Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1974 – Larry Detjens wins Spring 50 season opener at WIR

Kaukauna, Wis. (May 19, 1974) - Wisconsin International Raceway's four-race state championship series was launched in spectacular fashion here Sunday afternoon as Wausau's Larry Detjens wheeled his hemi-powered Dodge Challenger to victory before 4,253 persons. Detjens, who operates an auto body repair shop, passed two other racers on the final lap of the "Spring Opener 50".

Detjens had to work his way through the 23-car starting field and it wasn't until the 48th lap when he moved into the top three positions. He slipped into third spot on the 48th lap, passing Rich Somers of Stevens Point.

He then made his bid for the top spot but couldn't find enough room to get past Jim Sauter of Necedah and Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., who had battled door-to-door for the lead for much of the distance.

As the white flag was waved, signaling one lap remaining, the three racers zoomed past the standing crowd, three abreast, with Detjens on the outside. Detjens entered the first turn with a slight lead and pulled away down the back stretch.

He won the event by one car length over Miller with Sauter placing third. Miller, last years National Short Track Champion at Rockford, drove a 1970 Mustang while Sauter was behind the wheel of a 1973 Chevy Nova. Somers finished fourth in a 1973 Mustang followed by Dave Watson of Beloit, winner of the "Red White and Blue State Championship at WIR last year, in a 1973 Joe Shear Camaro and Jim Pierson of Milton in a 1974 Camaro.

Al Schill of Franklin, the race leader for the first 10 laps, finished eighth.

Sauter set the pace for two laps after gaining the lead from Schill. Miller took over the top spot for one lap before being re-passed by Sauter. Miller regained the lead on the 28th lap and remained in the front position until being passed by Detjens on the final lap.

The race was yellow flagged by start Bill Krueger twice. The first caution flag was waved when top qualifier, John Reimer of Caledonia, blew the engine of his 1973 Camaro on the fourth lap. He was the leading qualifier among the 63 entries on hand to participate in the $55,000 racing program.

Another caution period was required on the 17th lap when Beloit's Dan Bellard spun in the first turn and was hit head-on by Don James of Bloomington, Minn. James was unable to continue.

Feature results –

  1. Larry Detjens, Wausau
  2. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
  3. Jim Sauter, Necedah
  4. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
  5. Dave Watson, Beloit
  6. Jim Pierson, Milton
  7. Neil Callahan, Merrill
  8. Al Schill, Franklin
  9. Jim Olson, Mazomanie
  10. Jim Derhagg, Hoskins, Minn.
  11. Dave Conger, Oshkosh
  12. Don Bellard, Beloit
  13. Boyce Sparkman, Rockford, Ill.
  14. Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills
  15. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
  16. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
  17. Jim Back, Vesper
  18. Dave Field, Port Edwards
  19. Paul Smith, Marquette, Mich.
  20. Don James, Bloomington, Minn.
  21. Bob Gunn, Madison
  22. Ed Hume, Madison
  23. John Reimer, Caledonia



Friday, May 15, 2015

1970 – A Plymouth wins again at Knoxville

by Ida May Van Genderen
Knoxville, Iowa (May 15, 1970) - Gordy Blankenship of Keokuk captured the 15-lap stock car feature Friday night at the Knoxville Raceway.

Last week it was Lem Blankenship. This week brother Gordon decided to give Knoxville a try and he took home the first place money. So now it has been Plymouth winning two weeks in a row.

The stock cars looked like they were hooked together going around the track in a bumper to bumper line when trouble struck on the fifth lap.

The result was a massive pileup on the backstretch, knocking out the first and second place cars; Bill McDonough and Carl Vander Wal. Rich Montgomery rolled a few times and was out as were the cars of Ron Perdock and Larry Housby. Nearly every car in the 14-car field received some kind of damage or new dents. All were uninjured in the mishap.

Bob Bonzer of Liscomb started the cool evening off hot by setting fast time of the night with a 24.24 second lap around the tacky one-half mile oval.

Dick Oldham of Des Moines jumped into the lead from his front row starting position to lead all the way to win the five-lap trophy dash. Bob Bonzer edged out Phil Reese of Des Moines to place second.

Oldham then took to the track for his second win of the evening by copping the first eight-lap heat race. On the third lap, Joel Rasmussen of Ames spun his Camaro around in the second turn. He was dodged by two cars, but the third car, driven by Steve Genevasee of Ankeny rammed Rasmussen head-on with his Chevelle. Both cars were out of commission for the rest of the night.

Taking the checkers for the second eight lap heat was Mike Brooks of Hartford. It was nip and tuck race for first spot between Brooks and Bob Bonzer until Bonzer’s engine let go on the fifth lap and he was forced to the pit. Mike then won by a wide margin over Carl Vander Wal of Ames.

Phil Reese of Des Moines won the third heat event. It looked like Oskaloosa’s Rich Montgomery had the race in the bag. He led for the first six laps only to slip a bit in the fourth turn on the white flag lap. Rich lost two spots when Reese and second place finisher Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids took advantage and plunged ahead.

Don Hoffman took the lead from the start and was never headed, to win the seven lap consolation. George Barton of Ankeny was second.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1985 - Al Schill Repeats in ARTGO Stocks

Al Schill
Rockford, Ill. (April 12, 1985) - making it two in a row on the ARTGO Challenge Series circuits, Al Schill won the eighth annual Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The rain delayed, 85 lap feature saw Schill, point leader of the Midwestern stock-car circuit, wheel his Pontiac Firebird to his second challenge series win of the new season. The 40-year-old speedster, winner in last year’s National Short Track Championships at the Rockford oval, now has four career victories on the ARTGO late-model tour.

Taking over the lead from Steve Holzhausen on the 59th circuit, Schill went on to win with a commanding margin over Holzhausen. Trailing on the high banked quarter-mile paved oval were John Ziegler, Larry Schuler, Rich Bickle Jr. and the afternoon’s fastest qualifier, Joe Shear.

“That yellow flag helped,” said Schill after the when. “The tires cooled, and I was ready to go for it (the lead),” he added. “He (Holzhausen) was having a little handling trouble coming off the corner, and I just got alongside him enough to take the lead,” Schill said.

Holzhausen led from the start with Schuler giving chase. Schill, with Ziegler in pursuit, got by Schuler for second and moved in on Holzhausen first shot at the lead.

After a lap 58 yellow flag, Schill wasted little time going for first place, charging under Holzhausen on lap 59. She'll quickly pulled away building a commanding lead.

Steve Seligman captured the 20 lap semi-feature advanced to the Main event. The semi-feature was red flagged when 1984 rookie of the year, Scott Hansen, and Doug Herbst crashed into the wall the first lap. Hansen's Pontiac Firebird did a slow rollover. Hansen escaped injury in his crew was able to repair the car for the feature.

Results –

1. Al Schill
2. Steve Holzhausen
3. John Ziegler
4. Larry Schuler
5. Rich Bickle Jr.
6. Joe Shear
7. Tom Musgrave
8. Fred Campbell
9. Steve Burgess
10. Mike Van Sparrentak
11. Don Leach
12. Terry Baldry
13. Ted Musgrave
14. Axel Dahlberg
15. Steve Carlson
16. Frank Gawlinski
17. Steve Seligman
18. Scott Hansen
19. Roger Lund
20. Jim Holland