Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1955 - National title, rich purses to lure top field

Huron, S.D. (August 31, 1955) - A national championship rating has been awarded speedway-type big car races scheduled at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron on Friday, September 9.

And, the prize purse of $2,500 for the star-studded, seven-event program is the biggest being offered at any mid-western state track this season with the exception of the five-day program at the Minnesota State Fair.

In addition, the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA), who are sanctioning the races, wrote two new rules into the racing book last winter, which will make the Huron meet one of the most competitive in history.

Under National Championship rules a total of 25 national championship dates have been awarded licensed IMCA promoters, and all drivers of IMCA are eligible to compete at any national championship meet. This means the field will be larger and three times as many points will be awarded to money-winning drivers.

“Points” determine the standing of the driver and also determine his slice of the IMCA's huge cash point fund at the end of the season. As a result of this change drivers throw caution to the winds because they can win two ways - on the local level, and in national competition.

Program for Friday's races includes time trials, three preliminary qualification heats, match races, handicap races and a 20-lap feature in which more than a dozen cars will jockey around the track simultaneously.

Frank Winkley, president of Auto Racing Inc., promoter of the auto races, has brought many of the nation's top drivers to South Dakota, including such headliners as Emory Collins, Jimmy Wilburn, Russ Lee and Deb Snyder. Several world record holders such as Marvin Pifer, Jim McWithey, Red Amick and Harvey Porter also are expected on Huron's fast, half-mile oval.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Week in History

1994 – Veteran Bob Senneker took advantage of a late caution and made a daring four-wide pass on the outside with 27 laps remaining to score his first win of the year in the AC-Delco Challenge Series Badgerland 150 on August 28 at the Milwaukee Mile. After a “competition yellow” restart, Senneker bolted to the high side while Ken Schrader hugged the low groove on the green flag. In a spectacular four-wide race down the backstretch, Senneker and Schrader (both with fresh tires) swept past both Brad Loney and Bryan Reffner with Senneker securing the lead over Schrader as they entered turn three. From there, the Michigan ace pulled away and took the checkered flag a little over two seconds ahead of Schrader. Mike Eddy, Steve Holzhausen and Harold Fair rounded out the top five.

1988 – Billy Moyer completed a successful World of Outlaws/American Late Model Association season with his sixth feature win of the campaign at Lebanon (Mo.) I-44 Speedway on Saturday, August 27. Larry Phillips paced the first 10 laps before giving way to Ken Essary on round 11. A broken right front shock then knocked Essary out of the lead on lap 22 allowing Moyer to charge to the top. Once in front, Moyer, driving the Larry Shaw #21 Camaro, was unstoppable and won by a comfortable five-car lengths. Ray Guss Jr., Ken Essary, Larry Phillips and Rex McCroskey followed Moyer across the finish line.

1983 – Stan Fox swept the midget action at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway this season by winning the 50-lap World of Outlaws Midgets (WOOM) feature on Sunday afternoon, August 28. Fox, who established a WOOM qualification mark of 32.161 seconds (11.397 mph), began the afternoon on the sixth row, in the partially inverted, three abreast field of 36 midgets. Swiftly making his way through the field, Fox took the top spot on lap 24 when race leader Bob Cicconi's gearbox broke. The Janesville, Wis., driver was never seriously threatened after that, picked up the checkers and the $2,000 first prize. Jim McLean of Crest Hill, Ill., Jim Gates of Plano, Ill., Bill Engelhart of Madison, Wis., and Larry Hillerud of Arlington Heights, Ill., rounded out the top five that saw only 10 cars still on the race track at the finish.

1977 – Veteran Paul Feldner scored his first victory ever on the USAC stock car circuit, August 28, by winning the division’s 100-mile race at the Du Quoin (Ill.) Fairgrounds. Feldner inherited the top spot on lap 53 when race leader Charlie Glotzbach pitted during a yellow flag. With his 1974 Charger running to perfection, Feldner opened up a comfortable advantage and won by half a straightaway. Feldner averaged 73.968 miles per hour in recording the victory, despite the frequent appearance of the caution flag. Sal Tovella, starting 17th in the 28-car field, took runner-up honors, while Jim Hurlbert, Bay Darnell and Glotzbach followed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

1977 - Hansen Wins Point Title

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 26, 1977) - Winning four track titles wasn’t Curt Hansen’s goal when he began the late model stock car campaign in April.

But after winning the 25-lap season championship race and the inherent point title Friday night at Hawkeye Downs, the Dike driver is on the threshold of attaining his non-goal.

“I’ve got that in mind now,” breathed Hansen after holding off Ken Walton of Cedar Rapids in a bumper-to-bumper duel through the last four laps. “I've already clinched the point title at Des Moines and I’ve got pretty comfortable leads at Oskaloosa and Waterloo (Tunis).”

“I didn't think much about winning all four championships, but then at mid season everything seemed to be going in our direction.”

“I’m thrilled about winning at Hawkeye Downs because I really love this track. It was pretty tacky and muddy, but I just prayed everything stayed together when Walton came rushing up behind me.”

It was Hansen’s second point title at The Downs, the first coming in 1974.

Hansen, who started on the pole by virtue of point lead in a straight up start on the grid, picked up $500 for winning, but said his oil pressure readings scared him throughout the race.

“The gauge went up to 310, but then I got cooled down to 300 and then Walton came breathing down my neck again. It was up to 320 at the finish.”

“I don't know if it’s quite right, but I hugged the inside through those last few laps. I gave Kenny all the outside if he wanted it.”

A crowd estimated at 3,000 watched the late-starting program that didn’t begin until 9:15 because promoter Al Miller’s crewmen were busily putting the half-mile dirt oval in racing shape after heavy rains had turned it into a quagmire earlier Friday.

Steve Becker of Atkins roared in front of the field after starting on the pole and breezed to the sportsman season championship. Becker also won the point title in that division and pocketed $100 for his win.


Late Model -

1. Curt Hansen, Dike
2. Ken Walton, Viola
3. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
4. Fred Horn, Marion
5. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
6. Gary Crawford, Independence
7. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
8. John Moss, Iowa City
9. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
10. Bob Schulte, Delhi
11. Jim Burbridge, Delhi
12. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
13. Tim McDonough, Cedar Rapids
14. Dave Sidwell, Iowa City
15. Bob Kinsella, Dubuque

Sportsman -

1. Steve Becker, Atkins
2. Bob Jaeger, Dubuque
3. Larry Schulte, Cedar Rapids
4. Gary Duggan, Hiawatha
5. Chuck Lukemyre, Tipton
6. Bernie Frieden, Fairfax
7. Roger Ockenfels, Cedar Rapids
8. John Ward, Bernard

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1974 - Darnell upstages USAC vets for Century win

Bay Darnell is all smiles after winning the Indiana State Century for USAC stock cars at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It was Darnell's first career USAC stock car victory. - Kyle Ealy Collection 

Indianapolis, Ind. (August 25, 1974) - Bay Darnell, a little round man with a big smile, has finally stepped into the winner’s circle after 13 years of trying. 

The 43-year-old driver from Deerfield, Ill., outdueled the top names in U.S. Auto Club stock car racing to win Sunday’s 11th annual Indiana State Fair Century 100-miler and about $4,500. He did it driving the wrong car, heavily taped, because of a broken shoulder and fighting the burden of never having won a feature race in 13 years on the USAC tour. 

Darnell, known as “The Great Pumpkin” because of the bright orange driving suit he wears when racing, said, “I can't even tell you how I felt when I saw the checkered flag out there. There were just too many things to think about.” “I won with a 1974 Dodge and it’s my asphalt (track) car. I totaled out my dirt car and broke my shoulder last week at Springfield, Illinois, and I didn’t even think I’d be here,” Darnell said. 

But he credited a “miracle doctor” with patching him up well enough to go a grueling 100 laps on the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ mile dirt track. The shoulder “didn’t give me any trouble. I didn’t even feel it once we got started. I put this thick padding in back of me in the seat. It was so comfortable. It’s never coming out of there.” 

USAC stock car division leader Norm Nelson finished second, followed by defending USAC stock car champion Butch Hartman and former USAC national driving champion Roger McCluskey. Paul Feldner was fifth. 

The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Darnell started sixth in the 28-car field. Hartman held the lead for the first 44 laps, Nelson kept it until McCluskey look it for one lap while Nelson pitted on lap 69, then Nelson held it again until Darnell took over for good on lap 95. 

Results – 

1. Bay Darnell 
2. Norm Nelson 
3. Butch Hartman 
4. Roger McCluskey 
5. Paul Feldner 
6. John Schultz 
7. Ramo Stott 
8. Rick O’ Brien 
9. Frank Freda 
10. Ralph Latham 
11. Sal Tovella 
12. George Coonrod 
13. Ernie Derr 
14. Steve Drake 
15. Paul Sizemore 
16. Joe Booher 
17. Mickey Flora 
18. Keith Ploughe 
19. Chuck McWilliams 
20. Ralph Baker 
21. Jim Marshall 
22. Bob Schippers 
23. Don Lamb 
24. Ken Rowley 
25. Larry Cope 
26. Jigger Sirois 
27. M.J. McBride 
28. Jim Hurlburt

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This Week in History - Springfield Mile

1994 – Bob Hill was ready to settle for second place in the Allen Crowe Memorial 100 when leader Bob Keselowski ran out of fuel with a lap and a half remaining, leaving Hill to drive to the ARCA Supercar Series victory, Sunday, August 21, on the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt mile. Keselowski inherited the lead from Gary Bradberry when a lap 75 accident took out the leader. Keselowski roared out to a 10-car length advantage until his Chrysler lurched and started to fall backwards on the backstretch, allowing Hill to blast by for the lead and win by three-car lengths over Bobby Bowsher. “I guess my biggest reaction is surprise,” Hill responded after being asked how he felt about his first career ARCA Supercar Series win.

1988 – Steve Chassey grabbed the lead on round 95 and went on to win the USAC Silver Crown Series’ Tony Bettenhausen 100, Saturday, August 20, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Kenny Jacobs paced the first 73 laps of the event before Jack Hewitt charged in front on very next circuit. Hewitt remained on top for the next 16 laps before Andy Hillenburg took command. Hillenburg’s reign lasted only five laps before Chassey surged ahead to stay. Chassey took the checkers ahead of Gary Bettenhausen, Bruce Field, Hillenburg and Steve Butler.

1983 – Gary Bettenhausen overcame 101-degree temperatures to score a wire-to-wire victory in the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100-mile USAC Silver Crown event at the Springfield Mile on August 20. Steve Chassey earned the pole position with a record 31.932 second (120.740 mph) tour of the dirt oval. However, Bettenhausen, who started alongside Chassey on the front row, bolted into the lead on the opening round and never relinquished the top spot. At one point, he held a 12-second advantage, only to have a late caution allow his competition to close the gap. Bettenhausen went on to finish three seconds ahead of runner-up Ron Shuman. Ken Schrader, Larry Rice and Chuck Gurney rounded out the top five finishers.

1977 – Larry Rice scored his first career victory in USAC’s Championship Dirt division, Saturday afternoon, August 20, by capturing the Tony Bettenhausen 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Pole-sitter Thad Dosher, Johnny Parsons and Jackie Howerton each took a turn at the top spot early in the event before misfortune sent all of them to the infield for the day, allowing Rice to inherit the top spot. Rice, who won the USAC midget driving crown in 1973, took the checkered ahead of Sheldon Kinser, Bill Engelhart, James McElreath and Chuck Gurney.

Friday, August 19, 2011

1980 - Olivero gambles; Carter wins Tony Bettenhausen 100

Pancho Carter 

Springfield, Ill. (August 19, 1980) – Bobby Olivero gambled on his tires - and lost. Pancho Carter gambled on the track - and won the USAC Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 dirt car race.

Carter gambled that the little-used ruts high on the track’s final turn would give him the edge, and shot past Olivero on the last lap to Tuesday's accident-marred, rain-plagued race.

“I took a gamble and ran up there. I was faster up there. It paid off,” said Carter, 30, of Brownsburg, Ind. “I knew Bobby had changed to softer tires, and they were blistering. I could afford to get my tires hotter up high in the ruts.”

The race was stopped for about 40 minutes after a spectacular, three car pileup on the 74th lap sent three drivers to a local hospital, two of them just for observation.

“All three were conscious and doing fine,” officials said. Bill Puterbaugh of Speedway, Ind., had the most serious injuries. Memorial Medical Center officials were working Tuesday night to determine if he had suffered fractures in a hand and shoulder.

Robert Smith, of Gibsonton, Fla., suffered a sprained shoulder, USAC officials said. Mack McClellan was doused with fuel when his car’s tank burst and was being held for observation.

All three cars were flipped upside down and heavily damaged in the crash. USAC observer Carl McCormack said Puterbaugh's car apparently slowed, and the other two drivers plowed into him.

“Man, those others hit him, and they all just started flipping,” said McCormack.

Olivero, the defending race champion, took advantage of the red flag to change to softer tires to increase his car's traction and speed. He knew he was gambling that they would last the final 26 laps in the muggy, 95-degree heat.

“The tires started blistering on the last lap, and that slowed me down,” said Olivero. “It was a gamble on our part. It would have worked if the race had been two laps shorter."

Carter had led only two laps before his finale. Pole-sitter Larry Rice, of Brownsburg, Ind., led through lap 18 and blew an engine. Tom Bigelow led from the 19th lap until his drive shaft broke only moments after the three-car pileup. Olivero then took command. Rich Vogler of Indianapolis finished third.

Twenty-eight cars started the race, but only six finished in the oppressive heat. “Hot days do add to the attrition rate,” said Carter.

The race originally was scheduled for Saturday during the Illinois State Fair, but was rained out. It was washed out again Monday

Carter’s victory was worth $7,140 and gave him an early lead in the USAC Dirt Car standings.

Results –

1. Pancho Carter
2. Bobby Olivero
3. Rich Vogler
4. Joe Saldana
5. Bill Tyler
6. Jan Opperman
7. Gary Irvin
8. Lennie Waldo
9. Tom Bigelow
10. Bill Puterbaugh
11. Mack McClelland
12. Robert Smith
13. Tony Weyant
14. Larry Rice
15. Billy Vukovich
16. Larry Dickson
17. Duke Cook
18. Gary Bettenhausen
19. Dean Shirley
20. Jerry Miller
21. Jack Hewitt
22. George Snider
23. Bill Burks Jr.
24. Gary Hieber
25. Steve Chassey
26. Frankie Schneider
27. Steve Cannon
28. Sheldon Kinser

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1988 - Vogler sizzles at Kokomo

Rich Vogler - Gene Marderness Photo

Kokomo, Ind. (August 17, 1988) - Rich Vogler, driving the No. 11 Wilke Racing-TruCut Sanding Discs-Cosworth, set a scorching pace to capture the 40-lap Jolly Rancher Candies-USAC Midget feature race Wednesday night at the Kokomo Speedway.

It took a single-file lineup to get the race under way after two red flag incidents stopped the race before a single lap was completed. Both mishaps occurred approaching the first turn.

Kevin Doty, who started on the pole, and Peru's Russ Gamester, who started on the outside of the front row, collided with Gamester coming to rest against the wall. Neither driver was injured and Vogler, who started on the outside of the third row, sustained a flat tire during the accident which brought out the first red flag.

On the attempted restart, Mel Kenyon flipped going into turn one, and Jim Keeker hit Kenyon's car while in the air. A seven-car pileup resulted to halt the race. The other cars involved included Tony Elliott, Roger McCluskey Jr., Dean Billings, Kurt Mayhew and Bill Luse.

No one was injured with only the cars of Keeker and Kenyon unable to continue the race. That spoiled Kenyon's chance to collect the $200 bonus which promoter Bill Lipkey had posted if a driver was able to win both feature events in the two-race series which started Tuesday at Fort Wayne's Baer Field Raceway.

In the meantime, Gamester's crew was able to repair his car in the infield, and he was able to get back in the race at the rear of the single-file restart.

Doty led the first lap, but Vogler got past him in the backstretch coming out of turn two and led the rest of the way to pick up his 118th career USAC feature triumph in impressive fashion.

It was Vogler's night. He was fast qualifier with a clocking of 16.962 seconds on a heavy track. The veteran Indianapolis hotshoe won the first eight-lap heat race with a USAC record time of 2:14.68, breaking his old mark of 2:21 set at Kokomo in 1978, then won the feature, lapping all but four cars in the process.

Vogler, who leads the USAC National point’s race, won by more than a straightaway, followed by Doty, Terry Wente, Kevin Olson and Gamester, the only cars still on the lead lap. Rounding out the top 10 were Allan Barr, McCluskey, Jim Hines, Mayhew and Billings.

Vogler started at the rear of the seven-car first heat which Hines led on the first lap. Johnny Parsons and Vogler got past Hines on the second circuit. Parsons broke a cam-shaft and stalled in turn four after three laps, and Vogler took the lead and pulled away to a full-straightaway, record-setting victory.

Warsaw's Elliott, a winner of five sprint features here this season, led the first five laps of the second heat before Kenyon slipped past on the sixth circuit. Kenyon held off Elliott and Gamester in a close finish.

In the third heat, McCluskey led the first six laps with Doty challenging him on every lap. Doty grabbed the lead on lap seven and held on to win the race.

Keeker led all 10 laps and won by half a straightaway to capture the B-Main semi-feature.

Results –

1. Rich Vogler
2. Kevin Doty
3. Terry Wente
4. Kevin Olson
5. Russ Gamester
6. Allan Barr
7. Roger McCluskey Jr.
8. Jim Mines
9. Kurt Mayhew
10. Dean Billings
11. Tom Hayworth
12. Steve Parks
13. Pepi Marchese
14. Steve Thinnes
15. Tony Elliot
16. Bill Luse
17. Jim Keeker
18. Mel Kenyon
19. Gordy Ward

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1976 - Clay County Fair features top Midwest racing program

Spencer, Iowa (August 16, 1976) - Gene Van Winkle, president of National Speedways Inc., in conjuncture with Miles Johnson, secretary of the Clay County Fair is pleased to announce a full slate of racing for the 1976 installment of the fair.

Racing on the half-mile dirt oval will begin with an International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) sanctioned new model stock car race for cars 1969-1976. This afternoon racing program is scheduled for Saturday, September 11. The program will consist of time trials, two heat races and culminate in a 100-lap feature main event.

Sunday, September 12, is reserved for the modified stock cars. The field, limited to the first 60 entries, will compete in the first leg of the Tri-State Modified Championships. There will be qualifying heat races, a B-feature, and a main event.

On the following Friday afternoon, the field of IMCA sprint cars comes to the track for their particular brand of action racing. Currently, at least five drivers have a good shot at the 1976 division championship title. Those drivers are Sonny Smyser of Glenwood, Mo.; Ralph Parkinson Sr. of Kansas City, Mo.; Gary Scott, of Holt's Summit, Mo.; defending champion of the past two years, Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo.; and for loyal Iowans, Ralph Blackett of Des Moines.

Drivers will compete in a seven-event program to include time trials, qualifying heat races, an STP trophy dash, a consolation, and a 30-lap feature.

Closing out the fair's racing program is the senior Tri-State Modified Championships on Saturday afternoon, September 18. Again the program will consist of heats, B-feature, a main event that will determine the Tri-State Modified champion.

National Speedways Inc. will officiate at all the racing programs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

This Week in History - Knoxville Nationals

1984 – Doug Wolfgang of Sioux Falls, S.D., became only the third three-time winner of the Knoxville Nationals as he guided the Bob Weikert #29 to a popular victory on Saturday night, August 12. Wolfgang collected a record $20,000 plus contingencies for the 30-lap run. Sammy Swindell of Bartlett, Tenn., grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and looked strong in the early laps but Wolfgang soon caught the leader and put a slide job on Swindell in turns three and four on the lap 10 to take the lead for good. Steve Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., the 1983 Knoxville champ, also passed Swindell and would earn a runner-up spot. Swindell, who admitted after the race that he had chosen the wrong tire compound, settled for third. Thursday night preliminary winner, Brad Doty of Kittanning, Pa., finished fourth and Jeff Swindell of Memphis, Tenn., rounded out the top five.

1978 – Doug Wolfgang of Lincoln, Neb., driving Bill Smith’s Speedway Motor Chevrolet, won the 30-lap Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday, August 12, leading all the way from his outside starting position. An overflow crowd watched as Steve Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., challenged Wolfgang throughout the contest but had to be content with a second place finish. Pre-race favorite Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., driving the Max Rogers Chevy, took third while Shane Carson of Oklahoma City, Okla., drove the Bob Trostle sprinter to a fourth place showing. Danny Smith of Danville, Ill., completed the top five. Pole sitter Sammy Swindell of West Memphis, Tenn., was the hard luck story of the event, tearing out a rear end gear on the first lap of the feature.

1972 – Kenny Weld of York, Pa., won his third career National Supermodified Championship at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa on August 12, leading all but two circuits of the 30-lap feature. Weld, who also won the event in 1964 and 1965, led the first four laps before relinquishing the top spot to Billy Shuman of Tempe, Ariz. Shuman would lead laps five and six until Weld regained it for good and beat Shuman by nearly one-half lap on the ½-mile dirt oval. Weld, who also won the second heat said, “I just forgot what I was doing when Shuman slipped around me. But I figured I didn’t come all the way here to take second.” Shuman and Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., dueled for the second spot throughout the remainder of the race.

Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., won the 1967 Knoxville National Super Modified Championhips on August 12, 1967.

1967 – Veteran Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., captured the National Supermodified Championships at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa, on August 12 in accident-marred evening that claimed one driver’s life. Dosher gained the lead on lap 13 when pole sitter Joe Saldana of Lincoln, Neb., spun out and hit the fence of the 25-lap feature. Bob Williams of Kansas City, Mo., threatened Dosher during the final eight laps but could never claim the top spot and settled for second. Larry Cannon of Danville, Ill., Jerry Weld of Kansas City, Mo., and Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., rounded out the top five finishers. Two-time Nationals’ winner Ken Weld, Kansas City, Mo., hit the fence during the fifth lap and did not finish the race. A third accident in the championship event sent Hank Smith, Mount Ayr, Iowa, to the hospital with what were believed to be minor injuries. Dan Krueger of Kansas City, Mo., was fatally injured when his car collided with Stan Borofsky of Grandview, Mo., on the second lap of the consolation race.

Friday, August 12, 2011

1951 - Thompson wins Detroit Grand National 250-miler

Tommy Thompson is all smiles in victory lane after winning the 250-mile NASCAR Grand National race at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Detroit, Mich. (August 12, 1951) – Tommy Thompson of Louisville, Ky., drove his 1951 Plymouth to victory yesterday in the 250-mile NASCAR Grand National anniversary stock car race at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

The race came down to Thompson battling with Curtis Turner. With 25 laps left in the event, Turner attempted a slide job and the two collided spinning into the track’s wooden retaining wall. Joe Eubanks of Spartansburg, S.C., driving a 1950 Oldsmobile 88, grabbed the lead while the two struggled to recover from the crash. Eubanks however appeared to be unaware that he was leading and continued driving at a very conservative pace. Thompson recovered and ran down Eubanks. Turner’s 1951 Oldsmobile retired from the race with a damaged radiator.

Thompson passed Eubanks for the lead with seven laps remaining. He established a 37 second lead in the remaining laps for his first win in the NASCAR Grand National Division and was awarded $5,000 prize money.

A field of 54 cars started the four hour grind on the 1-mile dirt track. Thompson covered the distance in 4 hours, 21 minutes and 28 seconds, beating out Eubanks by 37 seconds at the finish.

Johnny Mantz of Long Beach, Calif., driving a 1951 Nash Ambassador, was third. Red Byron of Atlanta, Ga., in a 1950 Ford “6” was fourth and Paul Newkirk of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was fifth in a 1951 Nash Ambassador.

Marshall Teague of Daytona, Fla., who had the pole position at the start of the 250-mile race, didn’t finish in the money as engine trouble forced him out midway through the race.

Results –

1. Tommy Thompson
2. Joe Eubanks
3. Johnny Mantz
4. Red Byron
5. Paul Newkirk
6. Jack Goodwin
7. Lloyd Moore
8. Ewell Weddle
9. Curtis Turner
10. Erick Erickson
11. Bill Majot
12. Jim Feibelkorn
13. Lee Petty
14. Lou Figaro
15. Bob Myers
16. Jim Paschal
17. Tim Flock
18. Bob Jeffries
19. John McGinley
20. Bob Flock
21. Les Snow
22. Iggy Katona
23. Dell Pearson
24. Bob Prince
25. Bobby Myers
26. Oda Greene
27. John Barker
28. Ray Duhigg
29. Jack White
30. Danny Letner
31. Walt Flanders
32. Bill Carden
33. Marshall Teague
34. George Seeger
35. Fonty Flock
36. Bob Greer
37. Jack Smith
38. Billy Myers
39.Tom Suligoy
40. Al Miller

Thursday, August 11, 2011

1951 - Stock Car Race Featured Sunday at Wausau Track

Wausau, Wis. (August 10, 1951) – A field of over 25 cars and drivers will begin qualifying for the late model 100-lap stock car marathon, which will climax the 1951 Wisconsin Valley Fair here Sunday afternoon.

Time trials will start at noon, then officials of the International Motor Contest Association will pare the starting field down to the 20 fastest qualifiers and numbers will be assigned to cars according to the way they qualified. An elaborate scoring system has been set up to keep the spectators informed just what lap each car is on.

Herschel Buchanan of Shreveport, La., the 1950 IMCA stock car national champion and winner of 15 one hundred mile races is a top-heavy favorite to capture the long grind in his 1951 Nash coupe.

Grinnell, Iowa’s Eddie Anderson, last year’s Iowa state champion and winner of three 100-mile races will have a heavy backing to win with a 1951 Chrysler. Dudley Froy of Tucson, Arizona is considered the “dark horse” entry with a 1949 Plymouth that carried him to important wins in the Southwest. Bob Dugan will carry the colors of Florida when the Tampa throttle- jockey faces the starter in his fast Plymouth coupe.

Wisconsin will be well represented in the field that will be shooting for a piece of the $2,000 prize money. Heading the home state contingent will be Bill Johnson, well known midget star from Oconomowoc, who won the 50-lap mid-season championship at State Fair Park last week.

Other Wisconsin entrants are Dick Kurth of Wausau, Whitey Trader of Appleton, and Milton Shave of Wausau.

Monday, August 8, 2011

1958 - Top Four Drivers to Race in Fair 100-Miler Saturday

Mason City, Iowa (August 8, 1958) - Being a sports fan doesn't necessarily mean you like racing.

But if you are a speed fan, or maybe just curious, the place to be is at the North Iowa Fairgrounds, Saturday afternoon, for the late model 100-mile stock car race.

The reason?

Simply, that the field of entries is big with the best in the business bidding to be top dog in an event that combines skill and endurance. They'll be circling 200 laps in an event that should last for than two hours, a little less

The field of driver’s numbers 22. Included are Ernie Derr, Don White and Johnny Beauchamp, all former champions of the International Motor Contest Association; Beauchamp, from Harlan, has been the king the past two seasons. Yet he's only fourth in the current point standings.

Holding the No. 1 spot is White and in the No. 2 position is Derr. Both are from Keokuk. In the No. 3 position - and also slated to run in Mason City is Bob Burdick of Omaha.

A lot of money hangs on the race. Promoter Al Sweeney figures a prize pot of about $2,000. The winner will receive $400 and an additional $25 if he is among the 20 fastest qualifiers. That figures out to about $2 for each trip around the half -mile oval at the North Iowa fairgrounds.

Time trials for the big race start at one o'clock and the 100-miler is slated to begin at two o'clock. The trials are important because fast time insures a place near the front of the field.

Driving skill and speed can help a driver move up in the field but it's a rough deal to work up from the tail end to the front of the pack.

A late model stock race was held at the fairgrounds in June, also operated by National Speedways, Inc. Burdick, only 23 years old, was the winner of the 25-mile feature before an estimated crowd of 4,000. That attendance is expected to be surpassed this Saturday.

Beauchamp has been the winner at the last two North Iowa Fairs in Mason City with the race a year ago cut to 101 laps. Much work has been done on the track since a year ago and it's reported to be in top shape.

White was the winner of the feature race at Oskaloosa on Wednesday night. A newcomer to watch will be Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., second at Oskaloosa and third at Donnellson in recent races. He recently joined National Speedways to get in more racing dates. Last year he raced on the circuit for United States Auto Club and was the point leader for the season.

The track’s late model stock records for racing at the fairgrounds are held by Beauchamp. His time trial run of 29.81 seconds in 1957 for a half-mile is one mark and his time of 1:51.20 in 1956 for 100 miles is the other.

Sunday will be another big racing day at the fair as speedway races are slated in the afternoon. Bob Grim, the I.M.C.A. champ, will be headlining the field. However, he never has won a race in Mason City.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame 2011 inductees

Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame, Class of 2011 (l-r) Buzz Rose, Don Hiscocks, Bud Fair and Stan Reidel

IMCA sprint car driver and now author, Buzz Rose

Fairboard member Rick Klein accepts for the late, great Emory Collins

Don Hiscocks acknowledges the crowd as Stan Reidel looks on.

Bud Fair

August 7, 1953

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This Week in History

1994 – Kevin Doty of Milan, Ill., scored a convincing victory in the 17th annual Miller Genuine Draft Belleville Midget Nationals, Saturday August 6th on the Belleville High Banks and took home the $10,000 first place payoff. Doty, who set a new track record in Friday night qualifying and then locked himself into the main event with a second place showing, blasted by Donnie Beechler on the cushion off of turn four on lap 10 and pulled away to a 10 car length lead. Beechler’s night ended on lap 25 with a broken rear end. Steve Knepper finished second, followed by Tommie Estes Jr., Jason Jonkman and Jerry Coons Jr.

1988 – Steve Knepper scored the biggest win of his career Saturday, August 6th by winning the 40-lap Belleville Midget Nationals feature at the Belleville High Banks. Knepper collected $6,500 of a $34,000 purse. Knepper jumped to the lead followed closely by Randy Roberts. The duo pulled away from the field and battled for the top spot. By the 10th trip Knepper had increased his lead on the half-mile and won by six car lengths at the finish. Roberts, Dan Boorse, Chuck Gurney and Robby Flock rounded out the top five finishers.

1983 – Bob Senneker won the ASA Silver Creek Racing Series-sanctioned Redbud 400 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway by .6 of one second over Rusty Wallace before a record crowd of 11,312, on Saturday, August 6. In patent Senneker style, the Michigan ace measured the front-runners for the first half of the race then applied pressure in the latter stages. Senneker got around Wallace on lap 366 and by the narrowest of margins, took the checkers for the second straight year. Third place finisher Dick Trickle would be the only other driver to finish on the lead lap. Butch Miller (1 lap down) and Bob Strait (2 laps down) would round out the top five.

1977 – Twenty-two year old Scott Hansen of Green Bay, Wis., came through with the first victory of his blossoming three-year late model career on Saturday, August 5, by winning the 50-lap Midwest Open championship at the $1,000 first prize at Luxemburg (Wis.) Speedway. Hansen, driving a 1973 Camaro, started on the outside of fellow townsman Roger Perrot in the front row. Hansen looked at the back end of Perrot’s 1969 Camaro for 31 laps before he and J.J. Smith of Appleton, Wis., finally slipped by when Perrot went high in turn two. Smith dogged Hansen for the final 19 laps waiting for the youngster to make a mistake but Hansen drove a flawless rest of the race on the third-mile clay track. Smith, Perrot, Larry Ninneman of Milwaukee and Jerry Smith of Medina, Wis., rounded out the top five.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

1951 - 28 Stock Car Drivers to Vie At Raceway Park

Chicago, Illinois (August 3, 1951) - Twenty-eight stock car drivers will compete Wednesday in the 100-lap midseason stock car championship race at Raceway Park. The race will be the third 100-lapper of this season.

Drivers considered leading contenders in the long race will be Bob Pronger and Bud Koehler of Blue Island, Jerry Cannon and Bill Cornwall of Harvey, Henry Smith of Chicago Heights and Bob Button of Midlothian. Other top contenders expected will include Don O'Dell and Tony Saylor of Toiler, Hal Ruyle of St. Louis, Bill Van Allen, Charley Johnson, Eddy Anderson and John Slowiak of Chicago.

Last week on Wednesday, Bud Koehler won his second consecutive stock car feature race, his third of the season, as he became the first driver to start 24th in the feature, work his way up in 30 laps to the lead and hold it until starter Tom Plouzek waved the checkered flag.

Harvey Sheeler of Chicago took an early lead and held it until the 26th lap when Koehler passed him for the lead. The Ford team won the team battles in two straight heats over the Packard’s. Tony Bigelow, Don Oldenberg, and Henry Smith drove for the Fords against Fred Jarvis, Mike Kelja and Richard Ex. Rich Sutkus set a new track record in the first heat, Bill Brown, the Marine on leave, won the second heat and Bob Pronger and Charley Johnson won the other two elimination races.

Friday the stock car races were postponed because of rain. Saturday a record number of midget cars and drivers competed in the time trials. Fifty-two drivers sought the 21 starting places in the two feature races.

Ed Yaeger of Indianapolis, the 1949 Indiana champion, made his first appearance at Raceway, winning the 25-lap class B feature over Larry Johnson of Chicago, Jim Bender of Des Plaines, Wally Johnson of Chicago and George Van of Oak Lawn.

Hank Nykaza of East Chicago Heights won the Class A feature over 10 other Offies and a fast Ford. Ray Lankheim of Chicago held off the bids of Bud Koehler who started in the last row and Rick Kerr of Floral Park, N. Y., the driver of the Ford midget. In the three-car finish for second, Lankheim kept in front and Koehler edged Kerr out by inches. Ernie Zartler of Chicago was fifth and Harlan Hunt, sixth.

Bob Pronger, making his debut in a midget, won the consolation race of 10 laps while the car driven by Rich Irvine caught fire. Kerr won the handicap race and the first heat. Howie Bradshaw of Milwaukee, Nykaza and Yaeger won the other three heats.

In a three-car finish on Sunday night, Charley Johnson of Chicago won his second stock car feature race of the season, edging out Red Duvall of Hammond and Tom Cox of Chicago. John Slowiak, Chicago, Bob Button of Midlothian and Larry Farr of Chicago were fourth to sixth.

The race was restarted after a five-car crash in which Koehler suffered damage to his car that put it out, spoiling his chance to become the first driver to win three consecutive races. Gary Doudnman of Roseland took an early lead, but lost out to Eddy Anderson who held the lead until the 16th lap when Johnson forged ahead. Milton Kors spun and was hit by Rich Irvine, Bob Pronger, Bill Van Allen, Rich Sutkus and Bob Meyers. Don O'Dell then went into the pits and Tony Saylor hit the wall, blowing out a tire. Bob Halston and later Bob Pronger went into wild spins as they both experienced mechanical difficulties.

Bill Cornwall of Harvey suffered a wrenched back and was dazed after his car flipped into the air during the fourth race, which was restarted four times as hectic accidents littered the track with damaged cars.

Monday, August 1, 2011

1982 - Steve Kinser wins Outlaw "Kokomo Kaper 50"

Kokomo, Ind. (August 1, 1982) - Steve Kinser of Bloomington won the 50-lap World of Outlaws feature race at the Kokomo Speedway Tuesday night, beating out his father, Bobby Kinser of Bedford, who finished second.

Bobby Adkins of Indianapolis finished third with Fred Linder of Fremont, Ohio, fourth and Dick Gaines of Mitchell fifth. Butch Wilkerson of Columbus took the sixth position with Doug Wolfgang of Lincoln, Neb., in the seventh spot and Rick Ferkel of Fostoria, Ohio, eighth, Allen Barr of Seymour in the ninth spot and Randy Kinser of Bloomington 10th.

Bobby Kinser, who was the fastest qualifier, won the first heat with Jack Hewitt of Troy, Ohio, second, Ferkel third and Adkins fourth.

The second heat was won by Steve Kinser with Leland McSpadden of Tempe, Ariz., second, Barr third and Gary Patterson of Sacramento, Calif., fourth.

Ed Angle of Flora captured the third heat with Kerry Norris of Columbus second, Bob Christian of Clayton third and John Beaber of Gibsonburg, Ohio, fourth.

The fourth heat was won by Wolfgang with Gaines second, Ron Shuman of Tempe, Ariz., third and Randy Kinser fourth.

Shuman won the trophy dash with Wilkerson second and Kenny Jacobs of Orville, Ohio, third. Wilkerson won the semi-final with Linder second, Mark Caldwell of Bunker Hill third and Jacobs fourth.

All in all, it was an excellent sprint car program and viewed by a large crowd. Without a doubt, the Outlaws will make a repeat performance next season. And without a doubt, the drivers who run each Sunday night in the sprint car division at the local oval showed they could run with the best of them.