Friday, May 15, 2015

1970 – A Plymouth wins again at Knoxville

by Ida May Van Genderen
Knoxville, Iowa (May 15, 1970) - Gordy Blankenship of Keokuk captured the 15-lap stock car feature Friday night at the Knoxville Raceway.

Last week it was Lem Blankenship. This week brother Gordon decided to give Knoxville a try and he took home the first place money. So now it has been Plymouth winning two weeks in a row.

The stock cars looked like they were hooked together going around the track in a bumper to bumper line when trouble struck on the fifth lap.

The result was a massive pileup on the backstretch, knocking out the first and second place cars; Bill McDonough and Carl Vander Wal. Rich Montgomery rolled a few times and was out as were the cars of Ron Perdock and Larry Housby. Nearly every car in the 14-car field received some kind of damage or new dents. All were uninjured in the mishap.

Bob Bonzer of Liscomb started the cool evening off hot by setting fast time of the night with a 24.24 second lap around the tacky one-half mile oval.

Dick Oldham of Des Moines jumped into the lead from his front row starting position to lead all the way to win the five-lap trophy dash. Bob Bonzer edged out Phil Reese of Des Moines to place second.

Oldham then took to the track for his second win of the evening by copping the first eight-lap heat race. On the third lap, Joel Rasmussen of Ames spun his Camaro around in the second turn. He was dodged by two cars, but the third car, driven by Steve Genevasee of Ankeny rammed Rasmussen head-on with his Chevelle. Both cars were out of commission for the rest of the night.

Taking the checkers for the second eight lap heat was Mike Brooks of Hartford. It was nip and tuck race for first spot between Brooks and Bob Bonzer until Bonzer’s engine let go on the fifth lap and he was forced to the pit. Mike then won by a wide margin over Carl Vander Wal of Ames.

Phil Reese of Des Moines won the third heat event. It looked like Oskaloosa’s Rich Montgomery had the race in the bag. He led for the first six laps only to slip a bit in the fourth turn on the white flag lap. Rich lost two spots when Reese and second place finisher Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids took advantage and plunged ahead.

Don Hoffman took the lead from the start and was never headed, to win the seven lap consolation. George Barton of Ankeny was second.

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