Silver Dollar Nationals

Monday, July 16, 2018

1972 – Blankenship Wins Cresco IMCA

Gordon Blankenship
Cresco, Iowa (July 16, 1972) – The record book for the Howard County Fair racetrack was freely written on Sunday night.
The weather was perfect, the track was fast and Gordon Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, bettered the records of his Keokuk neighbors, Ramo Stott and Ernie Derr.
Stott’s record was the first to fall. Blankenship sliced more than 25 seconds off the existing record for 10 laps, by turning the fast time of 3 minutes and 11 seconds.
There was a break in the action, the crowd was catching its breath and Gordon Blankenship was making some last-minute adjustments to his machine.
Derr’s record was the next to fall. Blankenship, driving like he was truly inspired from his third-place finish in the Iowa 300 a week ago, led the feature race from start to finish.
In the early going Blankenship sat on a comfortable lead as the pack was wrestling and jostling for position. It was on lap 34 that Gordy, trying to weave through lap traffic, skinned the wall in turn four, sending sparks flying into the crowd.
Irv Janey of Cedar Rapid, Iowa and Gerry Harrison of Topeka, Kan., closed in on Blankenship by lap 36. Despite Janey’s serious challenges throughout the remainder of the race and even though he was within inches of the leader, Blankenship denied his every effort.
Blankenship took the checkers and set a new track record in the process, turning the 50 laps in 39 minutes and 41 seconds, bettering Derr’s record of 41 minutes flat.

Results –

1.    Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
2.    Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3.    Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
4.    Blackie Wangerin, Cascade, Iowa
5.    Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo.
6.    Bill Schwader, McClausland, Iowa
7.    Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City
8.    Jim Still, Topeka, Kan.
9.    Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
10.   Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1962 – Rutherford Captures Salem IMCA Honors

Salem, Ind. (July 15, 1962) – Johnny Rutherford of Fort Worth, Tex., drove his Beatson Chevy to first place here in the 30-lap IMCA big car feature in a new record time of 10 minutes and seven seconds, erasing the old mark of 10 minutes and 33 seconds set in 1954 by Buzz Barton of Tampa, Fla.
Rutherford, who started fourth by virtue of his qualifying and winning the third heat, took over the lead when Johnny White lost his engine in the Chet Wilson 270 Offy.
The Warren, Mich., speedster led laps 9 through 20 after initial leader Tom McClellan of Dayton, Ohio, spun out in the first turn after starting in the pole position. McClellan posted the fastest lap in qualifying, turning a time of 19.17 seconds on the high-banked half-mile.
Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., was chasing Rutherford by a few car lengths as the checkered waved. Filling out the top five were Bill Kimmel, Dick Gaines and Ray Duckworth. 
Winner of 10-lap heat were Rutherford, White, and Duckworth. Gaines captured the 10-lap semi-feature. Knepper accounted for the 5-lap trophy dash.
Tom York of South Bend, Ind., driving a powerful Pontiac, brought the 4,000 spectators to their feet when his steering let go in his heat race and smacked the wall in front of the grandstand. York was uninjured but the car wasn’t so lucky.
Rutherford, who has been doing a terrific job this season, extended his points lead in the IMCA national championship race and will be a tough customer to beat.

Results –

1.    Johnny Rutherford
2.    Arnie Knepper
3.    Bill Kimmel
4.    Dick Gaines
5.    Ray Duckworth
6.    Pete Folse
7.    Buzz Rose
8.    Red Renner
9.    Calvin Gilstrap
10.   Curly Boyd
11.   Benny Rapp
12.   Bill Black

Saturday, July 14, 2018

1974 - Hartman posts fifth straight victory at State Fair Park

Butch Hartman won the USAC Stock Car 200-mile event at Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wis. (July 14, 1974) – Butch Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio, who won four stock car races at Wisconsin’s State Fair Park last season, posted his fifth victory in a row on the paved one-mile oval in a United States Auto Club 200-mile event Sunday.
But Hartman, who took advantage of car troubles by his closest competitors to win by half a lap at an average speed of 86.884 miles per hour, said he never thought the $10,019 he won of the $54,950 purse was a sure thing.
“At no point was I confident,” he said. ‘Even in those last 10 laps when I was out in front, I was nervous. Nothing is certain.”
Hartman took the lead in his 1974 Dodge Charger from pole sitter Bobby Unser after 35 laps, and Unser eventually left the race with a broken valve on his ‘74 Charger.
Then, after Hartman went into the pits, Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids went out front from the 87th through the 117th laps. Trickle remained close behind in his ‘72 Charger until spinning out during the 143rd lap on an oil slick which appeared when the ‘72 Charger of Paul Feldner of Richfield blew its engine. Trickle’s car hit the wall, but he walked away uninjured.
Hartman’s final challenge came from Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, who was hampered by brake trouble in his ’72 Plymouth towards the end of the race.
“I knew he was right behind me,” Hartman said. “But I knew he was driving without any brakes.”
“Ramo was backing off a lot of times in the turns and the way the flagman was positioning himself, I knew he just didn’t have those brakes. It was one heck of a race that Ramo drove.”
Norm Nelson of Racine finished third. He was hampered when he made a stop on the 50th lap, picked up a piece of metal while leaving the pit area and had to return only three laps later with a flat tire. Nelson felt the untimely flat cost him at least second place, possibly better. He had just taken the lead on the 50th lap before making a pit stop for tires and gas.
Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, was fourth and Bay Darnell of Deerfield, Ill., fifth.
The win boosted Hartman’s point lead over the 51-year-old Nelson to 90, 1470 to 1380. A consolation prize for the Racine veteran was the third-place check for $4,049.
A crowd of 21,466 watched in 90-degree temperature. The track temperature was 124 degrees.
Only 19 of the 40 starters were still running at the finish.


Results -

1. Butch Hartman, 1974 Charger, $10,019.
2. Ramo Stott, ‘72 Plymouth, $5,470.
3. Norm Nelson, ‘72 Plymouth, $3,949.
4. Jack Bowsher, ‘73Torino, $2,517.
5. Bay Darnell, ‘74 Charger, $2,094.
6. Jigger Sirois, ‘73 Chevelle, $1,705.
7. Sal Tovella, ‘72 Chevelle, $1,495.
8. Dave Decker, ‘72 Chevelle, $1,296.
9. Mickey Flora, ‘74 Charger, $1,196,
10. Bill Wrich, ‘72 Chevelle, $1,097.

Friday, July 13, 2018

1969 – Hot Job; But Derr Captures Iowa 300

Ernie Derr accepts the trophy from Ms. Iowa 300 as IMCA's Kenneth Fulk looks on.

Des Moines, Iowa (July 13, 1969) – Three drivers made Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, work exceptionally hard under 94-degree weather conditions at the State Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.
But the old master took charge in the last 85 rounds of the Iowa 300 new model stock car race and won in a record time of 2 hours, 23 minutes and 51 seconds.
Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, Ole Brua of Albert Lea, Minn., and Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa, were the challengers in the 150-mile grind. The lead changed hands 11 times and all four drivers shared the honors.
Horn, driving a 1967 Plymouth, finished second, one lap behind Derr’s 1969 Dodge Charger and pocketed $800. Brua, in a 1969 Ford Torino, fell 11 laps behind the leader in the stages of the race but finished third. Hutcherson, who put up the stiffest challenge, had mechanical troubles and was fortunate to finish seventh. He was third with 40 laps remaining.
The heralded duel between Derr and Tiny Lund, the Harlan, Iowa, native, who calls Cross, S.C., home, did not materialize.
Lund, the 1968 NASCAR Grand National Touring champion flew into Des Moines on Sunday morning. However, his 1969 Cougar did not arrive. Lund encountered rear end difficulties at a race in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday night and by the time the car was repaired, there wasn’t enough time to tow it to Des Moines.
But Tiny hopped into a 1967 Ford Fairlane borrowed from Dick Johnson of St. Paul, Minn., and proceeded to show the 12,100 race fans in attendance how the NASCAR boys run.
Tiny did a heck of a job for his time in the saddle – which wasn’t long. A ball joint broke and he slammed into the wall on lap 11.
He had qualified 17th but moved up to fourth and did tail Derr’s bumper for a couple of laps.
Brua had the lead until lap 22 when Ernie sailed around him. Derr took a mandatory 30-second pit stop on the 70th lap and Hutcherson nabbed his first lead.
Action was fast and furious from lap 80 through lap 121 when there were numerous changes for the top spot.
Derr charged ahead at that point and he, Hutcherson and Horn battled on the same lap through lap 174 when Derr pitted and Hutcherson assumed command and led Derr by more than a lap
Derr managed to whittle away the lead and took advantage of Hutcherson’s pit stop for water on lap 215 to move ahead permanently.
Mike Derr’s racing debut was a success. The son of Ernie, who had never driven a race car on a track before the race, finished in fifth. Together they earned $1,450 for the race with Ernie taking home $1,100.

Results –

1.    Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2.    Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
3.    Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
4.    Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
5.    Mike Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
6.    Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
7.    Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
8.    Chuck Berg, Des Moines
9.     Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
10.   Dave Wall, Kansas City
11.   Joe Wallace, Leavenworth, Kan.
12.   Jay McIntosh, Willard, Mo.
13.   Mike Null, Wentzville, Mo.
14.   Sandy Sandstrom, Kansas City
15.   Bill Stark, Des Moines
16.   Ralph Bowlen, Marshall, Mo.
17.   Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
18.   Jerre Wichman, Kansas City
19.   Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City
20.   Frank Spencer, Kansas City
21.   George Barton, Ankeny, Iowa
22.   Roger Brown, Waverly, Iowa
23.   John Kyle, Des Moines
24.   Chuck Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
25.   Tiny Lund, Cross, S.C.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

1980 – Hearst Recovers; Wins at Downs

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (July 11, 1980) - Tom Hearst is back to his old self.
The 37-year-old NASCAR driver from Wilton slipped past Waterloo’s Bill Zwanziger at the start of the 16th lap and raced on from there to capture the 25-lap late model feature race Friday night in front of a smoldering host of diehard racing fans at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.
It was the fourth time this year that Hearst, the Downs NASCAR point leader, has captured the speedway's late model main.
Hearst, who had started the race in the middle of 23 other drivers, had little trouble adding to his point total after passing Zwanziger, running away from the pack for his first Downs feature win since June 20th. Zwanziger did maintain his position, finishing second ahead of Waterloo's Dick Schiltz. Ed Sanger, also of Waterloo, was fourth, followed by Independence’s Rick Wendling, Marion’s Steve Keppler and Waterloo’s Red Dralle. Kalona's Mike Niffenegger came home eighth ahead of the Viola vet Kenny Walton, Cedar Rapid's Darrell Dake and Cedar Fall's Denny Osborn. Mike Frieden of Cedar Rapids was twelfth.
Scotch Grove veteran Jerry Naylor captured the Street Stock heat while his son Dave and Monticello's Jay Iben grabbed first place finishes in the Sportsman runs.
Dralle, Keppler, and Wendling all took Late Model heats with Jerry Naylor winning his third Street Stock main in his last three Downs appearances after a brief retirement.
The younger Naylor (Dave) also edged Wapello’s Ron Pallister in the 12-lap Sportsman feature.

 Results -

 Late Model -

1.        Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
2.        Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
3.        Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
4.        Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
5.        Rick Wendling, Hazelton, Iowa
6.        Steve Keppler, Marion, Iowa
7.        Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
8.        Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
9.        Kenny Walton, Viola, Iowa
10.     Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
11.     Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls, Iowa
12.     Mike Frieden, Swisher, Iowa

Sportsman –
        1.        Dave Naylor, Scotch Grove, Iowa
2.        Ron Pallister, Wapello, Iowa
3.        Mike Phillips, Muscatine, Iowa
4.        Dan Thomas, Morning Sun, Iowa
5.        Jay Iben, Monticello, Iowa

Street Stocks –

1.        Jerry Naylor, Scotch Grove, Iowa
2.        Chopper Safely, Marion, Iowa
3.        Gus Hughes, Monticello, Iowa
4.        Dave Albert, Marengo, Iowa
5.        Gary Gramblin, Anamosa, Iowa

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

1983 – Kulwicki Wins War in Milwaukee ASA Go

Alan Kulwicki

West Allis, Wis. (July 10, 1983) – In a spectacular race that often resembled a war, Alan Kulwicki marked the zenith of his career by winning the American Speed Association-sanctioned Miller 200 by a scant tenth of a second over Bob Senneker at the Milwaukee Mile.
Contending for the top spot the entire 200-mile race distance, Kulwicki took the lead for good with 21 laps remaining but had to resist all challenges by Senneker and six other drivers compressed into the lead towards the end of the race.
Three brief cautions for minor incidents during the final 20 miles provided no chance for Kulwicki to work on building a lead and Senneker had his Camaro dead even with Kulwicki's Firebird in the final turn only to be out-accelerated to the final flag that the pair flashed under in overlap fashion.
Immediately behind the dueling leaders at the finish were Joe Ruttman, charging hard, after a late race caution pit stop for fresh tires; ever spectacular Gary Balough in fourth; smooth Mike Miller in fifth; then Butch Miller, Mark Martin, and Bobby Dotter rounding out the top eight, all on the lead lap.
Kulwicki’s nerves were no doubt frayed by late cautions at lap 100 – 103 when Terry Senneker got a foul of the charging Joe Ruttman and spun in turn one, and again when David Green spun on lap 104, though he recovered to finish 20th. A final caution appeared between 189 and 193 to police oil from the main straightaway.

“It’s the biggest win, the biggest day of my career,” Kulwicki said after the race. “And I’m really happy it happened in front of my hometown fans and the people who’ve helped me so much since I began racing.”

Results –

1.    Alan Kulwicki
2.    Bob Senneker
3.    Joe Ruttman
4.    Gary Balough
5.    Mike Miller
6.    Butch Miller
7.    Mark Martin
8.    Bobby Dotter
9.    Jody Ridley
10.  Terry Senneker
11.   Bob Strait
12.   Arnie Christen
13.   Tom Jones
14.   Dennis Vogel
15.   Willie Goeden
16.   Steve Seligman
17.   Buddy Schrock
18.   Rusty Wallace
19.   Don Gregory
20.   David Green
21.   Tom Harrington
22.   Kent Stauffer
23.   Davey Allison
24.   Dick Trickle
25.   Dennis Lampman
26.   Curt Cheshire
27.   Darrell Waltrip
28.   Mike Patrick
29.   Dave Tomczak
30.   Rick Carelli
31.   Ed Evans
32.   Harold Fair
33.   Dennis Martin
34.   Al Schill
35.   Mutley Kurkowski
36.   Jim Sauter

Sunday, July 8, 2018

1978 - Lakeside USAC Win to Wolfgang

Doug Wolfgang

Kansas City, Kan. (July 8, 1978) – Doug Wolfgang scored his first career USAC sprint car feature victory in Saturday night’s rain-shortened main event at Lakeside Speedway.
Wolfgang, who vaulted into the lead at the drop of the green, was still in command after 27 of the event’s 40 laps, when rain forced the contest to be halted.
Roger Rager, who was gunning for a clean sweep of the show after having set fast time in qualifying and capturing the first heat, was credited with finishing second, ahead of Billy Cassella, Chuck Gurney, and Bill Engelhart.
Wolfgang, Dana Carter and Gurney won the other heats and defending USAC sprint car national champion Sheldon Kinser claimed the semi-feature win.
Rich Vogler, the current USAC midget point leader, flipped his car during hot laps, but was uninjured and came back later in the evening to finish tenth.

Results –

1.    Doug Wolfgang
2.    Roger Rager
3.    Billy Cassella
4.    Chuck Gurney
5.    Bill Engelhart
6.    Bubby Jones
7.    Sheldon Kinser
8.    Joe Saldana
9.    Ron Shuman
10.  Rich Vogler