Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1966 - Stott Beats Derr in Hawkeye Fair Feature

Burlington, Iowa (August 5, 1966) - Discounting the stiff competition involved amongst amateur hot-rodders getting out of the Hawkeye Fairgrounds parking lot, Ramo Stott won the big race Friday night at the IMCA late model stock car races.

In a duel between Stott and Ernie Derr described by announcer George Rogerson of Burlington as a “side by side, wheel to wheel, fender to fender, bumper to bumper” affair, Stott passed Derr on the 28th lap of the 50-lap feature and eventually claimed the race by two car lengths.

Most of the other drivers in the field, faced with the sorry fact that they had as much chance beating the Keokuk duo as Myrtle French does in getting a downtown restroom, lagged behind from the start.

Only three competitors (Lenny Funk, Larry Phillips and Ed Negre) managed to survive being lapped by Derr and Stott. By finishing the 50 laps, they garnered the next three places.

This sort of mismatched racing in which Stott and Derr overpower the others with their Chrysler sponsored hemi-powered cars, could come to an end next year since Chrysler will drop its stock car interests. Thus, all drivers will be independent.

According to Gene Van Winkle, vice-president of the National Speedways and impresario of Friday's races, this will make for a much better racing card.

”The little men will have a better chance than they do now,” he said. “And we should get more cars and closer races. This year we had fewer factory cars than last, and there have been more cars competing.”

Still, he says, “Ramo and Ernie are going to be awful tough to beat, even if they are on an independent basis.”

Asked if the Ford Company will put any of its autos in IMCA races next season, as is has suggested it might, Van Winkle said he doubts it; since Ford, too has pondered discontinuing its manufacturing of souped-up stock cars.

Although he feels competition would be better if Ford doesn’t expand, Van Winkle said IMCA rules provide that any manufacturer who has 500 stock cars sold can not be blackballed from IMCA racing.

Getting back to the other race; Friday night, there was less of the usual fender bending than might occur at the kiddy car track in Crapo Park. Several spin-outs provided the only quasi action.

Derr set two track records in his first two attempts, winning the time trials with a 27.03 second clocking (breaking Stott’s 1962 mark of 27.11) and the first 10-lap heat race in 4 minutes and 45 seconds (breaking Dick Hutcherson’s 1964 record of 4 minutes and 50 seconds).

Derr took control of the heat race in the fourth lap, and held off a strong challenge of John Mickey to take the race by 50 yards. Lenny Funk won the second heat, wiping out Stott by 25 yards.

The third 10-lapper went to Lewis Taylor of Shawnee, Kan., who stretched way ahead of the field after grabbing the lead from Phil Atkinson in the seventh lap.

Stott also outran Derr in the 5-lap STP Handicap (with the four car field rounded out by the autos of Funk and Mickey).

By spurting away from the slower pair in the straight-aways, but getting outmaneuvered on the curves, Derr and Stott eased away from Mickey and Funk; with Stott eventually winning fairly easily.

Results –

Time Trials: Ernie Derr (27.03)
First Heat: Ernie Derr
Second Heat: Lenny Funk
Third Heat: Lewis Taylor
STP Handicap: Ramo Stott
Consolation: Hank Melhorn

  1. Ramo Stott
  2. Ernie Derr
  3. Lennie Funk
  4. Larry Phillips
  5. Ed Negre
  6. Lewis Taylor
  7. Ole Brua
  8. Bob Janey
  9. John Mickey
  10. Blaine Morrow

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