Monday, September 26, 2016

1973 - Racing in IMCA's Sprint Car circuit for love, not money

Buzz Rose is joined by car owner Daryl Arend

Spencer, Iowa (September 26, 1973) - Three of the cars in the sprint car racing event at the Clay County Fair here last week were Algona, Iowa-owned.
Running strong races on the rough and dangerous half-mile dirt track was car #30 owned by Jim and Helen Utt of Utt Electric Service and car #1 and #16 owned by Bill Specht, Daryl Arend and Bob Arend of B & D Automotive Machine.

As a result of the Clay County Fair races, #1 moved up into fourth place in the International Motor Contest Association point standings for 1973. Driver Buzz Rose of Cedar Rapids, Iowa came in second in one heat race and placed third in the more important feature event.

Like #1, #30 is also having its best year on the IMCA circuit and now holds down the sixth spot in the IMCA point standings. Larry Kirkpatrick of Wood River, Ill., located near St. Louis, Mo., drives for the Utt’s.

B & D put a second car into competition at mid-season this year. Driving their #16 is Marv DeWall of Jackson, Minn., perhaps best known in the area for his success in stock car driving.

Another car at Spencer was driven by Jim Edgington of Fairmont, Minn., also noted for stock car success. His car was running with a new engine installed by former Algona residents Ron Barton and Roger Hendrickson who now live in Fairmont.

IMCA’s point system determines who gets accessory money from automotive-related companies at the end of the season. But even the biggest winners might have trouble meeting expenses for a full season!

So why do they do it?

The answer was unanimous the reward was in the thrill of putting a car together and racing it, not to mention the fraternal-like competition that develops through racing.

Owner Jim Utt, a racing circuit veteran, offered the following anecdote to explain the “fraternal” side of racing; “One of the leading point winners cracked up his car,” Utt said, “but several other crews pitched in and helped put the car back together on the spot. He wound up winning the feature.”

What about the cost of hiring a driver?

Most drivers agree to race for 40 percent of the gross earnings in prize money, Utt said. At Spencer, that didn't amount to much with a purse less than $3,000. The feature winner got only $350 of that total.
Larry Kirkpatrick piloting the Utt Electric #30

But the Spencer race is just one stop on a circuit that includes more profitable events. Other races: a series of five season-openers in Florida (the Utt car was in four of them before being disabled). Knoxville, Iowa, Knoxville, Ill., and state fairs in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Utt said this year his car has been damaged more than his driver has, although Kirkpatrick was knocked unconscious in one of “several smash-ups”. As Utt tells it, another car, which blew its engine spilled oil which caused Kirkpatrick to spin out and crash backward into a wall, knocking him out.

Amazingly, the incident was minor compared to another crash in the 24-year-old Kirkpatrick's racing career. He nearly lost his hand once in a crash at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. But a “good sew job” and a long, careful recovery period enabled him to return to racing.

And all for just 40 percent of earnings which, even at best, are far below what is paid in two other racing associations - USAC and NASCAR. The International Motor Contest Association is by far the oldest of the three.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

1969 – Ramo gets another decal after Dayton 500 victory

Dayton 500 winner Ramo Stott is joined by Dayton Speedway promoter Blair Ratliff (center) and Omar Williams, sports director of WDTN TV 2. - Jerry Wahl Collection

Dayton, Ohio (September 21, 1969) – If Ramo Stott wins many more races this season he’s going to have to buy a bus.
Every time the Keokuk, Iowa, speedster wins a race, he plasters a decal on his 1969 Roadrunner…and he’s fast running out of room.

Sticker number 14 was pasted on his car Sunday afternoon at Dayton Speedway when Stott roared to victory in the Dayton 500, a 250-mile chase for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) late model stock cars around Dayton’s high banked half-mile track.

Ramo is not only fast running out of sticker space he almost was running too fast and ran out of room midway through Sunday’s matinee.

Stott was leading on lap 361 when Don Violet popped a tire in turns three and four and did a tail-stand on the guardrail in front of Ramo.

“All I could see was me goin’ over the gosh durn wall,” said Ramo. I was going right at him, but I hit him with a glancing blow. I thought for sure I cut a tire when I hit him, but we checked it out in the pits and everything was okay.”

Things were okay on the track, though. Ramo lost his lead to defending champion Benny Parsons while Stott’s crew was making a rubber check.

Parsons proceed to build a two-lap lead over Ramo and Bobby Watson’s newly-acquired 1970 Dodge Super Bee, but the tires would be the end for Parsons too.

The right front on his 1969 Ford Torino popped on lap 422 coming down the backstretch and Benny slammed into the turn three guardrail, ripping out his oil pan. He would spend the final 78 laps of the race making as many pit stops as a car full of kids on vacation.

Watson and his Super Bee were buzzing and cutting into Stott’s lead, but time (and laps) was running short. He cut the margin from 25 seconds to 14 when the checkers waved.

“We lost the race when we missed qualifying,” Watson said afterwards. “While everyone was qualifying on Saturday, we were still putting the engine in.” Andy Hampton started in the Super Bee and Watson relieved him after 260 laps.

“Since we didn’t qualify, we had to start 30th (out of 34-car field) and it took us too dang long to work our way up,” Hampton added.

Parsons, despite numerous stops, still managed to finish third and clinch his second straight ARCA national championship.

Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., put his 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner on the pole and Stott started on the outside of the front row. Parsons tore his driveshaft into bits and pieces during practice and worked four hours to get it back together. With one minute left in qualifying, Parsons took to the track and landed the fifth position.

Snow led 138 of the first 140 laps until a wheel bearing cost him agonizing minutes in the pits and knocked him out of contention.

Parsons led from lap 150 to 283 until Stott took command after Benny pitted. Ramo was the boss through lap 361 - then came the Violet tire-popping and Benny appeared long gone until his tire issues and Ramo was checkered flag bound.

“She really ran good,” Ramo said from victory lane. “I didn’t worry a bit. The tires were a concern near the end, though, and the track was getting slick toward the end.”

Stott, a first year man in ARCA, after fruitlessly chasing Ernie Derr in the IMCA ranks for years and years, is pulling in the money like a crooked card dealer. His paycheck at Dayton on Sunday was for $2,200…just enough to buy a new bus.

Results –

  1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Bobby Watson, Louisville, Ky.
  3. Benny Parsons, Detroit, Mich.
  4. Larry Ashley, Detroit, Mich.
  5. Clyde Parker, Farmington, Mich.
  6. Lonny Snow, Bloomington, Ill.
  7. Namon Martin, Cleveland, Ohio
  8. Dave Dayton, Indianapolis, Ind.
  9. Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill.
  10. Chuck McWilliams, Union, Ky.

Monday, September 19, 2016

1987 - Fischlein leaves as Yankee Dirt Track champ

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 19, 1987) - Dale Fischlein found the perfect way to say good-bye Saturday night. Fischlein, a stock car driver from Independence, won the Yankee Dirt Classic at Hawkeye Downs and then started planning for a major career move.
He has sold his dirt track equipment and will head for North Carolina in hopes of finding a ride on the paved circuit. 
“It's a big gamble,” Fischlein said. “I guess the way I look at it is I don’t really have anything to lose. I feel now is the time to do it.” 
An often-frustrating season ended in victory for Fischlein. He grabbed the lead on the 25th lap then sped away from the field to win the 100-lap Late Model feature in the $35,000 event Saturday night. 
"I couldn’t believe it,” Fischlein said. “Ever since the season began, we’ve had all the bad breaks. But the track just came to the car. We could turn the car anywhere we wanted to. It was just a matter of it staying together. We got into some pretty heavy lap traffic but we could drive anywhere we wanted so we got past it pretty easy.”
Fischlein started on the fourth row. It took him 24 laps to catch Dave Chase of Council Bluffs, but once he did he was unthreatened on the hard, slick Downs track.
Fischlein was the seventh fastest qualifier for the feature of the two-night event and halted Tom Hearst’s win streak in Yankee Dirt Track Classic. Wilton’s Hearst, the only multiple winner in the 10-year history of the event, finished sixth this time. He won titles in 1982, ‘85 and ‘86.
Omaha’s Steve Kosiski, Jeff Aikey of Cedar Fails, Dave Birkhofer of Muscatine and Rollie Frink of Davenport rounded out the top five Saturday night.
Lisbon’s Roger Dolan, the national champion in NASCAR’s Winston Racing series, had the fastest qualifying time and started 10th, but was never a factor in the feature.
Fischlein has no definite plans, but is ready to take some chances.
“I haven't got anything lined up,” he said. “I'll head to Charlotte and try to make myself known.
“It’s not my goal to race in the Midwest for 20 or 30 years. Racing is my career, it’s not my hobby and this is the next step for me.”
“I've learned a lot from some of the top drivers in the Midwest. I ran carts for nine years before I started racing oval track and I learned a lot there, too. I’ve just got to keep moving.
If things don't work out in North Carolina, Fischlein said he has an offer to drive a dirt track car here next season.

Results –
  1. Dale Fischlein
  2. Steve Kosiski
  3. Jeff Aikey
  4. Dave Birkhofer
  5. Rollie Frink
  6. Tom Hearst
  7. Bob Hill
  8. Jay Johnson
  9. Ken Walton
  10. Bruce Hanford
  11. Dave Chase
  12. Curt Martin
  13. Steve Keppler
  14. Dan Dickey
  15. Terry Gallaher
  16. Jim Swank
  17. Rick Wendling
  18. Roger Dolan
  19. Bill Breuer
  20. Gary Tigges

Sunday, September 18, 2016

1999 - Gille wins MIS late model title

Jerry Gille claimed the Late Model title at Madison
Madison, Wis. (September 18, 1999) - In a three-driver battle, Jerry Gille edged out Mark DiMaggio and Ryan Hanson for the late model championship at Oregon’s Madison International Speedway.

“Coming into Friday night, we knew we really had our work cut out for us. We knew we had to go there and run hard and fortunately, we finished in front of him (DiMaggio),” Gille said.

Going into the 40-lap finale a week ago, DiMaggio held an 18-point lead over Gille and a 58-point advantage on Hanson.

That lead disappeared by the time the feature had rolled around. Gille, of Loves Park, Ill., held a slim lead after DiMaggio’s car came up 4 pounds too light. DiMaggio's car had a new engine after he blew his in the second of two Labor Day 50-lap features.

DiMaggio’s qualifying time was thrown out, and the Oregon driver had to start in the rear of the field.

“They threw the book at us,” DiMaggio said Thursday.

DiMaggio caught up to Gille by the 32nd lap, but the cars tangled in turn two, forcing a caution and sending them to the rear. Hanson spun out as he was trying to take the lead on lap 35. The Beloit driver dropped back and finished eighth.

Gille finished 12th, but he held off 13th-place DiMaggio to claim the track title by four points.

Todd Ambrose of Prairie du Sac took the sportsman title by finishing third, beating out Edgerton’s Scott Broughton.

At other area tracks;

Columbus 151 Speedway: After pulling ahead of Mike Langsdorf in late August, Dousman’s Scott Patrick then pulled away, winning his second straight late model track championship Friday by 96 points over the Doylestown driver. Baraboo’s Dan Howard won his first title in the street stock division. Oregon’s Dennis Gaserude took his third hobby stock title in four years. Gaserude also took the same division at Jefferson Speedway, which races Saturdays.

Dells Motor Speedway: Montello’s Jeff Kendall, who won four features this year, came away with the late model title. John Raupp of Reedsburg won the super stocks race, and Tomah’s Tim Myer won the pure stocks race.

Jefferson Speedway: Former track champion Ron Bishofberger of Fort Atkinson clinched the late model title with his second-place showing Saturday. Bishofberger held off defending champ Andy Wendt of Watertown, who placed third in the race and finished 10 points behind on the season. Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove won the sportsman division and Cambridge’s Justin Nottestad won the international title.

Jefferson Speedway has one race to go this year, the 19th annual Wisconsin State Championships with $29,000 in prize money. The track opens at 3 p.m. today and 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Angell Park Speedway: Dan Boorse wrapped up his sixth career Badger Midget Auto Racing Association title by winning the Pepsi Nationals on September 5.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

1964 - Stott’s victory among track’s records

Spencer, Iowa (September 17, 1964) - Track records fell like flies in the frost as Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, dove to victory in the 50-lap Interational Motor Contest Association new model stock car feature at the Clay County Fairgrounds on Friday afternoon.
Stott’s 1964 Plymouth blazed around the half-mile oval 50 times in a record-breaking 22 minutes and 8 seconds. Snatching an early lead, Stott led all the way in the feature and won by three-car lengths over Dick Hutcherson, also of Keokuk.

Excitement was created when another Keokuk speedster, Ernie Derr, tore out the rear of his racecar while running side-by-side with Stott about halfway through the contest.

In time trials, Derr sped around the track in 26.41 seconds, another record for the fairgrounds track. The 10-lap record also fell in the second heat when Hutcherson tore across the finish line in 4 minutes and 28 seconds. . Hutcherson cracked another mark in the five-lap sprint with a time of 2 minutes and 14 seconds.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Bob Reynolds, Edmonds, Okla.
4. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
5. Bill Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
6. Arch Schmidt, St. Paul, Minn.
7. George Barton, Polk City, Iowa
8. Frank Sadoris, Lincoln, Neb.
9. Dean Roper, Springfield, Mo.
10. Bob Jusola, Minneapolis Minn.

Friday, September 16, 2016

1967 –Derr near eighth IMCA crown; wins Kansas State Fair

A familiar sight; Ernie Derr in victory lane - Photo courtesy of Ernie Derr Collection
Hutchinson, Kan. (September 16, 1967) – Ernie Derr, 46-year-old racing king from Keokuk, Iowa, virtually clinched his eighth national IMCA stock car championship when he roared to victory in the 25-lap feature at the Kansas State Fair, Tuesday.

Winner of more feature car races than my other driver in the field of stock car racing, Derr ran his record of victories to 206 out of 530 features since 1955. He is the defending champ on dirt and paved ovals in over a dozen states. He won stock car features here both Monday and Tuesday.

What may have been more important is he increased his point lead over Ramo Stott, another speed merchant from Keokuk, Iowa. Stott would have to win every race on the remaining IMCA schedule and Derr would have to finish out of the money in order for Stott to have any chance of catching him.

Odds appeared about 100 to 1 that Derr will win an unprecedented eighth IMCA stock car championship. He and his Dodge stock cars have won previous titles in 1953, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965 and 1966. He was runner-up in 1963 and 1964.

Only the late Gus Schrader, a big car driver with six national records, has had anything like a comparable record. Derr said he liked the Kansas fair oval, and he proved it with a driving performance that seemed letter perfect. Although Lenny Funk, the flying Kansas farmer from Otis, had earned the pole position, Derr shot around him to take the lead before cars had moved 130 yards from the starting line.

Ramo Stott passed Funk on the fifth lap, but neither ever mounted a serious challenge to Derr. The "Champ" caught slower cars in the race within a lap and a half. Then he rode high on the straight-aways, passing cars on the outside. He hugged the infield at the turns, passing cars on the inside.

Derr is his own race strategist, and he had his car set up perfectly for the well-soaked dirt speedway that he never skidded on curves even while taking them at greater speed than other cars, which frequently skidded high or spun out.

Derr broke his own record in the feature, despite a one lap run under the caution flag. He clocked the 25 laps in 11 minutes and 38.8 seconds as compared with the old record of 11 minutes and 42.65 seconds he set in 1963.

Approximately 4,000 fans saw the race program.


Results –

  1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
  2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
  3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
  4. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
  5. Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
  6. Butch Hall, Russell, Mich.
  7. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
  8. Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
  9. Willie Crane, Springfield, Mo.
  10. Jim Thomas, Springfield, Mo.
  11. Bill Stark, Des Moines, Iowa
  12. Tom Roller, Independence, Iowa

Thursday, September 15, 2016

1963 – Jones wins 250-miler at Milwaukee

Parnelli Jones poses next to his 1963 Mercury Marauder - Ron Rich Photo
West Allis, Wis. (September 15, 1963) - Parnelli Jones, known primarily as a big car driver, scored his third record smashing victory in two months Sunday in the 250-mile late model stock car race at State Fair Park.

Driving a 1963 Mercury, the Torrance, Calif., veteran finished 38 seconds ahead of runner-up and teammate Rodger Ward of Indianapolis in the national championship classic marred by a five-car pileup. Jones' winning ride before 21,478 fans was worth $4,694.
Racine's Norm Nelson, one of five in the pileup, spun into the wall on the 14th lap trying to avoid two other autos. He climbed out of his wrecked Plymouth and into another he owns, being driven by Paul Goldsmith, but could wind up no better than 17th.

Also spinning out trying to avoid a collision were A. J. Foyt and Don White, both driving Fords. Foyt and White suffered face cuts. The autos involved in the original pileup, which caused the other three drivers to crash into the wall trying to avoid them, were Bill Cheesebourg and Ralph Liguori.

Jones' record average speed of 90.659 miles an hour enabled him to complete the distance on the one-mile black oval in two hours, 45 minutes and 27.309 seconds.

Jones, this year's Indianapolis 500 winner, led almost the entire way after pulling in front after the second lap. Behind the first two finishers came Whitey Gerken of Franklin Park, Ill., and White of Keokuk, Iowa.

Curtis Turner of Roanoke, Va., filed an official protest after officials awarded him eighth place. Turner contended that he finished fourth.

Jones' earlier stock car victories here were just as convincing. He set 18 track records and led for 343 of the 350 total miles.

Finishing fifth through tenth were John Rostek of Fort Collins, Colo., Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., Elmer Musgrave, Peoria, Ill., Curtis Turner, of Roanoke, Va., Ed Meyer of Glenview, Ill., and John Kilbourn of Decatur, Ill.

White now leads the overall United States Auto Club point standings with 2,376. Foyt has 2,350 and Nelson 2,200. Only one race remains, a 50-miler at Schererville, Ill., with the winner getting 110 points.

Milt Curcio of Racine spun in the south turn and finished 22nd. Nelson picked up $299 and Curcio $175.

Results –

  1. Parnelli Jones
  2. Rodger Ward
  3. Whitey Gerken
  4. Don White
  5. John Rostek
  6. Elmer Musgrave
  7. Herb Shannon
  8. Curtis Turner
  9. Eddie Meyer
  10. John Kilborn
  11. Rick Kleich
  12. Bob Slensby
  13. Bay Darnell
  14. Roger Regeth
  15. Ted Hane
  16. Gene Marmor
  17. Paul Goldsmith/Norm Nelson
  18. Ralph Ligouri
  19. Ken Finley
  20. Ralph Baker
  21. Skeeter Wyman
  22. Milt Curcio
  23. Neil Houston
  24. Norm Nelson/Paul Goldsmith
  25. Leo Drollinger
  26. Whitey Johnson
  27. Bill Cheesbourg
  28. Arnie Gardner
  29. Bob Pronger
  30. Lloyd Ruby
  31. Clem Lewandowski
  32. A.J. Foyt

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

1998 – Frank Kimmel Crushes Salem ARCA

Salem, Ind. (September 13, 1998) – It seemed, almost, like the perfect script. With 10 laps to go, hometown hero Dill Whitttymore was holding off Winston Cup superstar Ken Schrader while the crowd roared.
However, a good bit of that roar belonged to the other local hero, Frank Kimmel, who, by now, had checked out on the aforementioned dynamic duo.
After brushing the wall early on, Kimmel bounced off, and bounce back big to dominate the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway claiming his ninth ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series victory of the season and 14th of his career.
“I slipped in my own oil up there between turns three and four,” said Kimmel from victory lane. “A clamp was loose on one of the oil fittings and I slipped and hit the wall. Fortunately, we didn’t tear it up too bad and got it fixed without losing a lap.”
“This car stuck anywhere I needed it to. We’ve been working real hard on our shock and springs setup, and it showed here today.”
Kimmel was forced to work from the extreme tail-end after pitting twice to cure the oil leak, but quickly showed his strength by passing the entire field to take the lead on lap 53. Additional pit stops later in the race shuffled the current ARCA point leader back in the lineup, but the Jefferson, Ind., driver, assisted by extremely quick pit stops, raced back to the point every time to lead 135 of 200 laps.
Whittymore faded with 5 laps to go and Schrader, who relieved the injured Bill Baird, finished 2.5 seconds back in second place. “The 46 car was unbeatable today,” Schrader stated afterwards. “There was no way we were going to outrun him today.”
Baird qualified the car in fourth and started the race for points but bailed out at the first caution to make way for Schrader, who had finished fourth in the Winston Cup start in Richmond the night before.
Veteran Bob Schact, the last car on the lead lap, finished third ahead of Rick Groetsch and Wes Russell to complete the top five.
Kimmel collected $14,220 for the victory.

Results –

1.     Frank Kimmel
2.     Ken Schrader
3.     Bob Schact
4.     Rick Groetsch
5.     Wes Russell
6.     Dill Whittymore
7.     Bob Strait
8.     Dave LaDuke
9.     Joe Cooksey
10. Mark Voight
11. Randy Churchill
12. Cavin Councilor
13. Curt Piercy
14. Travis McIntire
15. Dennis English
16. Norm Benning
17. Brad Mueller
18. Kenny Brown
19. Mark Gibson
20. Charlie Schaefer
21. Brian Conz
22. Jeff Finley
23. Chuck Weber
24. Scott Baker
25. David Boggs
26. Richard Hampton
27. Josh Baltos
28. Andy Belmont
29. A.J. Henrikson
30. Eric Smith
31. Scotty Sands
32. Dan Pardus