Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 14, 1950) - Competition a plenty for the silver anniversary of racing this afternoon at Hawkeye Downs was assured Saturday with the announcement that the entry list of midget drivers had reached 26.
“It’s one of the fastest fields we’ve ever had for an early season race and post entries could boost the total to 30 cars,” Manager John B. Gerber of the Midwest Midget Auto Racing Association declared.
Time trials will start at 12:30 with the first race at 2 p.m. The program will climax with the 20-lap feature on the new quarter-mile oval at the Downs.
“Only a heavy rain at race time or a visit from the sheriff will prevent the race,” Gerber said Saturday after a final inspection of the new track.”
The Downs has been plagued this week with court action and threats of injunctions to halt today's race meet.
Special ceremonies will highlight the 25th anniversary of racing celebration. Invitations have been sent to more than 20 old-time racing enthusiasts who were active in the early days of speed competition at Hawkeye Downs.
Harry Yonkers of Cedar Rapids, who managed the first races at Hawkeye Downs and also served as starter for races throughout the Midwest and East, will be honorary starter today,
Yonkers has dropped the flag on such dirt track luminaries as the late Gus Schrader, Gerber, who will be in charge of today's competition, Mauri Rose, Emory Collins and others.
Yonkers started the first race at Hawkeye Downs, then Frontier Park, and will drop the flag for the inaugural event on the new quarter-mile track today.
Driving in the “man to beat” role today will be Dick Ritchie of Cedar Rapids, defending champion MMARA driver. Ritchie won the heat race and the feature at the 1950 opener in Davenport last week.
Eastern Iowa will be heavily represented today with cars and drivers from Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Tipton, Ottumwa, Alta, Lowden, Columbus Junction, Calamus and Stanwood.
Four Cedar Rapids drivers, in addition to Ritchie, are expected to be in the center of things. They are Bill Sallow, Red Hoyle, Paul Newkirk and Willard Yates. George Miller of Cedar Rapids also is expected to enter the new #77 he built last winter.
Other eastern Iowa drivers will be Bob Earl of Stanwood, Dick Cox of Tipton, Eddie Critchlow of Ottumwa, Bill Murphy of Alta and Lloyd Thurston of Waterloo,
Outside competition will come from Red Boscher of Chicago, one of the top drivers in the United Racing Association. Other well known MMARA drivers include Tony Russo of Racine, Wis.; Ray Hall of Erie, Ill.; Vic Ellis of Rockton, Ill.; Jerry Draper of Carbon Cliff, Ill.; Jerry Bein of LeClaire, Iowa; and Jim Summers of Kansas City.
Two newcomers to the circuit are Cliff Albaugh of Council Bluffs, driving Bill Barbour's #60, and Der Merkley of Omaha, driving the Art Jacobson’s #33, which was piloted last year by Red Hoyle.
Adding color to the silver anniversary will be the Cedar Rapids boys drum and bugle corps, winner of several state, national and international championships, which will stage maneuvers between the time trials and the first race.
Tait Cummins, WMT sports director, will be at the public address microphone.
The entry list includes:
Jimmy Summers, Kansas City
Tony Russo, Racine, Wis.
Eddie Koslow, Chicago
Ray Hall, Kansas City
Clyde Skinner, Omaha
Bob Earl, Cedar Rapids
Dick Cox, Tipton
Red Bosher, Chicago
Bill Sallow, Cedar Rapids
Red Hoyle, Cedar Rapids
Der Merkley, Omaha
Paul Newkirk, Cedar Rapids
Eddie Critchlow, Ottumwa
Bill Murphy, Alta
Dick Ritchie, Cedar Rapids
Vic Ellis, Rockton, Ill.
Lloyd Brown, Chadwick, Ill.
Lloyd Thurston, Waterloo
Jimmie Wooten, Dallas, Tex.
Jerry Draper, Carbon Cliff, Ill.
Cliff Albaugh, Council Bluffs
Don Rose, Davenport
Bobby Parker, Omaha
Jerry Bein, Silvis, Ill.
Willard Yates, Cedar Rapids