Thursday, October 11, 2018

1980 - Missouri Mains to Niffenegger, Jackson

Holts Summit, Mo. (October 11, 1980) – The 1980 racing season came to an action-packed end at Capital Speedway when over 65 late models competed in the Goodyear Missouri Nationals.
Time trials, qualifying heats, and a handicap race were held on Friday night. On Saturday night, two consolation races were followed by twin 50-lap features.
Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa, set a new track record, turning the 3/8-mile in 20 seconds flat.
The six fastest qualifiers, Ken Walton, Kevin Gundaker of St. Louis, Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, and Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, Iowa, competed in a six-lap handicap race with Niffenegger posting a flag-to-flag victory.
Ron Fisher of Centuria, Ill., and Dalton Walker of Curryville, Mo., won their respective consolation races on Saturday night, enabling them to enter the field for the twin 50-lap features.
In the first feature race, Ken Walton jumped to an early lead when the green flag dropped with Kevin Gundaker right behind. Gundaker would take the lead on lap 4 and maintained it for the next 15 circuits until bowing again to Walton. Gundaker, charging hard, got together with Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, between turns three and four and had to be towed to the pit area with front end damage.
Walton continued to lead the field for the next 25 laps but the victory wasn’t to be his. A broken spring would slow Walton with only five laps to go allowing Mike Niffenegger to inherit the top spot and go home with the $1,000 paycheck and trophy. Walton would settle for second with Billy Moyer Jr. of Des Moines in third, Ron Jackson in fourth and Ken Schrader of Fenton, Mo., in fifth.
The second feature saw the top six finishers of the first 50-lapper inverted in the front of the field with the other late model competitors filling in according to their finish in the first feature.
Ken Schrader took the lead at the green with Ron Jackson a close second. Jackson would charge ahead on lap 4 only to lose the top spot to Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, for one lap. Jackson would get by Martin on lap 6 and hold it for the final 44 tours to take home the other $1,000 check and trophy.
For the second time that evening, Ken Walton found himself finishing second with Niffenegger, Schrader, and Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., rounding out the top five.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1.    Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
2.    Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
3.    Bill Moyer Jr., Des Moines
4.    Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
5.    Ken Schrader, Fenton, Mo.
6.    Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
7.    Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
8.    Vic Bentlage, Jefferson City, Mo.
9.    Dick Taylor, Springfield, Ill.
10.   Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun, Iowa
11.   Ed Knaebel, Jefferson City, Mo.
12.   Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
13.   Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
14.   Gene Claxton, Kansas City
15.   Brian Leslie, Hamilton, Ill.
16.   Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
17.   John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
18.   Len Gittemeier, St. Charles, Mo.
19.   Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
20.   Ed Gray, Jefferson City, Mo.
21.   Galen Schaefer, Topeka, Kan.
22.   Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
23.   Mike Barbeau, Bridgeton, Mo.
24.   Shorty Ackers, Windsor Heights, Mo.
25.   Rick Kimberling, Slater, Mo.
26.   Steve Keppler, Marion, Iowa
27.   Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
28.   Dalton Walker, Curryville, Mo.
Feature #2 –

1.    Ron Jackson
2.    Ken Walton
3.    Mike Niffenegger
4.    Ken Schrader
5.    Larry Phillips
6.    Ed Knaebel
7.    Steve Keppler
8.    Galen Schaefer
9.    Billy Moyer Jr.
10.  Brian Leslie

Thursday, October 4, 2018

1975 – Hansen Cops Omaha $$$

Omaha, Neb. (October 4, 1975) – Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, won the fourth annual Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge on Saturday night at Sunset Speedway.
Hansen, who was point champion for the second consecutive year at Oskaloosa, Iowa, picked up his fourth recent big win of the season. His earlier big wins were at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Cresco, Iowa and Marshalltown, Iowa.
Hansen, driving the familiar blue #9 Camaro, joins fellow Iowans Verlin Eaker and Darrell Dake, both of Cedar Rapids as Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge champions as well as last year’s winner Bill Martin of Council Bluffs.
The race was marred by a chain-reaction crash earl in the evening when Omahan Tom Yocum lost control after he was hit and slid into the crowded infield.
Yocum’s car hit another, which pinned Jefferson, Iowa, driver Rich Lyon and Robert McPherson, also of Jefferson, between two cars. Lyons, point champion at Alta, Iowa, was rushed to an Omaha hospital but died two hours later from massive internal injuries.
It was the first death ever recorded at Sunset Speedway in its 19 years of existence.

McPherson remained hospitalized in fair condition with lacerations to the head and a fractured left leg. He was expected to be hospitalized for several months.
Kent Tucker of Aurora, Neb., who won his heat race by a substantial margin and was the Nebraska driver favored in the race, took the lead in the 100-lap main event, but on lap 3 his left front wheel broke forcing him to the sidelines. Tucker was point champion at Lincoln, Neb. and Hastings, Neb., and winner of Nebraska’s Triple Crown race held a couple of weeks earlier at Sunset.
The race would hold the fans in suspense as Hansen and Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, would deliver a see-saw battle for the top spot throughout the race. Hansen would lead a total of 55 laps while Sanger held the top spot for 43 go-rounds. Finally, Hansen would secure the point for good on lap 79 and never look back.
The only red flag occurred on lap 72 when Em Fretheim of Decorah, Iowa, climbed the north wall in turn four.
Bill Martin, the defending race winner, had engine trouble on lap 28 and dropped from the race.
Only 13 of 22 starters finished the feature. Of the 22 starters, only six were Nebraskans. The invading Iowans outshined their neighbors and things are expected to be as tough when the Iowa chauffeurs return to Sunset for the Spring Invitational in April.

Results –

Heat #1 – Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
Heat #2 – Kent Tucker, Aurora, Neb.
Heat #3 – Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #4 – Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
Heat #5 – Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Heat #6 – Jerry Wancewicz, Omaha
Consolation #1 – Em Fretheim, Decorah, Iowa
Consolation #2 – Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
Feature –

1.   Curt Hansen
2.   Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3.   Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
4.   Bob Kosiski, Omaha
5.   Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
6.   Joe Merryfield
7.   Dan Dickey
8.   Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
9.   Stan Stover, Delhi, Iowa
10. Phil Reese, Des Moines
11. Don Stysdal, David City, Neb.
12. Curt Houge, Ames, Iowa
13. Ed Morris, Council Bluffs, Iowa
14. Denny Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
15. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa

Monday, October 1, 2018

1978 - Old Car a Winner for O'Conner in Kankakee Clay Track 100

Kankakee, Ill. (October 1, 1978) – Jim O’Conner climbed back into his old Camaro and captured his second straight Northern Illinois Clay Track Championship 100-lap feature for late models at the Kankakee Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday.
John Provenzano set a track qualifying record to earn the pole position for the main event and soared into the lead which he maintained until lap 36 when O’Conner took charge.
O’Conner remained on top until Provenzano regained the lead on a restart following a caution period on lap 49.
However, O’Conner never let Provenzano establish a comfortable margin and charged back in front by using the inside groove to pass the Glen Ellyn, Ill., pilot on lap 62.
Once in front, O’Conner easily outdistanced his foes the rest of the way to pick up the victory with Provenzano, Bill Davis, and Denny Falkos, who finished second through fourth respectively, the only other drivers to complete all 100 circuits.
Mechanical difficulties sidelined three top contenders, Al Johnson, Arnie Gardner, and Ken Pohlman. Johnson, who had earlier won the trophy dash, bowed out after 30 laps; Gardner, the defending Kankakee late model driving king, lasted 35 circuits; and Pohlman, in the car O’Conner had originally planned to drive, dropped out after 92 rounds.

Results –

1.    Jim O’Conner, Kankakee, Ill.
2.    John Provenzano, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
3.    Bill Davis, Chesterton, Ind.
4.    Denny Falkos, Aurora, Ill.
5.    Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
6.    Bobby Shell, Clifton, Ill.
7.    Ken Widdes, Chicago
8.    Cary Dehm, Chatsworth, Ill.
9.    Fred Shickel, Peoria, Ill.
10.   Larry Owen, Rensselaer, Ind.