Waterloo, Iowa (September 5, 1977) - Curt Hansen concluded the richest week of his illustrious stock car racing career with a S2,500-plus weekend at Tunis Speedway.
The Dike driver, who won the Tunis season championship Sunday night, picked up $1,890 in earnings during Monday's Labor Day late model special.
The bulk of that $1,890 came in the 75-lap feature where he made $1,500 for the championship, plus $5 a lap in lap money for the 66 circuits of the race he led.
Hansen, who totaled $4,500 in prize money this past week, doesn't have much time to think about his success. Tuesday, he was scheduled to race at Maquoketa, Wednesday at Oskaloosa and Thursday he plans to qualify for the Knoxville Nationals. Depending on how he does at Knoxville, he may travel to Rossburg, Ohio and the World 100 stock car championship.
Hansen, who is driving an Ed Sanger owned and maintained car this season, keeps 35 percent of the winnings.
Hansen’s sixth best qualifying time put him in the outside of the third row of the 75-lapper. He was running second by the seventh lap and grabbed the lead for good on lap 10.
Waterloo’s Dick Schiltz never really let Curt out of his sight for the 75-laps.
“Dick drove a fine race, that’s for sure,” praised Hansen. “I kept looking at him in my mirror the whole way. He was running high and I was running low. If he would have started gaining any ground on me, I would have started running higher. I just tried to maintain the lead I had over him.”
Hansen defeated Schiltz, who earned $1,000 for the second place finish, by approximately 100 yards. Stan Stover, who placed second to Hansen in the season championships at Des Moines Saturday and Tunis Sunday, wound up a distant third Monday with Denny Osborn fourth, Gary Crawford fifth and Roger Klingfus, the top time qualifier, sixth.
Klingfus turned an 18.454 second elapsed time around the three-eighths mile track during the preliminary time trials in a stock engine that was installed in his car Sunday afternoon.
Klingfus led the first five laps of the feature before Stover grabbed the lead for the next four circuits. Hansen dominated the last 66 laps for his eighth main event win at Tunis this season.
Bob Hesse won the 20-lap consolation race for the drivers who failed to crack the top 22 starting times.
Greg Kastli, who won the sportsman championship the night before at Tunis, finished second. Another sportsman car, Larry Schmidt, was third.
Hansen also captured the program opening trophy dash in uncharacteristic fashion. He started sixth in the eight-lap sprint but had the lead by the seventh lap.
“Everybody in the pits was telling me I was driving so wild I wouldn’t make the 75-lapper. I was driving wild,” Hansen admitted. “I really don’t know what got in to me." Hansen is noted for his usually patient style of racing.
Hesse, Em Fretheim, Red Dralle and Klingfus won the four preliminary heats. Ed Sanger, himself, didn’t get to compete Monday night. He tried asphalt racing at the Minnesota State Fair and didn’t make it back to Waterloo in time to run the time trials for Monday's program.
1. Curt Hansen, Dike
2. Dick Schlitz, Waterloo
3. Stan Stover, Reinbeck
4. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
5. Gary Crawford, Independence
6. Roger Klingfus, Waterloo
7. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
8. Bob Schulte, Delhi
9. Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
10. Em Fretheim, Decorah