Thursday, September 20, 2018

1981 – Hanley Tops National Short Track

NSTC winner Junior Hanley is joined in victory lane by Hugh and Jodi Deery.

Rockford, Ill. (September 20, 1981) – He came, he saw, he conquered.
That was the story of Junior Hanley, a top driver in the history of Canadian short track racing, as he paid his first visit to the Rockford Speedway quarter-mile oval to compete in the 16th annual National Short Track Championships.
Hanley led the second half of the 200-lap race, taking the top spot from another fellow Canadian, Randy Slack of York, Ontario, Canada. Slack left the track with a split cylinder wall just as the yellow flag came out for the 101st lap mandatory pit stop. Hanley never relinquished the lead once he got out in front, but the win was anything but easy.
A very determined Joe Shear of Twin Lakes, Wis., moved into second place when Hanley inherited the lead. But there were a large number of lapped cars separating the two top-notch stock car pilots and it was 30 laps later before Shear could ease his dark red Camaro through the heavy traffic and stick the front end of his car under the large rear spoiler of Hanley’s dark blue Camaro.
And that was exactly how they ran for the next 70 circuits. Time and time again Shear would look for an opening, wait for Hanley to make a mistake that just wouldn’t come. And it still didn’t come when the checkers waved to end the 200-lap classic.
It had to be a disappointing afternoon for Shear. On two different occasions Shear found himself running second only to be involved in a mishap that would have him restarting at the tail of the field. On lap 27, a pile-up involving Shear, Steve Murgic of Burnsville, Minn., Fran Prestay of Silver Lake, Wis., and 1980 champion Jim Sauter of Necedah, Wis., sent Shear to the pit area and then back out to the rear of the grid. The accident retired Sauter for the afternoon.
By lap 75, Joe had worked his way back up to the number two slot, but on lap 89 disaster struck again. Shear and Jim Pierson of Beloit, Wis., got together on the frontstretch, sending shear back to the pits again, this time for a new tire. Once again, Shear would tag on to the back of the pack while Pierson would be done for the day.
Dave Watson of Milton, Wis., would lead the first to laps of the race until Fred Campbell of Battle Creek, Mich., took the lead. Campbell would lead until lap 18 when Slack took over. Campbell would soon retire with electrical issues while Slack led until the halfway mark, retiring with engine woes.

Results –

1.   Junior Hanley, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
2.   Joe Shear, Twin Lakes, Wis.
3.   Steve Moll, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4.   Larry Middleton, East Hazelcrest, Ill.
5.   Tony Hertko, Channahon, Ill.
6.   Mel Whalen, Shakopee, Minn.
7.   Doug Lane, Watervliet, Minn.
8.   Bill Berkheimer, Roscoe, Ill.
9.   Wayne Lensing, Rockford, Ill.
10.  Steve Murgic, Burnsville, Minn.
     11.  Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
12.  Dennis Vogel, Manitowoc, Wis.
13.  Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
14.  Greg Guzzo, Addison, Ill.
15.  Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
16.  Larry Schuler, New Lenox, Ill.
17.  Randy Slack, York, Ontario, Canada
18.  Jim Pierson, Beloit, Wis.
19.  Conrad Morgan, Dousman, Wis.
20.  Fred Campbell, Battle Creek, Mich.
21.  Frank Gawlinski, Lynwood, Ill.
22.  Don James, Bloomington, Minn.
     23.  Bobby Dotter, Chicago, Ill.
24.  Fran Prestay, Silver Lakes, Wis.
25.  Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
26.  Dave Tomczak, Cudahy, Wis.
27.  Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
28.  John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

1969 - Droste Wins Tri-State Invitational


Davenport, Iowa (September 19, 1969) – Red Droste of Waterloo, Iowa, once again proved he is one of the greatest short track pilots in the country as he took top honors at the annual Tri-State Invitational at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Friday night.
The wily veteran, who started on the inside of the second row, grabbed the lead on lap 4 and then proceeded to hide from the rest of the field in the 75-lapper.
Don Bohlander of Glasford, Ill., trailed Droste almost the whole way and finished second while Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took third. Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, and Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, rounded out the top five.
The victory for the redhead, who claimed it’s getting harder and harder to win in view of so many young, talented drivers, earned $600 for his evening’s efforts.
John Brockman, Tom Hughes of Monticello, Iowa, and Terry Ryan of Davenport, Iowa, copped heat races and Cal Swanson of Reinbeck, Iowa outlasted Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the win in the semi-main.
Young Bill Barthelmes of Walker, Iowa, nabbed the consolation.

Results –

1.    Red Droste, Waterloo, Iowa
2.    Don Bohlander, Glasford, Ill.
3.    Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4.    Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
5.    Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa
6.    Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
7.    Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
8.    Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
9.    Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
10.  Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
11.  Terry Ryan, Davenport, Iowa
12.  Jerry Reinhart, East Moline, Ill.
13.  Cal Swanson, Reinbeck, Iowa
14.   Lloyd Ewing, Kewanee, Ill.
15.   Jim Gerber, Mt. Joy, Iowa

Monday, September 17, 2018

1978 - Dirt Track Star Wins Bettenhausen 100

Tony Izzo, shown here with his crew, won the 17th annual Bettenhausen Memorial.

Schererville, Ind. (September 17, 1978) – A master of dirt track late model competition, Tony Izzo made his mark on the pavement side of stock car racing Sunday afternoon, as he captured the 17th annual Tony Bettenhausen 100 at Illiana Motor Speedway.
The 34-year-old speedster, who won the 1977 and ’78 track championships at Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Ill., wheeled his Camaro to victory, the first major asphalt win for the Bridgeview, Ill., pilot.
Due to threatening weather conditions, promoter Harry Molenaar decided to start all qualified cars in the 100-lapper, thus upping the starting field to 39 from the originally slated 30.
At the drop of the green flag, Izzo put his racer into the lead from his outside front row starting position. He built and maintained a commanding margin through lap 10 when the first yellow flag waved.
When the green flag waved again, Izzo stayed on top with four-time Illiana champ Ed Hoffman and 1976 and ’77 Bettenhausen winner Ray Young closing in quickly. Lap 17 saw Hoffman, who captured the 1975 Bettenhausen event, moved his Camaro into the lead, followed by Izzo and Young.
Young charged past Izzo on lap 31, with the intent of keeping the leader in his sights.
Rolling along and picking up lap prize money in the process, Hoffman led the contest through lap 51. Then developing clutch problems forced Hoffman to relinquish the top spot to Young on lap 52, with Izzo moving past Hoffman on the same circuit.
The stocky Young guided his Camaro around the half-mile oval looking stronger lap after lap, in his effort to become to the first driver to win three Bettenhausen Classics in a row.
As the race neared the three-quarter mark, the racing surface became oily and slippery, and drivers began having their hands full just keeping their mounts pointed in the right direction. The worsening track conditions seemed to be a blessing for Izzo, as his small-block Chevy began working better than any of the remaining entries. Izzo quickly closed in on Young, pressing the leader for the number one spot.
On the 89th lap, Izzo moved to the inside of Young and took command as the duo charged thru turns one and two. Jerry Kemperman, running well all day, followed Izzo past Young, and became the next serious challenger.
But Izzo began to pull away as the race drew to a climax, with Young and Hoffman coming back to take second and third, respectively.
At starter Bob Adams’ checkered flag, Izzo held a comfortable margin over Young, Hoffman, Kemperman, and Dave Weltmeyer.
Bobby Dotter, driving a Camaro, paced the 45 cars in time trials, with a lap of 21.038 seconds, but a blown engine sent the youngster to the sidelines in the early going of the main event.

Results –

1.    Tony Izzo, Bridgeview, Ill.
2.    Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
3.    Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4.    Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
5.    Dave Weltmeyer, Harvey, Ill.
6.    Bob Theriault, Chicago
7.    Gene Eding, Grand Rapids, Mich.
8.    Frank Gawlinski, Calumet City, Ill.
9.    Bruce Odell, Palos Heights, Ill.
10.  Woody Church, Chicago Ridge, Ill.
11.  Gil Tarbutton, Lake Eliza, Ill.
12.  Larry Middleton, East Hazel Crest, Ill.
13.  Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
14.  Stash Kullman, Calumet City, Ill.
15.  Billy Kuhn, Blue Island, Ill.
16.  Tom Nielsen, Oak Lawn, Ill.
17.  Ron Dole, Oak Forest, Ill.
18.  Pat Echlin, Calumet Park, Ill.
19.  Butch Ledy, Matteson, Ill.
20.  Paul Mollick, Merrillville, Ill.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

1983 - Sanger Posts Smashing Win in Yankee Dirt Track Classic

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 16, 1983) - Ed Sanger smashed a four-year drought at Hawkeye Downs Speedway into 3,500 pieces Saturday night.
Sanger captured the 100-lap NASCAR Grand American late model feature in the Yankee Dirt Track Classic before a crowd of about 4,000. The victory netted the Waterloo driver and car builder a cool $3,500, and was his first triumph at the Downs since 1979.

Roger Dolan of Lisbon relinquished the lead to Sanger on the 89th lap of the main event, and Sanger beat Dolan to the checkered flag by about a second. Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., was third. Waterloo's Tom Bartholomew was fourth and Ken Walton of Viola fifth. The five mentioned racers were the only ones to finish on the lead lap.

“Boy, we needed that,” Sanger said of the win and subsequent paycheck. “This is a tough game these days, and the weekly purses haven't kept up with the expenses.”

Sanger and Plank started on the front row of the 28-car field. Dolan began in the third row. It was apparent early in the race that the winner likely would be one of those three.

Plank took the lead from the onset and held it until Sanger took over on the 34th lap. Dolan passed Sanger for first place on lap 69 and was in front 10 laps later when Joe Merryfield clipped a large section of the protective aluminum fence between the third and fourth turns. Merryfield, of Des Moines, was unhurt. The incident caused laps 79 through 87 to be run under a yellow flag while the mess was cleared.

Then, two laps after the restart, Sanger soared past Dolan on the first turn and kept the lead this time.

“I just took a shot at him (Dolan) and dove down on the bottom of the first turn,” Sanger said. “Then I went up top and took the groove back.”

Sanger drove the car he built for NASCAR superstar Bobby Allison's use in the Miller 100 at the Downs in June.

“The car has worked so damned good, I decided I better drive it,” Sanger said. “It's a sweetheart of a car. It drives so easy. I was as fresh after the race as when I started it.”

It was the largest payoff Sanger has earned since he won over $8,000 for taking the World 100 in Eldora, Ohio, several years ago.

Dolan picked up $2,500 for placing second. He was disappointed at not hanging on for the win, but could take some consolation in putting a stranglehold on the NASCAR Central Region point derby.

With only one point race left at both Quincy, Ill. and Holts Summit, Mo., Dolan has a lock on the championship. What that means is $10,000, plus another $1,000 times three for winning track titles at Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Farley. “That's what makes it all worthwhile,” Dolan said of his regional title-to-be.

“She wouldn't go any faster,” Dolan said of his car. “I hammered it, and it still wouldn't go.”

Jack Mitchell of Cedar Falls nosed out Davenport's Mike Wheeler to claim the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature. Mike Schulte of Norway was third.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

1972 – Clay County Fair IMCA Race to Gennetten

Spencer, Iowa (September 15, 1972) – Gene Gennetten of Gladstone, Mo., put it all together, “finally”, as he breezed to victory in the 25-lap IMCA sprint car feature at the Clay County Fair on Friday night before 3,500 appreciative fans.
Genetten, an IMCA veteran of three years, made his first trip to victory lane and became the 12th individual feature winner this season in IMCA.
Seemingly crucial to his victory was the fact that he had the pole position for the feature and the racing surface was hard and slick. Any hopes of setting records vanished on the third lap when a spin-out in turn one caused the yellow to come out and a fast pace quickly settled down.
Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, after winning two features in his last three outings, had his hopes dimmed as engine trouble forced him out of competition after only three circuits.
Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, the current IMCA point’s leader, finished second after driving a steady, safe race.
Dick Sutcliffe of Kansas City and Chuck Amati of Greenfield, Tenn., second and third respectively in points, did not gain any ground on Goodwin as Sutcliffe finished fourth and Amati was a disappointing ninth.
Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., turned in the fastest time of the day in qualifying with a 23.73 second clocking on the half-mile.

Results –

1.    Gene Gennetten, Gladstone, Mo.
2.    Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
3.    Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
      4.    Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City
5.    Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
6.    Bob Geldner, St. Peter, Minn.
7.    Dean Ward, Grand Island, Neb.
8.    Roger Larson, Solomon, Kan.
9.    Chuck Amati, Greenfield, Tenn.
10.   Bill Burks Jr., Oklahoma City

Friday, September 14, 2018

1975 - Regeth's Car Works Late in Seymour 100 Win

Roger Regeth won the 100-lap late model "Champions of Champions" feature at Paul's Seymour Speedway Sunday night. He receives the trophy and a check for $1,500 from Kathy Pollak.- Dick Jepsen Photo 

Seymour, Wis. (September 14, 1975) – Roger Regeth’s game plan worked to perfection on Sunday night at Paul’s Super Speedway as the Kimberly, Wis., lead foot captured the top prize of $1,500 for winning the “Champions of Champions” 100-lap late model feature.
“We built some plow into the car so it would run better later in the race,” Mike Randerson, master chassis builder and Regeth’s head mechanic, noted after the century grind. “I knew Reggie wouldn’t run that fast in the first half but in the last 50 laps the car started to work.”
Regeth, in gaining his 26th feature win of the season, was pressured by Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., for 42 circuits until Trickle blew a tire on his 1970 Mustang with four go-rounds remaining.
Track champion J.J. Smith led the opening 53 laps of the race and was able to open up a four-car length margin over Trickle despite a red flag period. That happened on lap 46 when Bob Kleinschmidt lost a wheel on his 1973 Camaro.
All cars pitted at that point for refueling and Smith would blast off once again to take the lead with the waving of the green. Trickle and Regeth, who started on Smith’s bumper due to the restart, immediately set out after the 1975 Camaro.
J.J.’s night would end six laps later when a water pump failed and the Appleton, Wis., ace spun in turns three and four.
Trickle maneuvered to the outside around Smith but Regeth dove to the inside and took over the lead as they dashed to the finish line. Smith retired to the pit area and the race was now between Regeth and Trickle as every other car on the track was one lap down.
Running bumper-to-bumper, the veteran duo put on a thrilling show for the capacity crowd as Regeth chose the high groove while Trickle worked the lower.
Caution flags would slow the pace on lap 70 and again on lap 84.
Under the green again, Trickle would make his strongest bid at the lead on lap 90 when he and Regeth battled side-by-side as they raced down the back chute. Midway down the straight a lapped car occupied the outside groove. Neither Trickle or Regeth backed off a bit as they entered turn three and four door-to-door. Trickle gained the upper hand momentarily as the pair ducked out of turn four but Regeth used the inside lane to hold his advantage.
Trickle, clung to Regeth’s tail until dropping a leaded weight from his car, cutting the left rear tire and forcing him to the pits.
Regeth cruised the final four revolutions and finished a full lap ahead of Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa and Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa.


1.     Roger Regeth, Kimberly, Wis.
2.     Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3.     Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
4.     Dick Hed, Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
5.     Denny Teschke, Bonduel, Wis.
6.     Herb Iverson, Hyde, Mich.
7.     Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
8.     Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
9.     Ed Kuika, Beaver Dam, Wis.
10.  Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

1970 – Walkup Walks Away with Branson Title

Bruce Walkup steers the Louis Seymour #29 to victory.

Terre Haute, Ind. (September 13, 1970) - Bruce Walkup grabbed a lead at the midway point and went on to win the Don Branson Classic sprint car race at the Action Track yesterday.
Walkup won the 40-lap grind for United States Auto Club sprinters in a coast, as most of the dueling was for second spot.
Larry Dickson took the runner-up position, while Gary Bettenhausen had to settle for third. Bill Puterbaugh pulled into fourth place.
Puterbaugh held the lead before Walkup but dropped to fourth on the 24th lap. Carl Williams moved up to fourth with 10 race laps remaining, but Puterbaugh passed him three laps later and Williams had to settle for fifth place.
Greg Weld moved up two places on the 34th lap and ended up sixth, while Don Nordhorn was seventh and Rollie Beale eighth.
Johnny Rutherford started the race in the front of the pack, but he dropped back steadily and finished ninth. Sammy Sessions was tenth.
Ralph (The Racer) Liguori captured the semi-feature race which went 12 laps. He gained the lead from Lennie Waldo, who finished sixth, on the fourth lap and never relinquished it.
Dee Jones, Walkup and Weld were heat winners.


Results –


1.    Bruce Walkup
2.    Larry Dickson
3.    Gary Bettenhausen
4.    Bill Puterbaugh
5.    Carl Williams
6.    Greg Weld
7.    Don Nordhorn
8.    Rollie Beale
9.    Johnny Rutherford
10.  Sam Sessions
11.  Dee Jones
12.  Jerry Pollard
13.  Al Smith
14.  Doc Dawson
15.  Larry Cannon
16.  Ralph Liguori
17.  Karl Busson
18.  Duke Cook
19.  Ronnie Burke
20.  Sonny Ates