Friday, May 30, 2014

1962 – Ward pockets $100,000 plus for Indy 500 victory


Rodger Ward accepts the cheers in victory lane




Indianapolis, Ind. (May 30, 1962) - Rodger Ward, who dresses like a bank president, plays bridge and golfs in the low 80's, will politely relieve Speedway owner Tony Hulman of something over $100,000 tonight at the annual 500-mile auto race victory dinner.

The 41-year-old master of closed-course racing was just as smooth yesterday when he drove his new A. J. Watson custom-built speedster to his second Memorial Day victory in four years. He set a record of 140.292 miles per hour against A. J. Foyt's year-old mark of 139.13.

It was a remarkable 12th straight start in the world's richest auto race for the veteran Indianapolis sportsman-businessman. And he proved again that you can't beat experience at the 52- year-old track.

Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., who turned the first 150-mile-an-hour lap over the relatively flat track during the time trials, did his best to back up predictions that he would run away from the pack in his Agajanian special.

Jones, in only his second 500, led for more than half of the race but brake line trouble messed up his pit stops and he finished in seventh place.

Foyt, of Houston, Tex., last year's winner, led briefly on one of Jones' pit stops then Ward took charge on the 26th lap. Foyt lost a wheel and was lucky to walk back to the pits.

Ward's teammate, Len Sutton of Portland, Ore., led nine laps after Ward made his last pit stop, then came back to finish second after his own final halt for tires and fuel.

Ward and Sutton drove on the Leader Card team, financed by Robert C. Wilkie of Milwaukee, who also owned Ward's 1959 winning car. Their one-two team finish was the first since Mauri Rose and Bill Holland dominated the late 1940's in the Blue Crown Specials.

Popular Eddie Sachs, Pottstown, Penn., was a hard luck loser for a second straight year. Taking third money, he actually was on the track a shorter time than Ward or Sutton. Sachs finished 8.43 seconds back of Sutton and 20.29 seconds back of Ward, and his pit stops tools 24.5 seconds longer than Ward's efficient stops.

Sachs started in 27th place, gaining 24 positions. Ward had to advance only one spot. He started in second position as a result of the second-best qualifying time against Parnelli's pole winner. Sutton started fourth.

Troy Ruttman of Dearborn, Mich., the 1952 winner, also showed the huge crowd some tremendous hard charging. He started in 30th place and fought his way to second before an overheated engine retired him.

Unofficially finishing back of Sachs were Don Davis, Phoenix, fourth; Bobby Marshman, Pottstown, Pa.; fifth; rookie Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex., sixth; Jones, seventh; Lloyd Ruby, Houston, Tex., eighth; 1960 winner Jim Rathmann, Melbourne, Fla., ninth, and .Johnnie Boyd, Fresno, Calif., tenth.

All of the first four finishers broke the record.

For the fourth straight year, the race was run without a fatality. And for the second straight year, Jack Turner of Seattle was the only driver hurt. He suffered a fractured pelvis and other injuries in a four-car pileup early in the race but was reported in good condition.

The wreck also took out Bob Christie, Grants Pass, Ore.; rookie Chuck Rodee, Indianapolis, and rookie Allen Crowe, Springfield, Ill. Shorty Templeman of Seattle, who had been rated a strong contender, got back in the race after bumping the wall and finished eleventh

The amount of the purse, which depends on the gate, will not be known until the victory dinner tonight. It totaled $400,000 last year.

Results –

1. Rodger Ward
2. Len Sutton
3. Eddie Sachs
4. Don Davis
5. Bobby Marshman
6. Jim McElreath
7. Parnelli Jones
8. Lloyd Ruby
9. Jim Rathmann
10. Johnny Boyd
11. Shorty Templeman
12. Don Branson
13. Jim Hurtubise
14. Ebb Rose
15. Bud Tinglestad
16. Roger McCluskey
17. Paul Russo
18. Troy Ruttman
19. Bobby Grim
20. Dan Gurney
21. Chuck Hulse
22. Jimmy Daywalt
23. A.J. Foyt
24. Dick Rathmann
25. Eddie Johnson
26. Paul Goldsmith
27. Gene Hartley
28. Paul Russo
29. Jack Turner
30. Bob Christie
31. Allen Crowe
32. Chuck Rodee
33. Bob Veith

Thursday, May 29, 2014

1954 - Homer Claytor New Star in IMCA Racing

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 29, 1954) - The IMCA’s winningest driver of 1954 has filed entry for Sunday’s annual Memorial Day speedway-type classic at Hawkeye Downs, it was announced Saturday by officials of Auto Racing, Inc., who will present the events.

He is Homer Claytor, 34-year-old veteran of 12 years in the speed sport, who makes his home in Tampa, Fla. Claytor currently leads the IMCA point standings race by virtue of his early season wins at the Florida State Fair in Tampa, the association’s first 1954 sanctioned events. He has met defeat only once this season, at Salem, Ind., where he took second place in the feature event. He was also victor in two non-IMCA meets held in Jackson and Saginaw, Mich.

Claytor probably got his start driving race cars at an earlier age than any other chauffeur in the game today. Acting as a pit-man for his older brother Floyd in 1932, Homer, age 12, “borrowed” the race car while his brother was attending the prize-money payoff after the race. The older brother returned to find Homer entered in an impromptu race with another of the drivers.

Homer says, “It took me a while to get over the lickin’ I got but I guess that’s where I lot the bug.”

He will drive the “Diz” Wilson Offenhauser, the same car which he has been nearly unbeatable this season, in Sunday events. “Cush” Revette, another Tampa driver who was scheduled to arrive in a Wilson entry Sunday, was injured in a. spectacular end-over-end flip at Jackson, Mich., and will be unable to appear here. Wilson, the wealthy Mitchell, Ind., garage owner, has named Floyd Duvall of Fort Wayne, Ind., to drive the Ranger powered car in place of Revette. Wilson stated that he and his mechanics have spent several days putting the car back in shape.

Another entry reaching officials today is that of Bob Carpenter, the “Wabash Cannonball”, from that Indiana city, who will sit behind the wheel of a car described by race officials as one of the most spectacular in action today, the Wickliffe Ranger. The Ranger-powered car features over $500 in chrome-plating work alone, and carries an amazingly brilliant metallic purple paint job. Carpenter is former two-time Central States Racing Association national champion, and is regarded by race officials as one of the top drivers entering for Sunday’s seven-event program.

Another Ranger-powered machine will be driven Sunday by Verne “Speed” Chamberlain of Minneapolis, Minn., the latest driver to file entry.

Qualifying time trials will get the action under way at Hawkeye Downs at 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1977 - Jeff Bloom Wins Second Little 500

Anderson, Ind. (May 28, 1977) – Jeff Bloom, charging from a second row position, took the lead on the 392nd lap and stayed there to record his second victory in the “Little 500” sprint car classic Saturday night at Anderson Speedway.

The Kalamazoo, Mich., driver had moved into second place by the end of the first 100 laps and never was below second at 100-lap intervals thereafter. He led from the 210th lap until the 234th when he blew a tire in a minor collision before regaining the lead later in the race.

Bloom was the benefactor of a yellow light late in the race, although his closest challenger, Robert Smith of Gibsonton, Fla., who had started on the pole, actually gained on him during the yellow.

Bloom’s time of two hours, four minutes and 21.407 seconds was a new track record on the newly-named oval, formerly known as Sun Valley Speedway. Smith finished 10 seconds back and Dave Scarborough of Largo, Fla., was third. Fourteen of the 33 cars were still running at the end of the race.

Bloom had taken a 10-second lead by the 450th lap and increased his lead to 13 seconds, or almost one full lap, by the 481st when the yellow came on for Bob Seelman of Lansing, Mich., who hit the outside rail on the first turn.
 
Smith charged into the early lead and held it for the first 40 laps. Then Rick Ferkel of Findlay, Ohio, went high on the front stretch to take the lead from Smith, holding it until the 80th lap when Smith regained the advantage. Ferkel again went ahead on the 92nd lap, holding it until the 210th lap when he made a pit stop and Bloom went into the lead.

Ferkel continued in the lead until the 210th lap when Bloom passed him on a pit stop. Bloom, the 1972 winner, built up a seven-lap lead but lost five laps on a pit stop in the 233rd lap. Bloom managed to hold onto his lead, though, until lap 291 when he bumped Ron Semelka of Wauseon, Ohio, on the homestretch. Blowing his right rear tire, be was forced to pit for five laps and Smith moved back into first place.

Smith built up a nine-lap lead by the 376th lap after Bloom had lost five more laps on a pit stop two laps earlier. Then on the 392nd lap Smith pitted and stalled on reentry, having to be re-pushed by his pit truck. In the process he lost his entire nine-lap lead and Bloom went ahead for keeps.
 
There were few accidents in the early going, making for a clean race. On the 23rd lap Bud Frazier of Chillicothe, Ohio, spun going into the first turn but ducked into the infield and stopped before reaching the second turn, avoiding traffic.

On the 52nd lap there was a six-car pileup as Bob Seelman of Lansing, Mich., went sideways going into the second turn. Involved in the pileup were Richard Jackson of Evansville, Charlie Wilmot of Middletown, Ohio, Bobby Allen of Hanover, Pa., Dick Gaines of Floyds Knob and Galen Short of West Unity, Ohio. Wilmot and Allen’s cars were stuck together and Allen was unable to continue when the cars were freed.

The yellow light came on in the 133rd lap when Bill Davis of Battle Creek, Mich., spun on the second turn. Eight laps later the green light returned, but on lap 143 Lennie Waldo of Columbus, Ohio, spun in the fourth turn and was hit by Short and by Indianapolis 500 veteran Sammy Sessions of Middleville, Mich. Sessions limped on until the 160th lap before being forced out of the race.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

1963 – Lucky Derr Good Topeka Mudder


Ernie Derr
Topeka, Kan. (May 27, 1963) – Lady Luck deserted Bob Reynolds of Edmund, Okla., during the 47th lap of the IMCA late model stock car race on Memorial Day, and Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, took advantage to win the rain-plagued 50-lap feature before 7,000 soaked fans.
Reynolds, wheeling a 1963 Ford, had taken the lead from Derr on lap 16 and was breezing to an easy victory when the axle broke. He coasted to the pit area as Derr, flying through the mud in his ’63 Pontiac, flashed into the lead.
The program, promoted by National Speedways, Inc., was delayed two hours when rain hit right after the record setting time trials. The rain lasted for 30 minutes, and then it took another 90 minutes to work the track back into shape for racing.
The surface, still gooey and very slick, seemed to pose no problems for Reynolds early on as he glided through traffic from his sixth starting position. Once he caught Derr, he had no problems passing the defending champion.
Newt Bartholomew of Carlisle, Iowa, would take runner-up honors followed by Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., who would take third place. Gil Haugen of Sioux Falls, S.D., would earn fourth and Reynolds would limp back out onto the track and take fifth.
Both Ramo Stott and Dick Hutcherson, the other “Keokuk Komets” were victims of bad luck themselves. Stott, bothered by a muddied windshield and overheating, tried to make a pit stop on lap 26, but skidded into a light tower, putting him out of action. Hutcherson spun on the lap 18, tagging the wall hard and ending his day.
Stott would set a new track record in time trials, touring the big half-mile in 27.10 seconds. He was the third driver to hold the record that day. Chub Liebe of Oelwein, Iowa was the first to break the old mark at 28.30 seconds and then Hutcherson momentarily held it at 27.46 before Stott, ironically, waved off a 27.02 clocking before making his final run.
Feature Results –
1.       Ernie Derr
2.       Newt Bartholomew
3.       Lenny Funk
4.       Gil Haugen
5.       Bob Reynolds
6.       Luther Poteet
7.       Thurman Lovejoy
8.       J.B. Martin
9.       Bob Bennett
10.   Ralph Wilhelm

Saturday, May 24, 2014

1962 – Foyt’s 1961 ‘500’ Victory a Classic


Lucy Foyt, A. J. Foyt, and Diane Hunt, in victory lane with Borg-Warner trophy, 1961 - Ralph J. Satterlee Collection



Indianapolis, Ind. (May 24, 1962) - The Golden Anniversary 500-Mile Race is one that will be remembered for a long time when fans talk of the great races of other years.

Only twice in the 45-race history of the event in 1912 and 1960 has the outcome been decided at a later point than in the 1961 classic. A Hollywood script writer couldn't have done a better job than Lady Fate did in preparing the story of A. J. Foyt’s record-breaking triumph.

Consider the hero Foyt.

Seldom has a reigning national champion been given so little consideration as a possible winner than was given Foyt.
Many people looked on the handsome Texan’s title as sort of a fluke - won on the strength of a terrific streak of hot driving and an equally terrific streak of bad luck on the part of the “real” driving champion, 1959 500-winner and national champ Rodger Ward.

When possible winners of the Golden Anniversary “500” were mentioned, Ward’s name came up most often. Well it should have…

After all, hadn’t Ward been cheated out of the honor of being the first two-time winner since Bill Vuckovich in 1960 by a bad pit stop and a frayed tire that made it imperative for him to relinquish a small, but commanding lead with just two laps to go?

What’s more, Ward had a new roadster out of the garage of the acknowledged king of the Brickyard, A. J. Watson. And the master himself was the chief mechanic on the car. If ever there was a likely “500” winner, Rodger Ward was it.

But for those who didn’t think Ward could win there were plenty of other possible winners. The defending champion, Jim Rathmann, two-time pole winner Eddie Sachs, the great rookie Parnelli Jones and the world driving champion Jack Brabham all got more consideration than did Foyt.

But when all was said and done on May 30, who was in Victory Lane drinking milk and accepting the Borg-Warner Trophy? A. J. Foyt.

But A. J.’s win was not without its tribulations. Each of the aforementioned pretenders to the Speedway crown (except Brabham in his outclassed Cooper-Climax) made a run at the $400,000 pot of gold. And so did the 1952 Speedway winner Troy Ruttman and qualification record holder Jim Hurtibise.

As a matter of fact they made such a run at the crown that Foyt didn’t get into the lead until the 76th lap. After getting in front, Foyt’s job was far from finished. He was to lose the lead on seven more occasions before he took over for good on the 198th lap.

A. J. appeared to have the race in the bag when he relinquished the lead to Ward to make his third and supposedly final pit stop on the 161st lap. Sachs, his principal challenger by this point, had already made his final stop, but Foyt had time to get back on the track before Eddie could move ahead of him. And Ward, nursing a sickly engine, had his third stop ahead of him and would lose the lead -back to Foyt when he pitted for the final time.

So it was with victory in sight that A. J. pulled to a halt in pits. When he pulled away 20 seconds later that victory was for all practical purposes down the drain.

A fueling valve had failed during the stop and Foyt hadn’t received a drop of fuel. What his pit crew found out immediately, A. J. learned 25 minutes later when he had to stop a fourth time on the 184th lap for more fuel.

Sachs zoomed into the lead and into what appeared to be a sure bet trip to Victory Lane. Barring a miracle, he was a winner and Foyt a runner-up.

That miracle came on the 198th lap when Sachs had to come in change a threadbare right rear tire. Trying to slow down and save his tires, Eddie changed his driving style with the result being just the opposite of what he had hoped for.

As Sachs’ crew pounded the wing nut into place on the new tire, Foyt flew by and three laps later took starter Bill Vanderwater’s checkered flag. A little more than eight seconds later Sachs took the checkered flag for second. Ward, who fell a lap behind the leaders after his final stop, finished third, with Shorty Templeman fourth and Al Keller fifth.

The remainder of the top 10 included Chuck Stevenson in sixth, rookie Bobby Marshman in seventh, Lloyd Ruby in eighth, Brabham in ninth and another rookie, Norm Hall in tenth.

Foyt’s speed for the race was a record-breaking 139.130 miles per hour - eclipsing the old mark of 138.767 set in 1960 by Jim Rathmann.

Earlier in race, the huge throng, estimated at over 200,000 people, was given a chilling thrill when a spectacular five-car accident on the main straight away eliminated Don Davis, A. J. Shepherd, Roger McCluskey, Bill Cheesbourg and Jack Turner. Although Turner flipped and the others were bounced around rather badly, none of the drivers ware hurt.

Foyt’s share of the record $400,000 prize money was $117,975.
Not bad for a “cheese champ.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

1970 - West is SIRA winner

by Ida May Van Gendren
Oskaloosa, Iowa (May 20, 1970) - Pokey West captured the Super Stock feature last night at races held here on the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds oval.

In fact, the West Chester driver didn’t stop at just one race. He also won the trophy dash and the first heat race.

In the main event, West took the lead in the second turn of the first lap and held it the full 15 laps to victory. Coming in a close second was Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree. Mark Mosier of Washington and George Barton of Ankeny were third and fourth respectively.

The red flag was flown twice during the main. The first time before one lap had been completed. Phil Reese of Des Moines lot it coming out of the fourth turn and broad slid his car, crashing through the pit fence.

The red came out again on the seventh lap when Bob Bonzer of Liscomb lost his right front tire and rode the fence between the first and second turns. Neither driver was injured in the mishaps.

West took over the lead from Mike Brooks of Hartford on the white flag lap to take home the trophy dash.

Pokey then held off a hard challenging Ron Hemsted to cop the first eight-lap heat race.

Ron Perdock of Washington grabbed the lead at the start and held it all the way to win the second eight-lap heat race. Ron Hutcherson made his final bid and edged put Phil Reese by only a few niches to place second. The race was restarted on the first lap when Mel Morris and John Moss tangled on the second turn and Ed Pilcher of Ottumwa dropped his drive shaft at the start.

Joel Rasmussen of Ames whipped his super stock around the oval to win the third eight-lap heat ahead of Bob Bonzer.

The six-lap Australian Pursuit was won by Ron Hemsted. The drivers were turning laps in the 22-second bracket as they fought their bumper to bumper battle.

John Moss won the 10-lap consolation race. Jerry Roberts of Prairie City finished second.

 
Results –

Trophy Dash: Pokey West, West Chester
First Heat: Pokey West
Second Heat: Ron Perdock, Washington
Third Heat: Joel Rasmussen, Ames
Australian Pursuit: Ron Hemsted, Lone, Tree
Consolation: John Moss, Iowa City
Feature:

  1. Pokey West
  2. Ron Hemsted
  3. Mark Mosier, Washington
  4. George Barton, Ankeny
  5. John Moss
  6. Ron Perdock
  7. Joel Rasmussen
  8. Marvin Korns, Brooklyn

Saturday, May 17, 2014

1965 - Nashville ARCA 300 to Bowsher

Nashville, Tenn. (May 17, 1965) – Jack Bowsher drove his 1965 Ford to an easy victory in the 300-lap Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) new car race at Fairgrounds Speedway last night.

A crowd of 5,593 fans saw the Springfield, Ohio, native swapped the lead with Dick Freeman twice before grabbing it for good on the 201st turn of the high banked, half-mile track.

Bowsher set a record-breaking pace of 72 mph in the almost reckless race that saw the yellow flag out only three times for a total of 11 laps. Bowsher, who has now won three straight races here, held the old mark of 69.7 miles per hour set last year.

Jack earned the pole position yesterday afternoon when he qualified at average speed of 78.7 miles per hour.

Bowsher led to the first six laps, relinquishing the front spot to Freeman who was born in Nashville, when he got tangled in traffic.

Freeman, driving Bowsher's old 1964 Ford, stayed ahead until Bowsher overtake him on the 25th lap.

When Bowsher may have 53 second pit stop on the 153rd lap, Freeman assumed the lead again. Freeman was in the pits on the 154th lap, but required only 28 seconds to fuel up. Bowsher's delay was caused when his pit crew had trouble taking off the gas cap. A screwdriver finally had to be employed.

Freeman stayed in front until lap 200 and then Bowsher sped past him on the back stretch.

Not sure whether he was still a lap behind, Bowsher passed Freeman again before it was all over, kneeling down the victory.

Results –

  1. Jack Bowsher
  2. Dick Freeman
  3. Bobby Watson
  4. Iggy Katona
  5. Jerry Bowsher
  6. Benny Parsons
  7. Les Snow
  8. Hank Teeters
  9. Paul Wensink
  10. Shad Wheeler
  11. Jesse Griffith
  12. Clyde Parker
  13. Charley Binkley
  14. Bill Clemons
  15. LaMarr Marshall
  16. Namon Martin
  17. Dennis Relmner
  18. Elmer Davis
  19. Jack Shanklin
  20. Joe Burkhardt
  21. Whitey Freeman
  22. Blaine Kaufman

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1973 - Braland winner in Boone opener

Boone, Iowa (May 13, 1973) - Arnie Braland of Boone, walked away with a fistful of money in the season opener at Boone Speedway Saturday night as he captured three of four late model events, while Ernie Jordan of Boone captured both Roadrunner events.
 
Pushing Braland hard in most of the events was Del McDowall of Ames and John Allinson of Williams.

Braland, driving a 427-powered 1972 Nova, opened the night with the heat race win in a battle with Allinson, who purchased the car formerly driven by Red Dralle, Waterloo, last week.

Braland took the lead with one and one half laps to go for the victory.

McDowell came back to take the trophy dash as he grabbed an early lead and stayed ahead of the field for the rest of the race, with Allinson and Braland battling for second.

In the handicap it was again Braland followed by McDowall who held the lead until Braland took him in the number one turn with four laps to go.

Allinson finished third in the event, and the order of finish - Braland, McDowall and Allinson - was the same in the feature. Braland took the lead on the third lap of the feature for the win.

Only 11 late model cars were on hand for the opener, but provided several battles for places throughout the night. With the purse again a guaranteed $2,000 next week, the field is expected to be larger.

In the Roadrunner division, the field of 11 had some trouble staying right side up as three cars flipped during the evening's racing.

Dick Jones, Boone, was the first to go over. After finishing fifth in the heat race, Jones lost it in the number one turn after the checkered flag had come out and rolled.

In the feature, William Needham Jr., Des Moines, and Frank Pardun, Eagle Grove, tangled at the west end of the track, with both cars going over.

None of the drivers received any serious injuries in the accidents.

Jordan captured the first heat after a duel with Jess Kenemer, Boone, when Kenemer was trapped by a slower car with three laps remaining and Jordan jumped into the lead.

In the feature, Jordan took an early lead and held on for the rest of the route.

Late Model Feature -

1. Arnie Braland, Boone
2. Del McDowall, Ames
3. John Allinson, Williams
4. Larry DeFrance, Marshalltown
5. Chuck Anderson, Marshalltown


Roadrunner Feature -

1. Ernie Jordan, Boone
2. Doug Starbuck, Nevada
3. Gary Dahlberg, Des Moines
4. Chuck Tilley, Boone
5. Keith Thacker, Boone

Saturday, May 10, 2014

1970 – World IMCA Marks Fall at Tri-County Speedway

West Chester, Ohio (May 10, 1970) - Jerry Blundy came out on top after a fantastic dual with Dick Sutcliffe in the 40-lap International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) sprint car feature on a world record breaking Sunday night at Tri-County Speedway. Sutcliffe managed second place, and J.D. Leas ran a close third.

Blundy continues to lead the IMCA point standings.

The superfast half-mile banked dirt track saw IMCA records broken four times. Only a yellow flag in the feature allowed Jim McWhithey's 16-year-old 20-mile mark to remain on the books as new records were established for six laps, 12 laps and 10 laps twice.

Dick Sutcliffe grabbed the early lead from the outside front row slot in the inverted-six starting field. By the third lap, fast qualifier Blundy had maneuvered into second and set his sights on the catbird seat.

For the next 30 laps it was Sutcliffe and Blundy side to side and nose to tail with Leas running a few car lengths back in third. Blundy pulled even on the 13th lap, ran next to Sutcliffe through 18 and 19 and zoomed low to the edge into a slim lead in the third turn of the 25th circuit. But each time Sutcliffe repulsed the charge.

Hopes for a 40-lap mark were dashed when Mark Caldwell brushed the back chute wall and tore off a wheel, calling out the yellow flag. When the green flag reappeared, Blundy and Sutcliffe resumed her battle. Blundy deathblow through the third turn on the 33rd lap, then took command down the back chute of the 34th.

The outcome was decided one lap later when Sutcliffe nearly spun trying to recapture the lead and fell several car lengths off the pace. Leas almost pulled by him, but Sutcliffe straightened out in time to rescue the runner-up spot.

Don Hewitt slipped by Rick Ferkel on the 34th lap to gain fourth with Ferkel fifth.

Caldwell won the first heat with the next to producing world records. Eddie Leavitt snapped his own IMCA 10-lap mark for a semi-banked half-mile dirt track with a time of 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Leavitt's record lasted only until the third heat when Dick Gaines lowered it by almost two seconds at 3 minutes and 28 seconds.

Another record fell in a six-lap match race as Sutcliffe covered the distance in 2 minutes and 4 seconds, which was almost 15 seconds faster than the mark set by Red Amick in 1963.

And a final mark fell in the 12-lap semi as Fred Linder went the distance in 4 minutes and 11 seconds as compared to the former record of 4 minutes and 48 seconds which was set by Jerry Richert 10 years ago.   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

1970 - Morris sweeps opening races at Oskaloosa

by Ida May Van Gendren
Oskaloosa, Iowa (May 6, 1970) - A large crowd of race fans braved the cool temperatures to watch Mel Morris, last year’s point champion, make a clean sweep at the super stock car races here at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds track Wednesday night.

The West Liberty driver opened the S.I.R.A. 1970 season by winning the five-lap trophy dash. Morris then proceeded to capture every race in which he entered including the second heat, Australian and the big 15-lap feature event.

The track was fast and the traffic heavy as the field of cars roared into the first turn at the start of the feature race. Morris, who started on the outside front row position jumped into the lead only to lose it to John Moss of Riverside on the second lap.

Morris overtook Moss on the fourth lap to regain the lead and hold it to the checkered flag Pokey West of West Chester finished third ahead of Washington’s Mark Mosier in fourth.

Following were Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Mike Brooks of Hartford, Bob Bonzer of Liscomb and Jerry Roberts of Des Moines.

The super stocks were turning laps in less than the 24-seoond bracket on the fast half-mile oval.

The red flag was dropped only once and that was on the third lap of the feature when Joel Rasmussen of Ames tangled with the fence between the third and fourth turns. He was unhurt in the accident.

Morris had to fight off a hard charging Bill McDonough to cop the trophy dash. McDonough’s Camaro was really turning on, but he just couldn’t seem to catch the Morris Plymouth.

John Moss won the light battle for the first eight-lap heat race. Moss edged out Pokey West, who came in a very close second. Mike Brooks was third. Don Hoffman of Des Moines rode along the second turn guard rail and was forced to retire to the pits on the fifth lap.

McDonough again followed Morris across the finish line in second heat. Bob Bonzer of Liscomb was in third with Jerry Roberts of Des Moines in fourth.

It was Chevy, Ford and Dodge at the finish of the six-lap consolation. Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree was first, then David Bryant of Albion and Jerry Hamm of Ottumwa.

Mel Morris managed to pass three cars in the six-lap Australian pursuit event to take another victory. Right on his bumper all the way was Bill McDonough, who had to settle for second, Mike Brooks was third.

Results –

Trophy Dash: Mel Morris, West Liberty
First Heat: John Moss, Riverside
Second Heat: Mel Morris
Consolation: Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
Australian Pursuit: Mel Morris
Feature:

  1. Mel Morris
  2. John Moss
  3. Pokey West, West Chester
  4. Mark Mosier, Washington
  5. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
  6. Mike Brooks, Hartford
  7. Bob Bonzer, Liscomb
  8. Jerry Roberts, Des Moines

Monday, May 5, 2014

1968 - Benny Outlasts Les to Win Toledo 100

Toledo, Ohio (May 5, 1968) Benny Parsons and his 1968 Ford Torino outlasted Les Snow and his 1967 Plymouth Hemi two win Sunday afternoons 100 lap main event for ARCA new cars on the Toledo Speedway high banked half-mile asphalt oval.

Parsons started on the pole by virtue of his record-breaking 19.11 second time trial. The old mark, 19.59 seconds, was set in 1966 by Iggy Katona and was also broken by Katona, Snow and Andy Hampton as well as Parsons.

Then he led for all but 11 laps when snow was in control. The two battled it out until lap 74 when the right rear tire on Snow's car failed. Les stayed in the race, writing on the rim for 15 laps, until the rear end also went out.

Parsons coasted during the final 20 laps and second-place finisher Andy Hampton was able to trim Benny's one lap lead to less than one third lap. Although he spun out on the ninth lap, Herb Shannon finished a strong third in his 1966 Plymouth, one lap behind the leaders.

Joy Fair was for in his 1966 Ford with Iggy Katona fifth in his 1967 Dodge Charger.

Results -

1. Benny Parson
2. Andy Hampton
3. Herb Shannon
4. Joy Fair
5. Iggy Katona
6. Blaine Kaufman
7. Jim Clarke
8. Larry Clemons
9. Paul Wensink
10. Bill Lemon
11. Les Snow
12. John Early
13. Dave Dayton
14. Homer Newland
15. Wayne Trinkle
16. Bill Clemons
17. Bill Maston
18. Tom Gale
19. Bill Jackson
20. Dorus Wisecarver
21. Jim Nusbaum
22. Joe Pemberton
23. Leon VanAtta
24. Red Lawrence
25. Danny Byrd
26. Ed Richardville

Friday, May 2, 2014

1964 - Hutcherson Wins at Knoxville, Sets Late Model Mark

Knoxville, Iowa (May 2, 1964) – Keokuk, Iowa’s Dick Hutcherson made a good stab at rewriting the record book on Saturday night at the Marion County Fairgrounds as he drove his 1964 Ford to victory in the Hawkeye 200 late model stock car race.

The defending International Motor Contest Association national champion shaved the one-lap record to 25.44 seconds in qualifications on the half-mile then added IMCA records for 50 and 75 miles before completing the 100-mile race in 1 hour, 27 minutes and 34 seconds.

Hutcherson finished a lap ahead of hometown rival Ramo Stott, who was driving 1964 Plymouth, with Gil Haugan of Sioux Falls, S. D., finishing third another lap behind in a 1963 Plymouth. The fourth place finisher, Bill Thomas of Lake Elmo, Minn. was another 19 laps back.

Hutcherson wiped out his own 100-mile record – a 1 hour, 29 minute and 47 second mark he set at Oklahoma City last fall. The one-lap record of 25.60 seconds, set by John Mickey of Columbus Junction, Iowa last year, was also erased by Keokuk’s Ernie Derr with a 25.45 second run. Derr dropped out of the feature after only 8 laps with mechanical failure.

Results –

  1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Gil Haugan, Sioux Falls, S.D.
  4. Bill Thomas, Lake Elmo, Minn.
  5. Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
  6. Joe Kwapil, Palo, Iowa
  7. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
  8. John Harmon, Des Moines, Iowa
  9. Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee, Wis.
  10. Don Hensley, Holden, Mo.
  11. Bill Gibson, Kansas City, Kan.
  12. Lennie Funk, Otis, Kan.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

1971 - Hartman Wins, Derr 2nd at Knoxville


Butch Hartman
 
Knoxville, Iowa (May 1, 1971) - Butch Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio, drove his 1969 Dodge Charger to victory in the United States Auto Club late model stock car 100-lap feature at Marion County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.
Hartman took the lead on the 67th lap from Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, who was driving a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner owned by Fred Horn of Marion.
Eaker, USAC’s rookie-of-the-year in 1969, had led the race from the sixth lap, but was forced to slow down because of mud on his windshield. By the 74th lap he had slowed considerably, and nearly hit the wall. Eaker’s troubles didn’t cease. On the 83rd tour, going into turn one, the flywheel went and wiped out everything, engine and all.
Second place went to Ernie Derr of Keokuk, the 11-time International Motor Contest Association champion. However, the anticipated battle between Derr and Roger McCluskey, the USAC champion, failed to materialize.
McCluskey finished seventh, also a victim of the muddy track. Roger pitted his ‘70 Roadrunner four times because of a malfunctioning windshield wiper.
Don White of Keokuk, who is Derr’s brother-in-law, set fast time in qualifying with a 24.80 second clocking for one lap. But White had his share of problems, too, and bowed out after 19 laps because of clutch failure. There were three lead changes.
Wally Christensen of Minneapolis charged early and led through three laps. Then Dave Wall of Kansas City took over for two laps before he collided with Lem Blankenship of Keokuk. Eaker roared into the lead at that point and maintained that spot until the 67th lap.
The crowd was estimated at 6,000 for the 1971 USAC opener.
Results -
  1. Butch Hartman, Zanesville, Ohio
  2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
  4. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
  5. Terry Ryan, Davenport, Iowa
  6. Bay Darnell, Lake Bluff, Ill.
  7. Roger McCluskey, Phoenix, Ariz.
  8. Roger Regeth, Appleton, Wis.
  9. Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
  10. Garry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
  11. Dick Benlich, Prairie Village, Ill.
  12. Joe Booher, Lafayette, Ind.
  13. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  14. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
  15. Dave Wall. Kansas City, Mo.
  16. Sal Tovella, Chicago, Ill.
  17. Steve Arndt, Janesville, Wis.
  18. Paul Bauer, Chicago, Ill.
  19. Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
  20. Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
  21. Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill.
  22. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa