Friday, September 2, 2011

1949 – Dick Ritchie wins midget main at Davenport

Davenport, Iowa (September 2, 1949) – Cedar Rapids’ Dick Ritchie stole the show in the midget races Friday night at the Mississippi Valley amusement park track. Ritchie ran to wins in the main event and second heat and finished second in the, handicap.

A crowd of 4,324 fans turned out for the event and witnessed a spectacular speed duel between Ritchie and Johnny Hobel, also of Cedar Rapids, with Hobel pressing Ritchie all the way.

Starting from the pole position, Ritchie took the lead at the flag and held it to the finish. Hobel pulled up alongside of Ritchie on several occasions, but couldn't get out in front.

The Semi-Main was another closely contested battle, with Tony Russo outrunning Clyde Skinner to take the win. Bill Murphy took third.

A sensational drive from his last starting position in the handicap carried Dick Ritchie to second place, but he couldn't quite overhaul Walt Raines who won the event. Tony Russo took third.

Ritchie won the first heat, catching Joe Gustaf on the sixth lap after Gustaf had taken an early lead, Walt Raines overtook Gustaf on the last lap to take second and Gustaf took third. The second heat was a thriller, with Art Wheeler nosing out Jimmy Summers in a driving finish. Lloyd Thurston took the third heat, passing Phil Lazio on the fifth lap to take the lead. Lazio was second and Vic Ellis third. Ellis took the third spot, catching Yates at the finish line, to win the spot by the narrowest of margins.

Ritchie set the pace in the time trials, turning a 16.50 second lap on the quarter-mile.

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