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.
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
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.