Tuesday, October 11, 2011

1963 - Raceway closes for the year

Freeport, Ill. (October 11, 1963) - The Freeport Raceway closed a successful season Sunday when the final racing program of the year was held.

Al Cooper, Dubuque, Iowa, won individual honors by finishing as the top driver of the year. He compiled 211 points to outdistance Pecatonica's Harold Picka who had 163 points in second place.

Six Freeporters ended among the top 15 drivers. Ted Neals was the highest among the group. He finished fourth with 101 points.

Four times during the year a new track was set. Three out of four weeks in succession the record was broken after Picka first set it on June 16. His time then was 28.51. On June 23 Cooper lowered the mark to 27.77 and then on July 7, the Iowan was timed in 27.67. On August 4th, Picka wrestled the record time from Cooper when he was clocked in 27.39.

The track opened on May 5 with a 100-lap late model stock race sponsored by the International Motor Contest Association. This pulled the top drivers in the country.

On July 26, a four-star American Motorcycle Association race was held and on September 1st, the AMA presented a six-star program. The season came to a climax on September 15 when the 5-Mile National AMA race was held. All three-cycle events drew the top racing riders around the country.

The August issue of a prominent racing magazine has a two and one-half page story on the stock car race, which opened the season in May.

The top three drivers, Cooper, Picka and Joe Finn of Stockton, received trophies while the next seven were awarded plaques.

The 15 leading drivers at the Freeport Raceway follows;

1. Al Cooper, Dubuque, Iowa - 211

2. Harold Picka, Pecatonica - 163

3. Joe Finn, Stockton - 147

4. Ted Neals, Freeport - 101

5. Les Koerner, Rockford - 88

6. Del Butler, Nora - 81

7. Bob Mevers, Beloit, Wis. - 74

8. Lee Schmelzer, Freeport - 68

9. Jake Schmoll, Freeport - 54

9. Norm Lorinc, Freeport - 54

11. Bill Schmelzer, Freeport - 49

12. Skip Kennedy, Dubuque, Iowa - 44

13. Don Bresson, Dubuque, Iowa - 28

14. Joe Noeske, Freeport - 26

15. Bob Nesteby, Dubuque, Iowa - 25

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