Tuesday, April 29, 2014

1976 - Court battle brews between the sexes

Hutchinson, Kan.(April 29, 1976) - The immovable object and the irresistible force.
The two old foes pitted against each other in everything from football to tractor contests have another round scheduled Saturday night at the McCarty Speedway in Dodge City.

Jack Merrick is the immovable object, and Bonnie Brown is the irresistible force.

Brown, a Hutchinson resident, has been trying to gain entrance to the pit area at McCarty Speedway as half-owner of a car she and her husband own, and Merrick has denied her entrance to the same pit area because she is a woman.

“Women just don’t go into the pits,” Merrick said. “My insurance policy calls it a restricted area, and it’s under the control of whoever is running the races to admit whoever is qualified. She just wants in there to prove her little point.”

Brown points to Merrick’s rules which allow drivers, mechanics and owners in the pit area, and as an owner she feels that she qualifies to be eligible for entrance to the pit area.

“I had heard that Mr. Merrick didn’t allow women in the pits, and I decided to go see and find out for myself,” she said. ‘The officials wouldn’t let me in, and when I asked why they said they don’t allow women in the pits.”

“The officials said that women cause most of the fights, and that there was a lot of foul language, but I can get that going to any movie. It seems kind of ridiculous to me to let male car owners in the pit, but not to let me.”

Merrick’s rules do allow women in the pits if they are visiting dignitaries or members of the press. But he has a concession stand in the pit area and women are working in that.

“My husband and I work together all week long, and we found a hobby we can enjoy together and then he won’t let me in the pits.”

Merrick responded to the question of a woman driver gaining admittance to the pit area saying, “If she was a qualified driver and was driving in a race that night, there’s not anything I could do but let her in. At the time this all happened with her (Brown) I didn’t know her and she wasn't registered. It is just like she’s trying to get in the men's restroom.”

Although the situation at the McCarty Speedway is not unique in its stand not to allow women in the pit area according to Merrick, Brown says she has been allowed in pit areas at other tracks because she is part owner of the car.

“I’ve been in the pits at Salina, Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City and the Enid Speedway, and in all the time I’ve been in the pits, I haven’t seen any lights,” Brown said. “The first time I went to Salina I thought I’d go and sit in the stands to let it be solved legally because I had already filed the case then.”

“I talked to the owner and he said, ‘Oh, sure you can go in, just go pay your dollar and sign your name on the insurance form.’ I think I was the first woman in the pits there because one of the track officials came over and said ‘you can’t be here’ and when I told him the owner of the track let me in he ran over to his two-way walkie talkie and came back and said I just had to stay out of the way.”

The case Brown was talking about was a sex discrimination case with the Kansas Commission on Civil Rights. Both Brown and Merrick feel they are in the right, and both have vowed to go to court if that’s what it takes to prove their point.

“I haven’t received any official notice,” Brown said, “But I did hear that the Commission ruled in my favor. If they did, and he doesn’t let me in this week, I guess the courts will have to settle it.”

Merrick said, “We are still in the process of waiting for the final decision. We’ve been in conference with them (the investigators) several times this winter, and they've looked over our insurance forms and I think they will rule that the pit area is the province of whoever is running the race and admittance will be made to whoever is qualified. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of it. She knows about as much about race cars as I do about battleships.”

Saturday, April 26, 2014

1974 - 3,829 Watch Dike’s Hansen Post Late Model Victory

Curt Hansen 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April 26, 1974) - Curt Hansen felt he made a mistake, but if he did it's awfully nice to right when you're wrong.

Hansen and his 1974 Chevelle Laguna led all the way in capturing the 25-lap feature for late-model stock cars, marking the second time in as many weeks that he picked up the top honors at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids.
The 20-year-old pilot from Dike started the feature on the pole, by virtue of winning the first heat involving the top eight qualifiers, and had Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids (1972 Nova) breathing down his neck through every tour on the half-mile dirt track.
A crowd of 3,829 (paid) was bristling, obviously wondering if the veteran Dake would or could make a move, or if Hansen would make a mistake.
Neither happened and two yellow flags in the last three laps didn't alter the situation. Afterwards, Hansen was a gracious winner.
"If Dake had got out in front, I think he would have run away with the race," Curt said. "I made a mistake and didn't change tires for the feature. I should have."
"I thought the track would be like last week, so I stayed with the same tires. But the track was dry tonight. If I had started way back in the pack I don't think I could have stayed up with the rest. As the race got longer, my tires got worse."
Dake said he tried several times to take Hansen on the inside, but "it was just too slick down low.
"The only chance I had was if Curt got up in the loose stuff. But he didn't make any mistakes and I couldn't get around him."
Hansen drove with a sprained thumb, suffered in a wreck last Sunday at Knoxville. "It bothered me at first," he said, "but afterwards I didn't have time to think about it."
It was that kind of race and it earned Curt $550. Following Dake across the finish line were Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley and Kenny Walton of Cedar Rapids.
Walton won the hottest heat event. The second-year chauffeur took the lead on the final lap and literally out dueled five other cars to the checkered flag. Jim Burbridge of Greeley also won a heat, while Cal Swanson of Reinbeck took the consolation.
Results –
1. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
5. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
7. Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
8. Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
9. Bob Jaeger, Dubuque, Iowa
10. Red Dralle, Evansdale, Iowa

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1963 – Record 10,000 at Shreveport as Hutcherson Cops Pelican

Dick Hutcherson

Shreveport, La. (April 21, 1963) – Dick Hutcherson, a 30-year-old dirt track veteran with four seasons already packed under his belt, initiated the International Motor Contest Association’s 1963 campaign with the smell of exhaust smoke as he wheeled his ’63 Fastback Ford to victory in the 10th annual Pelican 200.

Hutcherson’s powerful coupe showed its rear bumper to the remainder of the 16-car field throughout the final 146 laps.
Ramo Stott, like Hutcherson a native of Keokuk, Iowa, guided his pale blue 1963 Plymouth into second place over the 100-mile grind; Lennie Funk of Otis, Kan., in a ’63 Ford, landed third; Eddie Harrow of Corpus Christi, Tex., in a ’63 Chevrolet, tooled his orange and cream mount into the fourth spot.

Ernie Derr, the ringleader of the “Keokuk Komets”, and defending champion of the Pelican 200, experienced mechanical troubles with his 1963 Pontiac and retired after the 164th circuit. He eventually wound up being scored in 11th place. 
“I couldn’t have made another five laps,” said an exhausted Hutcherson after it was over, his coveralls soaked with sweat.

His Ford, however, still looked good for another 200-lapper as it completed its fourth race with “Rapid Richard” behind the wheel. He had already raced the car at Newport, Ky., Houston, Tex., and Austin, Tex., finishing second and third in two of those runs.
Hutcherson, no worse than third in the national point standings since he joined the Auto Racing, Inc., circuit in 1959, and runner-up to Derr last year, smashed one Shreveport record en route to his triumph. His time of 45 minutes and 30.56 seconds for 50 miles broke the old record of 45 minute and 45 second record he posted himself last October during the State Fair.

Dick’s first Pelican 200 victory – putting him in a class with such drivers as four-time winner Don White, two-time champion Ernie Derr, Johnny Beauchamp, Sonny Morgan, and Ramo Stott – was witnessed by a record crowd of over 10,000 by ARI promoter Frank Winkley, the biggest turnout for a State Fair Speedway stock car event.
Hutcherson, who pocketed $700 of the $4,000 purse, rewarded the record gathering on a cloudy and overcast afternoon by lapping the entire field as early as the 96th lap. Only Stott was able to get back on the lead lap and that was on lap 170 when Hutcherson was already comfortable ahead.

For the first 55 laps, Jerry Douglas of Wichita Fall, Tex., driving Ernie Derr’s championship Pontiac from 1962, gunned out to a tightly-bunched lead. Hutcherson gradually jockeyed his way into eighth place on lap 11 as Lennie Funk rolled into the pits.
On the 69th lap, shortly after nudging past Douglas for the lead, Hutcherson Ford dropped a tailpipe but he kept rolling. His first pit stop came on lap 106 and his crew had him gassed up and rolling again in exactly 13.44 seconds.

Results –

1.       Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa

2.       Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa

3.       Lennie Funk, Otis, Kan.

4.       Eddie Harrow, Corpus Christi, Tex.

5.       Jim Washburn, Keokuk, Iowa

6.       Bob Reynolds, Edmond, Okla.

7.       H.B. Bailey, Houston, Tex.

8.       Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee, Wis.

9.       Phil Cronin, Houston, Tex.

10.   Pat Henry, Beaumont, Tex.

11.   Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa

12.   Jerry Douglas, Wichita Falls, Tex.

13.   Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.

14.   John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa

15.   Don Rittman, Lees Summit, Mo.

16.   Clyde Douglas, Wichita Falls, Tex. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1973 Sorg Handily Takes Louisville ASA

Louisville, Ky. (April 22, 1973) - Dave Sorg, driving a 1972 Chevelle, handily won round two of the American Speed Association “Circuit of Champions” late model stock car series Sunday at Fairgrounds Motor Speedway here, expertly fending off repeated challenges from a stellar field in the 100 lap feature event.

Carl Smith was second, with Tommy Spaugh third. For Sorg, the victory was especially sweet, as he was disqualified for weight violation after finishing second in an ARCA event at the same track two weeks ago. Under the lighter, 8 pounds per cubic inch ASA regulations, however, Sorg’s victory easily withstood a post race week check.

Defending ASA champion, Denny Miles, jumped into the lead from his pole position in the main event and enjoyed a comfortable straightaway lead until the record-breaking 100 lapper’s only caution flag appeared on lap 17, necessitated by a first turn entanglement between Carl Elwanger and Ellis Herbert.

On the resumption of racing speed on lap 20, Miles became the target of intense attack by veteran Bill Kimmel and Carl Smith. Into dense slower traffic, both Kimmel and Smith passed on lap 25 two dump Miles into third position.

Kimmel seemed destined for a fast ride at the front of the pack until he was overhauled by a determined Smith on lap 36. Smith had but a short tenure at the head of the train, however, as Sorg swiftly annexed Kimmel at 39 laps and got under Smith for the lead on lap 47.

Spectacularly moving through traffic by half distance were Larry Moore and Moose Meyers. Moore, thrusting forward from 22nd starting spot, had climbed to eighth position before his 1971 Ford overheated on lap 69. Meyers, charging hard in the back of the pack, moved into the top five by lap 70.

Sorg was firmly in command by the 70 lap mark, but a furious battle raged between Kimmel and Smith for second spot. Spaugh, driving an inspired race, mounted a charge by lap 80 and sailed past Kimmel for third on lap 87.

At the finish, Sorg maintained a straightaway length lead on the third-mile circuit over second-place man, Smith. Spaugh claimed a well-earned third, nipping by Kimmel, in fourth, and Moose Meyers earned the most cars past award, claiming fifth after clawing his way from 21st starting position.

Sorg, in taking a main event, said new track record for distance of 27 minutes, 37.17 seconds. Heat race wins were claimed, in order, by Darwin Blankenship, Herb Rose, Carl Elwanger and Miles. Kimmel dominated the trophy dash and Meyers earned his feature race starting birth by winning the consolation race.

Results -

  1. Dave Sorg
  2. Carl Smith
  3. Tommy Spaugh
  4. Bill Kimmel
  5. Moose Meyers
  6. John Sommerville
  7. Bud Toohey
  8. Jerry Norris
  9. Shorty Hinshaw
  10. Willard Googe
  11. Joe Doty
  12. Frank Dewboys
  13. Bob Goodfliesch
  14. Jack Johnson
  15. Carl Elwanger
  16. Denny Miles
  17. Larry Moore
  18. Darrell Basham
  19. Vern Schrock
  20. Gene Christie
  21. Joe Vincent
  22. Billy Howe
  23. J. Robinson
  24. Ellis Herbert

Saturday, April 19, 2014

1998 - Frank Kimmel Takes ARCA Salem Honors

Salem, Ind. (April 19, 1998) - Frank Kimmel drove Larry Clement’s Chevrolet to victory Sunday at Salem Speedway in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200, scoring his sixth career ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series victory and first ever ARCA win on the half mile, high banked Indiana oval.

Kimmel, from nearby Jeffersonville, Ind., gave the local fans the charge they were looking for when the current series points leader crossed the final finish line 3 car lengths in front of Mark Gibson, the only other driver on the lead lap. “I want to thank all my fans for standing behind us,” said Kimmel in victory lane. “We wanted this one bad I know you did to. It’s tough to survive Salem for 200 laps in your car, it has to be set up just right to do it. Fortunately my crew set me up with the perfect handle here today and showed. This car would stick anywhere.”

Josh Baltes, who led 12 laps, Dan Pardus and Rick Groetsch, scored their best career ARCA finishes of third, fourth and fifth respectively, just one lap down.

Kimmel was impressive on afternoon leading three times for 87 laps, nearly half the distance. However, Kimmel had his hands full for much the way having to fend off constant challenges from Bob Strait, Dill Whittymore and Gibson. Strait, who started the race from the pole, led 52 laps and was a constant threat until the 13-time ARCA winner got caught up in a turn two accident trying to sneak underneath the spinning car of Mike Lorz.

Whittymore also had his hometown contingent cranked up after leading 34 laps, but a brush with the turn four wall ended his day while running second just 21 laps from the finish. Strait, Lorz and Whittymore were uninjured.

Gibson was a show all in himself. After crashing his primary car in earlier practice session, his crew had to unload the backup car, plant a motor beneath the hood and watch as the Winder, Ga., driver methodically raced from the 29th starting position to challenge for the win.

Dear late-model specialist John Gill led 15 laps and appeared to be one of the fastest drivers in the field until his engine expired on lap 63.

The race was slowed 13 times for 78 caution flag laps, all for fairly minor incidents and debris.

Results -
  1. Frank Kimmel
  2. Mark Gibson
  3. Josh Baltes
  4. Dan Pardus
  5. Rick Groetsch
  6. Eric Smith
  7. Calvin Councilor
  8. Jeff Finley
  9. Randy VanZant
  10. Joe Cooksey
  11. Mark Voight
  12. David Boggs
  13. Brian Conz
  14. Norm Benning
  15. Jerry Middleton
  16. Steve Stevenson
  17. Bill Baird
  18. Chuck Weber
  19. Todd Coon
  20. Wes Russell
  21. Dill Whittymore
  22. James Hylton
  23. Curt Piercy
  24. Bob Strait
  25. Billy Venturini
  26. Mike Lorz
  27. Andy Belmont
  28. Richard Hampton
  29. John Gill
  30. Toby Massie
  31. Drew White
  32. Rob Julian
  33. Dennis English
  34. Jason Weatherton
  35. Scott Baker

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1979 – Martin opens ASA season with Winchester win

Mark Martin holds his trophy and the checkered flag after winning the Champion Motor Homes 100 at Winchester. - Brian Norton Collection

Winchester, Ind. (April 15, 1979) – Handed the lead when the first and second place runners were eliminated in a wreck, Mark Martin, the 20-year-old defending ASA driving champion, took full advantage of the situation and held on to edge Rick Knotts of Paw Paw, Mich., by one second for victory in the Champion Motor Home 100 at Winchester Speedway. It was the inaugural event of the ASA’s 1979 Circuit of Champions late model schedule.

“I didn’t expect to win this race,” Martin exclaimed after the contest. “My luck hasn’t been too good here, but it sure was today.”

Don Gregory of Columbus, Ohio, sent his Cutlass ahead of pole-sitter Dave Roahrig’s Camaro at the green and led the first lap around Roger Holdeman’s high-banked half-mile racing plant.

Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo, Mich., also pulled around Roahrig on the first lap and then sent his Camaro past Gregory in the north turn the second time around the track to grab the lead. Mike Eddy of Midland, Mich., nailed Roahrig on the same lap to take over the third spot.

Eddy passed Gregory on the sixth circuit to take over second and one lap later, Knotts moved past both Gregory and Roahrig to settle into third.

Martin started making his move to the front on lap 11, passing sixth place Bob Sensiba of Middleville, Ohio, then moved ahead of Roahrig on lap 20 and then overtook Gregory one turn of the track later.

It was Sweet, Eddy, Knotts and Martin in that order until Martin went by Knotts on lap 46 – just two turns of the track before misfortune smacked both Sweet and Eddy.

Johnny Banks of Windsor, Ont., who had brushed the wall earlier in the race with his Camaro, drifted from the top of the track towards the bottom just as Sweet and Eddy were coming up to lap him on the 48th lap.

With no place to go after he ran out of room trying to get by below Banks, Sweet plowed head-on into the steep bank at the inside bottom of the track and the resulting damage finished him for the day.

Eddy, meanwhile, cut to the top attempting to get around Banks but completely spun around without touching anything. However, the stress on the machine fouled up the clutch and Eddy, after a quick pit stop and a jump back into the action, completed just four laps before the clutch went out and made him a spectator for the rest of the afternoon.

That gave the lead to Martin and put Knotts in second and that’s the way the remainder of the race went.

John Anderson of Massillon, Ohio, finished third after a fine driving performance brought him all the way from his 13th starting position. Pat Schauer of Watertown, Wis., took fourth followed by Ray Young of Dolton, Ill.

Results –

1. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.,
2. Rick Knotts, Paw Paw, Mich.
3. John Anderson, Massillon, Ohio
4. Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.
5. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
6. Bob Coffey, Indianapolis, Ind.
7. Harold Scott, New Castle, Ind.
8. Frank Gawlinski, Lansing, Ill.
9. Richard Craig, Cowan, Ind.
10. Ed Baer, Fort Wayne, Ind.
11. Terry Shirley, Seymour, Ind.
12. Bob Sensiba, Middleville, Ohio
13. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
14. Ed Hoffman, Bensenville, Ill.
15. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
16. Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
17. Randy Sweet, Kalamazoo, Mich.
18. Johnny Banks, Windsor, Ont.
19. Kenny Hemphill, Oakmont, Pa.
20. David Hall, Grandview, Mo.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1970 - It's Dickson at Dayton; third win in four starts

Gary Bettenhausen (1) and Larry Dickson (2) battle for position at Dayton. 

Dayton, Ohio (April 12, 1970) - Larry Dickson won the 40-lap feature as the USAC sprints made their 1970 debut on the high banks of the Dayton Speedway Sunday afternoon. Dickson, driving Ken Lay’s #2 black deuce, inherited the lead on the 30th lap when Rollie Beale blew the engine in his Kilman Chevy while holding a comfortable lead.

Johnny Parsons drove a steady race to finish second in the Hughes Chevy. Third want to defending USAC national sprint champion Gary Bettenhausen in the Willy Davis #1. Fourth was Cy Fairchild in the Stahl #36 with Lee Kunzman fifth in the Leffler #4.

The race was stopped on the first lap when Claire Lawicki, starting on the outside the seventh row, drove head-on into the guardrail at the end of the main grandstand.

Lawicki miraculously suffered only a broken wrist and minor leg injuries although he was trapped in his car for some 5 minutes while rescue crews worked to free his legs from the cock pit.

Two spectators, attempted take photos restricted area where they were told to leave before the start of the race, were also injured.

On the restart to Kunzman charged out front from his pole position with Dickson second and Beale third. Kunzman led for the first three laps until Beale drove under them in the first turned to take over the lead. Once in front Beale began to build a commanding lead. Dickson and Parsons also got my Kunzman to hold second and third.

Beale was well on his way to his first win of the year and Dickson had just about resigned himself to finishing second when the engine let go on Beale's car. Dickson held a comfortable lead over runner-up Parsons at the finish. For Dickson it was his third win in four races this year.

Results -

1. Larry Dickson
2. Johnny Parsons
3. Gary Bettenhausen
4. Cy Fairchild
5. Lee Kunzman
6. Greg Weld
7. Bill Puterbaugh
8. Jerry Poland
9. Dee Jones
10. Charlie Masters
11. Karl Busson
12. Merle Bettenhausen
13. Doc Dawson
14. Mel Cornett
15. Rollie Beale
16. Salt Walther
17. Sonny Ates
18. Todd Gibson
19. Don Nordhorn
20. Claire Lawicki

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1989 - Shear remains king of Rockford Speedway

Rockford, Ill. (April 10, 1989) - They don’t call him “Joe Rockford” for nothing. 
For the past 20 years, Joe Shear has ruled the Rockford Speedway, winning a countless number of races there. Sunday, the driver from Clinton added another by capturing the 12th-annual ARTGO Spring Classic late model stock car race at the speedway.
As in the past, Shear was dominant on the paved one-quarter mile raceway. This time, however, the job was a bit easier as he started the race from the pole position.
“The track was really cold when we qualified today,” said Shear, in reference to the 32-degree weather and the unusual starting grid spot. 
“I just couldn’t get a hold of the track because the tires were so cold. Once the race got going, the tires heated up and when they did, the car really went.” 
Shear didn’t take the lead immediately in the 89-lap event as the other front row starter, Don Leach of Beloit, got the drop on the green flag and Shear to assume the top spot.
Shear calmly tucked in behind Leach, working the bottom groove while looking for an opening. Leach obliged on lap six, sliding up the raceway in turn one. Shear quickly steered by and wasted little time leaving Leach and the rest of the field in his wake.
“This car has a brand new Lefthander chassis and I want to tell you, it works,” said Shear. “I could just put the car anywhere I wanted to, even in traffic.”
Back in the pack, Green Bay’s Scott Hansen was working through the field from his ninth starting position. The day's top qualifier with a time of 13.492, Hansen was struck to the bottom of the racetrack, moving into the sixth position by lap 10. 
“There were some guys that gave me a pretty good run, but it just took me too long to get through the pack,” said Hansen. “My car was working just great down on the bottom and I could pretty much do whatever I wanted to do. 
Ten laps later, Hansen’s Buick Regal was battling Leach for the runner-up spot. Meanwhile, Shear had run off to nearly a half of a lap lead and was already lapping some of the backmarkers that started the 22-car event 
By the time Hansen got by Leach on lap 36, Shear was long gone. In the end, only Hansen was on the lead lap, as Shear breezed to the win by nearly three-quarters of a lap.
“I knew with Joe starting up where he was, I’d need a miracle to catch him,” said Hansen. “The race went green all the way, which I was surprised to see. Maybe if we'd have had a caution somewhere in there, I’d have been able to do something with him.”
“Seems like second place at Rockford and me get along pretty good,” added Hansen. “I was second in the National Short Track Championships here last fall and while I'd have liked to win today, while I’d have liked to win today, starting out the season place finish in the first race of the year is still okay.
Leach held off Steve Holzhausen of Bangor and Dousman’s Conrad Morgan over the last three laps to take third place with Kevin Cywinski, Steve Carlson, Tim Fedewa, Terry Baldry and Dennis Lampman rounding out the top 10.
“I really love racing here,” said Shear of the Rockford oval. “This is where I started racing and I’ve always felt comfortable here."
Results –

  1. Joe Shear
  2. Scott Hansen
  3. Don Leach
  4. Steve Holzhausen
  5. Conrad Morgan
  6. Kevin Cywinksi
  7. Steve Carlson
  8. Tim Fedewa
  9. Terry Baldry
  10. Dennis Lampman
  11. Jeff Finley
  12. Al Schill
  13. George Prziborowski
  14. John Olson
  15. Jerry Wood

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

1973 - Bruce Gould sets hot pace to take Louisville ARCA bow

Louisville, Ky. (April 8, 1973) - Making his first ever start on the fast, 1/3 mile paved Fairgrounds Motor Speedway here, Bruce Gould of Milford, Ohio, led all the way to win the opening Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) new car 100 lapper on the 1973 schedule.

Gould earned the pole position in the 24-car feature field by posting fastest qualifying time of 15.66 seconds in his 1971 Strickler Auto Parts Ford Torino, but never let his pursuers by more than six car lengths throughout the main event.

Louisville's Tommy Spaugh provided plenty of competition for Gould in the early going as did Dave Kulmer until his engine blew 11 laps into the race, bringing out the yellow flag. Spaugh slip to third after being passed by Dave Sorg upon resumption of the all clear signal at 22 laps. Overheating problems ultimately force Spaugh to retire early, for closing a determined performance.

Bill Clemens, Herk Herbour, and Elmer Davis became involved in spinning, vendor bashing melee on lap 32, again bringing out the yellow flag. All managed to return to the chase but the field was compressed, with Gould followed closely by Sorg and second Bobby Watson and A. Arnold.

Local favorite, veteran Bill Kimmel, provided a large sure the days action by moving through the pack late in the race, alternately picking off second place man Sorg, but faded when his brakes failed near the 80-lap mark. Kimmel posted the fastest during race lap times and look to be a sure bet the challenge for the lead until experiencing the break problem.

Sorg  held on to Gould's rear bumper and was apparently in second position at the final flag, closely trailed by Bobby Watson, driving brilliantly in traffic though beset by handling difficulties. Kimmel protected fourth, minus his brakes, to the checkered.

At the post race way and, Sorg was found to be well below the regulation minimum weight, dropping him to last place in the final standings Watson was elevated to second position, with Kimmel, third; Delmar Clark, fourth; and A. Arnold, fifth.

Kimmel claimed the semi-main with heat race wins going to Kenny Black, Delmar Clark, and Dave Kulmer. Gould's win, is first under the ARCA banner, netted him $835.

Results –

  1. Bruce Gould
  2. Bobby Watson
  3. Bill Kimmel
  4. Delmar Clark
  5. A. Arnold
  6. Kenny Black
  7. Tom Cecil
  8. Bill Clemens
  9. Elmer Davis
  10. Dick Smith
  11. N.D. Copley
  12. Jim Adkins
  13. Wayne Trinkle
  14. John Sommerville
  15. Larry Clemens
  16. Tommy Spaugh
  17. Jerry Norris
  18. Darrell Basham
  19. Ed Richardville
  20. Herk Herbour
  21. Gil Schildknecht
  22. Willard Googe
  23. Dave Kulmer
  24. Dave Sorg

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1965 - Freeman Wheels Ford to Victory

Dick Freeman

Ona, W.Va. (April 5, 1965) - Dick Freeman, known as the Dayton, Ohio, flyer, led from start to finish in a 1964 Ford at West Virginia International Speedway to win the 20-lap King Coal Classic.

Freeman had put the smooth functioning Ford on the pole by turning a qualifying lap of 78.41 miles per hour. He then tooled it to victory in the season-opening feature here, averaging 69.843 miles per hour for the route over the 7/16-mile asphalt track.

His closest competition was provided by Roy Wathen, who made a bid to take first money on the last lap in a 1964 Chevrolet. Wathen took his Chevy to the outside but swung it too wide in an attempt to pass Freeman's Ford. He was about three car lengths back of the winner at the finish line.

With Freeman and Wathen running one-two for most of the race, the fans among the estimated 5,000 turnout who were pulling for Jack Bowsher, 1965 Ford, and Iggy Katona, 1965 Plymouth, to close the gap were disappointed.

Bowsher got a last minute ride in Jack Snow's Ford after his white No. 21 blew an engine in practice. He came in third, a half lap behind the winner with Katona right behind.

Freeman, who led the Daytona 250 for a while in the same car, felt that it handled well. He admitted that he was concerned with tire wear but that inspection after the race showed that they had stood up well. He said that he wasn't turning the track quite as fast as possible in an effort to preserve the tires. The caution flag was out for 23 laps.

The Dayton driver recalled that he was leading last season's West Virginia 500 here in a Pontiac when a tire blew. He eventually finished third in that one.

Bowsher conceded that he might have done better in his own car. The Springfield, Ohio ace, off to a good start toward his third Auto Racing Club of America championship, said that the Snow Ford handled strange to him, "especially when trying to make up ground on the leaders."

Katona was breaking in the new Plymouth in which he expects to make a run at the ARCA title. Charlie Glotzbach was turning the fastest laps in another '65 Plymouth in the early stages of the feature before it blew an oil gasket.

Harold Smith, 1965 Chevy, did not arrive at the track until after the feature was underway, explaining that he was held up by rain on the way. Johnny Ditch, who was supposed to be there in a 1965 Pontiac, did not show up at all. Among the missing also were Jesse Baird and Andy Hampton, who were slated to drive '64 Pontiacs. They both banged up their cars in a Friday night race at the Louisville Fairgrounds, it was reported. Jack Shanklin, whose Mercury also blew in practice, was fifth in the feature in a 1964 Ford.

Elmer Davis, 1964 Ford, hung on to edge Freeman in a 25-lap heat, and Parsons took the other heat, ahead of Clyde Parker, 1963 Chevy.

Results –

1. Dick Freeman
2. Roy Wathen
3. Jack Bowsher
4. Iggy Katona
5. Jack Shanklin
6. Blaine Kaufman
7. Ken Reiter
8. Benny Parsons
9. John Sommerville
10. Jim Robinson

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1977 - Wallace snares Sedalia main event

Sedalia, Mo. (April 3, 1977) – “Super” Joe Wallace of Kansas City, Kan., stayed hooked to the racing surface at the Missouri State Fairgrounds to bank $600 for winning the season opening Missouri Spring Sizzler on Sunday afternoon, April 3rd.

It was all Wallace, as the veteran late model pilot swung his Chevy around the fast half-mile at ease, leading all 50 laps.

Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, finished second, followed by Mike Dibben of Kansas City, Mo., in third.

A small crowd turned out to witness the first late model race on dirt in Missouri for the 1977 season. More than 55 late models were entered from six different Midwestern states.

Ken Walton of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, blistered the time trials portion of the event, with a 24.56 second clocking. He started sixth in the feature, with an inverted top six start and finished sixth.

Most drivers had their late models in good running order but many still had a problem hooking up their horsepower to the lightning fast Missouri black dirt.

Results –

Fast Time: Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (24.56)

First Heat: Sonny Kimberling, Gilliam, Mo.

Second Heat: Larry Pipes, Kirksville, Mo.

Third Heat: Joe Wallace, Kansas City, Kan.

Semi-Main: Bill Myers, East Alton, Ill.


  1. Joe Wallace
  2. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
  3. Mike Dibben, Kansas City, Mo.
  4. Bill Rice, Des Moines, Iowa
  5. Bob Shryock, Estherville, Iowa
  6. Ken Walton
  7. Ferris Collier, Lampe, Mo.
  8. Al Druesdow, Omaha, Neb.
  9. Bud Dibben, Kansas City, Mo,
  10. Kent Tucker, Aurora, Neb.