Wednesday, June 18, 2014

1977 – Merryfield, Rice dynamite in wins at State Fairgrounds

Des Moines, Iowa (June 18, 1977) - Orval (The Daredevil Clown) Kisselburg paid a visit to the State Fairgrounds Saturday night, performing a few unbelievable feats to the delight of 6,800 fans between breaks of the regular racing program.

Kisselburg, from Salt Lake City, Utah, said he's lost about 50 per cent of his hearing in doing the dynamite suitcase act the past 16 years. "You can't make any mistakes because you only get one crack," said Kisselburg. Kisselburg, who said he has had 43 different bones broken, set a world record for a ramp jump in an automobile, clearing 127 feet 2 inches last year in Salt Lake City.

He certainly wasn't clowning around when he matched his 55-year-old body against four sticks of dynamite in a suitcase.

And Rick Merryfield and Bill Rice weren't clowning around either, making their presence known in dramatic ways.

First, it was Merryfield, younger brother of late-model driver Joe, knocking off the two top season point leaders in the sportsman feature. He challenged Bill Davis, season point leader, for six laps before passing him on the fourth turn of the tenth lap to move into second.

Then Merryfield, driving a 1971 Camaro, stayed with leader Dave Farren until the thirteenth lap where he took a gamble and went high into turn two and came out a car length in front of Farren.

Merryfield led a contingent of local drivers to the checkered flag. In fact, the next four drivers — Farren, Glenn Woodard, Davis and Rocky Hodges — were all from Des Moines.

Things were a little less hectic for Rice, also of Des Moines. He drove a 1977 Camaro and led from start to finish in the 25-lap late-model program.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines, wheeling a 1977 Nova, gave a little scare, moving from fifth place to second, 20 yards behind Rice.

Two accidents marred the program but none of the drivers were injured.

George Waits of Des Moines totaled his 1966 Chevelle when he was clipped by Bill Carter of Des Moines in the fourth heat of the sportsman division. Waits hit the guard rail and spun completely around with the back of his car hitting the concrete stage.

Greg Augspurger of Van Meter lost control of his car in the second turn during the first lap of the sportsman feature. Carter, in a 1970 Camaro, barreled into Augspurger's 1968 Chevelle with both cars landing at the wall.

Results - 

Sportsman –

  1. Rick Merryfield
  2. Dave Farren
  3. Glen Woodward
  4. Bill Davis
  5. Rocky Hodges
  6. Chuck Anderson
  7. Dave Allison
  8. Bob Thompson
  9. Del McDowell
  10. Leonard Woodward

Late Model –

  1. Bill Rice
  2. Don Hoffman
  3. Karl Sanger
  4. Curt Hansen
  5. Joe Merryfield
  6. Verlin Eaker
  7. Arnie Braland
  8. Ed Sanger
  9. Dave Chase
  10. Stan Stover

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