Thursday, May 30, 2013

1974 - Knoxville Race Boss Resigns

Knoxville, Iowa (May 31, 1974) – Marion Robinson, the 20-year veteran promoter at the Marion County Fairgrounds here, resigned Wednesday in a dispute with the board of directors about money losses.

Robinson, 67, reported he had an argument with Fair Board president Ellis Metcalf, prior to Saturday night races and then Ellis began spreading the rumor that he had been fired.

Robinson, who could only be dismissed by the board, voluntarily resigned before the board's meeting Wednesday night.

P. Ray Grimes, 42, of Des Moines, was hired as director of racing to replace Robinson by the 24-member board. Fair Board Secretary Ralph Capitani said Robinson's resignation was prompted by continuing losses over the past three years. He said the board felt Robinson had not done enough to generate a profit and funds were needed for improvements on the track.

Capitani said attendance at the races have been worse this year, averaging only 1,800 to 2,000 instead of the 2,200 customers needed weekly to break even on the races.

He said the only profit making cut in recent years has been the three-day national race, which was begun by Robinson and placed Knoxville on the map as “the super modified capital of the world”.

Robinson fell out of favor, according to Capitani last Friday night after adding two supermodified races to a United States Auto Club stock car program which the board had not approved and cost $1,000 in extra purse money.

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