Tuesday, August 4, 2020

1973 – Kirkpatrick is Knox County Fair Winner

Larry Kirkpatrick guided Jim Utt's Chevrolet-powered sprint car to victory at the Knox County Fair. 

Knoxville, Ill. (August 4, 1973) – Larry Kirkpatrick of Wood River, Ill., driving the Jim Utt Chevrolet, won the 30-lap IMCA-sanctioned sprint car feature at the Knox County Fair.

Moving into the top spot from his sixth starting position, Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., held a comfortable lead over Buzz Rose of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Kirkpatrick for the first 23 circuits when the yellow flag waved, bunching the field.

When the green flag waved for the restart, Kirkpatrick took the high road up near the fence-line and got sufficient traction to move past Rose, and then Utz to grab the lead. Kirkpatrick would hold on to the lead for the final six laps with Utz right on his bumper at the finish.

Bill Utz set fast time in qualifying, racing around the half-mile in 25.08 seconds. Utz would also win the trophy dash and the first heat. Leonard McCarl of Bonaparte, Iowa and Ralph Blackett of Carlisle, Iowa won the second and third heats, respectively. Kirkpatrick was the 10-lap consolation winner.

Results –

1. Larry Kirkpatrick, Wood River, Ill.
2. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
3. Buzz Rose, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Gene Gennetten, Gladstone, Mo.
5. Ralph Blackett, Carlisle, Iowa
6. Jerry Camfield, Argenta, Ill.
7. Chuck Amati, Freeman Spur, Ill.
8. Leonard McCarl, Bonaparte, Iowa
9. Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
10. Dean Shirley, Middletown, Ill.

Monday, August 3, 2020

1965 – First IMCA Win for Fries at La Crosse

Dick Fries

La Crosse, Wis. (August 3, 1965) – Newcomer Dick Fries of San Diego, Calif., upset the field Tuesday night at on a rain-slickened La Crosse Interstate Fair racetrack.

Fries, piloting a Chevrolet-powered big car, won the 20-lap grand championship feature event in the International Motor Contest Association-sanctioned action.

In the process, the California driver finished ahead of favorites Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., and Gordon Wooley of Waco, Tex.

Fries, the third-fastest qualifier behind Dale Reed of Wichita, Kan., and Richert, led the first two laps before losing the #1 position to the Minnesota driver.

Fries regained the pace on lap 9 and held it the rest of the way. Richert and Wooley, both driving Chevrolet-powered cars, held on to finish second and third respectively.

Ron Larson of Milltown, Wis.., after changing cars, roared off the backstretch on the first lap of the feature and 75 feet down an embankment. Neither he nor the car were hurt, and the race was stopped so he could re-enter.

Results –

Time Trials – Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan. (25.24 seconds)
Heat #1 – Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
Heat #2 – Jerry Weld, Kansas City
Heat #3 – Ron Bellon
Semi-Main – Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn
Feature –
1. Dick Fries, San Diego, Calif.
2. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
3. Gordon Wooley, Waco, Tex.
4. Dale Reed
5. John Hesselgrove, St. Paul, Minn.
6. Tom Bigelow
7. Jerry Weld
8. Ron Larson, Milltown, Wis.
9. Ron Bellon
10.Don Guida, Moorhead, Minn.
11. Sonny McDaniel, Pasadena, Tex.
12. Buzz Gregory, Speedway, Ind.
13. Paul Dorcic, Chicago Ridge, Ill.
14. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
15. Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

1964 - Parnelli Wins at Salem Track

Parnelli Jones

Salem, Ind. (August 2, 1964)—Keeping up with Jones was impossible Sunday as Parnelli Jones won the United States Auto Club’s 30-lap sprint car race on the half-mile track here.

Jones, driving A. J. Foyt’s Traco Special sprint car, set fast time of 18:11, won the 8-lap heat in record time of 2 minutes and 26.20 seconds and topped the day off with the feature win.

Other heat winners were Johnny Rutherford and Arnie Knepper with Nolan Johncock winning the 10-lap consolation race in the record time of 3 minutes and 11:60 seconds.

Parnelli, winner of the 1963 “500”, led wire to wire to collect $950 of the $5,000 purse. This was Jones' first sprint car race this year and his first victory in a sprint car since last November.

Don Branson, current USAC sprint car point leader, finished a distant second. Since A. J. Foyt didn’t compete, Branson was able to widen his lead. Foyt returns to sprint car competition next Sunday at Terre Haute.

Mario Andretti and Jud Larson supplied some real racing while dueling for fourth place. They ran wheel to wheel for several laps.

Results –

1. Parnelli Jones
2. Don Branson
3. Bud Tingelstad
4. Jud Larson
5. Mario Andretti
6. Johnny Rutherford
7. Arnie Knepper
8. Gordon Johncock
9. Mickey Rupp
10.Dave Norris

Saturday, August 1, 2020

1979 – Sanders wins KIJV South Dakota 100

Bill Sanders

Huron, S.D. (August 1, 1979) – The man with the longest haul won the longest race of the season as Bill Sanders of Muskogee, Okla., won the rain-delayed KIJV South Dakota 100

Nine days earlier, Sanders qualified for the pole position for the state’s best paying race by winning the first heat, but the feature was rained out.

For Sanders, the return trip was worth $2,200 as he grabbed the lead from Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on lap 57 and won by a straightaway over Eaker, who earlier in the evening, lowered the track record to 23.88 seconds on the final lap of the trophy dash.

Third and fourth place went to Denny Selting of Huron, S.D., and Willy Yost of Miller, S.D. Only the top four finishers were on the lead lap.

Pete Parker of Kaukauna, Wis., was the early leader, jumping from the outside of the front row and hanging on through four yellow flags and the challenges of Sanders and Eaker until lap 44 when Dennis Gross of Huron, S.D., lost oil pressure and came to a half in turn four.

Several drivers, including Sanders, used the stoppage to change tires. Sanders, in fifth place during the red flag, dropped back to seventh on the restart due to cold tires as Eaker took the lead from Parker. On lap 51. With his tires sufficiently heated, Sanders began his charge to the front, taking second from Parker on lap 55.

At this point the top 12 cars, six of them locals, were running virtually nose to tail. Sanders roared by Eaker two circuits later and ran away and hid, even after two more yellows closed the field.

Sanders’ win was relatively easy compared to some of the dogfights for lower positions that raged from start to finish leaving the huge crowd hoarse. Thirteen cars, out of the starting field of 34, finished the 50-lapper.

Results –

1. Bill Sanders, Muskogee, Okla.
2. Verlin Eaker, Mechanicsville, Iowa
3. Denny Selting, Huron, S.D.
4. Willy Yost, Miller, S.D.
5. Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
6. Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
7. Sheldon Reding, Harrold, S.D.
8. Gary Crawford, Independence, Iowa
9. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
10. Joe Salner, St. Cloud, Minn.
11. Galen Keas, Grand Island, Neb.
12. Dallas Lafferty, Reliance, S.D.
13. Kent Wilson, Miller, S.D.
14. Bill Christman, Bronson, Iowa
15. Ron Droog, Aberdeen, S.D.
16. Ken Farrell, New Hampton, Iowa
17. Britt Williams, Brookings, S.D.
18. Rich Wendt, Aberdeen, S.D.
19. Gary Nagel, Gettysburg, S.D.
20. Kenny Selting, Huron, S.D.
21. Dennis Gross, Huron, S.D.
22. Jim Cowan, Sturgis, S.D.
23. Ron Anderson, Webster, S.D.
24. Terry Kopecky, Miller, S.D.

Friday, July 31, 2020

1977 – Jones Does it on Dirt; Wins Terre Haute Sprint Go

Norman "Bubby" Jones

Terre Haute, Ind. (July 31, 1977) – After having scored a pair of USAC sprint car feature wins on the asphalt at Winchester Speedway last weekend, Bubby Jones showed his dirt prowess for which he is famous by capturing the circuit’s 40-lap feature at the Terre Haute Action Track, Sunday afternoon.

Sheldon Kinser, who is currently second in the division’s point standings, started on the pole and led the 20-car field through the first six circuits.

However, a faulty quick-change gear slowed Kinser, enabling Jones, who had started third, to take command on lap 7. Kinser went on to complete only 12 laps before his car became the first to drop out of the contest.

Even though he was not headed the rest of the way, Jones did have to ward off the stern challenges of Roger Rager and Gary Bettenhausen.

Rager, who took over the wheel of the potent Armstrong Mould sprinter while its regular chauffeur, point leader Tom Bigelow, was in Texas for a Championship race, finished second after starting seventh.

Meanwhile Bettenhausen, who had started ninth, was third at the checkered. Completing the top five was Bruce Walkup and Billy Cassella.

The event was slowed by only one caution, which occurred on lap 15 when a wheel came off Chuck Gurney’s racer while the California pilot was running fifth. Gurney was able to return to action following the mishap, but completed only 22 laps for a 18th place finish.

Results –

1. Bubby Jones
2. Roger Rager
3. Gary Bettenhausen
4. Bruce Walkup
5. Billy Cassella
6. Eddie Leavitt
7. Ralph Parkinson Jr.
8. Greg Leffler
9. Steve Chassey
10.Rich Vogler

Thursday, July 30, 2020

1972 - McCluskey Coasts in Pennsylvania 500

Roger McCluskey accepts his trophy after winning at Pocono. - Photo courtesy of Jerry Nelson

Long Pond, Penn. (July 30, 1972) – Roger McCluskey finally accomplished what he started out to do nearly one year ago.

The Tucson, Ariz., driver, who finished 11th in Saturday’s Schaefer 500 championship race, look the lead early in the race Sunday and coasted to an easy victory in the second annual Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono International Raceway.

McCluskey, who collected 10,000 in purse money for his victory, guided his 1970 Plymouth Superbird to a record time of 127.035 miles per hour. He picked up 1,000 points but has not clinched this year's USAC stock car title.

Last year McCluskey needed only a victory in the Pennsylvania 500 to wrap up his third straight United States Auto Club late model stock car championship. But his car hit the wall on the 173rd lap of the 200-mile race and he lost the decision and the point championship to Butch Hartman.

Sunday's pre-race duel between the top USAC drivers and NASCAR darling Richard Petty lasted only 256 miles. Petty, the lone million dollar winner in auto racing, dogged McCluskey, Hartman, Wally Dallenbach and Ramo Stott.

Petty, who was paid a $3,000 appearance lo add glamor t the field, led for 13 laps. But the Randleman, N.C. driver who has won 143 starts since joining NASCAR in 1958, was plagued in the early going by several tire changes.

He finally was eliminated from the race on the 102nd lap when his 1972 Plymouth blew a left tire and the car's oil line ruptured.

With Petty out, the race settled down to an apparent duel between McCluskey, who sat on the pole with a qualifying speed of 148.177 miles per hour and Hartman, who went into the race third in the point standings behind McCluskey.

But Hartman dropped out of contention on the 130th lap when he pitted, and his crew took 3 minutes and 6 seconds to change the entire distributor.

From there on it was a one-man show.

Five cars were eliminated from the starting field of 40 right off the bat when Steve Arndt spun in the third straightaway. He was out of the race along with Dick Beinlich, Paul Sizemore, Ken Reiter, H.L. Wilson and Leroy Austin.

Al Unser, who was prematurely declared the winner of the Schaefer 500 before a mass of confusion was finally cleared up, dropped out of Sunday's race after completing 40 laps with clutch failure.

McCluskey, who won another $7,120 in Saturday's race, lost the lead only when he was in the pits. But while he was on the track there was no stopping him.

At various points he had lapped the entire field except for Hartman, who ended up second — a final victim of lapping — and his interval between his closest challenger nearly three minutes. He ended four laps down.

Dave Marcis, another of the NASCAR drivers who made an appearance in the USAC-sanctioned race, stayed in contention for a while. Rut his 1972 Matador was experiencing carburation trouble and he soon fell behind.

Whether he finished in the top running was elementary, since he was bound to be a victim of penalties. While the pace car was out during yellow flag time, the Skyland, N.C. driver continuously passed slower cars on the track.

Under USAC rules, cars must fall in line behind the pace car on the yellow flag.

But under NASCAR rules, with which Marcis is used to dealing with, a driver is allowed to pass slower ears under the yellow. He was finally dropped from fourth to fifth place in the standings.

The attrition rate, like Saturday's race, took its toll on the drivers. The main thing which the cars went through like peanuts was tires. This was probably due to the fact that the stock cars were not using tires prepared for the sometimes rough Pocono International Raceway surface.

There were only 17 cars running at the end.

Results –

1. Roger McCluskey
2. Butch Hartman
3. Verlin Eaker
4. Dave Marcis
5. Cecil Gordon
6. Chuck McWilliams
7. Jim Tobin
8. Paul Felder
9. Bob Wente
10. Tiny Lund
11. Sal Tovella
12. Bob Robbins
13. Bay Darnell
14. Gary Raymond
15. Jigger Sirois
16. Ray Bolander
17. Joe Booher
18. Earle Canavan
19. Rich Oertel
20. Jim Hurtubise
21. Ramo Stott
22. Richard Petty
23. Dave Whitcomb
24. Wally Dallenbach
25. Al Loquasto
26. Gary Bettenhausen
27. Al Unser
28. Lem Blankenship
29. Bud Schroyer
30. George Wiltshire
31. Harold Fair
32. Dick Simon
33. Ken McEldowney
34. Bill Shirey
35. Paul Sizemore

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

1980 – Walton Rallies to Win El Kahir Race

Ken Walton

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (July 29, 1980) - Kenny Walton waited until the last minute to make his move and he couldn’t have picked a better time to do it.

The 37-year-old Viola resident flew by Waterloo’s Dick Schiltz on the 91st lap of the 100-lap main event and rolled on from there to capture the third annual El Kahir Shrine Directors Staff Stock Car Race Tuesday night at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

Walton, who is now in his eighth year of racing at the Downs, had car owner Dwayne Schneider fly in from Iowa City earlier in the day to iron out some kinks in the new engine he had put in last Sunday, and evidently the overtime paid off.

“This is the best this car has felt all year,” said Walton while signing a few autographs and tending to his son Todd. “We worked all day on the car and I think we were the last ones getting to the track, but this really makes it all worthwhile.”

The former Marion resident jumped out front on the first turn at the start, and kept the lead throughout the first 12 laps.

Dike’s Curt Hansen, who had been on Walton like a shadow, then overtook Viola’s favorite driver with a little help from West Liberty’s Mel Morris. Morris was running near the back of the pack and when Walton tried to lap him on the outside, Hansen slipped inside and took over the lead.

By the 20th lap, Hansen had built up a sizable lead, but mechanical problems forced the 12-year Downs veteran out of the race and Walton regained the lead.

Schiltz, meanwhile, stayed right on Walton’s tail and eventually passed him on the 57th lap. He had built up a fairly comfortable lead until a run-in with the wall on lap 87 slowed him down just enough for Walton to make his move.

Walton, who drives a maroon and white Camera with the familiar number “02” on the side, flew by Schiltz four laps later on the back straightaway and played it cool the rest of the way to gain his second Downs feature win of the year.

Schiltz, who was later rushed by ambulance to Mercy Hospital after suffering dizzy spells, took second followed by Kaukauna, Wis., native Pete Parker. Wilton’s Tom Hearst, the Downs’ season point leader, came home fourth and Moline’s Duane Steffe finished fifth.

Schiltz ran a 23.172-second lap in the time trials to set a new Downs track record but it was Walton who led from start to finish to win the 6-lap Trophy Dash.

Bill McArdle of Eau Claire, Wis., took the 20-lap consolation race.

Results –

1. Ken Walton, Viola
2. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
3. Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
4. Tom Hearst, Wilton
5. Duane Steffe, Moline, Ill.
6. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo
7. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
8. Mike Frieden, Cedar Rapids
9. Gary Crawford, Independence
10.Gary Webb, Davenport
11.Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
12.Bill Rice, Des Moines