Thursday, October 11, 2018

1980 - Missouri Mains to Niffenegger, Jackson

Holts Summit, Mo. (October 11, 1980) – The 1980 racing season came to an action-packed end at Capital Speedway when over 65 late models competed in the Goodyear Missouri Nationals.
Time trials, qualifying heats, and a handicap race were held on Friday night. On Saturday night, two consolation races were followed by twin 50-lap features.
Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa, set a new track record, turning the 3/8-mile in 20 seconds flat.
The six fastest qualifiers, Ken Walton, Kevin Gundaker of St. Louis, Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, and Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Iowa, competed in a six-lap handicap race with Niffenegger posting a flag-to-flag victory.
Ron Fisher of Centuria, Ill., and Dalton Walker of Curryville, Mo., won their respective consolation races on Saturday night, enabling them to enter the field for the twin 50-lap features.
In the first feature race, Ken Walton jumped to an early lead when the green flag dropped with Kevin Gundaker right behind. Gundaker would take the lead on lap 4 and maintained it for the next 15 circuits until bowing again to Walton. Gundaker, charging hard, got together with Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, between turns three and four and had to be towed to the pit area with front end damage.
Walton continued to lead the field for the next 25 laps but the victory wasn’t to be his. A broken spring would slow Walton with only five laps to go allowing Mike Niffenegger to inherit the top spot and go home with the $1,000 paycheck and trophy. Walton would settle for second with Billy Moyer Jr. of Des Moines in third, Ron Jackson in fourth and Ken Schrader of Fenton, Mo., in fifth.
The second feature saw the top six finishers of the first 50-lapper inverted in the front of the field with the other late model competitors filling in according to their finish in the first feature.
Ken Schrader took the lead at the green with Ron Jackson a close second. Jackson would charge ahead on lap 4 only to lose the top spot to Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, for one lap. Jackson would get by Martin on lap 6 and hold it for the final 44 tours to take home the other $1,000 check and trophy.
For the second time that evening, Ken Walton found himself finishing second with Niffenegger, Schrader, and Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., rounding out the top five.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1.    Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
2.    Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
3.    Bill Moyer Jr., Des Moines
4.    Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
5.    Ken Schrader, Fenton, Mo.
6.    Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
7.    Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
8.    Vic Bentlage, Jefferson City, Mo.
9.    Dick Taylor, Springfield, Ill.
10.   Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun, Iowa
11.   Ed Knaebel, Jefferson City, Mo.
12.   Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
13.   Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
14.   Gene Claxton, Kansas City
15.   Brian Leslie, Hamilton, Ill.
16.   Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
17.   John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
18.   Len Gittemeier, St. Charles, Mo.
19.   Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
20.   Ed Gray, Jefferson City, Mo.
21.   Galen Schaefer, Topeka, Kan.
22.   Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
23.   Mike Barbeau, Bridgeton, Mo.
24.   Shorty Ackers, Windsor Heights, Mo.
25.   Rick Kimberling, Slater, Mo.
26.   Steve Keppler, Marion, Iowa
27.   Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
28.   Dalton Walker, Curryville, Mo.
Feature #2 –

1.    Ron Jackson
2.    Ken Walton
3.    Mike Niffenegger
4.    Ken Schrader
5.    Larry Phillips
6.    Ed Knaebel
7.    Steve Keppler
8.    Galen Schaefer
9.    Billy Moyer Jr.
10.  Brian Leslie

Thursday, October 4, 2018

1975 – Hansen Cops Omaha $$$

Omaha, Neb. (October 4, 1975) – Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, won the fourth annual Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge on Saturday night at Sunset Speedway.
Hansen, who was point champion for the second consecutive year at Oskaloosa, Iowa, picked up his fourth recent big win of the season. His earlier big wins were at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Cresco, Iowa and Marshalltown, Iowa.
Hansen, driving the familiar blue #9 Camaro, joins fellow Iowans Verlin Eaker and Darrell Dake, both of Cedar Rapids as Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge champions as well as last year’s winner Bill Martin of Council Bluffs.
The race was marred by a chain-reaction crash earl in the evening when Omahan Tom Yocum lost control after he was hit and slid into the crowded infield.
Yocum’s car hit another, which pinned Jefferson, Iowa, driver Rich Lyon and Robert McPherson, also of Jefferson, between two cars. Lyons, point champion at Alta, Iowa, was rushed to an Omaha hospital but died two hours later from massive internal injuries.
It was the first death ever recorded at Sunset Speedway in its 19 years of existence.

McPherson remained hospitalized in fair condition with lacerations to the head and a fractured left leg. He was expected to be hospitalized for several months.
Kent Tucker of Aurora, Neb., who won his heat race by a substantial margin and was the Nebraska driver favored in the race, took the lead in the 100-lap main event, but on lap 3 his left front wheel broke forcing him to the sidelines. Tucker was point champion at Lincoln, Neb. and Hastings, Neb., and winner of Nebraska’s Triple Crown race held a couple of weeks earlier at Sunset.
The race would hold the fans in suspense as Hansen and Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, would deliver a see-saw battle for the top spot throughout the race. Hansen would lead a total of 55 laps while Sanger held the top spot for 43 go-rounds. Finally, Hansen would secure the point for good on lap 79 and never look back.
The only red flag occurred on lap 72 when Em Fretheim of Decorah, Iowa, climbed the north wall in turn four.
Bill Martin, the defending race winner, had engine trouble on lap 28 and dropped from the race.
Only 13 of 22 starters finished the feature. Of the 22 starters, only six were Nebraskans. The invading Iowans outshined their neighbors and things are expected to be as tough when the Iowa chauffeurs return to Sunset for the Spring Invitational in April.

Results –

Heat #1 – Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
Heat #2 – Kent Tucker, Aurora, Neb.
Heat #3 – Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #4 – Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
Heat #5 – Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Heat #6 – Jerry Wancewicz, Omaha
Consolation #1 – Em Fretheim, Decorah, Iowa
Consolation #2 – Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
Feature –

1.   Curt Hansen
2.   Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3.   Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
4.   Bob Kosiski, Omaha
5.   Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
6.   Joe Merryfield
7.   Dan Dickey
8.   Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
9.   Stan Stover, Delhi, Iowa
10. Phil Reese, Des Moines
11. Don Stysdal, David City, Neb.
12. Curt Houge, Ames, Iowa
13. Ed Morris, Council Bluffs, Iowa
14. Denny Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
15. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa

Monday, October 1, 2018

1978 - Old Car a Winner for O'Conner in Kankakee Clay Track 100

Kankakee, Ill. (October 1, 1978) – Jim O’Conner climbed back into his old Camaro and captured his second straight Northern Illinois Clay Track Championship 100-lap feature for late models at the Kankakee Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday.
John Provenzano set a track qualifying record to earn the pole position for the main event and soared into the lead which he maintained until lap 36 when O’Conner took charge.
O’Conner remained on top until Provenzano regained the lead on a restart following a caution period on lap 49.
However, O’Conner never let Provenzano establish a comfortable margin and charged back in front by using the inside groove to pass the Glen Ellyn, Ill., pilot on lap 62.
Once in front, O’Conner easily outdistanced his foes the rest of the way to pick up the victory with Provenzano, Bill Davis, and Denny Falkos, who finished second through fourth respectively, the only other drivers to complete all 100 circuits.
Mechanical difficulties sidelined three top contenders, Al Johnson, Arnie Gardner, and Ken Pohlman. Johnson, who had earlier won the trophy dash, bowed out after 30 laps; Gardner, the defending Kankakee late model driving king, lasted 35 circuits; and Pohlman, in the car O’Conner had originally planned to drive, dropped out after 92 rounds.

Results –

1.    Jim O’Conner, Kankakee, Ill.
2.    John Provenzano, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
3.    Bill Davis, Chesterton, Ind.
4.    Denny Falkos, Aurora, Ill.
5.    Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
6.    Bobby Shell, Clifton, Ill.
7.    Ken Widdes, Chicago
8.    Cary Dehm, Chatsworth, Ill.
9.    Fred Shickel, Peoria, Ill.
10.   Larry Owen, Rensselaer, Ind.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

1973 – Hartman Captures Falstaff 100

Butch Hartman accepts his trophy from Falstaff representatives after winning the inaugural Falstaff 100 at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 29, 1973) – Butch Hartman, the pride of South Zanesville, Ohio, improved his claim to a third national championship by claiming the Falstaff 100 for United States Auto Club stock cars on Saturday night at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.
Hartman put his 1973 Dodge into the lead spot on the opening lap and was never headed, although he had all he could do to hold off the efforts of Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, for the final five tours of the half-mile dirt oval.
Derr’s 1972 Dodge was right on Hartman’s rear bumper when the checkered flag was thrown. Less than a second behind Derr was Ramo Stott, also from Keokuk, Iowa, driving a 1973 Plymouth.
The victory was the eighth of the season for Hartman, who already wrapped up his third straight driving championship, a feat never before accomplished in USAC stock car history.
“One more win will help us tie the record and that’s what we’re going after next week,” Hartman said moments after climbing from his car.
The record of nine wins in a season, was set by Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, in 1967. Hartman will get his chance next Saturday at Texas World Speedway.
White, who owns the most career wins in USAC history (49), was on hand last night, but he smoked an engine during hot laps and wasn’t able to compete.
An estimated 3,000 braved the chilly weather and the threat of rain, which had drenched the track several days prior to the event.
The battle between Hartman and Derr gave them plenty to remember. They were on their feet when Derr made a move to the outside coming out of turn two on the white flag lap. Derr and Hartman would tangle a little heading down the backstretch but both drivers would manage to keep their machines under control and resume their bumper-to-bumper duel to the finish line.
Someone suggested that it was unusual to see Hartman sweating on a rather cool night. That brought a laugh from the champion, who said,” You’d be sweating too if you had Ernie Derr on your tail.”
Hartman started the feature on the outside of the front row alongside Ramo Stott.
Ramo earned the pole position with the top qualifying time of 26.43 seconds. That bested Hartman by a hundredth of a second.
Stott also took the four-lap trophy dash, flashing past Derr on the last lap.
Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, experienced engine problems and completed only 30 laps in the feature, finishing tenth.

Results –

1.     Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
2.     Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3.     Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
4.     Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill.
5.     Steve Drake, Bloomington, Ill.
6.     John Schultz, Appleton, Wis.
7.     Terry Ryan, Davenport, Iowa
8.     Ray Bolander, New Berlin, Wis.
9.     Paul Feldner, Richfield, Wis.
10.  Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
11.  A.J. Moldenhauer, Madison, Wis.
12.  John Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
13.  Jerry Wolland, Peoria, Ill.

Friday, September 28, 2018

1969 – Stott Wins Rockford Short Track Title

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, collects his winnings from Hugh and Jody Deery after winning the 200-lap National Short Track Championship.

Rockford, Ill. (September 28, 1969) – Ramo Stott, a professional race car driver of late model stock cars, returned to the Rockford Speedway and won the National Short Track Championship 200-lap event on Sunday afternoon. It was Stott’s first appearance at the track this season.
Last year Stott had set a new track in qualifying but could only muster a sixth-place finish. He would qualify ninth fastest but start on the outside of the front row.
Stott would grab the lead at the onset and wouldn’t be pressured until lap 70 when Dick Tickle, who started on the inside of the second row, applied pressure for the next 55 circuits. Trickle would push his 1968 Mercury Comet inside and out of Stott, trying to get by the Keokuk, Iowa, speedster.
Finally, Trickle would pass Stott on lap 125 but not without losing some sheet metal as the two drivers raced down the backstretch. Both cars also scraped the cement wall as they exited turn #4.
Trickle’s lead would be short-lived, however, as a faulty wheel bearing forced the USAC star to limp into the pits on lap 135.
But, Stott’s worries were not over with yet, as Fritz Wilson of Denver, Colo., in a 1969 Nova, started pushing Stott on lap 155. Stott would eventually distance himself from Wilson but would encounter one more threat before the checkers waved.
Bob Jusola of Mound, Minn., who set a new track record in time trials (14.63 seconds, beating Stott’s old mark of 14.96) was nearly a full lap behind Stott when he decided to make a move for the lead. He would gain on Stott in the closing 10 circuits but run out of laps.
Stott would collect $2,200 for his efforts plus a new motorcycle.

Results –

1.   Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2.   Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
3.   Eddie Hume, Madison, Wis.
4.   Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.
5.   Dick Graves, Minneapolis
6.   Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
7.   Larry Smith, Shakopee, Minn.
8.   Danny Bellard, Beloit, Wis.
9.   Del Triesch, Minneapolis
10. Bill Mueller, Minneapolis
11. James Drong, Minneapolis
12. Bob Beattie, Edgerton, Wis.
13. Larry O’Brien, Harvard, Ill.
14. Norm Setran, Minneapolis
15. Vern Johnson, Madison, Wis.
16. Boyce Sparkman, Rockford, Ill.
17. Fritz Wilson, Denver, Colo.
18. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
19. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
20. Eric Johnson, Chicago
21. Rich Kleich, Chicago
22. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
23. Dick Duerst, McFarland, Wis.
24. Duane Walch, Madison, Wis.
25. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
26. Roger Schuur, Fridley, Mich.
27. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
28. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
29. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.
30. Ron Wishard, Rockford, Ill.
31. Wayne Stallsworth, Denver, Colo.
32. Hogan Schwitzer, Beaver Dam, Wis.
33. Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

1981 – Gardner Wins National Clay 200

Willow Springs, Ill. (September 27, 1981) – After being locked in a tight battle with Brian Leslie for the lead throughout most of Sunday’s National Clay Track Championship at Santa Fe Speedway, Arnie Gardner wound up the easy winner of the classic event.
The $15,000 purse, featuring the Old Style contingency money, paid $6,000 to win the rich short track show.
Leslie settled for second, Whitey Harris finished third, Ed Sanger took fourth and Dick Potts claimed fifth, all on the same lap with Gardner.
Gardner earned the pole position for the 200-lap contest with fast time at 18.27 second tour of the speedway’s longer course.
The 200-lapper began on an ominous note when Tony Izzo broke a tie-rod and slammed into the first turn wall after taking the opening green. The incident brought out the yellow for a complete restart of the 28-car field.
Another yellow would appear after the restart, this time for a accident in turn two involving Jimmy Bahlas, Ken Widdes, Larry Jackson, Ken Pohlman, Dennis Erb and Art Fehrman.
When action officially got underway, Paul Shafer, who started on the outside of Gardner in row one, soared into the lead. However, Shafer’s reign was short-lived as the leader bolted into the first turn wall and gave Gardner the upper hand and the lead.
Numerous yellow flags would slow the tempo of the race early on. All-out racing would resume, though, as Gardner charged to a commanding lead with Leslie, Harris, Sanger and Potts following behind.
The pace changed for Gardner on lap 44 when Leslie, who tailed Gardner’s bumper for 43 laps, took over the top spot.
Tom Smedley was the cause for the first yellow under Leslie’s reign, when a spin in turn two brought the field to a slow crawl on lap 55.
The red flag stopped the pace 10 laps later when John Provenzano pun in turn two and was hit by Al Schill. Also involved were Larry Jackson, Fred Lofgren, Cloyce Friend and Jimmy Bahlus.
When action was under way for good, Leslie set the pace, gaining a four-car margin over Gardner.
Gardner regained his strength 10 laps from the 100-lap mandatory pit stop and regained his spot in front on lap 91, a spot he would never again relinquish.

Results –

1.    Arnie Gardner, Batavia, Ill.
2.    Brian Leslie, Gurnee, Ill.
3.    Whitey Harris, Lake Villa, Ill.
4.    Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
5.    Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
6.    Jim O’Conner, Kankakee, Ill.
7.    Jim Partipilo, Berkley, Ill.
8.    Larry Jackson, Lyons, Ill.
9.    Dennis Erb, Carpentersville, Ill.
10.  Frank Shickel Jr., Bloomington, Ill.
11.  Cloyce Friend, Lombard, Ill.
12.  Dave McCarty, Bradley, Ill.
13.  Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
14.  Al Johnson, Justice, Ill.
15.  Paul Shafer, Highland, Ill.
16.  Bill Prietzel, Franklin, Wis.
17. Craig Jacobs, Freeport, Ill.
18.  Jimmy Bahlus, Franklin, Wis.
19.  Tony Izzo, Bridgeview, Ill.
20.  Tom Smedley, Gary, Ind.
21.  Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
22.  John Provenzano, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
23.  Chuck Stolarik, Waukegan, Ill.
24.   Ken Widdes, Chicago
25.  Fred Lofgren, Bensenville, Ill.
26.  Mike Melius, Adel, Wis.
27.  Leroy Schneiderman, Woodstock, Ill.
28.  Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.