Des Moines, Iowa (July 2, 1973) - Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids broke his “300” jinx Wednesday night. Man. how he broke it…
The defending IMCA stock car national champion led from lap 19 and broke three records in the 150-mile Firecracker 300 new-model stock car race at the State Fairgrounds before an estimated 8,000 spectators.
IMCA officials could not recall any of the 16 previous winners so dominating the race.
The grind is rough on race cars and mechanical problems took their toll, putting some top drivers on the sidelines.
Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk - who along with Janey and Mike Derr, also of Keokuk, had been favored - fell out on lap 45. Gordon Blankenship, another Keokuk driver and current IMCA point leader going into the race, went out with transmission problems on the lap 71. He had his 1972 Plymouth Duster in the lead early in the race.
Mike Derr finished second in a 1970 Dodge Charger; Ferris Collier of Lampe, Mo., an up and coming star, captured third and Russ Derr, Mike’s brother, finished fourth.
“I finally did it,” Janey, who operates a body repair shop in Cedar Rapids, said among the blasts of the fireworks following the race. “This is the fifth ‘300’ for me and I’ve been close before to winning it. But something has always happened.”
“About everything worked perfect tonight. The engine was working smoothly and the tires held up. I was out of brakes, but I guess everybody was in that situation.”
He explained that he still had brakes on his car, but he had to pump about seven times to get them to work. He had one close encounter with Collier in turn three on the 109th lap. “It looked like he might lose control,” Janey said. “I slowed down and would have been able to avoid him had he spun out.”
Hutcherson roared out of his front-row starting position into the first lead. Blankenship, driving like he intended to win, took over in the second turn on the first lap. Collier put his yellow and green 1973 Chevelle into the front in turn three on the second lap and was the leader until Janey sped past on lap 19.
Irv had roared to a three-lap advantage over Collier by the 110th circuit. However, that diminished to only one a few minutes later when Janey went in for the first of his two pit stops.
He was in for 1 minute and 9 seconds. Collier gained back two laps and Mike Derr, who had an 84-second pit stop, also closed in.
Mike passed Collier on the 130th lap. From there on it was a cruise for Janey. He finished nearly 1-1/2 laps ahead of Mike. Collier completed 296 laps and Russ Derr 291.
Starter Woody Brinkman used the yellow flag three times - twice because a car being pushed on the track would not start and the third time for Bland Robinson of Des Moines, who lost a wheel. Another car lost a wheel on the final lap.
Janey received $1,100 for winning the race and an additional $200 for appearance money as the IMCA champ.
1. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids
2. Mike Derr, Keokuk
3. Ferris Collier, Lampe, Mo.
4. Russ Derr, Keokuk
5. Gary Brooks, Grand Prairie, Tex.
6. Don Cooper, Sedalia, Mo.
7. Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City
8. Michael Wallis, Gardner, Kan.
9. Larry Harvey, Kansas City
10. Jim Still, Topeka, Kan.
11. Carl VanderWal, Nevada
12. Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo.
13. Larry Snider, Des Moines
14. Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
15. Bland Robinson, Des Moines
16. John Lavin, Topeka, Kan.
17. Tom Frasher, Jefferson City, Mo.
18. Larry Lynch, Garland Tex.
19. Mike Petrucci, St. Paul, Minn.
20. Tom Stewart, Washington