizz Wilson Offy, White collected 40 points in the heat race and another 130 for winning the feature to give him a final total of 2,590 points – 105 ahead of Folse, who picked up 20 markers for his third-place finish in the consolation and 16 points for his eighth-place finish in the main event.

Folse had held a slim 29-point lead coming into Sunday’s race and managed a paltry finish on the high-banked, half-mile asphalt oval, a racing surface that Folse prefers not to drive on.

The paltry Floridian had captured the last three IMCA national titles before White “slammed the door.” Folse’s car - the Hector Honore Bardahl Offenhauser – is the same car driven to four consecutive IMCA titles by Bobby Grim of Indianapolis from 1955 to 1958.

The victory, the second for White in three attempts, was an easy one with almost half of the 30 laps run under yellow.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., ripped a fuel tank on lap 16 while running third. Fuel spilled out onto the car’s hot exhaust pipe and exploded. Blundy managed to safely guide the car to a stop on the backstretch, climbed out and assisted with extinguishing the blaze.

Bobby King of Muncie, Ind., winner of the first IMCA race this season at Winchester, was nipping at White’s rear treads throughout the first 16 circuits and made a final desperate attempt to catch the Michigan speedster when the white flag was waved on the 29th lap.

White set new IMCA marks in both time trials and his heat race. He toured the half-mile in 18.08 seconds to erase the old standard off 18.14 seconds, two-hundredths of second within the world mark of 18.06 seconds set by Parnelli Jones and Roger McCluskey at Winchester.

Results –

1. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
2. Bobby King, Muncie, Ind.
3. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
4. Tom McClellan, Dayton, Ohio
5. Calvin Gilstrap, Salem, Ind.
6. Bob Hayduk, Cleveland, Ohio
7. Curly Boyd, Middletown, Ind.
8. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
9. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
10.Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
11.Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
12.Dean Mast, Sugar Creek, Ohio
13.Don Friend, Detroit, Mich.
14.Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
15.Zeke Ingland, Columbus, Ohio

Friday, September 29, 2023

1979 – Sanger Scores in Missouri Nationals


Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, won the $10,000 Ewer’s Goodyear Nationals at Capital Speedway. Sanger took home $1,500 for his efforts. He’s joined by his crew and the Ewer family. – Al Steinberg Photo

Holts Summit, Mo. (September29, 1979) – Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, took the lead on lap 67 of the 100-alp Ewer’s Goodyear Missouri Nationals feature event and held it the rest of the way to score the victory and the $1,000 payday Saturday night at Capital Speedway.

Sanger’s victory was no easy feat, as a hard-charging Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, was glued to his rear bumper the entire 33 final laps, one passing Sanger on the front straightaway on lap 97 until Sanger returned the favor, passing him on the backstretch.

Jackson, who started on the outside of the front row, led the first four laps until being passed by Viola, Iowa’s Ken Walton. It looked like a runaway for Walton until lap 30 when he dropped low to pass a slower car in turn two and hit a drainage ditch, destroying his rear end.

Jackson regained the led once again as Sanger continued to eat up the distance between himself and the leader until the lead pass on lap 67. No one else finishing in the top-10 were even close to the two frontrunners.

Finishing third in the race, which was halted only once when Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., spun on lap 30, was John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa. Finishing fourth was Galen Shaeffer of Topeka, Kan., and taking fifth was Bill Rice of Des Moines.

In Friday’s preliminaries, Jackson set fast time with a 22.06 second clocking. Timing second fastest was Johnny Stevens of Jefferson City with time of 23.14 seconds.

Qualifying heat wins went to Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ken Walton, Galen Shaeffer, Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, and Bill Rice.

A total of 63 of the nation’s best late model drivers turned out for the second annual event and a record $10,000 purse, prompting promoter Ed Bloom to start plans for the third annual event for September of next year.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
3. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
4. Galen Shaefer, Topeka, Kan.
5. Bill Rice, Des Moines
6. Steve Fraise, Montrose, Iowa
7. Johnny Stevens, Jefferson City
8. John Miller, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Tim Trimble, Gilliam, Mo.
10.Ed Dixon, Washington, Mo.

1974 – Lindley Plan Pays


Butch Lindley 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 29, 1974) – While most of the race favorites found the 250-mile race too much for them, young Butch Lindley of Greenville, S.C., calmly followed his race plan and went on to win.

And for his effort, the 27-year-old received $7,000, including $1,900 in lap money for the 190 circuits he was clearly in charge of.

“After 30 laps, I felt I had the fastest car,” Lindley said in victory circle. “At first, I was holding back, but then I figured I might as well get out there and lead.”

And he did. Lindley isn’t sure – keeping score isn’t his strong point – but he believes this is his 15th NASCAR sportsman championship race of the season. One of those wins came in the STP 200 here earlier in the season which ended with this Permatex Southern 400.

The victory didn’t come without some close calls. Lindley recalled one in particular that may have been the race. On the 281st lap, Lindley and national champion Jack Ingram of Asheville, N.C., had come out of the pits under caution and Ingram leading.

Coming out of the first turn, Flookie Buford, who was running third at the time, blew an engine just ahead of the two leaders. Oil from the blown engine sent Buford skidding into the wall. Ingram could not completely stop and slammed into Buford, damaging the right front section of his Chevrolet.

Lindley was luckier.

“I saw it happening,” Lindley said. “I had planned to go high but I changed my mind and went low.” It was a fortunate decision as the high groove would have sent him into the crash.

From that point on, it was a matter of waiting to see if anything would happen to Lindley’s car. A few laps later, smoke boiled from Ingram’s car, and he had to ride the apron the rest of the race. With Ingram in trouble, Lindley was not in a lap by himself.

Wrecks and mechanical issues took a heavy toll on the pre-race favorites. L.D. Ottinger went out after a crash on lap 11. A split in the cylinder wall took Darrell Waltrip out of the running on lap 51. At that point, he was running first and had led for the last 28 circuits.

Freddy Fryar led for 131 laps but on the 245th lap, he limped to the pits. He would return to the race later, but on lap 274, slammed into the first turn wall and was done for the day.

Jack Ingram led for 40 laps and Jerry Lawley, who finished second behind Lindley, was out front for 10 laps.

Ken Worley of Fairfax, Va., who started 31st, finished in third place and Don Smith of Gurley, Ala., who started 27th, finished fourth. Ingram limped home to a fifth-place finish.

Lindley blew an engine in practice on Saturday. It took his crew and hour and 45 minutes to replace it.

The time for the race last 3 hours, 27 minutes, and 23 seconds.

Results –

1. Butch Lindley
2. Jerry Lawley
3. Ken Worley
4. Don Smith
5. Jack Ingram
6. Phil Stilling
7. Windle Webster
8. Gene Glover
9. Don Rader
10.Billy Swain

Thursday, September 28, 2023

1975 – Carter wins Salem Memorial

Duane "Pancho" Carter

Salem, Ind. (September 28, 1975) – “Pancho” Carter led all but one lap en route to capturing the 50-lap Joe James/Pat O’Conner Memorial USAC sprint car feature at the Greater Salem Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

This year’s Hulman Classic victor overhaled first lap leader Rollie Beale on the completion of the second lap and then with the exception of a near-miss involving a spinning car, breezed to a winning straightaway distance over runner-up Sam Sessions.

Carter, who opened up a sizeable lead over the rest of the field, saw his chances of victory nearly erased on lap 43 when Larry Rice spun entering turn three after brushing wheels with a slower car.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., was forced to go high on the banked track to avoid hitting Rice’s stalled sprinter. The incident brought out the only yellow flag of the afternoon and enabled the pack to close the gap as the field completed the final seven laps.

After the green flag waved for the restart, Carter had little trouble opening up a sizeable lead which he held to the finish.

Larry Dickson strengthened his hopes of an unprecedented third national driving championship with a third-place finish while his nearest competitor, Rollie Beale, finishing fifth. Marvin Carman finished fourth.

Sessions was the program’s fast qualifier, touring the half-mile paved oval in 17.09 seconds. Heat wins went to Gary Bettehausen, Jeff Bloom, Dickson, James McElreath and Tom Bigelow.

Results –

1. Pancho Carter
2. Sam Sessions
3. Larry Dickson
4. Marvin Carman
5. Rollie Beale
6. Bill Cassella
7. Sheldon Kinser
8. Joe Saldana
9. Darl Harrison
10.James McElreath