Thursday, June 12, 2014

1949 – Hinnershitz Speeds to Victory at Heidelberg

Tommy Hinnershitz

Carnegie, Penn. (June 12, 1949) – Tommy Hinnershitz, speed demon from Reading, Penn., stole the show at Heidelberg Raceway on Sunday afternoon when he led the entire distance to capture the 30-lap (15-miles) feature in only 9 minutes and 55 seconds.

Hinnershitz lapped the entire field in the process with the exception of second place finisher Johnny Mantz of Van Nuys, Calif. Hank Rogers of Trenton, N.J., took home third place money while Mark Light of Lebanon, Penn., finished fourth.

The sunbaked crowd of 17,582, the largest crowd of the season and second best in the two-year history of the track, were disappointed when two of the top notchers were forced out of action in the early stages of the headliner.

Bill Holland, another Reading resident, who was making his second start since capturing the 500-mile classic at Indianapolis on Memorial Day, broke a drive shaft before completing the third lap.

Then, Mack Hellings of Van Nuys, Calif., who was waging a terrific duel with Mantz for second place, went into a skid on the south turn on lap 6. He managed to pilot his car to the inner rail, leap out and wave warnings to the rest of the field as they turned on the juice coming out of the bend.

Hinnershitz provided a thrill on the north turn on the first lap when he brushed a pole and his Offenhauser bounced high off the dusty track. However, he quickly got it straightened out and was safely on his way in the long grind to victory.

Still sporting a partially discolored left eye as a result of a crackup he suffered while trying to qualify at Indy, Tommy missed making it a sweep of the program by losing a 3-lap match race to Mack Hellings.

“Hinny” started off the first AAA program of the season by winning the initial qualifying race of 10 laps. His tortoise like time of 6 minutes and 19 seconds was due to a slow drying track.

Promoter Sam Nunis stated that the time of 4 minutes and 21 seconds in the second 10-lap qualifying race won by Johnny Mantz was a record for a semi-banked, half-mile track.

Results –

  1. Tommy Hinnershitz, Reading, Penn.
  2. Johnny Mantz, Van Nuys, Calif.
  3. Hank Rogers, Trenton, N.J.
  4. Mark Light, Lebanon, Penn.
  5. Hal Coles, Los Angeles, Calif.
  6. Bill Gause, Bolling Springs, Penn.
  7. Fred Bailes, Charlotte, N.C.
  8. Carl Ott, Louisville, Ky.
  9. Bill Holland, Reading, Penn.
  10. Mack Hellings, Van Nuys, Calif

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