Thursday, October 22, 2020

1950 – Carter Winner of Ted Horn Memorial


Williams Grove Speedway track owner Roy Richwine (center) joins Ted Horn winner Duane Carter (left) and runner-up Tommy Hinnershitz (right).  

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 22, 1950) – Indianapolis 500 star Duane Carter of Fresno, Calif., flashed to victory in the annual 50-lap Ted Horn Memorial automobile race on Sunday afternoon at the half-mile Williams Grove Speedway before one of the largest crowds in the history of the oval.

Piloting the Agajanian Offenhauser, Carter’s winning time for the grind was 22 minutes and 42 seconds.

His name will go down on the trophy offered by track owner Roy Richwine to the first driver to win the event twice. Carter sat in the same car in which Johnny Mantz won the event last year.

Tommy Hinnershitz of Reading, Penn., who tailed Carter across the finish line by nearly three-quarters of a lap, was presented with a gold trophy when he was crowned the 1950 Williams Grove Speedway champion for piling up more points than any other driver.

Roy Sherman of Bedford, Ohio, finished third. Doc Shanebrook of Gary, Ind., was fourth; Ed Terry, Plainfield, N.J., fifth: Bill Mackey, Indianapolis, sixth; and Jackie Holmes, Indianapolis, seventh.

Mark Light of Lebanon, Penn., was forced out of action in the sixth lap of the feature, as was Vic Nanman, another Lebanon driver, when they had car failure.

In the time trials, Carter set a new track record by circling the oval in 24.62 seconds.

Results - 

1. Duane Carter
2. Tommy Hinnershitz
3. Roy Sherman
4. Doc Shanebrook
5. Ed Terry
6. Bill Mackey
7. Jackie Holmes
8. Mike Nazaruk
9. Lee Wallard
10.Cliff Griffith

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

1973 – 12,000 see Weld notch third straight Open title

Kenny Weld

Mechanicsburg, Penn. October 21, 1973) – The largest crowd in 10 years to take in a racing program at Williams Grove Speedway saw Kenny Weld do what comes naturally in Sunday’s 150-lap National Open for super sprints

The nation’s winningest super sprint pilot gave the 12,000 plus fans a demonstration of his driving skills as he worked his way through traffic even though his brakes had gone out with 40 laps to go. 

Weld’s victory, his 45th of the season, was worth $4,100 from the total purse of $14,000.

Weld started o the pole as a field of 35 took the green for the initial 75-lap segment. He posted a time off 24.40 seconds in Saturday’s time trials to earn the inside of the front row next to Steve Smith of Hanover, Penn.

Smith, clocked in 24.91 seconds in the trials, shot into the lead at the waving of the green, and kept it for 10 laps, but he spun out while trying to avoid another car which had flipped and had to drop back to scratch (last).

Geared for a slick track by the Bob Weikert crew, Weld pushed his #29 sprinter in front and was not to be denied his third consecutive National Open triumph.

Jan Opperman was second at the halfway mark but yielded to Lynn Paxton on the 105th lap. Two yellow flags gave Paxton a crack at Weld, but Kenny proved equal to both challenges.

Paxton found himself running low on fuel late in the event, and Bobby Allen came on strong for second. It was a long haul back for Allen, who had slipped from seventh to 27th before a red flag gave his crew time to make some necessary adjustments.

Opperman placed third and Van May, who ran with the leaders throughout, was fourth. Smith rallied to take fifth as Paul Pitzer, up with the front five all afternoon long, suffered a flat tire on the final lap.

Results –

1. Kenny Weld
2. Bobby Allen
3. Jan Opperman
4. Van May
5. Steve Smith
6. Johnny Grum
7. Kramer Williamson
8. Lynn Paxton
9. Red Wise
10.Paul Pitzer
11.Junior Parkinson
12.Jay Myers
13.Jackie Howerton
14.Kenny Slaybaugh
15.Ralph Quarterson
16.Rick Schmeylun
17.Hank Rogers Jr.
18.Elvin Felty
19.Buddy Cochran
20.Bill Banick
21.Smokey Snellbaker
22.Bill Wentz Sr.
23.Ed Zirkle
24.Terry Crousore
25.Mike Lloyd
26.Doc Dawson
27.Len Seoka
28.Gus Linder
29.Lee Osborne
30.Lou Blaney

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

1974 - Rick Ferkel; Happy and Rich


Rick Ferkel 

Long Beach, Calif. (October 20, 1974) - What can a “homespun” sprint car driver from Bowling Green, Ohio, possibly teach the rock-hard veterans of the California Racing Association?

Quite a lot, as Jimmy Oskie, Don Hamilton and Ron Rea found out last year. For one thing, Rick Ferkel taught them how to lose. For another, he introduced a piece of equipment that has since revolutionized the sport.

A former auto machinist turned race car driver, Ferkel showed up at Ascot Park for last year's Pacific Coast Open sprint car championships and he had barely unloaded his Chevrolet-powered car when the jokes and snide remarks started circulating around the pits.

The object of their ridicule was the so-called “bumper” or drag race tires Ferkel installed on the rear, wheels - a full six inches wider and 10 inches larger in circumference than the traditional 94-inch “shoes” utilized by CRA drivers.

“A few of the drivers came up to me and said, ‘There's no way those tires are going to work here.’ I think they were genuinely trying to help me, but I thought I'd try ‘em anyway. Well, I guess the rest is history.”

Ferkel made some that bright October night – he went on to an embarrassingly easy victory in the 50-lap feature and picked up $2,800 from the $20,000 purse. Not by coincidence, Bubby Jones, another privateer entrant from Danville, Ill., finished second while using the radical rubber.

“The tires are fantastic because they develop a ‘crown’ when the centrifugal force builds up in a spinning tire,” explains the 33-year-old driver. “You get greater traction on a damp dirt surface since the tires have a tendency to dig in.”

“You learn to adopt these innovations as they come along. If you don't, you may end up in a breadline pretty fast.”

Ferkel is in no immediate danger of that. Last year, Ferkel - hardly a household name in American racing when compared to A.J. Foyt – still managed to gross in the neighborhood of $85,000 racing on the so-called “pirate” or “bandit” super sprint car circuit and took home close to $35,000 after expenses.

He refuses to run events sanctioned by organizations such as the United States Auto Club (USAC) because “it's not economically feasible.”

“USAC normally schedules only one or two events per week for base purses of $1,000 to $1,500. Heck, in our peak months, I may run six races in seven days for purses between $750 and $1,000, so the potential for a greater monetary return is there.”

“I've got a wife (Pat) and a daughter (Felicia, 14) to support. I enjoy what I do, but to me it's a livelihood as well as a sport.”

Ferkel is one of a growing number of “racing gypsies” who tour the East, Midwest and Southwest from March until October, stopping at such exotic way stations as Williams Grove, Pa., Knoxville, Iowa, and Hinsdale, Ill. He and his chief mechanic, Jim Darley, log anywhere from 70,000 to 80,000 miles each season with their Chevy camper and 8-foot trailer rig. The rig serves as a mini-speed shop on wheels.

“We have a spare engine, a spare frame, a rear axle, new brakes, shock, absorbers, and radius rods - virtually everything to put the car back together.

We can't afford to go running back home every time we bend the car a little. Last year, we wrote off (totaled) the car and had to go home, but that's a rare exception.”

So far, Ferkel has spent the last three years in his unusual pilgrimage across the United Stales and he figures the “pluses” outweigh the “minuses”.

“I tell you one thing, I've seen it all - the dirty one-horse towns, the sleazy hotels, the horrible food and the constant pressure to do well,” he says. "But there are the good times.”

“It's hard to believe, but practically every town in the Midwest with a population over 1,000 has a race track. Some of them are real weed patches and you swear Davy Crockett carved his initials on the retaining wall, they're that old.”

“There have been times when I look up from the pits to the grandstands one hour before the race and it's empty. Ten minutes before the trophy dash, the stands are full. The people seem to come out of the hills like magic.”

Ferkel believes sprint car fans in the Midwest are the most rabid and woe be the intruder who beats the hometown hero.

“I know I've been the bad guy on some occasions. They don't like it when they have a local ‘hot shot’ and you use his car for traction in a turn: It's kind of hard for them to idolize Superman one minute and then all of a sudden find out he's Minnie Mouse the next minute.”

Monday, October 19, 2020

1996 - Guss holds off Saathoff; wins $20,000 USMS “Ultimate 100”

West Burlington, Iowa (October 19, 1996) - Hosting its final day of racing in 1996, 34 Raceway was treated to the QMI/USMS Ultimate 100, which concluded in a 50-lap feature Sunday afternoon.

And with the temperatures soaring into the 60s and the sun shining bright, the day became perfect for Ray Guss Jr. 

Guss, a native of Milan, Ill., took home a $20,000 paycheck with a victory in the feature race.

“It was a beautiful day today,” Guss said. “It was the only way to end the season. Last year I heard about them putting up $10,000 for the winner in modifieds, so I figured I had to come down here and race. It was the first time I had ever raced a modified and before today, it was the only time I had won with a modified.”

Guss led the race from start to finish from his pole position. Guss won the pole when he placed first in Thursday's 25-lap feature.

His main competitor was Johnny Saathoff, who had won Saturday's 25-lap feature and began the race on the outside. Saathoff, who resides in Beatrice, Neb., had been coming off a win at the Gold Rush in Amarillo, Texas - earning $25,000.

After two caution flags on the first lap, Guss took off from the green flag and grabbed an early lead. Saathoff failed to keep up and Guss led the first 10 laps by nearly three seconds.

“He got on a good line,” Saathoff said of Guss' early start. “On that rubber track, you have to keep a perfect line and try not to get too high and abuse your right rear tire.”

Saathoff was nearly passed by Kevin Gundaker during the fifth lap but was able to hold off Gundaker by going high as he did in Saturday's win.

Guss compiled larger leads as the race lengthened but each time he expanded his lead it was shortened by one of the seven yellow flags. In addition, a red flag was pulled when Wayne Brooks' car crashed into Bruce Hanford's car, sending both racers to the pits.

Guss said he was able to hold his lead by driving low on the track. “The track definitely had the rubber on the bottom,” he said. “The trick was getting a lead and saving your right rear. I knew Sunday, after racing Saturday night the rubber would be taken off the track.”

Guss had faced a few problems prior to his races at 34 Raceway. Guss had been at Amarillo, Texas for the Gold Rush and finished 10th.

“I was in two of (Saathoffs) shows in Texas and Nebraska and I would have a good run and then things would go wrong,” Guss said. “I'd be racing good in the B main and then I'd break. I broke in Nebraska and then got 10th in Texas.”

Guss, a former NASCAR Central Region champion, usually races a late model. “This is only the second time I've won in a modified,” he said. “And both times have been at 34 Raceway.”

Guss finished second in Saturday night's feature in late models and was able to watch Saathoff win to see how his competition races. “I watched (Steve) Boley and Saathoff and saw how they were running,” he said. Mark Noble finished third while Bob Timm placed fourth in a tightly contested race. Boley was fifth.

Results –

1. Ray Guss Jr.
2. Johnny Saathoff
3. Mark Noble
4. Bob Timm
5. Steve Boley
6. Steve Kosiski
7. Gus Hughes
8. Russ Olson
9. Dan Chapman
10. Ron Jones
11. Kelly Shryock
12. Tim Donlinger
13. Randy Zimmerman
14. Jeff Morris
15. Kevin Gundaker
16. Chuck Mayerhofer
17. Mike Spaulding
18. David Bice
19. Joe Kosiski
20. Wayne Brooks
21. Bruce Hanford
22. Bryan Collins
23. Ryan Dolan
24. John Allen

Sunday, October 18, 2020

1970 - Tri-State 100 to Greg Davis


Greg Davis

Boone, Iowa (October 18, 1970) - Greg Davis of Boone won the Tri-State 100 at the Boone Speedway Sunday. It was his second big win there in the last three weeks as he won the season championship two weeks ago.

Three Boone drivers at one time or another held the lead during the race in which 24 cars started. There were only 13 left on the track at the end of the race.

Arlo Dorenbush held the lead for the first 20 laps until Arnie Braland finally slipped around him after riding him bumper to bumper from the beginning.

Braland then held the lead for 15 laps until his water hose broke and he had to take his Chevy into the pits. This gave Davis the break he was looking for as he then grabbed the lead and held it for the next 56 laps. His victory was worth $400.

Davis also took second in the time trials with a clocking of 18.09 seconds. Denny Hovinga of Laurens had the fast time of 17.68 seconds.

Braland won the second heat after taking the lead from Jim Cowan of Marshalltown who demolished his car after he hit the wall in front of the grandstand. There were 11 cars that started this heat and only five finished.

Jerry Roberts of Prairie City won the first heat and Stan Stover of Reinbeck took the third heat. Stover also placed third in the feature.

Darrell DeVries of Charles City won the “B” Main with Dave Noble of Blooming Prairie, Minn., second.

Results –

Time trials – Dennis Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
Heat #1 – Jerry Roberts, Prairie City
Heat #2 – Arnie Braland, Boone
Heat #3 – Stan Stover, Reinbeck
B-main – Darrell DeVries, Charles City
Feature –
1. Greg Davis, Boone
2. Pokey West, Westchester
3. Stan Stover
4. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
5. Darreld Bunkofske, Algona
6. LeRoy Watson, Fremont, Neb.
7. John Carlson, Ankeny
8. Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
9. Larry Embrey, Grimes
10.Darrell DeVries

Saturday, October 17, 2020

1971 – Ruttman wins Johnny Appleseed 100


Joe Ruttman

Mansfield, Ohio (October 17, 1971) - Most two-year-old’s have a bottle in one hand and a rattler in the other. Joe Ruttman had a grease gun and gear shift knob.

The other kids had the clean air of a nursery to breathe. Young Joe took in the smell of gas fumes and flying dust.

It showed yesterday. A good driver in a car that refused to allow any of its opponents a passing shot.

When the Ruttman's think of time, pleasure and a livelihood they think of speed. Joe's father was the instigator of it all. He raised three niche in the racing world riches in the racing world as a designer. Another, Troy, who made his name at Indianapolis when he won the 500 in 1952 and then there was Joe.

“Every other man in my family was involved in racing in one way or another,” Joe said. “It was my time, so I got in a car myself.”

“My father tried racing a few times, but found he really didn't enjoy it, so he went to designing and he worked on Troy’s car that won at Indy,” he said. “I’m too old to go into the big time racing now.”

Ruttman powered his late model super stock to victory Sunday in the Johnny Appleseed 100 at the Mansfield Raceway.

“I really had no problems with the car,” he said. “It was prepared very well. So well in fact that it was probably the best running, best handling car in the race. That's why I won.”

There was one spectator who didn't cheer for the Michigan driver as he took the checkered flag, that was his youngest daughter. When asked who her favorite drivers were, she slowly blurted out the names of all her father's competition, but never mentioned him. The race was so exciting to her that she fell asleep shortly after the halfway marker was dropped.

As for that carefully-prepared car that Ruttman powered to victory. In four showings at Mansfield Raceway, it won three times. Every race it has been run at the raceway this season has spelled victory for the #33.

Ruttman received S1,400 for his performance and a four-foot high trophy from Miss Mansfield Raceway, Becky Hoff, in the $8,000 pursed spectacular.

“I didn’t really push too hard at the start of the race,” Ruttman said. “It was just a matter of lining up the cars in front and then passing them.”

Ernie Ward of Mt. Clemens, Mich., a short muscular fellow in a semi-battered yellow racer, was pleased with the performance of the #57 as he rode it to victory in the 50-lap semi-feature, preceding the Johnny Appleseed Classic.

The Mansfield Raceway could boast a longer track for the Appleseed 100. Track officials had the course widened to the turn one and turn two curves, making it possible for a driver to go a half-mile around the circuit in one lap. Becky Hoff, Miss Mansfield Raceway, is the only person at the Raceway this season to be given a trophy and not even run. She was presented with a trophy in appreciation for her reign.

Four states and Canada were represented in the 24-car field of the 100, with drivers from Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Windsor, Ontario. Raceway officials did not announce the crowd size.

Results –

1. Joe Ruttman, East Detroit, Mich.
2. Art Sommers, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
3. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
4. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
5. Bob Cowen, Perrysville, Ohio
6. Jim Irvine, Zelienople, Penn.
7. Bob Laribee, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
8. Delmar Clark, Gnadenhutten, Ohio
9. Bob Blaney, Warren, Ohio
10.Ernie Ward, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
11.Erv Baumgarten, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
12.Dale Hasselbach, Fremont, Ohio
13.Danny Dean, Mt. Vernon, Ohio
14.Jack Monaghan, Windsor, Ontario
15.Larry Leedy, Bellville, Ohio
16.Eph Davis, Mifflin, Ohio
17.Marv Parenteau, East Detroit, Mich.
18.Ralph Latham, Cincinnati, Ohio
19.Gary Fedewa, Lansing, Mich.
20.Bob Cannon, Newark, Ohio
21.Stan Stover, Waterloo, Iowa
22.Dale Woolworth, Saginaw, Mich.
23.Ron Dolen, Zanesville, Ohio
24.Don Arnold, Mentor, Ohio

Thursday, October 15, 2020

1978 - Trickle Nips Eddy to Capture World Cup 400


Dick Trickle hoists his trophy after winning the World Cup 400.

Odessa, Mo. (October 15, 1978) – Dick Trickle took advantage of a Mike Eddy miscue and went on to win Sunday’s third annual World Cup 400 for American Speed Association late models at I-70 Speedway.

Eddy dominated most of the contest, leading 320 of thee event’s 400 laps, and was in the lead when he bobbled slightly exiting turn four on the 386th circuit. Trickle, who was close behind, capitalized on the mistake by surging around eddy to take the lead at the outset of lap 387 and led the rest of the way to record the victory. He averaged 79.036 miles per hour despite 85 caution laps.

John Anderson, the only other driver to complete the full 400 lap distance, place third and could well have won the race had he not incurred a one-lap penalty for passing Eddy’s pace-setting Camaro during a caution period on lap 292. Bob Senneker came in fourth, Jerry Makara fifth and defending ASA titlist Dave Watson in sixth.

Even though he was sidelined by a broken piston after 320 laps, Mark Martin was credited with 16th place in the 36-car field to pick up enough points to clinch the 1978 Circuit of Champions driving crown.

“Winning the championship is nice,” Martin said, “But I would have rather won the race. It’s sort of anti-climatic winning a championship while you’re in the pits.”

Bob Sensiba, who set a track record with a 17.17 second tour of the .54-mile paved banked oval, started the 400-lapper on the pole and charged into the lead at the drop of the green.

However, after leading the way for four laps, a dry sump pump problem forced Sensiba to bring his car to the pit area for the first in a series of lengthy stops. The problem eventually forced retirement after 65 laps.

Eddy inherited the top spot and remained in front until lap 193. Martin took over the top spot a lap later and stayed in the lead until yielding to Eddy on the 229th circuit.

Eddy surrendered the lead to Martin for the second time on lap 298 and the 19-year-old Batesville, Ark., pilot remained on top until lap 321 when he was forced to the sidelines, turning first-place over to Trickle.

Eddy passed Trickle to regain command four rounds later but was unable to open a comfortable advantage over the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., chauffeur.

Then on lap 386, Eddy made his slight mistake which Trickle converted into victory.

“I was starting to lose some of my stagger, but I was running real hard and just lost it,” a dejected Eddy said afterwards. “I lapsed just for an instance.”

Results – 

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
3. John Anderson, Massillon, Ohio
4. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
5. Jerry Makara, Westland, Mich.
6. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
7. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
8. Harold Scott, New Castle, Ind.
9. Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan.
10.Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
11.Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
12.Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.
13.Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa
14.Jim Campbell
15.Evert DeWitt, Janesville, Wis.
16.Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
17.Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
18.Lonnie Breedlove, Indianapolis, Ind. 
19.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
20.Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.