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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

1971 - $18 Taxi Ride Pays for Tobias

Knoxville, Iowa (June 4, 1971) - Dick Tobias, a 38-year-old speed shop operator from Lebanon, Pa., overtook United States Auto Club point leader Sam Sessions on the twenty-first lap Saturday night and roared to victory in the 40-lap sprint car feature before an estimated 8,000 fans at the Marion County Speedway.
It was a happy end to a day that had been full of hardships for Tobias, who is in his second year on the USAC circuit.
After arriving in Des Moines by plane from Milwaukee, Wis., Tobias was unable to find a ride to Knoxville. He ended up paying a cab driver $18 to get here.
Then, Dick went through two fuel pumps and spun out once during time trials before getting his difficulties corrected.
Tobias wound equaling the best time in trials, 21.77 seconds by Joe Saldana of Brownsburg, Ind., and then easily captured the second heat.
Tobias started in the third row in the feature, moved into second behind Sessions on lap 10 then overtook the Indianapolis 500 veteran on the twenty-first trip around the half-mile track.
Only Sessions and Knoxville regular Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, Mo., who started on the pole, challenged seriously after that, Sessions taking second and Goodwin third. Lee Kunzman of Guttenberg finished fourth after starting in fifteenth position and Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis., was fifth.
Two minor accidents delayed the feature with Jim Malloy of Denver, Colo., the fourth place finisher in the Indy 500, being involved in both. Malloy, Merle Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill., and Bill Puterbaugh of Speedway, Ind., got tangled up on lap three with Puterbaugh hitting the wall and being forced out of action.
Then on lap 29, Malloy and Saldana spun coming out of turn three and both went to the sidelines.
Greg Weld of Kansas City, Mo., had engine trouble, and completed only eight laps of the feature.
Results –
1. Dick Tobias, Lebanon, Pa.
2. Sam Sessions, Nashville, Mich.
3. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City, Mo.
4. Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
5. Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
6. Rollie Beale, Toledo, Ohio
7. Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
8. Johnny Parsons Jr., Reseda, Calif.
9. Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio
10. Don Nordhorn, Woodsville, Ind.
11.  Darl Harrison, Tiffin, Ohio
12. Jimmy Oskie, Maywood, Calif.
13. Larry Rice, Linden, Ind.
14. Merle Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
15. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
16. Jim Malloy, Denver, Colo.
17. Larry Cannon, Fort Worth, Tex.
18. Doc Dawson, Lima, Ohio
19. Greg Weld, Kansas City, Mo.
20. Bill Puterbaugh, Speedway, Ind.

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