Friday, September 25, 2009
In addition to his many achievements at Knoxville, Wagner also was a very accomplished driver on the IMCA circuit. Below is a photo of Wagner after he scored one of his IMCA-sanctioned sprint car wins...
Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa, won the 25-lap IMCA sprint car feature at the Nebraska State Fair in Lincoln, Neb., on Monday afternoon, September 4, 1972. Joining Wagner in victory lane is flagman Woody Brinkman (left), presenting the trophy is Connie Pfiffer, daughter of National Speedways Inc. vice-president Gene Van Winkle and National Speedways Inc. president Al Sweeney (right).— Morris "Beetle" Bailey Photo
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On Labor Day weekend 1990, they started running an event which has become the signature event for what is now called The Fairbury American Legion Speedway, that race is the Prairie Dirt Classic.
That first Prairie Dirt Classic took place on September 1, 1990. Kevin Roderick led until lap 5 when Snooky Dehm of Chatsworth, Illinois grabbed the lead and held on until lap 52 when Tom Pauley wrestled the lead away from Dehm by taking the high side. Unfortunately for Pauley his lead lasted exactly one lap when his motor let go on the next lap. Dehm took over the lead again and led the final 7 laps to win the first Classic and take home a $3,500 paycheck.
1990 track champion Mike Mulvain was up to second by lap 14 but couldn’t get past Dehm. Mulvain, however did finish second picking up $1,700 for his efforts and that combined with the $2,000 he won in the Dash for Cash made him the nights big money winner at $3,700. Tom Rients would finish third from his fifth row starting position with Eddy Shickel fourth and Kevin Roderick fifth.
In 1991 it was Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Illinois who dominated the second annual Prairie Dirt Classic. (Weaver would win the 1992 UMP National Championship). The driver who would become known as “the Flatland Flash” took the lead on lap 3 from pole sitter Ed Bauman when he went to his favorite spot, the high side and never relinquished the lead as he went on to pick up the $5,000 first place money.
Baumann would hang on to grab the runner-up spot with Mike Mullvain finishing third after battling Jim Rarrick and Steve Tyne throughout the event. Tyne would finish in the fourth position with Roger Long “the Flying Farmer” finishing fifth. Four caution flags flew during the 60 lap event.
By 1992 and the third running of the Classic, the event had started to draw the attention of drivers from afar. 40 drivers from 7 states showed up for the event that paid $6,000 to win. Bryan Dunaway set fast time and then came back to win the trophy dash and grab the pole position for the 60 lap main event. Heats were won by Mike Mullvain, Billy Moyer, Kevin Weaver and Don Hobbs. The two semi’s went to Tod Garrels and Roger Long.
Bryan Dunaway took the lead but that lasted for only two laps when Billy Moyer charged from his outside second row starting. The race went green until lap 27 when Tom Rients spun. On the restart it was Moyer, Kevin Weaver and Dunaway. By lap 32 it had turned into a three way battle for the top spot between Moyer, Weaver and Long. Long looked like he make overtake Moyer but then the caution flag came out at lap 38, and, he had to settle back into second and would end up following Moyer to the checkers. Moyer would pick up the first of his four Prairie Dirt Classic titles. Long would finish second, Mullvain third, Dunaway fourth and Weaver fifth.
In 1993 Billy Moyer became the first two time winner of the race. First he would set fast time at 13.876 seconds. Next he would win the dash and grab the pole position. At the start of the race, Moyer took off and was never headed as he picked up $7,000 for his winning his second Classic. The race was ran with only one caution flag, that coming on lap 39.
Bob Pierce who started in tenth would work his way up to second and was mounting a challenge to Moyer when the lone caution waved. Pierce would settle for second. Tom Rients, Roger Long and Bryan Dunaway would follow. Once again 40 cars from 7 states participated in the event. Heats were won by John Gill, Pete Parker, Jim O’Connor and Pierce.
In 1994 the driver who would be called “the Tall Cool One” won the first of his five Prairie Dirt Classic titles. Bob Pierce of Danville, Illinois guided his Larry Shaw Race Car to the front of the race from his front row starting position. By lap 16 two time and defending race winner Billy Moyer was right on Pierce’s bumper.
Finally after numerous attempts Moyer got by Pierce on lap 47. Three laps later Pierce switched lanes and dove low and retook the lead. On the next lap Moyer made the same move on Pierce and retook the point. On lap 53 Pierce regained the lead by muscling under Moyer and lead the last seven laps. In victory lane Pierce commented that “the track was smooth and fast and there was definitely more than one groove. Moyer and I were pretty even and it just worked out for me tonight.”
Following Pierce and Moyer home were Kevin Weaver, Billy Drake and Eddy Shickel.
Heats went to Larry Davis, Roger Long, Corey Turner and Shickel. Weaver won the dash and Gary May set quick time at 13.475.
In 1995 Bob Pierce won the Classic for the second time and he would later win again in 1999, 2000 and 2001 making him a three-peat winner and as of now the only five time winner of the Prairie Dirt Classic. Billy Moyer is the 2008 and defending race champion and the only 4 time winner. Since those early Prairie Dirt Classics John Gill, Billy Drake, Shannon Babb (twice), Don O’Neal, Dennis Erb, Jr., Jimmy Mars and Brian Birkhofer have added their names to the list of winners of the race.
One thing is for certain the Prairie Dirt Classis has become a stable to Illinois Dirt Late Model Racing and every year on the Saturday night of Labor Day weekend you can count on seeing some of the countries best dirt late model drivers competing in the Prairie Dirt Classic.
Jim O'Connor (8) gets a little sideways in front of Dick Nelson (11) during the National Clay Short Track Championship at Santa Fe Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill., on September 24, 1972. — Vince Mayer Photo
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
by Kyle Ealy
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - With this weekend's Yankee Dirt Track Classic already in full swing I thought I'd go back and relive some of the great moments in the history of this great race. The Yankee started at my home track of Hawkeye Downs Speedway and moved to Farley Speedway in the following years and continues to be one of the most prestigious race events in the Midwest.
1981 - Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa became the third Iowan in four years to win the Yankee Dirt Track Classic as he dominated the event at Hawkeye Downs Speedway on September 19. It was Walton's first win of the season on the 1/2-mile and he picked up $5,000 of the $30,000 purse. Walton broke the track record (:21.237) previously held by Rodney Combs of Lost Creek, W.Va. With the top-six inverted, Walton started on the outside of row three but made his way up to second by lap 23 and passed race leader Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa on the 41st lap to take the lead and hold it to the checkers.
1985 - Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa became the first two-time winner of the Yankee Dirt Track Classic as he scored an impressive 100-lap victory worth $3,000 before a sell-out crowd at Hawkeye Downs on September 14. Hearst, the top qualifier in time trials, started outside in the third row with the top six qualifiers inverted. Pole sitter Bob Hill of Story City, Iowa led the first 22 laps of the race then Hearst took over and stretched his lead. Hearst lapped all but Hill and third place finisher Steve Kosiski of Omaha on his way to victory.
1987 - Dale Fischlein of Independence, Iowa cut short the string of victories in the Yankee Dirt Track Classic at two for Tom Hearst as he scored the $3,000 win in the 10th annual event on September 19. Fischlein started fourth in the 32-car field and followed Dave Chase of Omaha for the first 24 laps before making what would prove to be the winning pass. Steve Kosiski, Jeff Aikey, Dave Birkhofer and Rollie Frink rounded out the top-five finishers.
1992 - Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., scored the biggest win of his young career taking the win in the prestigious 100-lap Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Farley Speedway on September 19. Guss stared on the pole by virtue of winning the J & J Challenge, which pitted the top six qualifiers in time trials in a six-lap race. Guss then proceeded to lead all 100 laps collecting all available lap money and pushing his Saturday night earnings to over $8,000.
1995 - Steve Kosiski of Omaha captured his second Yankee Dirt Track Classic in a row at Farley Speedway on September 16. Kosiski won the 18th annual event after inheriting the lead from Denny Osborn as the Janesville, Wis., driver pitted with a flat tire on the 85th circuit. Jeff Aikey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jay Johnson of West Burlington, Iowa, Gary Webb of Blue Grass, Iowa and Greg Kastli of Waterloo, Iowa rounded out the top five.
1997 -Jeff Aikey of Cedar Falls, Iowa captured thr 20th Annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Farley Speedway on September 13. Aikey started the race on the oustide of the second row and quickly settled into third position. He overtook Denny Osborn on lap 22 and then started to chase down race leader Steve Boley. After battling for numerous laps, Aikey was able to wrestled the lead away from Boely on the 79th lap. Boley would retire a few laps later with a flat right rear tire as Aikey sailed to the $10,000 victory.
2000 - Steve Boley of West Liberty, Iowa captured his second consecutive Yankee Dirt Track Classic, an O' Reilly Auto Parts All Star Series event, at Farley Speedway on September 16. The event marked the final race at Farley Speedway under the auspices of Frieden Inc. Al Frieden, the creator of the prestgious event passed away the month before. Boley, who won the pole award in Friday night qualifying, led all 100 laps in taking the $10,000 first prize. Jeff Aikey, Joe Kosiski of Omaha, Bob Dominacki of Bettendorf and Ryan Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa followed Boley to the finish line.
2002 - The 25th anniversary of the Yankee Dirt Track Classic saw Brian Birkhofer come from the rear of the field to win the 100-lap A-main. Birkhofer had started on the pole but broke his left rear axle at the start. His crew quickly repaired the axle and Birkhofer realigned at the rear of the 30-car field. He steadily worked his way to the front, taking the point on lap 57 and never looking back in winning his first fall classic. Todd Davis of Iowa City, Iowa, Denny Eckrich of Oxford, Iowa, Jeff Aikey and Mark Burgtorf of Quincy, Ill., rounded out the top five.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Prior to the start of the 50-lap IMCA late model season championship stock car race at Quad City Raceway on Sunday, September 15th, Weedon's crew had track announcer Dick Ferguson announce that Weedon's 1967 Ford convertible that Weedon had driven with great success all season long was for sale.
Weedon then drove the car to victory in the 50 lapper nosing out Mt. Joy, Iowa's Jim Gerber for the checkered flag and also edging out Gerber to win the season point's title in the process.
The veteran from Pleasant Valley, Iowa completed one of his greatest years in racing as he also captured the season championship at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa the previous week.
Gerber started on the pole with Weedon to his outside to start the feature. Weedon took the high groove past Gerber at the start and proceeded to lead for the next 31 laps with Gerber challenging for the lead every now and then. On lap 32, as the two ran through eavy traffic, Gerber put his nose out front as they crossed the start/finish line.
At this point Weedon, like fullback in football, used a "block" perfectly. Bob Stogdell was on the inside of the track, aware that he was about to be lapped. Weedon sailed past Stogdell as close as he could but Gerber was trapped behind the lapped car and had to ease up on the throttle to avoid contact. Stogdell had no place to go and neither did Gerber and Weedon opened up a healthy lead afer that and won by 50 feet at the checkers.
Gerber settled for the bridesmaid role, Dean Montgomery of Milan, Ill., took third, Shorty Bennett of Moline grabbed fourth and Ray Guss of Milan rounded out the top five.
Gerber was ahead in points to start the evening but with Weedon's heat and feature wins, he won the title by 45 points over Gerber.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - I was sifting through my newspaper archives this afternoon and ran across the September 18, 1963 edition of National Speed Sport News.
Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., and his red-hot 1963 Mercury continued it's dominance of late model stock car racing as he won the 250-mile national championship race at the Milwaukee Mile on Sunday afternoon, September 15. Jones averaged 90.659 miles per hour as he won in convincing fashion leading 247 of 250 miles and had a 31 second lead on teammate Rodger Ward when he took the checkers.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
1987 - Randy Boggs of Grayson, Ky., regained the lead from Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., on lap 96 when Moyer's car lost the rear end to win the World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on September 13. Boggs had led the most laps in the feature until surrendering the lead to Moyer on lap 87 only to get it back for good nine laps later. Fast qualifier and new track record holder (:16.114) John Mason of Millersburg, Ohio, finished second, Freddie Smith of Kings Mountain, Ga., took third, Bobby Carnes of Chillicothe, Ohio, fourth and Russ Petro of Columbus, Ind., rounded out the top five. Boggs took home $20,000 for the victory.
1981 - "I really wanted to win this one," said veteran race car driver Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids after winning the 1st Annual Larry Detjens Memorial at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wis., on September 10. Trickle won the second of two 25-lap features and placed third in the first contest to clinch the overall crown before 3,000 race fans. Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., won the first 25 lapper.
Doug Kenimer of Dahlonega, Ga., made his midwestern stock car tour pay off with a victory in Topeka, Kan., on September 12, 1976.
1976 - Race fans were treated to stock car racing southern-style when Doug Kenimer of Dahlonega, Ga., made off with the 30-lap feature and collected the $1,000 paycheck at the Mid-America Fair in Topeka, Kan., on Sunday afternoon, September 12. Kenimer outlasted both Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa and Joe Wallace of Kansas City to take the win. Jerry Wanciewicz of Omaha grabbed fourth and Galen Schaefer fifth. The main attraction Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa was a no show but that didn't seem to deter the 2,500 fans in attendance.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Steve Kinser wheeled his Gaerte Engine/Gambler Chassis into victory lane at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., on September 1, 1984.
1984 - Steve Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., broke a month-long victory drought by winning the 30-lap World of Outlaws/Skoal Bandits Shootout sprint car feature at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., on September 1. Kinser passed Bobby Davis on lap 23 to take the point and was never headed after that. Davis, fast qualifier Shane Carson, Danny Smith and Rick Ungar rounded out the top five. The victory was Kinser's 17th of the season and 133rd of his career.
Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., scored the victory in the 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature in Lincoln, Neb., on September 3.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Omaha, Neb. - In 1915 a gentlemen by the name of J. Alex Sloan created a new racing series called the International Motor Contest Association. Known for many years for Big Car Races, the series would start a stock car division in 1949. Actually the first race of the series was held on November 9, 1947 in Lubbock, Texas. In 1949 it became a full fledged series and like its Big Car counterpart raced mainly at State and County Fairgrounds.