Thursday, September 25, 2014

1977 – Martin wins National Short Track Championships

Mark Martin adorns the traditional winner's wreath after winning the National Short Track Championship at Rockford. 

Rockford, Ill. (September 25, 1977) - A Razorback from Arkansas, just in his teens, took on the superstars of short track in the 12th annual National Short Track Championships and came out on top to the amazement of many.

Rudolph, Wis., pilot Tom Reffner took his Hornet into the lead on the opening green followed closely by home track favorite and three-time NSTC champion Joe Shears of South Beloit, Ill., and new track record holder (13.594) Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., in third. Those three hustlers held those positions lap after lap until Shear’s engine let go on the 76th lap moving Trickle’s Superamerica White Knight into the number two spot.

The mandatory pit stop came during lap 103 and on the restart, Trickle started putting the pressure on Reffner right away. Things were running smoothly until lap 116 and then the complexion of the race changed completely.

As Reffner and Trickle entered heavy lap traffic, they entered turns one and two hard. Ray Young got into Dave Watson, spinning the Milton, Wis., based and defending NSTC champion. Steve Burgess of Eau Claire also became involved in the melee as Reffner made it through unscratched. Trickle braked hard behind Burgess and was promptly tagged from behind, putting his Trans-Am hard into Burgess causing considerable damage.

The yellow came out and Trickle pulled to the pits where his crew quickly installed a new radiator and straightening the bent steering arms getting Trickle back into the action just as the green was waving, putting him at the back of the field but unlapped.

In the meantime, the field had changed and now this young 18-year-old hotshot from Arkansas named Mark Martin had moved his Ed Howe Camaro into second and was now following Reffner and his 380-cubic Hornet around the high-banked quarter-mile track.

Then disaster struck for Reffner on the 176th lap. Looking like a sure winner, he left the track with an overheating problem. From there, it was Martin’s race to win or lose and he showed the skills of a 20-year veteran, and he drove flawlessly over the remaining 20 laps to score one of the biggest wins of his young career.

Another story of the NSTC was the second-place finisher. Dave Roahrig of Plymouth, Ind., started 32nd in the 33-car field and patiently worked his way through the field to take runner-up honors. Third place went to Trickle, who moved back through the field after his lap 116 fiasco.

Results - 

1. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
2. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
5. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
6. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
7. Bob Sensiba, Middleville, Mich.
8. Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
9. Conrad Morgan, Dousman, Wis.
10. Evert DeWitt, Janesville, Wis.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

1970 - Horn cops wins; then quits IMCA

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 20, 1970) - Fred Horn of Marion piloted his 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner to victory in the 50-lap race for late-model stock cars Sunday at Hawkeye Downs.
No sooner had Horn picked up the checkered flag than he announced he was quitting the International Motor Contest Assn. Sunday's race on the half-mile dirt track was sponsored by the Greater Iowa Racing Assn.
"I'm through with IMCA," declared Horn after accepting congratulations for his win. "They just won't pay any money - they don't make it worthwhile to race.
"I made more money tonight ($750) than I can by winning two 100-lappers next week at Oklahoma City and Odessa (Mo.).
"About all I can say about IMCA is that I've learned an awful lot the last two years racing behind Ernie Derr (perennial IMCA champion) . . . No, I don't know yet what I'll do next year."
Horn presently ranks third in the IMCA point race behind Derr and Ron Hutcherson. He said he feels he can still hope for at least a fourth-place finish, which would assure him a decent cut of point fund money.
Freddie started eighth in the 20-car field Sunday and moved into second behind leader Ed Sanger of Waterloo on the 22nd lap. That's when Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, who was running strong in second place, experienced some tough luck going into the fourth turn.
Zwanziger's '70 Nova ran over a runaway wheel (with axle still attached) and the accident knocked Bill out of the race with a broken radiator and damaged left-front wheel.
Horn stayed right on the bumper of Sanger's ‘70 Monte Carlo for the next 12 laps. He got his chance on the 34th lap when Sanger got a little squirrelly coming out of turn four.
Freddie moved inside quickly and he stayed there to win by a comfortable margin.
Sanger was second and pocketed $500. Chub Liebe of Oelwein nipped Terry Messersmith of New Hampton by an eyelash for the $350 third place money. Joe Schaefer of Waterloo won $200 for fifth.
Mark Mosier of Washington copped the eight-lap trophy dash and the 20-lap consolation, comprised of non-qualifiers and non-money winners in the feature.
Gene Schattschneider of Algona topped the qualifying with a 26.40 clocking. The three- track champion at Boone, Algona and Alta started on the pole in the feature and set a fast pace for the first eight laps before bowing out with engine problems.
Horn had the eighth fastest time, but he made a complete tire change before going racing. "I used Hoosiers during time trials, but I switched to Goodyear’s for the race," explained Horn. "Some tires work on some tracks and not on others."
Results –
  1. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
  2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
  3. Chub Liebe, Oelwein, Iowa
  4. Terry Messersmith, New Hampton, Iowa
  5. Joe Schaefer, Waterloo, Iowa
Trophy Dash:
  1. Mark Mosier, Washington, Iowa
  2. Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
  3. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
  4. Gene Schattschneider, Algona, Iowa
  1. Mark Mosier
  2. Larry Wasserfort, Waterloo, Iowa
  3. Gene Schattschneider
  4. Harold Odeen, Marion, Iowa
  5. Dick Bragg, Hiawatha, Iowa

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1962- Reynolds holds off Derr at Kansas State Fair

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 17, 1962) - The king of stock car racing, Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, had to doff his crown to Bob Reynolds, Edmond, Okla., before a capacity crowd at the stock car race program on the Kansas State Fair track Sunday afternoon.
The impertinent Reynolds shoved his accelerator to the floorboard on the flag, jumped to a car length lead in the first half-mile and kept Derr in his dust until he caught the checkered flag.
During six laps of the race, Derr couldn’t do a thing about it because the yellow flag was out and the cars had to maintain their positions. But there were 14 other laps in which he couldn't do anything about it either. He once pulled to about a half a car length of Reynolds bumper but that was as close as he could get.
The yellow flag came out when Lenny Funk, the Flying Farmer from Otis, Kan., spun sidewise of the track on turn two and was side swiped by Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa. Only by cutting to the infield did Gerry Harrison, Topeka, avoid hitting the pile-up.
Funk and Stott escaped with minor bruises, but both cars were badly damaged. The six yellow-flag laps were run while wreckers were towing the disabled machines off the track. A Ford driven by Ernie McMahon, Keokuk, Iowa, caught fire on the sixth lap of the first heat race. He piloted the blazing machine to the infield where firemen doused the blaze. 
Derr had a bad day all around. He spun out on turn two in the second heat race and lost so much ground he didn’t even complete the race. Ed Birkey, Peoria, Ill., was leading the dash when he hit that same slick spot. Skillful driving by Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn., averted a head-on collision on that one.

Results -
  1. Bob Reynolds, Edmond, Okla.
  2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
  4. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  5. John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa
  6. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  7. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
  8. Phil Cronin, Parma Heights, Ohio
  9. Leonard "Lenny" Funk, Otis, Kan.
  10. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
  11. Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
  12. John Jones, Russell, Minn.
  13. Clyde Douglas, Wichita Falls, Tex.
  14. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
  15. Ed Birkey, Peoria, Ill.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

1958 - Nelson Stacy Wins Dayton 500

John Marcum (l) presents Nelson Stacy with the trophy after winning the 1958 Dayton 500. - ARCA Racing Photo

Dayton, Ohio (September 14, 1958) - Nelson Stacy, Cincinnati, Ohio, piloted his 1957 Chevrolet to victory in the sixth annual Dayton 500 Sunday afternoon, after staving off repeated challenges by Darel Dieringer, Indianapolis, in a '57 Ford, who finished second.

An estimated 15,000 spectators saw the MARC sanctioned stock car race for new cars on the famed half-mile high-banked asphalt.

The 500 laps (270 miles, as track is several yards over a half- mile) were relatively accident-free and no injuries were sustained; however, several drivers asked for relief during the weary grind.

Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio, '57 Ford was third; Dick Dunlevy, Dayton, Ohio, and Jack Shanklin, Indianapolis, co-pilots of 1957 Chevy was fourth and the Dudley Stacy '57 Chevy of Cincinnati, Ohio, with Bob James, the Dick Latham relief driving came in fifth.

Dudley became ill on 167th lap and Bob James took over while his car was getting a broken shock and U-bolt replaced. Several laps later James pitted the Stacy car and jumped back into his repaired mount and Dick Latham a non-starter took it the rest of the way, doing a fine job.

Nelson Stacy, on the pole gunned into the first lap lead with Dieringer coming from fourth to second - and for 339 laps it was a tremendous duel between the two. The lead changed between them an even dozen times with Dieringer in possession of a lap and a half lead when the right front tire “let go”.

On the pit stop Dieringer got tire, gas and oil but lost lead to Stacy by two laps, this he could not regain as Stacy kept the advantage to the checkered flag. Nearly exhausted Stacy received the huge trophy and cash in excess of $2,000 for his ride.

Shanklin, the 1957 winner, lead footed two cars out of action before relieving Dunlevy. His own racer went 60 laps and was in third place when a busted radiator couldn't be repaired. On lap 157
Willie Holt, Cincinnati, Ohio, running in fourth asked for relief and Shanklin took over shoving it into third place several laps later, but then pulled in with no oil pressure; and when Dunlevy asked for rest Shanklin was nominated.

Jack Farris, New Paris, Ohio, did not start the race, his engine going sour after making his successful qualifying run. Farris won the event in 1955 and 1956.

Iggy Katona, Lambertville, Mich., the 1953 winner, finished out of the first five. Twenty-eight cars started, 11 were running at the end. Tiny Shilts, New Paris, Ohio, in '57 Chevy was riding in 10th when forced out with a broken valve cover bolt on lap 282.

Results –

1.      Nelson Stacy
2.      Darel Dieringer
       3.      Jack Bowsher
4.      Dick Dunlevy
5.      Dudley Stacy
6.      Carl O’Harold
       7.      Iggy Katona
8.      Paul Wensink
9.      Harold Smith
10.  Clyde Parker
11.  Virgil Barbee
12.  John McGinley
13.  Homer Newland
14.  Bob Coutcher
15.  Louis Savajaine
16.  Tom Horner
17.  Tiny Shilts
18.  Willie Holt
19.  Chuck Morgan
20.  Bob James
21.  Chester Williams
22.  Cecil Wray
23.  Kenny Reeder
24.  Ervin Payne
25.  Jack Shanklin

Thursday, September 11, 2014

1977 - Stott captures Governor’s Cup 250

Ramo Stott 

West Allis, Wis. (September 11, 1977) - Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, took his final lead on the 195th lap Sunday and won the Governor's Cup 250-mile stock car race at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway.

Stott, driving a 1977 Plymouth Volare, averaged 88.202 miles per hour to cross the - finish line four seconds ahead of Paul Feldner of Richfield, Wis., who drove a 1974 Dodge Charger.

Stott won $6,727 and moved into second place in the United States Auto Club point’s standings behind Feldner, who leads the standings with 1,525 points. Stott has 1,425. Jim Sauter of Necedah, Wis., was third in a 1974 Charger and Al Schill of Franklin, Wis., finished fourth in a 1976 Ford Torino in his first USAC race.

Dave Watson, winner of two of the first three USAC stock car races at Milwaukee this season and Sunday’s polesitter, ran only 112 laps in his 1977 Buick Skylark before being sidelined with a broken crankshaft.

Sal Tovella of Addison, Ill., who had been tied with Feldner for the points lead prior to Sunday's race, completed only 80 laps before blowing an engine.

The race was slowed by 10 yellow flags and 17 of the 31 starters did not finish. Stott was content to sit back and let other drivers lead in the early going.

“There was a point earlier in the race where I could have taken the lead, but I didn’t want it,” Stott said. “I figured right then, with about 200 miles to go, it was too soon to be up there. So I sat back and let those other guys pass me. I let them run their cars hard, while I hung back a bit.”

“I figured the race wouldn’t be decided until the last 50 laps, and if you were around then, you'd have a shot at winning it.”

Results –

  1. Ramo Stott
  2. Paul Feldner
  3. Jim Sauter
  4. Al Schill
  5. Larry Moore
  6. Wayne Watercutter
  7. Don Seaborn
  8. Dean Roper
  9. Gordon Blankenship
  10. Darwin Sandstrom
  11. George Giesen
  12. M.J. McBride
  13. Ken Miller
  14. Dale Koehler
  15. Don White
  16. Tom Schley
  17. Bob Schacht
  18. Jim Hurlburt
  19. Jeff Bloom
  20. Dave Watson
  21. Bay Darnell
  22. Tom Meinberg
  23. Jack Bowsher
  24. Sal Tovella
  25. Harold Fair
  26. Dave Decker
  27. Rich Clement
  28. Tom Bigelow
  29. Charlie Glotzbach
  30. Bob Brevak

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1964 – Hutcherson garners feature win after hotly-contested battle at Huron

Huron, S.D. (September 10, 1964) - Most people conceded that it would be too much to ask for a repeat of the 1963 bumper-to-bumper duel between Ramo Stott and Dick Hutcherson for a full 100 laps in late model stock car competition when the 1964 100-lap event was held at the State Fair track Thursday night.

But the two Keokuk, Iowa drivers came close to doing just that as they battled for 72 laps before a broken axle forced Stott to slump off the pace. Hutcherson, the IMCA point leader and defending champion, roared on to win Thursday night's big feature race with a record-shattering time of 46:14.35. This broke the track mark of 47:10.18 set by Stott last year when he zoomed past Hutcherson on the final straightaway to win the 1963 sizzler.

The victory was the 23rd feature win this season for Hutcherson and was viewed by another huge crowd as auto racing once again provided a major portion of the grandstand receipts at the State Fair.

However Hutcheron's win came only after some hard, brilliant driving as he and Stott set a torrid pace over the Huron track. After Stott was forced to slow down by the broken axle Ernie Derr, five-time national champ, applied the pressure to Hutcherson and finished second only two and one-half seconds back of the winner. Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., was third with Stott limping home fourth. Gil Haugen of Sioux Falls was fifth after suffering mechanical difficulties in the preliminary events.

Stott held the lead for most of the first 70 laps but Hutcherson was only a car length or less behind much of the way. Hutcherson held momentary leads on the back-stretch in the 38th and 53rd laps but leads were by just inches and were short-lived.

On the 66th lap Hutcherson fell back about five car lengths but on the number two turn in the 70th lap both he and Derr slipped past Stott as slower cars caused some congestion. Then on the 72nd turn Stott hit a rough bump that had been causing the drivers problems all night and the broken axle resulted which forced him out of contention.

Derr drove a steady pace hoping to come on strong and catch Hutcherson at the finish should the leader falter but the defending national champ kept up his sizzling pace to take the checkered flag.

Derr posted the best clocking in the time trials with a 28.45 effort. The time trials because of an excess of water which was required after a sparsely - attended afternoon horse show tore up the track.

Feature results –

1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Gil Haugen, Sioux Falls, S.D.
6. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
7. Blackie Wangerin, Minneapolis
8. Dick Johnson, St. Paul
9. Ken Mattson, Minneapolis
10. Art Schmidt, St. Paul, Minn.

Friday, September 5, 2014

1971 - Earl Tice wins Boone feature race

Boone, Iowa (September 5, 1971) - A recent change to a bigger engine - a 427 cubic inch Chevrolet - paid off for Earl Tice, Ames, Sunday night as he won his first super late model feature of the year at the Boone Speedway.

Taking the lead from Dwight Engleen, Ogden, Tice held off challenges from Engleen and Gene Schattschneider, Algona, who took over second. Earlier in the season Tice had been running a 350 cubic inch engine in his Chevelle.

The weather changed the weekend of racing planned at the Boone oval. The regular Saturday night program was washed out by showers, and it was moved to Sunday night.

Denny Hovinga, Laurens, didn't have one of his better nights Sunday, but he ran strong enough to wrap up the season championship in points, beating out Schattschneider by 185 points.

Hovinga set the fast time of the night, 17.86 seconds, and Schattschneider was second. Hovinga was sixth in the trophy dash, with Schattschneider third. The Algona driver won his heat race, while Hovinga was seventh in the heat. Schattschneider also took the A-Main, while Hovinga was second in the B-Main. Schattschneider was second in the feature, with Hovinga fourth.

Tice also won his heat race, getting past another Ames driver, Rod Houge, in the number two turn of the next-to-last lap to take the lead. Another Ames driver, Del McDowall, was third, and Curt Houge, Rod's older brother, from Ames, was fifth. John Carlson, Ankeny, was fourth.

In the trophy dash Engleen jumped out into the lead early and held the groove to take that win, with McDowall running second.

The A-Main was the closest race of the night as Schattschneider worked his way from the tail-end of the pack to the front, taking the lead with a lap an a half to go. Carlson held the lead until that point. Also challenging him for the top spot were Greg Davis, Boone, Tice and McDowall, who finished third through fifth, respectively.

In the B-Main, Engleen took an early lead and won by a quarter of a lap. Hovinga jumped past Gary Lindgren, Ogden, in the final quarter of a lap to take second. Lindgren was driving an Ames car, the Star 60.

Results –

Fast Time – Denny Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa (17.86)
Trophy Dash – Dwight Engleen, Ogden, Iowa
Heat 1 – Earl Tice, Ames, Iowa
Heat 2 – Gene Schattschneider, Algona, Iowa
A-Main – Gene Schattschneider
B-Main – Dwight Engleen
Feature –

  1. Earl Tice
  2. Gene Schattschneider
  3. Dwight Engleen
  4. Denny Hovinga
  5. Arlo Dorenbush
  6. Greg Davis, Boone, Iowa

Thursday, September 4, 2014

1977 - Curt Hansen runs away with championship 50-lapper

Curt Hansen of Dike stands with his Tunis Speedway season championship trophy. - Tim Cochran Photo

Waterloo, Iowa (September 4, 1977) - Curt Hansen of Dike breezed to his third stock car track championship of the season Sunday night at Tunis Speedway. Hansen, the Tunis late model regular season point leader, started the 50-lap title race on the inside first row, jumped out to a big lead early and was never challenged.

Runner-up Stan Stover of Reinbeck finished a full straightaway behind Hansen at the end of the race. Only five cars finished on the same lap as Hansen.

Hansen has also captured the track titles at Cedar Rapids’ Hawkeye Downs and the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. He’s also the favorite to win the Oskaloosa championship, which hasn’t been run yet.

Stover also finished second to Hansen in the Des Moines championship Saturday night.

Sportman point leader Greg Kastli also won his class' season title Sunday night.

Hansen shouldn’t have as easy a time of it when he goes for his eighth Tunis main event win of the season in Monday night's late model special.

Track promoter Claus Stricker says “a bunch” of new cars have indicated they’ll be in Waterloo Monday night to compete for a $6,200 purse, including $1,500 plus lap money to win the 75-lap feature.

Also, a couple of the top track regulars who were missing Sunday night have told Stricker they’ll be back for Monday night. Both Ed Sanger and Bill Zwanziger, the only repeat feature winners at Tunis this year besides Hansen, were racing out-of-state Sunday night

Sanger, who owns and maintains Hansen’s car, was trying his newly-built stock car on an asphalt race track in Minnesota.

Another Tunis regular, Tom Bartholomew, is out with injuries sustained at the Boone Speedway Friday night. Bartholomew, who suffered a broken vertebra in his back, was on hand to watch Sunday's races.

Dan Nesteby, Dick Schiltz, Karl Sanger and Denny Osborn finished third through sixth, respectively, and on the same lap as Hansen.

Tim McDonough of Cedar Rapids worked his way up to seventh while Roger Klingfus finished eighth in Tom Moore's sportsman car. Klingfus’ late model suffered mechanical problems early in the evening.

Kastli’s pre-race strategy almost backfired.

Since he was the point-leader, he had the option of starting on the inside or outside of the front row. He chose the outside, putting second leading sportsman money-winner Mike Krall on the inside.

Krall ran in first for the initial eight laps before Kastli got around him and went on for a convincing victory in the 30-lap event. Krall finished second with Larry Schmidt third and Moore fourth.

Both late model heats were close. Dave Trower nipped Jack Mitchell in the first 10-lapper while Karl Sanger, driving his brother Ed’s old car, held off a Hansen charge in the second heat.

Wayne Hesse, Fuzzy Liddell and Krall won sportsman preliminaries.

Results -

Late Model -

1. Curt Hansen
2. Stan Stover
3. D. Arthur Nesteby
4. Dick Schiltz
5. Karl Sanger
6. Denny Osborn
7. Tim McDonough
8. Roger Klingfus
9. Dave Trower
10. Jim Buhlman

Sportsman -

1. Greg Kastli
2. Mike Krall
3. Larry Schmidt
4. Tom Moore
5. John Weers
6. Fuzzy Liddell
7. Craig Haupt
8. Don Lake