“Big” Tom Hughes of Monticello and John Connolly of Delhi, both regulars a year ago on The Downs weekly race programs, have cast their lots in a pair of 1964 Fords.
Hughes and Connolly will join some fast company for the International Motor Contest Association event. The best of the national circuit’s drivers, including eight-time champion Ernie Derr, Ramo Stott, Lenny Funk and Ole Brua, will be on hand for the 200-lapper on the high-banked half-mile dirt track.
Add to those the names of local hotshots Verlin Eaker, Darrell Dake, Bill McDonough and Mert Williams and you can see why Sunday’s starting field ranks as one of the all time best for the Hawkeye 200.
Connolly, one of the most popular chauffeurs at The Downs the last few years, had his share of problems last season. After demolishing his Ford in an early season wreck, he had three engines blow on him before the season ended.
Ramo Stott will have his 1968 Plymouth ready for the first time this season when the green flag goes out for the Hawkeye 200.
Stott is seeking his first IMCA point championship after trailing Ernie Derr for the last three years. At present after two events, Ramo holds a slim 15-point edge over Derr, 290 to 275.
The rest of the top 10 includes Paul Feldner 165, Billy Jack Casper 155, Ron Larson 150, Ole Brua 115, Roland Wilson 95, Lenny Funk 85, Karl Stoufer 85 and Butch Hall 80.