Sunday, July 26, 2015

1976 - Hansen Wins Falstaff Classic

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (July 26, 1976) - Never mind that Curt Hansen had a miserable time of it driving his stock car at Hawkeye Downs last season. 
That's past history because the new Hawkeye Downs track is Hansen's piece of cake.
“This track has been good to me this year,” grinned Hansen after winning the 4th annual Falstaff Classic 50-lapper Monday night at The Downs. “My motto has been if I run well, it’ll be here.”
Hansen’s record on the new half-mile dirt oval proves the point. The Dike driver is the current point leader and also won the Doc Hunter Classic 35-lapper earlier this summer. 
“It's great to win here, especially when all the hotdogs are in the field,” added Hansen while busily handing out autographs and pictures of his car after the dandy and daring feature.
“There didn't seem be any one particular groove that ran well. In fact, I ran both in the middle and down low. I’ve never seen this track better. It was beautiful.”
Any secret preparations for the race?
“None,” offered the 13-year driving veteran who has won 10 features at various tracks this year. “I did lighten the rear end of the Camaro and had only 65 pounds of weight. That's the lightest the car has ever been and it ran super. I did make some tire and gear changes, but nothing major.”
Let it be said that this was the very best of the four Falstaff races and many observers went to so far as to say the late model program was the best at Hawkeye Downs in ten years.
Keith Fleck, the local Falstaff beer distributor and race sponsor, will also be able to turn a sizable amount of proceed money to the All Iowa Fair Board to help defray the cost of the building the new track, less Hansen’s $1,300 for winning the race, though.
Over 40 cars showed up for the Classic and 5,300 fans were treated to a spectacular feature. After the Monday night performing, no more derogatory remarks need to said about the inability to pass on the Downs oval.
All you needed to do was watch the progress of Lisbon’s Roger Dolan and Duane Steffe of East Moline in the feature.
Get this…
Dolan started 19th on the grid and maneuvered his Chevelle around most of the field and finished third. Steffe started 21st and wound up sixth. Neither was able to get a bite on the track in the time trials and started well back.
Another Lisbon hot shoe, Bill Beckman led a rapid parade in the qualifying by establishing a new track one-lap record of 24.06 seconds. The old mark was 24.10 held by Ed Sanger, who finished third.
In fact, Hanson ran only 25.01 in his first trial, but came back with a 24.33 to earn a starting spot in the second row. Ken Walton, running his best race of the year at The Downs, has second fastest time. There were 25 cars qualifying under 25 seconds. The 25th fastest time was 24.96.
Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, making his first appearance at Hawkeye Downs this year, won the Trophy Dash and Steffe, Steve Keppler, Perry Beckler and Tom Stewart won heats.
Ramo Stott of Keokuk, the reigning USAC stock car champion, had entered the race but the postponement from last Tuesday's scheduled race that was washed out by rain made it unable for Stott to get a ride.
Hansen took over the lead in the feature on the 19th lap and led the rest of the way. Beckman and then Walton led through the first 17 tours.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

1965 - Ned Jarrett Captures Volunteer 500

Ned Jarrett
Bristol, Tenn. (July 25, 1965) - Ned Jarrett, always a sentimental favorite around the NASCAR circuit, took over the lead with less than 100 laps to go then roared on home to win the Volunteer 500 before 29,000 rain-drenched fans here on Sunday afternoon.

After the top qualifiers, including Richard Petty, were eliminated systematically - either through crashes on the track or equipment failure, Darel Dieringer, Jarrett and Dick Hutcherson took over as the top three.

It was just a matter of time as to who would cross the finish line first.

Dieringer was holding several car lengths lead over Jarrett when his Mercury quit running. He pulled into the pits and behind the wall and it was all Jarrett and Hutcherson, in a battle for the checkered flag and first place in the Grand National point standings.

Jarrett added 1,100 points to his season total to move 28 points ahead of Hutcherson, the rookie who finished second.

Rain and accidents look their toll as the 150-mile, 500-lap was slowed to a snail's pace. More than 100 laps were run under the caution flag and only 13 of the 36 starters finished the race.

The race was suspended once for more than an hour as of officials waited for a steady rain to let up.

Marvin Panch, Daytona Beach, driving a 1965 Ford, and David Pearson, Spartanburg, S.C., driving a 1965 Dodge, were taken out of the race early when their cars sideswiped on the fourth turn and careened into the wall in front of the grandstand.

Panch hit the fence and Pearson hit the concrete wall. Both were shaken up and taken to the field hospital where both were examined and released. Both cars were demolished. The crash, first of the day came on the 10th lap.

The early leaders, Junior Johnson of Ronda, N.C., and Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill., were sidelined later. Johnson left the track in his badly mangled 1965 Ford as he was involved in a five-car pileup. Johnson was leading the ace at the time.

Petty, making his first start in NASCAR this season, was involved in the wreck. His 1965 Plymouth was hit in the rear and it appeared that he was out for the day. His pit crew, headed by his father Lee, made a quick recovery and got him back into the race with the trunk of his car almost in the back seat.

Lorenzen pulled behind the pit area shortly before the race was suspended by rain because his car was not performing as it I should.  The pole sitter claimed his car was losing two seconds every lap.

After Johnson went out of the race, Dieringer took over and it was a battle between him and Petty. Petty stayed with Dieringer but was several laps behind. Petty was sidelined by a defective differential in his Plymouth.

He was in seventh place, seven laps behind, when trouble struck. Petty was among the first five early leaders but he lost his advantage when he was involved in the five-car pileup.

General Motors made a fine showing in yesterday's event.

Of the top 19, three Chevrolets placed, one fourth, one sixth and one eighth. The other seven were Fords. Sam McQuagg of Columbus, Ga., finished third in his 1965 Ford.

Paul Lewis, of Johnson City driving a 1964 Ford, put on a good showing before going out late in the race with engine trouble. Lewis started in seventh place and stayed around that spot until trouble put him out of the race.

The three Chevrolet to finish in the top 10 were driven by Jim Paschal of High Point, N.C., Buck Baker of Charlotte, and J. T. Putney of Arden, S.C.

It was the first time that Jarrett has ever won a race at the Bristol track. He has driven in every event here and has finished high in the running but this was his first time to win.

"It was just great to win here at Bristol. 1 have tried for so long and was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen here," he said.

Jarrett's car was handling beautifully throughout the race and it carried him to victory.

Johnson led most of the early part of the race but Dieringer led the most, 254 laps, before his engine went out Dieringer was in the lead when more than 50 laps were run under the caution flag during the downpour.


Results –

  1. Ned Jarrett
  2. Dick Hutcherson
  3. Sam McQuagg
  4. Jim Paschal
  5. Buck Baker
  6. Junior Spencer
  7. Wendell Scott
  8. Donald Tucker
  9. Bob Derrington
  10. J.T. Putney
  11. Gene Black
  12. Buddy Arrington
  13. Worth McMillion
  14. Darel Dieringer
  15. Reb Wickersham
  16. Paul Lewis
  17. Richard Petty
  18. Bud Harless
  19. G.C. Spencer
  20. Fred Lorenzen
  21. Neil Castles
  22. Cale Yarborough
  23. Junior Johnson
  24. Tiny Lund
  25. Stick Elliot
  26. Buren Skeen
  27. Lionel Johnson
  28. E.J. Trivette
  29. Jimmy Helms
  30. Buddy Baker
  31. Jabe Thomas
  32. Bobby Allison
  33. Elmo Langley
  34. Raymond Carter
  35. Marvin Panch
  36. David Pearson

Friday, July 24, 2015

1969 - Weekend Wente wins on Thursday at Elko

Bob Wente
Elko, Minn. (July 24, 1969) – Bob Wente moved into the lead with seven laps to go in the 50-lap feature for USAC midgets at the beautiful Elko Speedway and was never headed as he chalked up his 57th career win, tying Bob Tattersall and Mel Kenyon for the honor.

Henry Pens jumped past Merle Bettenhausen on the last lap to secure a second place finish. Merle was the early leader in the race as he led the first 25 laps. He lost the lead to Mike McGreevy as the leaders were overlapping slower cars. Merle bumped into Mel Cornett and everyone was hard on the brakes except McGreevy who found an opening and took the lead. Mike led until the 43rd circuit when his magneto went sour dropping him back to sixth.

Bettenhausen, McGreevy and Wente supplied plenty of action in the early going as the trio fought for the lead. Henry Pens had several battles going as he moved from his sixth starting spot to second on the tight quarter-mile.

Bettenhausen took third place while Sonny Ates grabbed fourth. Bill Englehart held down fifth to finish where he started. McGreevy was sixth with Bob Tattersall in seventh. Lee Kunzman nailed down the eighth spot in the Linne Sesco powered midget and fast qualifier Dave Strickland took ninth. Roger Branson, driving the Lehman Chevy II, passed the most cars, rounding out the top 10 after starting sixteenth.

Branson set the track record for a 10-lap heat as he won the fourth race with a time of 2 minutes and 24.97 seconds. All distances were new records as it was the first time to the track for USAC.

Strickland set fast time with a lap 14.15 seconds and came from the last row to win the first heat.  The Linne cars were one-two in the trophy dash as Pens took the event over Kunzman. Mel Cornett won the second heat and Joe Demko took heat number three. John Deering won the semi-main.

Results –

Fast Qualifier: Dave Strickland (14.15)
Trophy Dash: Henry Pens
Heat One: Dave Strickland
Heat Two: Mel Cornett
Heat Three: Joe Demko
Heat Four: Roger Branson
Semi-Main: John Deering

  1. Bob Wente
  2. Henry Pens
  3. Merle Bettenhausen
  4. Sonny Ates
  5. Bill Englehart
  6. Mike McGreevy
  7. Bob Tattersall
  8. Lee Kunzman
  9. Dave Strickland
  10. Roger Branson
  11. Bill Renshaw
  12. Gary Irvin
  13. Dick Jones
  14. Charlie Masters
  15. Joe Demko
  16. Dick Pole
  17. Les Scott
  18. Mel Cornett

Thursday, July 23, 2015

1977 - Dave Price cops Fairbury six-cylinder mid-season title

Fairbury, Ill. (July 23, 1977) - From the drop of the green flag to the waving of the checkered flag, Dave Price of Leroy was in the lead for all 40 laps of the mid-season championship race for the six-cylinders at the Fairbury Legion Speedway.
Price sat on the pole for the feature and from there he put his Camaro into the lead for the mid-season crown. Ron Starks repeatedly challenged Price for the number one spot, but Dave stayed down and didn't give Ron any mistakes to take advantage of. Right behind Starks was Shorty Kalkwarf of Minonk to take over should either Price or Starks give up the lead. Sam Lee stayed in the number four spot pushing very hard to get his “Green Weenie” to the front to no avail.
Lee started off the night in dazzling style by being fastest qualifier with a 17:50 time. He then came back and won the trophy dash from start to finish over Ron Starks of Graymont. Larry Smith finished in the number five spot of the feature after putting his car on the backstretch wall. After a quick oil change, he was ready to run the full 40 laps. Also still running after the 40 laps were John Maubach of Gridley in sixth place, Jim Wright of Danville in seventh, Dan Mehrkans of Bloomington eighth, Gary Ricketts of Fairbury ninth, and Robin Bohm of Pontiac tenth.
Ronnie Ricketts of Fairbury did a double take by winning his heat race over Bob Walters of Dwight, then coming back and winning the consolation race over Bob Morgan of Streator. Gary Osterman of Minonk also was a heat winner over Dan Shutter of Bradley, and Jim Wright of Danville won the fast heat race over Dave Price.
They call him “Highbanks”, and it was from there that Bob Pierce of Danville won his second late model feature of the season. At the drop of the green Dave Feese got out in front with Jack Tyne close in second. After five laps as Jack was making his move to get under Dave, they both came out of turn four, hooked together and stayed that way all down the front chute. Frank Shickel whizzed by for first place and Bob Pierce was behind him for the second spot.
Snooky Dehm of Chatsworth finally finished second by getting by Frank Shickel on the last turn. Tom Myers of Pontiac finished fourth with Sam Lee fifth. Jack Tyne of Streator rounded out the top six places in the eight-cylinder feature.
Joe Williams was the fastest qualifier for the night with a 17.21 time. In the trophy dash Bob Pierce finished first with Joe Williams second. John Cox won the consolation race over Bill Wilkey of Dwight.
Fred Strube won the fast heat by edging Tom Myers of Pontiac. Dave Pleines won his heat and Bob Farley won the other heat race.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

1972 – Trickle Wins Again at I-70 Speedway

Dick Trickle
Odessa, Mo. (July 22, 1972) - Dick Trickle made his annual invasion of Missouri and it proved just as successful as last season as the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., stock-car driver won the third annual I-70 Speedway national championship.

Trickle, driving a 1970 Mustang, took the lead from Dave Wall, of Kansas City, Kansas, on lap 105 of the 300-lap contest and cruised to the finish. Wall, driving a 1970 Chevelle, finished second, but he trailed Trickle by two car lengths.

Trickle’s share of the $22,000 purse was $3,500 and Wall collected $2,200 for his runner-up efforts. The 40-car feature was run before a paid crowd of 8,500 - the largest paid attendance in the speedway's history.

Wall started on the inside poll by virtue of winning Friday nights 25-lap feature. Also on Friday, wall set a new one lap record by touring the high-banked, half-mile in 18.57 seconds. This broke the old mark of 18.59 seconds set by Terry Bivins on July 1. Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, set a 15-lap mark on Friday night with a clocking of 5 minutes and 70 seconds, bettering the old mark set by Wall in 1971.

Wall held the early lead while Trickle, who started in the seventh spot, bided his time as a field sorted itself out. On lap 64, Joe Wallace of Lawrence, Kan., skidded in turn three and a six-car pile up ensued. Wallace, Three of the drivers, Wayne Stallsworth of Commerce, Colo., and Jim Hager of Liberty, Mo., would not return.

From then until the 105th lap when Trickle took the lead, it was a stirring duel between him and Wall. They were the only leaders – Wall with 104 laps and Trickle with 196. They received $5 for every lap led.

Other than the crash on the 64th lap the race was slowed by six yellow flags. Trickle caused all the late excitement when his car blew an engine while taking a white flag on the 299th lap. He drove the final half-mile with a huge cloud of white smoke pouring out of his car.

The 40 starters earned their positions in Friday's preliminaries. The speedway had a total of 57 entries.

Results –

  1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
  2. Dave Wall, Kansas City, Kan.
  3. David Goldsberry, Springfield, Mo.
  4. Fred Whisler, Independence, Mo.
  5. Butch Speicher, Denver, Colo.
  6. Terry Brumley, Springfield, Mo.
  7. Sonny Inmon, Springfield, Mo.
  8. Losson Leonard, Jefferson City, Mo.
  9. Ferris Collier, Kimberling, Mo.
  10. Harold Young, Kansas City, Mo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

1982 - Vogler grabs first USAC sprint victory of season

Rich Vogler
Kokomo, Ind. (July 21, 1982) - Rich Vogler celebrated his 32nd birthday five days early by grabbing his first United States Auto Club Sprint feature victory of the season before a full house at the Kokomo Speedway Wednesday night.

Vogler, driving the No. 51 Powers Welding/King's Custom Machine entry, started on the pole and led the 30-lap feature from start to finish.

Ken Schrader, who closed on Vogler as the two lead cars started lapping the field, challenged him. But on the 18th lap, Bob Brutto hit the first turn wall and spun to bring out the second yellow. "After the second yellow, I felt from the signals that I was getting from my crew in the infield that I was pulling away," a smiling Vogler said after the race. "I started to ease up a little then. I knew I was as fast as or faster than the rest, and I didn't want to make a mistake and spin out."

Vogler, the only man to win both the USAC Midget and the USAC Sprint titles in the same season (1980), picked up points on USAC defending sprint champ Sheldon Kinser. Kinser finished fourth in the race behind Vogler, Schrader and Steve Long.

Before the race, Kinser led with 378 points. Vogler was second with 239, Danny Milburn was third with 190 and Steve Long was fourth with 189. Milburn finished fifth in the race, so Long trades places with him in the point’s race.

It was a record shattering night for the "Thunder and Lightning" Division as Tom Bigelow's qualifying time of 16.640 seconds was broken by four drivers.

Kelly Kinser, winner of three features at Kokomo this season, is the new record holder with a 16.368 clocking. Also shattering Bigelow's mark was Sheldon Kinser (:16.454), Schrader (:16.449) and Jac Haudenschild (:16.630).

A USAC heat record was set in the first heat by Johnny Parsons with a time of 2:17.59. That record lasted until the next heat when Sheldon Kinser, who started last in the inverted order of fast times, roared to the front and won with a clocking of 2:16.53.

The third heat went to the hard driving Schrader who also started at the back of the pack. On lap one, Larry Martin and Gary Irvin banged together and got crossways between turn one and two. Irvin's car was damaged and did not restart. Kokomo's Tim Bookmiller made the feature by finishing fourth behind Milburn and Bimbo Atkins.

The fourth heat was won by Frankfort's Terry Pletch with Haudenschild second. Haudenschild, who won the USAC feature at Eldora Speedway Saturday, was banging wheels with Jerry Nemire throughout the hotly contested race.

Tom Bigelow won the semi-feature.

Results –

  1. Rich Vogler
  2. Ken Schrader
  3. Steve Long
  4. Sheldon Kinser
  5. Danny Milburn
  6. Mark Alderson
  7. Tom Bigelow
  8. Bill Tyler
  9. Tim Bookmiller
  10. Kelly Kinser

Heat winners: Johnny Parsons, Sheldon Kinser, Ken Schrader & Terry Pletch
Semi: Tom Bigelow
Fast Qualifier: Kelly Kinser (16.368)