Thursday, April 7, 2011

1965 - Shreveport century grind dominated by Ernie Derr

Shreveport, La. (April 7, 1965) – Five-time IMCA new model stock car national champ Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, took over the lead on lap 96 at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds and went on to win the Pelican 200 stock car classic driving a 1964 Dodge powered by a controversial Hemi engine.

Keokuk, Iowa’s Ramo Stott, driving a 1965 Plymouth, set the 8,655 fans buzzing when he got the annual race off to a flying start by seizing the lead from Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., on the 13th circuit. Stott then proceeded to set a blistering pace on the ½-mile dirt oval by establishing IMCA world records at the 25 and 50 lap marks as Funk and Derr tried to keep the pressure on.

On lap 96 Stott’s day came to an end with a burned out rear end. Despite his pit crew’s efforts to get him back onto the track 33 laps later, Stott would lose a right front wheel five laps later and would only muster a 14th place finish.

Derr and his brother-in-law, Don White, set the pace after Stott faltered. At the 125 lap mark, Derr was a full three laps ahead of White’s 1965 Ford. On the 145th laps, White lost a left front tire forcing him to pit and allowing Funk to take the runner-up spot over. Derr would take a convincing victory with Funk, Ron Hutcherson, Blain Morrow and Bill Robinson finishing out the top five.

When Derr took starter Bernie Carlson’s checkers, he was better than three laps ahead of Funk and earned $600 for his efforts and additional $100 for setting fast time as he toured the fast lane at 26.32 seconds.

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