Friday, June 30, 2017

1977 – Wolfgang Cruises to Futurity Crown

Doug Wolfgang
Knoxville, Iowa (June 30, 1977) – They came from such faraway places like Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis and Indianapolis – but when the last checkered flag dropped, it was hometown boy Doug Wolfgang who stole the show.
Wolfgang has captured all nine features at the Marion County Fairgrounds this season and Wednesday night’s victory in the 25-lap Midwest Futurity sprint car race was as lopsided as a matchup between Seattle Slew and Mr. Ed.
Wolfgang, starting in the second row, grabbed the lead on the first circuit and lapped five cars en route to a about a 150-yard waltz over Ron Shuman of Phoenix, Ariz., before an estimated crowd of 4,500.
“When you’re hooked up against such great drivers, you can go good against anyone,” said Wolfgang. “But heck, anyone could have won the race on any other night.”
The $1,150 victory was so impressive that the owner of Wolfgang’s car, Bob Trostle of Des Moines, put in $250 of his own money to add to the $750 that Shuman earned for second place. It seems that Wolfgang has been doing so well at Knoxville this season, he’s scared away many of the top drivers.
“The car wasn’t running as hard as possible because of the track,” Wolfgang remarked. “There was a thicker cushion and it was sticky in some parts.”
“My brakes were fading and I was having some issues with the rear of the car,” he added. “I just pressed as hard as I could without getting into trouble.”
Shuman, who won the Western World Championships in 1975 and was runner-up in ’76, was fast qualifier in time trials, clocking in at 22.359 seconds, erasing the old track record set last year by Bobby Marshall of Dallas with 23.036 seconds.
Eddie Leavitt o Kearney, Mo., winner of the 1975 and ’76 Knoxville Super Modified Championships, held second position for 15 laps before fading to twentieth in the main event.
A pconcussion in the season opener at Knoxville, as in command all the way in the 15-lap “B” main while Dean Smith, a plant engineer from Fort Dodge, Iowa, won his first race ever behind the wheel of a sprint car, scoring the victory in the “C” main. air of unheralded drivers took top honors in the “B” and “C” features. Mike Pickney of Des Moines, who suffered a concussion in the season opener at Knoxville, as in command all the way in the 15-lap “B” main while Dean Smith, a plant engineer from Fort Dodge, Iowa, won his first race ever behind the wheel of a sprint car, scoring the victory in the “C” main.
Results –

Fast qualifier – Ron Shuman, Phoenix, Ariz. – 22.359
Trophy dash – Doug Wolfgang, Des Moines
Heat #1 – Bill Geldner, St. Peter, Minn.
Heat #2 – Ralph Parkinson Jr., Independence, Mo.
Heat #3 – Doug Wolfgang
Heat #4 – Roger Rager, Mound, Minn.
C-main – Dean Smith, Fort Dodge, Iowa
B-main – Mike Pickney, Des Moines
Feature –
1.    Doug Wolfgang
2.    Ron Shuman
3.    Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
4.    Roger Rager
5.    Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
6.    Ralph Blackett, Des Moines
7.    Ricky Hood, Memphis, Tenn.
8.    Butch Bahr, Grand Island, Neb.
9.    Jim Riggins, Lincoln, Neb.
10.  Don Maxwell, Lincoln, Neb.
11.  Dave Engebretson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
12.  Bob Williams, Kansas City
13.  Bill Robison, Topeka, Kan.
14.  Jack McCorkell, Redwood Falls, Minn.
15.  Jerry Potter, Kansas City
16.  Mike Thomas, Des Moines
17.  Harvey Grooms, Ottumwa, Iowa
18.  Bobby Marshall, Dallas, Tex.
19.  Steve Hainline, Bonaparte, Iowa
20.  Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

1981 – Parker $5,000 Richer after NDRA Schlitz 100 Victory

Pete Parker toasts his victory at Granite City while Miss NDRA, Eva Taylor, presents the checkered flag. - Jim Vercauteren Photo

Granite City, Ill. (June 27, 1981) – Pete Parker collected the richest jewel of his late model racing career Saturday night at Tri-City Speedway as the Kaukauna, Wis., lead foot captured the National Dirt Racing Association (NDRA) Schlitz 100 in impressive fashion. The performance netted Parker $5,000.
Starting fifth in the 24-car grid, Parker worked the lower groove to perfection as he kept the Tri-City Buggy sponsored Camaro in the top five all night.
Parker went to the inside of leader Kevin Gundaker, as the duo battled side-by-side down the back straight of lap 68 and had a two-foot advantage at the flag tower. Gundaker charged hard into turn three the following trip around the half-mile clay oval, but Parker had the correct setup and opened up a two-car-length margin to conclude lap 69.
Gundaker fell off Parker’s scorching pace in the laps to follow and was three seconds behind when the red flag waved for the mandatory gas stop at lap 80.
Gundaker returned to his pit area position for the refueling and was forced to restart at the rear of the field as all cars were stopped on the frontstretch.
Parker took the race’s final green flag and immediately went to his low groove strategy and opened up a six-length cushion over current NDRA point leader Buck Simmons of Baldwin, Ga.
Simmons had no more luck than Gundaker in reeling in the blazing Parker, who clearly had the fastest car on the track in the last half of the 50-mile trek.
Simmons was credited with second place followed by teammate Larry Moore, Don Seaborn, Freddie Smith, Gundaker and Ken Walton.

Results –

1. Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
2. Buck Simmons, Baldwin, Ga.
3. Larry Moore, Ocala, Fla.
4. Don Seaborn, Dayton, Ohio
5. Freddie Smith, Kings Mountain, N.C.
6. Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
7. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
8. Mike Munion, Oblong, Ill.
9. Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
10. Larry McDaniels, Wichita, Kan.
11. Terry Messenger, Robinson, Ill.
12. Garry Porter, St. Charles, Mo.
13. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines, Iowa
14. Don Hoffman, De Moines, Iowa
15. Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
16. Doug McCammon, Peoria, Ill.
17. Jerry Inmon, Bruce, Miss.
18. Alan Russell, Marietta, Ohio
19. Les Duellman, Fountain City, Wis.
20. Ira Bastin, Solsberry, Ind.
21. Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
22. Jack Boggs, Webbville, Ky.
23. John Provenzano, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
24. W.T. Harris, Boonville, Ind.

Monday, June 26, 2017

1974 – Kuehn Takes Brua Memorial

Cresco, Iowa (June 26, 1974) -  A couple of Minnesota drivers turned the Ole Brua Memorial race at the Howard County Fairgrounds into “Rochester Night” before a crowd of 2,200.
Wendell Kuehn and Mert Williams, both of Rochester, emerged one-two based on the point standings for the double feature events. Kuehn would win with 38 points followed by Williams with 36. Dave Bjorge of Austin, Minn. And Karl Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, tied for third place with 35 points.
In addition to $380 off the over $4,000 total purse, Kuehn took home a $1,000 diamond ring.
The program was held as a memorial to Ole Brua, one of the top drivers on the IMCA stock car circuit before his death in a car-train accident in Rochester, Minn., last year.
The 20-lap feature was preceded by another 20-lap event in which the order of the finish is reversed, the top finisher in the first race starting last in the second feature.
In the first late model feature, LeRoy Scharkey of Rochester took the lead on the green flag but was soon overtaken by Karl Sanger on lap 4.
On lap 7, Kuehn, driving a ’73 Mustang, would charge by Sanger on the backstretch and then stretch his lead for the remainder of the race.  Sanger would battle Dave Bjorge for the second spot and just nudge him out for runner-up honors. Mert Williams would take fourth and Lynn Idler of Ionia, Iowa, fifth.
With the field reversed for the second 20-lapper, Ron Kester of Austin, Minn., would inherit the pole position and promptly take the top spot.
That lead wouldn’t last for long, though, as Em Fretheim of Decorah, Iowa, would sneak by on lap 3 to take over the point.
A battle for first would quickly ensue between Fretheim and Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa, while Willy Richardson of Cresco, would join the fray. For the next eight laps, those three cars would race side-by-side until Richardson shot completely off the track, through the backstretch barrier, ending up on a Cresco residential street. Richardson would escape injury but sustain heavy damage to his race car.
Following the restart, Shryock would get by Fretheim as they entered turn one and wouldn’t relinquish the top spot after that. Fretheim would also let Mert Williams sneak by him before the lap was finished.
After Shryock and Williams, Kuehn would follow up his win by finishing third in the night-cap. Bjorge and Karl Sanger would round out the top-five.

Results –
Heat #1 – Dave Bjorge, Austin, Minn.
Heat #2 – LeRoy Scharkey, Rochester, Minn.
Heat #3 – Em Fretheim, Decorah, Iowa
Semi-main – Harvey Patterson, Northwood, Iowa
Feature #1 –
1.     Wendell Kuehn, Rochester, Minn.
2.     Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3.     Dave Bjorge, Austin, Minn.
4.     Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
5.     Lynn Idler, Ionia, Iowa
Feature #2 –
1.     Bob Shryock, Estherville, Iowa
2.     Mert Williams
3.     Wendell Kuehn
4.     Dave Bjorge
5.     Karl Sanger

Thursday, June 22, 2017

1973 - Gould Takes La Crosse ARCA 100

Bruce Gould
West Salem, Wis. (June 22, 1973) – The Automobile Racing Club of America new model stock cars returned to the 5/8-mile paved oval of La Crosse Interstate Speedway after a year absence and their return proved to be very exciting as Bruce Gould and his 1971 Ford Torino emerged the winner and $825 richer.
Twenty-one cars took the green flag for the 100-lap feature, with Gould taking the lead from his front row, outside starting position. Gould held the lead with Bobby Watson, Kenny Reiter, Dave Dayton and Ron Hutcherson right behind him.
On lap 18 as the leaders were moving through traffic, Frank Sandin spun in the fourth turn forcing the leaders to go in all directions to avoid him. However, only Dayton made contact with Sandin and had to pit under yellow for three laps to bend sheet metal away from his tires.
Because of the melee, Watson would inherit the lead with Reiter, Gould, Hutcherson and A. Arnold behind him. Dayton pulled out of the pits just as the leaders were going by him and he settled in between Reiter and Gould. The green flew once again on lap 22 and once again and it appeared to be a six-car battle though Dayton was three laps down.
On lap 23, Hutcherson moved past Gould for third while Watson and Reiter began pulling away. The race continued in that order until lap 41 when Dennis Caves spun his car in turn one, once again bringing out the yellow.
By lap 55, it was apparent Reiter was having issues with his Dodge Charger and he began dropping back, allowing Watson to have a full straightaway lead by lap 70 and also allowing Gould and Hutcherson to move up on Reiter.
On lap 95, Gould flew past Dayton going down the backstretch and was now on Watson’s bumper. On lap 97, Watson’s throttle would stick going into turn one and he locked it up, hitting the wall at a 45-degree angle, bouncing off the wall and coming to rest in turn two.
Gould would inherit the point and hold steady for the remaining three laps to take the win. Arnold would take runner-up honors with Hutcherson third, Cliff Nema fourth and Larry Anderson fifth.

Results –

1.    Bruce Gould, Milford, Ohio
2.    A. Arnold, Brooks, Ky.
3.    Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
4.    Cliff Nema, Cumberland, Ind.
5.    Larry Anderson
6.    Kenny Reiter, Louisville, Ky.
7.    Bobby Watson, Prestonsburg, Ky.
8.    Dave Dayton, Indianapolis
9.    Kenny Black, Indianapolis
10.  Ed Richardville, Temperance, Mich.
11.  Bob Thomas, Louisville, Ky.
12.  Wayne Trinkle, Jeffersonville, Ind.
13.  Tom Culbertson, Indianapolis
14.  Dennis Caves, Salem, Ind.
15.  Frank Sandin, Hamilton, Ohio
16.  N.D. Copley, Hodgenville, Ky.
17.  Wayne Watercutter, Celina, Ohio
18.  Mike Lynn, Indianapolis
19.  Dick Smith, Springfield, Ohio
20.  Larry Scott, Grand Rapids, Ohio
21.  Bobby Junior, Westland, Mich.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1979 – Hansen wins NSCA ‘Futurity 100’

Curt Hansen (center) of Dike, Iowa, won the National Speedways Contest Association "Futurity 100" late model event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Speedway on Wednesday, June 20. He's flanked by third-place finisher Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa (left) and runner-up Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Iowa (right). Co-promoters Dave Van Patten (left) and Bob Lawton (right) join in the victory celebration. - Dean Malone Photo

Des Moines, Iowa (June 20, 1979) – An Okie from Muskogee and a Missourian from Springfield had been the winners in the first two National Speedways Contest Association late model stock car races, but Iowans finished in the top five spots at the Futurity 100 race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Wednesday night before a crowd of 4,500.

Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, would take the victory after a race-long battle with Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo. Hansen would collect $2,000 for winning the 100-lap event.

Hansen, who qualified sixth fastest in time trials, would start on the pole after the top six qualifiers would be inverted. The 34-year-old pilot would lead the first 53 circuits of the 100-lap affair until Phillips, who had run second and third at various stages of the race, took over.

Hansen would manage to stay close to Phillips’ bumper for the next 20 laps and when the Missouri ace’s axle broke on lap 75, Hansen would inherit the top spot again and cruise from there.

Hansen would win by a half a lap over second place finisher Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Iowa, and Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa. Verlin Eaker of Mechanicsville, Iowa and Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, Iowa, would round out the top five.

Tom Laster of Muskogee, Okla., winner of the first NSCA-sanctioned event and the series’ current point leader, was not in attendance.

Ken Walton was the fastest guy around the track in time trials, touring the half-mile in 25.018 seconds. A.C. Saint of Tulsa, Okla., won the 15-lap consolation.

Feature finish –

1.     Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
2.     Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
3.     Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
4.     Verlin Eaker, Mechanicsville, Iowa
5.     Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
6.     Clayton Peterson, Grand Island, Neb.
7.     Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
8.     Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
9.     Bill Sanders, Muskogee, Okla.
10.   Joe Kosiski, Omaha
11.   Larry Wasserfort, Waterloo, Iowa
12.   A.C. Saint, Tulsa, Okla.
13.   Bill Myers, Grand Island, Neb.
14.   Tom Frasher, Jefferson City, Mo.
15.   Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
16.   Ken Davidson, Indianola, Iowa
17.   Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
18.   Bill Davis, Des Moines
19.   Rodney Combs, Cincinnati, Ohio
20.   Bob Shryock, Estherville, Iowa
21.   Bill Rice, Des Moines
22.   Arnie Braland, Boone, Iowa
23.   Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
24.   Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
25.   Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
26.   John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
27.   Bill Wrich, Kennard, Neb.
28.   Bill Beckman, Lisbon, Iowa

Sunday, June 18, 2017

1977 – Veteran Dake Sweeps West Liberty


West Liberty, Iowa (June 18, 1977) – Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, proved Saturday night he can still get the job done.
Before a crowd of 3,600 race fans, Dake made a clean sweep of the late model program at the West Liberty Fairgrounds.
This was Dake’s first win since his tragic accident last August at Hawkeye Downs which left him with severe injuries and threatened to end his legendary career of more than two decades.
“Double D” as he is aptly nicknamed, has made steady progress on the track the past month and the victory marked a milestone in Dake’s determined goal to make a comeback on the Midwest racing circuit.
Dake took advantage of his pole starting position in the feature to jump into the lead on the first lap, a lead he would never surrender.
Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree, Iowa, Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa, and Duane Steffe of Colona, Ill., battled for second place the entire 25 laps, often three abreast, but Dake was able to fend off the trio who were at his bumper the entire time.
Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Iowa, winner of last week’s feature, had torn up hi car at Davenport the week before so he wasn’t in competition Saturday. This caused him to lose some ground in the point standings with Tom Hearst although he still maintains second.
Bill Schwader of Riverside, Iowa, was the consolation winner while heat wins went to Hearst, Dake, Ken DeGood of Iowa City and Steffe.
Kenny Fenn of Washington, Iowa, made it feature win number eight in sportsman competition. Starting on the pole, Fenn wouldn’t be touched by any of his challengers.

Results –

Heat #1 – Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
Heat #2 – Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Heat #3 – Ken DeGood, Iowa City, Iowa
Heat #4 – Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
Consolation – Bill Schwader, Riverside, Iowa
Feature –
1.     Darrell Dake
2.     Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree, Iowa
3.     Duane Steffe
4.     Tom Hearst
5.     Ron Prymek, Iowa City, Iowa
6.     Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
7.     Ed Mellecker, Iowa City, Iowa
8.     Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
9.     Larry Rummelhart, Riverside, Iowa
10. John Moss, Iowa City, Iowa
11. Jack Hall, Muscatine, Iowa
12. John Simenec, Rock Island, Ill
13. Ken DeGood
14.  Bill Schwader

Friday, June 16, 2017

1963 – McCluskey Outraces Fast Field at Terre Haute

Chuck Hulse (8) and Roger McCluskey (2) lead the field to green at Terre Haute. McCluskey would dominate the race in record fashion. - IRMA Photo
Terre Haute, Ind. (June 16, 1963) – Roger McCluskey trounced one of the fastest fields ever assembled in sprint car history in a thrilling 30-lap feature on the Vigo County Fairgrounds’ half-mile dirt.  McCluskey’s time of 12 minutes and 14.25 seconds set a new record for 15 miles. He took the checkers two seconds ahead of pole winner Chuck Hulse.
A.J. Foyt brought his new Leader Card 255 Offy and brought it home in third place. Steve Stapp drove to a best-ever fourth place finish and Don Branson rounded out the top five.
It was a day of records at the “Action Track” as one-lap, eight-lap and 30-lap marks were set. The most important record to the drivers, however, was the record purse of $10,965. McCluskey’s winning share was $2,422. Attendance was 7,500 paid and with children admitted free, the total was well over 11,000.
Qualifications proved interesting with Chuck Hulse first out to qualify and setting a new one-lap record of 23.44 seconds besting the old mark of 23.60 set by McCluskey. Then McCluskey took his turn and tried to regain the record and clocked a 23.46.
After sweating out 18 cars, Hulse was about ready to collect his $25 for fast time when Stapp turned in 23.42, which not only stunned the fans in attendance but the other drivers.
Hulse got his name in the record books by winning the eight-lap first heat in the record time of 3 minutes and 9.52 seconds. That record beat the five-year-old mark of 3 minutes and 16.20 seconds held by Jim McWithey.
In addition to Hulse winning his heat, Jim Hurtubise and Jim Miller would score heat wins as well. Jiggs Peters was the semi-main winner.

Feature results –

1.    Roger McCluskey
2.    Chuck Hulse
3.    A.J. Foyt
4.    Steve Stapp
5.    Don Branson
6.    Jim Miller
7.    Bob Mathouser
8.    Chuck Engel
9.    Bobby Black
10.  Billy Earl
11. Ted Pfeiffer
12.   Don Bullock
13.   Jim Hurtubise
14.   Jiggs Peters
15.   Ronnie Duman