Monday, June 5, 2023

1977 – Senneker Sweeps at Interstate

Bob Senneker

West Salem, Wis. (June 5, 1977) – Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., brought his Bluebird ’76 Camaro to the La Crosse Interstate Speedway for the third annual Dr. Pepper 100 and made the 900-mile trip work to his advantage as he won both legs of the twin 50-lap features.

Nekoosa’s Marv Marzofka finished second in both features.

Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., was the day’s fast timer but he experienced tire problems in both features and finished well off the pace. Wausau’s Larry Detjens won the trophy dash but dropped out of the first 50 with tire problems and the second race with a blown engine.

John Speer of Janesville edged Jim Johnson of Bangor for first place in the 20-lap semi-feature as the two battled side-by-side.

Results –

Time trials – Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill. (20.48)
Trophy dash – Larry Detjens, Wausau
Heat #1 – Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
Heat #2 – Jim Johnson, Bangor
Semi-main – John Speers, Janesville

Feature #1 –

1. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
2. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
3. Ed Howe, Beaverton, Mich.
4. Jim Pierson, Janesville
5. Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills
6. Jim Back, Vesper
7. Joe Shear
8. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
9. Mike DeMars, Minneapolis
10.Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
11.Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
12.Larry Detjens
13.Jim Sauter, Necedah
14.Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
15.Bob Jusola, Centuria
16.Pete Mahlum, Onalaska
17.Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
18.Pat Griffin, Galesville
19.Steve Arndt, Janesville
20.Don Grant, Dresbach, Minn.

Feature #2 –

1. Bob Senneker
2. Marv Marzofka
3. Jim Sauter
4. Fred Bender
5. Tom Reffner
6. Bob Jusola
7. Jerry Eckhardt
8. Everett DeWitt
9. Ralph Bakewell, La Crosse
10.Pat Griffin
11.Pete Mahlum
12.Jim Back
13.Joe Shear
14.Larry Detjens
15.Ed Howe
16.Mike DeMars
17.Jim Pierson
18.Steve Arndt
19.Bruce Sparrman
20.Dick Trickle

1971 – Donnellson Win to Derr

Ernie Derr

Donnellson, Iowa (June 5, 1971) – Taking an early lead, Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, held on for a victory in the 50-lap feature event at the IMCA new model races at the Lee County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

Derr, a 11-time International Motor Contest Association champion, took command on the flat, half-mile oval early in the race when he passed hometown rival Ron Hutcherson and Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and slowly increased his margin for victory over the other two battling cars.

The accident-free program was staged in front of 4,500 fans, mostly pulling for the Keokuk drivers of Derr, Hutcherson and Gordon Blankenship, who were 20 miles from home.

Janey set fast time in his 1970 Plymouth with a time of 30.05 seconds. Derr was second fastest with a time of 30.38 seconds and Hutcherson toured the big half-mile in 30.54 seconds.

Hutcherson took a lead in the first heat and held on to win with Derr and Janey giving chase. Chuck Wicher of Cedar Rapids, driving Janey’s other car, also a 1970 Plymouth, won the second heat over Vern Mondry of Lake Elmo, Minn., and Bud Wallis of Gardner, Kan.

Hutcherson also score the win in the 5-lap STP trophy dash, holding off Janey and Derr once again.

Blankenship, experiencing steering and handling problems during the trophy dash and heat race, came back to win the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Jerre Wichman, Kansas City
6. Bud Wallis, Gardner, Kan.
7. Chuck Wicher, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
9. Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City
10.Bill Stark, Des Moines
11.Bill Shaner, Waverly, Iowa
12.John Farmer, Sweet Springs, Mo.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

1985 - Tom Hearst Captures Miller American 100

Tom Hearst is congratulated by race sponsor Keith Fleck after winning the Miller American 100 at Hawkeye Downs Speedway. – Dean Malone Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 4, 1985) - With more moves than a belly dancer, Tom Hearst swiveled, swerved, twisted, and turned and had just enough left to squeeze out his first Miller American 100 stock car victory at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway Tuesday.

The Miller American 100 is billed as the "biggest day of racing in Iowa” and it lived up to its billing.

There were 63 drivers from Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Missouri competing, including the current NASCAR Central Region points leader, Gene Claxton of Kansas City, Mo.

However, it was the dogged pursuit of Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., that turned what could have been a disastrous racing evening into a spectacular finish.

The 100-lap feature race suffered through 23 laps under a yellow flag and a red flag that turned into a 45-minute rain delay.

However, Hearst and Moyer along with Roger Dolan displayed their driving skills and thrilled the crowd that remained until the finish.

After completing laps 61 through 78 under a yellow flag, the field led by Hearst was given the green flag.

The driver from Wilton fired out quickly and took a comfortable lead before Moyer closed the gap and challenged Hearst on lap 85.

"They had a lot more horsepower under the hood than we did,” said Hearst after the race. "I just had to hold him off.”

The rest of the race Hearst and Moyer tangled on turns one and two. Moyer would try the low side and Hearst would cut him off. On turns three and four,

Moyer would take the high groove, but Hearst would hold him off.

This cat-and-mouse tactic worked for Hearst until he started to enter lap traffic on the 94th lap.

"There were slick parts on the track,” Hearst said. "You had to drive around them high or low or you could lose it.”

The 1982 NASCAR national champion was not going to be denied Tuesday night.

Using Mark Keltner and then Denny Rosenberg, Hearst prevented Moyer from passing and finally pulled away for the victory.

"I ran a good race,” said Moyer. "We had set up the car for a dry-slick track and the rain messed us up.”

"There was really only one groove on the track after the rain and Tom drove it,” continued Moyers.

Lisbon’s Dolan spiced the race up when he joined Hearst and Moyer on lap 91. However, with Hearst and Moyer running so tight there was not much room left for the 1983 Miller 100 winner to maneuver.

Dolan stayed close but had only one chance to challenge for the lead. Trying the low line on lap 95, Dolan was cut off and then forced back.

It was Hearst’s ninth win of the season. Moyer placed second and Dolan was third.

Last year’s Miller 100 winner, Ken Walton of Viola, failed to finish. Walton, who went back to his old car over the weekend, dropped out on lap 45.

"I felt a vibration (on lap 44) and just pulled up,” recalled Walton after the race.

Results –

1. Tom Hearst, Wilton
2. Billy Moyer Jr., Batesville, Ark.
3. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
4. Rick Wendling, Hazelton
5. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
6. Rollie Frink, Davenport
7. Bob Hill, Story City
8. Rick Egersdorf, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Dan Dickey, Packwood
10.Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine
11.Ronnie Hoover, Fulton, Mo.
12.Gary Crawford, Independence
13.Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
14.Denny Rosenberg, Grimes
15.Gene Claxton, Kansas City
16.R.J. Bruggeman, Dubuque
17.Mark Keltner, Morning Sun
18.Jerry Pilcher, Bloomfield
19.Ed Sanger, Waterloo
20.Terry Gallaher, Hannibal, Mo.
21.Curt Martin, Independence
22.Gary Henderson, Independence
23.Jay Johnson, Morning Sun
24.Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun
25.Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
26.Ken Walton, Viola
27.Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
28.Denny Ansel, Dubuque
29.Dennis Schwake
30.Jeff Aikey, Waterloo
31.Phil Barkdoll, Phoenix, Ariz.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

1979 - Martin Doubles at La Crosse in Dr. Pepper 100

Dr. Pepper 100 winner Mark Martin chats with La Crosse Interstate Speedway promoter Larry Wehrs in victory lane.

West Salem, Wis. (June 3, 1979) – Mark Martin won both 50-lap late model features to claim the overall championship in La Crosse Interstate Speedway’s fifth annual Dr. Pepper 100 on Sunday afternoon.

The victorious Martin took home $1,060 from the event’s $8,860 purse.

Tom Reffner of Rudolph, the day’s fastest qualifier, finished second in the first 50-lapper with Mike Miller third, Mark Lamoreaux fourth, and Dick Trickle fifth.

Marv Marzofka claimed second in the nightcap and was followed by Miller, Lamoreaux, and Bruce Sparrman.

Dick Stang grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting berth in the first feature, which started 25 cars with the 12 fastest qualifiers aligned in inverted order at the front of the grid.

Fred Bender moved into second place with Martin in third on lap 5 when the caution flew for oil on the track.

When the green waved again, Martin moved past Bender to take second and then passed Stang on lap 10 to grab the lead. Lamoreaux followed Martin’s example and moved past Stang on lap 12 to take over the runner-up position.

The yellow flag appeared again on lap 19 when Steve Burgess and Greg Arenson tangled.

Mike Miller, who restarted the chase in third, passed Lamoreaux on lap 22 and Reffner advanced to third place two laps later.

After annexing second on lap 28, Reffner closed in on Martin but couldn’t find a way to get around the Batesville, Ark., pilot and finished two-car-lengths behind at the checkers.

The top 12 finishers from the first race were inverted at the front of the grid. John Ziegler, who was scheduled to start from the pole, elected to start at the rear of the 25-car field because of motor issues.

Ziegler’s decision put Orv Buelow in the number one spot, but outside front row starter Tom Musgrave was on top when the field completed the opening lap.

Marzofka, who had started sixth, replaced Musgrave at the top on lap 4 but only remained in front until lap 12 when Reffner, who had started tenth, took charge. One la later, Trickle took second at Marzofka’s expense.

The yellow light flashed on lap 14 and during the caution, Reffner hurried into the pit area where his crew made adjustments under the hood of his 1978 AMX. Reffner returned to the track in front of Trickle just as the Wisconsin Rapids driver was crossing the start/finish line with the green flag on display. As a result, Trickle was scored as the leader with Reffner moved to the back of the pack, nearly a lap behind.

While the caution proved fatal to Reffner’s victory hopes, it benefitted Martin. Prior to the yellow, Martin had been running seventh, about a quarter-of-a-lap behind the frontrunner. However, the yellow enabled Martin to wipe out much of the deficit and elevated him to sixth place.

Martin took fifth from Sparrman on lap 16 and fourth from Lamoreaux on lap 18.

Trickle’s reign ended on lap 24 when a short in the ignition system forced him to pit under green, turning the lead over to Marzofka and giving Martin second place.

Two circuits later, Martin passed Marzofka, and once again, the American Speed Association kingpin romped to an easy victory.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
3. Mike Miler Wisconsin Rapids
4. Mark Lamoreaux, Bloomington, Minn.
5. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
6. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
7. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
8. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
9. Larry Detjens, Wausau
10.Tom Musgrave, Grand Marsh

Feature #2 –

1. Mark Martin
2. Marv Marzofka
3. Mike Miller
4. Mark Lamoreaux
5. Bruce Sparrman
6. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
7. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
8. Tom Reffner
9. Tom Musgrave
10.Dick Stang, Prior Lake, Minn.

1967 – White Take Opener on Lakefront

Don White is joined by starter Pat Vidan after the Keokuk, Iowa, driver won the opening night of stock car racing at Soldier Field. – Ed Coffey Photo/Stan Kalwasinski Collection

Chicago, Ill. (June 3, 1967) – Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, driving a Dodge Charger, won the 30-lap feature before an announced crowd of 13,857 opening night stock car fans at Soldier Field.

White, racing in third place for 20 laps, took advantage when Sal Tovella sent Jack Bowsher into the south wall and passed them both to take over the top spot. Bowsher’s car spilled oil and the race was slowed, then stopped on the 29th lap.

White was declared the winner with Tovella, of Addison, credited with second place.

Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., was third followed by Bill Shoulders of Waukegan and Bay Darnell of Deerfield rounded out the top five finishers.

Results –

Time trials – Don White, Keokuk, Iowa (20.24)
Trophy dash – Sal Tovella, Addison
Semi-main – Bay Darnell, Deerfield
Feature –
1. Don White
2. Sal Tovella
3. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
4. Bill Shoulders, Waukegan
5. Bay Darnell

Friday, June 2, 2023

1978 - Ferkel Takes Liking to Black Hills Speedway

Rick Ferkel

Rapid City, S.D. (June 2, 1978) – It was Rick Ferkel’s first time at Black Hills Speedway on Friday night, but the experienced pro had no problems adapting to the unfamiliar environment, stinging a star-studded field of competitors with two impressive victories.

Ferkel, a feature winner at least a dozen times at various tracks around the country this season, quickly found the groove and winged his expertly prepared sprint car around the famed half-mile dirt oval in near-record times, beating top-ranked hotshoes like USAC and Indy 500 veteran Jan Opperman, and local favorite’s Bill Mellenberndt, Sam Liebig, and Roger Mulder.

The soft-spoken Findlay, Ohio, driver, the current leader in the nationwide World of Outlaws point standings, powered his machine to victory in the first heat, beating Dave Engebretson and Kim Lingenfelter; then, from a back row starting position, swept through a crowded field to post his second win of the night over Mellenberndt, Opperman, and Liebig.

The evening was marred by two spectacular accidents in the main event that sent two Rapid City drivers to the hospital. John Slagle flipped his sprinter in the first turn, and although his car crashed through the steel catch fence and landed atop the concrete retaining wall, Slagle walked away, sore, and stiff, but uninjured. He was transported to a local hospital.

Nineteen-year-old Terry Henrikson, a rookie in the sprint division, and in only his second year of racing, tangled with Bill Comer on the opening lap of the feature event and flipped his car several times in the first turn, and then was clobbered again by Comer’s car again just as the battered machine was coming to a stop. The front wheel of Comer’s car slammed into Henrikson’s roll cage. Henrikson was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition with Head, neck, and chest injuries.

Results –

Time Trials – Rick Ferkel, Findlay, Ohio (20.68)
Heat #1 – Rick Ferkel
Heat #2 – Roger Mulder, Sioux Falls
Feature –
1. Rick Ferkel
2. Bill Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls
3. Jan Opperman, Noxon, Mont.
4. Sam Liebig, Rapid City
5. Roger Mulder

1963 – Hard-Driving Stott Captures Badger 100

A dirty, grimy Ramo Stott takes a cool drink after winning the Badger 100 at Chippewa Falls.

Chippewa Falls, Wis. (June 2, 1963) – Hard-driving Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, rammed his 1963 Plymouth to maximum speeds on the straightaways and handled it flawlessly on the treacherous corners of the half-mile track at the Northwest Wisconsin District Fairgrounds to capture the first running of the Badger 100 for new and late model stock cars, before an estimated crowd of 3,500 on Sunday afternoon.

Stott, among the point leaders in the International Motor Contest Association, gained the lead from five-time IMCA national champion Ernie Derr, also of Keokuk, on the 46th lap and was not challenged until the 91st circuit when Derr made a last-ditch effort for the win.

Stott managed to pass Derr, who had held the lead from the first lap, when Derr was slow in making the turn and Stott cut to the inside and pulled away. He gradually increased his lead as Derr never recovered from his near spin.

Derr settled for second place, holding off a tough challenge of his own with Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., who stayed glue to Derr’s bumper from lap 51 to 83. Stott, Derr, and Funk were the only drivers of the starting field of 18 to complete all 100 laps.

In fact, at the end of the grueling 50-mile race, only seven cars were left on the track when starter Bernie Carlson waved the checkered flag.

Placing fourth was Jim Washburn of Keokuk, Iowa, while in fifth place was Gil Haugen of Sioux Falls, S.D. Both drivers completed 95 laps.

The drivers found much difficulty in negotiating the rugged turns where the cars slid sideways, thus loosening the sandy track and creating potholes.

On these corners, drivers and their cars bounced like rubber balls, and as a result, were forced to brake farther up on the racetrack.

It was through that tough sledding on the corners that the majority of the accidents occurred. The yellow caution flag waved five times during the race with the longest slow-down period happening between laps 9 and 19 when Dick Hutcherson, one of the nation’s top drivers, being involved in a bumping accident with Dick Johnson of St. Paul, Minn.

Hutcherson’s 1963 Ford received a badly smashed fender and grill damage while Johnson’s right rear fender was caved in. He repaired the car and managed to complete 37 more laps while Hutcherson was through for the afternoon.

Stott ran into some trouble on the final restart on lap 89 when Derr moved up quickly and made his final bid to regain the lead on the 97th lap but failed to make the big push as he spun slightly in the corner. He was unable to regain the momentum for another shot in the last three laps as Stott blazed home under the checkered by some two hundred yards in the time of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Stott posted the fastest time in qualifying, touring the half-mile dirt oval in 29.95 seconds. Stott and Derr were heat winners while Jim Washburn won the consolation.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Jim Washburn, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Gil Haugen, Sioux Falls, S.D.
6. Bill Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
7. Bob Bennett, Hortonville, Wis.
8. Ade Blackfelner, Minneapolis
9. Hank Melborn, Fort Madison, Iowa
10.Tom Rathke, Grafton, Wis.
11.Mike Pangborn, Milwaukee
12.Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
13.Bob Dishman, Des Moines
14.Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee
15.Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
16.Bob Reynolds, Edmond, Okla.
17.Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
18.John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa