Saturday, August 17, 2019

1974 - Andretti Wins Sedalia USAC

Mario Andretti awaits the start of the race at Sedalia.

Sedalia, Mo. (August 17, 1974) – “I knew the tire wouldn’t last much longer,” said Mario Andretti, winner of the accident-marred USAC championship dirt race at the Missouri State Fair.

Andretti, who moved into the division lead of the dirt cars in the United States Auto Club with the victory, his first of the year, had more problems to worry about than the traction and tread on the right rear tire of his Vel’s Parnelli Jones Ford racer – that is his fuel.

“It sputtered three times late in the race,” he commented, climbing out of the cockpit of the Viceroy machine.

“We noticed the last time we raced here (1970) that this track takes more fuel than most,” he added.

Andretti jumped into the lead on the first lap ahead of teammate Al Unser, who won the opening dirt race in Syracuse, N.Y., on July 4. He never relinquished the top spot.

The race was interrupted four times due to accidents. The first of which stopped the race and was the one that saw four cars eliminated from the race, including defending dirt division champion Unser, who flipped coming out of turn #2.

The accident was actually started of all places, behind him. Bill Engelhart and Ralph Liguori tangled and spun between the first and second turns. That immediately brought out the yellow flag.

Unser ducked behind Andretti who had jumped into the lead from his pole position. George Snider couldn’t slow as quickly as Unser. While Unser was flipping, one of his wheels struck Snider’s roll cage, breaking it and causing Snider to suffer an injured shoulder.

Unser said he didn’t know what caused him to flip.

Greg Weld, one of the crowd favorites from Independence, Mo., also spun and hit the guard rail, causing enough damage to the suspension to force him out of the race.

Unser’s flip changed the yellow flag to red, halting the race. Unser was not injured, and Snider reportedly was injured only slightly. 

Andretti grabbed the lead on the restart 20 minutes later, but had to slow for another yellow flag, when Mel Cornett and Engelhart spun between one and two. The yellow was out for seven laps. Both were forced out of the race.

On the 11th lap, Joe Saldana spun between one and two and was hit by Larry Cannon. Saldana ruptured his fuel tank and was out of the race. Cannon was able to continue.

The other yellow came out on the 34th lap when Larry Rice spun and hit the wall between three and four.

The accidents weren’t the only factors that caused the field to dwindle quickly. Mechanical problems cut into the starting field of 24 as well.

Only seven cars were running at the end of the 100-mile feature, which ended about seven minutes before the rain and hail hit.

Andretti, who won two of the three races on the dirt schedule a year ago, finished a half lap ahead of runner-up Tom Bigelow. Andretti and Bigelow were the only drivers on the same lap at the end of the race.

Darl Harrison would end in third while Wally Dallenbach was fourth and Larry Dickson grabbed fifth. The other two cars still running at the finish were John Hubbard and Gary Ponzini.

Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., who piloted the Don Duerst Chevrolet out of Columbia, Mo., did an outstanding job in his initial USAC dirt appearance, placing seventh. He logged 96 laps and was only two laps off the pace.

The race, which kicked off a six-race program under the promotion of the Professional Auto Racing Promotions of Missouri, Inc., was witnessed by an estimated 7,500 spectators.

Results –

1. Mario Andretti
2. Tom Bigelow
3. Darl Harrison
4. Wally Dallenbach
5. Larry Dickson
6. John Hubbard
7. Thad Dosher
8. Joe Saldana
9. Larry Cannon
10.Bob Harkey
11.Gary Ponzini
12.Jim McElreath
13.Larry Rice
14.Jan Opperman
15.Bob Evans
16. Rollie Beale
17.Jimmy Caruthers
18.Ronnie Burke
19.Mel Cornett
20.Bill Engelhart
21.Al Unser
22.George Snider
23.Greg Weld
24.Ralph Liguori

Friday, August 16, 2019

1967 – ‘Itch’ Scratches Out IMCA Win at Wausau

Don "Itch" Daniels

Wausau, Wis. (August 16, 1967) – No driver was able to win more than one event in the International Motor Contest Association sprint car races held as part of the Wisconsin Valley Fair on Thursday night.

Don “Itch” Daniels of St. Paul, Minn., took the lead on lap 11 and held on to win the 20-lap feature event in the six-event program.

Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., the three-time IMCA sprint car national champion, and a favorite of local race fans, had trouble with his car in the first heat race and was eliminated from further competition.

Richert, who is in the thick of the battle for this year’s championship, managed to obtain another car for the feature event and finished fourth to pick up valuable points.

Tom Custer of Rock Island, Ill., was hit in the eye with a rock during warmups and was taken to a local hospital, while Jerry Lepinski of St. Paul, Minn., hit the retaining wall during time trial and spilled fuel on the racetrack.

Custer damaged a blood vessel in his eye and was unable to compete in the races, but Lepinski was able to repair his fuel tank and return to action for the third heat.

Jim Moughan of Springfield, Ill., brought the spectators to their feet with some fancy driving in the 10-lap consolation race. Moughan came from the back of the pack to nip Ron Jackson of Mt. Vernon, Ill., at the finish line.

Results –

Heat #1 – Don Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
Heat #2 – Ron Beland, St. Paul, Minn.
Heat #3 – Bob Tomlinson, Palos Park, Ill.
STP Handicap – Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
Consolation – Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
Feature –
1. Don Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
2. Jim Moughan
3. Lee Kunzman
4. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
5. Ron Jackson, Mt. Vernon, Ill.
6. Don Mack
7. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
8. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
9. Dick Smith, Stillwater, Minn.
10. Bob Herring, Arvada, Colo.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

1981 - Snider is Bettenhausen Winner

George Snider cools off in victory lane after winning the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial at the Springfield Mile. - Terry Young Collection

Springfield, Ill. (August 15, 1981) - George Snider regained the lead on the 85th lap and zoomed to a 22-second victory in Saturday’s 100-mile Tony Bettenhausen Memorial Race for United States Auto Club championship dirt cars.

Larry Rice, of Brownsburg, Ind., finished second with veteran Jim McElreath of Arlington, Texas, third as only the leading three of the race’s 26 cars completed 100 laps, each a mile long. Engine problems caused many of the cars to drop out. Joe Saldana, of Lincoln, Neb., was fourth, having run 99 laps.

It was the first championship dirt car win in 10 years for Snider, of Bakersfield, Calif. He initially had taken the lead from pole winner Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis., on the 66th lap and held it until the 73rd. Roger Rager, of Mound, Minn., then grabbed the lead but was overtaken by Snider on the backstretch of the 85th lap. Snider pulled away from the field to earn $8,250.

Rager, who ran out of gas on the 93rd lap, finished eighth. Bigelow, the leader for the first 65 laps, Rich Vogler and Gary Gray, both of Indianapolis, and McElreath all tangled coming out of the first turn of the 69th. Bigelow and Gray flipped their cars but were unhurt.

The accident brought out the red flag, however, and temporarily stopped the race, which also was hampered by four yellow flag situations. Morning rain caused a 3-hour, 10-minute delay in starting the race.

Results –

1. George Snider
2. Larry Rice
3. Jim McElreath
4. Jack Hewitt
5. Joe Saldana
6. Chuck Amati
7. Johnny Coogan
8. Roger Rager
9. Greg Leffler
10.Art Bisch Jr.
11.Rich Vogler
12.Tom Bigelow
13.Gary Gray
14.Tracy Potter
15.Ron Shuman
16.Ken Schrader
17.Billy Vukovich
18.Bobby Olivero
19.Mark Alderson
20.Gary Bettenhausen
21.Larry Dickson
22.Sheldon Kinser
23.Larry Martin
24.Johnny Parsons
25. Manny Rockhold
26.Steve Chassey

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

1966 – Woodside Captures Knoxville Race Crown

Champion Jay Woodside (center) is joined by promoter Marion Robinson (far left), third-place finisher Ken Weld (left) and runner-up Lloyd Beckman (right).

Knoxville, Iowa (August 14, 1966) – Jay Woodside of Kansas City grabbed the lead with five laps to go and won the rain-delayed Super Modified National Championship race on Sunday afternoon.

The race was postponed from Saturday night because of rain after two preliminary events.

Woodside, 27, a 11-year racing veteran, finished four car lengths ahead of Lloyd Beckman of Lincoln, Neb., and Kenny Weld of Kansas City, seeking his third straight national championship.

Weld moved into the early lead, pacing the 20-car field through the first 6 of the scheduled 25 laps. Ray Lee Goodwin, also of Kansas City took over the lead on lap 7 and led the next eight circuits until Beckman took over and led until lap 19. Woodside was never worse than third.

Earl Wagner of Pleasantville paced the Iowa contingent, placing eighth in the main event. Mason City’s Stacy Redmond placed thirteenth and Jim Lowary of Scranton was seventeenth.

Minor spin outs stopped action on the Marion County Fairgrounds half-mile three times and no time was posted.

A crowd of 6,233 watched Saturday’s rain-shortened program and about the same number showed up for the Sunday matinee.

Woodside picked up $2,500 for the victory. Beckman earned $1,500 and Weld took home $1,000.

Bud Marsh of Miami, Okla., captured Sunday’s 12-lap B-main with Buddy Taylor of Albuquerque, N.M., running second. Nick Rowe of Portland, Mich., was the consolation winner.

Results –

1. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
2. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
3. Ken Weld, Kansas City
4. Ken Taylor, Slater, Mo.
5. Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
6. Bob Williams, Independence, Mo.
7. Jerry Weld, Kansas City
8. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
9. Larry Cannon, Danville, Ill.
10. Don Edmunds, Anaheim, Calif.
11. Wes Farrand, Kansas City
12. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
13. Stacy Redmond, Mason City, Iowa
14. Cliff Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
15. B.H. Wilkerson, El Monte, Calif.
16. Junior Dietzel, Jamestown, Mo.
17. Jim Lowary, Scranton, Iowa
18. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
19. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
20. Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

1967 – Moughan Wins at Fair

Eldon, Iowa (August 13, 1967) – Jim Moughan of Springfield, Ill., won the 15-lap feature event at the Wapello County Fair on Sunday to take home the lion’s share of the winnings.

Moughan took the feature in his Chevy-powered sprinter over such luminaries as Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., Jay Woodside of Kansas City and Lloyd Beckman of Lincoln, Neb. Drivers were severely hampered by the third and fourth turns on the half-mile track, which were almost too slick to support racing speeds.

Trackside kibitzers claimed the shade from the trees on the west end of the speedway and their roots, had a tendency to hold water in the track making it extremely hard to drive. And just to show that everybody can forget, the track condition was just right for the old “knobby” type tires, but only one car had access to them.

Chevrolet conversions dominated the racing by fans were treated to the when and snarl of the old Offenhausers as three of them entered the program. At a extreme disadvantage on the slow track, they didn’t do as well as they might have, but the sound was a sweet sound to the racing fan’s ear.

Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City provided plenty of excitement in the feature when he got his Chevy-powered car into the fence and flipped twice, landing back on its wheels. Goodwin said afterwards that his head hit the ground twice, but the roll bars never touched and there wasn’t a scratch on the machine.

Closer inspection after the race revealed a somewhat warped front axle but Goodwin said the car would be back in action in a few days. Goodwin was running fifth when the mishap occurred.

Heat winners were Don “Itch” Daniels St. Paul, Minn., Art Range of Sedalia, Mo., Tom Corbin of Carrollton, Mo., and Moughan. Lee Kunzman of Guttenberg, Iowa, won the consolation.

Results –

Heat #1 – Don Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
Heat #2 – Art Range, Sedalia, Mo.
Heat #3 – Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
Heat #4 – Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
Consolation – Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
Feature –
1. Jim Moughan
2. Tom Corbin
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
5. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
6. Grady Wade, Wichita, Kan.
7. Bill Hudson, Montezuma, Iowa
8. Don Daniels
9. Stan Borofsky, Grandview, Mo.
10.Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.

Monday, August 12, 2019

1962 – Goldsmith Wins Fair Stock 150

Paul Goldsmith takes a victory lap after winning the 150-miler at Milwaukee. 

West Allis, Wis. (August 12, 1962) – Former motorcycle racer Paul Goldsmith squeezed out a five-second victory over Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward and set an average speed record in winning the United States Auto Club 150-mile late model stock car race at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds Sunday.

It was the first victory in two years of trying on the one-mile paved track for Goldsmith, of St. Clair Shores, Mich. Goldsmith, driving a 1962 Pontiac, collected $3,043 in prize money.

Goldsmith grabbed the lead from Ward with 15 miles remaining and kept the crowd of 21,087 on its feet until the very finish as he fought off challenges from both Ward and Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis.

The three cars roared around the track with Nelson only two seconds behind Goldsmith and Ward who were racing nearly bumper to exhaust pipe. Goldsmith gradually pulled away, but on lap 140 Nelson went around Ward and began to close on the leader’s four-car-length lead.

With four laps left, the three cars screamed into the first set of turns but only Goldsmith and Ward would exit as Nelson would with coil failure.

Ward, also driving a 1962 Pontiac, took second-place money of $2,150. Third-place went to Eddie Sachs of Coopersburg, Penn., in a ’62 Ford. His prize was $1,536.

Nelson was credited with 13th place.

Goldsmith averaged 92.9 miles per hour, topping the mark of 89.4 miles per hour, set a year ago by Nelson.

Results –

1. Paul Goldsmith
2. Rodger Ward
3. Eddie Sachs
4. Whitey Gerken
5. Don White
6. A.J. Foyt
7. Curtis Turner
8. Troy Ruttman
9. Len Sutton
10. Elmer Musgrave
11. Dick Rathmann
12. John Rostek
13. Norm Nelson
14. Ken Finley
15. Herb Shannon
16. Ted Hane
17. Bob Pronger
18. Bob Slensby
19. Sal Tovella
20. Neil Houston
21. Rich Clement
22. Ray Berry
23. Eddie Meyer
24. Milt Curcio
25. Bill Cornwall
26. Whitey Traeder
27. Jim Locke
28. Bay Darnell
29. Skeeter Wyman
30. Ted Rozinski

Sunday, August 11, 2019

1976 - 'Super Sanger' Sizzles in Proctor's Silver 1000 Special

Proctor, Minn. (August 11, 1976) – Displaying the driving skill that has marked him as possible the best dirt late model driver in the country, Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, captured the 50-lap Silver 1000 late model feature Wednesday night at Proctor Speedway.

A heat race mishap almost eliminated the veteran, but Sanger repaired his car quickly and entered the feature by virtue of a third-place semi-feature finish.

Dave Bjorge of Austin, Minn., grabbed the lead from polesitter Tom Nesbitt of Thunder Bay, Ont., and led the hotly-contested chase until retiring on lap 16 with a hole in his oil pan. Nesbitt then fought off Leon Plank of Mondovi, Wis., Jim Eliason of Duluth, Minn., and Ed Ward of Rochester, Minn., as attrition began to take its toll.

Punky Manor of Eau Claire, Wis., Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa and Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., all were sidelined with mechanical issues, while running in the top five during the first half of the race.

Back in the pack, a group of five fast Camaros, led by Tom Steuding of Altoona, Wis., and including John Jones of Thunder Bay, Ont., J.J. Smith of Appleton, Wis., and Sanger, were roaring thru traffic.

With Steuding in seventh, Sanger using the highest possible groove, caught Smith and over-hauled Arnie Hobbs of St. Paul, Minn., for eighth on lap 22. Smith then dropped out with a broke ball joint.

Just as Plank slipped by Nesbitt for the lead on lap 25, Jones fell victim to Sanger. Red Steffen of Eau Claire would be the Iowan’s next victim, two laps later.

With Sanger in sixth, Steuding and Dwain Erickson of Superior, Wis., were next to fall to his charge. Eliason gave up third to Sanger on lap 32, while Nesbitt was passed seven laps later.

Once in second, it took Sanger’ lightning-quick Camaro only two circuits to catch Plank. On lap 44, Plank’s car lost its fuel pressure which forced him to the infield.

Sanger then finished the race and drove around for an insurance lap before stopping in victory lane for the trophy presentation. When Sanger restarted the car, it ran out of fuel on the first turn. Nesbitt was second followed by Eliason, Steuding and Jones.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa

2. Tom Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ont.

3. Jim Eliason, Duluth, Minn.

4. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.

5. John Jones, Thunder Bay, Wis.

6. Arnie Hobbs, St. Paul, Minn.