Saturday, July 30, 2016

Today in Racing History

Indiana's Chuck Gurney won the 40-lap USAC sprint car feature at Santa Fe Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill., on July 30, 1982. — Vince Mayer Photo 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

1963 - Lorenzen Captures Spectacular Volunteer 500

Fred Lorenzen enjoys a bevy of beauties in victory lane at Bristol

Bristol, Tenn. (July 28, 1963) - Pole-setting Fred Lorenzen out-horsepowered Richard Petty in the closing laps to take a 3-second victory worth $4,540 in the third annual running of the Volunteer 500 stock car race at International Speedway.

Lorenzen, driving a 1963 Ford, and Petty, driving a 1963 Plymouth were the only drivers of the 21 who finished the race to complete the scheduled 500 laps around the slippery half-mile track.

Jim Paschal, also driving a Petty Plymouth finished third. Ford-driving Marvin Panch finished fourth with David Pearson finishing fifth in a '63 Dodge.

Lorenzen, leader of the race three times for a total of 336 laps, took the lead away from Petty on the 320th lap when he beat him out of the pits after both drivers stopped for fuel while a piece of metal was removed from the backstretch under a caution flag.

Perennial favorite Fireball Roberts went out of the race on the 312th lap and was joined on the sidelines by the early leader Junior Johnson, on the 407th lap.

Roberts, spectacular in victory and defeat, entered the first turn too high, skidded into the retaining rail, flipped his car three times, skidded on the roof and came to rest right side up with flames under the hood. Roberts climbed out, dazed - but unhurt - and walked away.

Johnson, victim of mechanical miscues all season long, was stopped after 407 laps by a blown piston and a broken crankshaft. Johnson wound up in 22nd place with Roberts listed 29th in the final rundown.

Lorenzen started in the inside pole position with Roberts alongside and Johnson behind in the second row.

The portly-chicken farmer had said he would lead the race by the second lap – and he did. Lorenzen led the first time past the starter's stand but Johnson pushed his 1963 Chevrolet out front as the three went through the first turn the second time around.

Thirty-three laps later, Ned Jarrett tried to pull his 1963 Ford around Johnson going down the front stretch. Johnson nudged Jarrett with the right front of his car and, when Jarrett's car began to skid, shoved him into the retaining wall, sending Jarrett to the pits.

The caution flag was out for three laps as Jarrett limped around the track.

Nelson Stacy blew a tire entering the first turn on the 48th lap and brought out the second yellow flag while his car was moved and fuel cleared from the track where he slammed into the guard rail high in the turn.

The front-running Johnson lost the lead and the air in his right front tire simultaneously in the second turn on the 12th lap. Lorenzen sailed into the lead as Johnson caromed off the rail and pitted.

Rubber, rosin and other matter on the turn caught Roberts a lap later and gave him a ride along the rail at about the same spot Stacy and Johnson hit it. Roberts straightened his car up coming out of the second turn and continued.

Johnson tried to take the third turn a little too high on the 164th lap after coming out of the pits and spun again before moving down the front stretch.

Paschal, driving one of his best races ever, worked his way up from his 13th starting berth to second by the 210th lap. Two laps later his teammate, Petty, side slipped in the first turn and tapped leader Lorenzen up too high, causing him to spin into the wall. But the alert Lorenzen regained control after grazing the rail and kept his lead.

A piece of exhaust pipe on the track on lap 240 brought out the fourth caution flag. Lorenzen went to the pits for fuel and tires under the caution flag and Paschal was left with the lead - for one lap.

Nauseated by exhaust fumes and heat, Paschal pitted on the next lap for oxygen and Lee Petty took over. But by then Lorenzen was back on the track and easily regained the leader's role.

Results –

1. Fred Lorenzen
2. Richard Petty
3. Jim Paschal
4. Marvin Panch
5. David Pearson
6. Joe Weatherly
7. Tiny Lund
8. Darel Dieringer
9. Rex White
10. Tommy Irwin
11. Bobby Isaac
12. Larry Thomas
13. Billy Wade
14. Cale Yarbrough
15. Bobby Johns
16. Neil Castles
17. Ed Livingston
18. Reb Wickersham
19. J. D. McDuffie
20. Worth McMillion
21. Major Melton
22. Junior Johnson
23. Bobby Keck
24. Jack Smith
25. Ned Jarrett
26. Mark Hurley
27. Louis Jones
28. Gene Elliott
29. Fireball Roberts
30. Jimmy Pardue
31. Bunkie Blackburn
32. Buck Baker
33. Curtis Crider
34. Nelson Stacy
35. G. C. Spencer
36. Chuck Buckabee

Sunday, July 24, 2016

1965 - Donnellson IMCA feature to Stott

Ramo Stott
Donnellson, Iowa (July 24, 1965) - Ramo Stott pushed his 1965 Plymouth to a fast victory over Ernie Derr and the rest of the field in the 50-lap feature race of the IMCA late model stock car races at Donnellson's Lee County Fair Saturday night.

Stott, of Keokuk, won the race with a time of 24 minutes and 46 seconds while Derr, also of Keokuk, finished next in his Dodge. Lenny Funk from Otis, Kan., was third.

In the fourth and fastest heat of the night, Stott barely beat Derr with a time of 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

Derr had the lead in the initial lap of the five-lap race, but Stott passed him in the second and stayed ahead. Bob Jusola and Blaine Morrow followed the leaders.

The first heat was a reverse of the fourth, with Derr winning and Stott coming in second. John Mickey ended up third and Lewis Taylor fourth.

Jusola took the second heat, with Funk, Don Hensley, and Thurmond Lovejoy trailing him.

Ole Brua claimed the third heat, as Morrow, Bill Gibson, and Leon Fellers came in behind.

Stott led the pack in the time trials with a 28.80 clocking and Jusola was second with 29.15.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

1972 - Babb Wins Thursday Night Rain Date at Osky

Johnny Babb
Oskaloosa, Iowa (July 20, 1972) - John Babb of Ottumwa made a clean sweep at the Southern Iowa Speedway here at the fairgrounds Thursday night.

Babb won every race he entered starting with the first 10-lap super stock heat and finishing the evening with the feature win. There was no stopping John as he had his little red #41 Pontiac Firebird out front every lap.

In his second feature win here this season, Babb grabbed the lead at the start from his pole starling position and never relinquished it to take the victory. The wait of one night (because of rain) didn’t dampen the Firebird and John’s spirits any. Joe Merryfield of Des Moines came up from his fifth row starting position to place second. Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids finished third just ahead of Curt Hanson of Dike and Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree.

Following Babb’s extra wide lead in the first heat was McDonough, Dan Clement of Rhodes and George Barton of Ankeny.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, driving the John Moss #1 car, won the second super stock heat. Janey was on Ron Hemsted’s bumper until the very last lap. On the second turn Janey managed to slip under Hemsted when he went a little high to take over the lead and the win. Don Hoffman of Des Moines was third followed by Larry Wasserfort of Waterloo.

The third heat was just like the temperature - hot. Curt Hansen came out on top in that one. It was a bumper to bumper battle all the way with Sanger in the lead and Hansen and Merryfield right in there nipping at Sanger’s bumper. On the white flag lap Hansen overtook Sanger for the victory. Sanger and Merryfield finished second and third as they came across the line side by side. Chris Maurer of Colfax placed fourth.

John Babb set a torrid pace for the field in the Australian pursuit event. With Babb out front and everyone attempting to catch him; not a single car was eliminated from this single file race. At the finish behind Babb were: McDonough, Hoffman and Merryfield.

Red Dralle of Waterloo, after a four-week absence captured the 10-lap semi-main.

Dralle led from wire to wire. John Meyer of Brooklyn and Ron Prymek of Iowa City were second and third respectively. Gary Johnson of Newton held down second spot until the eighth lap came in fourth. Bob McCall of Ottumwa placed fifth with Joe Schaefer of Waterloo and Bob Bonzer of Liscomb following.

Results –

Heat #1 – Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
Heat #2 – Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids
Heat #3 – Curt Hansen, Dike
Australian Pursuit – Johnny Babb
Semi-Main – Red Dralle, Waterloo
Feature –

  1. Johnny Babb
  2. Joe Merryfield
  3. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
  4. Curt Hansen
  5. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
  6. Chris Maurer, Colfax
  7. George Barton, Ankeny
  8. Red Dralle
  9. John Meyer, Brooklyn
  10. Larry Wasserfort, Waterloo

Sunday, July 17, 2016

1988 - Fair enjoys nervous moment, drives to Pontiac 200 win

Harold Fair - Photo Courtesy of Brian Norton
West Allis, Wis. (July 17, 1988) - For the first 199 laps of Sunday’s Pontiac Excitement 200 at State Fair Park, Harold Fair wasn't the least bit nervous. Then came the final lap.

“The butterflies don’t come until the last lap,” said Fair after edging Joe Shear and Rich Bickle Jr. for his first-ever American Speed Association stock car victory.

“I never get nervous at the beginning of races anymore. On the last lap, it’s much different. All I could think of is getting to that checkered flag.”

Fair had plenty of company in the race to victory lane early in the event as several drivers including pole-sitter Butch Miller and NASCAR stars Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt proved they were capable of running up front.

Miller was the first to fade midway through the event when a right front tire exploded, nearly sending the current point leader and defending ASA champion into the turn two wall. Miller somehow saved the car, but a series of pit stops to repair the damage relegated him to a 10th place finish.

Earnhardt was the next to leave the race, on lap 143, in what turned out to be the most serious incident of the day. Earnhardt, in his first ever ride here, spun entering turn two. Several cars avoided the spinning racer before Dennis Vogel and Buddy Schrock slammed into the defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Earnhardt, complaining of a shoulder injury, was checked by emergency track personnel and later released.

With only 50 laps remaining and Miller and Earnhardt out of the race, Fair appeared to have smooth sailing as Wallace was stuck back in the pack after a slow pit stop during the caution period.

Back under green, Wallace quickly showed he had the fastest car on the track, blasting through the field and into the runner-up spot by lap 157. Getting by Fair, however, was something completely different.

“I thought Rusty and I had the fastest cars all day long and I wasn’t very surprised to see him in my mirror near the end of the race,” said Fair.

The large main-straight grandstand crowd came to its feet as Wallace pulled up to Fair’s back bumper as the pair raced down the front stretch on lap 183. Their attention was quickly diverted, however, as Glenn Allen Jr. smacked the wall just behind the leaders, bringing out the final of 12 cautions on the day.

As the pace car picked up the leaders, Wallace ducked into the pits to change a cut right front tire.

The move put Wallace at the back of the pack and only a brilliant charge over the last 13 laps netted the current NASCAR Winston Cup point’s leader seventh place.

NASCAR star Alan Kulwicki was the next in line to test Fair only to have his Ford expire nine laps from the finish. That left Shear and Bickle, who started 33rd and 28th, respectively, to challenge Fair's Pontiac.

“After all that, I looked in my mirror and here comes Joe,” said Fair, who averaged 86.056 mph in scoring his third victory in eight ASA events this season. “I really didn’t know what he had left. Luckily, I still had the best car and my lead held up. I knew I had it won until the last lap.”

Just in time to get a little nervous.

Results –

  1. Harold Fair
  2. Joe Shear
  3. Jeff Neal
  4. Scott Hansen
  5. Mike Eddy
  6. Rusty Wallace
  7. Bobby Dotter
  8. Ted Musgrave
  9. Butch Miller
  10. Bob Senneker
  11. Jay Sauter
  12. Kenny Wallace
  13. Darrell Waltrip
  14. Johnny Ziegler
  15. Dave Jackson
  16. Muttly Kurkowksi
  17. Dan Christal
  18. Dave Jensen
  19. Alan Kulwicki
  20. Mark Beinlich

Saturday, July 16, 2016

1996 - Bloomquist claims UMP Summer Nationals win at 34

Scott Bloomquist - Photo Courtesy of Mark Jacobs
West Burlington, Iowa (July 16, 1996) - Following the $10,000 UMP Late Mode! Summer National Race, Scott Bloomquist was mobbed by several fans.

After downing a Miller Lite, the native of Mooresburg, Tenn., signed autographs while talking to hundreds of fans who had just witnessed him lead the race from start to finish Tuesday night at 34 Raceway.

It wasn't even close.

“As long as I could run my own groove, I was able to do whatever I wanted,” Bloomquist said. “We thought we had the superior car all night.”

The 40-lap feature backed up his claim.

Bloomquist was on the pole for the 20-car feature and took control of the race in the third turn of the first lap around the 3/8-mile oval. For the find part of the race he outdistanced the field by nearly five seconds. But towards the middle of the race, Bloomquist ran into a bit of trouble. His tried to get past a slower group of cars, but was held in check when there was no passing lane. And John Gill, who was running second, was gaining ground.

“Once I got into traffic, I was being a little too cautious,” Bloomquist said. “Once I got past (Jack) Boggs, I was all right.”

But Gill, a native of Mitchell, Ind., did not give up. He caught Bloomquist on the second corner of midway through the race, and nearly took the lead for good, but he, too, was caught in the traffic at the back of the pack.

“We just got held up in the traffic and we couldn't pass him,’ Gill said. “We could've caught him but we had a bent tire rod in the front when we hit a car in traffic. If I started up front, I would have won too.”

With each car mirroring each other as the race dwindled down, Bloomquist was finally able to squeeze between a pair of cars with two laps to go. Gill, however, was unable to drive past a pair of cars and keep pace with Bloomquist, who won the race easily.

“At the end of the race, harder tires were running better,” Bloomquist said.

Gill, though a little disappointed, said he was pleased to finish second. “I had a good race,” he said. “I'd like to have won but we ran well. It was a good, clean race." Billy Moyer placed third overall while Bill Frye was fourth.

Results –

1. Scott Bloomquist
2. John Gill
3. Billy Moyer Jr.
4. Bill Frye
5. Don O’Neal
6. Jimmy Mars
7. Rick Aukland
8. Terry Phillips
9. Johnny Johnson
10. Steve Russell
11. Wayne Brooks
12. Danny Barnhart
13. Jack Boggs
14. Bob Pohlman
15. Rick Egersdorf
16. Joel Cryderman
17. Joe Kosiski
18. Tony Izzo Jr.
19. Steve Kosiski
20. Mitch Johnson

Thursday, July 14, 2016

1974 - Somers Scores Upset; Wins Red, White and Blue at WIR

Rich Somers

Kaukauna, Wis. (July 14, 1974) - Rich Somers, a 34- year-old foreman at Copp's Discount Store's warehouse in Stevens Point, scored a major upset at the Wisconsin International Raceway here Sunday afternoon as he wheeled his 1973 Mustang to victory in the second race of the “Red, White and Blue” state championship series before 3,453 fans.

Somers’ victory in the 100-lap main event on WIR’s half-mile paved oval was his first major win in the third annual series. He has competed at the track since 196S and never before captured a win in a long-distance event.

Temperatures of over 90 degrees took its toll during the race as many of the front runners fell by the wayside. Paul Smith of Marquette, Mich., paced the 24-car starting field for the first six laps before giving way to Rockford, Ill. driver John Knaus.

Knaus immediately built up a huge lead and held onto the top spot until the 32nd lap, when he lost control of his 1973 Camaro in the fourth turn, spinning in a cloud of smoke. Jim Back of Vesper, winner of the first race of the series, assumed the lead position after Knaus' spin and appeared to be headed for victory. However, on the 75th lap his 1974 Camaro began to spit and sputter and on the 52nd lap Somers surged into the top spot.

Two yellow flag periods during the final six laps bunched the field up behind Somers. On the 94th lap Larry Detjens of Wausau and Al Schill of Franklin collided in the first turn, resulting in a blown tire to Detjens' 1974 Dodge Challenger. His racer stalled on the backstretch. The green flag was then waved and two laps later Madison's Bob Gunn spun in the fourth turn while attempting to gain second position.

Upon the final restart, Somers was chased to the finish line by Schill and Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill. Schill was a half car length off the pace and Shear one car length behind Schill. Rounding out the top six were Dave Watson, Beloit, Gunn and Back.

Lee Schuler of Lockport, Ill., grabbed the lead on the sixth lap of the semi-feature and guided his 1970 Chevelle to victory in the 20-lap semi-feature. Janesville's John Speer crossed the finish line second, followed by Tony Strupp of Slinger and Wally Jors of Fond du Lac. Heat race wins went to Bill Retallick of Marshall, Knaus and Jim Sauter of Necedah.

The only serious accident of the afternoon occurred in the second heat race, when Neil Callahan of Merrill and Knaus collided in the first turn. Four other drivers joined the accident with Madison's Ed Hume climbing the outer wall. His car was then hit from the rear by cars driven by Don Leach, Schill and Paul Smith of Marquette, Mich. Hume was able to repair his car in time for the main event although the car's body was badly bent.

Caledonia’s John Reimer paced the 39-car field in time trials when he covered the half-mile oval in 21.61 second with Nielsen Enterprises’ 1973 Camaro.

Results –

  1. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.
  2. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
  3. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
  4. Dave Watson, Beloit, Wis.
  5. Bob Gunn, Madison, Wis.
  6. Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
  7. Paul Smith, Marquette, Wis.
  8. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie, Wis.
  9. Bob Abitz, Freedom, Wis.
  10. Vic Carr, Beloit, Wis.
  11. Bill Retallick, Marshall, Wis.
  12. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
  13. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
  14. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
  15. Jack Brewer, Oak Creek, Wis.

Monday, July 11, 2016

1976 - Sanger wins Mid-Season Tunis Title

Ed Sanger
Waterloo, Iowa (July 11, 1976) - Ed Sanger bolted out ahead of Bill Zwanziger on the first lap and went on to win Sunday night’s mid-season late model stock car championship at Tunis Speedway.

“That early lead is what won it for me,” said Sanger, who had just captured his fifth feature in a week and also his fifth Tunis main event, triumph of the season.

Sanger, the second-leading Tunis late model point-getter going into the evening, started on the outside front row with top point driver Bill Zwanziger on the inside.

“Bill and I were neck and neck out of the second turn on the first lap,” recalled Sanger. “It was the better traction on the high side that let me pull away.”

“With a light car with a heavy engine, you can really tell when you are getting good traction; the car really takes off on you.”

Sanger came out with about a three car length lead on the first backstretch about the same margin he had over runner-up Zwanziger when the 35-lap event ended.

Curt Hansen, who started third, finished in that position. Karl Sanger topped Tom Bartholomew in a hard-fought battle for fourth position. Red Dralle, driving Denny Osborn’s car, placed sixth. Osborn has an injured hand.

Sunday’s win climaxed a $4,000-plus week Sanger indicated. He started it off last Monday night with an $800 feature win at Tunis and followed with victories at Oskaloosa on Wednesday, Lake Superior, Wis., on Thursday, Cedar Rapids on Friday and a second place finish to Hansen on Saturday at Eldon.

John Weers scored a relatively easy sportsmen mid-season title win while Gary Ekuall was declared the roadrunner champion in an accident-shortened race.


Results –

First Heat: Mike Krall, Waterloo
Second Heat: D. Arthur Nesteby, Waterloo
Third Heat: Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo
Consolation: Dave Trower, New Hampton

  1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
  2. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
  3. Curt Hansen, Dike
  4. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
  5. Tom Bartolomew
  6. Red Dralle, Evansdale
  7. Jack Mitchell, Cedar Falls
  8. D. Arthur Nesteby
  9. Tom Fitzpatrick, Gilbertville
  10. Jim Patterson, Cedar Falls

Sunday, July 10, 2016

1965 - Record crowd attends big event in Dayton

Dayton, Iowa (July 10, 1965) – Dayton Speedway’s National Championship Stock Car Race held Saturday night was won by George Barton of Luther, Iowa.

The $2,000 purse event drew 39 entries for the time trials held on Friday. Barton also placed first in the time trials with a last clocking of 17.16 seconds followed by Lyle Platter of Boone and Clarence Cooper of Des Moines.

The 30-car main event was quite a sight for the more than 3,000 plus race flans rooting for their favorite car and driver. Four restarts were necessary before the race was underway.

Barton on the pole position, took the lead on the first lap and set the fast pace for the long and grueling 30-lap contest. Ramo Stott, noted Iowa driver racing out of Keokuk, was in the line up and placed second in the race.

Willy Kluss of Clarion edged around John Roby of Rockwell City on the 29th lap to take third place honors. Roby was fourth followed by Lee Pinkney of Des Moines, Wes Smith of Ames, Paul Weilander of Pomeroy, George Derry of Jewell, Don Davidson of Des Moines, Ray Busch of Beaver, Dean Schroeder of Clarion, Jerry LeCroy of Des Moines, Gary Hill of Clarion, Gary Lindgren of Ogden and LaVern Lindgren of Ogden.

In the heat events the action was fast and furious as those drivers were trying to place to get into the main event.

In the first heat race of the night George Barton rolled his car over on its side at the start of the race. Barton was penalized and sent to the rear of the pack for “halting the race”. He poured on the gas and still won the event. He followed by Paul Weilander, Ramo Stott, Willie Kluss and George Derry.

Chuck Cox of Boone won the second heat and was trailed by John Roby, Lyle Platter, Wes Smith, Don Davidson, and Fred Knapp.

The third heat was won by Kenny Wahl followed by Jerry LeCroy, Lee Pinkney, Roger Bruce and Bob Pike.

Bud Fair of Fort Dodge captured the fourth heat race followed by Gary Lindgren, Gary Hill, Arlys Houdeschel and Ken Colvin.

Paul Lambert of Perry took the fifth heat, second was Keith Farrell of Eagle Grove and third was LeRoy Collins of Fort Dodge.

The “B” main was won by Clarence Cooper. Trailing Cooper were Ray Busch of Beaver, Dean Schroeder of Clarion, LaVern Lindgren of Ogden; Dick Sanders of Des Moines and Bob Post of Boone. During the "B" main event Sam Eslick driving a Harcourt owned car was leading all competitors when he lost control in the number two turn and went out thru the fence and disappeared from the view of racing fans. Eslick was not injured.

This was the type of action that took place all thru the events of the National Championship races on Saturday. Fans will remember the town of Dayton and Dayton Speedway for a long time with the excellent racing action put on by race manager Vern Carmen, his crew, the drivers and car owners. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

1976 - Kirkpatrick in fatal accident at West Memphis

Larry Kirkpatrick at Tampa, Fla., in 1975
Memphis, Tenn. (July 8, 1976) - Larry Kirkpatrick, formerly of Wood River, Ill., died Thursday afternoon after suffering critical injuries incurred from an auto racing accident.

Kirkpatrick, a sprint car driver, suffered extensive head injuries Sunday after his car collided with several other sprint cars in a feature race in West Memphis, Arkansas.

“He was lapping some other slower cars, they slid in front of him and Larry flipped,” explained Ned Kirkpatrick, father of the deceased. Kirkpatrick, 28, had been driving sprint cars for about four years and was successful on the regional circuit.

Following his crash and injury Sunday, Kirkpatrick was rushed to Memphis Baptist Hospital, where he remained until yesterday.

Kirkpatrick had finished second in the point standings in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) in 1974 and because of increasing success joined the United States Auto Club (USAC) this year.

“He had aspirations of racing at Indianapolis in the 500 someday,” said his wife, Brenda.

Kirkpatrick had earned the right to drive in dirt championship races in the Midwest and would have begun competition next month.

Kirkpatrick had raced on tracks from California to Florida in his quest to become one of the nation's top drivers.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” said his wife.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

1971 – Bowsher Posts Third Toledo ARCA Victory

Tom Bowsher
Toledo, Ohio (July 7, 1971) - Tom Bowsher posted his third consecutive Toledo Speedway ARCA national championship stock car division victory Sunday night, taking the 100-lap main event on the high banks. Tom also move closer to the lead in the ARCA point standings.

Bowsher, driving a 1971 Ford, took the lead on the first lap and was never headed. Tom took the checkered flag with a comfortable lead over runner-up Dave Dayton in 1969 Ford. Ramo Stott in 1971 Plymouth; A. Arnold in 1971 Camaro; Iggy Katona in a 1970 Dodge; and Mike Flora in 1970 Plymouth; were third through sixth, a lap behind Bowsher.

Ron Grana battled with Bowsher in the early going with Bowsher pulling away after about 25 laps. Grana, in his 1970 Chevelle, continue to run second until a minor shunt pushed his right front fender against the tire. Grana pitted for a tire on lap 85 and lost nearly four laps. He finished 11th, four laps behind Bowsher.

Results –

1.    Tom Bowsher
2.    Dave Dayton
3.    Ramo Stott
4.    A. Arnold
5.    Iggy Katona
6.    Mike Flora
7.    Keith Ploughe
8.    John Sellers
9.    Cliff Hamm
10. Dave Kulmer
11.  Ron Grana
12. N.D. Copley
13. Ed Richardville
14.  Frank Sandolin
15.  John Early
16.  Danny Dean
17.  Kenny Black
18.   Larry Ashley
19.   Leroy Austin
20.  Bill Clemons
21.  Andy Hampton
22.  Bill Jackson
23.  Bobby Junior
24.  Harold Fair
25. Jim Albrecht
26.  Bob Thomas
27.  Bob McCoy

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

1979 - Area race tracks won't allow women in the pits

Dodge City, Kan. (July 5, 1979) - If Janet Guthrie ever switches to stock, hobby or super modified driving and wants to race in Kansas, she’d better steer clear of Hutchinson, Great Bend and Dodge City.

Women are involved in running the three tracks, but other women aren't allowed in the pit area at any of them.

“It's just a rule we have,” said Fern Barragree, who, along with husband Vernie, runs Salt Hawk and Great Bend Speedways. “The drivers voted on it and said they didn't want women in the pit area.”

“Besides, we don't have proper restroom facilities at either track. And at Salt Hawk, the pit area is so small it doesn't take much to get it crowded. At Great Bend, the pit area is a little larger.”

McCarty Speedway is run by Mrs. Esther Merrick, widow of Jack Merrick, long-time racing promoter. “We've always had a rule about no women or children in the pit area,” Mrs. Merrick said. “The pit area is a restricted area, and does not come under the discrimination laws. They are only applicable to public facilities, and during racing action, the pit area is not public.”

Most Hutchinson drivers agreed with the ban on women in the pit area. “At Salt Hawk, they don't have restroom facilities for women,” Ron Borecky said. “A lot of times the men just go out behind something, and we've had comments from people in the grandstands about that.”

“I'm kind of liberal, and maybe if they were smart enough to stay out of the way...”

Borecky also spoke of the ‘blue’ language frequently heard in the pit areas.

“It doesn't bother me if a woman hears me, but you never know where they're going to be,” he said. “I've heard a few comments, like someone will be griping about his car and a woman will come along and they have to shut up. Like you're standing there cussing up a storm and turn around and a woman is looking right at you.”

Stan Hazell agreed with Borecky about the foul language.

“There is foul language, and I say no (to letting women in the pit area), but other than that I see no difference,” Hazell said. “Salina is the only track I know of that does let women in. At Salt Hawk, there are a lot of spectators around in the pit area, too, but most of the people are drivers or mechanics.”

Rod Adkinson likes having his wife in the pit area at Salina. “Sometimes my wife and kids go along, but if it's just my wife and I, she goes in with me and I don't see anything wrong with that,” he said. “Most generally the people in the pit area either know someone connected with a race car, or they're just standing around in the pits.”

“Everyone, the different drivers and mechanics, kind of work together as a team. The pit area isn’t somewhere to go down and sit around. If people want to come down, pitch in and help and not just sit and watch, I think its fine.”

Retired race car driver Jack Petty is in his first season running Salina Speedway, and said the policy allowing women in the pit area is not new.

“I don't know when it started, but it doesn't make a bit of difference to me,” he said. “The insurance company says whoever runs the track has the right to allow or disallow whoever they want. I never have asked anyone and I really don't care.”

The pit restroom facilities for men are “not complete” and are non-existent for women at Salina. Pit passes allow people to go into the grandstand area where there are adequate facilities for both sexes.

“There was a track at Enid, Okla. where the women wanted to go in the pits and put up a fuss and they let them in,” Petty said. ‘The first year, they were swamped with women, but the following year there weren't as many, and the third year, there were fewer yet. They discovered they couldn't see the races as well from the pit area, and drifted back to the stands.”

Petty said the discriminating attitude also existed toward women drivers. “A lot of men race car drivers don't like for women to drive race cars,” he said. “I haven't had any women ask to drive here, but last year I was out run by a woman at a track. She took first in the A Feature and I was second. The guys razzed me about being beat by a woman, but I told them it was nothing new for me.”

“When I started out in ‘53 there was a woman driver where I was, and she was pretty good. I don’t care whether I'm driving against a man or woman - what matters is whether they can drive a race car the right way or if they're just down there.”

Petty didn't feel “foul” language was a problem at Salina. “I don't think there's been any change on it one way or another, at least not that I've heard,” he said. “If a woman goes out to the pits expecting more attention from the racers or mechanics, she'll find out it just isn't so. I can speak as a driver and it's a full-time job when you're driving or trying to make your car go. The No. 1 objective is the races, and your race car and the races are what you concentrate on when you're down there.’

Petty’s girlfriend, Mary Lou Covert, joked, “You don't get attention like that until the races are over.”