Monday, May 20, 2019

May 20, 1951


Sterling, Ill., (May 20, 1951) - Stock car racing debuted at the new third-mile Speedbowl Park on Sunday afternoon in Sterling. A program of thrills and spills was witnessed by a crowd of well over 5,000 spectators. It was one of the first auto racing programs ever presented on a legal track.

Charles Moffitt of Stanwood, Iowa, came through traffic from his 14th starting spot to win the 20-lap feature in the time 7 minutes and 45 seconds.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

1979 - Miller Takes Checkered in Dells Late Model Go

Mike Miller

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (May 19, 1979) – Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., held off the challenges of Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., and Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., to capture the 30-lap late model feature at Dells Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

Miller, who started in the 12th position, quickly made his way through pack. Ron Beyer jumped into the lead off the pole position, but Miller overtook Beyer on lap 6 to lead the 17-car field.

Cross-town rival Trickle, driving Jim Bohmsach’s Nova, followed Miller through the pack and took over second place on lap 7. Trickle would make several attempts to overtake Miller, but Miller managed to consistently outpower Trickle in the turns.

Back in the pack, Marzofka moved past Ted Buelow to take third on lap 17, but was nearly a full straightaway behind the leaders.

Dick Turner, Orv Buelow and Morie Delmore tangled in turn two on lap 20, bringing out the first yellow of the race.

The caution allowed Marzofka to close tight behind Trickle’s bumper as racing resumed and the battle for second place began.

A second yellow occurred on lap 25 when Buelow, Joe Kryzkowski and Turner tangled coming out of turn four and hit the wall. Only Turner was able to continue.

Under the green for the final five circuits, Marzofka ducked under Trickle and took second on lap 27, but Miller had built a two-car length lead as the battle for second wore on and he recorded the win.
Steve Carlson of La Crosse, Wis., rode his 1978 Camaro to victory in the 15-lap hobby stock feature, edging Jay Sauter of Necedah, Wis., and Mike Niles of Holmen, Wis.

Results –

1.    Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2.    Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
3.    Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4.    Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh, Wis.
5.    Tom Musgrave, Grand Marsh, Wis.
6.    Arnie Christen, Mineral Point, Wis.
7.    Ken Lund, Deerfield, Wis.
8.    Ron Beyer, Stevens Point, Wis.
9.    Chuck Decker, Marshfield, Wis.
10.  Morie Delmore, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

1975 – Nesteby Captures Tunis Main

Waterloo, Iowa (May 18, 1975) – Defending track champion D. Arthur Nesteby gave a one-time only performance with his late model feature win on Sunday night at Tunis Speedway.

Nesteby claimed the season-opening main event after selling the car he was racing that night, a recently built Chevy designed to run primarily on half-mile tracks, to Evansdale, Iowa’s Red Dralle.

Next week, he’ll be back in the old No. 99 car that carried him to the championship last season.

Glen Martin of Independence, Iowa, had the pole position for the feature and led the race for the first three laps before Nesteby overtook him.

Nesteby continued in the lead until lap 13 of the nip and tuck race when Martin got around him again. Nesteby would take the lead for good a couple of laps later. He would lead Martin by no more than a bumper when the race was called on lap 24 because of a wreck between Roger Klingfus and Denny Osborn.

“If I would have waited until after tonight’s feature to decide to what car to sell, it would have been a lot tougher decision,” Nesteby admitted. Nesteby indicated his plans for a lighter car failed. His new machine will end up weighing as much as his old one.

Martin won the first heat while Joe Schaefer of Waterloo, Iowa, claimed the second heat. Darrell Sells of Cedar Falls, Iowa, scored the victory in heat three.  Jack Mitchell of Cedar Falls, Iowa, won the consolation.

Results –

Heat #1 – Glen Martin, Independence, Iowa
Heat #2 – Joe Schaefer, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #3 – Darrell Sells, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Consolation – Jack Mitchell, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Feature –
1.     D. Arthur Nesteby, Waterloo, Iowa
2.     Glen Martin
3.     John Allinson, Williams, Iowa
4.     Joe Schaefer
5.     Bill Barthelmes, Troy Mills, Iowa
6.     Bob Hesse, Waterloo, Iowa
7.     Jim Burbridge, Delhi, Iowa
8.     Jack Mitchell
9.     Darrell Sells
10. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

1991 – Kaeding Tops Hales CRA Sprinters

Franklin, Wis. (May 15, 1991) – Brent Kaeding survived a race-long duel with Richard Griffin to claim the 30-lap California Racing Association (CRA) non-winged sprint car feature Wednesday night at Hales Corner Speedway.
The start of the feature was slowed by three mishaps before a lap could be completed. CRA officials ordered a single-file restart. Kaeding and Griffin, the front-row starters, then paced the field the entire 30 circuits.
After five laps Kaeding and Griffin and broken away from the rest of the 20-car field and near the halfway point the top duo nearly had a straightaway lead over third-place Randy Sippel.
On lap 16 Griffin closed in on the leader and two laps later edged past Kaeding. The two then worked through lapped traffic with Griffin using the high groove while Kaeding worked the low line.
Kaeding waited for his opening and on lap 24 powered inside of Griffin to regain the top spot. For the rest of the way Kaeding was able to stay out of Griffin’s reach to take the checkered with two lapped cars between them.
Jack Hewitt placed well behind in third followed by Sippel and Cary Faas.
“Running around the yellows hurt us on fuel,” Kaeding said, referring to the three restarts. “We have a fuel shutoff valve and I kept turning it off.”
Earlier in the evening Ron Shuman won the B feature while Jim Moulis, Bob Robel, Griffin and Mike Frost. Shuman also won the trophy dash.

Results –

1.     Brent Kaeding
2.     Richard Griffin
3.     Jack Hewitt
4.     Randy Sippel
5.     Cary Faas
6.     Steve Ostling
7.     Jim Moulis
8.     Allen Winker
9.     Gib Wiser
10.  Mike Frost
11.  Ron Shuman
12.  Mark Sokola
13.  Bob Robel
14.  Billy Boat
15.  Leonard Lee

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

1975 – Hansen Wins Second at Oskaloosa

Oskaloosa, Iowa (May 14, 1975) - Curt Hansen of Dike took advantage of Don Hoffman's blown engine early in the race then held off a hard charge from the remainder of the field to win his second late model stock car feature at the Southern Iowa Speedway in a bumper to bumper duel Wednesday night.

Starting on the pole position, Hoffman led the first nine laps before his engine let go, paving the way for Hansen's victory and his hold on the point lead.

Hansen then fended off Joe Merryfield of Des Moines for the win amid a flurry of red flags and restarts as the entire field remained in tight formation due to three feature restarts.

Results –

First Heat: Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Second Heat: Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
Third Heat: Curt Hansen, Dike
Semi-Main: Fred Horn, Marion
1. Curt Hansen
2. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
3. Phil Reece, Des Moines
4. Mel Morris, West Liberty
5. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
6. Bob Bonzer, Liscomb
7. Fred Horn
8. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
9. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
10. Johnny Babb

Sunday, May 12, 2019

1961 – Bettenhausen Killed at Indianapolis

The mangled remains of Tony Bettenhausen's car.

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 12, 1961) — Tony Bettenhausen, 44, whose greatest ambition was to win the richest of all auto races, died because a nickel's worth of wire broke on a car he was testing for a friend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Bettenhausen was killed instantly when the roaring racer hurtled into a wall and burst into flames Friday.
Speedway officials said the cause of the accident was a cotter pin worth about five cents.
The sheared pin let a bolt fall, and when Tony stepped on the brakes, the axle twisted, flinging the car into the outside retaining wall on the northwest turn.

Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill., was dead when guards fought their way through horrified fans to where the smashed car hung wrapped in wire atop the wall.

It was Bettenhausen's 29th wreck in a race car. The first was in his first race at Chicago 23 years ago.

The stocky little Dutchman's death came while his own car, with which he hoped to break records at today's time trials for the 500-mile Memorial Day race, was sitting in a speedway garage.

Bettenhausen was testing for a long-time friend, Paul Russo, formerly of Kenosha, Wis.

He would have spent a great deal of his time in Milwaukee this summer. Less than a month ago, he signed with Milwaukee's Bill Trainor to drive the latter's 1961 Ford which topped the 159 mile per hour mark in a run at Daytona Beach, Fla.

This was to have been the final season for Bettenhausen. But he had said that before…

When last referring to his plans, he said, "I want to win the 500, the national stock and the big car championships and retire in a blaze of glory. Then when I become a racing official no one can say I didn't have the savvy to hold such a position."

There was no one to challenge his knowhow, this year, or during many of the 22 years he was a racing driver.

Only Wednesday, Tony had turned in a 149.245 mile per hour lap - the fastest ever recorded in traffic on the 2.5-mile brick and asphalt track.
Bettenhausen's death was the 53rd fatality at the Indianapolis "brickyard," opened in 1909 as a dirt track. He was the 30th driver killer. The toll involves 14 mechanics and 9 spectators.
Bettenhausen was born in Tinley Park, where he farmed 600 acres of corn and soybean land with his two teen-age sons, Gary, 19, and Merle, 17.

He also is survived by his wife, Valerie, and two daughters, Susan, 15, and Tony Lee, 9.
The entire family had planned to attend qualifications at the track today.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Don Branson

Born in Rantoul, Illinois, Don Branson drove in the USAC Championship Car series and also in sprint cars, racing champ cars in the 1956–1966 seasons with 128 starts, including the 1959–1966 Indianapolis 500 races. He finished in the top ten 85 times, with 7 victories.

Branson was the 1959 and 1964 USAC Sprint Car Series Champion.

He was killed in 1966 in a crash at a sprint car race at Ascot Park in Gardena, California, along with fellow driver Dick Atkins. 1966 was to be his last year of competition, and the fatal wreck occurred with only a few races left in the season for the USAC series

He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1994 and the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2012