Friday, August 30, 2013

1987 - Dotter game plan nets ASA Ford Turbo 300 title

Bobby Dotter 


Sandusky, Ohio (August 30, 1987) - Bobby Dotter and crew chief Mike Randerson had a plan going into Sunday's American Speed Association (ASA) Ford Turbo 300 at Sandusky Speedway; make one pit stop.

That strategy proved successful as the Wisconsin-based driver executed the plan to a tee, then held off hard-charging NASCAR defending Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt to capture his premier ASA stock car victory.

"We pretty much had a game plan all day to just pit one time," Dotter revealed. "We got stuck pitting early for a few seconds around lap 30 or 40. The car was overheating. The temperature was varying and water was coming out of the overflow, so we stopped and ripped the grill screening out.

"Then, we made our regular stop and took fuel and two tires on lap 169," Dotter continued. "Since that was to be our only stop, I had to run conservatively for the next 100 laps. Then at about 250, we finally just started going all out. Luckily, I was in front at that time.”

Fourteen lead changes among eight drivers highlighted the first three-quarters of the 300-lap event. Pole-sitter Earnhardt jumped out to the early lead, and then exchanged the spot with Michigan's Bob Senneker several times during the first 100 laps to the cheers of the large crowd.

Pit stops scrambled the field for the next 100 circuits, placing Dotter, Wisconsin's Dick Trickle, Michigan's Harold Fair, Missouri’s Kenny Wallace, Cincinnati's Dave Johnson and Canadian Russ Urlin all in the lead at various times.

Behind the wheel of the Miller American Ford, Dotter took control of the race for the third time after leader Fair pitted on lap 248.

After making his final pit stop for tires on lap 218, Earnhardt steadily made his way back through the field and moved in behind Dotter on lap 253.

The pair staged an exciting drive for the final 47 laps, with Earnhardt running his strongest after restarts.

It was after a restart for the race's final yellow flag on lap 277 that Earnhardt made his final last-ditch challenge. Exiting turn four, Earnhardt bumped the rear quarter panel of Dotter's Ford, and then pulled beneath him going down the front straight.

But, Earnhardt's lead was short-lived. The 35-year-old NASCAR star took his GM Goodwrench Camaro into turns one and two a bit too hard, allowing Dotter to sneak underneath him and retake the lead for good. He finished with a .51-second advantage lead over Earnhardt.

"I just went in too hard and slipped up the track and let him (Dotter) under me," Earnhardt admitted. "I could catch him on the restarts. It just took a while for his tires to come in. He was a little slippery and loose for a couple laps and we could race with him. Then he'd get hooked up and get away."

"The restarts were real scary," Dotter laughed. "He (Earnhardt) was faster than me two or three laps after a restart.”

"He just went into the corner too hard and we got under him," continued Dotter. "I think if Dale would have gotten around me and gotten away, we would have been real hard pressed to get around him no matter how fast I was running.

The win was extra special for Dotter.

Aside from being the 27-year-old's first in six years on the ASA circuit, the victory came at a time then the team needed a boost.

"We've been struggling," admitted Dotter, who took over the ride of 1986 ASA point champ Mark Martin when Martin moved up to the NASCAR Busch Grand National circuit this year.

"We have been through two crew chiefs and five crew members this year. Just this week half of our crew either quit or was fired. This is basically an all-new crew today.”

"Luckily, the guy that built the car (Mike Randerson of Green Bay, Wis.) came to be crew chief for me. That made all the difference," Dotter continued. "He dialed me in and helped me through it by telling me what I should be doing (via radio communication).”

"I can't say enough about Mike. Without him, there is no doubt in my mind that we wouldn't have won this race," assured Dotter.

After overcoming handling problems early in the race, Kent Stauffer turned in a fine run behind the wheel of the Liberty Ford/Flex Industries Ford. He finished fourth to tie for his best finish of his six-year ASA career.

"The car was pushing in the beginning and we were running a little slow," the 36-year-old driver admitted. "But we kept coming in and making chassis and tire changes and the car got better.

"We wanted to make two pit stops but we ended up making four. But it was a necessity."

Bobby Allison, the other NASCAR Winston Cup driver in the field, had a short afternoon. A broken valve spring retired his Miller American Buick to the pits for good on lap 21.

Seventeen of the 26 starters were still running at the end, with 12 of those on the same lap as the leader at the drop of the checkered.

Results -

1. Bobby Dotter, Franklin, Wis.
2. Dale Earnhardt, Kannapolis, N.C.
3. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh, Wis.
4. Kent Stauffer, Elyria, Ohio
5. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
6. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.
7. Russ Urlin, London Ont., Canada
8. Harold Fair, Detroit, Mich.
9. Kenny Wallace, St Louis, Mo.
10. Dave Jackson, Cincinnati, Ohio
11. Tom Harrington, Hendersonville, Tenn.
12. Buddy Schrock, Plain City, Ohio
13. Peter Gibbons, Stouffville, Ont., Canada
14. Gary St. Amant, Columbus, Ohio
15. Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
16. Chet Kosin, Inkster, Mich.
17. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
18. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
19. Glenn Allen, Cincinnati, Ohio
20. Butch Miller, Coopersville, Mich.
21. John Wilson, Springfield, Ohio
22. Gene Harsch, Sharonville, Ohio
23. Larry Hams, Indianapolis, Ind.
24. Bret Miles, Muncie, Ind.
25. J. Michael Kurkowski, Perry, Ohio
26. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

1971 - Bobby Unser Captures USAC 100-Miler

Indianapolis, Ind. (August 29, 1971) - In copping the 10th annual State Fair Century 100 USAC stock car title Sunday, Bobby Unser proved not only to be the fastest, but perhaps the strongest of those who survived this pseudo-demolition derby, which forced three re-starts.

Unser grabbed the top spot with 43 laps to go and held on to claim the $6,470 first place payoff.

Defending USAC stock car champ, Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz., was a close second with the nose of A.J. Foyt’s Ford Torino just inches from the bumper of his Plymouth Super Bird.

NASCAR star, Bobby Allison, Hueytown Ala., who was at the wheel of Al Unser’s Rudy Hoerr Ford placed fourth, while the number five slot was earned by Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio, in a Dodge.

Al passed over the Indianapolis event to spend more time practicing for the upcoming California 500 at the Ontario Motor Speedway this Sunday.

Other leaders in the race were ninth place finisher, Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill., who led for 19 laps and Dewayne “Tiny” Lund, Cross, S.C., who was in control for 10 laps, 27 through 37, until his engine went sour.

Foyt also collected some lap money by leading from the first through the 26th lap.

The junk production started on the fourth lap when Leonard Blanchard of Louisville Ky., wiped out about 30 feet of the inner guard rail while coming out of the second turn. That action stopped the race on the ninth circuit.

Later on the 66th lap, Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, crunched a gaping hole in the outside fence between the first and second turns and again the race was halted.

On the 71st lap, just after the race was restarted, Foyt tried to pass the leader Snow, but began to skid sideways. Other cars attempting to avoid Foyt went to the outside and by the time you could say “look out’ at least two-thirds of the field was standing still midway through the first and second turns.

Cars of Mark Dinsmore, Covington, Ind., Woody Walcher, Grand Junction, Colo., Paul Feldner, Richfield, Wis., and Denny Wilson, Missouri, were retired from the Spartanic clash.

Because the one-mile dirt oval at the Fairgrounds was initially designed for horses to race on, no guardrail on either the inside or outside of the track has ever been constructed.

So every time a car tears a piece of the flimsy cyclone fence down, the welding crew is called and the long patch-up work is done while the race is halted.

Fans were expecting a battle between McCluskey and Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio, to materialize. But Bowsher, who was trailing the first place McCluskey by just 22 points in the USAC stock car division, called it quits in his Ford after completing 34 laps.

Defending Century 100 champ, Don White, qualified for the event, but later blew an engine and was forced to withdraw from the contest.

The day’s top qualifier was Foyt, who posted a time of 39.515 seconds, or a speed of 91.033 miles an hour. There was no official time for the race since it was red-flagged on three different occasions.

Results –

  1. Bobby Unser
  2. Roger McCluskey
  3. A.J. Foyt
  4. Bobby Allison
  5. Butch Hartman
  6. Bay Darnell
  7. Dave Whitcomb
  8. Sal Tovella
  9. Les Snow
  10. Dick Trickle
  11. Bill Moyer
  12. Larry Berwanger

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1963 – Hutcherson wins second straight at Minnesota State Fair

St. Paul, Minn. (August 28, 1963) – Dick Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, roared to his second straight feature win on Wednesday afternoon before 16,500 IMCA new model stock car fans at the Minnesota State Fair.

Driving a 1963 Ford, Hutcherson charged past Darrell Dake into the lead on the homestretch of the 14th lap and held on to win the 25-lap feature and $500.
The 30-year-old Keokuk, Iowa, contractor also won Tuesday’s feature. He has now won over $1,000 in two days, including his feature win and qualifying heat money.
Ramo Stott of Keokuk was third followed by five-time IMCA titlist Ernie Derr, and Lenny Funk.
In addition to Hutcherson and Dake’s daring driving, a six-car smashup found Buzz McCann penalized to the final position after two trucks cleared the debris.
Results –
1.     Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
2.     Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3.     Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
4.     Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
5.     Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
6.     Bob Reynolds, Edmonds, Okla.
7.     Gil Haugen, Sioux Falls, S.D.
8.     Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
9.     John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa
10.   Phil Cronin, Houston, Tex
11.   Buzz McCann, Minneapolis, Minn.
12.   Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

1952 - Huron Track Has a Colorful Record

Huron, S.D. (August 27, 1952) - Few auto racing tracks have a more colorful history than the half-mile dirt oval at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.

The roll call of drivers who have competed here reads like a page from “Who’s Who in Auto Racing” - Eddie Hearne, Cliff Woodbury, Barney Oldfield, Sig Haugdahl, Emory Collins, Gus Schrader, Dave Champeau, Bayliss Levrett, Deb Snyder, Joey James, Bobby Grim, Frankie Luptow and Bill Holland, just to pick out a few.

Holland, who made his first appearance last year, is the only winner of the Indianapolis 500-mile classic, ever to race here. Holland led the pack at the “brickyard” in 1949.

Motorcycle races were the craze in pre-World War I days and Rex Edmunds was the big winner at the Fair in 1913. It wasn’t until 1916 that the auto races took over.

Eddie Hearne, later a great “name” at Indianapolis and AAA champion in 1923, was the feature attraction in ‘16. Eddie, driving one of the popular Briscoes of that era, won the 25-mile feature in just over 32 minutes.

Colorful Louis LeCocq of France was second in a Briscoe and Dave Koetzla placed third driving a Case. Among the also-rans were the immortal Cliff Woodbury, Fred Horey and “Wild Bill” Endicott.

Horey, a St. Paul youth, oddly enough, learned to drive a racer before he could drive a highway automobile.

Also competing at Huron in 1916 was Johnny Ralmey of Cincinnati, who held the world’s half-mile record of 32 seconds, flat which he had set at Jackson, Miss., at the wheel of a Briscoe in 1915.

And who can forget the thrilling exhibition given by Miss Elfreida Mais, women’s champion driver of the world? Miss Mais held the women’s national record of 58.3 miles an hour. She later was killed on another track while crashing a board wall in an exhibition.

It was just ten years later - in 1926 - that Emory “Spunk” Collins of Regina, Saksatewan, Canada, made his maiden appearance in Huron. Later a resident of LeMars, Iowa, Collins was said to be “to Canada what Red Grange is to America in football”. The young ex-hockey star took the feature as some 6,000 race fans shivered in 50-degree temperatures.

Second went to Bert Ficken, South Dakota’s champ. Ficken, a farmer near Gayville, S. D., had earned his title by winning the championship race at Ruskin Park near Forestburg in his Dodge Special.

Others here in ‘20 included Sam Hoffman of Sioux City, piloting a Fronty, Larry Stone of Detroit, Glen Hiatt of Kansas City, Jack Logan of Los Angeles and Clyde Kelly of Chicago.

Gus Schrader, perhaps the greatest of all the dirt track drivers, broke the mile record here in 1929 when he toured the distance in one minute, 2 4/5 seconds. Glen Long of Aberdeen drove a Bagley Special built and owned by Kenny Larsen of Huron. He took second in a heat race.

Featured star in 1931 was Sig Haugdahl, seven times world’s champion of the dirt tracks. The pudgy little Norwegian-daredevil who came out of Minnesota in 1921 to drive a car for the first time in history over three miles a minute, guided a Miller straight eight with four downdraft carburetors.

Sig, who had done 30 seconds flat here in 1924, skirted the oval in 29.7 second for a new record. He also captured the feature with South Dakota’s champ, Fred Dresselhuys of Wagner, second and Frank Sands of Minnesota third. Other entries included Swan Peterson of Galesburg, Ill., in a Duesenberg, Putty Hoffman of Racine, in a Fronty, Leo Young of Dallas, Tex., Jack Murray of Kansas City, Larry Callaway of Macon, Ga., in a Chevy, Kenny Larsen of Huron, Buddy Callaway of Macon, Ill., in a Victory 6, Wesley Argoe of Atlanta, Ga., Rex Edmunds of Holliston in a Miller, Shirley “Speedy” Goff of Birmingham, Ala., in a Fronty, Shano Fitzgerald of Chicago and Jack Peddicord of Los Angeles.

The starter was James Malone of Tampa, Fla. South Dakota’s representative for IMCA, which still sponsors the races here, was John White, present Fair Board vice-president. He is the father of Gaylord “Lefty” White, a Huron product who, with Al Sweeney of Chicago, heads National Speedways, Inc., today.

There was more concentration in those days. Three hundred dollars was offered for a new world’s record, $100 for a state record and $50 for a track record.

Clarence “Norske” Larson was to have driven here in ‘31 but was killed a few days earlier in the East, driving a supercharged Duesenberg for Tommy Milton. Larson had qualified at Indianapolis in 1930.

Gus Schrader won every race he started here in 1932, driving his little red Miller, Dave Champeau of Grand Forks, N. D., followed him to the checkered flag in the 4-mile feature. J. Alex Sloan, the “grand old man of IMCA racing”, was honorary referee, Entries included Ray LaPlante of Newark, N. J., and Bill Rupp of Erie, Pa., in an undersized bucket seat Fronty.

Schrader won the 1934 feature by a car length in a thrilling race with Collins. The time was 6:47 for 15 laps. Both Schrader and Collins had timed at 29.2 seconds.

Collins beat Schrader in a heat race but was disqualified for “cutting” in front of Schrader on the home stretch. Among the entries were Larry Beckett of Tampa, Fla., in a Shepard Special; Eddie Wagner of Aberdeen and Leo Young of Chicago, a Roby Speedway ace.

The races in 1935 were held on Friday the 13th of September. Thirteen cars were entered. Schrader was the 13th man to qualify but the combination of jinxes failed to perturb the flying Iowan as he pushed his trim Miller around the track in 27 second flat.

He then made an assault on the world’s record for a half but succeeded only in breaking the track mark with a 20.9 performance. Lou Brown of Chicago had second best time with 29.5 in his Dreyer.

Collins won the 1.5 mile dash over Schrader by a car length in 1:24.5 and finished second in the final. Eddie Forshay of Indianapolis won the second heat.

Schrader was the star of the show before 12,000 race fans in 1936 when he turned the oval 28.3 seconds in his trial and then stood off challenges by Gordon Chard, Fritz Tegtmeier and Cotton Grable to win “the sweepstakes” race.

Schrader in 1937 set a new track record with a scorching 26.2 after Snyder, Cliff Griffith and Joey James in that order. Also here were Red Redmond and Buzz Barton. Collins had tied the previous mark of 26.9 seconds, which Gus had established in ‘35.  “Galloping Gus” won the five-mile feature in 5:03.8 in his Riverside Special, breaking the track mark.

1938 saw some more new faces. Among them were Herb Manges of Detroit, “Wild Bill” Morris of Dallas, “Big Ben” Shaw in his Curtiss and Johnny Holmes of Los Angeles.

Collins ousted Schrader's 1937 mark with a sensational 25.6 time trial. Harold Shaw won the feature after Collins'’ car tossed a rod. Emory again showed his tail to Schrader in the 1939 feature even after the Cedar Rapids pilot had won the first heat and turned a 27 flat time compared to Emory’s 27.86.

Twelve thousand fans crammed the stands in 1940 on the second day of the race meet to see Schrader win the 10-lap feature from Collins in a hub-to-hub thriller. Collins had bettered the two-lap record earlier by doing 53.4. Low time was Collins’ 26.2 compared to Gus’ 26.3.

On the first day of racing in ’40 the feature win had gone to Buddy Callaway who edged Milwaukee’s Lyle Christie. Neither Collins nor Schrader were on hand.

In ‘41 Collins swept both days of racing with Eddie Zaluck of Detroit pushing him. Al Speth of Davenport, Iowa, provided the 14,000 fans at the second day’s meet with a thrill when he flipped his heavy Duesenberg and was pinned underneath it. Luckily he escaped unhurt.

Racing was suspended after 1941 until 1946.

Racing was resumed in 1946 and Collins proved that the war-time lull hadn’t rusted his racing aplomb as he won the feature with Tegtmeier and Billy Snyder kicking up dust behind him. Slim Rutherford of Gary, Ind., was a competitor and Barney Oldfield was referee.

Collins again shattered the track record in 1947 when he clipped off in 25.4 spin.

Collins won the feature race with Deb Snyder second and Bayliss Levrett third. On the second day of the Fair races Collins again took home the feature bacon in his number 7 red and chrome job.

Deb Snyder won the final race on both days of the 1948 show. Carl Scarborough of Detroit had his red number 15 Offy in second place the first day and Bobby Grim was second the next day. Newcomers included Al Fleming, Milt Fvankhouser, Dick Van Emerick, Chuck Frame and one Frank Luptow.
back for another look in 1949 and pushed the track record down to 25.1, Opening day was rained out after three heat races but the second day saw a classy field. Finishing behind Luptow in the finale were Gene Aldrich, Deb Snyder, Cliff Griffith and Joey James in that order. Also here were Red Redmond and Buzz Barton.

Today's present track record of 24.85 was posted in 1950 by Deb Snyder, the Kent, Ohio racing veteran. Luptow, however, took the feature both days of the meet. Snyder became embroiled after getting snagged in slow traffic and exchanged bitter words with Starter Jerry Marlatt. It was the beginning of the end of associations for Snyder and National Speedways. Today he competes on another circuit.

Last year Luptow took the feature both days. Bill Holland was second the first day and young Bob Slater got the flag in the runner-up spot the second day.

Luptow has forsaken IMCA racing this year for the AAA circuit. Fans here undoubtedly will miss his belching speedster but the list of auto racing’s illustrious names is expected to keep growing at the Huron track with word that many new faces will get the green flag here on opening race day, September 1.

Monday, August 26, 2013

1973 - Mayner cops Tunis late model feature

Al "Doc" Mayner of Winthrop, Iowa
Waterloo, Iowa (August 26, 1973) - Dr. Al Mayner batted 1.000 at Tunis Speedway Sunday night as he won both late model stock car races in which he competed.
The Winthrop physician claimed the 20-lap late model feature after taking the lead from early frontrunner Chuck Smith of Waterloo on the seventh lap, holding on for a three car-length margin over eventual runner-up Red Dralle of Evansdale.
Mayner, who scored his second feature victory of the Tunis season Sunday night, also won the third heat by a comfortable margin after starting on the pole position and never relinquishing the lead.
Stan Stover was able to maintain his Tunis late model point lead despite the fact his 1972 Chevrolet Nova stock car was out of commission with a broken rear end. Stover's machine sustained the damage on the 16th lap of a Sunday afternoon race at the Iowa State Fair.
The Reinbeck circle-burner competed in a pair of borrowed cars, using Jim Mauer's machine in the semi-main before getting a ride from Denny Osborn in the feature, but failed to place high in either event.
Karl Sanger, the runner-up to Stover in point standings, could have taken over first with a good night and a feature win, but could manage only a fourth place finish in the main event.
The other two late model heats were won by sizable margins as Marshalltown's Dale DeFrance captured the first 10-lap preliminary as Jack Mitchell won this third heat in as many weeks of late model competition in the second heat. Mitchell, of Cedar Falls, competed in the sportsman bracket until that category was merged with the late models three weeks ago.
Smith claimed the 15-car, 15-lap semi-main as he took the lead for good from Raymond's Dan Etringer on the sixth circuit.
Tunis co-promoter Claus Stricker, a former stock car driver, was able to elude the two hound cars driven by Larry Johnson and Greg Heath, both of Cedar Falls, to win the Hare 'N' Hound mini-demolition derby event.
Waterloo's Mike Krall captured the concluding event of the evening, the roadrunner race.

Feature Results –
Late Model –
1.     Al Mayner, Winthrop, Iowa
2.     Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
3.     Jim Burger, Cedar Falls, Iowa
4.     Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
5.     Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
6.     Larry Wasserfort, Cedar Falls, Iowa
7.     Jack Mitchell, Cedar Falls, Iowa
8.     Dave Bedard, LaPorte City, Iowa
9.     Dan Etringer, Raymond, Iowa
10.   Roger Klingfus, Waterloo, Iowa

Roadrunner –
1.     Mike Krall, Waterloo, Iowa
2.     Rick Schwartz, New Hartford, Iowa
3.     John Belthuis, Waterloo, Iowa

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This Week in Racing History – 1993

August 25 – The night was perfect and the racing fantastic at I-74 Speedway in Knoxville, Ill., on Wednesday evening. The race of the night would be the pro stock main event that saw Rod Smith of Monmouth, Ill., and Dennis LaVeine of Burlington, Iowa, would race side-by-side for almost the entire 15-lap contest before LaVeine prevailed on the last lap to score his second consecutive win on the half-mile.  The “Germantown Jet” Mike Chasteen led from start to finish in winning the modified feature. Rick Wages and Darrell McGhee would give chase but come up short, taking second and third respectively.   Mike Burns of Galesburg, Ill., would win the pure stock feature and Kurt Senner, also of Galesburg, took his seventh win of the season in the street stock division.


August 26 – Mike Smith Jewell, Iowa, led all but one lap in taking home the $1,000 prize in addition to lap money at the Deery Brothers Summer Series foe IMCA late models at the Iowa State Fair Speedway in Des Moines on Thursday night. With the win, Smith became the ninth winner in nine Deery Brother events for the season. Curt Martin of Independence, Iowa, would move his way thru the field and give Smith a run for the money in the final laps, but would settle for runner-up honors.  Craig Jacobs of Des Moines would finish third, Jeff French of Adel, Iowa took fourth and Kurt Stewart of Ainsworth, Iowa, earned fifth.

August 28 – Freddy Smith capped the biggest racing weekend in Batesville (Ark.) Speedway history by scoring the $10,000 Topless 100 feature win on Saturday night. Smith trailed hometown favorite Billy Moyer for the first 96 laps before Moyer had a right rear tire go sour sending him to the pits and Smith inherited the lead. Smith would hold off Bob Pierce of Danville, Ill., the final 3 circuits to seal the deal. Tony Cardin of Greenbrier, Ark., finished third, Jeff Floyd of Walnut Ridge, Ark., took fourth and Robbie Stanes of Dayton, Tex., rounded out the top five. 
August 28 – Kim Mock capitalized on series point’s leader Dave Moulis’ misfortune and then out dueled Joe Roe to win the 25-lap Interstate Racing Association (IRA) Sprint Series headliner at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway on Saturday. Moulis took command early from the pole, leading charging five-car train consisting of Roe, Mock, Larry Hillerud and John Tierney. Moulis continued to lead through lap 12 when a broken torsion bar caused the leader to slow to a stop. Roe would inherit the lead on the restart and lead Mock in a classic battle until a caution waved on lap 20. On the third and final restart, Mock would dive under Roe for the top spot and lead the final four circuits to score his second IRA win of the year. Roe finished second followed by Dale Peterson, Hillerud, and Tierney. 
August 28 – It looked like Shawn Pfaff of Sparta, Wis., would run away with the NASCAR late model feature at La Crosse (Wis.) Speedway on Saturday night, but Kevin Nuttleman of Bangor, Wis., turned on the power and once again edged Pfaff for the victory. Pfaff took the lead at the onset of the race and built himself a commanding lead. By lap 18, Nuttleman had reeled in Pfaff and was on his bumper as the white flag waved. Coming out of the second turn, the two Oldsmobile Cutlasses raced side-by-side down the backstretch and into the final turns. As they came down the front straightaway, Pfaff and Nuttleman were door to door, but Nuttleman managed to nudge ahead at the start-finish line, taking his second win in as many weeks over Pfaff. 
August 28 – Buddy Mullens of Wichita, Kan., showed why he was the national modified point’s leader in the National Championship Racing Association as he led 99 of 100 laps in the State Fair 100 at the Missouri State Fairgrounds half-mile dirt oval in Sedalia on Saturday night. Mullen’s 42nd victory of the 1993 season was worth $2,500, one of the nations’s higher paying, one-day modified shows. Stephen Muilenburg of Sparta, Mo., finished a distant second followed by Bobby Layne of Kansas City, Mo.
August 28 – Despite ominous skies, Hawkeye Raceway in Blue Grass, Iowa, plodded through its season championship night, with racing in four classes. Jerry Conners of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, closed out his championship season in the late model division by capturing feature win number 12.  Art Peppers of Davenport, Iowa, and Dave Engelkens of Morrison, Ill., would follow Conners across the finish line. The pro stock feature win went to Larry Digman of Davenport, Iowa, with the victory just enough to beat out Brian Meiners of Morrison, Ill., for the pro stock championship. Butch Cole of Kewanee, Ill., would take fourth in the modified feature, but that was enough to clinch the point’s title in that division. Rick Wages of Colona, Ill., was the modified feature winner. Bill Vande Woestyne of Silvis, Ill., would win the street stock finale but it wasn’t enough to catch Brad Cook of Davenport, Iowa, who clinched the championship.

August 29 – Ohio native Todd Forbes led the final 119 laps in the Missouri 300 at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo., on Sunday afternoon to score his first American Speed Association (ASA) victory.  Forbes started fifth in the running of the 300-lap event around the high-banked half-mile paved oval and ran with the lead pack throughout the race. Forbes took over the lead on lap 179 when he passed Harold Fair on the high side of the track in turn two and then fended off several challenges from seven-time ASA champ Mike Miller in the remaining laps. 
August 29 – Ronnie Wallace of North Platte Neb., outran Gene Smith of Gibbon, Neb., down the back straightaway 12 laps away from the finish and went on to win the 20-lap late model feature at Platte Valley Speedway in Lexington, Neb., on Sunday. The win by Wallace, his second of the season, kept the driver’s slim hopes for a point’s championship alive, moving him within 14 markers of three-time defending champion Kent Tucker of Aurora, Neb. In sportsman division action, Doug Stange of Grand Island, Neb., ran down Denny Egge of Kearney, Neb., two laps from the checkered to pick up the win in the 15-lap feature.
August 29 – Former USAC star Roger McCluskey died after a three-year bout with cancer; he was 63-years-old. The Tucson, Ariz., native captured the USAC national championship in 1973, the USAC sprint car title in 1963 and ’66, and the USAC stock car championship in 1969 and ’70. His career spanned 32 years including 18 Indianapolis 500 starts. His best finish at Indy was third place in 1973.
August 29 – A new driver added his names to the list of feature winners at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna, Wis., on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 8,685. Bobby Blount, known as the “Indiana Outlaw”, scored a thrilling win in the 150-lap ARTGO Nationals when race leader Matt Kenseth of Cambridge, Wis., tangled with Steve Carlson of West Salem, Wis., on lap 142, allowing Blount to scramble past the leaders into the top spot. It was Blount’s second ARTGO win of the year and his first-ever at the half-mile paved oval. Carlson would manage to grab second place and Bryan Reffner of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., would garner the third spot.
August 29 –The point races at Cresco (Iowa) Speedway were so close coming into season championship night that the point’s champion in all three divisions weren’t decided until after the features. Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie, Minn., was the point leader in the modified division with Owen Grube of Cresco and Doug Hillson, also of Blooming Prairie, just a few points behind. Noble looked untouchable in the feature, building a commanding lead, until he slowed with mechanical issues four laps away from the checkers. Hillson, running second, would take command of the race, win the feature and earn the point’s championship. Mark Lewis of Riceville, Iowa, had a two-point lead over Kenny Farrell of New Hampton, Iowa, going into the stock car finale. Lewis would dominate the feature, leading every lap and winning handily over Farrell. Hobby stock leader Kevin Bidne of Decorah was six points ahead of Steve Holthaus of Cresco going into the feature. Holthaus grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and then held off repeat challenges from Bidne in winning the feature and championship.
August 29 – Gary Wright got a second chance and he used it to win the NCRA Outlaw Sprint Series “A” main at Monett (Mo.) Speedway on Sunday night. Wright’s second chance came on the opening lap around the high-banked 3/8-mile track. The Hooks, Tex., driver slid his sprint car off the top side of the track in turn four while out front giving the lead to Pete Butler. As Wright recovered, the red flag came out for Billy Turner who laid his car upside down in turn three. On the restart, Wright resumed his lead and held it through five more yellow flags to earn his 20th career NCRA victory and collect the $2,500 top prize. Danny Smith of Danville, Ill., would slide under Shane Carson of Oklahoma City in the late going to take runner-up honors while Carson would settle for third.

August 30 – West Liberty (Iowa) Raceway saw double late model features on Monday night as the Hawkeyeland Late Model Tour returned to the Muscatine County Fairgrounds. The first feature of the night was a makeup race from the August 11 rainout. Dave Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, took the point from the drop of the green and never looked back in winning the 35-lap feature. Terry Ryan of Davenport, Iowa, was able to challenge Birkhofer on several occasions, but could only manage a runner-up showing. The second feature belonged to Birkhofer as well; only it was Dave’s son Brian scoring the victory in the 30-lap finale. Brian took the lead from polesitter Rollie Frink of Davenport, Iowa, in the early going and led the remaining circuits to record the win. Ron Boyse of Kalona, Iowa, came on strong late to nail down second place while Frink settled for third. With his two fifth place finishes in the double-header, Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, was able to clinch the 1993 Hawkeyeland Late Model Tour championship.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

1975 - Dolan wins State Fair IMCA race

Des Moines, Iowa (August 24, 1975) - Roger Dolan, hounded steadily by Ed Sanger, won the International Motor Contest Association sanctioned late model stock car feature race Sunday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 
Dolan, of Lisbon, took the lead on lap nine of the 60-lap event and drove a strategic race in holding off Sanger of Waterloo before an estimated crowd of 4,500. 
Sanger put his 1974 Camaro into second place on lap 17 and passed Dolan's 1974 Chevelle on lap 37, only to have the position change negated by a caution flag.
Sanger believed he tipped his hand in his aborted attempt to take the lead coming off the second turn.
“When they canceled where I passed him with the yellow flag he knew where I'd try to pass,” Sanger said. “After that, he drove higher in the turn.”
Sanger made one other attempt on the final lap to pass Dolan but that also failed.
“On the last lap, Collier (third-place finisher Ferris) tagged my tail and set the car off a little,” Sanger explained. 
Dolan won $1,000 for capturing the IMCA race in his first attempt. The top three cars battled the final 24 laps, but Dolan said he ran only fast enough to win.
“I didn't want to burn the tires off in the corners,” said Dolan, who finished second to Sanger in Saturday's program “I just had enough to hold him (Sanger) off. 
Sanger was the fastest around the half-mile oval during time trials in 26.61 seconds and won $650 for his runner-up finish. Collier collected $475 for third.
Dan Dickey of Packwood was fourth, followed by Jim Hager of Liberty, Mo., Dave Chase of Council Bluffs and Stan Stover of Reinbeck.
Joe Wallace of Payton, Colo., guided his 1969 Camaro to an easy victory in the 15-lap consolation race. Wallace was forced out of the feature with mechanical problems on the thirty-second lap. Wallace started on the fourth row in the consolation but zipped past Chase on the seventh lap and pulled away for the victory. George Barton of Ankeny took second, followed by Chase and Hager, the second-fastest qualifier in time trials.
Sanger, Hager, Chase, Dolan, Barton and Bill Martin battled in the six-lap match race for the fastest qualifiers with Martin taking the checkers.
Martin, of Council Bluffs, winner of the second heat race, pulled away from second-place finisher Barton on the third lap after both started on the front row.
Results –
  1. Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa
  2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
  3. Ferris Collier, Lampe, Mo.
  4. Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
  5. Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo.
  6. Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa
  7. Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
  8. Wayne Kluber, Alexandria, Minn.
  9. Bill Rice, Des Moines, Iowa
  10. Bill Schwader, McClausland, Iowa
  11. Richard Swanson, Harlan, Iowa
  12. Chuck Bosselman, Grand Island, Neb.
  13. Lee Pinckney, Des Moines, Iowa
  14. Don Hoffman, Des Moines, Iowa
  15. Shorty Acker, Windsor, Mo.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

1969 - White Beats Unser Bros at Indy Fairgrounds

Indianapolis, Ind. (August 22, 1969) – Don White wheeled the Nichels Engineering Dodge Charger to an early command in the Indiana State Fair Century and maintained a consistent lead to claim victory in the 100-mile event on Friday night.

A.J. Foyt, White’s most persistent rival throughout the season, was denied an opportunity to challenge White after briefly leading the event because of three unscheduled pit stops for tires, the last coming on lap 98 and resulting in a drop from second place to seventh.

Drivers cornered with minimal “dirt tracking” style. Supplementing his recent victory at Springfield, Ill., Butch Hartman bested the factory entrants in qualifying, guiding his ’69 Charger to a 40.92 second clocking, a tenth of a second better than White.

At starter Shim Malone’s signal, the 30-car field accelerated through turns one and two with White getting the upper hand on Hartman and Foyt following directly behind the White. On the backstretch, Foyt powered inside of White entering turn three, but that maneuver proved unsuccessful as A.J. speed and momentum put him into the loose stuff, giving the lead back to White.

They would stay in that order until lap 3 when Terry Nichels’ Dodge Charger went out of control, tearing through 40 feet of wooden retaining rail on the inside between turns three and four. Nichels’ car violently nosed into a light pole at the edge of the track, knocking don electrical lines and necessitating a red flag.

Most drivers took advantage of the red flag to pit and work on their cars and when they finally restarted, the running order was White, Foyt, Hartman, Al Unser, Whitey Gerken, Dave Whitcomb and Bay Darnell.

White and the pursuing Foyt pulled away from Hartman. On the ensuing lap, Foyt again attempted to get past White, working inside of him, but was forced to drop back to avoid Jim Pollard, who was spun out.

On the green flag restart, White darted out front again while A.J. fell slightly back. Hartman challenged Foyt for second but a few laps later, Butch terminated the duel as he headed for the pit area for more fuel. A few laps later, Hartman was forced back to the pits to have fender metal trimmed away from his tire, dropping him out of serious contention for the remainder of the race.

At the 30-lap point it was White, Foyt, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Gerken, Jack Bowsher and Whitcomb. White maintained a two second lead on Foyt and was turning laps four tenths of a second faster than the pole position time while working past slower traffic.

Near the halfway mark, a mishap occurred at the head of the backstretch when Jim Lord flipped his ’67 Ford Fairlane. Also involved was Ross Smith in a ’67 Charger. Stopping for the wreckage, Jim Nusbaum was unavoidably hit by Dave Hirschfield. In an unrelated incident, Butch Hartman’s engine expired on the backstretch and had to be pushed to the infield.

At the resumption of the green on lap 59, Bobby Unser displayed a style of hard charging that moved his elongated Talladega, a strange sight on any dirt track, past his brother Al and into second place. The blue and gold number 15 “missile” was set in pursuit of White, but never came closer than five seconds to within the interception of the Keokuk, Iowa, veteran.

Eventually, it was Bobby who was caught from behind and overtaken as a hustling A.J. Foyt passed inside of Unser on lap 84 to regain second. The prospect of Foyt catching White, however, seemed doubtful. With 15 circuits to go, Don had an insurmountable 15-second lead.

Leading Bobby Unser by sixteen seconds, A.J. looked like he was a lock for runner-up honors even when he forced to pit on lap 98 for a flat right rear tire. Unfortunately, Foyt’s car stalled leaving the pits, allowing both Unsers, Jack Bowsher, and Roger McCluskey to move up a spot while Foyt’s crew attempted to re-fire his car. Foyt would finish a disappointing seventh.

Whitey Gerkin would finish sixth behind the factory entries in his ’69 Chevelle, an admirable job. Never dropping lower than eighth in the race, Gerkin maintained the fifth spot throughout the first 50 miles of the race. Another independent, Leonard Blanchard from Louisville, drove his ’67 Fairlane to a respectable ninth place showing.

For his victorious 100 orbits, White earned $9,237 for his efforts and the beautiful Gus Grissom Trophy, presented by Apollo VIII commander Frank Borman.
Results –

  1. Don White
  2. Bobby Unser
  3. Al Unser
  4. Jack Bowsher
  5. Roger McCluskey
  6. Whitey Gerkin
  7. A.J. Foyt
  8. Dave Whitcomb
  9. Leonard Blanchard
  10. J.J. Smith
  11. Bay Darnell
  12. Frank Freda
  13. Paul Feldner
  14. Jerry Smith
  15. Jim Nusbaum
  16. Roger Regeth
  17. Paul Bauer
  18. Sal Tovella
  19. Woody Walcher
  20. Jim Perry
  21. Glen Bradley
  22. Larry Baumei
  23. Jim Lord
  24. Ross Smith
  25. Tom Jones
  26. Gene Hirschfield
  27. Butch Hartman
  28. Art Pollard
  29. Jay Behimer
  30. Terry Nichels