Tuesday, July 19, 2016

1969 - Williams wins at Knoxville

'Tiger' Bob Williams
Knoxville, Iowa (July 19, 1969) - Bob Williams came back to Knoxville Saturday night for another super modified feature win to add to his existing list. The Independence, Mo., chauffeur grabbed the lead coming out of the chute to lead the first five laps of the 25-lap race.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., took the lead from Williams on the sixth lap and managed to hold off Williams until the last lap. It was a real battle with both drivers giving their all and lead footing the supers all the way.

Bob slipped passed Blundy on the white flag lap to come past the checkers first for the $500 first place money. Blundy finished in a very close second.

Earl Wagner of Pleasantville tried unsuccessfully to catch the leaders and had to settle for third spot.

The 4,168 attending race fans saw an accident-free program with 38 super modifieds competing. Eddie Leavitt of Kansas City started the evening off by setting fast time of 21.80 seconds around the half-mile track.

The evening of racing was designated as "Earl Wagner Night" and Earl lived up to the title in the trophy dash as he won the event ahead of Joe Saldana, Dale McCarty of Kansas City, and Bob Williams. Earl took the lead at the start and was never headed.

Wagner also won the second 10-lap heat race. Earl took the lead from Jon Backland at the beginning of the seventh lap to come home number one. Following Backland in third was Bob Williams, fourth; Burt Sonner of Des Moines and fifth, Jay Woodside.

John Johnson of Independence, Mo., copped the first 10-lap heat race. Johnson led all the way followed by four Lincoln, Neb., drivers; Joe Saldana, Roger Rager, Kenny Gritz and Jan Opperman.

The very tight battle for the third heat ended in a tie for first place for Ron Larson and Dick Sutcliffe. Larson led every lap but Sutcliffe got the edge on him and they came across the finish line side by side in a dead heat. Following were Jerry Blundy, Curt Houge and Lloyd Beckman.

Dale McCarty was the victor of the 10-lap consolation. McCarty led all the way with Eddie Leavitt, Jay Woodside, Jan Opperman and Lloyd Beckman following.

During intermission the "Pleasantville Plumber", Earl Wagner was honored for his racing career at Knoxville. Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, the 1968 National Super Modified Champion presented Earl's wife, Harriet, with a bouquet of red roses and a corsage to his mother. Earl was presented with a plaque from Marion and Nadine Robinson and all the help and fans by Pleasantville's mayor, who incidentally happens to be Earl's step-father. Wagner and his wife were also given a Rogers Sterling Silver Service set and a clock radio.

Results –

Fast Time: Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo. (21.80)
Trophy Dash, Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Heat One: John Johnson, Independence, Mo.
Heat Two: Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Heat Three: (Tie) Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn./Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City
Consolation: Dale McCarty, Kansas City

1. Bob Williams, Independence, Mo.
2. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
3. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
4. Kenny Gritz, Lincoln, Neb.
5. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
6. Jon Baclund, Kansas City
7. Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City
8. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
9. Jan Opperman, Lincoln, Neb.
10. John Johnson, Independence, Mo.
11. Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.
12. Curt Hogue, Boone, Iowa

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