Monday, May 23, 2016

1965 - Stott wins Iowa International for third time

Des Moines, Iowa (May 23, 1965) - Ramo Stott beat Ernie Derr, his Keokuk rival, for the second successive time this season and claimed his third Iowa International 150-mile stock car championship here Sunday over a bumpy, rutted Iowa State Fairgrounds track.

A yellow flag, one of three flapped briefly during the 300-lap grind, may have decided the finish of the race, which was run off in the second fastest time of its history; 2 hours, 35 minutes and 39.36 seconds.

Derr, 42-year-old veteran who finished second by two laps; had Stott on his rear bumper in a hot battle when he spotted George Barton in a stall on lap 211and decided to pull in for more fuel.

Derr had the mistaken idea the yellow flag would appear by the time he reached the pits. But it took another lap before head flagman Woody Brinkman noticed the stall and switched on the caution signal to slow the field down and put the no passing rule in force.

As Derr sat in the pits, Ramo gained a full lap before the yellow signal appeared. Derr wasted only 22 seconds getting back out, but was caught again, this time by the green go-ahead signal.

Ernie didn't see it in time, since he had passed the flagman and the signal light near the first turn. Ramo, in back of Derr, did see it and roared past again.

Shortly after that Derr’s Dodge, bouncing over the waves of the turns, broke a sway bar and wrecked any hopes he had another of catching Stott's Plymouth.

"I guess you'd have to say I was beat on the track," declared Derr, who has yet to win the International Motor Contest Association's prize plum of $1,100, which Ramo won in the front of an announced crowd of 8,250, smallest in the nine-year history of the event.

Stott surrendered the lead only once, on a 20-second pit stop on the 188th lap, and ran the second-fastest time he's had in the 300-lapper here. He was slightly over his winning time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 59 second record he set when he won in 1961.

Ramo claimed the pole position with a 27.10-second lap and never let Derr or Johnny Beauchamp get within a car length until he made his first pit stop, a 17 second stop over on the 126th lap. Stott got out before Derr could catch him on that one.

Beauchamp and Derr had a lively battle until Johnny stopped on lap 118 complaining about a kink in his back. Attempts to refit the seat in Ramo’s second car to Beauchamp’s big frame failed and he rode on until he was forced to quit, giving up the car to Blaine Morrow of Joy, Ill.

"I wouldn’t have turned another lap for a million dollars," sighed Beauchamp, a former IMCA national champion and "300" winner, hoping to make a comeback in late model racing this season.

Only 10 cars finished the race on a track that quickly tore apart under the impact of the heavy cars. Sixteen cars were sidelined because of broken suspensions.

Derr’s second place finish netted him $775. Lenny Funk, the Kansas wheat farmer, finished third and earned $525. Ron Hutcherson, brother of defending IMCA champion Dick Hutcherson, bagged $375 for fourth place in only his sixth race.

Sonny Morgan of Blue Earth, Minn., who entered his with a new Chevrolet "porcupine" engine, did not show up. Dick Johnson and Buzz McCann, both of St. Paul, Minn., got there late to take part in time trials and were required to start in the back row.

Results –

  1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Lennie Funk, Otis, Kan.
  4. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
  5. Bill Thomas, Lake Elmo, Minn.
  6. Gene Hensley, Holden, Mo.
  7. Johnny Beauchamp/Blaine Morrow
  8. Ken Pratt, Darlington, Wis.
  9. Bob Gutley, Springfield, Mo.
  10. Vic Elson,Ash Grove, Mo.
  11. Buzz McCann, St. Paul, Minn.
  12. Don Massa, Lincoln, Neb.
  13. Bill Gibson, Kansas City
  14. George Barton, Luther, Iowa
  15. Dave Steffens, St. Paul, Minn.
  16. Gene Chapman, Raytown, Mo.
  17. Blackie Wangerin, Minneapolis, Minn.
  18. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
  19. John Mickey, Columbus Junction
  20. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
  21. Frank Sedoris, Lincoln, Neb.
  22. Bob Dishman, Des Moines
  23. Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
  24. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.

Friday, May 20, 2016

1973 – ARCA Politics Better Than Race

Bill Clemons
West Chester, Ohio (May 20, 1973) – When the ARCA boys come, there's always something to talk about, fans at Tri-County Speedway discovered Sunday.

Following Saturday's super storm, Bill Clemons won the 100-lap feature in his 1973 Javelin, but the politics are almost better than the race.

Firstly – after Clemens set a new one-lap mark of 19.24 seconds on the half-mile paved oval of - official Frank Canale ordered all Firestone tires carrying identification number 26 off all competing cars. This caused a beehive of activity with no explanation given to the press for the order.

The race was anti-climatic. Clemons led the first 12 laps until dusted off by Bruce Gould who set the pace until lap 45 when a broken wheel sent him into their turn two guard rail.

Gould drove his car back to the pits on a rim, sparks flying and finally igniting the entire underside of his car, erupting in flames. His onboard fire extinguisher took care of it, however.

With Gould gone, Clemons had only Larry Moore to contend with. Moore's challenge faded when his "surprise" tire setup failed, making it a breeze for Clemons.

Behind the winner at the checker were Bobby Watson, Frank Lamp, Ron Hutcherson and Delmar Clark.

After the race Watson and Ashton Arnold each protested the winning car, citing a directive from ARCA headquarters limiting cars to a single four-barrel carburetor. Seems Clemon's car ran to four barrels. ARCA vice president Frank Canale refused to alter the finish, setting the paperwork to president John Marcum at Temperance, Michigan.


Results -

1. Bill Clemons
2. Bobby Watson
3. Frank Lamp
4. Ron Hutcherson
5. Delmar Clark
6. Len Blanchard
7. Ashton Arnold
8. Larry Moore
9. Dave Dayton
10. Dave Kulmer

Saturday, May 14, 2016

1988 – This Week in Racing History

Willy Kraft took home top honors in the USAC late model 40-lap feature at I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Mo., on Wednesday, May 11. Larry Phillips paced the first 28 circuit before Kraft managed to gain the front running position. Kraft then outran Billy Moyer Jr. over the final 12 laps for the victory. Moyer Jr., T.J. Pauschert, Ray Guss Jr. and John Stokes rounded out the top five.

Sammy Swindell outsprinted Dave Blaney into the first turn to gain the lead on the opening lap and then went on to lead all 30 laps  in the World of Outlaws Copenhagen/Skoal Shootout sprint car feature at Santa Fe Speedway on Friday evening, May 13. Swindell, who ran the first sub-15 second lap in the history of Santa Fe Speedway during time trials (14.846 seconds), never relinquished the lead as he went on to take the checkered ahead of Blaney, Steve Kinser, Jac Haudenschild and Bobby Allen.
Bob Hill shattered any plans Jeff Aikey had of winning four features in a row by winning the IMCA late model main event at Marshalltown (Iowa) Speedway on Friday night. Aikey and Denny Osborn dogged Hill the entire race but simply didn’t get the opening they were looking for. They would take second and third respectively while Mitch Fretheim and Greg Hunter took fourth and fifth. In IMCA modified action, Timm Jensen won a three-car battle and took the checkers ahead of Bob Thompson and Dude Thompson. Jeff Schroyer, the man to beat all season in the IMCA stock car division, came from his fifth row starting spot to claim yet another win while Kenny Miller won the bomber main event.

Brent Prior of Hillsdale, Ill., who had won the IMCA modified feature two weeks ago, showed he was the man to beat again winning at Princeton (Ill.) Raceway on Friday night. Prior, who started on the inside of row four, worked his way quickly to the front and took over the top spot when previous leader Jeff Graybill of Princeton dropped out on lap 11 with mechanical issues. Prior was not seriously challenged after that winning handily over Rick Hixson of Coal Valley, Darrell Harmening of East Moline and Jack Lueth of Davenport, Iowa. Marty Thompson of Mineral, Ill, had no problems in winning the 12-lap street stock feature, his second of the season.
Steve Holthaus won his first hobby stock feature in nearly two years at Fayette County Raceway in West Union on Friday night. Holthaus started the feature on the pole but relinquished the lead to a determined Brian Dinger. Dinger lead all the way to the last lap when Holthaus nosed past Dinger right at the checkers. There was no catching Dan Bohr in the modified street stock feature as the Decorah, Iowa, driver won by more than a straightaway at the checkers. Dave Thorston had his limited late model working like a gem as he came out on top in the 20-lap feature.

Bob Robel captured the non-stop 25-lap Interstate Racing Association (IRA) winged sprint car feature on Saturday night, May 14, at Wilmot (Wis.) Speedway to chalk up his first victory of the season. Kim Mock led the first 5 laps of the event before Frank Filskov took over for 5 circuits. Robel charged ahead on the 11th round and maintained the top spot to the wire. Filskov, Gib Wiser, Joe Roe and Mock rounded out the top five.
Butch Hanssen of Sioux Falls, S.D., put it all together Saturday night as he roared to the limited sprint car feature win at Lake County Speedway in Madison, S.D. Hanssen, who had been plagued by mechanical issues the previous two weeks, built a large lead early in the contest and cruised to victory over runner-up Kenny Hansen. Tom Rook, in only his third start behind the wheel of a sprint car, raced to an impressive third. In street stock action, it was five-time track champion Marty Barber of Sioux Falls winning his third consecutive feature. Defending champion Leland Boehring of Sioux Falls captured the wreck-marred bomber main event.

Terry Gallaher took home the $1,050 payoff by winning the NASCAR late model feature at Capital Speedway in Holts Summit, Mo., on Saturday night. Gallaher’s in was the headliner for the Winston 50 Spring Spectacular. Defending NASCAR late model track champion Dick Crane crossed the finish line in second followed by Steve Fraise, Jim Swank and Dan Dickey. In other action, Howard Hall would win the modified feature and Don Cox went home with his second bomber feature win of the season.

Frank Springsteen of Morning Sun, Iowa, held off a late charge from Ted Pallister of Wapello, Iowa, to win the IMCA late model main at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa, on Saturday night. Dave Warth held the lead for the first 16 laps before Springsteen slid by on the backstretch. Pallister tried the cushion in the final laps but it was Springsteen who took the checkers for the first time this season. Keokuk’s Lance Stott prevailed over Jeff Laue in the sportsman feature. Although he won a track championship two years ago, it was the first-ever win for Davey Newcomb of Morning Sun in the modified contest. Mike Jones of Monmouth, Ill., was the pro stock winner while Danny Fielty of Burlington and Jim Connolly of Wapello split a pair of hobby stock features.
Veteran Dick Trickle edged Ted Musgrave by one-half second to win the ASA Racing Series Badgerland 150 at Wisconsin State Fair Park on Sunday afternoon, May 15. Trickle, driving the Coors Light Silver Bullet Chevrolet, won for the fifth time on the Milwaukee Mile in front of a home state crowd of 17,010. The Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., hot shoe cashed in $7,975 out of the $66,838 purse in collecting his second series win of the season.

Mike Smith of Ellsworth made it two straight as he won the IMCA modified feature race at Harconia Speedway in Eldora, Iowa, on Sunday evening. Steve Jackson of Des Moines also won his second IMCA stock car contest at the big half-mile dirt oval. Dan Drury of Eldora remained unbeaten in thunder pick-up action with his third straight win while Scott Strong of Malcolm, Iowa, won his second street stock feature of the year.

Defending Badger Auto Racing Association champion Kevin Olson opened the circuit’s 1988 season with a victory in the 25-lap feature at Angell Park Speedway on Sunday evening. Olson needed only 3 laps to charge from his 11th starting spot to third place behind leader Hans Lein and Scott Hatton. After Olson and Steve Knepper moved into second and third respectively, they joined the front running Lein in pulling away from the rest of the field. After a couple of mid-race restarts, Lein yielded the top spot to Olson on lap 17 who pulled away for the easy win. Knepper, Kevin Doty, Don Tyler and Lein completed the top five finishers.

In the modified main event, Mike Guttormson of Austin, Minn., and Ron Jones of Zimmerman, Minn., put on a show for the fans at the season opener at Dodge County Speedway in Kasson, Minn., on Sunday night. Guttormson led the entire way but it wasn’t easy as Jones moved up quickly from his fourth row starting position and raced Guttormson side-by-side for most of the contest. Guttormson would manage to hold Jones of by mere inches for the win. Dave Tradup of Elgin, Iowa, would sweep the hobby stock action, winning both his heat and feature.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

1967 – Happy Ernie; prayed for rain – sets world mark

Ernie Derr won the 1967 Hawkeye 200 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 7, 1967) - Seven-time IMCA national stock car champion Ernie Derr, the original "Keokuk Komet", Sunday showed a packed house of 7,532 at Hawkeye Downs why he is at the head of the pack again by capturing every honor in sight during the Hawkeye 200.
All Derr did on Sunday was: Establish a world record for the half-mile dirt track with a 24.57 seconds clocking in a special time trial event (Lenny Funk set the old mark of 25.14 in 1965 at Shreveport, La). Nip Funk by about a foot in an exciting finish to the five-lap STP Trophy Dash, featuring the top eight drivers in the national point standings last year. Win the slated 200-lap feature, called after 132 laps because of rain, by less than 200 yards over his old nemesis, Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk.
For his day’s work; Derr walked off with $950 in prize money - $750 in the feature, $100 from STP in the dash and $100 for the time-trial win.
The first eight positions in the feature were determined by the placing in the five-lapper. Ernie never trailed, and for the most part it was, “catch me if you can” through the first 126 laps of the race.
A light sprinkling of rain forced the yellow caution flag at the 126th lap and for all practical purposes Derr was home with the checkered flag.
A sudden downpour during lap 133 terminated the event. "I did a bit of praying when the yellow flag came out," said Derr." When I saw those first drops of rain, man, was I happy. I kept saying ‘Come on rain, c’mon you blankety – blank rain.”
Ernie had strong reason to be happy. He and Stott were on the same lap (a situation that developed on lap 97 as the race was called.
Derr waited until the 92nd circuit before making his mandatory 30-second pit stop in his 1967 Dodge, while Ramo took his '67 Plymouth into the pits 32 laps earlier.
Ramo struggled in for gas on the 103rd lap. Ernie waited until the 106th lap to refuel. Neither wasted any time zipping back onto the oval and Stott was right on Derr's heels after Ernie's stop.
“I was really worried about Ramo when I made my gas stop,” Ernie asserted. “He was running stronger all the time and I sure couldn't waste any time in the pits. My crew did a terrific job on my last stop. They are all volunteers I don't pay any of them - and they do a great job for me.”
“The car handled awfully well for me today, and if you start where I did and stand on it, you’re going to lead.”
Bob Janey and Bill McDonough, both of Cedar Rapids, placed 11th and 16th respectively.
Janey’s car suffered a broken bolt on the A frame shortly before the rains came, costing him at least six positions. McDonough's oil got hot in his '65 Chevy and he wisely decided to save his engine.

Results –
  1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
  4. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
  5. Bob Malechek, Marshalltown, Iowa
  6. Dale Keeling, Dixon, Mo.
  7. Emory Fretheim, Decorah, Iowa
  8. Norm Hall, Albert Lea, Minn.
  9. John Harmon, Polk City, Iowa
  10. J. Stubblefield, High Ridge, Mo.
  11. Bob Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  12. George Lemke, Mosinee, Wis.
  13. Jim Strube, Peoria, Ill.
  14. Don Harmon, Des Moines, Iowa
  15. Blaine Morrow, Joy, Ill.
  16. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  17. John Zink, Leavenworth, Kan.
  18. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
  19. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
  20. Bill Schwader, Davenport, Iowa
  21. Dave Marcis, West Salem, Wis.
  22. Larry Piper, Columbus Junction, Iowa

Thursday, May 5, 2016

1983 – This Week in Racing History

Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Let’s take a look back, the year is 1983, and see who the winners were in Midwest racing circles. It was a weekend where most Saturday night programs succumb to rain.

Ed Dixon of Jefferson, Mo., won the NASCAR Grand American Series for Late Models at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City. Ill., on Friday, May 6. Dixon took over the lead after pole sitter Pat Wash of Kirkwood, Mo., crashed into the #1 turn. Dixon then had to fight off chargers Terry Gallaher of Hannibal, Mo., Kenny Schrader of Fenton, Mo., and Mike Crabtree of Lebanon, Mo. The defending SLARA Mighty Midget Series champion, Bob Willig Jr., of St. Louis, Mo., easily won the 20-lap main event over Scott Weyent of Springfield, Ill., and Steve Knepper of Belleville, Ill.


In a special appearance at Hawkeye Raceway in Blue Grass, Iowa, Randy Smith of Norwalk won the Winged Sprint Car feature on Friday night over Mike Pinckney and Mike Thomas, both of Des Moines. Jim Mettlin of Cambridge, Ill., won the IMCA Modified feature, Gary Reinhart of Moline, Ill., was the Sportsman winner and Rick Hixson of Coal Valley, Ill., topped the Bomber field.

Mike Benson of Lakefield, Neb., passed Bill Kirk of Salix, Iowa on the last lap to win the Late Model feature on Friday night at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D. In the Sportsman division, Brad Rowe of Sioux City won the main event while Tom Love took Street Stock honors. 

Ron Hekkema, Mike Hollifield and Tony Lampley took top honors in the Late Model, Sportsman and Street Stock features on Friday night at the Kankakee (Ill.) Fairgrounds. Hekkeman grabbed the top spot early on in the Late Model headliner and was never challenged. Cloyce Friend of Claredon Hills, Ill., would take second followed by Dick Potts of Morocco, Ind., and Roger Long of Fithian, Ill. Hollifield led 24 of 25 laps in dominating the Sportsman main.

While Ray Guss was fighting off the dust that leader Herb Shannon was stirring up in the low groove, Mike Chasteen of East Moline, Ill., was gaining ground fast on the high side of the quarter-mile at Spoon River Speedway in Canton, Ill., on Friday night. After starting at the back of the field, Chasteen snuck around both drivers on the 27th circuit to win the 30-lap Late Model feature event.

John Knaus of Rockford, Ill., won the season-opening 25-lap Late Model feature at the Freeport Raceway half-mile on Sunday afternoon, May 8. Knaus’ victory marked his return to dirt competition after seven years running on asphalt tracks.  The 31-year-old veteran took the lead midway through the contest and outdistanced the field for the win. Bob Jaeger of Dubuque, Iowa, took runner-up honors while Jim Jeffries of Freeport grabbed third.

Bill Breuer of Wapello captured the season opening Late Model feature on Sunday afternoon at Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa. Dale Fischlein of Cedar Rapids and Jim Willert of Davenport were also winners as the quarter-mile opened for the 1983 season. Breuer held off Ron Pallister, also of Wapello, in taking the Late Model main. Fishlein, the defending IMCA Modified national champion, debuted his new car and won over Monte Ohrt of Tipton and Steve Stinger of Cedar Rapids. Willert made his feature win look relatively easy, handily beating Dale Peters of Grand Mound.


Joe Shear kept his record perfect in Late Model feature competition at Slinger Super Speedway on Sunday night as he scored his second consecutive triumph at the quarter-mile. Shear was unimpressive in preliminary action, timing in ninth and failing to run among the leaders in his heat. However, the main event was a different story as the Beloit, Wis., veteran stormed from his outside second row starting berth to claim the lead on the fourth circuit and go on to win the 30-lap battle. John Ziegler of Madison, Wis., finished second, Rich Bickle Jr. of Edgerton, Wis., took third, Jim Weber of Roseville, Minn., earned fourth and Joel Laufer of Hartford, Wis., rounded out the top five.

Jack Hewitt of Troy, Ohio, became the 12th different winner in the 13-year history of the Tony Hulman Classic USAC Sprint Car event at the Terre Haute Action Track, Sunday afternoon. Hewitt, who started seventh in the 20-car field, guided his Chevy past race leader Larry Dickson on lap 6 of the 30-lap feature and then paced the remaining laps to score his second career USAC victory.


Bobby Jackson of Rock Island, Ill., became the fourth different winner in the Late Model division, leading all 30 laps in winning at East Moline (Ill.) Speedway on Sunday evening. Mike Cothron of Moline, Ill., in his second season of Late Model competition, claimed his highest finish to date with a second place run.  In preliminary action, Darrell Harmening of East Moline won the Street Stock feature and Rob Conners of Bettendorf grabbed top honors in the Open Wheel A-main.

Gary Tigges of Durango, Iowa, in his 1982 Camaro, flew to his first NASCAR Grand American Series Late Model feature win of the season at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds on Sunday night. Tigges was running the high-banked 3/8-mile oval in less than 17 seconds per lap. His closest competitor was Dick Schiltz of Waterloo who finished a half a lap behind. Jim Reidl, also of Durango, won the 15-lap Sportsman contest. Reidl started on the fourth row and took the lead on lap 10. Dave Naylor of Scotch Grove, driving a 1973 Ford Mustang, won his second Fun Class feature in a row.