Thursday, February 7, 2013

1971 - Katona Wins as Stott Blows

"Grandpa" Iggy Katona

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 7, 1971) - Grandfather Iggy Katona drove past a smoking Ramo Stott with 100 miles to go Sunday and won the ARCA 300 stock car race before a record crowd of 16,300.

Katona, a 55-year-old trooper from Willis, Mich., had been in contention from the start of this eighth annual classic for Midwestern drivers, but didn't make his big move until after the halfway point. Then he suddenly bolted from fifth place to second, overhauling veteran Red Farmer of Hueytown, Ala., and 43-year-old Andy Hampton of Louisville, Ky., to challenge the leader, Stott.

He was riding the Keokuk, Iowa, champion’s bumper when Stott’s blue Plymouth suddenly started trailing a plume of smoke as it raced around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway at 175 miles per hour.

Katona raced by and gained the lead on the 82nd lap of the 120-lap affair and he was never headed, although he had to beat down a late charge from Farmer.

Farmer, three-time national sportsman champ, managed to close to within a second of Katona with 30 miles to go. But he chase ended when the Alabama driver’s Ford got too high in the third turn and he scraped the wall enough to damage a tire. He lost a lap getting a replacement and finished third, behind Tom Bowsher, 1970 ARCA Rookie of the Year. Fourth place went to Jack Shanklin of Indianapolis and fifth to Hank Teeters of West Jefferson, Ohio.

Katona, who had started his Dodge in the front row beside Stott, completed the race in 1 hour, 58 minutes and 27 seconds for an average speed of 152.542 miles per hour. He was paid $5,900 from the $35,025 purse.

He became the first driver to win the event twice. He pulled his red and gold Dodge into victory circle and told his senior citizen fan club, “Let’s all go out for a round on the town.”

Katona, an eight-time grandfather, is long past the age when all but a few race drivers hang up their helmets. But Katona was in no mood to talk about quitting.

“Heck,” he said, “I’m just getting started. In fact, this was the easiest race I’ve ever won. It doesn’t bother me to run fast. Matter of fact, the faster I go the better I like it.”

Results –

  1. Iggy Katona
  2. Tom Bowsher
  3. Red Farmer
  4. Jack Shanklin
  5. Hank Teeters
  6. Billy Ries
  7. Buck Newland
  8. Len Blanchard
  9. Buddy Medlock
  10. Joe Pflum
  11. Bill Clemons
  12. Leroy Austin
  13. Ed Richardville
  14. Mickey Flora
  15. Wayne Trinkle
  16. Bob Thomas
  17. Phil Ploughe
  18. Bob McCoy
  19. Booby Junior
  20. Cleve Smith
  21. Ramo Stott
  22. Andy Hampton
  23. Blackie Wangerin
  24. Coo Coo Marlin
  25. N.D. Copley
  26. Charlie Paxton
  27. David Sisco
  28. Joe Booher

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