Thursday, July 21, 2011

1976 - Over ruled Knoxville race chief quits

Knoxville, Iowa (July 21, 1976) – The “acting director of racing” at the Marion County Fairgrounds here resigned Monday following a decision by the track's racing committee to overturn a ruling made during Saturday night's racing.

The resignation by Dave Van Patten came after the committee voted Sunday to overturn the decision to disqualify feature winner Eddie Leavitt because of an oversized tire.

Leavitt, a driver from Kearney, Mo., had led the 20-lap super sprint feature from the start. After post-race ceremonies, officials were requested to measure the right rear tire on Leavitt's car.

They found the tire was one-eighth inch more than the allotted 97-inch circumference.

For nearly two hours, Van Patten and other officials conferred over the one-eighth inch and decided Leavitt had violated the rule. The group then gave the win to Roger Larson of Kreamer, Pa., who was driving a car owned by Bob Trostle of Des Moines, who requested the measurement.

But Sunday the racing committee said an error was made and Leavitt was reinstated as the winner.

“From the information we have, the tire had a circumference of 96 inches before the race and it's impossible to tell how much one is going to swell during a race,” said Marion County Fair Secretary Ralph Capitani.

The title of acting director had been pinned on Van Patten this year after Race Director Ray Grimes of Des Moines had brain surgery and was unable to return.

Capitani said Van Patten had been hired as track announcer and got involved in some decision-making.

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