Monday, May 25, 2020

1963 - White edges Folse In Little 500

Johnny White (1) takes the high-side past Pete Folse (2) during the 1963 Little 500.

Anderson, Ind. (May 25, 1963) – Johnny White of Warren, Mich., won the 15th annual Little 500 staged at Sun Valley Speedway on Saturday night. However, he received some fine relief driving from Bob Coulter of Lakeside, Calif., for 177 laps.

White had been involved in a fascinating duel with Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla., until he slowed down to come in for a relief driver after 263 laps. The eventual winner had sustained a back injury at Winchester, Ind., on May 11 and that injury caused him to call for a relief driver.

Coulter came on to renew the duel with Folse after he had stepped in the Weinberger #1 machine. Coulter would make a pit stop on lap 419 which surprised the standing-room-only crowd of over 13,000 which witnessed the International Motor Contest Association-sanctioned classic. Coulter lost almost three laps during that pit stop which was made to allow White to resume driving.

With only 81 laps remaining to be run around the quarter-mile oval to complete the race, it appeared as though Folse had the win in his pocket. However, in what turned out to be the most fabulous "charging” ever shown by a driver at Sun Valley, White passed Folse no less than four times in the final 81 circuits to win by more than a one-lap margin.

Folse and his crew protested the victory, contending the #1 car had passed illegally during the race while the yellow light was showing, but the protest was disallowed.

The victory was White’s second in 15 running’s of the Little 500. He had won previously in 1957.

Defending champion Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., and Gordon Wooley of Waco, Tex., made it the closest Little 500 finish in history by staying in contention the whole distance. Knepper took third, while Wooley was fourth.

White picked up $2,507 out of a total purse of approximately $15,000.

Results –

1. Johnny White/Bob Coulter
2. Pete Folse
3. Arnie Knepper
4. Gordon Wooley
5. Al Smith
6. Greg Weld
7. Bob Davis
8. Buzz Gregory
9. Don O’Riley
10.Jim McCune
11.Vern Schmidt
12.Clare Lawicki
13.Roger Lane
14.Calvin Gilstrap
15.Ted Shackelford
16.Dave Robinson
17.Mickey McCormick
18.Jerry Richert
19.Jerry Daniels
20.Wilbur Robinson
21.Jerry Daniels
22.Don Brown
23.Dave Hollis
24.Larry Cannon
25.Bob Coulter
26.Dick Gaines
27.Jim Murphy
28.Dick Atkins

Sunday, May 24, 2020

1959 – Ernie Derr takes Badger 200

Ernie Derr

West Salem, Wis. (May 24, 1959) - Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, drove his 1957 Pontiac to a dusty victory Sunday afternoon in the Badger 200-lap race at the Inter-State Fair track near West Salem.

Derr’s time for the 100-mile distance was 1 hour, 57 minutes and 5 seconds. Pacing his car all the way, Derr came from the middle of the 19-car pack early in the race and was always a contender when not in the lead.

Derr took the lead for the last time on the 164th lap and held it when Newt Bartholomew of Carlisle, Iowa, piloting a 1957 Chevrolet, ran out of gas before the third turn to lose the lead.

Bartholomew signaled frantically for his pit crew, but couldn’t make the full lap back, which cost him additional time before he returned to action. He led from lap 129 to 164.

Nine of the 19 cars that started the race finished the competition before 4,000 spectators.

Dick Hutcherson, also of Keokuk driving a 1957 Pontiac, was the initial pace-setter for the first 13 circuits.

Then, Frank Richards of Cedar Rapids took his 1957 Chevrolet convertible into first place on lap 14 after Hutcherson experienced mechanical difficulties. Hutcherson re-entered the race later but was never a threat (finished 12th).

Richards led 47 laps before Derr captured his first lead on lap 61. Bartholomew and was behind Derr and Richards.

Richards pressed Derr, nearing the lead when his car pulled to the top of the track on lap 72 with a broke spindle. Richards, who recorded thee fastest time in qualifying with a time of 30.65 seconds, would come back later to finished 10th.

Derr would continue to lead until lap when Bartholomew made his bid for the top spot on lap 76. However, Bartholomew’s lead would be short-lived as Derr moved to the front of the field on lap 92.

From lap 92 to 125 Derr held the top spot. On lap 126 Derr and Bartholomew were wheel-to-wheel in front of the grandstand. Derr led on laps 127 and 128.

Bartholomew then staged his bid to grab the lead on lap 129. He held it until Derr took over for keeps on lap 164.

By the time he returned to action, Derr held a five-lap lead on Bartholomew. Bob Potter of Duluth, Minn., driving a 1959 Chevrolet, held second place. Potter - a hard-luck pilot with the International Motor Contest Association – then had problems of his own. He completed 184 lap before mechanical difficulty (broke rear-end housing) dropped him from second to a fourth-place finish, behind Bruce Nystrom of Oshkosh, Wis.

Bartholomew again stopped before the third turn, but he had 192 laps under his belt to clinch second place even though he couldn’t finish the race.

With the victory, Derr moved into first place in the IMCA standings. The previous leader, Ramo Stott of Keokuk, finished dead last after only completing 20 laps in his 1958 Ford.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
3. Bruce Nystrom, Oshkosh, Wis.
4. Bob Potter, Duluth, Minn.
5. Milo Van Oudenhoven, Appleton, Wis.
6. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
7. Pete Van Oudenhoven, Appleton, Wis.
8. J.R. McHugh, Green Bay, Wis.
9. Don MacDonald, Necedah, Wis.
10.Frank Richards, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
11.Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
12.Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
13.Bob Kosiskie, Omaha
14.Wally Stanton, Platteville, Wis.
15.Darrel Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
16.Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
17.Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
18.Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee
19.Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa

Saturday, May 23, 2020

1975 – Saldana, Snider share Indiana Fairground wins

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 23, 1975) – Joe Saldana and George Snider came away with victories, Larry Cannon suffered a broken back and John Hubbard lost all the way around in the United States Auto Club’s Hoosier Twin-50’s sprint car extravaganza at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Saldana smoked off with the opening feature and Snider romped in the nightcap before some 10,000 race fans who paid a $17,500 purse.

Cannon stopped the show and broke the four lower lumbar vertebrae in his back after flipping up onto the third turn wall on the third lap of the opener. “Boom Boom” who crashed in nearly the same spot a year ago, was pinned under the steering wheel for a short time but removed and taken to an area hospital. Doctors expect him to recover in approximately six to eight weeks.

Hubbard, whose racing evening ended before he could even run a semi, watched Cannon’s entire ride. He saw the wheel and the axle sail over the wall but what he didn’t see was where they landed – on his Mercedes. The windshield was shattered, the hood was flattened, and Hubbard was in shock.

Back on the racetrack, which was in poor condition, pole sitter Thad Dosher led the next two circuits following the red flag. Rollie Beale jumped ahead on the sixth lap and held on until Gary Bettenhausen got by him on the 15th circuit.

But Saldana, having a wonderful season in the sprints, took command on the next time around ad held off Beale, Pancho Carter, Bettenhausen and Snider to the checkered.

Round two was the best racing of the evening.

Pancho, still sore from his carburetion crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday, started third but bolted into the lead on the fourth turn.

And the defending USAC sprint car champion, who broke the track record in qualifying, battled Snider and Saldana low and high for 33 laps.

But Carter touched the wall between three and four and George and Joe sailed by. The impact flattened Pancho’s right rear tire and he was forced to park a couple of laps later.

Bettenhausen, who spun in the opener but stormed back to take fourth, did the same in the second 50-lapper. He lost it, fell back to 15th and then charge back to fifth. That’s where he was when he looped it again on lap 43, and Sammy Sessions, running sixth, hit the wall to avoid him. Sessions was forced out but okay, as was Gary.

Snider had no trouble stretching his advantage after the yellow and the race finished under the caution.

Beale was second, Saldana was third, Billy Cassella was fourth and Tommy Astone fifth. Cassella put on a brilliant drive, coming from his 18th starting position.

Results -

Feature #1 –

1. Joe Saldana
2. Rollie Beale
3. Pancho Carter
4. Gary Bettenhausen
5. George Snider
6. Tommy Astone
7. Sam Sessions
8. Larry Dickson
9. Steve Cannon
10.Ronnie Burke

Feature #2 –

1. George Snider
2. Rollie Beale
3. Joe Saldana
4. Billy Cassella
5. Tommy Astone
6. Ronnie Burke
7. Larry Dickson
8. Lee Osborne
9. Karl Busson
10.Bob Evans

Friday, May 22, 2020

1970 – Zwanziger Again at Hawkeye Downs

Bill Zwanziger

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 22, 1970) - “It’s fun” said Bill Zwanziger. And that may be one of the biggest understatements of the year in auto racing.

You see, Zwanziger’s “fun” involves a winning streak of eight straight events at Hawkeye Downs, including three feature triumphs, an incredible feat.

The 20-year racing veteran from Waterloo, piloting a 1970 Chevy Nova, kept his streak intact Friday night by capturing the 25-lap late-model stock car feature before a crowd of 3,963 at The Downs. The win was worth $300.

Bill also won the third heat and “B” semi events to mark the second straight week he's completed the “slam”. He began his streak three weeks ago by finishing the night with semi and feature wins. As a result, he's taken a commanding lead in the season point race.

“I’ve never had a streak like this before,” he smiled. “I know there can be lean times; things can change awfully quick.”

“The track was hard and slick tonight, but I like it that way. The car's just handling real well. We haven’t had to change a gear. If I want to run high, I can run high, and if I want to run low, I can run low.”

For the second week in a row, defending track champion Red Droste of Waterloo, also in a ’70 Nova, finished second to Zwanziger in the feature. Droste started 13th in the 16-car field and Zwanziger began in the 10th spot.

After Bill took the lead on the 19th lap it was clear sailing, but Red had his hands full with the likes of Glen Martin, Karl Sanger, Chub Liebe and Curt Hansen. It was a tight battle for the runner-up spot until Droste broke through the pact on the 22nd tour.

Martin, Sanger, Liebe and Hansen followed Droste across the finish line.

Hansen and Bill Beckman of Lisbon copped heat victories. Other wins went to Bill Barthelmes of Walker in the “A” semi and Larry Schulte of Cedar Rapids in the consolation.

Results –

Heat #1 – Bill Beckman, Lisbon
Heat #2 – Curt Hansen, Dike
Heat #3 – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
A-semi – Bill Barthelmes, Walker
B-semi – Bill Zwanziger
Consolation – Larry Schulte, Cedar Rapids
Feature –
1. Bill Zwanziger
2. Red Droste, Waterloo
3. Glen Martin, Independence
4. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
5. Chub Liebe, Oelwein
6. Curt Hansen
7. Tom Hughes, Monticello
8. John Webb, Independence
9. Perry Beckler, Tiffin
10.Al Mayner, Winthrop

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

1972 – Knoxville Super Win to Blundy

Jerry Blundy

Knoxville, Iowa (May 20, 1972) – Jerry Blundy found a sticky track surface to his liking as the veteran from Galesburg, Ill., set fast time, won his heat, and then took the 25-lap feature on the Marion County Fairgrounds’ half-mile Saturday night. Blundy took home $615 from the $2,500 prize money up for grabs.

The victory in the feature gave Blundy the point’s lead, moving him from third to first in the standings and knocking out previous leader Roger Rager of Lincoln, Neb.

Following Blundy in the feature was Bill Utz, the former blacksmith, now restaurateur, from Sedalia, Mo., Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., Stacy Redmond of Mason City, Iowa and Steve Schultz of Chillicothe, Mo.

The track was fast, less than two hundredths of a second separated the top three in qualifying time trials. Blundy turned a 21.19 second lap, the second fastest of the year, for top honors. Rager had a 21.23 second lap and Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, last week’s fast qualifier, toured the oval in 21.35 seconds.

The 5-lap trophy dash went to Roger Larson. A recent winner at Topeka, Larson jumped to a big lead ahead of Lonnie Jensen and was never headed.

The feature was marred on the second lap when Daryl Dawley of Sioux Falls, S.D., cartwheeled his super-modified five times in between turns three and four. He ended up landing outside of the track on all four wheels. He was taken to a local area hospital for observation, but he did walk from the ambulance to the hospital.

Also involved in the collision were Rager, Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., and Jon Backlund of Kansas City. All three drivers were knocked out of the race.

Steve Shultz won the first 10-lap heat while Pleasantville, Iowa’s Earl Wagner was victorious in the second heat. Blundy’s victory came in the third heat.

Bill Utz won the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

Time trials – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill. (21.19)
Trophy dash – Roger Larson, Solomon, Kan.
Heat #1 – Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
Heat #2 – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Heat #3 – Jerry Blundy
Consolation – Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy
2. Bill Utz
3. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
4. Stacy Redmond, Mason City, Iowa
5. Steve Schultz
6. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
7. Bill Robison, Topeka, Kan.
8. Earl Wagner
9. Roy Bryant, Wichita, Kan.
10.Ron Perkins, Des Moines

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1957 - 12,000 see Bob Burdick win Hawkeye 300

Bob Burdick

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 19, 1957) - The Burdick brothers, Bob and Bud, dominated the first annual Hawkeye 300 stock car race at the All-Iowa fairgrounds Sunday before a crowd of more than 12,000 fans.

Bob Burdick, a young IMCA veteran from Omaha, won both halves of the grueling 150-mile race and almost pushed his brother Bud, home to second place in the second of two 150-lap features.

The crowd that overflowed the Hawkeye Downs grandstand facilities despite cold temperatures and a threatening drizzle was kept warm throughout the three and-a-half hour program by some sizzling duels on the half-mile track and a series of accidents that dominated the second half of the longest stock race ever held in Iowa.

The most serious accident, however, occurred during the first half of the split feature. Arthur “Bud” Aitkenhead of Omaha, making his first IMCA start of the year, lost control of his car midway through the backstretch. He seemed to gain control as he neared the corner, but then his car spun and flipped twice. Aitkenhead was reported in good condition at Mercy Hospital early Monday.

His crash was only one of a series of mishaps that plagued the leaders in the two 150-lap tests.

Defending point champion Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa and Don White of Keokuk, a former champ who led part way in both halves of Sunday's race, both were eliminated in accident during the second half.

Beauchamp, who finished second in the first race, was leading the field at 67 laps of the second event after a long duel with White when he flipped at nearly the same spot in which Aitkenead was injured. Beauchamp stayed in the car and got back in t he race, but was flagged off the track after twice nearly sending Bob Burdick over the outside of the wall.

Promoter Frank Winkley chastised Beauchamp, who at first refused to leave the race, after reaching the pits. He complained that Burdick had been responsible for the two near accidents.

There were numerous other accidents in the final 150 laps, but none of them serious. White was well in front on the 96th lap when he suddenly lost out on the same turn that Beauchamp an Aitkenhead and battled with. He held control of his car, and came to rest against the outside guardrail.

Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., and Frank Richards of Marion, Iowa both did some fine driving to avoid serious accidents in the second half when front wheel eluded their cars in the main stretch. Chub Liebe of Oelwein, Iowa who did an outstanding job of driving to wind up second in the overall standings, missed crashing into Richard where his wheel was lost.

White did some fine driving in both halves of the race. He was in contention in the first 150-lap race when a tie-rod broke and his front wheels locked. He held control of the car and guided it into the pits.

In the meantime, Bob Burdick, driving his 1957 Ford, did some fine work in both halves to sweep the split event. He wound up the afternoon by giving an assist to brother Bud that almost brought Bud a second-place finish,

Bud was in second, over a lap ahead of Liebe, when his car ran low on fuel and began to smoke. He was in trouble with a lap and-a-half to go and brother Bob needed only to finish to score the sweep.

Bob suddenly pulled his car in behind his brother's machine and proceeded to push him a lap-and a half to the finish line. Race promoter Frank Winkley, however, ruled that it was illegal for another car to assist and took the lap away from Bud, giving second spot to Liebe.

The act of brotherly love may have cost Bud Burdick, since he might have held second if he was able to finish, even at a reduced speed.

Results -

Feature #1 -

1. Bob Burdick
2. Johnny Beauchamp
3. Chub Liebe
4. Bud Burdick
5. Lennie Funk
6. Herb Shannon
7. Bill Chennault
8. Russ Gross
9. Don Lewis
10. Shorty Ebert

Feature #2 -

1. Bob Burdick
2. Chub Liebe
3. Bud Burdick
4. Lennie Funk
5. Russ Gross
6. Earl Ness
7. Al Warrender
8. Shorty Ebert
9. Tubby Harrison
10. Clarence Bolton

Monday, May 18, 2020

1979 - Cannon tops USAC Midgets at Santa Fe

Willow Springs, Ill. (May 18, 1979) – Steve Cannon captured his first USAC midget feature win of the year at Santa Fe Speedway on Friday night.

It was the 20th career feature triumph in the division for the 38-year-old resident of Danville, Ill.

Steve Lotshaw charged into the lead of the 30-lap event and remained in front until lap 4 when Cannon, who had started eighth, took over for good.

Rich Vogler, the division’s defending driving champion, was second at the finish followed by Lonnie Caruthers in third, Johnnie Parsons Jr. in fourth and Lotshaw taking fifth.

Cannon’s triumph prevented Caruthers from scoring a sweep in the program. Caruthers had opened the evening by setting fast time with a 14.52-second effort in qualifications and then won the first heat.

Results –

Fast time – Lonnie Caruthers (14.52)
Heat one – Lonnie Caruthers
Heat two – Stan Fox
Heat three – Rich Vogler
Heat four – Tommy Thomas
Semi-main – Mel Kenyon
Feature –
1. Steve Cannon
2. Rich Vogler
3. Lonnie Caruthers
4. Johnnie Parsons Jr.
5. Steve Lotshaw
6. Mel Kenyon
7. Tom Corcoran
8. Jerry Weeks
9. Sleepy Tripp
10. Ken Biertzer
11. Ron Mullen
12. Wes Stafford
13. Bob Wente Jr.
14. Gary Lynch
15. Bob Bennett
16. Kevin Olson
17. Rick Duman
18. Stan Fox
19. Dave Stoltz
20. Tommy Thomas