Knoxville, Iowa (June 19, 1969) – USAC midget point leader Mel Kenyon of Lebanon, Ind., drove his Offy midget to victory Thursday night at the Marion County Fairgrounds, only to learn later he had to surrender the winner’s share of the purse and trophy to Bob Tattersall of Streator, Ill.
While Kenyon accepted the winner’s trophy, handshakes and the like, a protest was being filed by Merle Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill. Bettenhausen claimed that, while running second behind Tattersall, they noticed the stalled car of Chuck Arnold near the infield of turn two.
Bettenhausen claimed this created an automatic slowdown and that is just what he did. He said he slowed down and went high coming out of the turn and this said Bettenhausen, is when Kenyon passed him.
The incident happened on the lap 31 of the 40-lap feature event and it was determined that the caution flag was displayed after the drivers had passed the flagman.
Kenyon said he didn’t see any flag and didn’t see Arnold’s stalled ride near the rim of the infield. He said he was too busy watching Bettenhausen’s car being passed.
After almost an hour of deliberation, USAC officials declared Tattersall the winner and Kenyon was dropped to third. Kenyon eventually caught Tattersall on lap 35 but he was running third at the time of Arnold’s spinout.
Merle Bettenhausen was second and Bob Wente of St. Louis, Mo., was fourth. Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis., rounded out the top five.
1. Bob Tattersall
2. Merle Bettenhausen
3. Mel Kenyon
4. Bob Wente
5. Tom Bigelow
6. Robert Greentree
7. Willard Yates
8. Bill Puterbaugh
9. Les Scott
10. Dave Strickland
11. Joe Demko
12. Bill Engelhart