Thursday, March 3, 2011

1971 - Five inducted into inaugural Iowa Auto Racing Hall of Fame

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (March 3, 1971) - The first five selections for the newly formed Iowa Auto Racing Hall of Fame were announced here Tuesday and the selections, noted for their contributions in the world of auto racing, will be formally inducted at the first annual Midwest Racing Champions Jamboree slated here Friday night at the Armar Ballroom.

The five choices for the Hall of Fame, all unanimous selections, include: Emory Collins of Le Mars, Iowa and the late Gus Schrader of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, both past International Motor Contest Association sprint car champions; Johnny Beauchamp of Atlantic, Iowa former IMCA stock car champion and NASCAR driver; the late Frank Winkley of Edina, Minn., and Al Sweeney of Tampa, Fla., both IMCA promoters.

Making the initial Hall of Fame selections was a panel of journalists, all involved in coverage of Iowa auto racing. They include: Keith Knaack, publisher of the National Hawkeye Racing News; Quin Jones, area track announcer and sportscaster for KOEL radio in Oelwein; Wayne Grett, auto-racing writer for the Des Moines Register and Tribune; Al Miller of the Cedar Rapids Gazette; and Larry D. Spears of the Waterloo Courier.

Schrader and Collins are remembered as two of the most competitive drivers in Iowa racing history, waging battle for more than three decades.

Collins, who retired from driving in 1951, has remained active in various facets of the sport but Schrader, who, raced out of Cedar Rapids, was killed in a racing crash at Shreveport, La.
Before his death, Schrader, driving a Miller, won back-to-back titles from 1933 through 1937 and 1939 through 1941. Collins broke Schrader's string with a win in 1938, then added three additional titles in 1946, 1947 and 1948 in his Offenhauser.

Winkley took up race promotion in 1947 and coordinated the program at Cedar Rapids and numerous Iowa fairs. He also produced thrill show and motorcycle races prior to World War II and remained active as an IMCA promoter until his death in an auto accident in 1968.

Sweeney, who is still an executive of National Speedways though primarily in an advisory capacity, was the original founder of the organization in 1941 with the late Gaylord White.
Among Sweeney's fop promotions are the Iowa 300 and the Hawkeye Futurity and he has taken one of the biggest parts in bringing in outside money and equipment from such industries as STP, Pepsi Cola and others.

Sweeney is the only Iowa race promoter ever chosen president of the Showman's League of America and has long handled the Iowa State Fair and regular Des Moines racing. He has also worked in the South and Southwest and has now expanded into the Eastern section of the nation.

Beauchamp, who is now promoting in Des Moines and Audubon, was involved in the first and most controversial Daytona 500 finish.

Beauchamp, who finished fourth in 1958 points standings and tenth in 1959, clashed with Lee Petty, father of current NASCAR star Richard Petty, in the 1959 Daytona race and it race officials three days to declare Petty the winner.

Beauchamp still claims the victory, but it was the same track, which began his descent from racing glory. He was injured there in a spectacular 1961 crash and never got out of the IMCA ranks again. He won IMCA titles in 1956-57 with a record of 38 wins in 66 features in '56 and 32 of 68 in '57 against such stars as Ernie Derr and Don White of Keokuk, Iowa and Bob Burdick of Omaha, Neb.

The Harlan, Iowa native also captured the 1962 Iowa 300 and currently ranks fifth in IMCA lifetime stock car point totals.

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