Saturday, September 29, 2012

1973 – Hartman captures Falstaff 100

Butch Hartman accepts his trophy after winning the Falstaff 100

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 29, 1973) - Butch Hartman, the pride of South Zanesville, Ohio, improved his claim to a third national championship by capturing the Falstaff 100 for USAC stock cars Saturday night at Hawkeye Downs.

Hartman put his 1973 Dodge into the lead spot on the opening lap and never was headed, although he had all he could do to hold off the efforts of Ernie Derr of Keokuk for the final five tours on the 1/2-mile dirt track.

Derr's 1972 Dodge was right on Hartman’s rear bumper when the checkered flag was thrown. Less than a second behind Derr was Ramo Stott, driving a 1973 Plymouth.

The victory was the eighth of the season for Hartman who already has wrapped up his third straight driving championship, a feat never before accomplished in USAC stock car history. “One more win will let us tie the record and that’s what we're going after next week," Hartman said moments after the race. The record of nine wins in a season was set by Don While of Keokuk in 1967.

White, who owns the most career wins in USAC history (49), was on hand last night, but he blew an engine during hot laps and was unable to compete.

An estimated 3,000 braved the chilly weather and the threat of rain, which had drenched the track for several days prior to Saturday. The battle at the finish between Hartman and Derr gave them plenty to remember. They (the crowd) were all on their feet when Derr made a move to the outside coming out of turn two on the white flag lap. Derr kissed Hartman’s bumper twice but both were able to maintain control and resume their bumper-to-bumper duel.

Hartman started the feature outside of Stott in the front row. Ramo earned the pole with the top qualifying time of 26.43 seconds. That bested Hartman by only a hundredth of a second. Stott also look the four-lap trophy dash, flashing past Derr on the next to last lap.

Feature results –

1. Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill.
5. Steve Drake, Bloomington, Ill.
6. John Schultz, Appleton, Wis.
7. Terry Ryan, Davenport, Iowa
8. Ray Bolander, New Berlin, Wis.
9. Paul Feldner, Richfield, Wis.
10. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
11. A.J. Moldenhauser, Madison, Wis.
12. John Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

40 Years Ago - National Short Track Championships

Close order racing took place at the 7th annual National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway between Dick Trickle (99) and eventual winner Joe Shear (36). - Vince Mayer Photo

Larry Detjens (125) of Wausau, Wis., passes Danny Ballard (38) of Beloit, Wis., during action at the 1972 National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway. Detjens car was voted "Best Appearing" during the seventh annual event. - Vince Mayer Photo

Steve Arndt of Janesville, Wis., drove his heart out in the 50-lap preliminary feature at the 7th Annual National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway. Arndt's win qualified him for the feature event. - Vince and Dorothy Mayer Photo

Charlie Yelk (71) of Jefferson Wis., spun just as he was being passed by Jerry Peterson (53) of Marseille, Ill., who spun to avoid the accident. Steve Arndt (82) of Janesville, Wis., also spun and rammed into Peterson. Arndt continued to race and went on to win the 50-lap preliminary feature at the 7th annual National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway. - Vince Mayer Photo

The racing action during the 50-lap preliminary feature at the 1972 National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway was hot and heavy as Steve Lance (25) of Mapleton, Ill., Ralph Hutchinson (02) of Beloit, Wis., Don Marmor (50) of River Grove, Ill., Bill Wishard (54) of Rockford and Chuck Chadwick (12) of Lake Zurich, Ill. get tangled up. - B.E. Tappa Photo

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame class of 2013 announced

Darrell Dake

Florence, Ky. - The 2013 induction class of the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame was made prior to the running of the 42nd World 100 at Eldora Speedway. For 2013, voters selected five drivers and three contributors in the class along with the Hall’s annual Sportsman Award.

This year’s group includes Kentucky runner Eddie Carrier Sr., late Iowa legend Darrell Dake, top Arkansas veteran Bill Frye, Indiana driving star John Gill and Minnesota touring pro Willy Kraft. The contributing category includes longtime race director and renowned announcer Bret Emrick, chassis wizard Joe Garrison of GRT Racecars and Southern Late Model sponsor and supporter Jack Starrette. The Hall’s Sportsman Award went to popular Indiana racer Don O’Neal.

Eddie Carrier Sr. of Burgin, Ky., began his career in late models in the late 1960s, which saw him eventually dominate Eastern and Central Kentucky dirt tracks for a number of years. Carrier driving for car owners such as Bobby Paul, Donny House, Bob Miller and others won a number of big events from Ohio to Florida. Now retired, Carrier serves as crew chief for his son, Eddie Jr., who is a top dirt late model competitor.

Darrell Dake racing out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, motored his famous number 8 racers to over 400 wins covering five decades of a sterling career. The veteran Hawkeye racer who passed away in 2007 participated in IMCA, USAC and NASCAR but was King of the Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois dirt track region, earning countless big victories and titles along the way.

Bill Frye

The semi-retired Bill Frye rose to fame piloting the GRT house car to a number of national victories. The Greenbriar, Ark., star is a 5-time MARS series champion, also having won hundreds of victories with other groups such as MLRA, Southern All-Stars, STARS, Hav-a-Tampa, NCRA, SUPR, UMP and others.

John Gill, known as the modern day cowboy, is one of the sport’s most popular figures. In a career that began in 1981, the Hoosier state veteran has driven to over 300 wins and a number of titles including the inaugural UMP Summernationals in 1986 and a pair of UMP National series championships.

Willy Kraft

Lakefield, Minnesota’s Willy Kraft drove to over 350 wins in his familiar famous numbered 83 race cars. Kraft was a national traveling pro on dirt tracks throughout much of the 1980′s and 90′s, winning races from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, to South Dakota to Arizona. He was also the USAC National Late Model driving champion in 1988.

One of the most recognized voices in Dirt Late Model racing, Bret Emrick began his career as a track steward and announcer at Lakeville Ohio Speedway back in 1980. The Ohio native has worked at the mike at a number of America’s speedways and has also served as race and competition director with STARS, UDTRA and the World of Outlaws.

Joe Garrison founded his GRT Race chassis company back in the early 1980s and quickly became one of the top manufacturers of race cars in the business. Through the years the Arkansas car builder’s racers have won from coast to coast and have conquered about every notable Dirt Late Model event and series title in the sport.

Known by many as Mr. Jack, Jack Starrette will be long remembered as the Southern Ambassador to Dirt Late Model racing. The Augusta, Ga., trucking magnate, who passed away back in 2010, was a longtime generous sponsor of dozens of race teams throughout the Southeast.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1988 – Butch Miller Scores Third Straight Win

Butch Miller

Odessa, Mo. (September 25, 1988) – Butch Miller captured his third straight American Speed Association Racing Series event by winning the $62,298 Missouri 300 on the high-banked I-70 Speedway in front of 4,892 fans.

In ASA’s first return to the track since 1986, Miller took the lead on lap 219 when leader Dave Jackson pitted. Miller would go on to win his fifth race of the season by nearly one-half lap over runner-up Dick Trickle.

Miller won $8,175 in money and contingencies and averaged 76.16 miles per hour in his first-ever win at I-70. There were five lead changes among five drivers and 11 cautions for 65 total laps on the .54 mile oval.

“This a tough track but the car ran excellent throughout the whole race,” Miller said as his drive for a second consecutive ASA championship continued. “The car was loose at first but handled tighter as more rubber was being laid on the track.”

Miller extended his series’ point lead to 142 over his closest rival Harold Fair after beginning his three race win streak with only a 33-point margin.

The defending ASA Racing Series champion, who started from the second row for the first time this season, took the lead from Trickle on lap 110 before the first flurry of pit stops occurred and was in third after the second series of pit stops took place on lap 155.

Tony Roper led 32 circuits and Jackson took over for 33 round trips before pitting himself.

Starting from the pole position for only the second time this season, Trickle led the first 104 laps. He would falter badly late in the race with bad tire stagger but still managed to pass all-time ASA winner Bob Senneker for second place with only 28 laps to go.

Veteran Tom Jones trailed Miller, Trickle and Senneker by one lap for his best finish of the season and Jackson posted a career best fifth place showing. The top 10 was rounded out by Raines, Lonnie Rush Jr., Mike Garvey, Ted Musgrave and Fair.

Fair pitted early with power steering failure but still led briefly for 37 laps before pitting on lap 155. Musgrave recovered from trailing by two laps but went six laps off the pace with front-end damage.

Bobby Dotter was running second for the second ASA race in a row and went out with rear-end failure with only 23 laps to go in the contest.

John Wilson finished 12th after starting 26th to earn hard charger honors and Rush was the top finishing rookie.

Results –

1. Butch Miller
2. Dick Trickle
3. Bob Senneker
4. Tom Jones
5. Dave Jackson
6. Tony Raines
7. Lonnie Rush Jr.
8. Mike Garvey
9. Ted Musgrave
10. Harold Fair
11. Michael Kurkowski
12. John Wilson
13. Dennis Vogel
14. Bobby Dotter
15. Tim Olson
16. Gary St. Amant
17. Don Bickford
18. Kenny Wallace
19. Mike Eddy
20. Buddy Schrock
21. Dan Christal
22. Glenn Allen Jr.
23. Jeff Neal
24. Mark Beinlich
25. Kent Stauffer
26. Sam Range
27. Larry Harris
28. Ray Skillman
29. Dave Jenson
30. Jay Sauter

Friday, September 21, 2012

1996 - Raines thunders by Senneker to win Iowa 300

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 21, 1996) - In three previous visits to Hawkeye Downs Speedway, Bob Senneker displayed an amazing ability to be in the right place at the right time.

Under overcast skies at Saturday’s American Speed Association Iowa 300, Tony Raines stole the title of Johnny-on-the-spot from the veteran Senneker.

Senneker had his Ford Thunderbird running on a rail toward victory before getting pinned-in by a lapped car late in the race, Raines took advantage and drove his Pontiac Grand Prix past Senneker and on to the win as an estimated 6,500 fans roared their approval.

The win was the first of the season for Raines, a nine-year AC Delco Challenge Series veteran from Milwaukee.

He stands a close second in the series’ points chase to fellow Milwaukee driver Scott Hansen (2,527 to 2,519) with only four races remaining, so it came at a very opportune time.

“We’ve needed a win all year,” Raines said. “We have our work cut out for us to get in that top spot in the points. Scott always runs good everywhere he goes, and we're going to have to come up with an extra effort to pull it off.”

Raines needed not only extra effort but extra luck as well Saturday.

Senneker, a two-time winner of the Hawkeye Downs 300, grabbed the lead from Hansen on lap 240 and poised to cruise to the win. But as he came out of turn three on lap 286, he found himself directly behind a lapped car driven by Paul Paine of Mound, Minn. Senneker tried to go underneath Paine while Raines opted for the outside.

“He wouldn’t pull down out of the way so I had to squeeze in beside him,” Senneker said. “(Paine) rubbed me when I was going by and hit me again before he left. That kind of upset the car a little a bit and gave Tony a chance to blast around and get along side.”

Raines watched it all unfold in front of him before making his winning move to the outside.

“It was kind of risky, but Bob is a good driver and I figured if everybody held their line, I’d have been safe even if I didn’t come up with the pass,” he said. “It paid off for us. Sometimes you just have to go for it.”

Gary St. Amant of Columbus, Ohio, followed Raines and Senneker through the fray and finished third in his Ford Thunderbird. He had a perfect view of the action in front of him.

“It looked like they came up on a bunch of lapped cars and Tony just stuck his chest out and put it up on the outside,” St. Amant said. “It stuck for him and he got by. Those guys raced hard all day.”

Pole-sitter Steve Holzhausen drove his Ford to a fourth-place finish and Brad Loney of Cedar Rapids picked up five positions in the last 38 laps in his Pontiac to finish fifth.

Once Raines took the lead from Senneker, a ferocious 14-lap battle to the finish ensued. Senneker, who went in for right side tires on lap 149 and didn’t pit again, stayed with Raines, who went in for fresh rubber with 200 laps in the books.

“We were concerned about pitting there with a hundred to go because track position is so important here,” Raines said. “Scott and Bob were pretty fast even though their tires were a little older than ours. We had a little better car there for awhile, and we had to use it up to get to the front.”

Senneker said he had plenty left even though his tires had 151 laps on them.

“The tires were perfect,” he said. “That was our strategy - to try to pit at about the halfway point and go the rest of the distance with what we had.’

Raines had to survive one last caution - the 10th of the race - when a spin in turn three brought out a yellow with two laps left. He held on, beating Senneker by just .922 seconds.

Holzhausen led the first 18 laps before tire problems caused him to drop back. Raines took over the lead for the next 10 laps but then gave way to Loney, who held the lead from lap 30 through lap 113. In all, there were eight lead, changes among six drivers.

Results –
1. Tony Raines, Milwaukee, Wis.
2. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
3. Gary St. Amant, Columbus, Ohio,
4. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor, Wis.
5. Brad Loney, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. Dave Sensiba, Middleville, Mich.
7. Buddy Schrock, Plain City, Ohio,
8. Scott Hansen, Milwaukee, Wis.
9. Ted Smokstad, Bloomington, Minn.
10. Kevin Cywinski, Lakeville, Minn.
11. Tony Roper, St. Louis, Mo.
12. Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
13. Harold Fair, Detroit, Mich.
14. Tim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
15. Carl Miskotten, Fort Wayne, Ind.
16. Bill Baird, Sturgis, Ky.
17. Cale Conley, Vienna, W.Va.
18. Dennis Lampman, Oak Creek, Wis.
19. Brett Bell, Pittsboro, Ind.
20. Mike Miller, Marietta, Ga.
21. Paul Paine, Mound Minn.
22. Joe Noll, Grand Haven, Mich.
23. Sam Gollwald, Willmar, Minn.
24. Jack Landis, Edgerton, Ohio
25. Billy Turner, El Reno, Okla.
26. Johnny Spaw, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
27. Tom Jones, Gurnee, Ill.
28. Dave Anspaugh, Sturgis, Mich.,
29. Brandon Sperling, Mooresville, N.C.
30. Aaron Hough, New Palestine, Ill.
31. Kevin Nuttleman, La Crosse, Wis.
32. Rick Beebe, Merriam, Kan.
33. Chuck Hemmingson, West Des Moines, Iowa
34. Doug Mayr, Franklin, Wis.
35. Carroll Adamy, Bellwood, Neb.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

1981 – Canadian Invader Hanley Scores in Rockford 200

Junior Hanley is joined by Hugh and Jody Deery after winning the NSTC 200-lapper. - Mark Vanveghel Photo/Courtesy of Kim Kemperman

Loves Park, Ill. (September 20, 1981) – He came, he saw, he conquered.

That was the story of Junior Hanley, the top driver in the history of Canadian short track stock car history, as he paid his first visit to the Rockford Speedway quarter-mile oval to compete in the 16th annual National Short Track Championships.

Hanley led the last half of the 200-lap race taking the front spot as leader Randy Slack, a fellow Canadian, left the track with a split cylinder wall just as the yellow came out for the 101st lap mandatory pit stop.

Hanley never relinquished the lead once he got out front, but the victory was not an easy one. A determined Joe Shear moved into second place when Hanley inherited the lead. But there were a large number of lapped cars separating the top-notch pilots and 30 laps went by before Shear could ease his Camaro through the heavy traffic and stick the front end of his car under the rear spoiler of Hanley’s Camaro.

And that was just exactly how they ran for the next 70 circuits. Time and time again Shear would look for a hole and wait for a Hanley mistake that never came. Shear was still waiting when the checkered flag fell to end the 200-lap classic.

It had to be a disappointing afternoon for Shear. On two different occasions he was running second, only to be involved in mishaps that sent him to the back of the field for restarts. In the 27th go-round, a four-car pileup involving Shear, Steve Murgic, Fran Prestay and 1980 NSTC champion Jim Sauter sent Shear first to the pits and then to the rear of the lineup. That particular mishap sent Sauter to the pit area for the rest of the afternoon.

By lap 75 Shear had worked his way back up to the number two slot and on lap 89 disaster struck again. The Shear Camaro and Jimmy Pierson’s Camaro got together in front of the main grandstand. This crash sent Shear to the pits for a new tire and the removal of the rear quarter panel. Pierson was finished for the day, but once again, Shear had to start from scratch.

Dave Watson led the first two laps of the marathon only to retire later with a sour engine. Fred Campbell led until lap 18 when Randy Slack moved out front. Campbell soon retired with electrical problems and Slack with engine woes.

Three last chance qualifiers were run earlier in the day and the two super late model 30-lappers saw Al Schill and Mel Walen take the checkers. The 25-lap “Rockford Rules” qualifier saw Dave Ward in the winner’s circle.

Results –
1. Junior Hanley
2. Joe Shear
3. Steve Moll
4. Larry Middleton
5. Tony Hertko
6. Mel Walen
7. Doug Lane
8. Bill Berkheimer
9. Wayne Lensing
10. Steve Murgic
11. Al Schill
12. Dennis Vogel
13. Jim Weber
14. Greg Guzzo
15. Dave Watson
16. Larry Schuler
17. Randy Slack
18. Jim Pierson
19. Conrad Morgan
20. Fred Campbell
21. Frank Gawlinski
22. Don James
23. Bobby Dotter
24. Fran Prestay
25. Jim Sauter
26. Dave Tomczak
27. Dave Hoffman
28. John Ziegler

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1965 - Hurtubise wins 250-mile race at State Park; Nelson leads points

Jim Hurtubise prepares to do battle at Milwaukee. - IRMA Collection

West Allis, Wis. (September 19, 1965) - Sunday was a banner day for Jim Hurtubise, for Norm Nelson, and for Plymouths in general at State Fair Park. Hurtubise, driving one of Nelson's 1965 Plymouth entries, won the 250-mile late model stock car event before an enthusiastic crowd of 21,350, most of who were rooting for the come backing New Yorker.

Nelson meanwhile added 50 points to his lead over Paul Goldsmith by finishing second to Goldsmith's third. Goldsmith gave Plymouth a 1-2-3 sweep, while Bay Darnell came in fifth in another Plymouth. Don White was fourth in a Ford.

Hurtubise succeeded on the same track where he was badly burned in a June of 1964 accident. First place was worth $5,594 to Hurtubise, who finished about two laps in front of Nelson, his boss. Nelson added 400 points for his runner-up finish and now has 3,067 with three races left on the schedule. Goldsmith collected 350 and increased his season's total to 2,340. White is running third, some 600 points behind Goldsmith, while Hurtubise climbed from fifth to fourth with yesterday's win.

"I am in pretty good position now," Nelson admitted. "The title isn't in the bag mathematically, of course, but Paul (Goldsmith) has to win them all. All I have to do is pick up some points. It puts the pressure on him."

Hurtubise, who needed eight months of skin grafts and hospital treatment, made it back to the top with an average speed of 93.26 miles an hour. He took over first place early and held it for the last 185 miles.

Nelson ran second most of the way. The Racine, Wis., driver was forced to make three pit stops, one due to a flat tire to two for Hurtubise. A $3,718 check for second place didn't hurt Nelson's disposition.

Joe Leonard was sixth, Billy Foster seventh, J. C. Klotz, eighth, Ted Hane ninth, and Bob Slensby 10th.

Bobby Isaac won the pole position and led the race for the first 32 miles but was forced out of the running by a crash on the 230th lap. Both A. J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones went out with engine troubles in their Fords.

Results –

1. Jim Hurtubise
2. Norm Nelson
3. Paul Goldsmith
4. Don White
5. Bay Darnell
6. Joe Leonard
7. Billy Foster
8. J.C. Klotz
9. Ted Hane
10. Bob Slensby
11. Bob Wawak
12. Johnny Riva
13. Ed Kozbiel
14. Bobby Isaac
15. Gary Bettenhausen
16. Bob Jusola
17. Harry Kern
18. Bud McGaughey
19. Bruce Jacobi
20. Sal Tovella
21. Bill Shoulders
22. Parnelli Jones
23. A.J. Foyt
24. Rick Kleich
25. John Kennedy
26. Rich Clement
27. Herb Shannon
28. Roy Atkinson
29. Elmer Musgrave
30. Bill Behling
31. Roger Regeth
32. Eddie Meyer

Monday, September 17, 2012

1961 – Derr shows ‘em how in IMCA blowout at Hutchinson

Ernie Derr

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 17, 1961) - Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, the national point leader in International Motor Contest stock car racing, showed Kansans how he wins national titles by taking first in the feature race, the special dash and a heat race before a record crowd at the state fair on Sunday afternoon.

Derr pushed out front in the 25-lap feature and was never seriously challenged. Lenny Funk of Otis was the winner over Chub Liebe, Oelwein, Iowa, Ramo Stott, Keokuk and Jerry McCredie, also Keokuk, in a blistering four-car race for second place.

Liebe took third, Stott, fourth and McCredie fifth, in the final line-up.

Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, one of the nation's top three stock car racers, had troubles Sunday. Something went wrong with the suspension on the front end of his car in the first heat race and he smashed into the fence. His car was through for the day and Hutchinson borrowed a car owned by Bob Reynolds of St. Paul, Minn., for the feature, but he failed to finish that race either.

The yellow flag was out for five laps, because of Hutcherson's accident, and no time was reported for the heat. It was easily won by Derr. Bill Harrison, Topeka, was second and Ole Brua of Albert Lea, Minn., was third. Brua was in competition here this year for the first time.

A log-jam of cars on the first turn, plus a minor crash, forced a re-start of the second heat race, won by Ramo Stott, Keokuk with Funk second and Reynolds third. Knocked out of the race because of a solid crash were cars driven by Jim Clearwater, Des Moines and Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa. Neither driver was injured.

Derr out-raced Funk and McCredie to win the five-lap dash. Gerry Harrison of Topeka won the seven lap consolation and Dick Johnson, St. Paul, won the novelty.

Feature results –
1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
3. Chub Liebe, Oelwein, Iowa
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Jerry McCredie, Keokuk, Iowa
6. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
7. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
8. Gerry Harrison, Topeka
9. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
10. Bob Harrington, Denver, Colo.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

1956 - Jack Farris Cops Tough Dayton 500

Jack Farris wins his second straight Dayton 500

Dayton, Ohio (September 16, 1956) - Jack Farris, the “Buckeye Bullet” from New Paris, Ohio, captured the famed Dayton 500 auto race Sunday afternoon.

The grueling 270-mile classic on the high-banked half-mile asphalt oval sanctioned by the Midwest Association for Race Cars (MARC) for 1955-56 stock cars drew a capacity crowd.

Farris, near exhaustion as he received the checkered flag, had to be lifted from his car and helped to the judges’ stand to receive his winning trophies. He had driven the last 287 laps with the car’s right front shock absorber missing.

The battle against the rough ride because of the missing shock also left Jack with swollen and blistered hands. But his pains were soothed by the $2,000 winning check and an additional $254 in lap money, plus the huge varsity bowl gold trophy and a smaller mantel piece.

The huge trophy emblematic of winning the 500 became Farris’ permanent possession by beating the odds - winning the race two times in a row. He was victorious in 1955. Iggy Katona won in 1953 and Jack Harrison in 1954.

The huge racing throng actually never sat long, so heated was the competition. Russ Hepler, Clarion, Pa., in a Pontiac, finish second four laps behind; Rollie Beale of Toledo in a Ford, finished third; Carl O' Harold of Dayton, in a Ford, took fourth; and Jack Harrison, Indianapolis, also in a Ford, grabbed fifth. Farris’ average speed for the 270 miles was 79 miles per hour plus, including two pit stops.

The likeable Farris, a friend to all, but a feared competitor behind the wheel of a racing car, drove the locally sponsored Allen Chevrolet 1956 (#38) convertible; their ‘56 hard top which he so successfully piloted throughout the season, having been badly damaged in the Detroit 250-miler on September 9. He and mechanics “burned the midnight oil” the past week preparing the convertible, and not until Saturday night was the final work completed.

Farris started in seventh position of the 34-car starting field and grabbed the lead on the seventh lap which he held until the 76th, when Jack Harrison, who had dueled with Farris for some 50 odd laps, snatched the lead for three laps; Farris grabbing it back led until making a pit stop at the 213th lap. Russ Hepler, about two laps behind, came in for fuel at the same time but pulled out four laps ahead of Farris, who had to remove a broken right front shock absorber, change one tire and add gas.

Harrison, the leader, pitted for fuel and Hepler took over the lead. The rest of the race was a rough ride for Farris as the missing shock and speed trying to close Hepler’s four-lap lead with the wild Harrison charging at his rear tested the stamina and nerve of the Buckeye speedster. He stopped for gas at 369 laps and so did Hepler a few laps later.

On the battle surged until on the 453rd lap Hepler made a stop leading by two laps. A broken fan belt detained him too long, and when he pulled back into the race Farris held a four-lap lead, and the challenging Harrison had retired with a “sick” engine.

Farris slackened his speed some the remaining distance. Numbed by fatigue and with blistered and swollen hands he received the checkered flag and a tremendous ovation from the crowd for a job well done. As he coasted the racer to a stop, accepting a Coke and cigarette from his pit crew Farris had to be lifted from the seat and helped to the judges’ stand for presentation ceremonies.

Mrs. Farris strengthened her husband with victory kisses while 9-year-old son Johnny looked on calmly. The modest driver, choking with emotion, lauded his pit crew for the victory.

But they and the many thousand eye witnesses knew the humble Mr. Farris is one of the greatest chauffeurs in the country, and was deserving of all honors bestowed upon him.

Results –

1. Jack Farris
2. Russ Hepler
3. Rollie Beale
4. Carl O’Harold
5. Jack Harrison
6. Jim Romine
7. Johnny Patterson
8. Jim McCune
9. Paul Wensink
10. Don Schisler
11. Willie Holt
12. Kenny Wheeler
13. Wimpy May
14. Al Baltes
15. George Henderson
16. Iggy Katona

Saturday, September 15, 2012

1979 - 7,000 Witness Horn’s Victory in Yankee

Iowa Governor Robert Ray present the trophy to Fred Horn after the Marion, Iowa, veteran won the second annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Hawkeye Downs. - Bill Haglund Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 15, 1979) - Hawkeye Downs has hosted 16 late model stock car races this season, but on 13 of those occasions a familiar name has been missing from the starting grid.

In the past 10 years, that missing man has won at least one race every year except 1971-72 and 1976 but has been so busy building racing motors for everybody else this season that he hasn't had time to race himself.

He has tested the half-mile Downs oval only three times in 1979 but came back honking Saturday night and his horn was definitely heard.

Fred Horn, the popular Marion pilot who won two races at the Downs in 1978, mastered the treacherous ice-like Downs oval and cruised to victory in the 2nd Annual Busch Yankee Dirt Track Classic in front of a capacity crowd of nearly 7,000 fans.

Horn led only 15 laps of the 100-lap feature, the finale of the two-day extravaganza that attracted over 100 cars from throughout the Midwest but had the lead when it came time to collect the $5,000 at the checkers.

Horn’s victory made a loser of many, but most notably Viola’s Ken Walton.

Walton, a Downs regular in past seasons and a feature winner June 15, led for 63 laps on Saturday but slammed the wall coming out of turn two on the 96th tour, enabling Horn to slide inside for the lead he never surrendered.

“I wasn’t sure I had it won until I crossed the finish line,” said Horn. “I saw Kenny hit the wall so hard, but I was surprised he kept it going to finish second.”

“It was probably the best race we've been in all season. We both ran all out for 100 laps, and I happened to get the break when he hit the wall.”

When describing the competition, “all out” may have been an understatement. Jim Curry of Indiana led the initial lap from his outside pole position, but Wilton's Tom Hearst, the Davenport Speedway track champion, grabbed the lead on the second lap and held the front spot until Walton blew by him on the backstretch of the 23rd tour.

Walton led the pack until Horn caught him sleeping coming out of turn three on the 77th lap, but the Viola chauffeur stormed back to the front on the 87th lap, setting the stage for the exciting finish.

“We’ve been so busy at the shop this year that we just haven't had time to race much,” said Horn. "We’ve only raced five times this season, all specials, and we almost have more fun getting ready for them.”

Horn may have won the war Saturday night, but another big victor was Independence’s Gary Crawford.

With his 10th place finish the 30-year-old flying farmer finally earned himself the NASCAR Winston Grand American point championship that carries a cash award of $1,000 along with many other honors.

Results –

First Heat: Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Second Heat: Bill Rice, Des Moines
Third Heat: Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
Fourth Heat: Gary Crawford, Independence
Fifth Heat: John Connolly, Delhi
Sixth Heat: Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
B-Main: Galen Schaefer
1. Fred Horn, Marion
2. Ken Walton, Viola
3. Tom Hearst, Wilton
4. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
5. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
6. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
7. Curt Hansen, Dike
8. Jim Curry, Norman, Ind.
9. Bill Rice, Des Moines
10. Gary Crawford, Independence

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

1993 - Kenseth tops Reiser in WSTS finale

Matt Kenseth (8) and Robby Reiser (71) battle it out at Madison - Doug Hornickel Photo

Oregon, Wis. (September 12, 1993) - Matt Kenseth was ecstatic. Robbie Reiser was happy, but a bit more reserved.

The 21-year-old Kenseth of Cambridge passed Reiser for the lead on lap 119 during Sunday’s Wisconsin Short Track Series (WSTS) finale at Madison International Speedway and cruised to victory before a crowd of about 8,000.

It was, according to Kenseth, the highlight of his racing career so far.

“This is our biggest win," said Kenseth, who pocketed $5,000 for the winner's share of Sunday's WSTS purse. “It’s the first 200-lap race we ever won.”

Reiser, meanwhile, was the biggest winner despite finishing second.

The Allenton driver captured the overall WSTS title and was awarded use of an American Speed Association stock car and enclosed hauler for the 1994 season, a prize valued at about $100,000.

Reiser entered the final WSTS event 51 points behind Bryan Reffner of Wisconsin Rapids, but earned 92 points Sunday to finish with 474 points and overcome Reffner (461). Third-place Conrad Morgan followed with 395 points and Joe Shear of Clinton was fourth overall with 385.

Reffner’s hopes for the WSTS championship died when the left front spindle on his car broke on lap 7. His crew eventually corrected the problem but, by the time he returned to the track, Reffner was 112 laps down and he went on to finish 19th.

Shear, the only other driver in contention for the title entering the race, dropped out during the mandatory caution period on lap 101 with a distributor problem.

Now Reiser must decide whether to take the ASA ride or sell it to another driver. And on Sunday, at least, he wasn't revealing what he plans to do.

“I want to go (NASCAR) Busch Grand National racing badly,” Reiser said. “I really want to go. But if I can’t do it, then I can’t do it. So everything right now is up in arms.”

Reiser used consistency to claim his fourth championship of the season, adding to the track titles he won at both MIS and Slinger Superspeedway and the Red, White & Blue series title he took at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna.

Ironically, Reiser didn’t win a WSTS race but earned the title on the strength of two second place finishes, two thirds, a fourth and a ninth in the series, which included two 200-lap races at each of three tracks - MIS, Slinger and Dells Motor Speedway.

Reiser grabbed the lead on the third lap and looked unbeatable during the first half of Sunday’s race.

While Reiser made no major adjustments at the midway point, when drivers were allowed to make a four-minute pit stop, Kenseth switched from new to scuffed tires and loosened the car’s setup a bit.

“After that the car was just perfect and we got around the bottom all day,” said Kenseth, who finished sixth overall with 276 points. “This is a great way to end up here.”

After failing to run well or win a feature at MIS in 1992, Kenseth captured five features this season on his home track.

Reffner, meanwhile, has been racing long enough to realize the breaks don’t always go your way.

“That’s part of racing,’ he said of Sunday’s disappointing finish after winning three of the first five WSTS events. “You’ve got to be there at the end… (But) it’s definitely the best year I've ever had.”

Results –
1. Matt Kenseth, Cambridge
2. Robbie Reiser, Allenton
3. Conrad Morgan, Dousman
4. Scott Hansen, Milwaukee
5. Al Schill Sr., Franklin
6, Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
7. Ron Breese Jr., DeKalb, Ill.
8. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
9. Jason Schuler, Cambridge
10. Rich Lory, Oregon
11. Rich Loch, Hales Corners
12. Cub Rezin, Tomah
13. Marv Zuldema, Sussex
14. Cindy Peterson, Butler
15. Dove Feller, Sun Prairie
16. Rick Somers, Stevens Point
17. Joe Shear, Clinton
18. Steve Carlson, La Crosse
19. Bryan Reffner, Wisconsin Rapids
20. Andy Wendt, Watertown
21. Rich Bickle Jr., Edgerton
22. Don Leach, Janesville
23. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
24. Greg DiMaggio, Oregon

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Racing Legends highlight 2nd annual Henry Gregor Felsen Tribute Festival

Henry Gregor Felsen

West Des Moines, Iowa (Sept. 11, 2012) – NASCAR’s David Pearson and Penske Racing’s Don Miller are both appearing at the second annual Henry Gregor Felsen Tribute Festival car and truck show, honoring the spirit and books of the late iconic 1950s West Des Moines-based, nationally known author.

It’s set for Saturday, Sept. 22, here at the historic Val Air Ballroom, 301 Ashworth Road. And spectator admission is free!

Pearson, a 2011 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, was known as the Silver Fox. He drove from 1960 to 1986, and had 574 starts and 105 wins. Miller is the former president of Penske Racing and one of the most influential figures in international motorsports. They’ll meet Tribute Festival attendees and sign autographs in the afternoon.

The event honors Henry Gregor Felsen (1916-1995), a prolific writer and the “Granddaddy of Street Rodding.” “Hot Rod,” the book that started it all, and “Street Rod” recently were republished by his children, Holly Felsen Welch and Dan Felsen, for a new generation of readers to enjoy. Those books can be ordered from Holly Felsen Welch at or from

Other Henry Gregor Felsen books that were popular with adolescent readers were “ “Rag Top,” “Fever Heat,” “Crash Club” and “Road Rocket.” They are in the final stages of publication and should be ready in time for the show.

Book sets, available with updated covers or the original vintage covers, will be available on, or by contacting Welch.

Both Holly Felsen Welch and Dan Felsen will be on hand to meet and greet visitors to the Tribute Festival.

All makes, models and years of vehicles are welcome at the car and truck show. In addition to the show, organizers have planned food, bands, a trivia contest, pinstriping by Frosty Harrington and a live deejay.

The food vendor this year is the highly rated 3 Blind Pigs, which will be serving up pork, chicken, brisket and smoked macaroni and cheese.

Also planned are valve cover races. Build a valve cover car and join in the fun or just watch the action!

Car and truck show registration is from 9 to noon the day of the fest. Or register in advance online at and get a free show T-shirt.

Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. The top 25 vehicles will be honored. In addition, six specialty awards, a unique neon guitar trophy sponsored by Victory Performance and Parts and the $500 Felsen Award will be presented.

Proceeds from the Tribute Festival benefit scholarship programs at Drake and DMACC.

For activity updates or more information, click on Or call Holly Felsen Welch at (515) 226-9372 or e-mail her at

1934 - Schrader Wins Clay County Fair Auto Sweepstakes

Gus Schrader

Spencer, Iowa (September 11, 1934) - Gus Schrader, the Flying Dutchman from Cedar Rapids who holds the world’s dirt track automobile racing championship, carried away feature honors Tuesday in the motor events over the Clay County Fair oval before an estimated crowd of 12,000 people. Schrader annexed the first and the final heats of the sweepstakes event to claim the laurel wreath.

Sig Haugdahl and Emory Collins managed to shave off a piece of the title cake to somewhat dim Schrader’s sweepstakes victory when Sig took the championship dash from Schrader, Collins and Buddy Calloway; and when Collins beat out Calloway and Haugdahl in the second heat of the sweepstakes event.

The program acclaimed by the fans to have been the finest auto racing program ever presented here was signalized by the shattering of two world marks for half mile ovals.

The first world mark came tumbling when six drivers in the time trials knocked the dials off the stopwatches by speeding around the oval in 30 seconds or less time.

Starter “Chick” Hagen, official of the International Motor Contest association, stated this was the first time in history that such a record of fast time had been hung up on a half-mile dirt track in the history of racing.

Gus Schrader with a time of 27.45 seconds was the fastest of the record breakers and came within two-fifths of a second of Sig Haugdahl’s track mark set in 1931 here. Haugdahl and Emory Collins each skirted the loop in 28.20 to tie for second place.

The other drivers under the 30 second mark were Roy Lake and Buddy Calloway, while Sig Haugdahl in his last year's car completed the record sextet.

Haugdahl shattered the other world mark when he raced three laps in the championship dash in the amazing time of 1 minute and 25.20 seconds for an average of slightly better than 28.20 seconds for each turn around the oval. This time, which would be sensational in time trials for one lap, will probably stand as a half-mile dirt track mark for some years.

The flying Norwegian drew a great hand as his record was announced by Hagen, demonstrating that the cigar-smoking speedster has lost none of his large following in this section despite the fact that Schrader bested him in the sweepstakes event.

The Clay County Fair track, noted as one of the best in the country for its length, was in almost perfect shape for Tuesday’s speed events. Monday’s rain had packed it and the cars did the rest, putting it almost in an asphalt condition with only the first turn developing a slippery top toward the end of the meeting. For the time events and sweepstakes beats, the track was ideal.

The packed grandstand and bleachers - a complete sellout for the fourth successive auto program since the new stands were built - saw a thrilling series of events from the first yellow flag until the checkered emblem declared the sweepstakes victor.

They were treated to one of the greatest dashes ever seen in the United States in the first sweepstakes heat when Haugdahl and Schrader battled in a supreme test of skill, almost locking wheels as they careened into the stretch for the final burst that sent them across the finish line doing close to 90 miles an hour on the short run. The stands came to their feet with hoarse cry of mingled terror and excitement at this tremendous clash of courage with speed.

Emory Collins’ defeat of Buddy Calloway in his six-cylindered Luthy Special was another high spot, while Roy Lake’s sensational showing as runner-up to Haugdahl in the special match race brought rounds of applause for the daring little Los Angeles speed maniac.

Monday, September 10, 2012

1978 - Bobby Unser wins Governor's Cup race

West Allis, Wis. (September 10, 1978) - Bobby Unser, the hard-charging driver from Albuquerque, N.M., led much of the way Sunday and easily won the USAC-sanctioned Governor's Cup 250-mile stock car race as the event ended under the yellow flag at the Wisconsin State Fair Park track.

Unser, who hadn't won a stock car race since 1974, was leading Dave Watson, from Milton, by 13.5 seconds when the yellow flag came out seven laps from the finish on the paved one-mile oval. The victory earned Unser $7,885 - the winner's share of a record $41,400 purse.

A.J. Foyt, who leads the United States Auto Club point’s standings, finished third, one lap back. Foyt has 1,825 points for a 185-point lead over Terry Ryan going into the final race of the season in College Station, Texas, November 12.

Unser, in a 1978 Chevy Camaro, led 191 of the 250 laps, battling Foyt, who also drove a 1978 Camaro, in the early stages before Foyt was forced to make a series of pit stops because of tire problems. After that, Watson, in a 1977 Buick Skylark, challenged Unser through the middle stages of the race but could not take command.

Sal Tovella of Addision, Ill., was fourth, two laps back, in a 1977 Plymouth Volare, followed by Jim Sauter of Necedah, in a 1977 Dodge Aspen.

Unser said the race was especially satisfying for him because it had been so long since he'd been in a winner's circle.

"It was a very timely victory," Unser said. "It did me a lot of good. I know I'm a race driver, I've been a race driver for years, but I've had a hard time winning races lately. It always seems something's going wrong.

"I enjoyed the last race here, finishing second to Watson, because I was able to run all day," he added.

"And today I raced all day long, too. Winning this race did me a lot of good and the crew, too. We'd been fastest before, but couldn't stay together."

Results –

1. Bobby Unser
2. Dave Watson
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Sal Tovella
5. Jim Sauter
6. Bob Brevak
7. Bay Darnell
8. Gary Bowsher
9. Bob Schacht
10. Ramo Stott
11. Randy Ogden
12. Terry Ryan
13. Gordon Blankenship
14. Tom Schley
15. Rich Clement
16. Jack Bowsher
17. Rick O’ Brien
18. Eddie Wachs
19. Dale Koehler
20. Russ Peterson
21. Ken Miller
22. Charlie Glotzbach
23. Tom Meinberg
24. Terry Pearson
25. Carl Schultz
26. Ken Rowley
27. Gene Richards
28. Joe Ruttman
29. Don White
30. Rich Sundling
31. Fred Zack
32. Roger McCluskey

Saturday, September 8, 2012

1963 - Foyt Loses Race to Car He Traded

Paul Goldsmith 

Langhorne, Penn. (September 8, 1963) – All season long, A.J. Foyt had been driving one of Norm Nelson’s Plymouths in the United States Auto Club races and had scored four victories to gain the lead in the national point standings.

But, last week, the Houston, Tex., veteran switched to a 1963 Ford.

Nelson, of Racine, Wis., and quite the driver himself, immediately turned the Foyt car over to Paul Goldsmith of St. Clair Shores, Mich., the defending USAC national champion.

Goldsmith, driving the Plymouth which Foyt had set records for the mile and 150-mile in May, won the 250-mile national championship for late model stock cars on Sunday in record time at Langhorne Speedway.

He finished the race in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 48 seconds – for an average speed of 92.706 miles per hour – to shatter the old mark of 3 hours, 47 minutes and 11 seconds and 81.440 miles per hour set by Mike Klapak of Pittsburgh in 1959.

The runner-up was Nelson, also driving a 1963 Plymouth. He finished a mile behind Goldsmith.

Foyt came in third, six miles back, after replacing John Kilborn of Decatur, Ill., in a 1963 Dodge when Foyt’s Ford was wrecked in a collision with Johnny Rostek of Fort Collins, Colo., near the 90th mile after he had taken the lead. 

Results –

1. Paul Goldsmith, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
2. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
3. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
4. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Curtis Turner, Roanoke, Va.
6. Frankie Schneider, Flemington, N.J.
7. Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
8. Elmer Musgrave, Niles, Ill.
9. Bill Cheesbourg, Tucson, Ariz.
10.Lee Drollinger, Champaign, Ill.

Friday, September 7, 2012

1970 - Mueller wins Northland 100 at Tri-Oval

Harold Mueller

Fountain City, Wis. (September 7, 1970) – Gulping a frothy refreshment, Harold Mueller was a picture of contentment – a check for $1,000 sticking from the breast pocket of his white coveralls and a five-foot high trophy resting on the hood of his #19 Chevrolet.

Mueller had just threaded his way thru the late model field to win the Northland 100 at Tri-Oval, the culmination of a big weekend.

Always thriving on competition, Mueller ran second to Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa in a 100-lap feature on Sunday afternoon in Marshfield, Wis., and second again on that same evening at his hometown track of Eau Claire Speedway, in what would be come a tune-up for the Northland 100 on Monday evening.

“Yes, it was a huge weekend,” Mueller said smiling. “And the fact that we celebrated a little too much didn’t help much either.”

Mueller had just managed three hours of sleep on Sunday night but appeared none the worse for wear.

“This is a honey of a car,” he praised. “And this is one heckuva crew.”

Mueller sped into the lead on lap 35 when fast qualifier Dave Morgan of Rice Lake, Wis., was forced into the pits with front end problems. After setting fast time with a 21.54 second clocking and building a comfortable lead in the early stages, a sagging shock absorber would end his chances of winning.

With a mandatory pit stop scheduled between laps 40 and 60, Mueller chose to pit on lap 44. From the time he left the racing surface until the time he returned only 1 minute and 32 seconds had expired with veteran Paul Fitzpatrick of Rochester, Minn., enjoying the lead.

Fitzpatrick pitted with 45 laps to go and a broken tire wrench held up his return. By the time he got back into competition, Mueller had regained the top spot and was running well ahead of second place Dave Noble of Blooming Prairie, Minn.

“The car was amazing,” Mueller said later. “It didn’t heat up a bit and it handled perfectly.

A broken sway bar and soft shock absorber had given Mueller and his crew fits during the afternoon. But a quick repair between the heats and the feature solved the problem and set the stage for victory.

“We just threw everything back together in a hurry and she behaved perfectly,” he remarked.

The race was amazingly free of trouble. Nineteen cars started and 12 finished the long distance race. Only nine laps were run under caution.

While the checkered flag was falling for Mueller, Noble rushed to a second place finish and a $700 payday while Jon Swanson of Rochester, Minn., would be scored in third. LeRoy Scharkey, also of Rochester, was fourth and Fred Pudoehl of Winona, Minn., would round out the top five.

The afternoon’s program saw Phil Prusak of Eau Claire, Wis., and Rich Olson of Rochester score wins in their respective heat races. The consolation was won by Wendell Kuehn of Rochester.

Results –

Fast qualifier: Dave Morgan, Rice Lake, Wis. (21.54)
First heat: Rich Olson, Rochester, Minn.
Second heat: Phil Prusak, Eau Claire, Wis.
Consolation: Wendell Kuehn, Rochester, Minn.

1. Bill Mueller, Eau Claire, Wis.
2. Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
3. Jon Swanson, Rochester, Minn.
4. LeRoy Scharkey, Rochester, Minn.
5. Fred Prudoehl, Winona, Minn.
6. Phil Prusak
7. Paul Fitzpatrick, Rochester, Minn.
8. Bob Jenkinson, Winona, Minn.
9. Rich Olson, Rochester, Minn.
10. Gerald Wollerberg, Austin, Minn.
11. John Foegen, Winona, Minn.
12. Red Steffen, Eau Claire, Wis.
13. Myron Campbell, Austin, Minn.
14. Gary Doelle, Arcadia, Wis.
15. Dave Morgan, Rice Lake, Wis.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

1982 - Shear, Sauter split ARTGO wins at Madison

Oregon, Wis. (September 6, 1982)— Joe Shear and Jim Sauter, who are battling for the point championship of the ARTGO racing circuit, each raced to a 25-lap victory in the sixth annual ARTGO Summer Nationals on Monday afternoon at Capital Super Speedway.

Shear, a native of Beloit and the 1982 Capital Super Speedway track champion, took the lead on the 15th lap of the first event and led the rest of the way. Steve Burgess of Eau Claire and Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids finished second and third, respectively.

Sauter, who finished fifth in the first race, took the lead of the second feature on lap 34 and held off Shear for the victory.

Results -

Feature #1

1. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis., 1982 Firebird
2. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire, Wis., 1981Camaro
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., 1981 Camaro
4, Jim Back, Vesper, Wis., 1981 Camaro
5. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis., 1982 Firebird
6. Rusty Wallace, St. Louis, Mo., 1982 Camaro

Feature #2

1. Jim Sauter
2. Joe Shear
3. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich., 1981 Camaro
4, Rich Blckle, Edgerton, Wis., 1982 Firebird
5. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill., 1982 Camaro
6. Rusty Wallace

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

1966 - Don Mack garners Speedway feature race

Huron, S.D. (September 5, 1966) - Don Mack, billed as “The Flying Farmer”, out of East Grand Forks, Minn., found the number 3 anything but unlucky at the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) speedway car races at the South Dakota State Fair Monday.

Mack, driving the car that Indianapolis star Jim Hurtubise once piloted on Midwest dirt tracks, took the lead on the 13th lap to win the 20-lap feature race over a field of 13 cars before some 8,900 fans at the State Fairgrounds oval.

Monday's program saw Mack trailing Russ Laursen of Cumberland, Wis., in the first half of the feature event before coming on to take the lead in the13th trip around the track. Laursen, winner of the Northland 100 in St. Paul last week, posted the fastest time trial of the day with a clocking of 25.25 seconds.

Ron Beland of St. Paul won the semi main and first heat while Laursen was the winner of the second heat race. Mack captured a special five-lap trophy dash.

The yellow flag came out in the first heat when Al Jacobson of Minneapolis spun out on the first turn. Jacobson also spun out in the second heat but there were no injuries or collisions.

Mack's winning time was 9 minutes and 10.01 seconds for the 20-lap distance in the feature. Following Laursen in the feature were Steve Schweitzberger, John Hesselgrave and Morris Buchitte, all of St. Paul, in that order.

Results –

1. Don Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
2. Russ Laursen, Cumberland, Wis.
3. Steve Schweitzberger, St. Paul, Minn.
4. John Hesselgrave, St. Paul, Minn.
5. Morris Buchitte, St. Paul, Minn.
6. Ron Beland, St. Paul, Minn.
7. Bucky Peterson, Fargo, N.D.
8. Al Jacobson, Minneapolis, Minn.
9. Don Guida, Moorhead, Minn.
10. Doug Hjermstad, Minot, N.D

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1966 – Tingelstad, White nab 100-milers at Du Quoin State Fairgrounds

Don White

Du Quoin, Ill. (September 4-5, 1966) – Don White of Keokuk, Iowa and Bud Tingelstad of Indianapolis grabbed feature wins during the annual Labor Day racing double-header at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.

White stormed his 1966 Dodge Charger to his fourth consecutive major stock victory – Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Springfield and now Du Quoin – before a standing room only crowd of 21,000 fans on Sunday afternoon.

White won the pole position with a qualifying mile run of 39.45 seconds and then won the 100-mile contest leading wire to wire. Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., driving a 1966 Plymouth, finished five seconds behind as both White and Nelson lapped every other car in the race.

White's Plymouth stable mate, Jim Hurtubise, recovered from almost fatal burns at Milwaukee last year, made it a three-car race early. Hurtubise ran second to White briefly but pulled into the pits after 29 laps and never got started again. He finished last in the 25-car field.

White’s victory was worth $4,337 of the $23,000 purse. Nelson earned $3,000 for his runner-up finish. Billy Foster of Victoria, British Columbia was third followed by Sal Tovella of Chicago and Bay Darnell of Lake Bluff, Ill.

Happiness and heartbreak was the storyline of the 100-mile big car race on Monday afternoon.

Tingelstad won the 100-mile big car auto race at Du Quoin State Fair Monday as 19,000 fans watched local favorite Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., bow out of the race with engine trouble after leading for 88 laps. Knepper would finish 11th.

Tingelstad, no better than the 12th fastest qualifier in the 18-car race, captured his first major big car event and the $5,000 first place money by steady rather than spectacular driving.

He had his Federal Engine Special no better than seventh after 40 laps. He moved to fourth at 60 miles, third at 80 miles and second at 83 laps.

Elimination of front-running Knepper put him first and he breezed home easily when his chief contender, Don Branson of Champaign, blew a tire on the 91st lap.

A.J. Foyt was a surprise added starter in the same Sheraton-Thompson Special with which he won at Du Quoin twice but he could finish no better than seventh.

Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N.M., the fastest qualifier at 34.10 seconds, held the lead for 23 laps until Knepper, charging up past Branson and Foyt in successive laps, slipped past Unser on the inside of the north turn to take the lead.

Nobody came close to challenging Knepper until his engine failure on the 88th lap.

Mario Andretti, last year's USAC dirt car national champion who entered the race trailing Gordon Johncock by only 50 points in the point standings lasted only 28 laps before leaving the race.

USAC Stock Car results –

1. Don White
2. Norm Nelson
3. Billy Foster
4. Sal Tovella
5. Bay Darnell
6. Butch Hartman
7. Gary Bettenhausen
8. Hank Teters
9. Andy Hampton
10. Ed Kozbiel

USAC Dirt Car results –

1. Bud Tingelstad
2. Dick Atkins
3. Bobby Unser
4. Joe Leonard
5. Ralph Ligouri
6. Don Branson
7. A.J. Foyt
8. Larry Dickson
9. Billy Foster
10. Jim McElreath

Monday, September 3, 2012

1967 – Karl Busson cops Golden Gopher 200 at St. Paul

St. Paul, Minn. (September 3, 1967) - Karl Busson of Toledo, Ohio, copped the Minnesota Golden Gopher 200 sprint car race here Sunday when Bill Koepler’s roadster blew an engine with 19 laps to go on the half-mile asphalt track at the Minnesota State Fair Speedway. Official paid attendance was 21,576.

Koepler had taken the lead from Busson, who is the current IMCA national point leader, on the 146th lap when Busson pitted for fuel.

Koepler had not made a pit stop the entire distance although is Chevy-conversion machine began to spill oil about three or four laps before the engine gave out.

Even with his trip to the pits, Busson trailed Koepler, from Fostoria, Ohio, by only a quarter of a lap at the time Koepler bowed out.

The triumph for Busson was only his second on the IMCA circuit this season, his first full campaign under the Auto Racing, Inc., banner. However, he’s been as steady as taxes are certain, thus his top point ranking.

It was the biggest win to date for Busson who earned $2,000 for the victory. He started 16th in a 24-car field.

Defending national sprint car champion Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., finished sixth after earning the pole position with 20.64 clocking during time trials.

Bob Davis of Dayton, Ohio, and Russ Larsen, the veteran from Cumberland, Wis., walked off with the second and third, respectively.

The 20-lap consolation event, to determine the final six entries in the feature, was won by Don Mack of East Grand Forks, Minn.

Feature results –

1. Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio
2. Bob Davis, Dayton, Ohio
3. Russ Larsen, Cumberland, Ohio
4. Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
5. Harry Kern, St. Paul, Minn.
6. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
7. Barry Kettering, St. Paul, Minn.
8. John Backlund, Kansas City
9. Bob King, Muncie, Ind.
10. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.