Wednesday, May 27, 2015

1974 - Don White Wins 100-Lap USAC Tilt at Sedalia

Don White
Sedalia, Mo. (May 27, 1974) - Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, a two-time United States Auto Club (USAC) stock-car champion, won the 50th feature of his career Monday by capturing the 100-lap main event on the half-mile track at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

A crowd of 4,500 was on hand to see the races that were postponed from Sunday by rain.

White, driving a 1972 Dodge, and Ernie Derr, also of Keokuk, who finished second in 1972 Dodge, were the only leaders. White led the first four laps, Derr from lap 5 to 35 and then White, who will be 48 years old next month, the remaining distance.

The first four finishers were from the Hawkeye state as Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1973 Plymouth, and Ramo Stott, Keokuk, in 1974 Plymouth, were third and fourth, respectively.

It turned out to be two races on the track. Derr, who finished second Friday night in Knoxville, Iowa to Butch Hartman, the current USAC champion, chased White to the limit. Janey, who was third in the Knoxville teacher, two, had to hold off Stott in a tremendous duel for third place.

Hartman was never a factor in this one as he was credited with 14th place after going out with transmission troubles after 80 laps.

In taking the lead for good on the 36th lap White drove underneath Derr going around turns one and two.

“I wanted Derr in front for a while just to see where he would run,” White said of his strategy of giving up the lead briefly.

“The original plan was to change the right rear tire at about 50 laps,” commented the winner, “but the track conditions didn't change that much and the tires weren't wearing as much as anticipated.”

White collected $1,660 of the nearly $10,000 purse.

Another great driving feat was turned in by Bill Utz of Sedalia in the companion sprint car feature. The invited field of 22 drivers competed in back to back 25 – lap races in Utz won them both.

By winning the first race Utz was the last-place starter in the second race as the entire field was inverted.

Gene Gennetten of Gladstone, Mo., was second in both races. Gennetten appeared to have victory in sight in the second race when he was passed by Utz with one lap remaining.

Jay Lyle of Warrensburg, Mo., was third in both features and Gary Scott of Holt Summit, Mo., was fourth in each sprint race.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

1964 - Good's Chevy Cops Little 500

Anderson, Ind. (May 23, 1964) - The largest crowd in Sun Valley Speedway history, 13,641, saw ever-charging Dick Good return the driving championship of the “Little 500” national championship sprint car classic to the Hoosier state when he wheeled the #41 Wood Chevy, owned by G.E. Wood to first place honors in the 16th renewal of the 500-lap endurance run here on Saturday night.

Despite the appearance of the yellow flag six different times, totaling 72 laps, Good toured the 125-mile distance in 2 hours, 13 minutes, and 42.88 seconds as he finished with an eight-lap advantage over the W.J. W. Chevy from St. Paul, Minnesota, which was co-driven by Jerry Richert and Jerry Daniels.

In the best position battle in the race, Richert-Daniels driving team salvaged second place money by a six-second margin over Shady McWhorter who was driving his own #72 McWhorter Chevy.

Only two different cars led the race, which was sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association and run under the direction of Al Sweeney and National Speedways, Inc., for the third straight year.

Good set the pace for a grand total of 400 laps, picking up one block in prize money for each time he went across the finish line first, in this swelled his earnings to $2,175 for the race.

Al Smith, who put the #0 Bob Trimble Buick in the coveted pole position, was the only other driver to lead the race. He led for 100 laps, picked up $500 as fast qualifier for the race and made a grand total of $1,225 for his fourth place finish.

The six separate accidents which brought out the yellow flag did not bring about injury to any driver although it did for several cars out of the race.

Even at that, 27 machines were still on the track and running when Good received the checkered flag.

At the 100-lap mark it was Good, Al Smith, Norman Brown in the #51 Doug Lang Chevy; Dean Mast, and the #75 W.C. Griffth Chevy, and Claire Lawicki, at the wheel of the #71 Diz Wilson Chevy, running in that order.

Smith finally caught up with good and passed it right at the starting line at the end of 154 laps to regain the top spot. His lead didn't last long, however, as good went back in front entering turn number one on the 163rd lap.

Good was the leader for even shorter. It time as he spun in the home stretch on the hundred and 163rd turn of the track and Smith once more became the pacemaker.

At 200 laps it was Smith, Richert, Tommy York, Good and McWhorter in that order.

Smith went into the pits for fuel and attire change after completing 241 circuits and good, who passed you work on lap 203 and Richert on lap 228, became the race leader for the last time. New paragraph after 300 laps it was good, McWhorter, Richert, Lawicki, York, Smith, Duckworth, and McCune.

Results –

  1. Dick Good
  2. Jerry Richert
  3. Shady McWhorter
  4. Al Smith
  5. Tom York
  6. Jim McCune
  7. Darl Harrison
  8. Charley Masters
  9. Dick Carter
  10. Claire Lawicki
  11. Leon Wieske
  12. Bob Leever
  13. Wib Spaulding
  14. Duke Cook
  15. Bob Davis
  16. Jay Woodside
  17. Wilbur Robinson
  18. Jack Thomas
  19. Doc Shaeffer
  20. Jerry Daniels
  21. Ken Clifton
  22. Norman Brown
  23. Dean Mast
  24. Rollie Beale
  25. Don Brunch
  26. Buzz Gregory
  27. Sam Sessions
  28. Al Simko
  29. Serg Tesolin
  30. Harold Smith
  31. Don Daniels
  32. Greg Weld
  33. Bob Pratt

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1974 – Larry Detjens wins Spring 50 season opener at WIR

Kaukauna, Wis. (May 19, 1974) - Wisconsin International Raceway's four-race state championship series was launched in spectacular fashion here Sunday afternoon as Wausau's Larry Detjens wheeled his hemi-powered Dodge Challenger to victory before 4,253 persons. Detjens, who operates an auto body repair shop, passed two other racers on the final lap of the "Spring Opener 50".

Detjens had to work his way through the 23-car starting field and it wasn't until the 48th lap when he moved into the top three positions. He slipped into third spot on the 48th lap, passing Rich Somers of Stevens Point.

He then made his bid for the top spot but couldn't find enough room to get past Jim Sauter of Necedah and Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., who had battled door-to-door for the lead for much of the distance.

As the white flag was waved, signaling one lap remaining, the three racers zoomed past the standing crowd, three abreast, with Detjens on the outside. Detjens entered the first turn with a slight lead and pulled away down the back stretch.

He won the event by one car length over Miller with Sauter placing third. Miller, last years National Short Track Champion at Rockford, drove a 1970 Mustang while Sauter was behind the wheel of a 1973 Chevy Nova. Somers finished fourth in a 1973 Mustang followed by Dave Watson of Beloit, winner of the "Red White and Blue State Championship at WIR last year, in a 1973 Joe Shear Camaro and Jim Pierson of Milton in a 1974 Camaro.

Al Schill of Franklin, the race leader for the first 10 laps, finished eighth.

Sauter set the pace for two laps after gaining the lead from Schill. Miller took over the top spot for one lap before being re-passed by Sauter. Miller regained the lead on the 28th lap and remained in the front position until being passed by Detjens on the final lap.

The race was yellow flagged by start Bill Krueger twice. The first caution flag was waved when top qualifier, John Reimer of Caledonia, blew the engine of his 1973 Camaro on the fourth lap. He was the leading qualifier among the 63 entries on hand to participate in the $55,000 racing program.

Another caution period was required on the 17th lap when Beloit's Dan Bellard spun in the first turn and was hit head-on by Don James of Bloomington, Minn. James was unable to continue.

Feature results –

  1. Larry Detjens, Wausau
  2. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
  3. Jim Sauter, Necedah
  4. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
  5. Dave Watson, Beloit
  6. Jim Pierson, Milton
  7. Neil Callahan, Merrill
  8. Al Schill, Franklin
  9. Jim Olson, Mazomanie
  10. Jim Derhagg, Hoskins, Minn.
  11. Dave Conger, Oshkosh
  12. Don Bellard, Beloit
  13. Boyce Sparkman, Rockford, Ill.
  14. Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills
  15. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
  16. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
  17. Jim Back, Vesper
  18. Dave Field, Port Edwards
  19. Paul Smith, Marquette, Mich.
  20. Don James, Bloomington, Minn.
  21. Bob Gunn, Madison
  22. Ed Hume, Madison
  23. John Reimer, Caledonia



Friday, May 15, 2015

1970 – A Plymouth wins again at Knoxville

by Ida May Van Genderen
Knoxville, Iowa (May 15, 1970) - Gordy Blankenship of Keokuk captured the 15-lap stock car feature Friday night at the Knoxville Raceway.

Last week it was Lem Blankenship. This week brother Gordon decided to give Knoxville a try and he took home the first place money. So now it has been Plymouth winning two weeks in a row.

The stock cars looked like they were hooked together going around the track in a bumper to bumper line when trouble struck on the fifth lap.

The result was a massive pileup on the backstretch, knocking out the first and second place cars; Bill McDonough and Carl Vander Wal. Rich Montgomery rolled a few times and was out as were the cars of Ron Perdock and Larry Housby. Nearly every car in the 14-car field received some kind of damage or new dents. All were uninjured in the mishap.

Bob Bonzer of Liscomb started the cool evening off hot by setting fast time of the night with a 24.24 second lap around the tacky one-half mile oval.

Dick Oldham of Des Moines jumped into the lead from his front row starting position to lead all the way to win the five-lap trophy dash. Bob Bonzer edged out Phil Reese of Des Moines to place second.

Oldham then took to the track for his second win of the evening by copping the first eight-lap heat race. On the third lap, Joel Rasmussen of Ames spun his Camaro around in the second turn. He was dodged by two cars, but the third car, driven by Steve Genevasee of Ankeny rammed Rasmussen head-on with his Chevelle. Both cars were out of commission for the rest of the night.

Taking the checkers for the second eight lap heat was Mike Brooks of Hartford. It was nip and tuck race for first spot between Brooks and Bob Bonzer until Bonzer’s engine let go on the fifth lap and he was forced to the pit. Mike then won by a wide margin over Carl Vander Wal of Ames.

Phil Reese of Des Moines won the third heat event. It looked like Oskaloosa’s Rich Montgomery had the race in the bag. He led for the first six laps only to slip a bit in the fourth turn on the white flag lap. Rich lost two spots when Reese and second place finisher Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids took advantage and plunged ahead.

Don Hoffman took the lead from the start and was never headed, to win the seven lap consolation. George Barton of Ankeny was second.