Monday, July 29, 2013

This Week in Racing History – 1976

July 29 – An early lead and a little luck enabled Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., to win his second late model feature of the year at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wis., on Thursday night. Miller, who survived the last lap challenge of Marv Marzofka, won by a scant three feet. Marzofka admitted after the race that he had used up his tires trying to catch Miller in the closing laps and that proved to be the difference in the margin of victory. Dick Trickle, who survived a duel with Tom Reffner and later with Jim Bohmsach, finished third.

July 29 – Larry Schuler of Lockport, Ill., outraced Roger Regeth of Kimberly, Wis., at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, Wis., on Thursday night for his 29th feature win in late model auto racing this year. Regeth gained the lead on the second lap of the 20-lap main when he rolled past Jerry Smith. Schuler, driving a ’76 Camaro, worked his way through the 17-car field.

July 30 – Ray Guss of Milan, Ill., made a clean sweep at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, winning his heat and then the late model feature handily. Guss would lead all but two laps in the 25-lap feature and would be followed to the finish line by Jim Strube of Peoria, Ill. Duane Steffe of Colona, Ill., grabbed third, Bob Helm of Andalusia, Ill., fourth and Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa, in fifth.
July 30 – It was long awaited and Dick Jensen’s victory in the late model feature at the Speed Bowl in Red Cloud, Neb., “felt great.” The Aurora, Neb., pilot completed a clean sweep, winning his heat, the trophy dash and then topping off the evening’s action with a dramatic victory over Clayton Petersen of Grand Island, Neb., and Kent Tucker of Aurora for his first win of the season.
July 30 – Dave Bjorge of Austin, Minn., was a triple winner on Friday night, winning the trophy dash, second heat and feature in late model action at Fairmont, Minn. Mike Saathoff of Fairmont copped the street stock main event, winning with a last lap pass.
July 30 – Mike Krall of Cedar Falls, Iowa and Gary Ekvale of Marshalltown, Iowa, were the big winners at Marshalltown Speedway on Friday night. Krall won the super stock feature as only three cars finished after seven started. Krall inherited the top spot when race leader Glen Eggers suffered a flat tire with only a few laps remaining.  Ekvale had it easy in the street stock feature, winning decisively over a field of 20 competitors.
July 30 – Sheldon Kinser, Bruce Walkup and Duane “Pancho” Carter took top honors on Saturday night in the USAC sprint car division, splitting three 33-lap races on the one-mile Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. In the first race, Kinser got by Jan Opperman on lap 28 and held on for the remaining five circuits to claim the win. Walkup would fight off the challenges of Jim McElreath and Rollie Beale to win the second feature. The evening was highlighted by the final 33-lapper that saw Carter come the rear of the pack in a borrowed car and nip Kinser at the wire on the final lap.
July 30 – Doug Wolfgang of Des Moines, Iowa, piloted his sprinter to victory at the Southern Iowa Fair in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Saturday night. Gary Dunkle of Lincoln, Neb., turned in the top time of the evening in qualifying with a fast 21.531 seconds on the big half-mile track. Randy Smith of Mount Ayr, Iowa, on the consolation event, while Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., and Mike Pinckney of Des Moines winning heat races. 

July 31 – Wayne Lensing of Rockford, Ill., posted his sixth victory of the season as he won the 30-lap main at Rockford Speedway on Saturday night. Lensing took the lead from trophy dash winner Larry O’ Brien on lap 22 after tailgating the Harvard, Ill., driver for 16 laps. Jim Kersten of Janesville, Wis., made a late charge past O’Brien to take runner-up honors with O’ Brien earning third place money.
July 31 – Curt Wollin of Cedar Falls, Iowa, won the super stock mid-season championship at Midway Downs in Charles City, Iowa, on Saturday night. Wollin, who is third in the points standings, inherited the lead after points leader and pole sitter Larry Schmidt of New Hampton, Iowa, broke a ball joint on his car after only two laps. This gave Wollin the lead after restart and he led the remaining 33 laps for the victory. Ron Schaufenbuel of New Hampton, Chuck Moore of Waterloo, Iowa, and Bob Brenner of Jesup, Iowa, followed very closely behind to finish in that order.

July 31 – Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, grabbed the 25-lap late model feature at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Webster City, Iowa, on Saturday night. Schiltz was as much surprised to be standing in victory lane as the spectators. Denny Sherrill of Sargent Bluff, Iowa, was leading the race by a wide margin when he developed mechanical issues on the white flag lap, slowing on the backstretch and watching as Schiltz sped by for the win. Bob Bonser of Liscomb, Iowa, too second while Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, grabbed third. Steve Conroy of Jefferson, Iowa, swept the sportsman program, winning his heat, the trophy dash and the 15-lap feature.
July 31 – Jim McClean’s string of five straight midget victories in the United States Racing Association (UARA) came to an end at Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Ill., on Saturday. McClean was a half lap ahead of the rest of the field when his Bob Lockard Badger slipped out of gear, forcing him out of the race on lap 40. John Wiersma would be the beneficiary of McClean’s bad luck, leading the last 10 circuits to claim his first win of the year. 

July 31 – After trying for six years, Garry Truelove must have had doubts whether he would ever win a late model feature race on the high banks of I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo. But those doubts were erased as the Trimble, Mo., ace drove his 1974 Chevrolet to victory in the 25-lap feature on Saturday night. Truelove, who started on the inside of the second row, moved to the front of the field on lap 2 and then survived several challenges by Bill Crane of Claycomo, Mo. Crane made numerous attempts, both high and low, to get past Truelove, but couldn’t seal the deal and on the final lap, his engine gave up, letting Truelove sail to the win.
July 31 – Jim Swank of Hamilton, Ill., staged a nerve-wracking nose-to-tail, door-to-door battle with Jack Dunn of Memphis, Mo., before finally prevailing in the sportsman feature at Lee County Raceway Park in Keokuk, Iowa,  on Saturday night. Swank trailed Dunn for 23 laps before getting by on the high side of turns three and four on the white flag lap. The victory vaulted Swank into a tie for the points lead with Larry Larson of Keokuk.  Omer Cady of Keokuk brought his newly-rebuilt ’64 Ford to the track and breezed to the hobby stock feature win.

July 31 – In his second night of competition at the Buchanan County Fairgrounds in Independence, Iowa, Bill Beckman of Lisbon, Iowa, won the late model feature on Saturday night. Due to a low average point standing, Beckman had a near front starting spot and was able to take the lead on the sixth lap from Tom Fitzpatrick of Waterloo Iowa. Joe Schaefer, also of Waterloo, would eventually muscle past Fitzpatrick for second but was unable to catch Beckman, who had built an insurmountable lead.
July 31 – Gary Bettenhausen, the all-time winningest driver in Terre Haute Action Track history, added victory number eight to his list on Sunday, driving the Paul Leffler built and owned sprinter to victory. The Monravia, Ind., chauffeur started eighth in the 40-lap main and worked his way through the 20-car field to second by the first lap and proceeded to chase Joe Saldana for the next 39 circuits. On the final lap, Bettenhausen slipped by Saldana coming through turns three and four and won by a car length at the finish. Saldana settled for second while Duane “Pancho” Carter took third. Tommy Astone and Chuck Gurney rounded out the top five

July 31 – Jim Gerber of Long Grove, Iowa, once again captured the late model feature at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Maquoketa, Iowa, on Saturday night. It was Gerber’s sixth feature win of the year at the quarter-mile oval and strengthened his point’s lead in that division. Each of the other divisions experienced new winners as Denny Tharp picked up his first victory of the season in the sportsman class, leading all 15 laps, and Roger Kunde was in full command of the crashers feature.
July 31 – Dick Stang of Prior Lake, Minn., put it all together at Minnesota National Speedway in Elko, Minn., on Saturday night to win his first feature of the year. Stang finished ahead of current point’s leader Mark Lamoreaux in the 30-lap main. Mike DeMars was third, losing second place to Lamoreaux on the final lap.

July 31 – July was a long dry month for Ed Sanger; it took the last day of the month for him to win a feature at the Wapello County Fairgrounds in Eldon, Iowa. A slick, dry track caused five restarts, but Sanger managed to lead from green to checkered, winning his sixth feature of the season at the half-mile track.  Sanger also won his heat and the Australian Pursuit, making the evening a clean sweep for the Waterloo, Iowa, hot shoe. Kenny Fenn of Washington, Iowa, continued his winning ways in the sportsman division, holding off the challenges of Jerry Pilcher of Ottumwa, Iowa.


July 31 – Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., took home the lion’s share of the prize money on Saturday night with his victory in the sprint car feature at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, Iowa. Leavitt, driving a car owned by Fred Aden of Phoenix, Ariz., took the lead on lap 15 when previous leader Bill Mellenberndt of Sioux Falls, S.D. crashed when his tire blew, causing him to flip several times. Leavitt was also fast qualifier as the truck owner-operator toured the half-mile in 20.611 seconds. Dick Morris of Sioux City, Iowa, finished second in the 25-lap feature followed in third by Lloyd Beckman of Lincoln, Neb. 
August 1 – Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, collected the $150 bounty on Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, by winning the late model feature at Freeport, Ill., on Sunday evening. Dake took the lead on lap 3 and despite constant pressure from Dolan, was able to snap Dolan’s four-race win streak.

August 1 – Various area businessmen added to the $100 bounty offered up by Slinger (Wis.) Super Speedway management for any driver stopping Tony Strupp in the late model feature, but the increased “pot” did not arouse the competitive nature in any of the other drivers as Strupp sped easily to his 11th straight victory.

August 1 – Stan Stover of Reinbeck, Iowa, mastered a an extremely hard-slick track and conquered 21 other drivers in winning the late model feature at Tunis Speedway in Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday. Stover guided his ’76 Camaro to past early leader Red Dralle of Evansdale, Iowa, and then held off Waterloo’s Bill Zwanziger in the remaining laps to earn his first win of the season. Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, took third followed by Karl Sanger of Waterloo and Dralle. In other action, Dennis Lovejoy of Waterloo won the sportsman main event while Fuzzy Liddell of Waterloo was the roadrunner winner.
August 1 –Steve Fraise of Montrose, Iowa, edged out Russ Derr to win his fourth straight late model feature at Quincy, Ill., on Sunday night. Charlie Moubry, Terry Gallaher, and Dalton Walker would round out the top five finishers. Larry Larson’s winning streak was broken when he took a back seat to Mike Benjamin in the sportsman main event.

August 1 – Dick Chapman of Dubuque, Iowa, walked away with late model honors at his hometown track on Sunday night. It was not only the first win of the season for the 47-year-old but his first feature victory in seven years. Chapman kept his familiar “Oky Doky” Camaro in the high groove all night and was never seriously challenged throughout. Joe Schaefer of Waterloo, Iowa, was gaining ground on Chapman but ran out of laps and settled for second. Jim Burbridge of Delhi, Iowa, took third while Glen Martin and Gary Crawford, both of Independence, Iowa, took fourth and fifth respectively. Gene Ehlers of Independence, Iowa, claimed his first sportsman win of the season, leading the entire 15 circuits.
August 2 – Calvin Gilstrap of Salem, Ind., died Monday, three days after he was injured in a sprint car race at Bloomington, Ind. Gilstrap lost control during a qualifying run and his car flipped over on top of him. The veteran Indiana pilot had been semi-retired from racing and was attempting to make a comeback.

August 3 – Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, came from his sixth starting spot to win the first annual “Grand Nationals” at Mason City, Iowa, on Tuesday night. Sanger battled Don Hoffman of Des Moines, Iowa, for most of the race before prevailing. Hoffman would settle for second followed by Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, and Joe Merryfield of Des Moines.
August 3 – Jim Bohmsach appeared to be headed to his first career feature victory but after 30 laps of competitive racing, it was Tom Reffner gaining top honors at Paul’s Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wis., on Tuesday night. After taking the top spot early on in the race, Bohsach seemed destined to run away with the race until a late caution allowed Reffner to move up on Bohmsach’s bumper for the restart. Reffner quickly took to the outside groove and grabbed the lead and the win with only a few laps remaining.


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