Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1972 – Koehler Wins Raceway Park 300 & Championship

By Wayne Adams
Blue Island, Ill. (September 24, 1972) – Bud Koehler climaxed the 1972 season at Raceway Park by taking top honors in the 24th annual 300-Lap Classic, driving Bill Koenig’s 1969 Camaro to his 24th feature win of the year, while defeating Jerry Kemperman by six car lengths.
The victory, worth $1,050, plus the Pepsi-Cola trophy, boosted Koehler’s to 13,255 total points for the season, giving him his eighth track championship in 24 years of competing at the quarter-mile. Ray Young, who started the night only 40 points in back of Koehler in the standings, finished 10th in the classic after several mishaps.
Koehler had run in 23 of the 24 “300’s” and his victory was his fourth career in the event. His career feature win total at Raceway now stands at 391 wins.
Koehler took the lead on lap 55, lost it for one circuit to Kemperman on the 76th lap, then drove back out front and led the rest of the way, also earning numerous other merchandise prizes.
The first 100 laps of the race were plagued by numerous crashes and several cars were sidelined. The starting field numbered 32 fine late models and Bob Fickett set the pace. Edgar Mounts took over the lead on lap two and Ron Ward grabbed the top spot on lap three.
The first red flag came out on lap eight when Speed Gonzales spun and was hit head-on by leader Ron Ward. Meanwhile, Ray Young went into the pit area with a broken tie rod but was back in the running by lap 10. Wayne Para inherited the lead after the green was waved but gave that up one lap later to Johnny Buzinec.
Roger Eriksen had Koenig’s 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo in a close second place then blew a tire on the 40th lap. He tried to make the pit gate but was hit hard by third-place Ray Para and ripped off a wheel. The race would be red flagged again.
Koehler pushed past Buzinec for the lead on the 55th lap, trailed closely by Bill McEnery, Kemperman, Buzinec, Paul Bauer, Larry Middleton and James Bond.
Edgar Mounts lost a hose and watered the first turn on lap 65, sending seven cars crashing into the wall. Woody Church, Ray Freeman, Johnny McPartlin, Ray Young, Ed Kilpatrick and Dick Raven were all involved in the crash. Several cars were badly damaged but no one was injured. Young would return driving Bob Fredericks’ Chevelle but would also lose a hose on lap 87, hitting the wall and collecting Bob Alonso, Tom Erno and Bill McEnery.
Only six cars were running at 100 laps and Buzinec went into the pits and lost his fourth place position on the 145th circuit. McEnery pitted and lost fourth place on lap 184 and at 200 laps only Koehler ad Kemperman were on the lead lap and running close, trailed by James Bond and Larry Middleton. Middleton would eventually move up to third, but would be forced out on lap 227. Bond would retire on lap 241.

Results - 

1.       Bud Koehler
2.       Jerry Kemperman
3.       Paul Bauer
4.       Bud Kaye
5.       Larry Middleton
     6.       Johnny Buzinec
7.       Ray Para
8.       Jeff Koehler
9.       John McPartlin
10.   Ray Young
11.   Speedy Gonzales
12.   Stash Kullman
13.   James Bond
14.   Tom Erno
15.   Chuck Manis
16.   Bill McEnery
17.   Dick Raven
18.   Ted Janecyk
19.   Bob Alonso
20.   Bob Frederick
21.   Ray Freeman
22.   Woody Church
23.   Edgar Mounts
24.   Ed Kilpatrick
25.   Erv Dunner
26.   Roger Eriksen
27.   Chuck Merritt
28.   Bob Fickett
29.   Wayne Para
30.   Rich Plattner
31.   Ron Ward
32.   Dick Wright

1 comment:

  1. raceway park Super fanApril 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Koehler in his red 77 smoked 'em all day!