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Saturday, August 30, 2014

1975 – Parkinson’s Prevail at State Fair Auto Races


Ralph Parkinson Jr.
 
 
Lincoln, Neb. (August 30, 1975) – Ten years ago, when he was a 16-year-old and his father was racing at the state fairgrounds at Lincoln, Ralph Parkinson Jr., stole a racecar out of his garage at Wichita Falls, Texas.

He loaded the short wheelbase super modified up and headed for Lawton, Oklahoma, 50 miles away.

He had only been in a racecar twice and was an old enough to get the pits, but Ralph Parkinson Jr., did it anyway.

And guess what? He had ninth quickest time that night, finished second in his heat race, eighth in the feature and drove home $25 richer.

Racing was in his blood.

Saturday at the fairgrounds, Ralph Parkinson Jr. didn't have to lie about his age. And he could very well deceive his father.

Forty-seven-year-old Ralph Parkinson Sr. finished less than 2 seconds behind his son, Saturday's 25-lap feature winner in the IMCA-sanctioned sprint car races at the Nebraska State fair.

The only driver separating the father-son racing tandem was former Indy 500 driver Jan Opperman. He repeatedly challenged, but never overtook pole sitter Parkinson Jr., who led wire to wire.

Lincoln is getting to be younger Parkinson's favorite place to race. He was a state fair feature winner four years ago in his last appearance in the capital city.

Actually, Parkinson Jr. is a relative newcomer to sprint car racing despite his early introduction. He spent four years in engineering school at the University of Texas before returning to the sport four years ago.

“I like it,” he says. “I grew up Sunday afternoons on Wichita Falls’ dry slick order mile dirt track. Maybe that's why I this track so well.”

Parkinson, now of Kansas City, qualified for the feature and earned the pole position by winning the 10-lap consolation feature.

Eddie Leavitt was his closest challenger the first eight laps of the main event, but dropped out of the competition on the 13th lap after his car tangled with IMCA point leader Bill Utz.

Utz, moving to the back of the pack, never recovered from the spin out midway through the race and finished 11th.

Opperman moved to second on the ninth lap and stayed in that position the rest of the race.

“I looked over my shoulder and saw Jan on the restart,” Parkinson Jr, said. “But I had no idea pop was running in there so close. That's nice. We ran third and fourth last week at Sedalia (Mo.).”

Parkinson Jr. figures, “I have four years of solid racing under my belt. Actually, this is only my 12th race this here. I didn't get a very good ride and had some personal problems to straighten out.”

He's missed Nebraska State Fair competition the past three years after packing his bags and moving to Pennsylvania to race sprint cars there.

“I've raced everything - go carts, bicycles, AMA cycles, everything,” the younger Parkinson said. “The bug was there when I was little. I missed it those four years I went to college. I'm glad I'm back in it.”

Results –

Heat One: Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
Heat Two: Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
Heat Three: Gene Gennetten, Independence, Mo.
STP Match Race: Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.
Consolation: Ralph Parkinson Jr., Kansas City, Mo.
 
Feature:

  1. Ralph Parkinson Jr.
  2. Jan Opperman, Noxon, Mont.
  3. Ralph Parkinson Sr., Kansas City, Mo.
  4. Gene Gennetten
  5. Roger Larson, Kramer, Penn.
  6. Roger Rager, Mound, Minn.
  7. Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
  8. Sonny Smyser, Glenwood, Mo.
  9. Randy Smith, Mt. Ayr, Iowa
  10. Phil Howe, Jacksonville, Ill.

Friday, August 29, 2014

1964 – Hutcherson Gains Victory in Fair’s 100-Mile Race

Sedalia, Mo. (September 29, 1964) - Dick Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, took the late model stock car 100-mile race, but his victory wasn't official until judges had nullified a protest on lap tabulation filed by Ramo Stott, also from Keokuk.

But, the afternoon was not a complete loss to Stott. He set a 1 mile time trial record – not only for the Missouri State fair dirt track, but an unofficial world record for mile on dirt. Stott circled the mile oval and 41.34 seconds breaking his own record set in 1963.

That's not all. Stott not only had the fastest time in qualifying, but he set a lap record during the race. He turned laps in 39.65 seconds and had other times of 40.0 and 40.02 seconds.

Stott’s protest was on the lap count. The judges established that Hutcherson passed Stott while he was in the pits. His pick crew was under the impression Stott had a lap and a half lead over Hutcherson; it did not prove out on the official count.

It took more than two hours to make the check to determine the winner of the race.

Results –

  1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Bob Reynolds, Edmonds, Okla.
  4. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
  5. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
  6. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
  7. Dean Huckaby, Kansas City, Kan.
  8. Bill Thomas, Lake Elmo, Minn.
  9. Eddie Gray, Jefferson City, Mo.
  10. Vic Elson, Springfield, Mo.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1994 -Senneker cooks in Badgerland 150



West Allis Wis. (August 28, 1994) - It's only appropriate that the driver whose car is sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage won the Badgerland 150.
 
As Charlie Murphy used to cook the bratwurst for his entire block in his sponsors' old commercials, the Ford Thunderbird of pole sitter Bob Senneker cooked the Badgerland field over the final 27 laps at the Milwaukee Mile to pick up his first American Speed Association victory of the season and the 75th win of his career.

It was the first victory for Senneker at the Mile since July 14, 1991, and the eighth time a pole-sitter has won in 27 ASA races at the Mile.

"It was rigged," joked Senneker. "So was qualifying. I didn't go that fast yesterday, they just put that time on the clock."

The last thing Senneker, the winningest driver in the 26-year history of the circuit, needs is help from sponsors to win a race. But he did get help from a late caution flag and a new set of tires to beat National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing driver Ken Schrader by 2.36 seconds.

"I didn't have as good a set of tires after the first pit stop as I did at the beginning of the race," Senneker said. "We had an awesome pit stop late in the race and changed the stagger a little bit."

Before a competition yellow caution flag came out on lap 115, ASA point’s leader Butch Miller and Schrader were pulling away from the field and preparing for a shootout over the final laps.

The yellow flag brought Miller and Schrader back to the field. The competition yellow, an ASA rule which puts the race under caution after a certain amount of laps are run (at Milwaukee it's 50, at smaller tracks it's different) to give the race a better chance to be won on the track and not in the pits.

Senneker, who was fourth on the restart, then overpowered the field the rest of the way. Mike Eddy followed Schrader home in third, Bangor's Steve Holzhausen was fourth, Harold Fair was fifth and Miller was sixth.

"I don't run enough (ASA) races to say if it's a good rule," Schrader said. "But a rule is a rule. It happened with 35 laps remaining, when if something could happen, it probably would happen anyway."

Miller, of Vermillion, Ohio, holds a 2,032-1,974 lead in points over Eddy, a seven-time season champion. Holzhausen, who won two of the last three races before coming here, is third with 1,886. Senneker, who won his only season title in 1990, is fourth with 1,782.

Schrader, a regular on the Winston Cup circuit, completed a six-day run of racing that would make frequent-flyer junkies salivate.

After a day off following the Goodwrench 400 in Brooklyn, Mich., last Sunday, the Concord, N.C., resident began a trek which took him to Sheboygan County Fair in Plymouth on Tuesday, Missouri on Wednesday before moving on to Tennessee where he raced Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

He moved to the half-mile banked oval in Bristol for Friday's Busch Grand National race, stayed there, and finished 19th in the Winston Cup Goody's 500, his worst finish of the week.

Sunday, he arrived in Milwaukee at 11 a.m. for the 2:30 p.m. race. On the seventh day, Schrader rests.

"It was a fun weekend," the weary one said. "I finished the worst in the race where I get paid the most."

Senneker, the first ASA driver to top the $1 million mark in earnings, was happy to end a rare victory drought that lasted more than 14 months.

"We have been fast all year long but we would have some minor mechanical problems or get caught up with another car on the track," he said. "We've been knocking at the door; I knew the win had to come."

 Results -

  1. Bob Senneker
  2. Ken Schrader
  3. Mike Eddy
  4. Steve Holzhausen
  5. Harold Fair
  6. Butch Miller
  7. Scott Hansen
  8. Gary St. Amant
  9. Brad Loney
  10. Matt Kenseth
  11. Kent Stauffer
  12. Jay Sauter
  13. Tony Roper
  14. Tom Jones
  15. Kevin Cywinski
  16. Bret Bell
  17. Bryan Reffner
  18. Glenn Allen Jr.
  19. Larry Zenk
  20. Dennis Lampman
  21. Tracy Schuler
  22. Alec Pinsonneautt
  23. Bill Baird
  24. A.J. Cooper
  25. Tom Harrington
  26. John Freeman
  27. Ted Smokstad
  28. Dave Sensiba
  29. Russ Gamester
  30. Jeff Neal
  31. Mike Miller
  32. Joe Nott
  33. Chris Miles
  34. Randy Larson
  35. Bobby Dotter
  36. Todd Forbes
  37. Dave Anspaugh
  38. Ken Lund
  39. Steve Carlson
  40. Leighton Reese

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1975 - Kearney King Races Cars


 
 
Kansas City, Mo. (August 27, 1975) – The “King of Kearney” does not ride in a luxurious coach pulled by four sources but in race cars which ply race tracks across the country.

The Kearney royalty is Eddie Leavitt and there are bumper stickers and no words of racecar fans to prove it. His title stems from his residency in the Clay County town of 984.

“Fred Broski (now a television announcer here) started that (the nickname) a long time ago,” Leavitt, 32, said. “He was announcing races at Olympic Stadium in Topeka. He started called me a “King of Kearney”. I think more people know of me as the King of Kearney then as Eddie Leavitt.”

That was about six or seven years ago, he said. Helping the nickname along about three years ago was a printing a bumper stickers proclaiming, “The King of Kearney - Eddie Leavitt”.

The stickers first appeared at a race in Phoenix as a result of efforts by a friend of his who is a printer, Leavitt said.

“All of a sudden one weekend there are bumper stickers all over, “Leavitt mentioned. “I'm sure no one knew where Kearney was or who Eddie Leavitt was.”

He said the bumper stickers have followed him around; making him almost one-man Chamber of Commerce for Kearney. He races on a super modified circuit in the Midwest but also races in Arizona, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Leavitt, who has been racing 12 years, said he has lived in Kearney nine years. He has four acres, “a garden, pony and a little fishpond” and a house. He and his wife, Judy, have three children - Mary, 12, Vicki, 11, and Butch, 6.

“It's (Kearney) a nice town but it is really booming,” Leavitt said. “It's doubled what it was nine years ago.”

He moved to Kearney when he started to work for his father who owned a wholesale propane company there. Now Leavitt has his own trucks which haul propane for Ferrelgas, Inc., out of Kearney and Platte City.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

1962 - Branson Wins at Langhorne

Don Branson
 

Langhorne, Pa. (August 26, 19620 – “You know I’ve been in 38 consecutive championship races throughout the country, sat on the pole many times, but this is my first win. I’m glad that when it finally happened it was at the ‘Horne, as it is one of my favorite tracks.”

Don Branson, the 42-year-old grandfather from Champaign, Ill., was talking. It was hard for him to convince himself that he had finally won - and big.

Despite a badly cut eye, Branson established a new world record for 100 miles on dirt Sunday when he won the National Championship race for Indianapolis cars and drivers at the Langhorne Speedway.

Driving the Bob Wilkie Leader Card Special, the 15-year veteran was clocked in 57 minutes, 15.13 seconds, an average speed of 104.799 miles per hour. He shattered the old mark of 100.786 mph set by Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., last year on the same track.

Branson’s victory also halted the win streak of A. J. Foyt, the defending champion from Houston, Tex., who was trying to become the first driver in the 25-year history of the track to win three consecutive victories at Langhorne. Foyt finished fourth after being forced into the pits during the 33rd mile for a tire change.

Branson, who was given first aid treatment immediately after the race, said he suffered the cut around the 75 mile mark when he was struck by a flying piece of hard dirt.

“For a while I could see nothing at all,” he said. “I finally finished the race with the cracked goggles and my right eye practically sightless.”

Hurtubise finished second in the field of 18 followed by Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., and Foyt.

Results –

  1. Don Branson
  2. Jim Hurtubise
  3. Parnelli Jones
  4. A.J. Foyt
  5. Roger McCluskey
  6. Chuck Hulse
  7. Jim McElreath
  8. Al “Cotton” Farmer
  9. Bobby Marshman
  10. Ronnie Duman
  11. Bobby Marvin
  12. Allen Crowe
  13. Bob Mathouser
  14. Keith Rachwitz
  15. Jiggs Peters
  16. Ernie Koch
  17. Ralph Liguori
  18. Elmer George

Sunday, August 24, 2014

1963 – Daniels scratches his way to Minnesota State Fair win

St. Paul, Minn. (August 24, 1963) - Jerry “Scratch” Daniels gambled with the wall Saturday at the Minnesota State Fair and won the 20-lap IMCA sprint car feature.

The rim-riding Daniels powered by Bill Horstmeyer on lap 16 and was never headed. Daniels drove a Chevy-powered sprint car owned by St. Paul plumbing executive Jack Wagner. Finishing third behind Daniels and Horstmeyer’s Johnson Offy was Sonny Helms in the Colvin Offy.
After the race, Daniels said, “I didn’t want to try it on the inside. It was getting slick down there, so I went up near the wall. I know I could have looked silly if I didn’t bring it off, but I saw the opening and I figured better now or never.”
Carl Williams of Kansas City opened the action before a grandstand crowd of 12,205 by setting a new five-lap track record of 2 minutes flat for the banked half-mile dirt. He drove the Diz Wilson #70 Offenhauser.
Results –
1.       Jerry Daniels
2.       Bill Hortsmeyer
3.       Sonny Helms
4.       Red Amick
     5.       Calvin Gilstrap
6.       Dale Reed
7.       Carl Williams
8.       Buzz Barton
9.       John Leverenz
10.   Jud Larson

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1977- Stott 'king of junkyard’ at Springfield



Springfield, Ill. (August 21, 1977) — Ramo Stott has picked up his second straight USAC stock car win at the Illinois State Fair, but it was a victory overshadowed by a 10-car pileup midway through the race, which one driver described as a “junkyard”. 
Stott had to pick his way through the wreck on lap 44, Moments later the red flag went out, halting the race tor nearly an hour as crews cleared away the twisted autos. Three drivers involved in the accident were taken to the hospital, but later released after treatment.
The Sunday race was in sharp contrast to the nearly accident-free USAC championship dirt car race run Saturday on fairgrounds’ mile oval. Larry Rice, a former schoolteacher from Linden, Ind., won the race, the first of four scheduled dirt car contests on the USAC championship circuit this season.
Both Rice and Stott won their races with about a three-second margin and each held off hard challenges by second-place finishers in the closing laps. Bob Dotter said he began Sunday's pileup when he hit a bump coming out of the third turn and spun sideways. Moments later, 10 drivers found themselves in the midst of what USAC officials said was one of the worst pileups in the 21-year history of the racing organization.
Sal Tovella of Addison, who finished the race behind Stott's Volare and a car driven by Don White, Keokuk, Iowa, said he and his Volare slipped through the developing pileup at the last moment.
“I crawled through and I saw the biggest wreck in my 20 years. It looked like a junkyard,” Tovella said. Stott said he barely missed the action in the corner but “my little Volare just eased in and out.”
Stott had led the race at the time of the wreck but lost the lead when action resumed on the restart. By lap 87 of the 100-lap race, Stott had fought his way back through the pack and took over the lead for good.
In addition to the delay caused by the pileup, a morning thunderstorm soaked the track and forced the race to begin two hours late and drivers to draw lots instead of making qualifying runs.

Only four cars finished the $22,500 race on the same lap as Stott and of the 27 starters only 10 remained running by the end

Feature Results

  1. Ramo Stott
  2. Don White
  3. Sal Tovella
  4. Jack Bowsher
  5. Wayne Watercutter
  6. Paul Feldner
  7. Tom Meinberg
  8. Bob Dotter
  9. Ken Miller
  10. Rich Sundling