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.   

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