Terre Haute, Ind. (July 16, 1961) - Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla., two-time national driving champion, led all the way in winning the International Motor Contest Association's 30-lap Hoosier Sweepstakes yesterday at the Vigo County Fairgrounds.
Al Sweeney and his National Speedways Inc., promotion along with 45 of the top sprint car drivers and their machines invaded what was normally USAC territory with an IMCA sprint car program at the fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.
Folse, the outstanding performer in the program, also won the trophy dash, his heat race, and turned in the fastest qualifying lap. His winning time in the feature event was 13 minutes and 2.88 seconds.
In addition to the spray of dirt and the sound of engines there was a touch of beauty at the track. Miss Indiana of 1961, Miss Kathleen Jane Burke of Terre Haute, was on hand to kiss the winner and present the IMCA inaugural trophy.
Folse, handling the controls on his Bardahl Offenhauser Special, owned by Hector Horore, took the lead from his pole position and finished a good seven seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
Cecil Beaver of Bedford, Ind., was second and Buzz Rose of Compton, Calif., finished third in the feature field of 16 drivers. Beaver drove a Chevrolet and Rose an Offenhauser.
Finishing behind the top three in the money were Buzz Barton of Tampa, Fla.; Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill.; Jerry Richert of Forrest Lake, Minn.; Harold Leep of Wichita, Kans.; Johnny Leverenz; Duke Hindahl of Pekin, Ill.; Gerald Daniels of St. Paul, Minn.; Eddie Frese of Quincy, Ill.; and Hershel Wagner of Hickman Mills, Mo.
Only 11 cars finished the race. At stake was a purse valued at better than $3,100 plus accessories and championship points. Folse, who qualified in 24.14 seconds - more than a full second faster than the next best qualifier - blazed from his last place start to head man in the first lap of the first heat race and won going away in 3 minutes and 4.45 seconds. Behind him were Daniels, Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., and Barton.
Each heat race went seven laps. Richert captured the second heat race ahead of Beaver, Wagner and Leverenz in 3 minutes and 4.43 seconds. despite a yellow flag delay when Roger Hegg of Minneapolis crashed into the retaining wall. Hindahl finished in front in the third heat with Knepper, Rose and Jim McElreath also qualifying. Hindahl's time was 3 minutes and 8.35 seconds.
Folse then returned to win the four-car, five-lap trophy dash in 2 minutes and 12.22 seconds. Behind him were Johnny White of Warren, Mich.; Blundy and Leverenz. Leep won the special consolation event of 10 laps which provide fans with the most excitement. Jerry Shumaker of Wichita, Kan.; Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex.; and Johnny Rutherford of Fort Worth, Tex., were runner-ups.
Twenty cars were entered in the consolation event and only 10 finished. Six cars spun on the second lap which caused the red flag to be displayed and a restart ordered. Two more cars were forced to retire after spins on the first lap after the second start. Dale Breedlove of Waco, Tex., added to the action when his Chevrolet caught on fire.
The 3,500 race fans who turned out to view the “invaders” expressed nothing but praise for the handling of the program, which was slowed by a light shower after the consolation. They also gave out high marks for the caliber of drivers competing on the IMCA circuit.
1. Pete Folse
2. Cecil Beavers
3. Buzz Rose
4. Buzz Barton
5. Jerry Blundy
6. Herschel Wagner
7. Arnold Knepper
8. Ray Duckworth
9. Duke Hindahl
10. Harold Leep
11. Jerry Richert
12. Jerry Daniels