Saturday, August 15, 2015

1970 – Knoxville’s ‘Super’ title to Saldana

Joe Saldana, driving Roger Beck's #2, won the 1970 Knoxville Super Modified Nationals. 

Knoxville, Iowa (August 15,1970) - "Little" Joe Saldana of Lincoln, Neb., was the big man in the National Super-Modified Championships at the Marion County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

The 5-foot 4-inch, 145-pounder led the entire 30-lap feature before a crowd of 12,987.

Dick Sutcliffe of Kansas City, Mo., finished second, eight car lengths behind Saldana, and Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, Mo., was third.

Jan Opperman, who shared the front row starting positions with Saldana, finished fourth and Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., took fifth.

Saldana earned the pole position by qualifying in 20.75 seconds on Thursday night. He earned a total of $3,300 in winning the feature. Of that amount, $300 was for lap money.

This was the first national championship for Saldana. He led this race in 1967 but a broken wheel forced him to the sideline on the seventeenth lap. He finished sixth last year and also in the 1966 race and was fourth in 1968.

Of three former National Super Modified champions, only Goodwin did well. His title came in 1968, Jay Woodside, the champion of 1966, finished twenty-first. Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., the 1967 champ was not in the feature but did compete in another race.

Sutcliffe earned $2,200 and Goodwin was paid $1,500 for their share of the $11,500 championship purse.

Heat winners for the night were Al Murie, Kansas City, Mo.; Earl Wagner, Pleasantville; Rick Ferkel, Fostoria, Ohio; Bob Williams, Kansas City, Mo.; and Jon Backlund, Kansas City, Mo.

Gene Gennetten of Kansas City won the 10-lap consolation race and Backlund edged Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., for victory in the 15-lap “B” Main.

Results –

1. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb. 
2. Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City, Mo.
3. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City, Mo.
4. Jan Opperman, Mechanicsville, Penn.
5. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
6. Roger Larson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
7. Steve Unger, Garrettsville, Ohio
8. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
9. Stan Borofsky, Kansas City, Mo.
10. Buddy Taylor, Albuquerque, N.M
11. Stacy Redmond, Mason City, Iowa
12. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
13. Curt Hogue, Ames, Iowa
14. Al Murie, Kansas City, Mo.
15. Harold McGilton, Fremont, Ohio

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