Tuesday, August 26, 2014

1962 - Branson Wins at Langhorne

Don Branson

Langhorne, Pa. (August 26, 1962) – “You know I’ve been in 38 consecutive championship races throughout the country, sat on the pole many times, but this is my first win. I’m glad that when it finally happened it was at the ‘Horne, as it is one of my favorite tracks.”

Don Branson, the 42-year-old grandfather from Champaign, Ill., was talking. It was hard for him to convince himself that he had finally won - and big.

Despite a badly cut eye, Branson established a new world record for 100 miles on dirt Sunday when he won the National Championship race for Indianapolis cars and drivers at the Langhorne Speedway.

Driving the Bob Wilkie Leader Card Special, the 15-year veteran was clocked in 57 minutes, 15.13 seconds, an average speed of 104.799 miles per hour. He shattered the old mark of 100.786 mph set by Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., last year on the same track.

Branson’s victory also halted the win streak of A. J. Foyt, the defending champion from Houston, Tex., who was trying to become the first driver in the 25-year history of the track to win three consecutive victories at Langhorne. Foyt finished fourth after being forced into the pits during the 33rd mile for a tire change.

Branson, who was given first aid treatment immediately after the race, said he suffered the cut around the 75 mile mark when he was struck by a flying piece of hard dirt.

“For a while I could see nothing at all,” he said. “I finally finished the race with the cracked goggles and my right eye practically sightless.”

Hurtubise finished second in the field of 18 followed by Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., and Foyt.

Results –

  1. Don Branson
  2. Jim Hurtubise
  3. Parnelli Jones
  4. A.J. Foyt
  5. Roger McCluskey
  6. Chuck Hulse
  7. Jim McElreath
  8. Al “Cotton” Farmer
  9. Bobby Marshman
  10. Ronnie Duman
  11. Bobby Marvin
  12. Allen Crowe
  13. Bob Mathouser
  14. Keith Rachwitz
  15. Jiggs Peters
  16. Ernie Koch
  17. Ralph Liguori
  18. Elmer George

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