Monday, May 30, 2016

1969 - Bryant, Saldana dominate races

Roy Bryant - Photo Courtesy of Kansas Racing History


Belleville, Kan. (May 30, 1969) - A 'sell-out' crowd watched Roy Bryant and Joe Saldana dominate the Memorial Day races at the North Central Kansas Free Fairgrounds half-mile oval last Friday.
The day was marred by one accident during warm-up laps before the time trials. Ted Foltz of Colorado Springs apparently lost control of his car on the first corner of the track, flipping to the inside of the track. Foltz was admitted to the Republic County Hospital and dismissed Sunday after treatment of minor injuries.
Roy Bryant of Wichita and Joe Saldana of Lincoln, Neb., dominated the day's events.
Bryant was the top qualifier at 20.27 for the half-mile – six hundredths of a second off the track record. He also won the trophy dash.
Saldana won the first and third heat races and feature.
Top qualifiers were Bryant, Dale Reed of Wichita at 20.37, and Jan Opperman of Hayward, Cal. in 20.60 and Saldana at 21.07.
Placing in the first heat race was Saldana, Chuck Kidwell of Plainview, Neb., in the Belleville Goodrich Machine Shop Chevy, Bryant, and Dave Ross of Jetmore, fourth.
Top four places in the second heat race were Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., Dick Bloom of Wichita, Eddie Chrisma of Miami, Okla., and Jim Golden of Palmyra, Neb.
Third heat finish was Saldana, Bryant, Jensen and Dan Dasher of Topeka. Opperman won the semi-feature 10-lap event. Reed, Ross and Harry Ivers of Lakewood, Colo followed him.
In the final main feature event it was Saldana again first. Opperman, Jensen, Reed, and Ross in fifth place followed him.
The Chamber of Commerce Fair Amusement Committee members termed the races excellent with near record times. The crowd was a "sell-out" and possible record breaker, according to the committee members.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Looking Back; Indy 500 Stars & Cars

Al Loquasto - 1975
Bobby Marshman - 1964
Dick Rathmann -1959
Jim Hurtubise - 1965
Joe Leonard -1970
Lloyd Ruby - 1974
Mario Andretti - 1966
Roger McCluskey -1971

Saturday, May 28, 2016

1994 - This Week in Racing History

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Let's take a look back, 22 years ago to be exact, and see who were the winners this week in Midwest racing circles.

An impressive and competitive group of 39 IMCA Late Models converged upon Hawkeye Raceway in Bluegrass, Iowa, on Thursday, May 26, and just getting into the feature was a chore in itself as several of the Deery Brothers Summer Series top pilots were forced to watch the green flag drop from the sidelines. Rick Wendling of Hazelton, Iowa, not only made the starting grid but put on a tremendous display of driving in taking the $1,000 victory. Wendling and pole-sitter Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, traded paint for the first 14 circuits before Wendling was able to take command of the race.  Webb would make one last charge with 2 laps remaining but fell a few feet short at the checkers. Jeff Aikey of Cedar Falls, Iowa, would take third and Jim Sandusky of Moline, Ill., took fourth. Bob Dominacki of Bettendorf, Iowa, was the hard charger on the day, starting 19th and finishing fifth.
Robbie Stanley of Brownsburg, Ind., the three-time defending USAC Sprint Car national champion, suffered fatal injuries in a crash at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway on Thursday night. The race, restarted after the accident, was won by Doug Kalitta of Ann Arbor, Mich. Stanley, 26, was running in 12th place when his car spun coming out of turn four and struck by two other cars, bursting into flames. His death was attributed to multiple trauma. Stanley, the 1991, ’92 and ’93 USAC Sprint Car champion was bidding to become the first ever driver to claim four consecutive titles in the ‘Thunder & Lightning’ series. 
The IMCA Late Model 25-lap feature turned into a 500-foot drag race with Ron Boyse of Kalona, Iowa, nipping Harry Walker of Washington, Iowa, at the finish line at Louisa County Speedway in Columbus Junction, Iowa, on Friday, May 27. Boyse started eighth and steadily worked his way up front into third. A restart on lap 23 allowed the field to bunch up with Boyse behind Kurt Stewart of Ainsworth, Iowa and Walker. When Stewart attempted to pass Walker on the green flag restart, Stewart slid high allowing Boyse to slip into second place. Boyse would pass Walker on the backstretch and then take the checkers by mere feet. 
Twenty-two-year-old Matt Kenseth of Cambridge, Wis., continued his early season dominance taking home top honors in the Late Model ‘Coca-Cola 50’ at Madison International Speedway in front a festive holiday crowd on Monday afternoon. Kenseth powered around the outside of Scott Wimmer of Wausau, Wis., for the lead on lap 27 and then cruised to a 3.64 second margin of victory, Wimmer would settle for second, Steve Kenseth of Janesville, Wis., was third, Ron Breese of DeKalb, Ill., fourth and Jason Schuler of Cambridge was fifth.
Mother Nature again provided another great night for racing at the Audubon (Iowa) Speedway on Friday night that saw Dennis Pittman of Jamaica, Iowa, capture his second straight IMCA Modified feature. In the IMCA Stock Car feature, Denny Stoneburner of Boone, Iowa, won a close race over Randy Schulte of Auburn, Iowa. In IMCA Hobby Stock action, Mike McClain of Kimballton, Iowa, picked up his first feature win of the season.
Curt Martin of Independence, Iowa, posted his second career NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour victory on Saturday night, May 28, at the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa. Martin survived a duel with Ed Kosiski of Omaha, Neb., to capture the ‘Jim Dandy 50’ on the half-mile dirt oval. Kosiski finished second but passed his brother, Joe, for first place in the tour point standings. Martin led all 50 laps but encountered numerous laps of side-by-side racing with Kosiski but wasn’t to be denied enroute to his first tour win since a 1987 victory in Freeport, Ill.
Tommy Scott followed his 1993 championship tire tracks on Saturday night, winning his heat, trophy dash and the American Sprint Car Series main event at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill. The win, his second in a row, cemented his series’ points lead over second-place Butch Nutant, 1,190 to 1,070.
World of Outlaws regular Bobby Davis Jr. made a rare visit to Missouri International Racepark in Benton, Mo., on Saturday night and claimed the $3,000 Winged Sprint Car 30-lap feature. Donnie Beechler of Springfield, Ill., would start on the pole and jump out to a commanding lead until Davis caught up and passed Beechler on lap 10. Davis would lead the remaining 20 circuits with Beechler a straightaway behind at the checkers. Gary Hayhurst Jr., of Evansville, Ind., Danny Thoman of Lexington, Mo., and Rod Holshouser of Cape Girardeau, Mo., rounded out the top five.
Jim Duchow of Kaukauna, Wis., took the lead on lap 13 and won the ‘Dirt Devil 35’ Mid-American Stock Car Series feature race at Jefferson (Wis.) Speedway on Saturday before the largest crowd of the year. Eddie Hoffman of Westchester, Ill., took runner-up honors while Matt Rowe of Madison, Wis., grabbed third.
Bob Pierce of Danville, Ill., took the lead from Mike Jewell on the 33rd circuit and then pulled away to capture the NASCAR Budweiser 75-lap special and a $5,000 pay day at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., on Sunday evening. Rick Aukland of Fargo, N.D., set fast time of 14.053 seconds.
For Al Humphrey of Gilmer, Neb., it was a confidence booster. After a pair of incidents a week ago left his racing operations in near shambles, the veteran driver came back with a strong performance to pick up the NASCAR Late Model win at Mid-Continent Raceways in Doniphan, Neb., on Saturday night. Humphrey would race pass race leader Mike Wiarda of Aurora, Neb., on lap 17 and then check out to win the 25-lap A-main.

Steve Kosiski became the fifth different winner in five NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour events when he captured the AC/Delco ‘Mag 50’ at Sunset Speedway in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday, May 29. Kosiski started on the pole and from the start, set a torrid pace in the non-stop feature. The winner was chased by several drivers – Randy McGraw of Marshall, Mo.; Johnny Saathoff of Beatrice, Neb.; Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill. – over the course of the race. Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, who earlier had won the Busch Pole Award for his 18.193 second time trial, was fifth in the contest.

Kossuth County Speedway in Algona, Iowa, was the site of the season opener for the MAC Tools Winner Series for IMCA Stock Cars on Memorial Day, May 30. An impressive field of 48 IMCA Stock Car from five states were on hand to christen the event. Kevin Berte of Whittemore, Iowa, who had to qualify through one of the B Mains just to make the 25-car starting grid, slashed through the field to take an impressive victory.

Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., proved “It’s never over ‘til it’s over” when he captured the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour ‘Master Muffler 50’ at West Liberty /(Iowa) Raceway on Monday evening, May 30. Steve Kosiski of Omaha, Neb., started on the pole position and appeared to be well on his way to the checkers after having successfully fended off Johnny and Jay Johnson, both of West Burlington, Iowa. But Guss, who started 11th, was steadily moving forward; fifth place on lap 37; fourth on lap 39; third on lap 41; second on lap 45. Then on the 48th circuit, Guss powered into the lead and held on for the win on the half-mile track. Jay Johnson would nip Kosiski for runner-up honors at the checkers.
The IMCA Late Models celebrated the 100th running of a Deery Brothers Summer Series in grand style with an action-packed evening of racing at Marshalltown (Iowa) Speedway on Memorial Day. Many of the top drivers were on hand for the event but it was to be Gary Webb's night as he dominated the field and picked up his second Deery win of the season Webb would pass Denny Osborn of Waterloo, Iowa, on lap 10 and cruise from there to pick up the $1,000 paycheck. A tremendous battle ensued for the other top four spots with Ron Jackson of Danville, Iowa, Kevin Cale of Donnellson, Iowa, Darrel DeFrance of Marshalltown and Bryan Wanner of Winfield, Iowa, rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 23, 2016

1965 - Stott wins Iowa International for third time

Des Moines, Iowa (May 23, 1965) - Ramo Stott beat Ernie Derr, his Keokuk rival, for the second successive time this season and claimed his third Iowa International 150-mile stock car championship here Sunday over a bumpy, rutted Iowa State Fairgrounds track.

A yellow flag, one of three flapped briefly during the 300-lap grind, may have decided the finish of the race, which was run off in the second fastest time of its history; 2 hours, 35 minutes and 39.36 seconds.

Derr, 42-year-old veteran who finished second by two laps; had Stott on his rear bumper in a hot battle when he spotted George Barton in a stall on lap 211and decided to pull in for more fuel.

Derr had the mistaken idea the yellow flag would appear by the time he reached the pits. But it took another lap before head flagman Woody Brinkman noticed the stall and switched on the caution signal to slow the field down and put the no passing rule in force.

As Derr sat in the pits, Ramo gained a full lap before the yellow signal appeared. Derr wasted only 22 seconds getting back out, but was caught again, this time by the green go-ahead signal.

Ernie didn't see it in time, since he had passed the flagman and the signal light near the first turn. Ramo, in back of Derr, did see it and roared past again.

Shortly after that Derr’s Dodge, bouncing over the waves of the turns, broke a sway bar and wrecked any hopes he had another of catching Stott's Plymouth.

"I guess you'd have to say I was beat on the track," declared Derr, who has yet to win the International Motor Contest Association's prize plum of $1,100, which Ramo won in the front of an announced crowd of 8,250, smallest in the nine-year history of the event.

Stott surrendered the lead only once, on a 20-second pit stop on the 188th lap, and ran the second-fastest time he's had in the 300-lapper here. He was slightly over his winning time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 59 second record he set when he won in 1961.

Ramo claimed the pole position with a 27.10-second lap and never let Derr or Johnny Beauchamp get within a car length until he made his first pit stop, a 17 second stop over on the 126th lap. Stott got out before Derr could catch him on that one.

Beauchamp and Derr had a lively battle until Johnny stopped on lap 118 complaining about a kink in his back. Attempts to refit the seat in Ramo’s second car to Beauchamp’s big frame failed and he rode on until he was forced to quit, giving up the car to Blaine Morrow of Joy, Ill.

"I wouldn’t have turned another lap for a million dollars," sighed Beauchamp, a former IMCA national champion and "300" winner, hoping to make a comeback in late model racing this season.

Only 10 cars finished the race on a track that quickly tore apart under the impact of the heavy cars. Sixteen cars were sidelined because of broken suspensions.

Derr’s second place finish netted him $775. Lenny Funk, the Kansas wheat farmer, finished third and earned $525. Ron Hutcherson, brother of defending IMCA champion Dick Hutcherson, bagged $375 for fourth place in only his sixth race.

Sonny Morgan of Blue Earth, Minn., who entered his with a new Chevrolet "porcupine" engine, did not show up. Dick Johnson and Buzz McCann, both of St. Paul, Minn., got there late to take part in time trials and were required to start in the back row.

Results –

  1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Lennie Funk, Otis, Kan.
  4. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
  5. Bill Thomas, Lake Elmo, Minn.
  6. Gene Hensley, Holden, Mo.
  7. Johnny Beauchamp/Blaine Morrow
  8. Ken Pratt, Darlington, Wis.
  9. Bob Gutley, Springfield, Mo.
  10. Vic Elson,Ash Grove, Mo.
  11. Buzz McCann, St. Paul, Minn.
  12. Don Massa, Lincoln, Neb.
  13. Bill Gibson, Kansas City
  14. George Barton, Luther, Iowa
  15. Dave Steffens, St. Paul, Minn.
  16. Gene Chapman, Raytown, Mo.
  17. Blackie Wangerin, Minneapolis, Minn.
  18. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
  19. John Mickey, Columbus Junction
  20. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
  21. Frank Sedoris, Lincoln, Neb.
  22. Bob Dishman, Des Moines
  23. Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
  24. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.

Friday, May 20, 2016

1973 – ARCA Politics Better Than Race

Bill Clemons
West Chester, Ohio (May 20, 1973) – When the ARCA boys come, there's always something to talk about, fans at Tri-County Speedway discovered Sunday.

Following Saturday's super storm, Bill Clemons won the 100-lap feature in his 1973 Javelin, but the politics are almost better than the race.

Firstly – after Clemens set a new one-lap mark of 19.24 seconds on the half-mile paved oval of - official Frank Canale ordered all Firestone tires carrying identification number 26 off all competing cars. This caused a beehive of activity with no explanation given to the press for the order.

The race was anti-climatic. Clemons led the first 12 laps until dusted off by Bruce Gould who set the pace until lap 45 when a broken wheel sent him into their turn two guard rail.

Gould drove his car back to the pits on a rim, sparks flying and finally igniting the entire underside of his car, erupting in flames. His onboard fire extinguisher took care of it, however.

With Gould gone, Clemons had only Larry Moore to contend with. Moore's challenge faded when his "surprise" tire setup failed, making it a breeze for Clemons.

Behind the winner at the checker were Bobby Watson, Frank Lamp, Ron Hutcherson and Delmar Clark.

After the race Watson and Ashton Arnold each protested the winning car, citing a directive from ARCA headquarters limiting cars to a single four-barrel carburetor. Seems Clemon's car ran to four barrels. ARCA vice president Frank Canale refused to alter the finish, setting the paperwork to president John Marcum at Temperance, Michigan.


Results -

1. Bill Clemons
2. Bobby Watson
3. Frank Lamp
4. Ron Hutcherson
5. Delmar Clark
6. Len Blanchard
7. Ashton Arnold
8. Larry Moore
9. Dave Dayton
10. Dave Kulmer

Saturday, May 14, 2016

1988 – This Week in Racing History

Willy Kraft took home top honors in the USAC late model 40-lap feature at I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Mo., on Wednesday, May 11. Larry Phillips paced the first 28 circuit before Kraft managed to gain the front running position. Kraft then outran Billy Moyer Jr. over the final 12 laps for the victory. Moyer Jr., T.J. Pauschert, Ray Guss Jr. and John Stokes rounded out the top five.

Sammy Swindell outsprinted Dave Blaney into the first turn to gain the lead on the opening lap and then went on to lead all 30 laps  in the World of Outlaws Copenhagen/Skoal Shootout sprint car feature at Santa Fe Speedway on Friday evening, May 13. Swindell, who ran the first sub-15 second lap in the history of Santa Fe Speedway during time trials (14.846 seconds), never relinquished the lead as he went on to take the checkered ahead of Blaney, Steve Kinser, Jac Haudenschild and Bobby Allen.
Bob Hill shattered any plans Jeff Aikey had of winning four features in a row by winning the IMCA late model main event at Marshalltown (Iowa) Speedway on Friday night. Aikey and Denny Osborn dogged Hill the entire race but simply didn’t get the opening they were looking for. They would take second and third respectively while Mitch Fretheim and Greg Hunter took fourth and fifth. In IMCA modified action, Timm Jensen won a three-car battle and took the checkers ahead of Bob Thompson and Dude Thompson. Jeff Schroyer, the man to beat all season in the IMCA stock car division, came from his fifth row starting spot to claim yet another win while Kenny Miller won the bomber main event.

Brent Prior of Hillsdale, Ill., who had won the IMCA modified feature two weeks ago, showed he was the man to beat again winning at Princeton (Ill.) Raceway on Friday night. Prior, who started on the inside of row four, worked his way quickly to the front and took over the top spot when previous leader Jeff Graybill of Princeton dropped out on lap 11 with mechanical issues. Prior was not seriously challenged after that winning handily over Rick Hixson of Coal Valley, Darrell Harmening of East Moline and Jack Lueth of Davenport, Iowa. Marty Thompson of Mineral, Ill, had no problems in winning the 12-lap street stock feature, his second of the season.
Steve Holthaus won his first hobby stock feature in nearly two years at Fayette County Raceway in West Union on Friday night. Holthaus started the feature on the pole but relinquished the lead to a determined Brian Dinger. Dinger lead all the way to the last lap when Holthaus nosed past Dinger right at the checkers. There was no catching Dan Bohr in the modified street stock feature as the Decorah, Iowa, driver won by more than a straightaway at the checkers. Dave Thorston had his limited late model working like a gem as he came out on top in the 20-lap feature.

Bob Robel captured the non-stop 25-lap Interstate Racing Association (IRA) winged sprint car feature on Saturday night, May 14, at Wilmot (Wis.) Speedway to chalk up his first victory of the season. Kim Mock led the first 5 laps of the event before Frank Filskov took over for 5 circuits. Robel charged ahead on the 11th round and maintained the top spot to the wire. Filskov, Gib Wiser, Joe Roe and Mock rounded out the top five.
Butch Hanssen of Sioux Falls, S.D., put it all together Saturday night as he roared to the limited sprint car feature win at Lake County Speedway in Madison, S.D. Hanssen, who had been plagued by mechanical issues the previous two weeks, built a large lead early in the contest and cruised to victory over runner-up Kenny Hansen. Tom Rook, in only his third start behind the wheel of a sprint car, raced to an impressive third. In street stock action, it was five-time track champion Marty Barber of Sioux Falls winning his third consecutive feature. Defending champion Leland Boehring of Sioux Falls captured the wreck-marred bomber main event.

Terry Gallaher took home the $1,050 payoff by winning the NASCAR late model feature at Capital Speedway in Holts Summit, Mo., on Saturday night. Gallaher’s in was the headliner for the Winston 50 Spring Spectacular. Defending NASCAR late model track champion Dick Crane crossed the finish line in second followed by Steve Fraise, Jim Swank and Dan Dickey. In other action, Howard Hall would win the modified feature and Don Cox went home with his second bomber feature win of the season.

Frank Springsteen of Morning Sun, Iowa, held off a late charge from Ted Pallister of Wapello, Iowa, to win the IMCA late model main at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa, on Saturday night. Dave Warth held the lead for the first 16 laps before Springsteen slid by on the backstretch. Pallister tried the cushion in the final laps but it was Springsteen who took the checkers for the first time this season. Keokuk’s Lance Stott prevailed over Jeff Laue in the sportsman feature. Although he won a track championship two years ago, it was the first-ever win for Davey Newcomb of Morning Sun in the modified contest. Mike Jones of Monmouth, Ill., was the pro stock winner while Danny Fielty of Burlington and Jim Connolly of Wapello split a pair of hobby stock features.
Veteran Dick Trickle edged Ted Musgrave by one-half second to win the ASA Racing Series Badgerland 150 at Wisconsin State Fair Park on Sunday afternoon, May 15. Trickle, driving the Coors Light Silver Bullet Chevrolet, won for the fifth time on the Milwaukee Mile in front of a home state crowd of 17,010. The Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., hot shoe cashed in $7,975 out of the $66,838 purse in collecting his second series win of the season.

Mike Smith of Ellsworth made it two straight as he won the IMCA modified feature race at Harconia Speedway in Eldora, Iowa, on Sunday evening. Steve Jackson of Des Moines also won his second IMCA stock car contest at the big half-mile dirt oval. Dan Drury of Eldora remained unbeaten in thunder pick-up action with his third straight win while Scott Strong of Malcolm, Iowa, won his second street stock feature of the year.

Defending Badger Auto Racing Association champion Kevin Olson opened the circuit’s 1988 season with a victory in the 25-lap feature at Angell Park Speedway on Sunday evening. Olson needed only 3 laps to charge from his 11th starting spot to third place behind leader Hans Lein and Scott Hatton. After Olson and Steve Knepper moved into second and third respectively, they joined the front running Lein in pulling away from the rest of the field. After a couple of mid-race restarts, Lein yielded the top spot to Olson on lap 17 who pulled away for the easy win. Knepper, Kevin Doty, Don Tyler and Lein completed the top five finishers.

In the modified main event, Mike Guttormson of Austin, Minn., and Ron Jones of Zimmerman, Minn., put on a show for the fans at the season opener at Dodge County Speedway in Kasson, Minn., on Sunday night. Guttormson led the entire way but it wasn’t easy as Jones moved up quickly from his fourth row starting position and raced Guttormson side-by-side for most of the contest. Guttormson would manage to hold Jones of by mere inches for the win. Dave Tradup of Elgin, Iowa, would sweep the hobby stock action, winning both his heat and feature.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

1967 – Happy Ernie; prayed for rain – sets world mark

Ernie Derr won the 1967 Hawkeye 200 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 7, 1967) - Seven-time IMCA national stock car champion Ernie Derr, the original "Keokuk Komet", Sunday showed a packed house of 7,532 at Hawkeye Downs why he is at the head of the pack again by capturing every honor in sight during the Hawkeye 200.

All Derr did on Sunday was -

  • Establish a world record for the half-mile dirt track with a 24.57 second clocking in a special time trial event (Lenny Funk set the old mark of 25.14 in 1965 at Shreveport, La).
  • Nip Funk by about a foot in an exciting finish to the five-lap STP Trophy Dash, featuring the top eight drivers in the national point standings last year.

  • Win the slated 200-lap feature, called after 132 laps because of rain, by less than 200 yards over his old nemesis, Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk.

For his day’s work, Derr walked off with $950 in prize money - $750 in the feature, $100 from STP in the dash and $100 for the time-trial win.

The first eight positions in the feature were determined by the placing in the five-lapper. Ernie never trailed, and for the most part it was, “catch me if you can” through the first 126 laps of the race.
A light sprinkling of rain forced the yellow caution flag at the 126th lap and for all practical purposes Derr was home with the checkered flag.

A sudden downpour during lap 133 terminated the event. "I did a bit of praying when the yellow flag came out," said Derr." When I saw those first drops of rain, man, was I happy. I kept saying ‘Come on rain, c’mon you blankety – blank rain.”

Ernie had strong reason to be happy. He and Stott were on the same lap (a situation that developed on lap 97 as the race was called.

Derr waited until the 92nd circuit before making his mandatory 30-second pit stop in his 1967 Dodge, while Ramo took his '67 Plymouth into the pits 32 laps earlier.

Ramo struggled in for gas on the 103rd lap. Ernie waited until the 106th lap to refuel. Neither wasted any time zipping back onto the oval and Stott was right on Derr's heels after Ernie's stop.

“I was really worried about Ramo when I made my gas stop,” Ernie asserted. “He was running stronger all the time and I sure couldn't waste any time in the pits. My crew did a terrific job on my last stop. They are all volunteers I don't pay any of them - and they do a great job for me.”

“The car handled awfully well for me today, and if you start where I did and stand on it, you’re going to lead.”

Bob Janey and Bill McDonough, both of Cedar Rapids, placed 11th and 16th respectively.
Janey’s car suffered a broken bolt on the A frame shortly before the rains came, costing him at least six positions. McDonough's oil got hot in his '65 Chevy and he wisely decided to save his engine.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
4. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
5. Bob Malechek, Marshalltown, Iowa
6. Dale Keeling, Dixon, Mo.
7. Emory Fretheim, Decorah, Iowa
8. Norm Hall, Albert Lea, Minn.
9. John Harmon, Polk City, Iowa
10. J. Stubblefield, High Ridge, Mo.
11. Bob Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
12. George Lemke, Mosinee, Wis.
13. Jim Strube, Peoria, Ill.
14. Don Harmon, Des Moines, Iowa
15. Blaine Morrow, Joy, Ill.
16. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
17. John Zink, Leavenworth, Kan.
18. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
19. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
20. Bill Schwader, Davenport, Iowa
21. Dave Marcis, West Salem, Wis.
22. Larry Piper, Columbus Junction, Iowa

Ernie Derr (1) and Lenny Funk (2) lead the field to green on an overcast day. - Ron Thruman Collection

Thursday, May 5, 2016

1983 – This Week in Racing History

Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Let’s take a look back, the year is 1983, and see who the winners were in Midwest racing circles. It was a weekend where most Saturday night programs succumb to rain.

Ed Dixon of Jefferson, Mo., won the NASCAR Grand American Series for Late Models at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City. Ill., on Friday, May 6. Dixon took over the lead after pole sitter Pat Wash of Kirkwood, Mo., crashed into the #1 turn. Dixon then had to fight off chargers Terry Gallaher of Hannibal, Mo., Kenny Schrader of Fenton, Mo., and Mike Crabtree of Lebanon, Mo. The defending SLARA Mighty Midget Series champion, Bob Willig Jr., of St. Louis, Mo., easily won the 20-lap main event over Scott Weyent of Springfield, Ill., and Steve Knepper of Belleville, Ill.


In a special appearance at Hawkeye Raceway in Blue Grass, Iowa, Randy Smith of Norwalk won the Winged Sprint Car feature on Friday night over Mike Pinckney and Mike Thomas, both of Des Moines. Jim Mettlin of Cambridge, Ill., won the IMCA Modified feature, Gary Reinhart of Moline, Ill., was the Sportsman winner and Rick Hixson of Coal Valley, Ill., topped the Bomber field.

Mike Benson of Lakefield, Neb., passed Bill Kirk of Salix, Iowa on the last lap to win the Late Model feature on Friday night at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D. In the Sportsman division, Brad Rowe of Sioux City won the main event while Tom Love took Street Stock honors. 

Ron Hekkema, Mike Hollifield and Tony Lampley took top honors in the Late Model, Sportsman and Street Stock features on Friday night at the Kankakee (Ill.) Fairgrounds. Hekkeman grabbed the top spot early on in the Late Model headliner and was never challenged. Cloyce Friend of Claredon Hills, Ill., would take second followed by Dick Potts of Morocco, Ind., and Roger Long of Fithian, Ill. Hollifield led 24 of 25 laps in dominating the Sportsman main.

While Ray Guss was fighting off the dust that leader Herb Shannon was stirring up in the low groove, Mike Chasteen of East Moline, Ill., was gaining ground fast on the high side of the quarter-mile at Spoon River Speedway in Canton, Ill., on Friday night. After starting at the back of the field, Chasteen snuck around both drivers on the 27th circuit to win the 30-lap Late Model feature event.

John Knaus of Rockford, Ill., won the season-opening 25-lap Late Model feature at the Freeport Raceway half-mile on Sunday afternoon, May 8. Knaus’ victory marked his return to dirt competition after seven years running on asphalt tracks.  The 31-year-old veteran took the lead midway through the contest and outdistanced the field for the win. Bob Jaeger of Dubuque, Iowa, took runner-up honors while Jim Jeffries of Freeport grabbed third.

Bill Breuer of Wapello captured the season opening Late Model feature on Sunday afternoon at Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa. Dale Fischlein of Cedar Rapids and Jim Willert of Davenport were also winners as the quarter-mile opened for the 1983 season. Breuer held off Ron Pallister, also of Wapello, in taking the Late Model main. Fishlein, the defending IMCA Modified national champion, debuted his new car and won over Monte Ohrt of Tipton and Steve Stinger of Cedar Rapids. Willert made his feature win look relatively easy, handily beating Dale Peters of Grand Mound.


Joe Shear kept his record perfect in Late Model feature competition at Slinger Super Speedway on Sunday night as he scored his second consecutive triumph at the quarter-mile. Shear was unimpressive in preliminary action, timing in ninth and failing to run among the leaders in his heat. However, the main event was a different story as the Beloit, Wis., veteran stormed from his outside second row starting berth to claim the lead on the fourth circuit and go on to win the 30-lap battle. John Ziegler of Madison, Wis., finished second, Rich Bickle Jr. of Edgerton, Wis., took third, Jim Weber of Roseville, Minn., earned fourth and Joel Laufer of Hartford, Wis., rounded out the top five.

Jack Hewitt of Troy, Ohio, became the 12th different winner in the 13-year history of the Tony Hulman Classic USAC Sprint Car event at the Terre Haute Action Track, Sunday afternoon. Hewitt, who started seventh in the 20-car field, guided his Chevy past race leader Larry Dickson on lap 6 of the 30-lap feature and then paced the remaining laps to score his second career USAC victory.


Bobby Jackson of Rock Island, Ill., became the fourth different winner in the Late Model division, leading all 30 laps in winning at East Moline (Ill.) Speedway on Sunday evening. Mike Cothron of Moline, Ill., in his second season of Late Model competition, claimed his highest finish to date with a second place run.  In preliminary action, Darrell Harmening of East Moline won the Street Stock feature and Rob Conners of Bettendorf grabbed top honors in the Open Wheel A-main.

Gary Tigges of Durango, Iowa, in his 1982 Camaro, flew to his first NASCAR Grand American Series Late Model feature win of the season at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds on Sunday night. Tigges was running the high-banked 3/8-mile oval in less than 17 seconds per lap. His closest competitor was Dick Schiltz of Waterloo who finished a half a lap behind. Jim Reidl, also of Durango, won the 15-lap Sportsman contest. Reidl started on the fourth row and took the lead on lap 10. Dave Naylor of Scotch Grove, driving a 1973 Ford Mustang, won his second Fun Class feature in a row.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

1972 - Hoffman captures Oskaloosa season opener

by Ida May Vangendren
Oskaloosa, Iowa (May 3, 1972) - What an evening of racing last night at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. A pit full of beautiful, fast racing machines, a capacity crowd of race fans and rain threatening (just 31 miles away) really started the 1972 race season off flying.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines captured the 20-lap super stock feature. Hoffman, driving the new red 1972 Monte Carlo of Tom Spagnola, Inc., took the lead on about the fifteenth lap and held on for the victory.

Don did some fancy driving to get thru the slower traffic and around a spinning John Moss to take over the lead spot. Moss of Iowa City seemed to have the race won (he led the first 14 laps), when he got caught in the slower traffic while lapping and was forced out of the race.

Curt Hansen of Dike put his blue Ford into second place behind Hoffman. Bill Newman of Burlington was third in a Chevelle.

Right on Newman’s tail was Ed Sanger of Waterloo in a ‘70 Monte Carlo. Following in order were: Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, Randy Sterner of Blair, Nebraska, Bob Hilmer of Dysart and John Babb of Ottumwa.

Bob Bonzer of Liscomb led all the way to win the first heat race. Bonzer was pushed hard all the way by Bill Newman. In a fight for third spot it was Randy Sterner of Blair, Neb., edging out Ottumwa’s John Babb.

The red flag had to come out twice for minor spin outs before the official first lap. The drivers then settled into the groove and did some truly fine racing.

John Moss topped the second heat ahead of Mike Niffenegger, Ed Sanger and Bob Hilmer. Moss was driving his new ‘70 Roadrunner.

Curt Hansen jumped into the lead at the start and held on to win the third heat. Ron Perdock of Washington took second place with Roger Dolan of Lisbon in third. Earl Tice of Ames finished fourth.

Hoffman, the only driver of the evening to win two races, also won the fourth heat. Hoffman, Bill Zwanziger, Pokey West of West Chester and Bill Martin of Council Bluffs had a side by side and bumper to bumper battle for that first place throughout much of the 8 laps. They finished in the above order.

Dan Clement of Rhodes won the 10-lap semi-main by a wide margin over the rest of the 19-car field. Bill Beckman of Lisbon finished second followed by Red Dralle of Cedar Falls, Chris Maurer of Colfax, Joe Merrifield of Des Moines, Mike Keen of Marshalltown and Bob McCall of Ottumwa.

With such a large field of super stocks the Australian pursuit was dropped in favor of an extra heat race.

Larry Angell of Des Moines captured the Sportsman feature race. Angell took over the lead midway through the race and held on to win.

Kenny Grimm of Cedar Rapids was leading by a large margin but had some tough luck when on the sixth lap the left rear wheel and axle pulled out and went down the front stretch ahead of him.

David Foster of New Sharon placed second. Official finish was third, Kenny Grimm; fourth place Paul Lamphier of Oskaloosa and David Schrader of Monroe in fifth.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

1966 - Nelson Wins Yankee 300

Norm Nelson
Indianapolis, Ind. (May 1, 1966) – Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis., won his second consecutive Yankee 300 race Sunday at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Four persons were injured in one accident and driver Jim Hurtubise escaped harm in another spectacular crash.

Nelson, the 1965 USAC national stock car champion, turned the 160 laps in 3 hours, 13 minutes and 27 seconds for an average speed of 93.017 miles per hour. He won $4,838 of a guaranteed $15,000 purse, driving a 1966 Plymouth.

Four persons were injured when a car driven by Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill., hit the starter’s stand and crashed into a crowded pit area. Shannon, who was not injured, lost control of his machine on the main straightaway of the 4th lap when his motor apparently locked.

The car hit the starter’s stand, knocking starter John Shipman of Terre Haute to the ground. Three members of Paul Goldsmith’s pit crew were injured. They were Pedro Mondez, Bob Guy, and Rollie Vaust. None of the Injuries was believed serious. The mishap delayed the race for about 45 minutes.

Hurtubise’s car hit the outer guard rail of the first turn on the 65th lap and flipped over. Hurtubise was not hurt but his car was demolished.

Only 9 of the 24 starters finished the race.

Billy Foster, Vancouver, B.C., was second in a Dodge. Other finishers in their order were Bay Darnell, Glenview, Ill., J.C. Klotz, Fort Wayne, Jerry Norris, Louisville; Bobby Wawak, Villa Park, Ill., David Whitcomb, Chicago, Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill., and Don Hill, Villapark, Ill.

Five different drivers led during the race, including Nelson, Foster, Hurtubise, Gordsmith and Don White, Both White and Goldsmith were forced out of the race because of oil pressure.

Goldsmith, who won the Darlington 400 mile race Saturday, left on the 44th lap and Whitcomb left while leading on the 66th lap.


Results –

  1. Norm Nelson
  2. Billy Foster
  3. Bay Darnell
  4. J.C. Klotz
  5. Jerry Norris
  6. Bobby Wawak
  7. Dave Whitcomb
  8. Gary Bettenhausen
  9. Don Hill
  10. Elmer Davis
  11. Paul Goldsmith
  12. Don White
  13. Jim Hurtubise
  14. Herb Shannon