Monday, December 31, 2012

National Speedways Contest Association - Point Standings - 1978


Oklahoma's Shane Carson, shown here with car owner Bob Trostle of Des Moines, Iowa, won the National Speedway Contest Association (NSCA) sprint car title in 1978. - Florida Stock Cars photo


Final Point Standings -
1. Shane Carson, Oklahoma, City, Okla. - 733
2. Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo. - 552.5
3. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo. - 354.5
4. Doug Wolfgang, Lincoln, Neb. - 341
5. Jimmy Boyd, Dixon, Calif. - 283
6. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines - 226.5
7. Randy Smith, Des Moines - 206
8. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo. - 199.5
9. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo. - 179
10. Gene Gennetten, Parkville, Mo. - 158.5
11. Jimmy Sills, Sacramento, Calif. - 156.5
12. Jerry Blundy, Dahinda, Ill. - 107
13. Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo. - 105
14. Kim Lingenfelter, Norfolk, Neb. - 99
15. Butch Bahr, Grand Island, Neb. - 98.5
16. Bobby Layne, Kansas City - 86.5
17. Buster Venard, Sylmar, Calif. - 84
18. Jerry Potter, Kansas City - 83.5
19. Mike Thomas, Des Moines - 80
20. Cliff Blundy, Alpha, Ill. - 76

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Red, White & Blue Series' Point Standings - 1976


Dave Watson of Milton, Wis., was crowned champion of the Red, White & Blue Championship Series in 1976.


Final Standings -
1. Dave Watson - 1,610
2. Larry Schuler - 1,320
3. Dick Trickle - 1,125
4. John Ziegler - 945
5. Tom Reffner - 825
6. Mike Miller - 820
7. Doug Strasburg - 750
8. Joe Shear - 735
9. Rich Somers - 605
10. Tom Musgrave - 530
11. John Reimer - 505
12. Roger Regeth - 455
13. Jerry Eckhardt - 435
14. Bill Oas - 420
15. Al Schill - 405

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Maquoketa Speedway Point Standings - 1981

Late Model -

1. Bob Jaeger, Dubuque - 785
2. Denny Stewart, Davenport - 620
3. Ronnie Weedon, Pleasant Valley - 615
4. Tom Hamburg, Dixon, Ill. - 550
5. Steve Johnson, Low Moor - 489
6. Duke Jackson, Clinton - 408
7. Denny Ansel, Dubuque - 385
8. Dave Hammond, Camanche - 374
9. Jerry Conners, Pleasant Valley - 356
10. Scott Nesteby, E. Dubuque, Ill. - 332

Open Wheel -

1. Dan Garland, Morrison, Ill. - 394
2. Paul Eads, Maquoketa - 324
    Bob Perry, Maquoketa - 324
4. Jim Conners, Linden, Wis. - 252
5. Marv Blixt, Morrison, Ill. - 224
6. Dave Wouters, Lost Nation - 164
7. Don Breston, Rockford, Ill. - 126
8. Rich Phillips, Fulton, Ill. - 118
9. Jack Lueth, Davenport - 110
10. Ernie Lilly, Morrison, Ill. - 104

Street Stock -

1. Bruce Current, Maquoketa - 434
2. Bob Cleppe, Clinton - 381
3. Jeff Marburger, Sabula - 344
4. Mark Edwards, Maquoketa - 342
5. Mitch Current, Maquoketa - 308
6. Mark Hughes, Maquoketa - 281
7. Denny Fields, Maquoketa - 260
8. Joe Ross, Thomson, Ill. - 244
9. Steve Denning, Rock Falls, Ill. - 236
10. Don Hansen, Clinton - 190

Friday, December 21, 2012

1986 ARTGO Point Standings

1. Joe Shear, Clinton, Wis. - 1,249
2. Butch Miller, Lawton, Mich. - 1,246
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. - 1,070
4. Rich Bickle, Jr., Edgerton, Wis. - 1,029
5. Terry Baldry, Omro, Wis. - 789
6. Doug Herbst, Wausau, Wis. - 684
7. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor, Wis. - 681
8. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn. - 594
9. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis. - 573
10. G. Prizborowski, Apple Valley, Minn. - 543
11. Scott Hansen, Green Bay, Wis. - 481
12. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis. - 479
13. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis. - 295
14. Tracy Schuler, Lockport, Ill. - 287
15. B. McDonald, Combined Locks, Wis. - 281
16. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark. - 269
17. Dave Weltmeyer, Harvey, Ill. - 257
18. Harold Fair, Livonia, Mich. - 224
19. Bob Iverson, Hyde, Mich. - 212
20. Rick Wateski, La Crosse, Wis. - 207

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Iowa State Super Stock Championships

By Kyle Ealy
Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa State Fair and stock car racing has been a long-time tradition that still continues today. There is something extra special about going to the state fair and seeing the big Ferris wheel in the background, smelling the cotton candy and hearing the rumbling of engines.

The Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models has been the latest tradition at the Iowa State Fair for numerous years now, usually playing to a near-capacity crowd on Monday night.

From 1968 to 1975, the tradition was a little different. The auto racing program for the state fair was a Thursday afternoon matinee with super stock drivers and their cars coming together to see who was the best in the state. Appropriately named the Iowa State Super Stock Championships, this was as blue ribbon of an event as they came.


Joel Rasmussen celebrates his Iowa State Championship win


The first state championship race, held on August 22, 1968, provided a thrilling finish as Joel Rasmussen of Ames passed “Big” John Moss of Iowa City on the last lap to take the win before a crowd of 6,500.

Moss had held the top spot since the fourth circuit when early pacesetter Bud Darting of Wilton Junction collided with Bob Wignall of Rhodes, taking both leaders out and giving “Big John” the lead.

Moss was comfortably ahead in the 25-lapper when carburetor problems on his 1957 Chevrolet started to slow him down with only a few laps left. Rasmussen, driving a 1960 Oldsmobile, sensed something was wrong with Moss’s car and started his charge, finally catching Moss on the backstretch of the white flag lap and winning by several car lengths at the finish.

Rasmussen collected $450 for the victory while a disappointed Moss settled for $350. Bob Bonzer of Liscomb took third and earned $200, while George Barton of Des Moines took fourth, worth $150 and Stan Crooks of Letts rounded out the top-five finishers and took home $100. Bob Wignall, Bud Darting, Butch Householder of Algona and Moss won heats while Gene Schattschneider of Algona won the consolation.

1969 was shaping up to be Mel Morris’ year. The 35-year-old truck driver from West Liberty had been dominating the central Iowa racing scene that year; winning championships at West Liberty, Columbus Junction and Oskaloosa. The big half-mile at Des Moines had also been very kind to Morris in '69, so it came to no one’s surprise that he was the odds on favorite to win the Iowa State Fair Super Stock Championship race on Thursday, August 21.

Driving a 1957 Chevrolet with a ’69 Hemi motor, Morris didn’t disappoint his supporters as he won the 25-lap championship before a sellout crowd of 9,500. Morris, who cashed in $450 for his winning efforts, didn’t run away from the field like most thought he would.

After winning the third heat Morris started on the inside of the second row, and at the drop of the green flag, quickly moved into the second spot behind pole sitter Mark Mosier of Washington. For the next 18 laps, Mosier stayed up front with Morris dogging him the entire way. Morris never strayed to far from Mosier’s bumper during the race and on lap 19 he got the break he needed when Mosier developed wheel problems. Morris would slip by Mosier with defending State Fair champ Joel Rasmussen following Morris.

Rasmussen would give Morris all he could handle for the remaining 5 circuits, showing his nose inside of Morris several times but couldn’t complete the necessary pass. Jerry LeCroy of Des Moines would take third place, Darreld Bunkofske of Algona took fourth and Bill Newman of Burlington earned fifth. Mosier would settle for the 13th spot.

Mosier, Butch Householder, Morris and Rasmussen collected heat wins while Bob Bonzer took consolation honors. A total of 45 cars were in attendance and 24 started the feature.

It’s called a dirt track, but the racing surface at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Thursday, afternoon August 27, 1970, was more like a rough combination of concrete and glass. The super stock drivers found the “dry slick” that was formed under a bright sun and temperatures in the high 90’s lead one direction - into the fence at the top edge of the track.

Many of the drivers, used to running the high-banked oval at night, appeared to have trouble adapting to the track and its condition. With the smaller degree of bank in the turns, and the sun making a tacky surface impossible, cars started hitting the fence and each other during hot laps, and continued throughout the afternoon.

In the third heat it took five tries to get the first lap completed, and the race was halted several times during the latter part due to more accidents. The consolation also took nearly a half-hour to complete, as spin-outs and accidents brought out the yellow flag.

Mark Mosier


Mark Mosier, who had see his hopes of winning the ’69 State Championship fade in the last few laps, overcame the difficulties of the racing surface to win the 25-lap event. Like Mel Morris did to him the year before, Mosier stayed glued to race leader Gene Schattschneider’s bumper throughout the contest and when “Schattsy’s” right rear tire shredded on lap 22, Mosier slipped by for the lead, where he fought off Joel Rasmussen the remaining three laps to take the victory.

Rasmussen would settle for his second straight runner-up finish in the race with John Moss taking third, Butch Householder grabbing fourth and Ron Hemsted of Washington taking fifth. Mosier, Jim Havill of LeClaire, Rasmussen, and Don Hoffman of Des Moines were heat winners while Phil Reece of Des Moines topped the consolation field.

No one would come close to Dan Dickey of Packwood in a game of follow the leader on Thursday afternoon, August 26, 1971.

The 21-year-old driver had no trouble pulling away from the rest of the field in his 1969 Dodge Charger to take the $500 first-place money, trophy and title of Iowa State Super Stock Champion after dominating the 25-lap feature event.

Driving on both central and southeastern Iowa tracks, the youthful chauffer had been no stranger to the winner’s circle. He was the point’s leader at Eldon, having won four features in a row. He had won features at Des Moines, Knoxville and Oskaloosa during the ’71 season.

Once again, the August weather came into factor with the racing surface. Despite several waterings, the track baked under the hot sun and warm breeze, turning to a dusty, hard surface which made passing extremely difficult. There were several instances when cars moved up three or four places just through the attrition of cars ahead of them. There were numerous spinouts and minor accidents as the cars fought for traction.

The battle for second, third, and fourth places was the main action in the feature, taking place far behind Dickey. Ken Davidson of Des Moines ran a steady second, but had a constant challenge from Denny Hovinga of Laurens and Red Dralle of Evansdale.

Dralle did more passing in the race than anyone else would all afternoon long. He would scoot by Hovinga for third, make a move on Davidson, and then run into control problems on the dry track and slide back to fourth. Late in the race Ron Hemsted made a strong bid for fourth, finishing neck and neck with Dralle as the checkers waved. The finish was so close in fact; the track announcer would not announce the results until the official scorers had made the decision.

Ken Davidson, Del Stokke of Ames, Dickey, and George Barton of Ankeny earned heat wins and Phil Reece was the victor in the consolation race.

After seeing his chances of winning the 1968 race slip away on the last lap and despite putting together some good runs in others, John Moss had yet to see victory lane in the Iowa State Super Stock Championships and it frustrated the usually good natured driver.

When he arrived at the state fairgrounds on August 24, 1972, John Moss made it very clear from the start; he wasn’t going to be denied this time.

After dominating the second heat, Moss started on the outside of the front row and proceeded to throw his weight around in the 25-lap feature to run away from the field. The 300-pound pilot took over the lead early in the race and stayed there, although several yellow flags allowed the field of cars to pull up behind him.

John Moss


Moss picked up $500 for the feature win and another $30 for winning the heat race. The defending race champion, Dan Dickey, would put on another fine driving performance in taking runner-up honors while George Barton would earn a third place finish.

Fourth through seventh place would take a little longer to figure out. Two drivers claimed that another driver had moved up illegally under a yellow flag, but the protest was shrugged off by race officials.

John Babb of Ottumwa and Bill Lundington of Carlisle went to the officials of National Speedways, Inc., the promoter of the race, to charge Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids had passed both of them and Stan Stover of Reinbeck under the caution flag.

After being ignored by the National Speedways personnel for about 15 minutes, the two drivers attempted to make their complaint to the flagman Woody Brinkman of Lincoln, Neb., but as they started explaining the matter, Brinkman walked away from them without answering and the two drivers finally gave up.

In the official standings, Dake finished fourth, with Stover fifth, Babb sixth and Lundington seventh. Bob Bonzer, Moss, Dickey and Barton would claim heat wins while John Meyer of Brooklyn grabbed the victory in the consolation.

In 1973, Ron Jackson of Burlington had been having, what he termed, “A terrible season of racing. We’ve been racing at Eldon and Oskaloosa this year haven’t been able to do anything all season.”

But things were looking much brighter to him after he won the 25-lap Iowa State Super Stock Championship feature on Thursday afternoon, August 23. “It’s unbelievable the car performed as well as it did,” the 31-year-old truck driver said after the race, which was witnessed by an estimated 7,000 fans.

Jackson won the first heat with his 1973 Mercury Comet and, as a result, started the feature in the front row pole position. He grabbed the lead when the green flag fell and led for the first two laps. Darrell Dake, driving a 1972 Nova, had started beside Jackson. The lead see-sawed between them several times for the first few laps Then Jackson went ahead in turn two on the fifth lap and led the rest of the way.

Dake, Lem Blankenship of Keokuk and Don Hoffman of Des Moines were eliminated because of an accident on lap 15. Blankenship, driving a 1972 Monte Carlo, was trying to pass Dake in the fourth turn when their cars smacked together. Both were sidelined. Hoffman, running close behind them, had nowhere to go and got into the melee. He also watched the remainder of the race from the pits.

Cal Swanson of Reinbeck, in a 1968 Chevelle, and Stan Stover of Reinbeck, driving a 1978 Nova, finished second and third, respectively. Joe Merryfield of Des Moines was fourth. Jackson won $500, Swanson $400, Stover $225 and Merryfield $175.

“I’ve been racing the Comet since the first of July,” Jackson said. “We’ve made several major changes on it, but it just hasn’t worked right. This week we put 250 pounds of lead over the rear wheels and it looks like we have it all together now.”

“The track was dry-slick today and I was able to get a good bite, I also got a break by being in the hot spot (pole position) and I got the jump. If Dake had been the leader first, I doubt if I would have been able to pass him.”

Jackson, Dake, Blankenship, and Swanson scored heat wins while Dave Bedard of LaPorte City, piloting a 1965 Chevelle, took top honors in the consolation.

Bill Rice of Des Moines would walk away with the $500 first prize and capture the Super Stock Championship feature at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday, August 22, 1974.

Rice guided his 1973 Camaro to victory in the 25-lap main event after also winning the fourth heat race. Bob Bonzer, who finished second in the first heat, claimed second in the 27-car feature while Joe Merryfield was third in a ‘74 Chevelle and Don Hoffman took fourth in a ‘72 Nova.

Stan Stover, who started on the outside in the front row for the feature, quickly jumped into the lead in the second turn and led through the seventh lap, He was then forced out with a blown engine.

Bill Martin of Des Moines, who won the first heat and started on the pole for the main, was running second when Stover left. He held the lead until he spun out on lap 17 and left the race. Martin's spin caused a yellow flag and when the race got under way Rice took the lead and never lost it. Rice started in the fourth spot for the feature, but never was any farther back than third place.

In addition to Rice and Bonzer winning heat races, Bill Martin and Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree also scored heat victories. Rex Carter of Adel won the 10-lap consolation.

Ed Sanger


Ed Sanger of Waterloo and the Iowa State Fairgrounds track had proved to be a winning combination in 1975. Sanger, who had won two of three starts at the half-mile oval that year (he finished second the other time), found the track to his liking again as he captured the Iowa State Super Stock Championship on August 21, 1975.

Despite temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees on the racing surface, Sanger had little to complain about. “My car works well, here,” explained Sanger, who won $500. “It’s a flat track that is suited to a light car like mine.”

Sanger, who also won the first heat, took the lead on the eighth lap from second place finisher John Connolly of Delhi and stretched that margin to six car lengths at times even though two accidents allowed the field to close up again.

“Connolly’s tail end was loose and consequently he had to drive low in the corner,” Sanger said. “I could lean on it out in the cushion and after testing it a couple of laps I went by.”

Mel Morris finished third, followed by Lem Blankenship, Don Hoffman and Ron Tilley of Council Bluffs.

One of the delays in the 25-lap feature came on lap 13 when defending champion Bill Rice smacked the wall extremely hard in his 1973 Camaro and clipped a car driven by Larry Rummelhart of Riverside. The impact of the crash caused Rice to spin in the air and tore the rear end of the car completely away from the rest of the body as flames momentarily shot from underneath.

“Something broke in the right rear - the spring or spindle,” said Rice, who was shaken up but not injured. “I hit the wall and don’t know what happened after that.”

Sanger, the season point leader at Denison and Davenport, only had one complaint after the race – “a splitting headache” caused by the high temperatures.

Bob Hilmer of Dysart, Sanger, Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, and Connolly were heat winners. Ron Prymek of Des Moines and Perry Beckler of Iowa City staged a two-man battle in the consolation with Prymek coming out on top in his 1975 Chevelle.

As the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end” and so would the Iowa State Super Stock Championships. In 1976, the Thursday afternoon tradition of championship super stock racing would be replaced with sprint cars.

Monday, December 10, 2012

1972 - Dick Hutcherson inducted into IMCA Hall of Fame

Des Moines, Iowa (December 10, 1972) - Business is booming for Dick Hutcherson - so much so he was unable to attend the International Motors Contest Association’s annual awards banquet on Saturday night where he was inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame.

But he acknowledged the honor and was remembered by the 400 fans and auto racing people who gathered at the Hotel Fort Des Moines where the IMCA gave away more than $31,000 in cash and merchandise, in addition to many honors and awards.

Hutcherson, formerly of Keokuk, now owns 75 percent of a Charlotte, N.C., firm called Hutcherson and Pagan Enterprises. “We build new stock cars, fix wrecks and update old cars,” the IMCA champion of 1963 and ‘64 said in a telephone interview Saturday.

“I'm really sorry that I can't make it to the banquet,” he continued. “But, we’re working six and seven days a week getting cars ready for the Daytona 500 and we’re still behind on orders.”

“I regard being inducted into IMCA’s Hall of Fame a great honor. It means a lot to be thought of.”

Hutcherson left the IMCA after the 1964 season and, with sponsorship by Ford Motor Company, found fame and good fortune in NASCAR. “I ran for points in 1965 and finished second in NASCAR’s Grand National division,” Hutcherson said. “Ford dropped out of racing in 1966 and I only ran a few NASCAR races and competed in some sports car events.”

“Then in ‘67, I ran the Grand National circuit again and, although I wasn’t running for points. I finished third.”

In 1968 and ‘69, in the employment of Holman and Moody, formerly Ford’s racing equipment outlet,
“Hutch” was crew chief for David Pearson, who won the Grand National titles those years. He was promoted to general manager of Holman-Moody in 1970 and, after a split in top management in 1971, Dick, Assistant General Manager Eddie Pagan, and five Holman-Moody mechanics began the new venture.

“I had a lot of fun racing in IMCA,” Hutcherson said, “and there are a lot of good drivers out there. There wasn’t the pressure I encountered in NASCAR.”

In 1963, Hutch won 31 of 54 IMCA feature races and finished second nine times. He won 29 of 50 features in ‘64 and was runner-up 14 times. In his six-year IMCA career, he never finished lower than third in point standings. He was second in 1959 and ‘62 and third in ‘60 and ‘61.

The IMCA Board of Directors also selected Joe T. Monsour, manager of the Louisiana State Fair, for the Hall of Fame. He is a past president of IMCA.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, the 1972 IMCA stock car national champion, received $3,500 and Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, Mo., the sprint car national champion, was presented $2,525.

Hank Smith of Mount Ayr, Iowa was named Man of the Year in IMCA. Smith’s car was driven to a fourth-place point finish by Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa after Goodwin drove it early in the season.

Ron Perkins of Des Moines received the sportsmanship award.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Remembering the North Dakota Late Model Championships


Dick Schiltz at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot - 1979.


by Lee Ackerman
Minot, N.D. - In the late 70’s and early 80’s Iowa drivers were dominating in the world of dirt late model racing. Iowa drivers won four World 100 titles in six years in the 70’s. What does that have to do with North Dakota? Well for three years starting in 1978 they ran a series of racing during the North Dakota State Fair in Minot and drivers from the Hawkeye state seemed to do pretty well.

On July 22 & 23, 1978 they ran the first of the races billed as the North Dakota State Fair Championship Races at the State Fairgrounds in Minot. Heats were won by Don Bender of Regan, North Dakota, Jack McDonald of Eldridge, North Dakota and Howard Nelson of Carrington, North Dakota. Des Moines, Iowa’s Joe Merryfield won the Trophy Dash and Bob Moody of Williston, North Dakota won the consolation.

When it came to “A” feature time, it was Joe Merryfield making a pass on the last lap to nail down the win. Don Bender was second, Howard Nelson third. Larry Seckerson of Jamestown, North Dakota was fourth and Dan Herman of Bismarck, North Dakota fifth.

Night two of the races saw Roy Miller of Minot, Don Bender and Bob Simmers of Jamestown pick up heat wins. Jack McDonald would win the dash and Bob Moody once again won the dash. In the feature it was all Joe Merryfield as he drove his Sanger Camaro to a half lap win after taking the lead on lap 26 of the 50 lap feature. John Gaule of Minot was second, Larry Seckerson third, Paul Schulz of Washburn fourth and Howard Nelson fifth.

Merryfield would earn $2,000 for winning the first North Dakota State Fair Late Model Championships and the 1975 World 100 champion would take the trophy back to Iowa.

Joe Merryfield must have passed the word about Minot when he got back to Iowa because the 1979 version of the North Dakota State Championships saw several Iowa drivers plus drivers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada.

While North Dakota drivers dominated the heat races in 1978 that was not the case in 1979. On Thursday July 19, round one of a three night series, heats were won by Jim Bruggeman of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Verlin Eaker of Mechanicsville, Iowa, Tom Corcoran of Grand Forks, North Dakota and Clayton Petersen, Jr., of Grand Island, Nebraska. The two consolation races went to Pete Parker of Kaukauna, Wisconsin and Don Hoffman of Des Moines, Iowa.

By winning the second consolation race, Don Hoffman and his Pizza Hut #2 got the privilege of starting ninth row outside. Hoffman would survive two caution flags and two red flags but he took the lead on lap 37 when race leader Leon Plan of Mondovi, Wisconsin slowed with mechanical problems. Hoffman had to survive a tangle with Bruggeman which sent Hoffman off turn two with a cut tire. He was however allowed to change the tire under the red flag and go on to win the feature and $2,000.

Clayton Petersen, Jr., would finish second, Thunder Bay, Ontario’s Tom Nesbitt third, Bruggeman would hold on for fourth and Steve Egersdorf of St. Paul, Minnesota would round out the top five.

Saturday nights show saw heats won by Steve Egersdorf, Em Fretheim of Decorah, Iowa, Clayton Petersen, Jr. and Bill Sanders of Muskogee, Oklahoma. Consolation races went to Billy Moyer, Jr. of Des Moines, Iowa and Don Hoffman. In the Saturday feature, Hawkeye drivers totally dominated with Gary Crawford of Independence, Iowa winning the feature, Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa second and Em Fretheim of Decorah, third, Bill Sanders fourth and Verlin Eaker fifth.

Sunday’s finale was highlighted by an amazing pass on lap 45 by Gary Crawford as he passed Ed Sanger coming out of turn four. Crawford would go on to win the 50-lap feature and also the North Dakota State Championship. Sanger would finish second in the race and tie Don Hoffman for second in points. Hoffman would run third in the feature followed by Eaker in fourth giving Hawkeye drivers the top four spots. Bob Moody of Williston, North Dakota would finish fifth and give home state fans something to cheer about. Gary Crawford would win $5,000 for his efforts.

The 1980 version of the race became the North Dakota State Fair International Late Model Dirt Track Championship. Races were scheduled at Minot on July 19, 20 & 24 with a race also scheduled for July 22 at Winnipeg, Manitoba Speedway.

Things kicked off Saturday, July 19 and this time North Dakota drivers were ready to take back their territory. Marlyn Seidler of Underwood, North Dakota started on the pole and lead all the way in the 50-lap feature to take home his 13th win of the season. Jack McDonald was second with Huron, South Dakota’s Dennis Selting third, Fargo, North Dakota’s Mitch Johnson fourth and Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa fifth.

On Sunday night, Paul Schulz of Washburn, North Dakota grabbed the lead at the start but on lap eight Dennis Selting driving a 1980 Ford Thunderbird powered by a small-block Chevrolet took over the lead of the race. Selting held off Iowa hot shoe Dick Schiltz by a car length for the win. “The lapped cars made thing real tough tonight,” said Schiltz after the race. Schiltz would finish second, Em Fretheim third, Paul Schulz fourth and Ed Sanger fifth.

On Tuesday it was north of the border and a controversial ending. Over 7,000 fans were on hand for round three of the series and it would come down to a pair of Hawkeye state drivers. Dick Schiltz would take the lead from fellow Waterloo, Iowa resident Ed Sanger on lap 45 and go on to win the feature by about five car lengths. Following Schiltz and Sanger to the line were, Jim Bruggeman and Mitch Johnson.

After the race there were a number of questions raised about Schiltz’s car as well as other cars. Sanger claimed Schiltz had removed 500 pounds from his car before the race. Unfortunately, the track did not have a scale to weigh cars and insure they met the 3,000 pound minimum weight. They would be weighed once back in Minot.

 The weight issue followed the cars back to Minot for the finale.

After the final checkered flew at Minot, veteran Ed Sanger was a happy man and grinning from ear to ear. During the feature race Sanger had been leading when Dick Schiltz passed him on lap 38 as they came by lapped traffic. Schiltz went on to take the checkered flag and most spectators left thinking Schiltz had won the race. However, Nodak Racing Club Officials required the top 10 cars to be weighed. Schiltz was found to way only 2,845 pounds, 155 pounds light. He was disqualified and the victory given to second place Sanger.

“He knew he had to be light to win tonight,” Sanger commented, “They didn’t weigh the cars last year on the final night and I don’t think Dick thought they would tonight.”

Meanwhile Schiltz contended, “I know that the scales have been changed,” argued a bitter Schiltz, “We set the car up on the same scale and it weighed over 3,100 pounds.”

Following Sanger in the official finish of the race were Red Dralle of Waterloo, Iowa, Steve Egersdorf, Maryln Seidler and Em Freitheim.

Sanger would not only pick up the win but also capture the title for the North Dakota State Fair Championship. He would end up with $4,850 prize money for the four nights. Bob Shryock would finish second in the series and Red Dralle third. A total of 45 cars took place in the four day series. They represented seven states and two Canadian provinces

For three years the North Dakota State Championship races had brought some great racing to the Dakotas. It had gone from largely a state race in the first year to a regional affair the last two years. But as they had in some many areas of the country, Iowa drivers would dominate the event.