Knoxville promoter Marion Robinson (right) presents inaugural champion Roy Robbins with his trophy.
Knoxville, Iowa (July 30, 1961) - Roy Robbins, a 33-year-old mechanic from Louisville, Ky., captured the first annual Super Modified Racing Championship here Saturday night and in the process collected $1,280 of the $6,000 purse.
Robbins, who the night before raced to a new track record of 23 seconds flat, drove a modified version equipped with an air scoop.
The scoop, which operates in reverse of an airplane wing by keeping the rear end of the racer on the ground, must have aided the Kentuckian as he won the 25-lap main event going away.
A turn away crowd of nearly 14,000 watched the eight event program under perfect weather conditions. Seventy-eight super modifieds competed at the Marion County Fairgrounds.
Four of the five heat races were won by drivers who compete weekly at the Knoxville track. Jim Blount of LaPaz, Ind., was the only outside winner in the heat races. Blount won the fifth heat. The other heat winners were; Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, Gordon Woolley of Waco, Texas, Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kansas, and Gene Hockensmith of Des Moines.
Robbins finished second in the first heat race behind the local favorite, Earl Wagner. Wagner placed third in the feature race just behind another air scoop special driven by Audie Schwartz of Muncie, Indiana.
The main event was restarted three times before the field finally settled down. As a result the feature was delayed and the checkered flag didn't fall until after 1 AM.
The restarts resulted one anxious drivers became tangled in non-serious accidents in the early laps of the 25-lap feature.
First Heat: Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Second Heat: Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Third Heat: Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
Fourth Heat: Gene Hockensmith, Des Moines
Fifth Heat: Jim Blount, LaPaz, Ind.
First Consy: Jerry Weld, Kansas City
Second Consy: Johnny Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
1. Roy Robbins, Louisville, Ky.
2. Audie Schwartz, Muncie, Ind.
3. Earl Wagner
4. Harvey Shane, Coffeyville, Kan.
5. Bill Corwin, Topeka, Kan.
6. Red Andrew, Lawrence, Kan.
7. Gene Hockensmith
8. Johnny Babb
9. Dean Woolheather, Fort Collins, Colo.
10. Jerry Weld, Kansas City