Thursday, April 30, 2015

1972 - Latham First at Winchester

Winchester, Ind. (April 30, 1972) Ralph Latham made the return of Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) new cars to the Winchester Speedway here Sunday a fast and exciting one as he won the 100 lap feature before slim crowd of about 2,500.

The race was the first for ARCA at Winchester, since 1964.

Latham, from Cincinnati, Ohio, wheeled his gold and white 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the checkered flag with a three-quarter lap lead over second-place David Dayton, driving a 1972 Camaro.

It wasn't all that easy for the popular Latham; however, as he had his hands full with the veteran Les Snow and Bobby Watson until minor mishaps eliminated the competition.

Latham trailed Snow for most of the first 74 laps. The veteran campaigner had the right front tire on his 1970 Dodge shred at the 60 lap mark. Latham had run on Snow’s bumper since the 17th lap and eased around the faltering Dodge in the 75th lap and was home free.

Three laps earlier, on the 73rd circuit, Watson suddenly dropped from a close third with a broken fan belt after running nose to tail with Latham from the 60th lap. Neil Sceva was third in 1969 Ford with Snow hanging on for fourth and Ron Hutcherson, moving from a trial starting spot to claim fifth.

The days only yellow flag came out on the 51st lap when Bill Clemons had the throttle on his 1971 Hornet stick coming off the backstretch, sending him into a third turn span. In maneuvering to miss Clemons' car, Ralph Young put his 1969 Ford into the guardrail. Neither driver was hurt but both were eliminated for the day.

The yellow flag was out for 10 laps, wiping out Latham's chances for an ARCA track record for the distance. His time was 37 minutes, 42.01 seconds, more than 2 minutes slower than the existing mark of 35 minutes and 25.74 seconds set by Jack Bowsher in ARCA’s last appearance in ’64.

Bowsher's old one lap record on the half-mile high-banks did fall however. Snow you raised the 20.20 second standard with the lap at 18.79. The fastest qualifiers also broke the old mark.

Leonard Blanchard, who ran a strong fifth for most of the first 75 laps before blowing a right rear tire, won the four-lap trophy dash in 1 minute and 16.55 seconds, another track record. Bobby Junior and Ken Black won the first two heats with Latham moving from last in the eight-car field to win the third.

Results -

  1. Ralph Latham
  2. Dave Dayton
  3. Neil Sceva
  4. Les Snow
  5. Ron Hutcherson
  6. Iggy Katona
  7. A. Arnold
  8. Andy Hampton
  9. Leonard Blanchard
  10. Delmar Clark
  11. Al Straub
  12. Ed Richardville
  13. Leroy Austin
  14. Bob McCoy
  15. Bob Thomas
  16. Fred Holbert
  17. Bill Green
  18. Bobby Watson
  19. Larry Moore
  20. Bill Clemons
  21. Ralph Young
  22. Ken Black
  23. Don Aocurso
  24. Tony Schiller

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