Thursday, June 30, 2016

1957 – Funk tops field at Jayhawk 300

Lennie Funk
Hutchinson, Kan. (June 30, 1957) – A Kansan, Lennie Funk, took top money, $590, in the Jayhawk 300 new model car race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds half-mile oval on Sunday afternoon.

A battle between two top drivers was shaping up for the IMCA-sanctioned event. Among the entries in the 300-lap new car race were Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, the defending IMCA national champion, and Bob Burdick, the current point leader from Omaha, Neb. Burdick had whipped the national champion four times in races that year.

The race was a split feature of 300 laps. Cars ran time trials and started in regular order with the fastest cars leading the pack. After 150 laps have been covered, a first-half winner will be declared and the cars pulled into the pit area. After realignment with the slower cars to the front, the second 150 laps were run. No work could be done on the cars while they were in the pits awaiting realignment.

Funk, from Otis, drove a 1957 Chevrolet to third place in the first 75-mile grind and finished second in the second half. Prize money was awarded on the basis of the best placing in the two races. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb., drove a 1957 Ford to second best in the overall standings. He won $510 by placing first in the first half and fifth in the second.

Over 3,500 race fans witnessed the race; the longest ever run in Kansas and one offering the richest purse. The race was sponsored by the International Motor Contest Association.

Two minor accidents marred the day. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa, cracked into the south fence on lap 102 of the second half portion of the feature. He was not injured. Burdick broke an axle on the 120 lap of the second but still managed to finish fifth.

The big match-up between Beauchamp and Burdick never materialized. While Burdick experienced success in the marathon event, Beauchamp blew his engine in hot laps and was unable to make repairs and even compete.


Results –


Feature #1 -

  1. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
  2. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Lennie Funk, Otis, Kan.
  4. Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
  5. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  6. Bob Dugan, Waukegan, Ill.

Feature #2 -

  1. Chub Liebe
  2. Lennie Funk
  3. George Miller, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  4. Bob Dugan
  5. Bob Burdick
  6. Red Siems, Hutchinson, Kan.

Overall Finish -

  1. Lennie Funk
  2. Bob Burdick
  3. Chub Liebe
  4. Don White
  5. George Miller
  6. Bob Dugan
  7. Bob Hardy
  8. Darrell Dake
  9. Red Siems
  10. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.

Monday, June 27, 2016

1994 – Young achieves perfection at USA Sprint Nationals

Danny Young - Barry Johnson Photo

Burlington, Iowa (June 27-28, 1994) - Danny Young wanted to run both classes at the USA Sprint Car Nationals at 34 Raceway. 

He was turned down. 

That meant he would only dominate one class. 

The Des Moines driver established himself as the favorite in the limited sprints class, having the fastest time in qualifying and winning the Fast Car Dash in the first night of the two-day event Monday on the 3/8-mile dirt oval. 

Young also wanted to drive in the unlimited sprints, but track officials refused his request. 

"They told me I had to have two cars," he said. He took the one car he had and ran a fast time of 14.59 seconds in qualifying. That put him in the sixth position in the six-car Fast Car Dash, but he had the lead in the 10-lap race before the field came out of the second turn on the first lap. 

"He is a very aggressive driver," said Bart Schneiderman of Burlington, who will start outside of Young in the first row of tonight's 25-lap feature. "I knew he would be right on me in the first lap." 

"I didn't come here to finish second," Young said. Young has won 10 features this season. 

"When we've raced, the car has run well," he said. "But we've had some bad luck. We broke a rear end twice last weekend." 

What will it take to beat Young? 

“A miracle, maybe," Schneiderman said. "The car will be ready, I'll be ready, and the crew will be ready. But (Young) is awful strong." 

Randy Wagler of Danville and Jeff Haines of Oskaloosa will start in the second row. Steve Wares of Knoxville and Scott Whitworth of Worthington, Mo., will be in the third row.
The 30-lap unlimited sprints feature has several favorites. 

Gary Wright of Hooks, Tex., had the fast lap of 13.49 seconds in qualifying. Johnny Herrera of Albuquerque, N.M. won the Fast Car Dash. Danny Lasoski of Dover, Mo. - who won of the features at the World of Outlaw's Valvoline Classic at Knoxville Raceway on Saturday - had the third fastest time and finished second behind Herrera in the Fast Car Dash. 

"It'll be a great show," Herrera said. "It could be between Danny and me, but Gary was strong in qualifying and other drivers could sneak in." 

Herrera and Lasoski will start on the front row. Randy Smith of Mount Ayr will start with Burlington's Todd Taeger in the second row. Wright and Terry McCarl will start on the third row. 

"It was like 'follow the leader' (in the Fast Car Dash) because the way the track changed," Herrera said. "My car ran well. If the track is the same tomorrow night, we won't change much." 

On Tuesday night, Danny Young was perfect…and Gary Wright was almost perfect. 

The two drivers took feature wins on the final night of the USA Sprint Car Nationals Tuesday at 34 Raceway. 

Young won the $1,000 top prize for winning the limited sprints feature, while Wright won $5,000 for taking the unlimited sprints feature. 

Young won all of the honors in the two-day event on the 3/8-mile dirt oval. He had the fastest car in time trials and also won the Fast Car Dash Monday, then came back to lead all 25 laps of Tuesday's feature. 

Young's car was so perfect not even an incident on the seventh lap could disturb its rhythm. Young went in to the first turn too low, striking a tire marker embedded at the bottom of the turn. But the Des Moines driver kept the lead. 

"I was looking for a groove with a little moisture, but I went too low," Young said. "But the car didn't even bobble. The car ran well all night." 

Young started from the pole and was lapping cars by the fifth lap. 

"I didn't think we would be lapping cars that fast," said Bart Schneiderman of Burlington, who finished second. "When we got into lapped cars, I think he had the advantage." 

Young sailed through the slower cars by using several grooves. "It could run just about anywhere," Young said. 

Schneiderman, who chased Young through the Fast Car Dash, stayed close because of four caution periods. 

"I was hoping I could use the restarts to get a better jump on him," Schneiderman said. "My car was good, except it was a little loose. I was tickled to finish second." 

It was Young's 11th feature of the season. 

Butch Nutaut of Springfield, Ill., finished third. Jeff Haines of Oskaloosa was fourth. 

Wright also had the fastest car in time trials, but a different set-up hurt him in the Fast Car Dash. He finished fifth in the six-car field. 

"We tried a different set-up as kind of experiment last night and it really hurt the car," the Hooks, Tex., driver said. "We just threw everything out and went back to the original setup." 

Wright started fifth in the field and trailed early as Johnny Herrera and Danny Lasoski controlled the first 20 laps. Herrera, who started from the pole, led the first 16 laps before Lasoski led laps 17 through 19. Wright then took the lead and held on for his 10th feature win of the season. 

"We had the right tires and the right gear," Wright said. "It was tough getting through lapped traffic, but the car ran well." 

Herrera held off Lasoski for second. Terry McCarl was fourth. Aron Berryhill was fifth.

Results -

Limited Sprints


1. Danny Young, Des Moines, Iowa
2. Bart Schneiderman, Burlington, Iowa
3. Butch Nutaut, Springfield, Ill.
4. Jeff Haines, Oskaloosa, Iowa
5. Bobby Thompson, Des Moines
6. Wayne Sternbaugh, El Paso, Ill.
7. Dave Anderson, Burlington, Iowa
8. Scotty Whitworth, Worthington, Mo
9. Bob Ensminger, Burlington, Iowa
10. Steve Wares, Knoxville, Iowa
11. Maxie Hemibaugh, Des Moines, Iowa
12. Brett Golick, Newton, Iowa
13. Scott Newman, Burlington, Iowa
14. Mike Thomas, Des Moines, Iowa
15. Randy Plath, Stronghurst, Ill.
16. Randy Wagler, Danville, Iowa
17. Donnie Anderson, Burlington, Iowa
18. Joe Cooper, Burlington, Iowa

Unlimited Sprints


1. Gary Wright, Hooks, Tex.
2. Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque, N.M
3. Danny Lasoski, Dover, Mo.
4. Terry McCarl, Des Moines, Iowa
5. Aaron Berryhill, Tulsa, Okla.
6. Jimmy Carr, Maple Ridge, B.C.
7. Brook Tatnell, Sydney, Australia
8. Todd Taeger, Springfield, Ill.
9. Kenny McCarl, Des Moines, Iowa
10. Donny Thoman, Burlington, Iowa
11. Ryan Jamison, Burlington, Iowa
12. Dale Peterson, Brookfield, Wis.
13. Jeff Tuttle, Des Moines, Iowa
14. Marlow Jones, Sioux Falls, S.D.
15. Leonard Lee, Milo, Iowa
16. Bob Weave, Newton, Iowa
17. Randy Smith, Mount Ayr, Iowa
18. Jamie Moyle, Bridgewater, Australia
19. Manny Rockhold, Pekin, Ill.

Friday, June 24, 2016

1973 - Small Purse, Janey Rejects IMCA

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 24, 1973) - You’re probably aware that Irv Janey has not raced one lap on the International Motor Contest Association stock car circuit this year.

That was not in the original plans for the Cedar Rapids driver, who last year fulfilled a dream of his and his late father Ed’s by winning the IMCA championship.

“Oh, I was encouraged in the offseason when IMCA decided to guarantee the defending champion (Janey) $200 in appearance money,” admitted Irv. “But the straw that broke the camel’s back was when IMCA announced that the season opener at Shreveport (La.) was a 200-lapper and paid only $500 to win.

“That took away all my enthusiasm. Shreveport is 500 miles from here!”

Janey added that IMCA does not “have enough races booked to make it worthwhile, either.” But he might enter the field for the Firecracker 300 at Des Moines the night of July 4. “I haven’t joined IMCA, yet, but if USAC doesn’t object I may race,” he explained.

If Janey doesn’t participate, it will mark the second time in as many years that IMCA’s defending champion has not been on hand for the annual event which was previously known as the Iowa 300. Ernie Derr didn’t compete last year. Derr, like Janey, is running the full USAC slate this year.

Irv still runs for Marty Sixt’s Advance Drainage Systems outfit out of Iowa City. While his USAC mount is a 1973 Dodge Charger, he pilots a 1970 Plymouth in the weekly show at Hawkeye Downs on Friday night. He's been less than impressive at the Downs.

“I never seem to run well at home,” he said, “but we’re starting to get it working. Actually, it is working okay – I’m just not fast enough. It’s taking me more time to get competitive.”

Janey isn’t sulking over his lack of success at the Downs. To the contrary, he points to the keen competition and other known factors that seem to plague non-Chevrolet drivers.

“If you can run with these guys here (Downs), it’s like going to batting practice when you enter races at other tracks. It's really good for you - it keeps you sharp.”

“But the Chevrolets definitely have an advantage with more cubic inches in their engines and less car weight. Even with the hemi engine (426 cubic inches), we are smaller. Fred Horn has the same problem with his hemi Plymouth. The Chevys have more cubes and they are 500-700 pounds lighter than our Plymouths.”

By local Cam-Car rules, that is permissible, but USAC doesn’t allow it, Janey explained.

“USAC holds the cubes down and every car has to weigh 3,900 pounds. Either that or you have to run a pony car with a small engine.”

“I really don’t mind the local rule, though, and I don’t think I'll ever make the switch to a Chevy. I don’t think it’s good for racing if everyone starts running the same kind of car.”

Thursday, June 23, 2016

1977 – 'Big' John Moss

West Liberty, Iowa (June 23, 1977) - Many names have come and gone over the years on the stock car racing circuit at the West Liberty Fairgrounds racetrack.

But the one name which has-stood the test of time best is that of Johnny Moss of Iowa City, who is in his 21st year behind the wheel of a stock car.

There may be other drivers around the 20-year mark, but Moss has been racing every year at West Liberty and tracks in other parts of the state.

Friends and foes alike know him as big Johnny Moss because of his 6 foot, 4-inch, 300-pound frame, which he squeezes in and out of his car.

Big John, who turned 42 on June 10, is a heavy equipment operator. His racing career started in 1956 when he started building stock car engines and became the co-owner of a car with Bob Gingerich of Iowa City.

Moss has had more than his share of mechanical problems with his car this year and currently is in 13th place in the late model division point standings with 770 points.

For success, he's possibly done his best on the Iowa State Fairgrounds track in Des Moines; but he still likes the West Liberty track even though it's narrow in spots. “Racing here (at West Liberty) is like coming home,” he says.

At one time, big John had four cars and one of his regrets was that he didn't capitalize on an opportunity to race on the late model USAC circuit in the South. “If that opportunity came along now and I was younger I'd jump at it.”

Besides lots of changes among the drivers he competes against, Moss has seen many changes from the days when the Mississippi Valley Speed Club sponsored jalopy races at the West Liberty, Columbus Junction .and Mount Pleasant tracks.

It takes much more money to build a late model stock car and John says “We've got as much money invested in tires now as we used to have in those old jalopies.” Over $25,000 is invested in three engines.

One change Moss doesn't like in the rules changes made by Super Stocks, Inc., which sanctions the races now, is that the competition is lined up, according to the point standings.

Drivers, used to compete in time trials for positions, but with his car problems this year his place in the point standings haven't given him any advantageous starting spots. “I'll take time trials any day,” he says.

While many things go into the long career of a respected racing contender like big Johnny Moss, he claims the success of any racing team is about “75% car and 25% driver.”

In looking at his own career, Moss says “I guess a guy ought to be able to race until he's 50 if he wants too.”

His own concluding testimonial of the many hundreds of races in which he's competed is “If I had it to do over again, I'd still become a race car driver.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

1986 - Breaks, brakes go Martin’s way

Mark Martin - Dan Chervenak Photo

Oregon, Wis. (June 22, 1986) - Mark Martin had just enough brakes left in his Ford Thunderbird to overtake Dick Trickle and win the Coors Light Silver Bullet 300 Sunday afternoon before an estimated 6,700 spectators at Capital Speedway. 
Martin passed Trickle, who had lost his brakes completely, in turn four on lap 294 and went on to win his first American Speed Association race of the season with an average speed of 72.825 miles per hour. He earned $8,340 of the 159,940 purse and also took over the ASA points lead.
“It was a grueling race,” said Martin, the polesitter. “Everybody had their share of misfortune but I had the least. At the end we were virtually out of brakes but Dick was completely out.”
“I was all over Dick but I didn't know if I could pass him because I was out of brakes with about 20 laps remaining. I was watching his car and noticed it was getting worse in the corners, so with about 10 laps to go I decided to make a move. 
There were two other moves that helped Martin triumph. The first came on lap 156 when Butch Miller, running second, blew an engine coming down the front straightaway. Miller spun his 1986 Chevrolet in turn one and was struck by Mike Eddy's Chevrolet. Martin also spun but was able to avoid serious contact.
“Had not Mike hit Butch, he would have hit me, so I was lucky to come away from that accident,” said Martin. “Lady Luck was on my side.”
The second move came in the pits. On lap 253 under the last of eight caution flags, all five cars on the lead lap pitted. Leader John Ziegler of Madison was first to enter the pits followed by Trickle, Bob Senneker, Martin and Tom Jones. Trickle was the first out and Martin second.
“That stop was very important because I picked up two places,” said Martin. “It’s a different race if we come out third or fourth. The crew did an excellent job.”
Ziegler wasn't as fortunate in the pits. His crew had trouble changing the right front tire and also was unable to get the jack cleared before he took off. The jack stuck with the car for several feet and then spun onto the track.
“There is a pin on the jack and it stuck in the car,” said Ziegler, who, after running over the jack, returned to the pits a lap later. “The crew thought there might have been some damage but there wasn't.”
Ziegler was out of contention when the green flag came out on lap 258, and finished fifth. Senneker, of Dorr, Mich., was third and Jones, of Northbrook, Ill., fourth.
“That was the first time we raced that car so I can’t be disappointed,” said Ziegler, who was unable to make up ground after the pit stop because he also burned his brakes down.
“Usually it takes two or three months to get the car running like it was today. I'm very satisfied with the finish.”
Rich Bickle Jr. of Edgerton didn’t even get a chance to push on the pedal. He qualified fifth Saturday but engine problems kept him from starting.

Results –
  1. Mark Martin
  2. Dick Trickle
  3. Bob Senneker
  4. Tom Jones
  5. John Ziegler
  6. Harold Fair
  7. Jay Sauter
  8. Kent Stauffer
  9. Mike Eddy
  10. Kenny Wallace
  11. Ken Lund
  12. Gary St. Amant
  13. Bill Stephenson
  14. Bobby Dotter
  15. Kent Christenson Jr.
  16. Jerry Churchill
  17. Gene Harsch
  18. Ed Cooper
  19. John Wilson
  20. Dennis Vogel

Sunday, June 19, 2016

1976 - Davis, Hoffman take Fairgrounds’ features

Des Moines, Iowa (June 19, 1976) - Bill Davis won his second straight sportsman feature and defending late model point champion Don Hoffman finally got one under his belt Saturday night in the stock car races at the State Fairgrounds.

Davis of Des Moines led all but one lap of the 14-lap feature, shortened one circuit because of a spin by point leader Rick Merryfield in the first turn of the 15th and final lap. Merryfield was awarded fourth place.

Larry Embrey of Grimes challenged Davis the entire race, leading the fourth lap, but eventually finished second with Dave Farren of Des Moines third.

Merryfield’s spin proved beneficial to Davis, whose 1970 Camaro’s radiator was boiling over as he received the first-place trophy to the cheers of the 8,425 fans.

“I lost the fan belt on the last restart (on the eleventh lap),” explained Davis, who won $305 for the feature and first heat triumphs. “I don’t know how much farther it might have run.”

The final restart was the result of Jerry Campbell’s collision with the front straightaway wall when he tried to pass Farren. “I guess there just wasn’t enough room to pass,” said Campbell of the accident which badly damaged the front end of his 1970 Camaro.

Davis has had little success in his new Camaro this season but that has changed the last few weeks.

“We changed the car around a little,’ Davis said, “And it just keeps getting better and better every race.”

Hoffman is another driver with a new car, and he’s also made several changes on his 1970 Pizza Hut Nova before finding the winning combination for the first time this season at the Fairgrounds’ one-half-mile dirt oval.

“We’ve had our problems,” Hoffman said, “We’ve been experimenting with different stuff so we knew it would be slow coming along.”

Hoffman’s crew apparently has found a near-perfect setup because he led all 25 laps and had a full straightaway lead at the finish ahead of second-place George Barton of Ankeny. Ken Davidson of Indianola was third, followed by Dave Chase of Council Bluffs and Karl Sanger of Waterloo.

It was Hoffman’s fourth feature victory this year and second this week - he won at Oskaloosa Wednesday night.

“The car is just now starting to come around,” Hoffman added. “We figured if we got the engine working, everything else would work itself out.”

The feature and first heat victories were worth $610 to the Des Moines driver.

It took six restarts before the sportsman 12-lap consolation race got underway. Half of the 16-car starting field was eliminated by spins and collisions in the dry, slick turns.

But Rex Carter of Adel outlasted them all to take the victory with Cal Swanson of Reinbeck second and Steve Osborn of Des Moines third.

The 6-lap late-model consolation went to Lefty Robinson, who was followed by Jim Wilson and Fred Knapp, all of Des Moines.

Results -

Sportsman –

1. Bill Davis
2. Larry Embrey
3. Dave Farren
4. Rick Merryfield
5. Glen Woodard
6. Del McDowall
7. Virgil Webb
8. Cal Swanson
9. Denny Rosenberg
10. Howard Smidt

Late Model -

1. Don Hoffman
2. George Barton
3. Ken Davidson
4. Dave Chase
5. Ed Sanger
6. Bill Rice
7. Joe Merryfield
8. Galen Schaefer
9. Bill Beckman
10. Mike Dibben

Thursday, June 16, 2016

1977 - Who came first? Koehler a part of Raceway

Bud Koehler - Photo courtesy of Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame

By Tony Baranek
Blue Island, Ill. (June 16, 1977) - Literally hundreds of drivers have done battle on the Raceway Park oval since the track was opened in 1949. Many have won track titles. 
But no one in the history of the Blue Island motordrome has even come close to achieving what Bud Koehler has done - and it's highly unlikely that anyone will ever match him. 
First, however, the 11-time track champ will have to give them a final number to shoot at. That (retirement) in itself may take a great deal of time.
Back in 1949, when stock car racing was begun at Raceway on an experimental basis, Koehler was a midget driver. He made the switch to stocks, however, and walked on with the first Raceway late model trophy.
Today, Koehler is still a winner, perhaps even more so than in his younger days. He has won four out of the last five season titles and may very well cop another one if he can recover from an early season slump which still sees him without a victory.
But aside from the 11 track championships, 482 career feature wins (the next closest competitor, now retired has 148), numerous trophy dash titles and more checkered flags than anyone could ever hope to have, the most amazing thing about Bud Koehler is the fact that he can come back every week and look for that next victory. 
Has he lost his enjoyment in the sport? Not really, although he admits that it's a little harder to work himself into shape each time opening day rolls around.
“It’s a young man’s sport, I guess,” said Koehler, “but I still enjoy it, although it isn’t what is used to be when I was a youngster. And it isn't so much winning that provides the enjoyment, it's going over and competing.”
Still after almost 30 years of racing, one would think that Koehler feels that the track is part of his workweek. And in a sense, it is, but not in a negative way.
Bud Koehler at Raceway Park in 1966
“If you consider work an enjoyment, then I guess I look at it as work,” he explained. “But of course there are times when you don’t want to go to the race track every weekend. Everything has to fit into place when you go.”
That being the case, things must have fit into place many times for the 56-year-old interior decorator, who has become more than a legend at the Blue Island plant, in addition to making his mark at many other tracks in the Midwest.
But Koehler has never strayed very far from Raceway, and has competed regularly there each and every season since that fateful 1949 campaign. That’s unlike many other drivers, who can’t resist the basic urge to travel and find themselves on the road throughout the country.
“I used to run other tracks and even managed to win a few championships,” he said, “but I just don’t care to go traveling around the country. Also, I don’t really like to go that fast. This way, you don’t have the potential for driving accidents. At my age, I hurt easy and hurt a long time.”
That was evidenced earlier this season when Koehler and his late model Camaro wound up on the first turn wall in a spectacular accident. The front of the car was practically destroyed, with the driver incurring injuries. Although he returned to action two weeks later, Koehler is still feeling the effects of the crash.
For that matter, so is the car, which hasn't been up to par lately, and Koehler is beginning to slip way behind point leader Jerry Kemperman and some of the other top runners.
However, the poor start is very reminiscent of last season, when he failed to win a feature for the entire first month, but came storming back at the end to win the title going away.
There is one big difference between now and then, however. The level of competition at Raceway has improved with more than 30 drivers a night taking qualifying runs in the late model division.
Included in the sudden increase in drivers is a flock of young talent that has come over from both the hobby stock division and the now defunct six-cylinder class. At the moment, that talent is unpolished, but eagerness to learn prods the younger set to seek advice from the veterans.
“The younger drivers are constantly asking how to pass,” said Koehler, “but that’s like asking someone how to swim. You have to get into predicaments and see what happens at the time. That's the rough part of racing.” 
And that’s just how Koehler worked his way into the world of racing - by getting himself into a predicament. In the late 1930’s, Koehler did some racing of his own, starting with motorcycles and advancing into midget cars. He then became associated with Raceway in 1940, as a mechanic in the pits for another driver.
"Because of the war, there wasn’t any racing then until 1946,” recalled Koehler “At that time, I owned a car, but had someone else drive it.”
“One day I got into an argument with him,” he continued, “and he said if I thought I could do a better job, try it myself. So I did “
That one decision led to the disappointment of many drivers over the years, who have come to Raceway, occasionally found success, but could never knock Koehler down. At least not for long.
And if he doesn’t rebound from his shaky start in 1977, Koehler will almost certainly be back to go after his unprecedented 12th title next year
Retirement? That’s one word that Koehler uses once m awhile but never too seriously Many times, September and the end of another season prompts him to consider pulling into the garage for the last time. But come the month of May, he’s usually the first one on the track to qualify
Judging from his recent performance at Raceway, Koehler may very well be in the prime of his racing life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

1969 - Mack Wins Sprint Honors

Don Mack

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 15, 1969) - It was with a cloud of dust and a hearty Chevy-powered sprinter that Don Mack captured the 25-lap Dad's day sprint car classic Sunday afternoon at Hawkeye Downs.

Mack, the 9-year veteran from East Grand Forks, Minn., who ranked second in International Motor Contest Association point standings going into Sunday’s events, closed the door on the rest of the 19-car field on the 20th lap to earn the top prize of $400.

Mack had started third on the half-mile dirt oval, which dried out considerably in the warm sun and created plenty of dust.

“I ate a lot of dirt,” smiled Mack as he wiped his face clean, “but that was before I took the lead. It felt good to see that checkered flag being waved at me. Yes, that’s my second feature win of the year for IMCA. I won earlier this year at the Tampa (Fla.) Sprints.”

Mack took the lead for the first and only time from Pleasantville, Iowa's Earl Wagner on the first lap after the only yellow flag, which was out for five laps.

Second place went to Darl Harrison of Tiffin, Ohio, the IMCA point leader who opened on the pole. Third was Jay Woodside of Kansas City, with Cliff Cockrum of Benton, Ill., and Wagner rounding out the top five.

Harrison copped the trophy dash, while heat wins went to Ron Jackson of Burlington and Sonny McDaniels of Houston, Texas. Woodside won the consolation event.

Don “Itch” Daniels of St. Paul, Minn., was involved in the most serious accident of the day. His Ford-powered sprinter lost its steering mechanism going into the second turn of the first heat and flipped over the rail. Daniels was treated for facial cuts and was released from the hospital before the program was completed. His car - the same one in which Harry Kern was killed last year in the Little 500 at Anderson, Ind. - was badly damaged.

Results –

1. Don Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
2. Darl Harrison, Tiffin, Ohio
3. Jay Woodside, Kansas City, Mo.
4. Cliff Cockrum, Benton, Ill.
5. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
6. Ralph Parkinson, Wichita Falls, Tex.
7. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
8. Gene Rohl, Lake Mills, Wis.
9. Benny Rapp, Toledo, Ohio
10.Bill Compton, Sylvania, Ohio

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

1977 - Horn outduels Zwanziger for Falstaff 100 victory


Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 14, 1977) - Dueling Stock Cars. An old tune put to different lyrics.
And to say that the 28 cars that started the fifth annual Falstaff 100 Tuesday night at Hawkeye Downs dueled furiously and intensely is a vast understatement.
Marion's Fred Horn steered his sleek 1977 Camaro to the checkers abut a car length in front of Waterloo's Bill Zwanziger to put the finishing touches on a dazzling stock car program that delighted 6,500 race fans.
“I just wanted to run flat out and the car performed,” breathed Horn after outlasting Zwanziger's 1977 Nova in a heated battle that went bumper-to-bumper and side-by-side for the final 30 laps of the 100-lapper.
“This is probably my greatest racing win. I won the Iowa 300 IMCA race once, but this is probably the most prestigious, the top short track drivers in the Midwest, maybe the whole country, were here tonight.”
“I sure feels good to win and I'm telling you, I have to pay the highest tribute to Bill Zwanziger. We were right together through those last laps and he didn't touch me once.”
Kalona's Mike Niffenegger won the pole position with a 24.76 lap in time trials, but Zwanziger, a former Falstaff winner, moved to front on the second lap.
That changed one lap later when defending champion Curt Hansen of Dike took over and led until Zwanziger took over on the 35th tour. And while the record crowd feasted on the front-running action, Roger Dolan of Lisbon and Bill Rice of Des Moines were steaming like there was no tomorrow.
Dolan started 16th, but was running fifth on the 35th lap. That was just one lap before Waterloo's Ed Sanger, another former winner, went to the pits with engine problems. Sanger was driving his backup car.
Rice started even farther back, 19th on the grid, and he maneuvered relentlessly until finally moving into his eventual fourth-place finishing spot on the 94th lap.
Dolan opted for tile high groove from the beginning and had pedal to the metal until he went around Zwanziger on the 60th lap. The Lisbon veteran was making a run at Horn going into the second turn on the 69th lap when he spun out and lost six positions. He came back to finish sixth.
Horn picked up $1,600 for the win and confided later he loves longer races. “I've like to go 100 laps or more, it’s more appealing racing. It gives you a chance to really see what your car can do.”
“I’m driving a lighter car this year, but tonight I think we were about 2, 850 pounds because we added some weight. It was a good test for the Camaro. I want to give my brother Ed some hard-earned credit. He maintains the car and really had it set up right tonight.”
Rice was racing for the fifth straight day and arrived late Tuesday night after pulling almost 500 miles from Fargo, N.D., where he won $1,100 for winning a special Monday night.
“After we timed and had to run that heat race we seriously thought about loading up and heading for Des Moines,” said Rice. “We've been on the road constantly all weekend and everybody in the crew/w is really tired.”
Bill can temper his worn-out feeling when he totals up his earnings since last Friday night. In the money at Boone, Mason City, Des Moines, and Fargo and then in the Falstaff, his earnings total $2,930.
Mike Frieden won the 20-lap consolation and picked up $200.
Pit Stops: Lisbon's Roger Dolan wowed the crowd of course, with his brilliant drive from 16th and after cooling off with a beverage after the 100-lapper mused, facetiously, “That's what I get for driving so conservatively.” On the 59th lap, Dolan scraped the wall in the back stretch and sparks flew, but in the process passed Curt Hanson into second place behind Horn . . . Most observers were amazed that 10 cars all finished on the same lap, let alone go the entire 100 tours. “It was amazing,” said veteran race announcer Tony Dean, now of Huron, S.D., “that 21 of the 28 starters were still racing at the finish.” Dean got his start announcing races at various Eastern Iowa tracks.

Results -

1. Fred Horn
2. Bill Zwanziger
3. Mike Niffenegger
4. Bill Rice
5. Curt Hansen
6. Roger Dolan
7. Darrell Dake
8. Ken Walton
9. Karl Sanger
10. Duane Steffe
11. Gary Crawford
12. Red Dralle
13. Verlin Eaker
14. Dick Schiltz
15. Tom Bartholomew
16. Tom Hearst
17. Dan Dickey
18. Gail Brenner
19. Steve Keppler
20. Dave Chase
21. Ron Weedon
22. Larry Schulte
23. Gary Webb
24. Denny Osborn
25. John Engelkens

Friday, June 10, 2016

1961 - Four Indy Drivers at Dayton

Eddie Sachs

Dayton, Ohio (June 10, 1961) - Eddie Sachs, the driver who lost the Indianapolis 500 this year by a mere eight seconds because of worn tires, leads a brilliant field of drivers for the 200-lap USAC late model championship Sunday, June 11 at the Dayton Speedway.

Sachs is no stranger to the Dayton high banks but this marks his initial appearance as a late model stock driver. Sachs is a veteran of five Indianapolis races, having held the pole position for the past two years. He finished 12th in the USAC national standings last year and was the 195S USAC Midwest spring champion after finishing second in both 1954 and 1955.

Other Indianapolis 500 drivers who will be on hand include Dick Rathman, a veteran of seven races; Paul Goldsmith, who finished second last year in the USAC late model stock standings and who won an earlier USAC late model event at the Dayton Speedway; and Bill Cheesbourg.

Lefty McFadden, Dayton Speedway manager, said time trials will start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Other early entries include Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, Elmer Musgrave of Miles., Ill., Skip Michaels of Berwyn, Ill., Arnie Gardner of Batavia, Ill., Bill Shoulders and Lou Kamie, both of Waukegan, Ill., Gene Marmor of Schiller Park, Ill., Ken Finley of Summit, Ill., Dick Clement and Sal Tovella, both of Chicago; Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., Don Swenson of West Chicago, Herb Shannon of Peoria, Jack Holbrook of Melrose Park., Ill., and Eddie Meyer of Glenview, Mich.

Sunday’s program will open at noon with time trials for late arrivals and the first heat race at 2 p.m. Admission Sunday is $3.50 reserved; $2.50 grandstand, and 50 cents for children.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

1976 – Regeth a Top Winner in Fox Cities Area Racing

Roger Regeth - Photo Courtesy of Joe Slack
Appleton, Wis. (June 7, 1976) - It takes more than an experienced driver to be a consistent winner on area race tracks. You also need top quality machinery and capable mechanics, according to Kimberly’s Roger Regeth.

The highly-successful 37-year-old racer said, "There are a lot of excellent drivers around here. But sometimes their equipment doesn't measure up. “I have great respect for guys like J.J. Smith, Pete Parker, M.J. McBride and Jerry Smith to name a few, because they are good drivers who have the equipment to go with it.”

Regeth, a full-time automobile wholesaler, emphasized that you must be willing to pay the price for first-rate equipment. “You can’t cheat a race car,” he said. “You have to use the best equipment you can find if you expect to win races.”

The veteran driver also gives a lot of credit to his mechanics. “When I come to a race, I just jump into the car,” he said. “I rely on my mechanics, Mike and Jim Randerson, Gene Weber and Tom Schmidt to keep it running. The most I ever have to do is chase down a part once in a while.”

Roger’s racing career was inconspicuously launched in 1961. “I used to hang around a garage when I was living in West Allis,” he recalled. “The guys there built a sportsman car, which is like our hobby stock, and they needed someone to drive it.”

“I ended up driving and I managed to take second place in the race. I wasn’t really scared the first time I drove. It bothered me at first that I might roll the thing over. But once the starter’s flag fell, I forgot about being afraid.”

Regeth was involved in only two noteworthy mishaps during his 15 years of racing.

“I broke seven ribs during a race in Rockford, Ill., in 1968,” he said. “That accident occurred because of a misunderstanding. I told the mechanics that the car needed some weights in one place and they put them in another. This caused a spinout and the injury.”

“Then, last year, a gas line break caused my car to become engulfed in flames. Things were hairy for a minute. But I got to the fire extinguisher as calmly as possible. The fire didn’t bother me for long. In fact, the very next night I went out and took first place in a race.”

How big is the driver’s role in racing?

“There’s a big difference between driving on a dirt track compared to asphalt,” Regeth assessed, “If the tires aren’t right or the car isn’t handling easily on a dirt track, a driver can make up for it some. But if your equipment causes you to slide on an asphalt track, you’re pure history.”

Regeth quickly gained prominence as a race driver. He won track titles in Hales Corners, Cedarburg, Slinger and Waukegan, Ill., in ‘61.

Then, from 1963 until 1969, he was on the USAC circuit. Once, he finished ninth in point standings and also took 17th before leaving USAC. “Running USAC was quite expensive,” said Roger. “After a while, things just weren’t paying off.”

Regeth moved to the Fox Cities and competed on short tracks in 1970. In 1973, he drove Gene Wheeler’s ‘72 Chevelle equipped with a 427 engine to 17 feature triumphs. He captured the title in De Pere and finished second in the standings at Shawano.

In 1974, Regeth won six races with Wheeler before the twosome parted as friends. During the remainder of the season, Roger joined Jerry Sheriff and Mark Randerson and piloted their Camaro to 17 more victories. That brought his number of first place finishes to 23 for the year.

Last season, the Kimberly driver won 26 races and was the track champ at Shawano, De Pere and Oshkosh. He was third in the standings on Wisconsin International Raceway’s paved oval.

Regeth, who says top competition brings out the best in him, isn't resting on previous accomplishments this season.

In order to remain competitive, he’s constantly having his vehicle improved. He now drives a '73 Camaro that weighs less than 2,500 pounds and contains a 350 cubic inch motor. Most drivers have heavier machines and run engines in the 450 cubic inch range.

“Having a lighter car is a new thing,” said Regeth. “So far, we’re having luck with the lighter car. You have to keep trying to make changes for the better and attempt to stay ahead of the competition.”

Regeth usually races six nights per week. His wife, Marianne, is also a big auto racing fan.

Friday, June 3, 2016

1979 – Smith Shines Bright in Nashville ARCA Event

Marvin Smith
Nashville, Tenn. (June 3, 1979) - Marvin Smith put his 1979 Oldsmobile on the pole for the ARCA-sanctioned 100-lapper at Nashville International Raceway on Sunday afternoon and proceeded to dominate the event, beating Bob Dotter to the checkered flag.

The race was run in addition to the NASCAR national championship late model sportsman race at the same track that same afternoon.

Smith bettered his old record set June 17, 1978 of 20.79 seconds when he zoomed around the 5/8-mile banked paved oval in 20.71 seconds, during Saturday's qualifications.

Following Smith and Dotter across the finish line were Joe Raymond, Jim Cushman, and Moose Myer, all in the same lap. Bobby Watson and Steve Ellis were two laps down in sixth and seventh place and Darrell Basham, Greg Pike, and Jack Wallace rounding out the top 10, four laps down.

Kyle Petty was supposed to compete in the event in a brand new 1979 Ford Granada. However, the car was having brake problems so the only son of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, who hopes to compete for 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors, turned the ride down.

The same car hit the wall and practice with the new driver in it on Saturday. Greg Pike qualified the machine and later drove it to a ninth place finish in the race.

Results –

  1. Marvin Smith
  2. Bob Dotter
  3. Joe Raymond
  4. Jim Cushman
  5. Moose Myers
  6. Bobby Watson
  7. Steve Ellis
  8. Darrell Basham
  9. Greg Pike
  10. Jack Wallace
  11. Charlie Paxton
  12. Ned Tracy
  13. Bob Slawinski
  14. Alan Sheppard
  15. Larry Smith
  16. Tony Rose
  17. Larry Hayes
  18. Hubert West
  19. Ralph Jones
  20. L.T. Wechtel
  21. Donnie Martin
  22. Rick Roland
  23. Garry Sharp
  24. Russ Chapman