Tuesday, September 29, 2020

1974 – Senneker wins DRI-POWR 400


Bob Senneker accepts his trophy after winning the Dri-Powr 400 at Winchester. - Tom De Vette Photo

Winchester, Ind. (September 29, 1974) – Bob Senneker of Grand Rapids. Mich., driving a ’73 Camaro, won the fifth annual DRI-POWR 400 here Sunday afternoon after gaining the lead on lap 299 of the 400-lap event on the high-banked paved half-mile oval.

Senneker picked up $6,120 for his efforts in the American Speed Association race that offered a $28,500 purse for the 40 competitors.

When the green flag fell Vern Schlock of Middlebury, Ind., jumped into the lead in his ’73 Camaro trailed by Don Gregory and Senneker. The race ran smooth until lap 33 when Bobby Allison of Hueytown, Ala., blew a tire going into turn two causing him to hit the outside guard rail.

Allison’s ’74 Camaro was tagged by another car leaving him facing the oncoming traffic. Several cars spun to avoid Allison, but Dave Sorg had no place to go and crashed his ’74 Chevelle head-on into Allison. Sorg was taken to Ball Memorial Hospital and was treated for a cut over his eye

The wreck took out several favorites including Allison and two-time DRI-POWR winner Sorg. Others unable to continue after the melee was the 1971 winner Dennis Miles of Muncie and Terry Bivens of Shawnee, Kans. Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., was also out with the right side of his '70 Mustang destroyed.

The race was red-flagged at this point to make repairs on the guard rail, which took 50 minutes, then the field was once again running with Schrock still in command followed by Tom Maier, Senneker and Larry Moore.

On lap 53 Moore and Ray Fuller collided coming out of turn two ending Moore's hopes for the day as his ’73 Camaro was out of action leaving fourth spot to Don Gregory who dropped out on lap 175 with mechanical ills.

Maier pushed his Camaro in front on lap 72 and was building up a lead when the yellow appeared on lap 153 to pick up some metal on the track allowing Maier to make a needed pit stop.

This gave Schrock the lead once again which he held until lap 176 when Rodney Combs hit the guard rail in turn four bringing out the yellow once again.

Schrock darted into the pits leaving Maier in control. On lap 203 Schrock passed Maier once again getting the top spot back giving the 6,500 fans some real racing.

On lap 254 Lennie Waldo lost control of his ‘68 Camaro coming off of turn two, hitting the inside grass and flipping over on his top. Waldo, a one-time USAC sprint competitor, scampered out of the car uninjured.

During this caution period Maier pitted as did Joe Ruttman and Senneker. The green waved on lap 260 with Schrock first, Senneker second and Maier running third.

Schrock pitted again on lap 298 with a sour running machine and Senneker gained the lead for the first time in the race.

On lap 320 Senneker got by Maier gaining a full lap on second place and appeared to be running smoothly. On lap 344 Larry Phillips made his move on Mater gaining second place to set up the finish of the grueling 200-mile chase.

The last yellow appeared on lap 384 when Randy Sweet spun, allowing the cars to bunch up for the last nine laps Nobody changed positions during the final laps and Senneker became the first out of state driver to win the DRI-POWR 4OO.

Results –

1. Bob Senneker, Grand Rapids, Mich.
2. Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
3. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
4. Ed Vanderlaan - Joe Ruttman
5. Vein Schrock, Middlebury, Ind.
6. Marv Smith, Columbus. Ohio
7. Bruce Gould, Milford, Ohio
8. Bobby Jacks, Dayton, Ohio
9. Randy Sweet, Portage, Mich.
10. Bob Coffey, Indianapolis, Ind.
11. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
12. Gene Christie, Gaston, Ind.
13. Warren Howard. Ft. Wayne, Ind.
14. Kenny Simpson, Bedford. Ind.
15. Neal Sceva, Urbana, Ohio
16. Ned Webb, West Chester, Ohio
17. Shorty Hinshaw, Moreland, Ind.
18. Lennie Waldo, Columbus, Ohio
19. Roland Van Arsdale, Indianapolis, Ind.
20. Jody Ridley, Chatsworth, Ga.
21. John Anderson, Detroit, Mich.
22. Ray Fullen, Anderson, Ind.
23. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
24. Jim Cushman. Worthington, Ohio
25. Doug Hanna, Goshen, Ind.
26. Rodney Combs, Hamilton, Ohio
27. Paul Wiesner, Muskegon. Mich.
28. Frank Demske, South Bend, Ind.
29. John Vado, Miamisburg, Ohio
30. Don Higgins. New Castle, Ind.
31. Larry Moore, Dayton, Ohio
32. Bobby Taylor, Elkhart, Ind.
33. La Marr Marshall, Louisville, Ky.
34. Dave Dayton, Indianapolis, Ind.
35. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.
36. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
37. Dave Sorg, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
38. Dennis Miles, Muncie, Ind.
39. Terry Bivens, Shawnee, Kan.
40. Jim Hurtubise, Indianapolis, Ind.

Monday, September 28, 2020

1969 – Tri-County Win Posted by Gerken

West Chester, Ohio (September 28, 1969) — Whitey Gerken of Melrose Park, Ill., capitalized on a spin-out on the 95th lap to move ahead of Don White and win the 100-lap United States Auto Club feature race for stock cars at Tri-County Speedway by less than a car length Sunday night.

It was the first time since 1962 that a Chevrolet had won a USAC-sanctioned stock car race, Gerken said, after edging out White of Keokuk, Iowa.

Gerken, driving a 1969 Chevelle, won his first USAC feature race by going low on the final curve as Lefty Robinson of Des Moines, Iowa, went into a spin.  

The yellow flag was out for three laps. Then White tried unsuccessfully to maneuver his 1969 Charger back into the lead. 

White had taken the lead on the 42nd lap of the half-mile dirt track. He moved back into the lead again on the 44th circuit after yielding for one lap to Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio. Hartman had led from lap 8 to lap 42 and finished third in the race. 

Results – 

1. Whitey Gerken 
2. Don White 
3. Butch Hartman 
4. Roger McCluskey 
5. A.J. Foyt 
6. Jack Bowsher 
7. Verlin Eaker 
8. J.J. Smith 
9. John Martin 
10.Jim Nusbaum 
11.Glen Bradley 
12.Frank Freda 
13.Dave Whitcomb 
14.Lefty Robinson 
15.Paul Feldner

Sunday, September 27, 2020

1964 – Johncock is International Classic Winner


Nolan Johncock accepts his International Classic trophy from race sponsor Dick Stuart as sportswriter "Dizzy" Dean Murray looks on. 

Oswego, N.Y. (September 27, 1964) – Nolan Johncock of Hastings, Mich., one of the most popular pilots to contend here over the last several years, scored his greatest triumph Friday night as he took first place in the eighth annual International Classic at Oswego Speedway.

Johncock earned a cool $3,000 out of a $15,000 purse along with a mammoth trophy.

Hundreds of admirers streamed to the track to surround the champion, but the actual heroes were estimated close to 10,000 patient fans who out-waited a penetrating six-hour rain and windstorm, which threatened to cause the race’s postponement until Sunday of next week. 

Here, the management deserved accolades. Hounded by many who would have called off the race in deference to the elements, owner-operator Harry Caruso and track manager Will Hackett doggedly refused to yield to the demands and their stubbornness was eventually rewarded. Both officials, as soon as raindrops fell, decided all human attempts would be made to stage the race, in order that patrons who had travelled great distances, many more than 400 miles, would not be disappointed.

This, mind you, despite the fact rain checks were issued and, regardless of when the race was finally conducted, the management had the money in the bank. 

So officials lounged somewhat uncomfortably in the booth for six long, dragged-out hours, but the program was finally completed to the satisfaction of nearly everybody. Most fans left the track during the afternoon, but when the interrupted program was resumed at 8:30 pm., it was felt all but perhaps 200 or so spectators were back in their damp seats.

Sam Sessions, whose 110.2 miles-per-hour proved the fastest in the time trials, led over the first 89 circuits, but was forced into the pit area for minor repairs and relinquishing the lead to Kenny Fisher.

Fisher, of Hamburg, N.Y. drove an expert race and led for the next 28 laps when Johncock forged ahead and maintained first place over the last 30 laps for the big win.

Norm Rusk of Novi, Mich., took third place while Jack Nichols of Sturgis, N.Y., grabbed fourth. Harry Jones of Nashville, Mich., rounded out the top five finishers.

Results –

1. Nolan Johncock
2. Ken Fisher
3. Norm Rusk
4. Jack Nichols
5. Harry Jones
6. Todd Gibson
7. Ed VanderLaan
8. Bobby Pierce
9. Wayne McGuire
10.Mark Letcher

Saturday, September 26, 2020

1964 – Foyt Cops Hoosier 100


A.J. Foyt (1) and Bobby Marshman (17) lead the field to green in the Hoosier Hundred. Foyt would go on to win the race, his third career Hoosier Hundred victory. – Bruce Craig Collection

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 26, 1964) - A.J. Foyt became racing's winningest driver Saturday when he crossed the finish line seconds ahead of defending champion Rodger Ward in the rich Hoosier Hundred.

The triumph, cheered by 25,000 fans, was Foyt's 26th championship victory and his ninth this year alone. The Houston, Tex., speedster, who started from the pole position, collected $18,000 of a record $55,500 purse. Ward, like Foyt a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 mile race, finished the 100-mile grind over the bumpy Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track 7.7 seconds behind Foyt and fell second to Foyt in championship wins.

Foyt's average speed was 89.056 miles an hour. The race was slowed several times by spins, but no drivers were hurt.

Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., finished third. Jud Larson of Austin, Tex., was fourth, Bud Tinglestad of Dayton, Ohio, fifth, and Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., sixth.

Foyt won the pole position with a qualifying speed of 102.887 miles per hour, although he was among the late qualifiers and had to make the test on a track already riddled with ruts.

Bobby Marshman of Pottstown, Penn., who was the first to qualify, started from the outside front row position on a test clocked at 102.244 miles per hour.

Marshman bolted into the lead on the first turn and kept it until Foyt overtook him on the sixth lap to stay in front for good. The two dueled until Marshman was forced out of the race with mechanical troubles on the 46th lap.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Rodger Ward
3. Don Branson
4. Jud Larson
5. Bud Tingelstad
6. Arnie Knepper
7. Ronnie Duman
8. Len Sutton
9. Lloyd Ruby
10.Mario Andretti
11.Norm Hall
12.Joe Leonard
13.Bob Harkey
14.Gordon Johncoc
15.Bobby Unser
16.Bobby Marshman
17.Parnelli Jones
18.Johnny Rutherford
19.Dee Jones
20.Ralph Liguori
21.Jim McElreath
22.Hal Rettberg

Friday, September 25, 2020

1977 - Izzo Caps Best Santa Fe Year with National Clay 200 Victory


Tony Izzo capped off a successful season by capturing the National Clay Track Championship 200 at Santa Fe Speedway. 

Willow Springs, Ill. (September 25, 1978) – Tony Izzo was the class of the 33-car field as he captured the National Clay Track Championship 200 for late models on Sunday afternoon at Santa Fe Speedway.

Izzo, driving a 1977 Camaro, topped off his best season by adding the triumph to his 1977 Santa Fe Speedway track championship.

The Bridgeview driver qualified for the front row the night before by winning one of two 25-lap features. He shared the front row with last year’s National Clay Track champion, Jim O’Conner, who also won a qualifying feature and started on the pole.

When the green flag fell, Izzo jumped into the lead and pulled away from the field. By lap 70, Izzo had lapped all but O’Conner, Arnie Gardner of Batavia and Ed Sanger.

On lap 98 Gardner made a move to get by O’Conner by slipping low. O’Conner held him off until they rounded fourth turn heading for lap 100. At that point Gardner stuck to the inside and took second, just inches ahead of O’Conner.

The rules require that the race be halted at the halfway point for cars to re-fuel.

The cars that were leading began to slow down at that point to make the mandatory stop. Meanwhile, the cars that were a lap down continued to race for position.

The frontrunners, who had slowed, suddenly found themselves in the way of the fast approaching pack. The car of Bobby Shell ran into the back of O’Conner’s Camaro and ended up on top of the Kankakee driver’s car.

As a result, seven cars ended up piling into each other. J.J. Smith and Dennis Marcelle were the only two drivers unable to continue. A bit of fast work allowed O’Conner to return to action, minus his roof and a rear quarter panel.

The second half of the 200-lapper was relatively uneventful with Izzo again opening up a big lead. Throughout the remaining 100 circuits, Sanger tried to get by O’Conner for the third position. O’Conner, running the high groove, shut off repeated efforts by the Waterloo, Iowa, pilot to secure the position.

At the finish, it was Izzo winning by a half-lap over Gardner, with O’Conner shading Sanger by three car lengths for third. Fifth went to Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa.

Results –

1. Tony Izzo, Bridgeview
2. Arnie Gardner, Batavia
3. Jim O’Conner, Kankakee
4. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
5. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
6. Ken Pohlman, Oak Lawn
7. Denny Falkos, Aurora
8. Bobby Shell, Clifton
9. Darrel Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10.Larry Jackson, Lyons

Thursday, September 24, 2020

1972 - Iowa Driver Wins in Fair Finale


Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the 50-lap IMCA late model stock car finale at the Kansas State Fair. 

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 24, 1972) - Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the 50-lap feature race in the finale of the international Motor Contest Association late model stock car racing at the Kansas State Fair Sunday afternoon.

Janey, driving a 1970 Plymouth, came from the third position at the end of the 11th lap to take the lead for good. He finished the race in 21 minutes, 51.35 seconds, Janey was also the top driver in time trials with a time of 26.18 seconds.

Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa, who finished second in the 50-lap feature on Saturday, was runner-up again Sunday. Mike Lutkie, Wichita, was third, followed by Gary Brooks, Grand Prairie, Tex., fourth, and Jerre Wichman, Kansas City, fifth.

Janey qualified for the feature with a third place finish in the first heat. He also placed second in the trophy dash behind Blankenship. The latter was timed in 2:13.02 in winning the dash.

In the first heat Brooks won in a time of 4:32.40, with Wichman second, and Jim Dreasher of Topeka fourth.

Galen Schaeffer of Topeka won the second heat in 4:37.51. Carl Vander Wal of Ames, Iowa, finished second, Gaylord Lippert, Albuquerque, N.M., third and Tom Frasher, Jefferson City, Mo., fourth.

In the consolation race, Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo., edged out Blankenship for the top spot. Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City, was third and Jim Still, Topeka, fourth.

Results –

STP trophy dash – Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #1 – Gary Brooks, Grand Prairie, Tex.
Heat #2 – Galen Schaefer, Topeka, Kan.
Consolation – Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo.
Feature –
1. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2. Gordon Blankenship
3. Mike Lutkie, Wichita, Kan.
4. Gary Brooks, Grand Prairie, Tex.
5. Jerre Wichman, Kansas City
6. Vic Elson, Ash Grove, Mo.
7. Tom Frasher, Jefferson City, Mo.
8. Jim Still Topeka, Kan.
9. Don Ely, Kingman, Kan.
10.Gary Truelove, Trimble, Mo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

1960 – Shepard Takes State Fair Win


A.J. Shepard made Diz Wilson a happy man by winning the IMCA big car 25-lapper at the Tennessee State Fair. – Merle Wilson Collection

Nashville, Tenn. (September 23, 1960) – A.J. Shepard held off the frantic efforts of Johnny White and won his third straight International Motor Contest Association big car race at the Tennessee State Fair on Tuesday afternoon.

The 25-lap feature was held up for more than an hour by a heavy rainfall, but that didn’t slow Shepard, the Gardena, Calif., native, driving an Offenhauser-powered vehicle. Shepard was also the winner in both races last year’s State Fair.

White became the third man with that surname to hold a one-lap track record, when he toured the half-mile banked paved oval in 20.87 seconds (86.25 miles per hour).

This is the fastest anyone has every driven at the Fairgrounds Speedway. Rex White holds the NASCAR record while the USAC mark belong to Don White.

Shepard grabbed the lead on the first lap, and held it the rest of the way, but it wasn’t easy. White gave the crowd of 3,000 it’s biggest thrill on the ninth lap. Skidding on the wet pavement, he came off the banking on the first turn and spun completely around twice. At the end of the second spin he was pointed straight ahead and that’s the way he proceeded.

Before another lap had passed, he was on Shepard’s bumper again. A.J. almost made a fatal slip on lap 11, coming off the final turn, when his car swerved crazily down the straightaway. He got it under control, however, before White could take advantage of any miscue.

From there to the finish, White tried every trick in the book to get around Shepard but couldn’t do it. “With a dry track he would’ve been gone,” said Jack Flynn, owner of White’s car. White agreed that there was only one dry lane, and he felt he could have passed had the track been drier.

Shepard was happy as a lark. When you beat those Chevy’s with a great chauffeur like Johnny, you’ve done something,” he remarked.

Pete Folse, the IMCA point leader, tore his car up before the start of the second heat race. Completing the parade lap, Shepard and LeRoy Neumayer darted for the same hole. As Neumayer said, “The hole didn’t stay open for long.” Folse hit Neumayer’s rear tire and spun at full speed into the wall in front of the scorer’s stand. His car tore a huge hole in the wall and even a bigger one in his car. Folse escaped shaken but uninjured.

Results –

Heat #1 – Johnny White
Heat #2 – A.J. Shepard
Heat #3 – Red Renner
Handicap – Hugh Randall
Match race – Bob Mathouser
Feature –
1. A.J. Shepard
2. Johnny White
3. Buzz Barton
4. Hugh Randall
5. Red Renner
6. Mickey McCormick
7. Jerry Blundy
8. Bob Mathouser
9. Hank Lawshe
10.Harry Ross