Saturday, August 24, 2019

1968 – York Dominates St. Paul Sprints

Tom York raises his hand in victory after winning the 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature. 

St. Paul, Minn. (August 24, 1968) – The freckles, the wide eyes, the Tom Sawyer look…

Lives with the shadows of Notre Dame’s Golden Dome, puts the bubbles in a hometown beer, and delights in pushing hiss young children around in a wagon.

That’s the incongruous but highly adaptable story of Tom York, King for the Day of the Minnesota State Fair sprint car races Saturday on a cool track which produced remarkably warm competition for the 8,560 fans.

York’s low-slung roadster pulled away from the 20-car field in the 30-lap IMCA feature on the sleek half-mile asphalt bowl and at the end of the accident-marred main feature, the Hoosier invader owned a comfortable 8-length lead over runner-up Ray Wright.

York admits he’s no dirt lover, but he eats up the asphalt. Earlier in the day he had problems, but he switched to a new Hoosier left rear tire, thinned his fuel mixture, and shifted his chassis weight ratios for the feature. It was only a matter of time until his long, low silhouette owned the field.

But the early stages of the feature had its moments when hometown hero Jerry Richert battled for the lead with another Indiana roadster Ray Wright. But Richert’s car wasn’t handling the way he knew it should. Suddenly, while fighting for third-place, the Forest Lake, Minn., IMCA point leader felt the familiar shakes which told him that the left front shocks had torn loose.

Wright’s roadster finished second and Bob Davis, who claimed he “was not running completely healthy,” was third.

It was in all a remarkable day of racing and a due tribute to the memory of the late Frank Winkley who directed the competition for over two decades. His widow, Verna, was in command and the action was fast, furious and perhaps the closest in Fair annals.

Results –

Trophy dash – Tom York
Heat #1 – Bob Davis
Heat #2 – Jack Houseworth
Heat #3 – Jim Sullivan
Semi-main – Bucky Petersen
Feature –
1. Tom York
2. Ray Wright
3. Bob Davis
4. Buzz Gregory
5. Barry Kettering
6. Russ Laursen
7. Don Mack
8. Darl Harrison
9. Jerry Lepinski
10.Fred Linder

Friday, August 23, 2019

1964 – Amick Beats Weld as 14,000 Watch

Richard "Red" Amick

Des Moines, Iowa (August 23, 1964) – Indianapolis veteran Red Amick kept Greg Weld of Kansas City back on his exhaust stack for 24 laps and won the 25-lap International Motor Contest Association sprint car feature at the Iowa State Fair before an announced crowd of 14,000.

Weld, a 21-year-old rookie sensation who won at Sedalia, Mo., on Saturday, had the lead on the first lap, but lost it going high in the first corner of the second lap and was never able to pass his 35-year-old rival.

Amick, driving the Floyd Abbott Chevrolet out of Danville, Ky., stayed in the only groove on the hard, asphalt-like surface which was responsible for crashes and spin outs in all but one of the six races, two which had to be restarted.

The chief casualties were Jerry Daniels of St. Paul, Minn., second in the current IMCA points, and Harold Leep of Wichita, Kan., second to IMCA point leader Jerry Richert in Friday’s opening 30-lap feature.

Richert, of Forest Lake, Minn., did not compete on Sunday because of a race date in another IMCA-sanctioned in Owatonna, Minn.

Daniels, who flipped on top of Amick at Sedalia Saturday, was attempting to move up on the leaders when he spun coming off the third turn. He was out of the money by the time the wrecker had pushed him into the pits for an inspection.

Leep came to grief on the fourth lap of the second qualifying heat when he nosed into the inside rail, taking a section out of the rail and himself out of the remainder of the program. This started several spins among drivers attempting to get out of the way and caused the race to be restarted.

The opening heat also was red-flagged for a restart on the third lap. Gordon Woolley, last year's IMCA sprint champion, rode over Amick's rear wheel, causing both to spin coming out of the second turn. Both escaped damage.

The yellow flag dropped for two laps in the third heat after Chuck Berg of Des Moines locked front wheels with Doc Schaeffer of Alameda, Calif., coming off the second turn on the inaugural lap.

Schaeffer spun again on the third turn during the fifth lap, causing the yellow flag fly again. Don Rittman of Lee’s Summit, Mo., spun coming off of turn four on the sixth lap.

The consolation was finally halted after the four spin-outs and collisions at the end of the eighth lap. The race got under way, with a triple spin-out in the first turn.

Wilburn Bennett of Berkeley, Mich., spun, then Carl Williams of Kansas City swerved to avoid a collision, but slid into Jerry Weld, knocking Greg's brother against the wall and putting him out for the day.

Bennett spun out twice more and was pushed off the track. Then on the eighth lap, after the green flag had waved for only two go-rounds, Bob Coulter of Long Beach, Cal., was hit by Jerry Higgins of Des Moines, coming off the second corner.

Pete Stone of Indianapolis slid in the wall and also left competition for the day.

Amick, the IMCA's new half-mile speed record-holder, and Weld ran off and left Woolley and Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., third and fourth-place finishers, at the head of the pack which didn’t relish on trying to be brave on the dangerous, slick dirt oval.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #2 – Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
Heat #3 – Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
Trophy dash – Red Amick, Muncie, Ind.
Consolation – Red Amick
Feature –
1. Red Amick
2. Greg Weld, Kansas City
3. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
4. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
6. Bob Pratt, Union City, Ind.
7. Dale Reed, Topeka, Kan.
8. Dean Mast
9. Jay Woodside
10. Ray Duckworth
11. Don Brown, Sam Fernando, Calif.
12. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

1976 - Watson Outraces Schuler for ‘Red, White & Blue’ Title

Dave Watson

Kaukauna, Wis. (August 22, 1976) - Dave Watson, driving the Neilson Enterprises 1976 Camaro, outraced Larry Schuler to win the final race of the “Red, White and Blue” state championship series for late model stock cars at the Wisconsin International Raceway Sunday afternoon.

Watson also collected his second state championship with 1,610 points. He won the title in 1973. Schuler finished second in the series with 1,270 points followed by Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids with 1,120 points.

Rich Somers of Steven Point led the first 10 laps of the 65-lap feature with his “Thunder Pony” 1972 Mustang. Caledonia’s John Reimer then took over the lead on the 11th lap after battling side-by-side with Somers for five laps.

Reimer held onto the top spot until the 14th round when he was passed by Trickle, driving a 1970 Mustang. Trickle, a former state titlist, paced the 24-car field until the 17th lap when Schuler, a 23-year-old flash from Lockport, Ill., sped past in his 1976 Camaro.

Schuler stayed out front until the 24th lap when Watson, of Milton, flew past him on the front chute. Schuler then dogged Watson for the rest of the event. At several times Schuler pulled even with Watson in the turns but could not overtake the winner. Watson won by four car lengths at the finish.

Finishing behind Watson and Schuler in third place was Rudolph’s Tom Refiner in his 1974 AMC Javelin. Reffner was the top qualifier in the 51-car field with a 20.82 clocking around the half-mile paved oval. Rounding out the top six were Trickle, Reimer and Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids.

Earlier in the afternoon Miller won the first 20-lap qualifying neat race. The event was a real tussle as Kaukauna’s Pete Parker dueled with John Schultz of Shawano for the opening seven laps. Schultz spun out of the second position on the sixth lap and the pack tightened up on Parker on the restart.

John Speer of Beloit took the lead for several laps before giving way to Bloomington, Minn., pilot Bill Oas. Miller then made his move and passed Oas for the lead on the 14th lap. Oas was second and Roger Regeth of Kimberly third. Reimer won the second heat event by a half of a car length over Somers with Doug Strasburg of Johnson Creek third.

Dave Bruggink of Sheboygan, racing for the first time at the Kaukauna track, won the 30-lap semi-feature. The 22-year-old former sportsman driver wheeled his 1976 Camaro to an impressive win over Steve Lurvey of Dousman and Gene Coleman of Menominee, Mich.

Bruggink led the first 24 laps of the race before Coleman surged out in front. Coleman stayed in the lead until the final lap when Bruggink overtook him.

The race was marred by a spectacular crash on the eighth lap when Dan Johnson of Oneida and Mike Langsdorf of Rio collided on the backstretch. Both cars crashed through the inside guardrail at full throttle. Neither driver was injured, but both were eliminated from the race.

The afternoon’s races, witnessed by 5,854 fans, got off to a wild start as the first lap of the dash for cash resulted in a multi-car pileup on the backstretch when cars driven by Schuler and Jim Sauter of Necedah came together Sauter’s car veered into the inside guard rail and Schuler's climbed the outside wall

They were leading the pack when the crash occurred, and the rest of the field scattered in all directions in a cloud of smoke Both rejoined the race and Sauter came back to win the eight-lap affair.

Results –

1. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
2. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
3. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
4. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
5. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
7. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek, Wis.
8. Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills, Wis.
9. Tom Musgrave, Arlington Heights, Ill.
10. Bill Oas, Bloomington, Minn.
11. Larry Niggle, Albany, Wis.
12. Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
13. Ray Kreyer, Rio, Wis.
14. Todd Acklam, Racine, Wis.
15. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
16. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
17. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
18. Lenard Reimer, Janesville, Wis.
19. Roger Regeth, Kimberly, Wis.
20. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee, Wis.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

1971 - Wagner Squelches Utz' Efforts in Opener

Sedalia, Mo. (August 21, 1971) – Bill Utz, defending champion of the opening-day sprint car feature at the Missouri State Fair, pulled some heroics in front of the hometown fans Saturday afternoon on the Fairgrounds’ half-mile dirt oval.

But those heroics were not good enough to notch a feature win as he trailed Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, and second-place finisher Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., across the finish line.

Utz, who drew 44th in the time trial runs, barely made the main event. After his time trials, his clocking of 24.52 seconds placed him out of the consolation feature. However, he was placed in the consolation after two of the cars dropped out.

The top five cars in each of the three heats, as well as the consolation, qualified for the feature. Starting on the outside of the last row, Utz managed to finish third and make the field for the 30-lap finale.

But his start there was no better than it was in the consolation – on the back row. By the fifth lap, however, the Sedalia pilot had moved into seventh position and on lap 11, he sailed past Eddie Leavitt and took over third-place. Ten laps later he passed Richert, who was running second but dropped back into third on the 27th circuit.

Rounding out the top-five positions in the 30-lap feature were Bob Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., and Wib Spalding of Granite City, Ill.

Track conditions during the early stages of the racing program were fast and two State Fair standards were erased. Harold Leep’s one-lap record of 23.11 seconds was shattered by Wagner. Wagner eclipsed that mark with a clocking of 23.03 seconds on the second of two qualification laps.

Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., wiped out the old mark for an 8-lap heat race with a time of 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Utz had set the previous mark in 1970 at 3 minutes and 18 seconds. 

It was a profitable day for Wagner. He nabbed $750 for winning the feature, pocketed $200 for setting fast time and collected another $40 for placing fourth in the first heat. 

Eddie Leavitt, Thad Dosher, and Steve Schultz won heat races while Leavitt beat Jerry Blundy to the wire in the 5-lap match race. Wib Spalding nailed down the consolation. 

Wagner’s win was the second feature victory for him so far this season. He nabbed the IMCA sprint car feature at Cedar Rapids on Memorial Day.

The main event was slowed two times due to yellow flags. The first one came out on the third lap when Dale McCarty flipped going into the first turn and ended up head first on top of the guard rail. McCarty was not injured in the accident but was forced to the pits. 

The other wreck occurred on the tenth lap when Dave Ross went over the hub rail in the first turn. He and Steve Schultz tangled going into the curve, when Schultz nicked Wib Spalding’s rear wheel. Ross dropped out but Schultz rejoined the field.

Results –

Time trials – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa (23.03)
Match race – Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
Heat #1 – Eddie Leavitt
Heat #2 – Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
Heat #3 – Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
Consolation – Wib Spalding, Granite City, Ill.
Feature –
1. Earl Wagner
2. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
3. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
4. Bob Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
5. Wib Spalding
6. Chuck Amati, Greenfield, Tenn.
7. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
8. Steve Schultz
9. Eddie Leavitt
10.Thad Dosher

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

1966 – Branson Wins Tragedy-Marred Springfield Race

Don Branson

Springfield, Ill. (August 20, 1966) - Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., led all the way Saturday to capture his first big car auto race of the year—the 100-mile dirt track event at the Illinois State Fair.

Branson toured the one-mile oval in 1:02:59.79 in a race run for a time under the yellow caution flag when two cars spun out. 

Branson was chased across the finish line by Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn., who lagged only five-car-lengths behind.

A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex., was third; Joe Leonard, San Jose, Calif., was fourth; and Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N.M., was fifth.

“I’m about the happiest man in the world,” Branson said in victory lane.

Twenty-three of the 27 cars in the field finished the race. Two spun out and two dropped out with mechanical trouble.

Branson’s winning speed was 95.40 miles per hour.

Branson's moment of glory was dimmed by a horrible accident that occurred during qualifying runs, but not on the racetracks proper. A section tore loose from a photographer's platform located on the extreme top of the grandstand and came crashing into the front row of the crowded stands.

Two photographers were killed in the 100-foot fall and an Illinois State Fair official was struck and killed by the falling section. State police estimated about 30 people were injured, some critically.

Fair workmen were in the process of tightening a large rope with one end fastened to the platform and the other end secured to a truck located across the track in the infield.

The rope was to be used in a pre-race demonstration of removing critically injured people from inaccessible places. When the truck was moved to tighten the rope, the photographer's platform, to which the other end of the rope was fastened, gave way.

The catastrophe delayed the start of the race approximately one hour.

When qualifying action was resumed, Branson ended up with his Offenhauser-powered dirt car on the pole for the start of the race with a time of 33.04 seconds for his trip around the one-mile dirt oval.

Branson led the race from beginning to end with Mario Andretti and Foyt giving chase.

Foyt held second place until Andretti caught him in traffic going into number one turn on the 73rd lap and took over the runner-up spot.

Rookie Dick Atkins appeared to be a shoo-in for fourth place . . . until an empty fuel tank on the 91st lap of the 100-lap race sidelined him with a 12th-place finish.

George Snyder, Bud Tinglestad, Ralph Liguori, Larry Dixon and Carl Williams rounded out the top-10.

Results –

1. Don Branson
2. Marion Andretti
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Joe Leonard
5. Bobby Unser
6. George Snider
7. Bud Tinglestad
8. Ralph Liguori
9. Larry Dickson
10.Carl Williams
11.Jim McElreath
12.Dick Atkins
13.Bob Harkey
14.Roger McCluskey
15.Gary Congdon
16.Bob Tattersall
17.Ronnie Duman
18.Chuck Hulse

Monday, August 19, 2019

1956 – 11,000 See Beauchamp Win All-Iowa Fair Race

Johnny Beauchamp

by Ron Maly
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 19, 1956) – Johnny Beauchamp, the rugged looking speedster from Harlan, Iowa piloted his 1956 Chevrolet to victory Sunday in the 200-lap feature stock car race at Hawkeye Downs.

An estimated 11,000 fans saw Beauchamp out-distance second place Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids by seven laps.

Beauchamp, the current leader in the International Motor Contest Association point’s standings, displayed somewhat of an iron-man performance in driving to the victory.

He required not one pit stop during the 100-mile grind. His counterparts, meanwhile, made several pauses for equipment checks and fuel.

Sunday turned out to be another record-breaking day for drivers, Beauchamp’s time of 1 hour, 47 minutes and 40.25 seconds was about two minutes slower than the world record, but the time trial mark established only last Monday was lowered once again Sunday.

This time it was George Miller of Cedar Rapids, who accounted for the world half-mile mark. He toured the distance in 28.18 seconds. His time bettered Sonny Morgan’s previous world record mark of 28.30.

Beauchamp trailed Miller in the feature race until the 26th lap, when he overtook him on the far straightaway. Beauchamp quickly took a five car-length lead and was never in trouble the rest of the way.

Miller stayed within half a lap’s distance until he was forced to the pits with a pierced fuel tank. It took Miller’s crew about 10 seconds to get him rolling again and he finally brought his ’56 Ford home in fifth place.

A damaged car took its toll on Sonny Morgan. Morgan, of Beaumont, Tex., had the runner-up position practically clinched when his ’58 Chevrolet blew a piston on the 150th lap. That put Morgan out of contention for good and he would finish in 12th place.

A faulty piston also cost Robert “Doc” Narber of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who had won Monday’s 100-lap race. Narber was safely in third place on the 112th circuit when his ’56 Dodge started pouring out smoke, causing a smokescreen.

Results –

1. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Frank Richards, Marion, Iowa
4. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
5. George Miller, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. Tubby Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
7. Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
8. Les Dykes, Davenport, Iowa
9. Bob Short, Omaha, Neb.
10. Pete Allison, Omaha, Neb.
11. Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
12. Glenn Strellner, Cedar Rapid, Iowa
13. Robert Narber, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14. Chub Liebe, Oelwein, Iowa
15. Russ Gross, Quincy, Ill.
16. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
17. Duane Streight, Madrid, Iowa
18. Bob Kosiskie, Omaha, Neb.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

1982 - ‘Everything perfect’ for Dralle in KIJV South Dakota 100 Win

Red Dralle poses next to his trophy after winning the KIJV 100.

Huron, S.D. (August 18, 1982) - Things just seem to keep getting better with every trip to Huron for Red Dralle.

The late model driver from Waterloo, Iowa doesn’t even want to remember his debut at State Fair Speedway. “I crashed my first time here,” he recalled.

But, his next two visits are worth remembering. Two years ago, in the KIJV South Dakota 100, Dralle finished third. And, this year... well, it’s one trip to the Fair City that Dralle won’t ever forget.

Dralle put his 1982 Chevrolet Camaro in the lead on the fourth lap and the rest is history as he won the 50-lap feature and the $1,200 first-place payoff in the 1982 version of the fourth annual KIJV 100.

Dralle, who started on the outside in the front row besides pole setter Dwaine Hanson of Lakefield, Minn., complained of being geared wrong in a 25-lap qualifying race Tuesday night. But, in the finale Wednesday night, Dralle and his Camaro clicked like clockwork.

“I was geared just perfect tonight,” Dralle said.

Things went so well that Dralle was even forced to abandon his game plan. “I didn’t want to lead until after the restart,” he said. “I didn’t want to set the pace, but. . .”

The restart he referred to was a red and yellow flag on the 30th lap that allowed the cars to refuel and make any needed adjustments. When the green flag came back out, Dralle resumed his leadership role. 

Dralle’s companion at the front of the pack was Hanson, who was among the first to offer a hearty handshake after the trophy presentation. Hanson used his pole position to grab the early lead, but that lead proved to be short lived.

Hanson got by Dralle on lap 17, but a yellow flag on that same lap dropped Hanson back into his second place position on the restart and Dralle was rescued. Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa, passed Hanson to move into second on lap 30, but Hanson was not to be outdone, moving past Shryock to regain second on lap 43.

Hanson finished second and Shryock was third, followed by Dave Knott of Wabasso, Minn., and Ron Droog of Aberdeen to round out the top five.

Droog was perhaps one of the hardest charging drivers at the end of the race. During the early going, he suffered from a bent tie-rod that affected his steering and left him in the middle of the 26-car field. That problem was corrected on a yellow flag pit stop that forced him to take the restart at the back of the pack and he calmly carved his way through lapped traffic in the final laps to turn in the best effort of any South Dakota driver.

Droog qualified 14th for the 50-lap feature, placing second behind Shryock in the ‘B’ qualifying main event. Both men suffered bad luck in Tuesday’s heat races with Droog suffering from a broken wheel and Shryock blowing an engine.

The two-day race proved to be a jinx for some other South Dakotan's. Bruce’s Roger Saathoff blew his second engine in as many nights and Harrold’s Sheldon Reding, who was as high as fifth early in the feature, was forced to drop out with overheating problems. And, Huron’s Randy Hickle, who qualified fourth, was eliminated from further competition in a crash -in the fourth lap of the 50-lapper.

Hickle, who started off the evening by winning the trophy dash, was one of four heat winners on Tuesday night, joining Hanson, Saathoff and Rich Thomas of Aberdeen.

Results –

1. Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Dwain Hanson, Lakefield, Minn.
3. Bob Shryock, Estherville, Iowa
4. Dave Knott, Wabasso, Minn.
5. Ron Droog, Aberdeen
6. Rick Aukland, Moorhead, Minn.
7. Randy Schilling, Gettysburg
8. Dallas Lafferty, Reliance
9. Bob Baumberger, Rapid City
10. Mel Zeitner, Omaha
11. Roger Swenson, Watertown
12. Jim Peterson, Clarkfield, Minn.
13. Rich Thomas, Aberdeen
14. Wayne Jacquet, Marvin
15. Brad Tollekson, Canby, Minn.