August 24-29, 1976
Veteran 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.
Dick Trickle 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 fifth.
Roger Regeth 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.
Larry 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.
Veteran home 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.
Tom Steiner, 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.
Ed Hoffman 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, Ill.
Young Stan 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.
Don Mack, 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.
Starting 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.