Thursday, July 30, 2015

1961 – Louisville’s Robbins Bests Field in Iowa Super Modified Go

Roy Robbins
Knoxville, Iowa (July 30, 1961) - Roy Robbins, a 33-year-old mechanic from Louisville, Ky., captured the first annual super modified racing championship here Saturday night and in the process collected $1,280 of the $6,000 purse.

Robbins, who the night before raced to a new track record of 23 seconds flat, drove a modified version equipped with an air scoop.

The scoop, which operates in reverse of an airplane wing by keeping the rear end of the racer on the ground, must have aided the Kentuckian as he won the 25-lap main event going away.

A turn away crowd of nearly 14,000 watched the eight event program under perfect weather conditions. Seventy-eight super modifieds competed at the Marion County Fairgrounds.

Four of the five heat races were won by drivers who compete weekly at the Knoxville track. Jim Blount of LaPaz, Ind., was the only outside winner in the heat races. Blount won the fifth heat. The other heat winners were; Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, Gordon Woolley of Waco, Texas, Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kansas, and Gene Hockensmith of Des Moines.

Robbins finished second in the first heat race behind the local favorite, Earl Wagner. Wagner placed third in the feature race just behind another air scoop special driven by Audie Schwartz of Muncie, Indiana.

The main event was restarted three times before the field finally settled down. As a result the feature was delayed and the checkered flag didn't fall until after 1 AM.

The restarts resulted one anxious drivers became tangled in non-serious accidents in the early laps of the 25-lap feature.


Results –

First Heat: Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Second Heat: Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Third Heat: Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
Fourth Heat: Gene Hockensmith, Des Moines
Fifth Heat: Jim Blount, LaPaz, Ind.
First Consy: Jerry Weld, Kansas City
Second Consy: Johnny Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa


  1. Roy Robbins, Louisville, Ky.
  2. Audie Schwartz, Muncie, Ind.
  3. Earl Wagner
  4. Bill Corwin, Topeka, Kan.
  5. Red Andrew, Lawrence, Kan.
  6. Gene Hockensmith
  7. Johnny Babb 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today in Racing History

Dick Trickle (99) leads Larry Phillips (75) past a lapped car during the "MASCAR 100" at Rolla (Mo.) Speedway on Saturday, July 29, 1972. Trickle would beat Phillips by a nose at the finish. — Ivan Jackson Photo

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1971 - Green wins second Boone feature

Boone, Iowa (July 28, 1971) - Race fans had just about everything Saturday night as three classes of cars filled the Boone Speedway with action.
Rich Green, Webster City, won his second super late model feature of the year to finish the night's action, with Roger Tapper, also of Webster City, taking the sportsman class feature, his first win in that event this year.

In the special show of the night, Ron Perkins, Des Moines, won the feature for the super modified cars.

Curt Houge, Ames, was the busiest man of the night, having both his super modified and super late model cars at the track for competition.

He set the fast time for the super modifieds and ran third in the heat race for that class. Mechanical problems kept his from competing in the super modified feature. In the super late model competition, he won the first race he has run on the Boone oval this year - the trophy dash, was second in his heat and third in the feature.

The two top cars in super late model point standings at the Boone Speedway had considerable trouble after the opening events.

Denny Hovinga, the point leader from Laurens, had the fast time for the night, with Gene Schattschneider, Algona, third in the time trials. Schattschneider is second in season points.

In the trophy dash, Hovinga ran fourth and Schattschneider was second, but from that point it was all downhill for the two drivers. Both ran the third heat, but neither one finished the event. Schattschneider hooked up with Del Stokke, Ames, and went over the bank in number three turn, with both cars coming to rest upright at the bottom. Hovinga pulled out on the last lap with mechanical problems.

Schattschneider came out for the B-Main, but ran into trouble on the first lap and ended up with a flat tire. Hovinga also was in the B-Main, but spun out with just over a lap to go and finished sixth. Axle trouble kept him from even coming out for the feature. Schattschneider started the feature, but stayed far back in the pack throughout the race.

Under the heavy beating from the cars, the track turned into a dirty dry slick.

In the first heat, Roger Warden, Marshall town, received a broken bone in his elbow after his car was sandwiched between Lynn Ballard, Ames, and Gail Hoist, Fort Dodge. The right side of Warden's car was driven over against the driver's seat as the three cars smashed into the bank on the back straight.

Earl Tice, Ames, held the lead for a while in the second super late model heat, fighting off challenges from Mike Chapman, Whiting, but then was sent to the back of the field after he, Wes Smith, Story City, Arnie Braland, Boone, and Arlo Dorenbush, Boone were in a mix-up.

Chapman was behind the wheel of #66, driven until last week by Braland. The car is owned by Sam Post, Boone. Braland was behind the wheel of #65, owned by Ron Efkamp, Boone, the same car he drove in the State Fair races Thursday afternoon.

After the restart caused by the four-car tangle, Bob Lewerke slipped under Chapman when the Whiting driver went high in the number two turn and went on for the win. His brother, Jerry, had won the first heat and the third heat was won by Green.

Del McDowall, Ames, took over the lead in the B-Main when Tice dropped out with a shower of sparks under his car. McDowall held on to take the win.

In the sportsman competition, Glenn Woodard, Des Moines, won his first regular trophy dash of the season. The only other trophy he has picked up at Boone this season was during the Grand National competition. He ran third in his heat, being beaten by his brother, Leonard, for second spot. That heat was won by John Swallow, Adel, who has been behind the wheel of the car driven earlier by Doug White, Redfield. Allen Martin, Madrid, took the other sportsman heat.

Mark Michaud, Ames, had some of the worst luck in the Sportsman feature. Three times a car spun out in front of him and he hit it. None of the accidents were bad enough to knock him out of the race, but it dropped him back in position each time.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

1976 - Hansen Wins Falstaff Classic

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (July 26, 1976) - Never mind that Curt Hansen had a miserable time of it driving his stock car at Hawkeye Downs last season. 
That's past history because the new Hawkeye Downs track is Hansen's piece of cake.
“This track has been good to me this year,” grinned Hansen after winning the 4th annual Falstaff Classic 50-lapper Monday night at The Downs. “My motto has been if I run well, it’ll be here.”
Hansen’s record on the new half-mile dirt oval proves the point. The Dike driver is the current point leader and also won the Doc Hunter Classic 35-lapper earlier this summer. 
“It's great to win here, especially when all the hotdogs are in the field,” added Hansen while busily handing out autographs and pictures of his car after the dandy and daring feature.
“There didn't seem be any one particular groove that ran well. In fact, I ran both in the middle and down low. I’ve never seen this track better. It was beautiful.”
Any secret preparations for the race?
“None,” offered the 13-year driving veteran who has won 10 features at various tracks this year. “I did lighten the rear end of the Camaro and had only 65 pounds of weight. That's the lightest the car has ever been and it ran super. I did make some tire and gear changes, but nothing major.”
Let it be said that this was the very best of the four Falstaff races and many observers went to so far as to say the late model program was the best at Hawkeye Downs in ten years.
Keith Fleck, the local Falstaff beer distributor and race sponsor, will also be able to turn a sizable amount of proceed money to the All Iowa Fair Board to help defray the cost of the building the new track, less Hansen’s $1,300 for winning the race, though.
Over 40 cars showed up for the Classic and 5,300 fans were treated to a spectacular feature. After the Monday night performing, no more derogatory remarks need to said about the inability to pass on the Downs oval.
All you needed to do was watch the progress of Lisbon’s Roger Dolan and Duane Steffe of East Moline in the feature.
Get this…
Dolan started 19th on the grid and maneuvered his Chevelle around most of the field and finished third. Steffe started 21st and wound up sixth. Neither was able to get a bite on the track in the time trials and started well back.
Another Lisbon hot shoe, Bill Beckman led a rapid parade in the qualifying by establishing a new track one-lap record of 24.06 seconds. The old mark was 24.10 held by Ed Sanger, who finished third.
In fact, Hanson ran only 25.01 in his first trial, but came back with a 24.33 to earn a starting spot in the second row. Ken Walton, running his best race of the year at The Downs, has second fastest time. There were 25 cars qualifying under 25 seconds. The 25th fastest time was 24.96.
Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, making his first appearance at Hawkeye Downs this year, won the Trophy Dash and Steffe, Steve Keppler, Perry Beckler and Tom Stewart won heats.
Ramo Stott of Keokuk, the reigning USAC stock car champion, had entered the race but the postponement from last Tuesday's scheduled race that was washed out by rain made it unable for Stott to get a ride.
Hansen took over the lead in the feature on the 19th lap and led the rest of the way. Beckman and then Walton led through the first 17 tours.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

1965 - Ned Jarrett Captures Volunteer 500

Ned Jarrett
Bristol, Tenn. (July 25, 1965) - Ned Jarrett, always a sentimental favorite around the NASCAR circuit, took over the lead with less than 100 laps to go then roared on home to win the Volunteer 500 before 29,000 rain-drenched fans here on Sunday afternoon.

After the top qualifiers, including Richard Petty, were eliminated systematically - either through crashes on the track or equipment failure, Darel Dieringer, Jarrett and Dick Hutcherson took over as the top three.

It was just a matter of time as to who would cross the finish line first.

Dieringer was holding several car lengths lead over Jarrett when his Mercury quit running. He pulled into the pits and behind the wall and it was all Jarrett and Hutcherson, in a battle for the checkered flag and first place in the Grand National point standings.

Jarrett added 1,100 points to his season total to move 28 points ahead of Hutcherson, the rookie who finished second.

Rain and accidents look their toll as the 150-mile, 500-lap was slowed to a snail's pace. More than 100 laps were run under the caution flag and only 13 of the 36 starters finished the race.

The race was suspended once for more than an hour as of officials waited for a steady rain to let up.

Marvin Panch, Daytona Beach, driving a 1965 Ford, and David Pearson, Spartanburg, S.C., driving a 1965 Dodge, were taken out of the race early when their cars sideswiped on the fourth turn and careened into the wall in front of the grandstand.

Panch hit the fence and Pearson hit the concrete wall. Both were shaken up and taken to the field hospital where both were examined and released. Both cars were demolished. The crash, first of the day came on the 10th lap.

The early leaders, Junior Johnson of Ronda, N.C., and Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill., were sidelined later. Johnson left the track in his badly mangled 1965 Ford as he was involved in a five-car pileup. Johnson was leading the ace at the time.

Petty, making his first start in NASCAR this season, was involved in the wreck. His 1965 Plymouth was hit in the rear and it appeared that he was out for the day. His pit crew, headed by his father Lee, made a quick recovery and got him back into the race with the trunk of his car almost in the back seat.

Lorenzen pulled behind the pit area shortly before the race was suspended by rain because his car was not performing as it I should.  The pole sitter claimed his car was losing two seconds every lap.

After Johnson went out of the race, Dieringer took over and it was a battle between him and Petty. Petty stayed with Dieringer but was several laps behind. Petty was sidelined by a defective differential in his Plymouth.

He was in seventh place, seven laps behind, when trouble struck. Petty was among the first five early leaders but he lost his advantage when he was involved in the five-car pileup.

General Motors made a fine showing in yesterday's event.

Of the top 19, three Chevrolets placed, one fourth, one sixth and one eighth. The other seven were Fords. Sam McQuagg of Columbus, Ga., finished third in his 1965 Ford.

Paul Lewis, of Johnson City driving a 1964 Ford, put on a good showing before going out late in the race with engine trouble. Lewis started in seventh place and stayed around that spot until trouble put him out of the race.

The three Chevrolet to finish in the top 10 were driven by Jim Paschal of High Point, N.C., Buck Baker of Charlotte, and J. T. Putney of Arden, S.C.

It was the first time that Jarrett has ever won a race at the Bristol track. He has driven in every event here and has finished high in the running but this was his first time to win.

"It was just great to win here at Bristol. 1 have tried for so long and was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen here," he said.

Jarrett's car was handling beautifully throughout the race and it carried him to victory.

Johnson led most of the early part of the race but Dieringer led the most, 254 laps, before his engine went out Dieringer was in the lead when more than 50 laps were run under the caution flag during the downpour.


Results –

  1. Ned Jarrett
  2. Dick Hutcherson
  3. Sam McQuagg
  4. Jim Paschal
  5. Buck Baker
  6. Junior Spencer
  7. Wendell Scott
  8. Donald Tucker
  9. Bob Derrington
  10. J.T. Putney
  11. Gene Black
  12. Buddy Arrington
  13. Worth McMillion
  14. Darel Dieringer
  15. Reb Wickersham
  16. Paul Lewis
  17. Richard Petty
  18. Bud Harless
  19. G.C. Spencer
  20. Fred Lorenzen
  21. Neil Castles
  22. Cale Yarborough
  23. Junior Johnson
  24. Tiny Lund
  25. Stick Elliot
  26. Buren Skeen
  27. Lionel Johnson
  28. E.J. Trivette
  29. Jimmy Helms
  30. Buddy Baker
  31. Jabe Thomas
  32. Bobby Allison
  33. Elmo Langley
  34. Raymond Carter
  35. Marvin Panch
  36. David Pearson

Friday, July 24, 2015

1969 - Weekend Wente wins on Thursday at Elko

Bob Wente
Elko, Minn. (July 24, 1969) – Bob Wente moved into the lead with seven laps to go in the 50-lap feature for USAC midgets at the beautiful Elko Speedway and was never headed as he chalked up his 57th career win, tying Bob Tattersall and Mel Kenyon for the honor.

Henry Pens jumped past Merle Bettenhausen on the last lap to secure a second place finish. Merle was the early leader in the race as he led the first 25 laps. He lost the lead to Mike McGreevy as the leaders were overlapping slower cars. Merle bumped into Mel Cornett and everyone was hard on the brakes except McGreevy who found an opening and took the lead. Mike led until the 43rd circuit when his magneto went sour dropping him back to sixth.

Bettenhausen, McGreevy and Wente supplied plenty of action in the early going as the trio fought for the lead. Henry Pens had several battles going as he moved from his sixth starting spot to second on the tight quarter-mile.

Bettenhausen took third place while Sonny Ates grabbed fourth. Bill Englehart held down fifth to finish where he started. McGreevy was sixth with Bob Tattersall in seventh. Lee Kunzman nailed down the eighth spot in the Linne Sesco powered midget and fast qualifier Dave Strickland took ninth. Roger Branson, driving the Lehman Chevy II, passed the most cars, rounding out the top 10 after starting sixteenth.

Branson set the track record for a 10-lap heat as he won the fourth race with a time of 2 minutes and 24.97 seconds. All distances were new records as it was the first time to the track for USAC.

Strickland set fast time with a lap 14.15 seconds and came from the last row to win the first heat.  The Linne cars were one-two in the trophy dash as Pens took the event over Kunzman. Mel Cornett won the second heat and Joe Demko took heat number three. John Deering won the semi-main.

Results –

Fast Qualifier: Dave Strickland (14.15)
Trophy Dash: Henry Pens
Heat One: Dave Strickland
Heat Two: Mel Cornett
Heat Three: Joe Demko
Heat Four: Roger Branson
Semi-Main: John Deering

  1. Bob Wente
  2. Henry Pens
  3. Merle Bettenhausen
  4. Sonny Ates
  5. Bill Englehart
  6. Mike McGreevy
  7. Bob Tattersall
  8. Lee Kunzman
  9. Dave Strickland
  10. Roger Branson
  11. Bill Renshaw
  12. Gary Irvin
  13. Dick Jones
  14. Charlie Masters
  15. Joe Demko
  16. Dick Pole
  17. Les Scott
  18. Mel Cornett