Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Week in Racing History – 1972

June 30 – Gene Gennetten of Kansas City, Mo., pocketed $1,000 in winning the “Northeast Kansas Short Track Championships” for super sprints at Topeka Raceway before a capacity crowd on Friday evening. After passing fellow Missourian Dick Sutcliffe on lap 16 for the top spot, Gennetten then had to hold off Sutcliffe for the remaining laps to seal the victory.  Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., moved from his 16th starting position to finish third while Jay Woodside, also of Kansas City, took fourth. Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., finished in fifth place after starting 15th.
July 1 – After setting fast time of 19.63 seconds, Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., went on to score his sixth feature victory in nine starts at Capital Super Speedway in Oregon, Wis., on Friday night. Twenty-one cars started the 30-lap feature and by the halfway point, it was Al Moldenhauer of Madison and Trickle leading the field. By the 20th circuit, they were both lapping slower traffic and on lap 23, Trickle would pull his purple #99 around Moldenhauer for the top spot and the victory. Moldenhauer would hold on to second followed by Joe Shear of Beloit, Ill., John Ziegler of Madison and Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis.

July 1 – After a month’s absence from the racing wars, D. Arthur Nesteby of Waterloo, Iowa, returned with a bang on Friday night, capturing his first late model victory of the season t the Central Iowa Fairgrounds in Marshalltown, Iowa. Starting on the outside of row three, Nesteby shot through the front-runners quickly, taking over the top spot from polesitter Roger Klingfus, also of Waterloo, on lap 4. He would proceed to widen the gap from there, and win handily over Waterloo’s Karl Sanger, who came from the rear of the 16-car field to take runner-up honors. Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, finished third followed by Bill Barthelmes of Troy Mills, Iowa, and Joe Schaefer of Waterloo.

July 2 – Shorty Bennett of East Moline, Ill., picked up the checkered flag in Mississippi Valley Speed Club (MVSC) action at the Louisa County Fairgrounds in Columbus Junction, Iowa, on Saturday evening.  Bennett battled Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, early on in the contest before securing the top spot for good. Morris would settle for runner-up honors while Larry Jenkins of Wilton, Iowa, took third. Ron Prymek of Iowa City, Iowa, and Dan Robertson of Muscatine, Iowa, finished fourth and fifth respectively. Tom Stewart of Washington, Iowa, was fast qualifier on the evening with a time of 26.5 seconds.
July 2 – Lincoln, Nebraska’s Bud Offenbacher survived an early scare by Bob Reichwaldt, also of Lincoln, to triumph in the “A” feature at Midwest Speedway in Lincoln on Saturday night. Offenbacher, who wasn’t even listed in the top 20 in points, led the first 6 laps before relinquishing the top spot to Reichwaldt. Five laps later, Offenbacher would regain command of the lead and then extend his margin for the remaining 19 circuits to win with relative ease. Don Matulka of David City, Neb., finished second and Norm Bruner of Brainard, Neb., took third. Walt Keast of Lincoln, seeking his third straight feature win, was sidelined after a mishap on the initial lap.   

July 2 – “Flying” Fred Whisler found himself $1,000 richer as he chauffeured his 1970 Mustang to victory at I-70 Speedway’s “Firecracker 100” for late model stock cars in Odessa, Mo., on Saturday night. A standing room only crowd also witnessed Terry Bivins whip his 1972 Chevelle around the .540 high-banked oval in 18.69 seconds, breaking the old mark of 18.87 seconds previously held by Wisconsin’s Dick Trickle. After securing the lead on lap 39, Bivins would dominate the race, leaving his pursuers far behind as he consistently turned laps of 19 seconds in constant traffic. By lap 85, he had lapped the entire field and looked well on his way to victory when the car’s rear-end let go on lap 90, robbing him of a sure victory. Whisler shot by him on the backstretch claimed the top spot and then held off a hard-charging Dave Wall and Don Conner in the late rounds to seal the deal.

July 2 – Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, became the sixth different winner in super modified action at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday night. Starting on the pole position, Wagner showed his heels to the rest of the field in the 25-lap feature and won going away. Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., finished second with Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., taking the third spot after battling Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., for the last half of the race. Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., rounded out the top five. Stacy Redmond of Mason City, Iowa, scorched the half-mile in qualifying, blazing to a time of 21.21 seconds.
July 2 – Joe Merryfield of Des Moines captured another late model feature victory on Saturday night at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  Merryfield whipped his blue #39 Chevelle into the lead on lap 12 and held on to win the 25-lap feature, pushing him into second place in the point standings. Point leader Stan Stover of Reinbeck, Iowa, finished second in the feature followed by early leader Bob Hilmer of Dysart, Iowa. John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, and Dave Chase of Council Bluffs, Iowa, took fourth and fifth respectively. 

July 2 – Sonny Smyser of Glenwood, Mo., edged Steve Hainline of Bonaparte, Iowa, at the wire to win the 15-lap super modified feature at the Davis County Fairgrounds in Bloomfield, Iowa, on Sunday night. In super stock action, Johnny Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa, easily won the 20-lap feature, outdistancing Jerry Roberts of Lancaster, Mo., and Ed Pilcher of Bloomfield.

July 2 – Boyce Sparkman of Rockford, Ill., scored his first late model feature victory in more than four years, winning the 30-lap main event at his hometown track of Rockford Speedway on Saturday night. Sparkman found an opening on lap 6 and moved past Larry O’Brien of Harvard, Ill., to take the lead and then held off aggressive Steve Arndt of Janesville, Wis., for the hard-fought win. In roadrunner action, Frank Hammel of Beloit, Ill., would win the annual “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”, an event run completely in the dark.
July 2 – Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Iowa, kept it all together to win his first late model feature of the year at the Wapello County Fairgrounds in Eldon, Iowa, on Saturday. After breathing Verlin Eaker’s exhaust for the first 13 circuits, the “Flying Dutchman” surged to the lead when Eaker’s car shot high going through turns three and four. Niffenegger would have the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, race veteran on his bumper the rest of the way on his way to the checkers. A duel between John Moss of Iowa City and Dan Dickey of Packwood, Iowa, saw Dickey nail down the third spot on the final lap. Ron Perdock of Washington, Iowa, nipped Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids by a fender for the fifth spot.

July 2 – Denny Hovinga of Laurens, Iowa, topped the field of late model stock cars at Boone (Iowa) Speedway on Saturday night to take the mid-season championship. Arnie Braland of Boone would finish second to Hovinga in the feature followed by Del McDowell of Ames, Iowa, Greg Davis of Boone, and Ray Busch of Ogden, Iowa. In sportsman mid-season action, it was Allen Martin of Madrid, Iowa, copping the title over Glenn Woodard of Des Moines taking second.
July 2 – Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, edged Ed Mellecker of Iowa City in a photo finish to win the B-modified feature at the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa, on Sunday. A pair of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pilots, Roy “Smoke” Wilson and Ken Walton, would claim third and fourth while Al Hasselbusch of Clarence, Iowa, took fifth. The street stocks saw plenty of action as Tom Hearst of Muscatine, Iowa, made it a clean sweep, winning the first heat and the feature.
July 3 – Ralph Blackett of Des Moines and Bill Ludington of Carlisle, Iowa, took feature victories at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa, on Monday night. Blackett captured the 25-lap midget feature, moving from his 13th starting position to take the lead from Willard Yates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on lap 15. Ludington led all the way in capturing the 20-lap main event for the late models, taking the win over Lee Pinckney of Des Moines.
July 3 – Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, returned to Hawkeye Downs and ran away with the late model feature before a hometown crowd of 8,000. Driving the Dale Snyder Chevy II, Eaker outdistanced the rest of the field by a quarter of a lap. The spectacle in the feature was the race for second place between John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa and John Moss of Iowa City. Both drivers virtually ran side-by-side for the last 10 laps before Connolly was able to squeeze past Moss as the checkers flew. Moss, Connolly, and Bill McDonough won heat races while Bill Beckman of Lisbon claimed the consolation. Joe Merryfield, the hotshoe from Ds Moines, won the trophy dash.
July 4 – Phil Reece of Des Moines, endured eight re-starts to win the 20-lap main event for super stocks at Newton (Iowa) Speedway on Tuesday. Reece, who also won the first heat race, grabbed the early lead in the feature and finished ahead of Mike Keen of Marshalltown, Iowa, Bill Geil of Des Moines and Bill Ludington of Carlisle, Iowa.
July 4 – Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, driving a 1970 Dodge, won the USAC-sanctioned “Independence 100” for late model stock cars at the Springfield (Ill.) Mile on Tuesday. White, who came from the tenth starting position to win, led the field of 33 starters from lap 66 to the finish. Some of the USAC point leaders experience problems and were never factors. Defending champion Butch Hartman failed to qualify for the race because of a burned out piston in warm-ups. Ramo Stott of Keokuk, set fast time in qualifying (38.87) but retired at the midway point with brake issues on his Plymouth.

July 4 – Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, outdrove 18 other late model competitors in the 50-lap feature before a capacity crowd at the Buchanan County Fairgrounds in Independence, Iowa, on Tuesday. The open late model program was in conjunction with the towns’ 125th year celebration. Sanger staved off challenges from Waterloo’s Bill Zwanziger for most of the race to claim the top prize. Zwanziger, who set fast time on the third-mile dirt oval with a time of 18.49 seconds, settled for runner-up honors while Dr. Al Mayner of Winthrop took third. Chub Liebe of Oelwein, Iowa and Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, rounded out the top five.
July 4 – A crowd of 3,621 watched as Bob Kosiski of Omaha outdrove 21 late model contenders to pocket the $1,000 winning share of the rich $5,000 purse at Sunset Speedway in Omaha on Tuesday night. Kosiski lapped the entire field by lap 15 with the exception of second place finisher Dave Chase of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Don Schlondorf of Council Bluffs took third, Keith Mander of Omaha fourth and Phil Reeves of Omaha rounded out the top five.
July 5 – Dave Skari of Grand Forks, N.D., emerged the victor in the initial race of the newly-formed Minnesota Sprint Series at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Minn., on Wednesday evening. Skari, the present point leader at the Red River Raceway in Fargo, N.D., led the whole 20-lap distance and won handily over Ron Carlson of Duluth, Minn. Dick Forbrook of Morgan, Minn., challenged Skari midway in the contest but spun and had to restart at the rear of the pack. He worked his way back up to finish third.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

1971 – Tom Bowsher wins ARCA 150-miler at Kaukauna

Tom Bowsher
Kaukauna, Wis. (June 27, 1971) – It was just about a month ago when Jack Bowsher, a popular driver on the USAC circuit, was leading the late stages of the Wisconsin International 200-lapper, when a frustrating thing happened…he ran out of gas.

So Tom Bowsher, Jack’s younger brother who is making his mark in ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) made sure he didn’t make the same mistake.

“I made two pit stops for gas today – I wasn’t going to run out,” Tom emphasized after breezing to a six-lap victory in the broiling Wisconsin International 300 on Sunday afternoon and picking up a check for $1,775.

The Springfield, Ohio native nearly led all the way in his 1971 Ford Torino and was challenged only briefly by ARCA point’s leader Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa and Andy Hampton of Louisville, Ky., before a crowd of 1,800.

Stott, piloting a 1971 Plymouth, had the lead through the first two laps of the grueling 150-mile contest. He had won the pole position on Saturday.

But Bowsher, who started along side the Iowan on the front row, overtook Stott on the third lap and gradually widened his lead to the better part of a straightaway.

Stott remained within hailing distance to assume the front-runner’s spot again on lap 118 when Bowsher pitted. But when Stott had to go in for fuel himself on lap 150, Bowsher regained the advantage.

Stott’s bid for the victory ended on lap 212 when his car began smoking badly on the backstretch and then fire broke underneath his car. Stott gave the crowd a scare when he crawled out of the car and dropped weaked-kneed to the ground. He was not injured from the fire only exhausted from the race – run in temperatures well over 100 degrees on the track surface.

Hampton also fell victim to heat prostration after dueling with Bowsher bumper to bumper from lap 70 to lap 90. His car finally gave out on the 101st tour.

With his two toughest competitors gone, Bowsher had little to do but stay alert and avoid trouble for the final 86 laps. “I was never really pushed,” Bowsher said afterwards in victory lane. “Everything worked beautifully.” Despite the hot racing surface, Bowsher never changed his tires once.

With Bowsher taking home the top money and a beautiful Miller High Life trophy, second place went to Bill Clemons of New Albany, Ind., who gunned his small 1971 Hornet through 294 laps to collect $950 for his efforts. A Brooks, Ky., driver who goes by the name of A. Arnold finished third in a 1971 Camaro and pocketed $625.

Results –

1. Tom Bowsher

2. Bill Clemons

3. A. Arnold

4. Clifford Hamm

5. Bill Nelson

6. N. D. Copley

7. Mickey Flora

8. Steve Arndt

9. Ed Richardville

10. Kenny Black

11. Leroy Austin

12. Danny Dean

13. Ramo Stott

14. Bob Phernetten

15. Harold Fair

16. Frank Sandin

17. Andy Hampton

18. Bob Thomas

19. Blackie Wangerin

20. Phil Ploughe

21. Bob McCoy

22. Dave Dayton

23. Norman Weltmeyer

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

1983 - Kelly Kinser wins Kokomo feature

Kokomo, Ind. (June 26, 1983) - Kelly Kinser capped a three-day racing weekend by snaring the Tri-Track Super Sprint final 40-lap feature race at the Kokomo Speedway on Sunday night.

Sheldon Kinser nosed out Mike Johnson 117-116 in the point’s standings for the Tri-Track championship by winning the feature races at Lincoln Park in Putnamville and at Paragon Speedway Friday and Saturday nights. Sheldon finished third here Sunday. Kelly Kinser finished fourth in the point’s race with 106.

Super Sprint heat wins were claimed by Kelly Kinser, Larry Rice, Dave Darland and Jeff Donelson with Rice winning the 12-lap “B Main” event and Donelson finishing second.

Allen Barr was fast qualifier at 15.95 seconds.

Larry Martin was second in the feature followed by Sheldon Kinser and Bob Kinser. Kokomo’s Steve Butler was fifth. Butler finished sixth in the point’s race with 92 points.

On the first lap of the third heat, Greg Jones took a nasty end-over-end flip between turns three and four. The car was badly damaged, but the Bunker Hill driver was unhurt.

In the important Tri-Track championship feature, Mike Johnson brought out the yellow flag by getting into the wall on the first turn, causing the race to stop after 26 laps.

Kelly Kinser had the lead with 14 cars still running when the race was restarted. With 31 laps completed, Randy Kinser, who was leading the point’s race by one point, stalled on the backstretch to bring out the yellow flag the last time.

Results -

Fast qualifier: Allen Barr (15.95)

1st Heat: Kelly Kinser

2nd Heat: Larry Rice

3rd Heat: Dave Darland

4th Heat: Jeff Donelson

B Main: Larry Rice

Feature -

1. Kelly Kinser

2. Larry Martin

3. Sheldon Kinser

4. Bob Kinser

5. Steve Butler

6. Bob Christian

7. Larry Rice

8. Mike Johnson

9. Gary Fisher

10. Dewayne Barker

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

1976 - Trickle Takes Feature at Capital Track

Oregon, Wis. (June 25, 1976)  - Dick Trickle captured the feature race at the Capital Super Speedway Friday night, but the real winners were probably the fans.
The drivers began racing under the new tire rules Friday night and fans were treated to some super fast racing.
The Madison Area Racing Association had specified Firestone tires of a certain compound for all late model stock car racing at the track this season, but owner Sam Bartus made several attempts to have the ruling thrown out when northern Wisconsin drivers boycotted the track because they couldn’t use their own brand of tire.
Bartus took his complaint to the Attorney General's office and they ruled Friday that the MARA ruling was an illegal restraint of trade. They stated that the only things that can be regulated are the width and compound run of the tire. There can be no limitation on the brand or price of the tire.
So the northern drivers were there Friday night along with Lennie Pond of Petersburg, Va., one of the top NASCAR Grand National stock car drivers.
Veteran Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., had the top time in the trials, but in the feature race, Trickle took control on the tenth lap and finished with a half lap win.
Johnny Ziegler of Madison was second behind the Wisconsin Rapids driver with Rick Somers of Stevens Point third. Pond, driving Jim Sauter's car, finished back in the pack after experiencing steering problems.
Trickle also took the trophy dash while Rich Bickle of Edgerton captured the semi-feature. Bickle, Fred Bender of Sun Prairie, Jim Back of Vesper and Tom Reffner of Rudolph were heat winners.
Rick Smith of Columbus again dominated the hobby stock competition. He led the time trials and won the trophy dash and feature. Mike Rudd of Cambridge and Paul Kloss of Oregon were heat winners.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

1974 - Gear Shift Key to USAC Win

Butch Hartman
Hartford, Mich. (June 23, 1974) - Butch Hartman shifted gears in his hot ‘74 Dodge and raced to another first place in United States Auto Club’s “Wolverine 100” Sunday afternoon at the Hartford Motor Speedway.

The South Zanesville, Ohio, driver fought off the constant challenge of relative unknown Terry Ryan to win his second consecutive feature, and third overall, in six USAC events this season.

Hartman, who changed the gear ratio in his racer after seeing the Hartford track, also took the lead away from Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., in the United States Auto Club’s stock car point standings with the victory.

“I went to a different gear as soon as I got here,” commented Hartman after picking up $1,385 in earnings at the half-mile paved speedway. “I heard it was a little more banked than it was.”

Nelson, the top qualifier at 20.85 seconds in his ’74 Plymouth finished third as the only other racer on the same lap with Hartman and Ryan. Hartman, who won an unprecedented third straight season championship last year, now stands at 1,071 in the point standings for 1974 after picking up 200 more in Sunday’s victory. Nelson is second at 1,040 and Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, third with 731.

Southwestern Michigan's entry Sunday, a 1973 Camaro owned by Pete Geldhof of Bridgman and drive by Bob Schippers of Kalamazoo, qualified eighth at 21.70 seconds but blew a tire and spun out on the third lap. After another blown tire and 31 laps of racing, the Terhof Enterprise car was black flagged on lap 75.

“We blew two new tires and hit debris on the track both times,” stated Geldhof. “When he (Schippers) was running he was just passing them at will...we’ll be back.”

The race marked the first appearance of major league racing in the area, but the fan turnout was a disappointment for Hartford Speedway Promoter George Malaski, who estimated the crowd at about 800. The USAC event carried an overall $8,000 purse, and Malaski isn't certain at this time on the future of USAC stock car racing on the Hartford track.

Hartman and Ryan both thought the speedway offered one of the nation’s best half-mile paved tracks.

“It’s one of the better ones,” declared Hartman. “I was sorry to see that there were not more people out.”

“It’s nice and smooth and you can pass on it,” added Ryan with his praises.

Hartman, who qualified second fastest at 20.96, took the lead from pole on the 33rd lap of the 100-lap feature and never trailed again. Ryan moved into second on the 37th lap and stayed there the rest of the way.

“Butch was just running a little bit harder than we were, noted Ryan. “I just didn’t have enough coming off to get by him.”

Ryan, who hails from Davenport, Iowa, blew a tire in warm ups and disappeared from view after going off turn two. He returned to qualify fifth at 21.27 seconds in his new Chevy which was being raced only the second time. The former pit man for Mel Kenyon who posted his highest finish in three years on the USAC circuit, was eighth the previous week at Indianapolis.

There were four yellow lights for a total of 30 laps in the 50-mile race, but there were no caution flags out after the 40th lap. The race took 42 minutes and nine seconds, with Hartman having an average winning lime of 71.174 miles per hour.

Hartman also won the four-lap trophy dash in 1 minute and 24.95 seconds for the four fastest qualifiers. White was second, Nelson third and Bay Darnell of Lake Bluff, Ill., fourth.

The 16-fastest qualifying cars were in the feature, along with the top four finishers from the 15-lap semi-feature. Ken Rowley of Bloomington, Ill., won the semi-feature in 5 minutes and 38.24 seconds while Dave Decker finished second, Lefty Robinson third and Bob Whitlow fourth.

Nine of the top 10 USAC stock car point leaders were at the Hartford race, where a total of 26 cars qualified. There were 13 cars running the end of the feature race.

Going to the pits with tire problems with Schippers was Darnell. George Coonrod went out with oil pressure problems. Jerry Wolland had troubles with his car’s rear end. Bob Brevak blew a head casket, Jigger Sirois had handling difficulties and Lefty Robinson was unable to return after going off the track.

Results –

  1. Butch Hartman
  2. Terry Ryan
  3. Norm Nelson
  4. Paul Feldner
  5. Fred Zack
  6. Pat Patrick
  7. Mickey Flora
  8. Larry Cope
  9. Ken Rowley
  10. Don White
  11. Irv Janey
  12. Dave Decker
  13. Bob Whitlow
  14. Jerry Wolland
  15. Bay Darnell
  16. Bob Brevak
  17. Jigger Sirois
  18. Bob Schipper
  19. George Coonrod
  20. Lefty Robinson

Saturday, June 22, 2013

1969 - Doc Gaining Valuable Experience

Doc Dawson
Lima Ohio (June 22, 1969) “You can’t realize just how fast they’re going,” claimed USAC sprint car newcomer Doc Dawson of Lima, Ohio, a man who never was a slouch behind the wheel of a race car. “They just go a little bit faster than I accustomed to going.”

Doc left the area modified ranks this spring and jumped into the big league of auto racing - the United States Auto Club sprint division - for what he hopes will be an eventual shot at the Indianapolis 500.

“I’ve learned more in my five or six shows with USAC,” Dawson said, “than I have in three or four years driving the super modifieds. I’m getting a lot of experience.”

In those five or six shows, this year, the Lima driver has had more than his share of success, while at the same time having more than his share of bad breaks.

His biggest accomplishment to date came two weeks ago at Eldora Speedway when he set fast time on the half-mile high-banked dirt track with a time of 18.33.

“I really wasn’t trying for fast time,” laughed a pleased Doc. “I just got in the high groove and went.”

“I’ve never won a feature race at Eldora,” he explained. “And I thought I had one.”

Dawson had worked his way up from the sixth starting position into the lead by the 16th lap. “I had a real good chance to win it,” he said, “but something knocked a hole in the oil pan.”

With four laps to go, the car ran out of oil and Doc was forced to shut off. Bruce Walkup inherited the lead and Larry Cannon eventually took the victory. Walkup is one of the most difficult men in racing to hole off, but Doc had the race all but wrapped up when misfortune struck.

His luck was even worse earlier this year. In the first show at Eldora, Doc set third fastest time in qualification and was doing an excellent job in a heat race when he caught a rut and landed upside down, through for the day.

“I was kind of discouraged at first,” Doc admitted. “I just wasn’t making any money. I even thought about dropping out. My biggest problem was that I lacked experience.”

Dawson began racing at the old Allentown Speedway back in 1963 and in 1965 he began driving the super-modifieds. “I never really had top equipment before this year,” he said.

With the encouragement of several other USAC drivers, Doc finally started driving like he thought he was capable. “USAC has treated me real good,” Dawson said. “They want to help you. Many officials and drivers come around and volunteer.”

Cy Fairchild, a relative newcomer to USAC from Saginaw, Mich., has been a key factor in Doc’s improvement. “"Fairchild has helped me quite a bit on the pavement,” he explained. “He’s given me a lot of tips. I’d never driven a four-bar torsion car; he’s given me pointers on how the car works.”

Doc’s had a harder time adjusting to USAC since most of his experience has come on dirt tracks, while 70 to 80 per cent of the sprint races are run on asphalt. “I've had to learn to drive pavement,” he stated. “The banked tracks are pretty easy, but on a flat track like New Bremen is where experience shows.”
“On dirt you can make mistakes and get your car back; but on pavement if you get too far out of shape, you start sliding and there’s not much you can do.”

Dawson has also gotten considerable help from his car owner Gus Hoffman of Cincinnati.

“Gus has been racing USAC for quite awhile,” he said. “He gave Bud Tinglestad his first ride.”

“He knows how to set up the car for the different tracks, and that helps. A guy really needs this, especially someone who lacks experience.”

But once the Lima, Ohio chauffeur settled down, he’s become really excited over his move to USAC.

“Once you’ve run two or three shows,” he said, “you know it’s the type of racing you should be in. The biggest difference between USAC and the modified ranks is the quality of drivers and equipment,” he said.

“In the modifieds, there are maybe six or eight good drivers and cars in a race, but in USAC all 20 are good drivers with good equipment and anyone is capable of winning.”

“They don't make many mistakes, and most of them are not their fault. Usually, it’s something mechanical that goes wrong to cause trouble. If you’re following someone, you don't have to worry about him and looping it out.”

Doc has also learned in his brief USAC career that qualifying is important part of the game since none of the heat races are inverted and only the first six places of the feature are switched around.

“If you are up at the front,” he explained, “you can concentrate on making the car go. You can just turn it loose because you worry about passing and traffic.

“I’ve always been told that it’s easy to catch a guy,” Doc chuckled, “but it’s something different to pass him.”

“I’ve also learned that in USAC, if you're going to win, you have to go hard the whole race. In modifieds you can often get out to a lead and slack up for a few laps, but not here, all 20 cars starting a race are capable of winning.”

Doc, of course, has some plans mapped out for the future. He hopes to pick up enough experience in the sprints to land a ride on the USAC championship circuit. “I'd like to try to stay with USAC and then get a championship ride,” Dawson said. “And then someday go on to Indianapolis.”

Doc would like to land a champ ride next year, but he realizes that is a difficult length of time. But Doc will not be in any hurry for he knows that he needs a bit more experience before he will become a competitive and consistent driver. He further knows that this takes time.

It has taken him-more than five years to get as far as he is today. “I just hope to keep improving and advancing,” he added, “and maybe someday I’ll be good enough to make a living driving a racecar.”

Race car drivers with the ability and desire that Doc has don’t come along very often. With a little bit of luck, he’s going to be earning that living driving a race car in the very near future.

Friday, June 21, 2013

This Week in Racing History – 1989

June 21 – The 15-lap Coors IMCA modified mid-season championship seemed to be a leader’s nightmare but not for Bob Dominacki of Bettendorf, Iowa, as he took the lead with only 2 laps left and picked off his third feature win of the season at the Knox County Speedway in Knoxville, Ill., on Wednesday evening. Darrell McGee of Galesburg, Ill., the current IMCA point’s leader, jumped from his pole position to open a commanding lead only to drop out on lap 9 with mechanical issues. Rick Cox of Davenport, Iowa, inherited the top spot and he too took command only to break a trailing arm on the rear end and blowing a tire as well. Dominacki would take over the remaining two circuits and take mid-season honors. Dean MGee of Galesburg, Ill., took second and Dale Plack of Brimfield, Ill., grabbed third.

June 22 – Denny Schwartz of Ashmore, Ill., powered his Price Plumbing #21 to victory, capturing the 30-lap IMCA Modified National Series race at Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Thursday night, leading flag to flag and picking up the $500 first prize. The IMCA special event drew cars from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas. Schwartz jumped out to lead the 22-car field from his pole position and was soon challenged by UMP late model veteran Dick Taylor of Springfield, Ill. Taylor tried desperately on several occasions to pass Schwartz but couldn’t get the bite he needed running the low groove. Schwartz, running the high side of the tight oval, never made any mistakes and although several cautions kept the action close to the end, Schwartz held on, crossing the stripe first ahead of Taylor, Mike McMahon, Bryan Board and Al Crawley.
June 23 – Defending champion John Sernett of Bloomington, Minn., captured his first championship sprint car feature of the year a Red Devil Speedway in Hartford, S.D., on Friday night. Sernett jumped into the lead on the first lap and was able to keep a comfortable distance between him and runner-up Gordy Vogelaar of Round Lake, Minn., the remainder of the race. They were followed by Gary DeWall of Jackson, Minn., Rod Henderson of Beresford, Minn., and Randy Rosenboom of Rock Rapids, Iowa. Kenny Hansen of Nunda, S.D., got by Jim Lindberg of Sioux Falls, S.D., with 2 laps to go to take the win in the 360 cubic engine sprints. Lindberg had run strong and led the entire race before fading with only a couple of laps to go.
June 24 – Doug Wolfgang of Sioux Falls, S.D., came home to the track in which he claimed four Knoxville Nationals titles and came away the victor in the World of Outlaws feature event at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday night. Wolfgang, who had claimed the preliminary feature only 24 hours earlier, guided the D.P Motorsports Schnee chassis from his row two starting position to the lead on lap 10. He would never relinquish the lead during the 25-lap affair and collected $8,000 in winning for the 48th time at the historic half-mile. Dave Blaney of Cortland, Ohio, who set quick time in qualifying (16.440 seconds) finished second behind Wolfgang after leading the initial 10 circuits.
June 24 – Scott May of Peoria, Ill., continued his domination of the UMP late model division at Spoon River Speedway in Canton, Ill., as he won his fourth straight feature there on Saturday night. May took the lead early and held off a hard charging Randy Booth of Springfield, Ill. Bob Freeburg of Metamora, Ill., and Allen Thomas of Wapella, Ill., had a duel of their own for third and fourth as they switched back and forth throughout the feature, with Freeburg getting the nod. In other action; Gary Cook of Washington, Ill., continued his winning ways in the econo late models as he grabbed his fifth victory of the season and John Anderson of Lexington, Ill., won the IMCA modified main event.

June 25 – Rich Bickle scored the second win of his ARTGO career and his first NASCAR/ARTGO Challenge Cup Series win Sunday afternoon in the $60,060 “Special Export Light 200” at the Lacrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in Salem, Wis. Bickle took the lead on lap 15 from ARTGO point leader Joe Shear then held off a tremendous last lap charge by the cagey veteran to beat Shear to the line by less than one foot. With the victory, he became the seventh different winner of the 1989 season. Finishing behind Bickle and Shear were Mark Day with an outstanding run, Scott Hansen who came from a lap down to finish on the lead lap and Steve Holzhausen with a steady 200-lap run.
June 25 – Dave Farren of Des Moines, Iowa, won the IMCA modified feature Sunday night at Stuart (Iowa) Speedway, beating Stuart’s Craig Cooper and Earlham, Iowa’s Terry Pruitt by a car length at the checkered flag. John Henely of Norwalk, Iowa, was the feature winner in the IMCA stock car main event overt Kevin Gyles of Des Moines and Fred Day of Earlham. In enduro action, Jeff Anderson of Atlantic, Iowa took the win over Bill Bonnett of Knoxville, Iowa, and Bob Van Scoy of Madrid, Iowa.

Bob Mays
June 25 – Four years of frustration and near misses finally came to an end at Cornhusker Raceway Park in Waverly, Neb., as Hawkeye Racing News photographer and modified midget racer Bob Mays of Lincoln, Neb., took home his first career “A” feature on Saturday night. Mays cut through traffic from his fourth row starting position to move into fourth position. After several attempts on the high side of the track, he slid past Chuck Kidwell of Harvard, Neb., for third and then moved past Rick Asche of Lincoln for second spot. With 12 circuits to go in the 30-lapper, Mays drove by race leader Mike Love of Lincoln coming off of turn two and on to an easy victory. 

June 25 – The J&J Steel Summer Series for IMCA late models made its scheduled stop at Columbus Junction (Iowa) Raceway on Sunday night and the racing was just like the weather, hot and sticky, as Bob Hill of Story City, Iowa, went home the winner of the 35-lap feature. Darrell Dake, the 62-year-old veteran from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grabbed the lead on lap 1 and built a half a lap lead on the rest of the field until a restart on lap 10. Dake led everyone into turn one on the restart but going down the backstretch he developed engine troubles and Bob Hill inherited the top spot with Steve Borts of Ames, Iowa, Ted Pallister of Wapello, Iowa, and Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa, in hot pursuit. Hearst would move past Pallister and then Borts as the race stayed green until a caution flag flew on lap 33, allowing Hearst one last shot at Hill. Hill, however, would stay cool and calm on the final restart and pull away for the win. Hearst would cross the finish line in second but a post-race inspection found the veteran driver in violation of the weight rules, so he was disqualified. Steve Watts of Danville, Iowa, Steve Borts, Jay Johnson of Middletown, Iowa, and Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, would round out the top five.
June 25 – “The Racing Auctioneer” Charlie Sentman outbidded “The Racing Farmer” Roger Long in a real barnburner to capture the 25-lap UMP late model main event at the Vermilion County Fairgrounds on Sunday night. Sentman powered into the number one slot at the drop of the green with Long right on his bumper. Long tried to get by Sentman on numerous occasions, first on the inside and then on the outside, but couldn’t make the pass. Sentman would hold off Long at the wire by a car length, posting his first feature win of the season at the track. Kevin Weaver, Roger Cary and Jim Leka rounded out the top five positions. Denny Schwartz, proving to be the hottest modified driver in the country, scored his seventh feature victory of the season winning handily.
June 25 – Jeff Jones of Davenport, Iowa, Jeff Bair of Solon, Iowa, and Rusty Zook of Coralville, Iowa, each claimed a feature win on mid-season championship night at Tipton (Iowa) International Speedway on Sunday night. Jones took the lead on the second lap of the IMCA modified feature and led the remainder of the way but not without pressure from Johnny Spaw of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and John Irwin of Lost Nation, Iowa. Bair, a first year pro stock driver, posted a clean sweep in his division, outracing Marty Beckler of Oxford, Iowa, in the 20-lap finale. Zook also had a clean sweep and led wire to wire in the 17-lap hobby stock main event.
June 25 – Thirteen-time track champion Ken Essary of Galena, Mo., charged by Chris Powell of Rogers, Ariz., on lap 22 to win his second late model feature of the season Sunday night at Monett (Mo.) Speedway. Essary and Powell were chasing race leader Darrell Mooneyham when the defending track champion exited with a right rear flat tire on lap 20. Bill Street, Al Purkey and Bill Frye rounded out the top five finishers. Johnny Bone Jr. took the lead on lap 12 and held off Dave Williams to take the checkered flag in the 18-lap IMCA modified feature and Joe Woodard of Crane, Mo., won his first-ever feature as he outran the 21-car street stock field.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1960 – Jimmy Bryan Injuries Fatal at Langhorne

Jim Hurtubise in victory lane at Langhorne. 

Langhorne, Penn. (June 19, 1960) - Rugged, cigar-smoking Jimmy Bryan, veteran auto racer who won 19 championships including the Indianapolis 500 in 1958, was killed Sunday in the 100-mile National Championship Big Car race at Langhorne Speedway.

He had not raced on dirt since 1957 although he won his early fame there.

The 33-year-old Phoenix, Ariz., native who began racing in 1948 was attempting to pass Don Branson, of Champaign, III., for the lead on the first lap when his car suddenly skidded sideways and rolled over several times. There was no fire.

Bryan was pulled quickly from his car and rushed to the Lower Bucks County Hospital where he was dead on arrival. Attendants said he died of chest and internal injuries.

The 17-car race restarted after the fatal accident. It was won by Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., who set a national record of 100.786 miles per hour over the one-mile dirt track. His winning time was 59 minutes and 31.92 seconds.

Eddie Sachs, of Center Valley, Penn., who viewed the tragedy from his position eight cars behind, blamed the accident on Bryan’s “overconfidence in himself and his eagerness to return to the profession that he was so wonderful in.”

“They had just dropped the green flag and the cars went into the turn. Bryan took the outside and the dust and dirt got heavy. And after 2-1/2 years of inactivity, he didn’t like what was happening.”

“He tried to drive from the outside to the inside too quickly and that is what put the car out of control. He made such a sharp turn that the car flipped to the inside of the track.

“I was heartsick. He was loved and revered by every man in the racing business.”

Results –

1. Jim Hurtubise
2. Jim Packard
3. Gene Force
4. Cotton Farmer
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Parnelli Jones
7. Jack Rounds
8. Bobby Grim
9. Bill Homeier
10.Dick Rathmann
11.Lloyd Ruby
12.Jiggs Peters
13.Eddie Sachs
14.Jim McWithey
15.Don Branson
16.A.J. Foyt
17.Red Amick
18.Jimmy Bryan

Jimmy Bryan

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

1971 – Records fall as Householder cleans sweeps Fairmont

Fairmont, Minn. (June 18, 1971) - Butch Householder of Algona became the first late model triple winner of the season, winning the main feature, first heat and trophy dash. Householder outlasted the field with early pace setters Ray Forsythe of Mankato, Bob Jusola of Burnsville and Bob Shryock of Estherville dropping out because of engine problems.

A total of four cars broke the former time trial record of 24.75 set the opening night of racing May 14 by Mert Williams of Rochester. The top mark of 24.65 on the ½-mile track was turned in by Householder. Ray Forsythe was next in 24.70 while Paul Fitzpatrick of Rochester was third in 24.75 and Bob Weber of Lone Rock, Iowa, was fourth in 24.99.

Late model action saw Butch Householder of Algona come from the last row outside to edge Paul Fitzpatrick of Rochester by two car lengths in the first heat. Fitzpatrick took the lead on the third lap with Householder slipping past in front of the grandstand at the start of the final lap.

In the second heat Ray Forsythe of Mankato outlasted Bob Shryock of Estherville for the win while Jim Edgington of Fairmont edged Jack Piver of Mason City for third place. Forsythe started in back of the pack and edged into the lead on the third lap, taking the lead from Piver. Shryock moved into second on the fifth lap and Edgington moved to third on the sixth lap.

The trophy dash saw Householder and Fitzpatrick run one-two with Householder winning by several car lengths. Skuza took third place by a length.

In the consolation race for late model stocks, Bob Jusola of Burnville nipped Bob Weber of Lone Rock, by just six inches at the finish to bring a crowd of 3,000 to their feet.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

This Week in Racing History – 1995

June 16 – Randy Martin and Shorty Acker enjoyed a little more time in the spotlight at State Fair Raceway in Sedalia, Mo., on Friday night. The pair – which has had more than their fair share of success on the historic half-mile dirt track – highlighted the “Friday Night Fever” card with Martin, of California, Mo., claiming the winged sprint car feature and Acker, of Windsor, Mo., doing the same in the late model division. Justin Boney of DeSoto, Kan. (modifieds), Byron Allison of Marshall, Mo. (super stocks) and Terry Schultz of Sedalia (street stocks) were the other winners on the weekly program.

June 16 – Parity continued to be the rule not the exception in the late model ranks on Friday night at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Speedway in Des Moines. It was Des Moines driver Todd Cooney turn to earn a trip into victory lane as the division has turned out four different winner in as many races. Tom Spagnola of Des Moines would hold set the pace for the first 6 laps before Cooney slipped by for the lead and the eventual win. John Louge of Boone, Iowa would settle for third, Jarod Fleck of Des Moines grabbed fourth and Jason Toppenberg of Ames, Iowa, rounded out the top five. In other action, Mark Wilson of Des Moines topped Danny Young of Des Moines in the winged sprint car feature. Bill Davis, (IMCA modified), Don Killen (IMCA stock car), and Dave Monger (street stock), all of Des Moines, were also victorious.

June 16 – A huge crowd greeted NASCAR star Kyle Petty at the Farley (Iowa) Speedway on Friday night for the running of the “Winston Select 50”. Petty was on hand to sign autographs and take part in a motorcycle ride. The 50-lap NASCAR late model feature was dominated by Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill. Guss started the main event in the sixth spot and shot to the front early by passing on the low side. Guss took over the top spot before the race was 10 laps old, went to the high side of the track, and cruised to victory. Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, placed second, Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, took third, Jeff Aikey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, fourth, and Ryan Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, rounded out the top five.

June 16 – New winners highlighted the action at Bloomfield (Iowa) Speedway on Friday night. Tommy Elston of Keokuk, Iowa (IMCA late models), Jim Lynch of Bloomfield (IMCA stock car), and Rick Metcalf of Selma, Iowa (hobby stocks), were first-time winners at the 3/8-mile speed plant while Troy Folkerts of Albia, Iowa (IMCA modified) was a winner for the second time this season. Elston led start to finish in the IMCA late model main event in what was the first week this season that Terry Schlipman of Mendon, Ill., had not won the feature race.

June 17 – The weather was hot and so was the action at Kossuth County Raceway in Algona, Iowa on Saturday night. Kevin Berte of Whittemore, Iowa, took an exciting IMCA modified feature win over Denny Anderson of Rochester, Minn. Ricky Jo Smith and Tim Erpelding, both of Algona, took third and fourth respectively followed by Dave Wickman of Emmetsburg, Iowa. Greg Hilbert of Algona grabbed top honors in the IMCA stock car main event and Tom Taylor of Ventura, Iowa, was victorious in hobby stock feature action. 

June 17 – Rick Standridge of Divernon, Ill., took the lead from Junior Shickel and went on to win his first NASCAR late model feature of the season at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday night. Tim Lance took the lead at the onset and led for the first 12 circuits before Shickel took over. His lead was brief, as Standridge began to close ground. Standridge took the top spot from Shickel on lap 18 and motored ahead for the victory. Dennis Pennycuff visited victory lane for the second time this year, winning the 20-lap NASCAR modified feature and Charley Hess, the four-year racing veteran, dominated the 15-lap sportsman feature, his third win of the season.

June 17 – Dirk Kirk of Salix, Iowa, won his first-ever NASCAR late model feature and ended Joe Kosiski’s three-race victory run during action at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D., on Saturday night. Kirk, the pole sitter for the race, held off a late challenge from the Omaha hotshoe to post a popular win. In NASCAR modified action, Steve Olson of Sioux City, Iowa, held off challenges by Ron Lutjens of Brewster, Minn., Mike Jensen of Sioux City, and Ricky Stephan of South Sioux City, Neb., to win his first feature of the ’95 season.

June 17 – An overflow crowd of 8,071 watched Steve Carlson win the ARTGO Challenge Series feature at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Mo., on Saturday evening. It was the Wisconsin speedster’s second victory in as many nights, having won the previous night at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, which opened ARTGO’s fifth annual “Western Swing”. Carlson started the evening wheeling his Chevrolet Monte Carlo around the 3/8-mile asphalt oval in 14.401 seconds to top a field of 42 qualifiers. In the 100-lap grind, Carlson, who started 10th on the invert, got around three-time NASCAR Short Track Series national champion Larry Phillips on lap 52 for the lead and never looked back. Kevin Cywinski would earn second, Tracy Shuler third, Larry Shuler fourth and Tom Carlson fifth.

June 17 – Gary Hopp made a clean sweep of Western Iowa Championship Series racing by winning the modified feature at the Crawford County Speedway in Denison, Iowa, on Saturday evening. Hopp’s victory came on the heels of a win at his hometown track Shelby County Speedway the previous night and put the Harlan, Iowa, pilot firmly in the points lead. After a first lap caution, it was green flag racing the next 19 circuits and Hopp routinely worked his way through traffic from his fifth row starting spot to take the top spot on lap 6 and hold it from there. Bart Schmidt, also of Harlan, took runner-up honors while Denison’s Brad McEwan grabbed third place.

June 17 – Denny Osborn of Cedar Falls, Iowa, continued his hot streak in the NASCAR late model division as he swept the program at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa, on Saturday. Starting near the rear of the field, Osborn wasted no time working to the front and cruising to the win in the 25-lap feature. Duane Van Deest and Denny Hovinga put on a super show for the fans in the 20-lap modified feature as Hovinga tried every angle to pass Van Deest for the lead, but could not close the deal as Van Deest earned a hard-fought victory. Doug Filmer overtook early leader Monty Pringle and raced to victory in the stock car main event and Paul Atchison notched his first win of the season in the hobby stock class.

June 17 – Adverse track conditions proved to be no problem for Al Humphrey of Giltner, Neb., as the veteran driver raced past Mike Graham of Wood River, Neb., on the ninth go-round to post the 25-lap NASCAR late model victory at Mid-Continent Race Track near Doniphan, Neb., on Saturday. With track officials battling high temperatures and strong winds in a vain attempt to keep moisture in the racing surface, Humphrey found the conditions to his liking, racing the low side when necessary and the faster top side the rest of the way, in notching his third win of the season. Tommy Rowe of Grand Island, Neb., took second followed by Tony Gregg of Hastings, Neb., Jason Friesen of Sutton, Neb., and Kurt Franklin of Grand Island.

June 17- Al Purkey of Coffeyville, Kan., held off both Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., and Alan Vaughn of Belton, Mo., to win the Midwest Latemodel Racing Association (MLRA) feature on Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Fort Smith, Ark. Close to 125 cars were on hand, including 35 late models competing in the 40-lap $2,500-to-win feature. Purkey moved from his pole position to head the 22-car field with Wallace in second and Vaughn in third. Purkey repeatedly denied Wallace and Vaughn a groove in which to pass and held on to lead the entire distance, winning by a car length at the wire.

June 17 – Kalona, Iowa’s Ron Boyse earned his first feature win of 1995 during mid-season championship night at West Liberty (Iowa) Raceway on Saturday evening. Boyse scored the 25-lap win for the NASCAR late models, driving a near-perfect race and holding off a late challenge from Denny Eckrich of Cosgrove, Iowa, to score the mid-season championship trophy. The NASCAR modified feature saw Jamey Wolfe of Cedar Rapids, Iowa emerge from the pack late in the race to take his second win of the season. Bobby Sexton of West Branch, Iowa found the high side of the track to his liking in winning the pro stock feature. 

June 18 – Rick Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, finally found his way to victory lane, winning the IMCA modified 20-lap feature at Greenbelt Speedway in Eldora, Iowa, on Sunday evening. Gustin inherited the lead at the halfway point when race leader Bill Davis of Des Moines dropped out with mechanical woes. Jeff Mitrisin of Oskaloosa, Iowa, grabbed runner-up honors after previous second place finisher Dan Banker of Mitchellville, Iowa, was penalized one spot for an infraction on a restart, placing him third behind Gustin and Mitrisin. In other action, defending IMCA stock car national champion Bobby Greiner Jr. of Norway, Iowa, finally got his first win of the season at Greenbelt, sailing to victory in the 15-lapper over Al Cakerice of Eldora. 

June 18 – Danny Lasoski never seems to let a year go by without making a stop on the National Championship Racing Association (NCRA) “Northern Tour”. This year was no exception, as Lasoski outran four-time winner Gary Wright to the checkered flag at the Nebraska State Fair Speedway in Lincoln on Sunday evening. Lasoski got the jump on Wright at the start of the race and never gave him a chance, leading green to checkers in the non-stop event that gave no one any breathing room. Tommie Estes, Terry McCarl and Randy Smith rounded out the top five finishers. 

June 20 – After coming so close so many times, Jeff Anderson of Atlantic, Iowa, finally got the cigar. Anderson raced from the inside third row spot on the starting grid to take charge of the main event and make his first ever trip to the winner’s circle in the MAC Tools Winner Series for IMCA stock cars at Audubon (Iowa) County Speedway on Tuesday night. To the delight of the crowd, Anderson moved to the front quickly, as he passed Brian Blessington of Breda, Iowa early in the race, then held off the challenges of two-time IMCA national champion Steve Jackson of Des Moines for the victory. Following Anderson and Jackson across the line were Blessington, Mark Elliot of Webster City, Iowa, and Dale Boeckman of Wall Lake, Iowa.