Sunday, April 30, 2017

1972 – Latham First in ARCA Tilt at Winchester

Ralph Latham
Winchester, Ind. (April 30, 1972) – Ralph Latham made the return of Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) new cars to the Winchester Speedway on Sunday afternoon a fast and exciting one as he won the 100-lap feature before a slim crowd of 2,500.
The race was the first for ARCA at Winchester since 1964.
Latham, from Cincinnati, Ohio, wheeled his gold and white 1972 Monte Carlo to the checkered flag with a three-quarter lap lead over second place finisher Dave Dayton, driving a 1972 Camaro.
It wasn’t all that easy for the popular Latham, however, as he had his hands full with veterans Les Snow and Bobby Watson until minor mishaps eliminated both competitors.
Latham trailed Snow for most of the first 74 laps. The veteran campaigner had the right front tire on his 1970 Dodge shred at the 60-lap mark. Latham had run on Snow’s bumper since the 17th lap and eased around the faltering Dodge on the 75th circuit and was home free.
Three laps later, Watson suddenly dropped from a close third with a broken fan belt after running nose to tail with Latham from the 60th lap.
Neil Sceva was third in a 1969 Ford with Snow hanging on for fourth and Ron Hutcherson, moving from his 12th starting spot to claim fifth.
The yellow flag was out for 10 laps eliminating Latham’s shot at establishing a new ARCA track record for distance. His time of 37 minutes and 42 seconds was more than two minute slower than the existing mark set by Jack Bowsher in ARCA’s last appearance in 1964.
Bowsher’s one lap qualifying record on the high-banked half-mile did fall, however. Snow erased the 20.20 second standard with a lap of 18.79.
Leonard Blanchard was running a strong fifth for most of the first 75 laps before blowing a right rear tire, won the 4-lap trophy dash in 1 minute and 16 seconds, another track record.

Results –

1.    Ralph Latham
2.    Dave Dayton
3.    Neil Sceva
4.    Les Snow
5.    Ron Hutcherson
6.    Iggy Katona
7.    A. Arnold
8.    Andy Hampton
9.    Leonard Blanchard
10. Delmar Clark
11. Al Straub
12. Ed Richardville
13. Leroy Austin
14. Bob McCoy
15. Bob Thomas
16. Fred Holbert
17. Bill Green
18. Bobby Watson
19. Larry Moore
20. Bill Clemons
21. Cliff Hamm Jr.
22. Tony Schiller

Friday, April 28, 2017

1968 – “Bridesmaid” Stott wins Hawkeye 200

Ramo Stott performs a victory dance after winning the prestigious Hawkeye 200 at Hawkeye Downs.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April 28, 1968) – Ramo Stott, trying to shed his “bridesmaid” role, whipped Ernie Derr by one and half laps to capture the Hawkeye 200 late model stock car race in spectacular fashion on Sunday afternoon at Hawkeye Downs.
A paying crowd of 7,551 watched Stott win hi second feature in three starts this season on the IMCA circuit and increase his point lead over Derr.

Ramo is seeking his first national title after three consecutive runner-up finishes behind Derr. The two “Keokuk Komets” were separated by only 15 points entering the 200-lap slugfest.

Stott, so called “Mr. Personality” of the circuit isn’t sure this is his year to reign but responded, “I sure hope it is. I’ve been a bridesmaid so long I’m getting kind of tired of it.”

The Downs oval took a good pounding in its initial test run of the year under the onslaught of a 28-car field. All four turns were dug up pretty badly, especially turn three turn, which had “washboard holes” according to Stott.

Actually that same turn three had a hand in the turning point of the race.

Derr earned the pole in his ’68 Charger as a result of winning the STP trophy dash and was enjoying a 15-second lead over Stott after 97 laps. Then John Zink’s ’65 Chevelle drop a gas tank in turn three.

When the yellow caution came out, both Derr and Stott pitted for fuel. Ramo’s car was out first and a few seconds later Derr attempted to pull out as well when his car stalled. Efforts by his pit crew to push-start his car failed and a two truck was pressed into action. By the time Derr got back on the track, Ramo owned a full lap’s lead. He was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Derr wasn’t talking after the race and it killed the engine while throwing water on it in an attempt to cool the radiator. 

Local drivers fared well. Fred Horn of Marion, driving a 1967 Plymouth, finished fifth while Bill McDonough, behind the wheel of a 1965 Chevelle, grabbed seventh.

Race promoter Frank Winkley was presented a plaque commemorating the 20th straight year he has promoted auto racing at Hawkeye Downs. Lou Shepard made the presentation on behalf of the All-Iowa Fairboard.

Feature results –

  1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
  2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
  3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
  4. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
  5. Fred Horn, Marion
  6. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
  7. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
  8. Bill Morrow, Joy, Ill.
  9. Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
  10. Bob Perry, Springfield, Mo.
  11. Vic Elson, Ash Grove, Mo.
  12. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

1972 – Race fan has a stake in racing

Sedalia, Mo. (April 27, 1972) – When an overly ambitious stock car racing buff gets carried away there’s no end or limit to what they may do.
For a case in point, take a look at Bill Austin, at 29-years-old, living comfortably as a production supervisor for Western Electric in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Austin’s background went from merely enjoying racing to working in the pits to racing on occasion to part ownership of a race team.
Now Austin is tackling what might be the biggest gamble in racing or any other sport – He has become a promoter.
In his first promotional venture – he is on the hook for approximately $21,000 for a United States Auto Club stock car race at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia on Sunday afternoon, April 30.
“I don’t think of it as being that expensive,” Austin said. “I don’t think I can make a lot of money promoting the race but if there is any kind of good weather, I don’t see how I can lose a lot either.”
The major outlay of the $21,000 consists of a $11,000 deposit to USAC, the sanctioning body. The remainder consist mainly of leasing the track at the state fairgrounds for a day, advertising and the assorted expenses of running some kind of office for the duration of the operation.
Austin said he began thinking about promoting races two or three years ago and just waited to pick his spot.
He said he was fully aware that J.C. Agajanian, the famed car owner and race promoter from Gardena, Calif., had hosted three races in Sedalia in 1969 and 1970. It’s a known fact that Agajanian met with little if any financial success in his two stock car races and one dirt champ race.
“He ran two of his races in late September,” Austin said. “If he had done any research before selecting his dates, he would have found that September is football season here in Missouri.”
Austin stated he has ideas beyond this single venture. First, he said, there is the possibility of having two or possibly three major races a season in Sedalia. Secondly, he thinks that importation of major drivers who would attract top crowds could lead to a super speedway in Missouri. Thirdly, he thinks it’s possible that a major sanctioning organization could be formed because USAC operates primarily east of the Mississippi River and IMCA devotes most of their efforts to July and August fair dates.
“In other words,” Austin offered, “This is just a test of this area. It’s to see what can and can’t be done.”
Austin said he selected Sedalia because fair dates attract crowds.
“And if you want in on a little secret,” Austin confided. “I just wanted to see Ernie and Ramo race each other.”
Austin was speaking if Ernie Derr and Ramo Stott, both of Keokuk, Iowa. During his brief venture into IMCA competition, he became both fan and friends with the two drivers.
From a driving standpoint, Austin’s best year came in 1965, when his car, owned by Don Hensley of Holden, Mo., finished ninth in IMCA points.
In 1968, Austin was a member of Lenny Funk’s pit crew. Several late-season victories would carry Funk to a third-place finish in the IMCA point standings.
“I’m not sure,” remembers Austin,” But even with those late season wins, I think Lenny lost $4,000 racing that year.”
Austin stated nothing has happened thus far in the promoting aspect he didn’t anticipate.
“I’d kind of like to make this race an annual event,” Austin remarked.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

1970 – 14 straight feature wins; Derr victorious in Hawkeye 200

Ernie Derr wins Hawkeye 200 in Cedar Rapids. - Ernie Derr Collection
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April 26, 1970) – Ten-time IMCA stock car kingpin Ernie Derr raced his 1969 Dodge to his record 14th straight feature victory on Sunday afternoon in the prestigious Hawkeye 200 on the fast half-mile of the All Iowa Fairgrounds. The 14 feature wins dated back to late into the 1969 season.

The 48-year-old Keokuk, Iowa, veteran took the checkered flag three laps ahead of Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, driving a 1970 Dodge. Derr completed the 200 laps in one hour and 31 seconds.

Ron Hutcherson was third in a 1969 Ford Torino followed by Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa, in a 1970 Plymouth. Derr’s 21-year-old son Mike, in a 1969 Dodge Charger, rounded out the top five.

Morris led for 83 of the first 100 laps and had built up a one and a half lap lead over Derr when he ran out of gas.

The victory was worth $800 for Derr plus $100 for being fast qualifier. He also collected a $100 appearance fee for being the defending champ. A crowd of 5,570 was on hand.

Results –

  1. Ernie Derr
  2. Mel Morris
  3. Ron Hutcherson
  4. Fred Horn
  5. Mike Derr
  6. Sandy Sandstrom
  7. Stan Stover
  8. Irv Janey
  9. Bill Schwader
  10. Bob Brown

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

1987 – Kinser Captures Knoxville ‘Outlaw’ Win

Knoxville, Iowa (April 25, 1987) – Steve Kinser, aboard the Karl Kinser Coors Light Gambler, drove to a convincing win before a huge crowd at the World of Outlaws-sanctioned ‘Spring Opener’ at the Marion County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.
The victory, which extended the fleet Kinser’s series lead, paid $8,000 and was his 176th career World of Outlaws’ feature win.
“I about got caught loafin’,” Kinser said in victory lane as he referred to Jac Haudenschild’s late race charge. “I was just trying to stay out of the holes. The track was rough tonight and there towards the end I thought I had a better lead.”
Thee 25-lap event was halted on lap 8 when race leader Bobby Davis Jr. tangled with a lapped car as he entered turn two. The impact sent the Memphis, Tenn., driver tumbling into the fence. He was transported to the Knoxville Area Community Hospital complaining of discomfort in his arm.
Kinser assumed the lead on the restart and a two-car battle ensued when Haudenschild came into contention shortly thereafter. Both use great portions of the half-mile oval as they fought through lapped traffic for the lead but at the checkered flag it was Kinser with the win.
Haudenschild earned $4,500 for his runner-up finish. Brad Doty, Mark Kinser and Danny Smith rounded out the top five.
Mark Kinser set another new track record in time trials for the weekend, erasing cousin Steve’s 24-hour mark with a clocking of 16.5 seconds.
Heat win went to John Tuttle, Ron Shuman, Greg Rule and Danny Smith. The B-feature was won by John Stevenson.

Results –

Fast time – Mark Kinser (16.50)
First heat – Jeff Tuttle, West Des Moines, Iowa
Second heat – Ron Shuman, Tempe, Ariz.
Third heat – Greg Rule, Pine Grove, Calif.
Fourth heat – Danny Smith, Danville, Ind.
B-main – John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
Feature –

1.    Steve Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
2.    Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, Ohio
3.    Brad Doty, Millersburg, Ohio
4.    Mark Kinser, Oolitic, Ind.
5.    Danny Smith
6.    Chris Eash, Woodbine, Md.
7.    Jimmy Sills, Placerville, Calif.
8.    Shane Carson, Oklahoma City
9.    Ron Shuman
10.  Bob East, West Des Moines, Iowa
11.  Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque, N.M
      12.  Rocky Hodges, Des Moines
13.  Tim Gee, Jamestown, Ind.
14.  Tony Armstrong, Sands Spring, Okla..
15.  Greg Wooley, Oklahoma City
16.  Danny Lasoski, Dover, Mo.
17.   Jeff Tuttle
18.   John Stevenson
19.   Craig Keel, Weedsport, N.Y.
20.   Kenny Jacobs, Holmesville, Ohio
21.   T.J. Giddings, Kansas City
22.   Bobby Davis Jr., Memphis, Tenn..
23.   Jaymie Moyle, Australia
24.   Greg Rule

Sunday, April 23, 2017

1972 – Vinton Monza to Zwanziger

Vinton, Iowa (April 23, 1972) - Waterloo, Iowa's Bill Zwanziger worked into the top spot at the midway point of the feature event, built a comfortable lead, then escaped some last lap efforts by Ed Sanger to nail down the 50-lap Monza Championship at the Benton County Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

Zwanziger's win in the 50-lap grind gave him a clean sweep for the afternoon. He would set quick time during qualifying, touring the quarter-mile in 17.38 seconds, then nipping Independence, Iowa's Glen Martin the a hotly-contested first heat.

It would be the second heat winner, Al Mayner of Winthrop, Iowa, however, that would set the pace for the first 23 circuits in the main event. Zwanziger would put his "foot to the floor" in his Al Frieden-prepared 1970 Nova and slip past the flying physician on lap 24 to take the lead for good.

Lap 46 provided a scare for Zwanziger when he was slowed by lapped traffic, and Sanger, seeing a opportunity, applied pressure.

But Zwanziger, the 20-year racing veteran did some quick dodging through traffic to re-build his lead to a two-car margin ahead of Sanger at the finish.

Despite nagging mechanical woes, Glen Martin would hang in there to finish third while Mayner would settle for fourth place. Larry Wasserfort of Cedar Falls, Iowa, would round out the top five.

Results –

Fast qualifier – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa (17.68)
Heat #1 – Bill Zwanziger
Heat #2 – Al Mayner, Winthrop, Iowa
Feature –
1. Bill Zwanziger
2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3. Glen Martin, Independence, Iowa
4. Al Mayner
5. Larry Wasserfort, Cedar Falls, Iowa
6. Cal Swanson, Reinbeck, Iowa
7. Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
8. Dennis Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
9. Dale DeFrance, Marshalltown, Iowa
10. Buggy Vincent, Nevada, Iowa

Friday, April 14, 2017

1973 – Sanger Tromps Sunset Field

Omaha, Neb. (April 14, 1973) – Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, led an impressive late model field for over half of the 100 laps to win the $5,000 Spring Invitational at Sunset Speedway on Saturday evening.
The veteran driver, who also won the fourth heat in his 1970 Monte Carlo, took home $1,000 for his efforts.
A field of 22 late models started on the extremely rough and wind-polished track. The race was mishap-free, yet only 11 cars were still on the track when the checkers waved.
Sanger, who started on the outside of the second row, grabbed the lead from polesitter Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, Iowa, on lap 48.
On lap 53, Zwanziger would lose his runner-up position to Omahan Bob Kosiski, when his 1972 Nova dropped a ball joint and was forced to exit.
Kosiski held on to second place for the remaining 47 circuits but couldn’t touch Sanger, who maintained a half a lap lead throughout the second half of the race. Kosiski would pocket $600 for second place.
Sanger and Kosiski would lap the field several times, causing scorekeepers additional time, at the conclusion, to tally up the final statistics.
Eventually, a pair of Council Bluff, Iowa, drivers, Ed Morris and Wally Nissen, would claim third and fourth respectively. Denny Hovinga of Laurens, Iowa, would round out the top five.
Of those top five finishers, three carried 1972 point championships at various tracks. Sanger at Cedar Rapids, Independence, Oskaloosa and Waterloo. Kosiski at Omaha and Nebraska City. Hovinga at Algona, Alta, Boone and Webster City.

Results –

Heat #1 – Dwight Engleen, Boone, Iowa
Heat #2 – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #3 – Ed Morris, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Heat #4 – Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
Trophy dash – Bill Zwanziger
Consolation – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Feature –
1.     Ed Sanger
2.     Bob Kosiski, Omaha
3.     Ed Morris
4.     Wally Nissen, Council Bluffs, Iowa
5.     Denny Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
6.     Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
7.     Randy Sterner, Blair, Neb.
8.     Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
9.     Dave Bjorge, Austin, Minn.
10.  Ron Weedon
11.  George Barton, Ankeny, Iowa
12.  Don Hoffman, Des Moines
13.  Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
14.  Ron Tilley, Council Bluffs
15.  Bill Zwanziger
16.  Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
17.  Dwight Engleen
18.  John Moss, Iowa City
19.  Arnie Braland, Boone, Iowa
20.  Chuck Carter, Bellevue, Neb.
21.  Al Druesdow, Omaha
22.  Glen McKeighgan, Council Bluffs

Sunday, April 2, 2017

1995 – Robe stays perfect for $5,000 in Beatrice

Beatrice, Neb. (April 2, 1995) – Marc Robe was just one of many drivers who signed in to do battle at the 2nd annual IMCA Modified Sprint Nationals at Beatrice Speedway, but he was the one who walked away with the glory, the cash, and the championship trophy.

More than 100 IMCA modifieds and their drivers showed up for qualifying sessions on Saturday. Robe began the night on a high note, winning his heat and earning himself a spot in the $5,000 to win main event. After completion of the 12 heats, the winners stepped forward to redraw for a 12-car shootout to determine the first six rows of Sunday’s 40-lap main event. Robe drew the pole position, and from there the competition would case Robe for the remainder of the weekend.

Robe held off Beatrice’s defending track champion, Kevin Larkins of Adams, Neb., for the win in the 12-lap qualifying dash, earning the pole position for Sunday’s finale, with Larkins set to start outside of the front row.

That was as close as anybody would get to Robe as he drove away from the field for victory in the 28-car Spring Nationals feature race. Larkins slipped to third midway through the race as Winona, Minnesota’s Bob Timm came from the seventh starting spot to take the second spot, where he could finish ahead of Larkins, earning $2,500 to Larkins’ $1,200. Kerry Davis of Kansas City, Mo., and Tim Donlinger of Rochester, Minn., rounded out the top five finishers behind Robe, Timm and Larkins.

The main event paid $200 to start with more than $21,000 handed out over the three-day weekend.

In addition to the $5,000 top prize, Robe also pocketed $250 from Sunoco Race Fuels for the being the top finisher using Sunoco. Larkins collected $125 for being the next highest racer “on the gas,” while Ricky Stephan of South Sioux City, Neb., garnered $75 for being the third highest finisher.

Results –

  1. Marc Robe, Wichita, Kan.
  2. Bob Timm, Winona, Minn.   
  3. Kevin Larkins, Greenwood, Neb.
  4. Kerry Davis, Kansas City, Mo.
  5. Tim Donlinger, Rochester, Minn.
  6. Gene Claxton, Kansas City, Mo.
  7. Marc Hurd, Wichita, Kan.
  8. Jack Byers, Spencer, Iowa
  9. Frankie Legg, Beatrice, Neb.
  10. Mike Sandholm, Belleville, Kan.
  11. Curt Gelling, Aberdeen, S.D.
  12. David Murray, Oberlin, Kan.
  13. Mike Heideman, Seneca, Kan.
  14. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
  15. Dean Wray, Trenton, Mo.
  16. Ricky Stephan, South Sioux City, Neb.
  17. Steve Droste, Waterloo, Iowa
  18. Rusty Glosser, Lincoln, Neb.
  19. Kenny Sweet Jr., Wichita, Kan.
  20. Sean Burkland, Ceresco, Neb.
  21. Martin Bennett, Des Moines, Iowa
  22. Tony Efkamp, Boone, Iowa
  23. Doug Durham, Omaha, Neb.
  24. Jon Swartz, Omaha, Neb.
  25. Kelly Shryock, Story City, Iowa
  26. Rudy Blake, Wilbur, Neb.
  27. Ken Sweet, Wichita, Kan.
  28. Bruce Serene, Hillsboro, Kan.