Iowa - In 1982 the legendary Knoxville Raceway known for sprint car racing
hosted two big dirt late model races, one in the spring and one at the end of
first of these events was held on April 24 & 25, with the running of the
Casey’s General Store sponsored event that was labeled “Super Race I”. The
purse of over $50,000 paid $12,500 to win the late model feature and $5,000 to
win the limited late model show. Freddy
Smith of Kings Mountain, North Carolina got things started on the first night
by setting a new track record in qualifying of 20.051 seconds. Limited late
model heats went to Larry Moore of Dayton, Ohio, Ron Schreiner of Eleva,
Wisconsin and Jerry Holtkamp of Williams, Iowa. The
preliminary feature in the limited late models saw Moore take home the win with
Don Hoffman of Des Moines, Iowa second followed by Schreiner, Holtkamp and Mike
Smith of Ellsworth, Iowa. Bill
Rice of Des Moines, Tom Nesbitt of Thunder Bay, Ontario and Kevin Gundaker of
St. Louis picked up late model heat wins. Tom Nesbitt came home the winner in
the preliminary late model feature with Dhon Hauserman of Wichita, Kansas,
Larry Moore, Rodney Combs of Lost Creek, West Virginia and Freddy Smith
rounding out the top five. Boggs would finish seventh. On
Sunday night, Mike Smith beat Don Hoffman in the 5-lap limited late model
trophy dash. In the 40-lap, $5,000 to win limited late model feature it was
once again Larry Moore taking the win followed by Hoffman, Bob Shryock of
Estherville, Iowa, Holtkamp and Gundaker. Black
Jack Boggs of Grayson, Kentucky held off Rodney Combs to win the late model
trophy dash and then came back and once again bested Combs in the 50-lap
feature to take home a $12,500 paycheck. Following Boggs and Combs were Kenny
Walton of Viola, Iowa, Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa, Ray Guss Sr. of Coal Valley,
Illinois and Freddy Smith. On
Saturday, September 4, the late models returned to Knoxville for the Autumn
Spectacular. Also, racing were limited late models and street stocks. Billy
Moyer, Jr. of Des Moines blistered the famous half-mile as he set a new late
model qualifying time of 19.718 second just two seconds off the track record
for 410 sprint cars. Rich
Beebe of Overland Park, Kansas won the first heat over Moyer and Tom
Bartholomew of Waterloo. Fred Strube of Peoria, Illinois won the second heat
followed by Roger Chambers of Yates City, Kansas and Joe Kosiski of Omaha. Sunday’s
program was washed out and these races were rescheduled for Sunday, September
field of 27 late models, 21 limited late models and 21 street stocks returned
to Knoxville for the rescheduled final night of racing. For most of the 50-lap
feature it looked like a run away for Moyer as he built up a quarter lap lead
over second place Steve Kosiski of Omaha, but with three laps to go Des Moines’
Don Hoffman ran out of gas bringing out the yellow and allowing Kosiski to
close to the back bumper of Moyer. Kosiski
made the most of his new-found fortune and passed Moyer on the last lap to win
the event and take home the $4,000 first prize. Following Kosiski and Moyer to
the line were Kosiski’s brother Joe Kosiski in third and Rick Beebe finished
Dralle of Evansdale was the apparent winner in the limited late model feature
but was found to be 70 pounds light and the win was awarded to Dave Farren of
Des Moines with Denny Rosenberg of Grimes getting second and Martin Bennett of
Des Moines third. The Street Stock feature found the first three finishers
disqualified for having to wide of tires and the win went to fourth place
finisher Ted Swartslander of Des Moines. A
crowd of approximately 1,500 fans attended the Sunday event.
Roger Regeth of Kimberly, Wis., guided his 1973 Camaro to his sixth late model
feature win of the season Tuesday night, August 24, at Leo’s Speedway in
Oshkosh, Wis. Regeth, taking hiss charge from his fourth row starting spot,
forged ahead of leader Willie Goeden on lap 12 and extended his lead a few feet
every lap to finish with a five-car-length lead at the checkers. Goeden, Jerry
Smith, Dave Conger and Roger VanRoy rounded out the top five.
A light rain
fell throughout most of the ‘Furious 50’ late model special Wednesday night,
August 25 at Cedarburg (Wis.) Speedway and that was just fine with Al Schill
who went faster as the track got wetter, as he scored his first feature win of
the season on the 1/3-mile clay oval. With the rain becoming more intense as
the laps clicked off, Schill’s Camaro got the bite that it needed and the
Franklin, Wis., hot shoe passed race leader Aaron Solsrud of Pewaukee, Wis., on
lap 30 to grab the top spot. Once ahead, Schill built up an eight-car-length
lead en route to the win. Solsrud fought off Bill Goeden of Kewaskum, Wis., in
the waning laps to hod on for second. Despite the threatening weather, the
crowd of 3,025 was the largest of the season.
of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., ended the 1976 racing season at State Park Speedway
in Wausau, Wis., on Thursday night, August 26, the way he started it, by
winning the 50-lap late model feature race. Trickle passed Tom Reffner, winner
of 13 main events and the late model crown this season, on lap 23 and then
using lap traffic to his advantage, skillfully maneuvered through the pack to
increase his lead by half a lap at the finish. Reffner, from Rudolph, Wis.,
settled for second place followed by Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Marv
Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., finished fourth and Jim Back of Vesper, Wis., took
of Kimberly, Wis., displaying the hard-charging style that has made him a
winner on both dirt and asphalt tracks, outdueled Rich Somers of Stevens Point,
Wis., in the 20-lap late model feature at Wisconsin International Raceway on
Thursday night. A crowd of 2,412 viewed the final Fox River Racing Program of
1976. Regeth passed Tony Strupp of Slinger, Wis., on lap 9 and then fended off
Somers for the remaining 11 circuits to seal the victory, winning by
three-car-lengths. Somers, Strupp, Bill Goeden of Kewaskum, Wis., and Pete
Parker of Kaukauna, Wis., rounded out the top five.
Schuler’s feature win streak came to abrupt halt Friday night, August 27, at
the Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Ill., as mechanical misfortune struck at
his ‘Junkyard’ Camaro, putting Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., in the winner’s
circle at the conclusion of the 25-lap late model feature. Earlier, Schuler’s
car would drop a piston in a heat race, sidelining for the rest of the evening.
Young drove a masterful race, passing Tom Musgrave of Mundelein, Ill., on the
outside groove on lap 19 en route to his 202nd career feature win and his third
victory of the season at the 1/3-mile paved oval. Musgrave would hang on for
second place while Tom Jones of Northbrook, Ill., would finish third.
state driver Bay Darnell passed Terry Ryan of Davenport, Iowa, on lap 79 and
cruised to his first USAC stock car victory of the campaign in a 100-mile dirt
track race at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 28. The win
was Darnell’s second of his career, with his other triumph coming at a 100-mile
dirt race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds two years ago. Don White of Keokuk,
Iowa, was second followed by Paul Feldner of Colgate, Wis., Butch Hartman of
South Zanesville, Ohio and Ken Rowley of El Paso, Ill.
the handsome 26-year-old bachelor from Orland Park, Ill., wheeled the Bob
Steffes Chevy II to victory in the accident-shortened National Alliance of
Midget Auto Racing (NAMAR) championship at the Sun Valley Speedway in Anderson,
Ind., on Saturday night. Scheduled for 50 laps, the race was halted after 42
laps when Steve Ball of Fort Wayne, Ind., went over the main stretch guard rail
and tore down more than 50 feet of the track’s safety fence.
of Niles, Ill., drove his Camaro to victory in Saturday night’s 25-lap late
model feature race at Illiana Motor Speedway. It was only feature win number
two at Illiana this season for Hoffman, who captured track titles here in 1971 and
1973. Hoffman passed Dave Weltmeyer on lap 16 and then wasted no time in
putting some ground between himself and the rest of the field en route to the
easy win. Defending track champion and current point leader Larry Schuler, who
had won 14 of 15 main events at Illiana this season, was sidelined from
competition by a blown engine Friday night at Grundy County Speedway in Morris,
Fox made a triumphant return to the half-mile Dodge County Fairgrounds in
Beaver Dam, Wis., on Saturday night, scoring a clean sweep in the Badger Midget
program on Saturday night. Fox started by breaking the two-year-old track
record in qualifying with a blistering time of 25.668 seconds breaking the old
mark of 26.097 seconds. In the feature, the Janesville, Wis., charger steadily
moved through the field and despite three cautions, won handily over Lars Lein
of Cambridge, Wis. And Ken Biertzer of West Bend, Wis.
In one of
the most hotly-contested late model features ever seen at Rice Lake (Wis.)
Speedway, Bob Lawrence put down the challenges of the area’s best drivers to
walk off with the $650 first prize money in the special 30-lap invitational on
Saturday night. It was the Minnesota drivers fourth feature win of the season.
Lawrence and Red Steffen of Eau Claire, Wis., ran one-two for most of the
feature with neither driver giving an inch. Steffen patiently waited for
Lawrence to make a mistake but the St. Croix Beach, Minn., pilot drove
flawlessly beating Steffen by mere feet at the finish line. Tom Steuding of
Altoona, Wis., finished a bumper behind Steffen for third while Brent Laursen
of Cameron, Wis., grabbed fourth and Skip Splittstoesser of Stillwater, Minn.,
rounded out the top five finishers.
Wayne Lensing of Rockford, Ill., wrapped up late model title with a victory in the 30-lap feature at Rockford Speedway on Saturday night. Lensing had to come from the 20th starting position for the victory. By lap 22 he was in front and charged to the win ahead of second-place finisher Bill Venturini of Chicago and Larry O’Brien of Harvard, Ill.
known as the “Flying Farmer” from East Grand Forks, Minn., picked up his
biggest racing paycheck in 17 years of competition as he won the 200-lap
Minnesota State Fair open competition sprint car championship Sunday afternoon,
August 29. He collected $4,500 in a race which was viewed by 6,256 fans. Mack
emerged victorious although Casey Jones of South Bend, Ind., and Marvin Carmen
of Union City, Mich., dominated the event on the half-mile paved oval. It was
not until after the race was finished and the lap charts had been tallied that
Mack had been declared the winner.
only his second USAC Championship Dirt race, Bubby Jones of Danville, Ill.,
scored a narrow victory over Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio and Jim McElreath
of Arlington, Tex., in Sunday afternoon’s 100-mile race at the Du Quoin State
Fairgrounds. Jones inherited the top spot on lap 58 when race leader Joe
Saldana dropped out with mechanical issues. Jones then clung to a precarious
advantage over Dickson and McElreath for the remainder of the race until he was
finally able to pull to a five-car length margin in the closing four miles.
Dickson edged McElreath for runner-up money with Larry Rice taking fourth and
Johnny Parsons in fifth.
Bob Geldner took an early lead and went on to
victory in the 20-lap Midwest Sprint Association finale at North Starr Speedway
in Blaine, Minn., on Sunday night. Only 14 cars were on hand due to the show at
the Minnesota State Fair that afternoon. Jerry Richert was runner-up in the
feature and Don Mack, winner at the State Fair earlier in the day, was third.
So much racing history has been made through the years right here in the Midwest.
From the rich dirt ovals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska to the paved short tracks in Minnesota and Wisconsin, some of the best drivers ever to get behind the wheel of a race car competed right here in the heartland.
We all have our own story to share about our favorite driver who thrilled us everytime they rolled onto the track or that one particular race that still stands out as the greatest they ever saw.
We'll go back in history, 10, 20, 30, 40, even 50 years ago (even more) and reminisce about what has made racing in the Midwest so special for us.