By Lee Ackerman
Knoxville, 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 the year.
The 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 12.
A 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 fourth.
Red 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.