Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1952 - Winkley leads nation in staging speed events in ‘52

Mason City, Iowa (August 8, 1952) - Auto Racing, Inc., of Minneapolis, the organization that will manage automobile races at more county and state fairs in America than any other speed sport group, has just finished its most successful still date season.

Under the guidance of Frank H. Winkley, general manager, and his able wife, Verna, some 30 racing events were presented from April 6 through the middle of July.

These race meets were late model stock car events and speedway type big car meets. Distances of the stock car events ranged from sprint programs to a 250-lap tilt in Oklahoma City on June 8.

Attendance for these meets averaged better than a 3,500 per meet. Events were held in 7 different states, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, and South Dakota.

Stock car racing competition has been very close. At present, half a dozen well known drivers are dueling for top position in the International Motor Contest Association standings.

The most likely to land among the first five at season’s end are Jimmy Clark, Fort Worth, Tex., Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan., Ralph Dyer, Shreveport, La., Bob Dugan, Tampa, Fla., and Shorty Perlick, Minneapolis, Minn. Perlick, Dyer and Clark drive Oldsmobiles, Harrison wheels a spanking new Desoto Fire-Domo and Dugan has a Plymouth.

Dyer, a motorcycle policeman in the off-season, established new records for the 50-lap and 100-lap distances at Shreveport on June 29.

He turned 50 laps in 26 minutes and 1.7 seconds and 100 laps in 55 minutes and eight-tenths of a second. On that clay, Ralph was only 20 one-hundredth of a second short of the IMCA half-mile record with his time trial of 31.9 seconds.

A newcomer has blazed into the scene in speedway-type races. He is little Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla. Pete started fans buzzing when he defeated fumed Deb Snyder on May 4 at Shreveport with his powerful Buckner Offenhauser.

The “Buckeye Bullet” Snyder, who is from Kent, Ohio, appears to be the hottest driver in many a season after losing only three times in feature events this season. He’s competing in his power-packed Miracle Power Offenhauser.

Two of Snyder's defeats came at the hands of Folse who repeated his Louisiana victory on May 30 at the famous Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Snyder had his revenge, however, on July 4th at the same track.

He caught it just to his liking and buzzed to a new IMCA track record of 23.25 seconds for the half-mile. Snyder is ranking favorite to win the national dirt track championship in 1952. Folse is accorded the best chance for runner-up spot.

Bert Hellmueller, the Kentucky Colonel from Louisville, had early season hard luck and failed to get his big Ranger percolating properly on seven straight race meets. He broke the jinx on Independence Day, and knocked off third place in the feature behind Snyder and Folse. His year had started off with wallop at Tampa in January, when he was responsible for Snyder's only other defeat.

Clair Cotter has been his usual front-running self. The Austin, Minn., chauffeur is sitting in third place, a notch ahead of his 1951 finish.

A new race car which has been three years in the building made its debut in July. Called the Lake Ranger and valued at $10,000 by builder Arling Lake of St. Paul, it promises to perform well at upcoming meets. Bob Johnson of St. Paul has been named to drive this 440-horsepower monster.

With all this news, most of it good, Winkley is enthusiastic about Auto Racing, Inc., prospects this year.

“We have the finest bunch of cars and drivers that we have ever had, said the veteran race manager Winkley. “Believe me, our race meets are being run in smoother fashion, tracks are in stellar shape and competition is exceptionally keen.” He adds, “Spectators are getting more than their money's worth, I look for the biggest fair season in history and the best did track racing in memory.”

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