Thursday, January 12, 2012
1968 - Frank Winkley named new Downs’ race promoter
Winkley, 60, was awarded a one-year contract by the fairboard. He replaces Homer Melton of Rock Island, who governed racing at The Downs for three seasons. Under Winkley, The Downs’ may continue to operate as a regional division of IMCA.
“Wink’ is no stranger to the Cedar Rapids track, having promoted annually for the last several years programs involving late model stocks, midgets, sprints and super stocks.
“I think Cedar Rapids has the finest racing plant in the Midwest,” Wink said. “With the avid racing fans here, I see no reason why this shouldn't be one of the top racing areas in the country.”
“I've been promoting racing for 30 years and I think I understand drivers and fans. The drivers like to make money and race fans want to see racing at its best. We need cars to get the public and when we get the crowds, the drivers will start making money.”
The Downs will continue to operate on Saturday nights. Most of Wink's other promotions’ tentative plans involve Sunday afternoon dates (aside from the fair), so he expects to be at the Cedar Rapids locale two-thirds of the time.
Bernie Carlson of Minneapolis, one of the nation's outstanding flagmen, will serve as starter at the Downs. Carlson was tabbed “the best man I've got on my staff” by Wink and he'll run the show when the latter is absent.
Winkley plans to promote at least one major racing event each month. In fact, the 1968 campaign will get the green flag with the Hawkeye 200 for late model stock cars on April 28. Another major event will be the World 100 for super modifieds on May 30.
Tentative plans call for the regular Saturday night programs to start May 4.