Tuesday, August 30, 2016

1963 – Hutcherson wins Friday stock matinee at Minnesota State Fair

St. Paul, Minn. (August 30, 1963) – Dick Hutcherson joined Jerry Daniels as three-time auto racing feature winner Friday afternoon at the Minnesota State Fair before 13,609 fans.
Hutcherson won the new model stock car 100-lap feature, taking the lead on the first lap and staying in front the entire way.
He was challenged right down the checkered flag by Thursday’s 200-lap winner, Lenny Funk, but Hutcherson’s 1963 Ford was equal to every occasion as he toured the half-mile dirt oval in record time.
It was the 30-year-old Keokuk, Iowa contractor’s 22nd feature victory of the season in IMCA competition for the last six months.
Hutcherson’s victory was worth $850, which added to his previous feature and heat winnings of over $1,200, gave him more than $2,000 in prize money for four days of racing.
Second place finisher Funk pressed Hutcherson to within a one and three-quarters second lead as late as the 93rd lap, but two high turns in the next seven laps helped Hutcherson come home eight car lengths in front at the checkers.
Ernie Derr and Ramo Stott, both of Keokuk, waged a continuous duel for third place with Derr eventually winning that spot. Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., took fifth.
Results -
1. Dick Hutcherson
2. Lennie Funk
3. Ernie Derr
4. Ramo Stott
5. Mert Williams
6. Johnny Beauchamp

Monday, August 29, 2016

1954 - Ward Sets Fair Record

Sedalia, Mo. (August 29, 1954) - Jimmy Ward of Chicago, driving a 1954 Hudson, not only won the Missouri State fair 100-mile stock car race here but also set a new International Motor Contest Association record. Ward drove the 100 miles in 1 hour, 27 minutes, in 14.10 seconds.

The old record was set August 30, 1953, on the Missouri track by Bill Harrison of Topeka, Kan., in 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 21.24 seconds.

Ward also set a time trial record in the IMCA by circling the one-mile track in 50 seconds flat. Yield record was set on the Missouri track by Ernie Derr, August 30, 1953, and was 51.15 seconds.

In the feature event Derr placed second and Bill Harrison was third. The last 15 miles was a seesaw exchange for first place between Ward and Derr.

Results -

  1. Jimmy Ward, Chicago
  2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
  4. Roxy Dancy, Shreveport, La.
  5. Cecil Hayes, Chicago
  6. Shorty Eberts, Smithville, Mo.
  7. Chris Skadal, Des Moines
  8. Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  9. Arnold Hudson, Ogden, Iowa
  10. Bill Shave, Wausau, Wis.
  11. Howie Hoffman, St. Paul, Minn.
  12. Paul Newkirk, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Saturday, August 27, 2016

1968 - All Get Into Act with Winning Team in 100-Mile Race

Lenny Funk @ Sedalia  - Ken Simon Photo
Sedalia, Mo. (August 27, 1968) - It started innocently enough last Wednesday with a telephone call from Bill Austin of Elm, Mo.

Austin, a pit member of the Lenny Funk racing team, thought it would be a good idea to give a little racing exposure from the inside of the track – from the pits.

The event was the 100-mile International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) late model stock car race on the one-mile track at the state fairgrounds. The honorary job included getting a white, trimmed in orange, shirt – the same colors as Funk’s 1967 model Ford racer.

As the afternoon wore on, the job became a little less honorary and quite a bit more tense. Funk, it seems, overcame IMCA’s fabled racing pair of Ernie Derr and Ramo Stott and captured first place in the $1,000 portion of the $5,000 purse that went with it.

After meeting Austin, the rest of the pit crew assembled around the car. Dick Witt of Raytown, Mo., is the mechanic and pretty much the main man inside the rail. Others are John Boorman of Elm, Mo., Lowell Smith of Bates City, Mo., Gary Garrett of Oak Grove, Mo., and Steve Snider of Minneapolis.

Early tension centered on the time trials, the greatest concern was over Derr, Stott, Lewis Taylor of Shawnee, Kan., and Ole Brua of Albert Lea, Minn. the concern was normal and predictable. Brua had the fastest time; Derr was second. The man of the hour – Funk – had the fifth fastest time.

Because of the IMCA inverted start, the fastest six drivers exchanged places in this put Lenny on the front row outside. Taylor, the sixth fastest qualifier, had the pole.

With a few moments to kill, Austin decided it was time to hand out jobs. One man on each tire, a man to wipe the windshield, a gasoline man in all down the line. Austin gave the pit crew novice the job of taking off the fuel cap and then handing Lenny a cup of water during pit stops.

Nerves tightened. A few practiced twist at the trying to replace it quickly and realizing the importance of time in the pits. The practice twist became harder and harder.

Witt, a gentleman, volunteered that the two jobs were too much for one man. The novice became the water boy. But the instructions were explicit. Give Lenny water out of the job without ice. It seemed easy enough.

The race started and quickly the orange and white racer took the lead.

Derr, in his Dodge Charger, roared from his third row starting spot and was in front on the third lap. Stott passed Funk on the fifth lap and the Keokuk, Iowa, pair were off and going in another typical performance.

The novice in the pits was content with third. The regulars stood firm. And Lenny, at age 39 and an 11 year veteran of the racing wars, was the firmest of all.

First, Stott took an early pit stop on lap 13. He stayed in for his mandatory 30 seconds, and then he stalled his engine.

Not only did Stott's pit crew jump out push but everyone in Funk's pit crew – except one – went over the rail to help.

The novice didn't move.

Derr pitted a lap later and all of sudden the right man was back in the lead. There was confusion for some time over the lead, but it settled down that Lenny had it in Derr was chasing.

Plans call for a pit stop at 40 laps. It came on lap 43.

Lenny came in fast. It appeared it was a trial run. It wasn't. The racer braked quickly.

Over the wall when the novice – spilling just half a cup. Lenny's hand quivered taking it. Two of us were nervous. He didn't say thanks, but he liked it.

Next plans called for fuel at about the 60th lap. The novice wandered around. The regulars stayed put. On lap 49 a yellow flag came out and Funk was in the pits like a flash. The regulars were ready, the novice ran around, got the job, only had time to fill half a cup, went over the rail, one quick step in Funk was gone.

It appeared he wanted more water and he wanted it sooner,

Now, lap after lap someone came by and pointed, “Your man's out there on a Sunday afternoon drive.” My man, Lenny, was doing great. He led Derr by 19 seconds and was pulling away.

With believed on lap 63 that Lenny had enough fuel; lap 64 and it was hot in the sun.

Bingo! On lap 70 a car spins. Yellow flag; by lap 75 they’re running again but Derr is only 8 seconds behind. The novice sees the handwriting on the wall.

Well, second is better than nothing.

The regulars see it differently. They realize Lenny has been turning faster laps than Derr all day.

Over the loudspeaker you hear; “Lenny Funk still has a good lead – about one third of a lap on Ernie Derr.”

Witt scribbles on the chalkboard big letters. They spell “GO”. Funk comes around, sees the sign, nods and does.

Now there are only 14 laps left. We’re counting the other way, it's the countdown.

Another spin. Another yellow, by now the regulars know that it’s Lenny Funk day in Sedalia. Austin steps over the rail and motions his driver onward. He stayed on the track and for good measure gives a slowdown signal to Derr. Derr only watches his own pit, he keeps going fast.

With five laps to go, Witt makes it official. He goes over the rail and signals Lenny to slow down. Lenny acknowledges the signal, but doesn't.

With four laps Lenny whizzes by. Then three, two, one (the white flag) and then the checkered flag.

The regulars handle the water at the finish line. There is nothing to the racing game if you're an addict.

Friday, August 26, 2016

1984 – Trickle’s ASA 200 victory isn't without some doubt

Dick Trickle
West Allis, Wis. (August 26, 1984) - Dick Trickle had a lot on his mind during the final 70 laps of the Milwaukee Sentinel 200-mile stock car race Sunday afternoon at State Fair Park.

After taking the lead on lap 130 of the 200-lap race, Trickle was not thinking victory as much as he was about just finishing the American Speed Association (ASA) race. You see, that has been a big problem of his during ASA competition.

It wasn’t a problem this time though; as the veteran stock driver held on to win the ASA-sanctioned race with an average speed of 96.997 mph. It was his fourth victory at State Fair Park, but only his second in ASA this season.

“We’ve had a bad year in ASA competition, so it’s nice to win here,” said Trickle, who picked up $10,440 in earnings from a purse of $73,170. “I’ve had a good year, but ASA hasn't been good to me.”

“We’ve been competitive (in ASA), but we haven't been able to finish a lot of races. We’ve had a lot of little things go wrong with the car. Toward the end of the race, I was thinking more about what could go wrong than winning.”

Nothing went wrong. In fact, Trickle’s victory netted him more than he had anticipated, because he and Bobby Allison were declared co-winners of the Milwaukee Championship.

They both compiled 1,110 points from their finishes in three races - the Red Carpet 200, Miller 200 and Sunday’s race. As co-champions, they collected $3,200 each.

Alan Kulwicki of Greendale held the lead going into Sunday's race, with 790 points - 40 more than Allison, the defending NASCAR champion.

All Kulwicki needed was a high finish to win the Triple Crown, but he was forced out of the race on lap 70 with engine trouble.

“I really didn't think I had a chance at it,” Trickle said. “I didn’t do well in the Miller 200, so I felt my chances were not very good. It’s nice to win the extra money.”

Trickle then added with a half smile, “I had the best finish today, so I should get the whole thing.”

Trickle definitely finished better than Bobby Allison (ninth) and the rest of the 40-car field that began the 16th race on the 20-race ASA circuit.

Harold Fair of Livonia, Mich., finished .8 seconds behind pole-sitter Trickle. Fair drove a Firebird also and earned $6,575 in second-place money. Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., was third.

Jim Sauter of Necedah, the ASA point leader, was sixth and was never a serious challenger.

Ken Lund of Madison had the best finish among rookies, taking eighth despite transmission problems late in the race. Jay Sauter, another rookie, finished 10th in a race that had seven caution flags and 12 lead changes among seven drivers.

That first lead change belonged to Kulwicki, who started in the second row and passed Trickle after the first lap. He held it until Martin passed him on lap 20. Kulwicki regained the lead after most of the leaders stopped at the pits on a yellow that came out on lap 49; but, 20 laps later he was knocked out of the race with engine trouble. Several drivers held the lead after that point, with Trickle taking over for good on lap 130.

Trickle pitted on lap 75 and again on 120, both times for fuel and tires. After the second stop, the Wisconsin Rapids resident had little trouble overtaking Mike Eddy for the lead.

“I was driving very conservatively at the end,” Trickle said. “Once I got the lead, I just kept a comfortable distance. I just wanted to win the race; I didn’t care by how much.”

“You have to give my crew a lot of credit. They changed all four tires both times and we still beat our competitors out.”

According to Trickle, his victory is a sign of what to expect in the remaining weeks of the racing season.

“I think we're going to finish strong,” he said. “I'm looking forward to the remaining ASA races. We should do well.”

Results –

  1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
  2. Harold Fair, Lavonia, Mich.
  3. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
  4. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
  5. Butch Miller. Lawton, Mich.
  6. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
  7. Mike Miller, Midland, Mich.
  8. Ken Lund, Madison, Wis.
  9. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.
  10. Jay Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
  11. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
  12. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
  13. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.
  14. Ed Evans, West Allis, Wis.
  15. Dave Simko, Clarkston, Mich.
  16. Larry Conroy, Holland, Ill.
  17. Don Collins, Antioch, Ill.
  18. Doug Klein, Fairview Heights, Ill.
  19. Tom Harrington, Loveland, Ohio
  20. Kent Stauffer, Elyria, Ohio
  21. Al Laufer, Hartford, Wis.
  22. Danny Darnell, Waukegan, Ill.
  23. Conrad Morgan, Dousman, Wis.
  24. Dennis Vogel, Manitowoc, Wis.
  25. Ken Christenson, La Crosse, Wis.
  26. Scott Hansen, Green Bay, Wis.
  27. Russ Peterson, Hartford, Wis.
  28. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
  29. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum, Wis.
  30. Bobby Dotter, Chicago, Ill.
  31. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
  32. Tom Musgrave, Glenview, Ill
  33. Alan Kulwicki, Greenfield, Wis.
  34. Davey Allison, Hueytown, Ala.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

1990 - Anderson 400 considered Fair game

Harold Fair - Photo courtesy of Rand Thompson

Anderson, Ind. (August 25, 1990) - Harold Fair has an excellent memory for the disasters that have happened in his career.
The Detroit native may have trouble remembering what happened Saturday in the 24th running of the Anderson 400... He won.

Fair, who started 19th in the 24-car field, held off Scott Hansen and Bob Senneker over the last 50 laps to capture his first win on the American Speed Association circuit in over a year.

Fair made the field by virtue of a third-place finish in Friday's last-chance race for non-qualifiers.

He immediately recalled the last time that he had not qualified, "Cincinnati, three years ago." His answer for how long it had been since he won an ASA race ... "last June at Berlin (Marne, Mich.)."

The win was worth $6,000 for Fair in the inaugural AC-Delco Challenge series. And just as importantly, it kept him in the running for the first North American Challenge Cup awarded to the ASA point’s winner.

Fair broke a header with 70 laps to go; leaving him with only five of his engine's original six cylinders. With the hard-charging Senneker and Hansen close behind, thoughts of a memorable breakdown crossed his mind.

But Fair used the advantage the Anderson Speedway track offered.

The track is narrow, making passing difficult. Fair wasn't about to pull over and let Senneker and Hansen by.

"My crew told me that the only way anyone was going to pass me was if they went three rows up in the grandstands," said an elated Fair. "They stayed up until two o'clock in the morning to get the car right. I knew it was fast, but I didn't know it would be that fast."

Senneker, who had to fight a collapsed right-front spring, still had enough power to begin reeling in Fair over the last 100 laps.

On lap 360, Hansen began to push Senneker for second place, putting all three cars bumper-to-bumper for several laps.

Senneker made contact with the rear of Fair's Chevrolet Lumina, causing a flat tire which took the current points leader out of contention.

Then it was Hansen's turn to challenge. For the next 20 laps, Hansen tried every measure he could find to get around Fair. But Fair used as much track as possible to hold off the Green Bay native.

"It was a fun race," said Hansen, who remained second in the point’s race. "But I can't blame

Harold. He did what he had to do. I would've done the same thing. My car was running real fast but I burned up my tires trying to catch him."

Another Wisconsin product, Richie Bickle of Edgerton, survived one disaster after another to finish third, one lap down. Bickle ran the last half of the race with his left-front fender gone and then finished the race without brakes.


Results –
1. Harold Fair
2. Scott Hansen
3. Rich Bickle
4. Bob Senneker
5. Tony Raines
6. Kent Stauffer
7. Dennis Vogel
8. Johnny Benson Jr.
9. Ted Musgrave
10. John Wilson
11. John Olson
12. Glen Allen Jr.
13. Tim Kezman
14. Mike Eddy
15. Dave Jackson
16. Lonnie Rush Jr.
17. Gary St. Amant
18. Junior Hanley
19. Bob Sensiba
20. Todd Forbes
21. Jeff Neal
22. Joe Shear
23. Tom Jones
24. Tim Steele

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

1974 - Stott Bounces in First at Sedalia

Ramo Stott - Sal Picalo Photo
Sedalia, Mo. (August 24, 1974) - It was rougher than a washboard but not quite as rough as a plowed field as Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, drove to victory in a 100-mile United States Auto Club late model stock car race on the one-mile dirt oval at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

A crowd of more than 6,000 was on hand as Stott, driving in 1972 Plymouth, took the lead for keeps 14 miles from the finish from Ernie Derr and went on to beat his fellow townsman by about a city block.

This was also a carbon copy of the USAC stock-car race here in April of 1973, when Stott edged Derr. But on that one Stott took the lead with only two laps to go.

Stott and Derr, in a 1972 Dodge, were the only drivers to navigate the entire 100 laps. Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1974 Dodge was third, one lap down, and Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., in 1973 Plymouth, was fourth, two laps behind the leader.

Larry (Butch) Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio, the USAC stock-car champion, had the best mark in the time trials, guiding a 1973 Dodge around the track in 39.8 seconds.

This put Hartman on the pole and he led the first 13 laps. Stott quickly moved up from his sixth starting position and took the lead by going low on Hartman between the number one and number two turns and pulling away on the backstretch.

On lap 17 Hartman ducked into the pits with a broken accelerator cable. He was filed last down when he returned to the track and was not a factor in the finish. He was credited with seventh place.

Janey, the second-fastest qualifier, then tucked himself behind Stott, and on the 43rd lap used the identical tactic between turns one and two to take the lead.

Janey stopped for fuel on lap 60 and Stott regained the lead. On the next lap the left rear tire blew out on Janey's car, and after another pit stop, he was one lap behind.

Derr, biding his time, shot into the lead on lap 76 when Stott pitted for fuel and two new right side tires. Derr had made a pit stop earlier for fuel and never lost a position.

The only yellow flag during the race occurred on the 74th lap when the driveshaft system fell out of a 1974 Dodge driven by Jigger Sirois of Hammond, Ind. Only six laps were run under the caution flag.

Stott hugged the bumper of Derr from the 76 lap on. And he dipped underneath Derr in turn three on the 85th lap, came out in front and took it from there.

“I'm just glad the car held together,” Stott said of his rough ride. “I guess the track was not as rough in the turns as it was last year, but it sure shook hard on the straightaways.”

“I just thought I could get around him (Derr),” Stott continued, “and when I did I just sat in it and sailed.”

Stott said the tires he had put on late in the race seemed to hold to the track better.

Derr, who now has finished second in five USAC dirt races this year, drove with a handicap when the windshield dropped out. The glass was held in the car simply because it fell back onto the rear view mirror.

“Rocks just kept hitting it,” Derr said afterwards. “The track got awfully rough. But at the end Ramo was just running faster.”

“At track could break and anvil,” said Hartman, as he again failed to land a high finishing position here. “I think the track just shook everything out of the car.” The windshield was broken on Hartman's car, too.

Nelson, the current USAC point leader, and like Hartman, a three-time champion, was more than satisfied with his fourth-place finish.

“When I saw that Butch was in trouble early I made up my mind to finish the race and get the points.” Nelson went into the race with a 50 point lead over Hartman. Nelson added 160 while Hartman collected under 130.

Nelson continued on the driving of Stott. “The way Ramo drove you either win the race or you don't finish.”

Stott, winning his second race of the year on the circuit, collected $2,700 of the $15,000 purse. Stott's other victory came in Salem, Ind., on July 7.
Results -
1. Ramo Stott
2. Ernie Derr
3. Irv Janey
4. Norm Nelson
5. Ken Rowley
6. Paul Feldner
7.Butch Hartman
8. Jim Marshall
9. Paul Sizemore
10. Marcus Phelps
11. Don White
12. Steve Drake
13. Larry Cope
14. Jigger Sirois
15. Jay Behimer
16. Dave Logan
17. Larry Phillips
18. Terry Ryan
19. Gary Wroan
20. Russ Derr
21. Mike Derr
22. Dean Roper