Friday, August 17, 2018

1975 – Utz Declared State Fair Winner

Bill Utz

Des Moines, Iowa (August 17, 1975) – Jan Opperman of Noxon, Mont., was the first to cross the finish line on Sunday in the 30-lap International Motor Contest Association sprint car feature at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
But, the left rear wheel was found to be illegal after Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., protested and Utz was then declared the winner.
Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., got most of the glory this afternoon. After he spun out (he claims Opperman was the cause of the mishap), Leavitt went to the rear of the 18-car field, then proceeded to work his way back up to second only to spin out again. And again, he claimed Opperman was the cause. He would recover one more time and finish fourth in the race.
“I wouldn’t have protested if Opperman hadn’t knocked Eddie out twice,” said Utz. “I don’t like to win races that way.”
Utz, who also won an IMCA-sanctioned feature Saturday at the Missouri State Fair, said he personally measured the width of the wheel after the race, then put up the $50 for the protest. The money would have been forfeited had Opperman been found legal.
Utz received $900 for his victory while Opperman didn’t receive a penny.
Race promoter Homer Melton said the wheel’s width was 12-3/4 inches. Twelve inches is the maximum under IMCA rules.
Opperman said his pit crew had changed the tires during a timeout following Leavitt’s first spinout. “They thought they were puting on a 11-3/4 inch wheel,” remarked Opperman. “But they got the wrong wheel.”
Ralph Parkinson Sr. of Wichita finished second and Johnny Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa, took third.

Results –

Heat #1 – Sonny Smyser, Glenwood, Mo.
Heat #2 – Bill Hudson, Des Moines
Heat #3 – Johnny Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
Consolation – Del Schmidt. Topeka, Kan.
Feature –

1.    Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
2.    Ralph Parkinson Sr., Wichita, Kan.
3.    Johnny Babb
4.    Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
5.    Del Schmidt
6.    Phil Howell, Jacksonville, Ill.
7.    Bill Hudson
8.    Roger Rager, Mound, Minn.
9.    Mike Thomas, Des Moines
10. Steve Hainline, Bonaparte, Iowa
11. Wayne Holz, Lincoln, Neb.
12. Sonny Smyser
13. Randy Smith, Mount Ayr, Iowa
14. Tony Webster, Topeka, Kan.
15. Steve Lewis, Kansas City
16. Gene Kester, Odessa, Mo.
17. Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
18. Jan Opperman, Noxon, Mont.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

1969 – Derr Wins Iowa State Fair Stock 200

Ernie Derr

Des Moines, Iowa (August 16, 1969) – The older Ernie Derr gets, the faster he goes.
The ageless International Motor Contest Association new car champ did it again on Saturday afternoon at the Iowa State Fair with a runaway in a grueling 200-lap IMCA stock car grind.
The 47-year-old Keokuk, Iowa, chauffeur, lead-footed his 1969 Dodge Charger to checkered laurels ahead of Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa, and Lewi Taylor of Shawnee, Kan., who finished second and third respectively.
Derr withstood a stiff challenge from Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for three-quarters of a hot, humid 100-mile race before Janey’s ’69 Charger ran out of gas and coasted to a stop in the infield.
Janey had swapped the lead with Derr twice at the halfway point of the race before his machine coasted to a halt with less than 25 circuits remaining.
Derr poured it on in the final minutes of the race and took the checkered flag with better than two laps distance between him and the second-place car.
Derr also set fast time in qualifying, topping the field of 25 new model stock car entries. Derr turned the half-mile oval in 26.01 seconds to set fast time. He also won the STP trophy dash.
Derr got an added bonus out of the race when his young son, Mike Derr, piloted his Charger to a fourth-place finish. It was only the second race of young Derr’s career.

Results –

1.     Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2.     Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
3.     Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
4.     Mike Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
5.     George Barton, Ankeny, Iowa
6.     Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
7.     Sandy Sandstrom, Kansas City
8.     Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
9.     Leland Cain, Miller, S.D.
10.   Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
11.   Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
12.   Jerre Wichman, Kansas City
13.   Ralph Bowlen, Marshall, Mo.
14.   Dick Aubrey, Kansas City
15.   Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
16.   Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
17.   Roger Brown, Waverly, Iowa
18.   Dale Keeling, Dixon, Mo.
19.   Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City
20.   Dean Wallace, Peabody, Kan.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

1970 - Hofer Captures First MVSC Win of the Year

Columbus Junction, Iowa (August 15, 1970) – A new name was added to the list of winners in Mississippi Valley Speed Club stock car racing Saturday night as Benny Hofer came from his third-row position to nail down his first feature event victory.

Hofer’s big night also included a win in the second heat and propelled him to within one point of sixth-place Byron Buchele in the point standings. Coming in second, and adding to his point lead, was John Moss, who took advantage of an eleventh lap restart to move from fifth place into second.

Bill Neuman had led the race for the first 10 laps, with Hofer, Ron Hemstead and Moss following in that order. Neuman and Brown spun out on fourth corner and were both forced out of the race.

This put Hofer into the lead on the restart, with Hemstead and Moss together in the second row. Moss got the jump on Hemstead, and the first three positions remained unchanged for the last 10 laps.

Larry Jenkins made his best showing in several weeks while coming in fourth, and Ron Jackson finished fifth. Crossing the line in sixth place was Stan Crooks, ahead of Pokey West, Truman McDowell, Bud Darting, and Walt Carney.

The one driver who suffered the most for the night was Mark Mosier, who came to race, but was unable to time his car and sat out the competition. He now trails Moss by 16 points in the standings and is only ahead of third plan Pokey West by seven markers.

In time trials, Moss edged Mel Morris for fastest time, 26.30 seconds to 26.31. Mike Brooks was third with 26.67 and Jackson had fourth fastest with 26.99.

The point standings now show Moss with 185, Mosier 169, and West 162, holding down the top three places. Still in fourth place is Bud Darting with 115, but Hemstead is closing in with 101. Sixth and seventh places show Buchele with 85 and Hofer with 84. Mel Morris took eighth place with 75 points ahead of Ron Perdock’s 74. Tenth-place Dan Robertson has 56, and Larry Jenkins and Bob Helm have 51 and 48 respectively.

Feature –

  1. Benny Hofer
  2. John Moss
  3. Ron Hemstead
  4. Larry Jenkins
  5. Ron Jackson
  6. Stan Crooks
  7. Pokey West
  8. Truman McDowell
  9. Bud Darting
  10. Walt Carney

Monday, August 13, 2018

1977 – Knoxville Nationals Crown to Wolfgang


Knoxville, Iowa (August 13, 1977) – Doug Wolfgang of Des Moines capped off a record setting year at Knoxville by taking the 17th annual Knoxville National Sprint Car Championships on Saturday night.
Wolfgang, the polesitter, jumped into the lead on the first lap but relinquished it to Bobby Allen of Hanover, Penn., in turns three and four who started on the outside of row one.
On the lap 2, Wolfgang got by Allen entering turn three and it was his race the rest of the way. For Wolfgang, it was his 34th feature win of the season and 11th in 15 starts at Knoxville.
Most (31) of the feature wins have been in cars owned by Bob Trostle of Des Moines or Gary Mussato of Osage, Kan.
Wolfgang, in becoming the first Iowa driver to win the Nationals, picked $4,500, but with lap money and contingencies, Wolfgang unofficially collected $7,550.
Wolfgang certainly was not the whole show. Leland McFadden of Tempe, Ariz., finished second in the event after starting 13th. McSpadden had moved to fourth by lap 10 when the yellow came out for Gary Patterson. McSpadden moved into third and two laps later, took over second place for good.
Bubby Jones of Danville, Ill., put on an equally good show as well, finishing in third after starting on the outside of the fourth row.
Fourth place went to Bobby Marshall of Dallas, Tex., and fifth went to Bobby Allen. 
Sammy Swindell would finish eighth, closing the book on a super performance from the young driver from Bartlett, Tenn. The youngster finished second in both the “C” trophy dash and “C” main. The second place showing in the “C” put Swindell on the tail end of the “B” main. He proceeded to win that race, going to fifth by the fourth lap, third on lap 10, second on lap 12 and he took over the front spot on lap 15. The first-place finish put in the rear of the “A” main where he passed 19 cars to finish eighth.

Feature results –

1.  Doug Wolfgang, Des Moines
2.  Leland McSpadden, Tempe, Ariz.
3.  Bubby Jones, Danville, Ill.
4.  Bobby Marshall, Dallas, Tex.
5.  Bobby Allen, Hanover, Penn.
6.  Ron Shuman, Tempe, Ariz.
7.  Ken Weld, York, Penn.
8.  Sammy Swindell, Bartlett, Tenn.
9.  Randy Smith, Des Moines
10. Butch Bahr, Grand Island, Neb.
11. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
12. Rick Ferkel, Findlay, Ohio
13. Jimmy Boyd, Dixon, Calif.
14. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
15. Bob Geldner, St. Peter, Minn.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

1972 – Weld Grabs Third Knoxville National


Knoxville, Iowa (August 12, 1972) – Kenny Weld of York, Penn., won the National Super Modified Championships at the Marion County Fairgrounds for the third time Saturday night, leading all but two of the 30-lap feature event before a crowd estimated at 10,000.
Weld, who also won the event in 1964 and ’65, led at the beginning until Billy Shuman of Tempe, Ariz., got past him on lap 4. Weld would regain the top spot two laps later and lead Shuman by nearly half-a-lap at the checkered.
Weld received $3,200 for the victory plus a $500 bonus for being from out-of-state.
Shuman and Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., would duel for second place much of the race. Jensen, the weekly point leader at the half-mile dirt oval, would settle for third-place.
Weld, who also won the second heat, said, “I just forgot what I was doing when Shuman slipped ahead of me in the feature. He added, “But I didn’t drive this far to finish second. So, I just tromped down on the pedal and I was able to get back around him without any trouble.”
“I sure am glad to win this rascal,” he remarked. “I hadn’t run in this race since 1969, so I felt this was my year.”
Weld had qualified second on Thursday night and started in the front row with fellow Pennsylvanian Buddy Cochran of Sharon.
Weld says he competes regularly at three tracks in his home area; He’s the point leader at Harrisburg and New Oxford, Penn., and second in points at Hagerstown, Md.
Two accidents on the third lap of the event eliminated four drivers, including Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, Mo., the 1968 Nationals winner. Goodwin and a car driven by Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., collided on the backstretch. Utz’s car burst into flames but he escaped injury. Neither driver was injured.
Seconds before that crash, Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa and Darrell Dockery of Phoenix, Ariz., were involved in an accident which saw Wagner flip his sprinter. Neither man was hurt.
Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., won the 20-lap B-main and Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., the 1967 Nationals champ, finished second. Steve Unger of Belpre, Ohio, won the 12-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Ken Weld, York, Penn.
2. Billy Shuman, Tempe, Ariz.
3. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb
4. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
5. Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
6. Buddy Cochran, Sharon, Penn.
7. David James, Garland, Tex.
8. Ted Wise, Hubbard, Ohio
9. Bob William, Kansas City, Mo.
10. Rick Ferkel, Fostoria, Ohio
11. Jerry McClung, Phoenix, Ariz.
12. Sheldon Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
13. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
14. Bill Thrasher, Fort Worth, Tex.
15. Dennis Olsen, Braham, Minn.
16. Jerry Miller, Phoenix, Ariz.
17. Roger Rager, Mound, Minn.
18. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City, Mo.
19. Darrell Dockery, Phoenix, Ariz.
20. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
21. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa

Saturday, August 11, 2018

1979 - Shuman Claims Knoxville Sprint Nationals

Knoxville, Iowa (August 11, 1979) – “The Flying Shoe”, Ron Shuman of Mesa, Ariz., was flying in high gear as he won the 30-lap A-main, which highlighted the four-day 19th annual Knoxville Sprint Nationals at the Marion County Fairgrounds.
The victory was worth $5,000 to Shuman, bringing his total earnings for the event to $7,920
Polesitter Tim Green of Des Moines led the early stages of the feature with Shane Carson of Oklahoma City running second and Shuman in third. After taking second from Carson, Shuman was allowed to close in behind the pacesetting Green when the yellow flag came out on lap 9.
Green successfully defended his lead when all-out action resumed and remained in front until lap 15, when a broken rocker arm stud forced him to slow his pace, allowing Shuman to claim the top spot. Green would withdraw from the feature moments later and be credited with 18th place in the 21-car field.
Once in front, Shuman never relinquished the lead, surviving a lap 24 caution flag and restart, and then sailing to the win. Randy Smith brought home second place and Sammy Swindell of Memphis, Tenn., took third.
Swindell turned in the outstanding performance of the evening. He started at the tail of the field after winning B-main and used both the low and high groove to wind his way through the field.
John Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn., was fourth and Shane Carson rounded out the top five.

Results –

1.    Ron Shuman, Mesa, Ariz.
2.    Randy Smith, Norwalk, Iowa
3.    Sammy Swindell, Mesa, Ariz.
4.    Shane Carson, Oklahoma City
5.    John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
6.    Danny Smith, Danville, Ill.
7.    Gary Rush, Sydney, Australia
8.    Ralph Blackett, Des Moines
9.    Lee James, Northridge, Calif.
10.  Larry Clark, Tolleson, Ariz.
11.  Buster Bernard, Putin, Calif.
12.  Paul Pitzer, Seven Valley, Calif.
13.  Jerry Potter, Kansas City
14.  Bill Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls, S.D.
15.  Al Hagar, Fostoria, Ohio
16.  Lee Osborne, Jamestown, Ind.
17.  Doug Wolfgang, Sioux Falls, S.D.
18.  Tim Green, Des Moines
19.  Steve Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
20.  Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
21.  Rick Ferkel, Findlay, Ohio

Friday, August 10, 2018

1971 – McDonough Wins Iowa Challenge Cup


Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 10, 1971) – Bill McDonough started his ’64 Chevelle on the pole and then outraced IMCA champion Ernie Derr and ARCA champion Ramo Stott to win the first annual Iowa Challenge Cup Tuesday night at Hawkeye Downs. The win was worth $2,190 to the popular Cedar Rapids driver.
It was a capacity crowd off over 8,000 in attendance at Hawkeye Downs, as more than 2,000 more race fans were turned away at the gate. Richard Petty, the NASCAR “king” made a personal appearance, announcing, “Gentlemen, start your engines” to begin the 50-lap main event.
The top 24 in time trials took the green with McDonough on the pole by virtue of his 25.00 second clocking on the half-mile. Jim Gerber of Mt Joy, Iowa, was second fastest with 25.19 seconds and Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, was at 25.48 seconds.
Gerber would jump off to a small lead at the start of the feature with McDonough, Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree, Iowa, Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, and Dolan in hot pursuit. Gerber would lead for three laps before dropping out with mechanical problems, giving the top spot to McDonough.
Ed Sanger would settle into second by lap 11 with Derr running third and Hemsted dropping back to fourth.
On a red flag, Sanger pitted to gas up and was immediately disqualified drawing unfavorable reaction from the sellout crowd. The show would be delayed almost 30 minutes to settle the issue with Sanger. He would eventually lose his argument and load his car.
The feature restarted, and Stott, back in eighth, started to move forward through the pack. Ramo would get by Derr on the 48th lap but it would be too little, too late in reaching McDonough as the checkers waved.
Derr would end up in third, Roger Dolan would take fourth and Ron Hemsted would settle for fifth.
Derr would win the trophy dash while heat wins went to Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Lee Kunzman of Guttenberg, Iowa, Ron Prymek of Iowa City, Iowa and Terry Ryan of Davenport, Iowa. The consolation winner was John Moss of Iowa City, Iowa.

Results –

1.    Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2.    Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3.    Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
4.    Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa
5.    Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree, Iowa
6.    Bob Hilmer, Dysart, Iowa
7.    Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
8.    Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
9.    Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
10.   Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa