Sunday, August 31, 2014

1960 - Iggy Katona Wins Eldora Race

Rossburg, Ohio (August 31, 1960) - Iggy Katona, Milan, Mich., piloted a 1960 Ford to victory in the MARC-sanctioned Eldora 500 at Rossburg, Ohio on Sunday.

It was the eighth renewal of the favorite event of the Midwest for late model stock cars, which was formerly held on the Dayton, Ohio, half-mile banked asphalt, but moved to the Eldora half- mile banked dirt oval this year.

Katona, one of the steadiest drivers in the business, won the first 500 in 1953, and started this one in 36th spot of the 39-car field, and worked his way to the front by 225 laps and then was never farther back than fourth the rest of the race.

He led from the 300-lap mark to the 350, but lost it to Mike Klapak, Warren, Ohio, 1958 Ford, when he pitted for fuel and tires. When Klapak pitted on the 413th lap for a right front tire and fuel, Katona again took the lead which he never relinquished.

Nelson Stacy, defending MARC champion started on the pole but blew a right front tire on the 72nd lap. At this time Jack Farris, New Paris, Ohio, driving a '59 Ford took the lead, having moved from 13th to Stacy's tail. Seriously injured in a crackup two years ago Farris had just received medical clearance last Saturday and was assigned the car just before the race.

Farris' stable-mate, Earl Balmer, Jeffersonville, Ind., edged into first near the 150th lap in his 1960 Ford when the differential on the Farris car began smoking. Farris was forced to quit a few laps later, as the mechanism gave out He was nearly overcome by the fumes. Farris was in second, three car lengths behind Balmer at the time. Balmer was forced to retire several laps later with mechanical difficulties also.

Katona collected over $2,000 for his hot, grimy ride.

The hard-driving Stacy got back into contention and was among the front runners later in the race, but blew another right front tire and rammed the outside retaining wall losing valuable time in the pits for needed repairs.

There were no serious injuries despite numerous tire blowouts, which caused cars to smash the outside retaining wall. . Several drivers and pit crewmen did receive first aid after near-collapse from the stifling heat.

The race purse was over $12,580.

Farris, always a popular chauffeur won the Dayton 500 in 1955 in a '55 Olds and then in 1956 piloted the local Allen Chevrolet to his second consecutive 500 victory. He was the, only driver to win the event twice, until Katona repeated Sunday.

Second place in the race went to Bob Duell, ‘60 Ford, third, Klapak; fourth, Elmer Musgrave, '59 Ford; fifth, Don Oldenburg, '59 Chevy. Nineteen cars were running at the finish.

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