Thursday, November 14, 2019

Basement Archives

From the Hawkeye Racing News, June 29, 1967

A near-capacity crowd was on its feet to witness a photo finish Wednesday night, June 21, at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds’ half-mile oval. Bill Hudson of New Sharon, Iowa, grabbed the lead at the start of the 15-lapper and was never headed. Marvin Korns of Brooklyn, Iowa, however, made it interesting and pressured Hudson, racing side-by-side the last few laps of the contest with Hudson winning by the length of a bumper at the finish.

Super modified racing finally got off and running after two weeks of rain outs at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds on Friday, June 23. Joe Saldana of Lincoln, Neb., took Jack Thompson’s green flag at the beginning of the 15-lap feature and never looked back, lapping everyone but the second and third-place finishers. Lonnie Jensen, also of Lincoln, finished a distant second while Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, took third.

Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, chauffeured his Ford to his first feature win of the season at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport on Friday night. Weedon ran unchallenged for most of the 25-lap contest, winning handily over Don Bohlander, Johnny Beauchamp and Bill McDonough. Heat winners were Lyle McNull and Lyle Behne while Bruce Sunbeck won the semi-main and Fred Strube was first in the consolation.

The largest crowd of the season at Air-View Speedway in Monticello, Iowa, watched a tremendous see-saw battle Friday night as Dick Nesteby of Dubuque and Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo fought it out for the top. Nesteby finally wrestled the lead from Zwanziger on lap 15 and despite late pressure from Waterloo’s Red Droste, was able to pull away for the win. Droste would settle for second followed by Zwanziger, Tom Hughes of Monticello and Ed Sanger of Waterloo.

John Moss of Iowa City led the last half of the 50-lap feature to win the Mississippi Valley Speed Club mid-season championship at West Liberty Raceway on Saturday, June 24. Moss took over the top spot midway through the contest when race leader Mark Mosier of Washington lost his left front wheel on the backstretch. Moss crossed the finish line less than a car length ahead of Mel Morris of West Liberty. Tom Stewart of Washington, the race’s leader for the first 12 circuits, grabbed third place.

Larry Cannon, the likable lead foot from Oakwood, Ill., dominated the super modified races at American Legion Speedway in Fairbury, Ill., on Saturday night. Cannon quieted the rest of his competitors, setting fast time (15.66), winning the 6-lap dash, his 10-lap heat, and the 25-lap feature to sweep the card. Steve Cannon, Larry’s younger brother, would finish second in the main event, followed by Bubby Jones of Danville, Ill.

Defending 34 Race Ways modified champion Duane Stoneking ended his streak of hard luck as he won the “A” main and the trophy dash on Saturday night. “Stoney” started on the pole by virtue of setting fast time and moved from that spot to lead all 20 laps en route to the checkers. He won by a comfortable margin over Ron Jackson and Mike Niffenegger. Bob Lane, Jackson and Kenny Ellis were heat winners and Fibber McGee was the “B” feature winner.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, won the 75-lap stock car feature at Soldier Field in Chicago Saturday night after battling head to head with Sal Tovella of Addison, Ill. Tovella, who recorded fast time in qualifying, received special permission from the United States Auto Club to compete in the event. A crowd of 4,975 hardy fans braved cold, damp weather to see the IMCA-sanctioned feature, in which Stott took the lead on lap 44 after trailing Tovella from the start. Making his first career start at Soldier field, 1966 IMCA national champion Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, finished third.

Don Bohlander, the Glasford, Ill., charger easily pushed his 1963 Plymouth to victory before a very slim and cold crowd at Peoria Speedway on Saturday evening. Bohlander, starting in the last row, worked his way through the field and passed leader Alan May on lap 16. He was never seriously challenged after that and cruised to his second straight feature win. Jim Strube of Peoria would take runner-up honors with John Beauchamp of Atlantic, Iowa, grabbing the final podium spot.

Delayed by rain for a day, the weekly super stock races at Marshalltown Speedway were held Sunday evening, June 25, with Jerry LeCroy of Des Moines walking off with the feature victory. A Central Iowa Fair-sized crowd was on hand to watch LeCroy edge out Bob Bonzer of Liscomb for the top prize. Following LeCroy and Bonzer to the finish line were Curt Hogue of Ames, Iowa, Dave Brannon of Marshalltown and Bob Eurom of Marshalltown.

Darrel Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, driving his 1967 Ford, was the big winner in the late model class at Speedbowl Park in Sterling, Ill., on Sunday. Dake finished almost half a lap ahead of the field at the checkers, well ahead of Verlin Eaker, John Connolly, Alan May and Ed Bohlen. Dake also won his heat race and semi-main, making it a clean sweep on the evening.

Red Droste of Waterloo added to his string of victories as he won the feature Sunday night at Tunis Speedway. It was the fourth consecutive night that the purse exceeded $2,000, with a total purse of $2,600 being paid this night. Roger Kruse of Independence, the first heat winner, lead in the early going before Droste took over and pulled away from the field. Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, the third heat winner, took second in the main event while Cal Swanson of Reinbeck was third, Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., grabbed fourth and Ed Sanger of Waterloo rounded out the top five.

Lyle McNall of Aledo, Ill., outdueled fellow townsman Del Williams and won the 25-lap IMCA late model main at Quad City Raceway in East Moline, Ill., on Sunday night. Not only did McNall and Williams finish one-two in the feature but in the first heat as well. The feature victory at Quad City was McNall’s first in over two years. He won his first feature there in his rookie year of 1965. McNall started on the outside of the front row and built a quarter-lap lead at the beginning. Midway through the race, Williams, who started in the third row, had worked his way through traffic and was in hot pursuit of McNall. Williams made up considerable ground but ran out of laps and was unable to catch the leader, who was piloting a 1961 Studebaker powered by a 327 cubic-inch Chevrolet motor.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The El Kahir Shrine Race: Racing So Kids Can Walk

Joe Merryfield of Des Moines, Iowa, poses proudly with his trophy after winning the 1978 El Kahir Shrine Race. 

by Lee Ackerman 
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - In 1978, the El Kahir Shriners teamed with Promoter Al Frieden and Hawkeye Downs to create the El Kahir Shrine Race with proceeds from the event going to the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital. The first race took place on Tuesday, August 1, 1978.

Fifth-eight late models signed in for the event which paid the winner of the 50-lap feature $1,250. Veteran Ed Sanger of Waterloo got things off to a fast start in time trials as he set a new track record of 23.671 seconds. Bill Beckman of Lisbon was not far behind at 23.779 seconds. Former time trial record holder Curt Hansen of Dike’s evening ended early when he broke a steering arm in qualifying and crashed into the retaining wall ending his night.

Ken Walton of Marion took home the 6-lap trophy dash with J.J. Smith of Appleton, Wisconsin finishing second and Bill Rice of Des Moines third. Heat race wins went to Tom Frady of Cedar Rapids, Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Johnny Johnson of Iowa City and Tom Hearst of Wilton with Bill Martin of Council Bluffs winning the 20-lap consolation event.

Ed Sanger and Bill Beckman lead the field to the green but it wasn’t long and it became apparent the man on the move was Joe Merryfield. By lap 10, the Des Moines chauffeur was up to fifth. By lap 15, he was fourth. On lap 19, he got together with Denny Osborn of Cedar Falls and ended up in the infield. Starter Engel DeKoch ruled a “no-fault” restart. On the restart, Merryfield took second and moved past leader Bill Rice on the 30th lap.

Merryfield was the class of the field with J.J. Smith getting by Rice on lap 45, but unable to run down Merryfield. Following Merryfield and Smith to the line were Rice, Walton and Ed Sanger.

Verlin Eaker won the 1979 El Kahir Shrine race. 

Going into the second annual El Kahir Shrine race held on July 31, 1979, one driver had dominated the big events at Hawkeye Downs ever since winning the inaugural Yankee Dirt Classic the previous September. That driver was Mechanicsville’s Verlin Eaker.
Since winning the Yankee at Hawkeye Downs he had added the Miller 100 and the Winston 50 to his trophy case. There would be no reason to believe that he would not be the man to beat in the El Kahir race.

Time trials saw the always tough Leon Plank of Mondovi, Wisconsin set fast time at 23.47 seconds. Bill Zwanziger, Red Dralle, Steve Keppler, Mike Niffenegger and Eaker would round out the top six. Fortunately for the field the top six was not be inverted and it was a heads up start.

Kalona’s Mike Niffenegger won the trophy dash with Eaker coming in second. Heat wins went to Tim McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Jack Mitchell of Cedar Rapids, Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Tom Hearst of Wilton and Dick Schiltz of Waterloo. Hearst then bested Delhi’s Bob Schulte in the semi-feature.

Zwanziger grabbed the lead from his outside pole position and stayed there for most of the race. By lap 30, Eaker had moved up to challenge and the two put on a side by side battle that brought the fans to their feet. Finally, on lap 43 Eaker edged to the lead and remained there for the rest of the 50-lap event. On the last lap, Curt Hansen slipped by Zwanziger for second. Steve Keppler of Marion would finish fourth and Plank fifth. The capacity crowd had been treated to another great race at Hawkeye Downs.

In 1980 the format for the race was changed. There were no heat races, just time trials, a trophy dash, a B feature followed by a 100-lap feature. One thing that did not change however was the fact that an Iowa driver who had previously won the World 100, once again won the El Kahir race.

A new track record was set during time trials as Dick Schiltz posted a lap of 23.172 seconds. Marion’s Fred Horn posted a 23.344 just missing the old track record. Fifth fast qualifier Ken Walton won the 6-lap trophy dash with Leon Plank finishing second. A 20-lap B feature was then run to fill the remaining spots in the feature not decided by time trials. Bill McArdle of Hazel Green, Wisconsin won the event with Bob Schulte also advancing to the 100-lap A feature.

The A feature turned out to be not only a great race but may have been decided by carbon monoxide. Ken Walton got the jump from his outside pole position and led the first 12 laps before being passed by Curt Hansen. The Hansen pass for the lead was assisted by the fact that Walton rammed a slowing Mel Morris allowing Hansen to get by on the inside. Hansen and Walton then started pulling away from the field but on lap 23 Hansen’s night was over as he went pit side with mechanical gremlins.

Ken Walton score the win in the 1980 El Kahir Shrine race. 

Walton continued to lead the race. The race was interrupted by rain near the half-way point causing it to go under caution for several laps and created vision problems for some of the drivers because of wet visors. The race resumed on lap 55 with Schiltz passing Walton for the lead one lap later. On lap 90, Schiltz suddenly got into the wall hard allowing Walton to pass and go on to take the win. Schlitz held on to second with Wisconsin’s Peter Parker, Tom Hearst and Duane Steffe of Colona, Illinois rounding out the top five.

Things got a bit bizarre after the race. Schiltz went across the scales, then loaded his car but he could not get out of his race car. Schiltz was administered oxygen and taken to Mercy Hospital and later released. It turns out that Schiltz had driven the last 20 laps in a dazed condition because of being overcome by carbon monoxide gas and could hardly remember the last 20 laps.

“Both Curt and Dick were faster than I there at the end,” Walton said after the race. “I ran steady the whole 100 laps and that’s what counted tonight. The rain definitely changed the track. Before the rain, I was running a high groove, but after it ended, I was down on the bottom. It didn’t look like much to the people maybe, but it (the rain) was enough to change the track.”

Ed Sanger won the fourth and final El Kahir Shrine race in 1981. 

In 1981, both the format for the race and the track hosting the race changed. One thing did not change, for the fourth year in a row a former World 100 winner went to victory lane. The race was moved to the Independence Motor Speedway and they ran no time trials. Ed Sanger, Rick Wendling of Hazleton and Greg Kastli of Waterloo won the heats with Dick Schiltz winning the consolation race.

The 50-lap feature was all Ed Sanger. Sanger took the lead at the drop of the green and was simply gone. Sanger was in lapped traffic within a few laps and pulled away from the field to score an easy victory. Greg Kastli came home with a solid second place finish. The real battle was for third with four drivers battling to the end for that spot. Rick Wendling came away with the spot followed by Gary Tigges of Durango, Red Dralle of Evansdale and Schiltz. Those were the only cars on the track not lapped by Sanger.

Schiltz, who missed his heat race because his crew was making changes to the car, then won the consolation event and started 16th in the feature and made it up to sixth.

The 1981 race drew considerably less cars than the previous three years and may have been a factor in it being the last year of the race. Whatever the reason for its demise, the El Kahir Shrine race provided some great racing and more importantly raised money for a great cause.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

1980 – Bettenhausen Claims ‘Dirt’ Championship

Gary Bettenhausen receives his trophy after winning the 100-lapper at 'The Action Track'.

Terre Haute, Ind. (November 2, 1980) — Gary Bettenhausen was named the 1980 United States Auto Club’s National Dirt Car Champion Sunday after winning the 100-lap dirt car race at the Vigo County Fairgrounds' half-mile dirt oval. 

Bettenhausen, 38, Monrovia, Ind., took home $4,500 in prize money from the win.

Bettenhausen led the first 62 laps of the race, then lost the lead to Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis., until he spun out and hit the wall in lap 87. Bigelow was not hurt.

Bettenhausen took the lead again and held it for the victory.

Johnny Parsons, Speedway, Ind., took second place, followed by Ken Schrader, Fenton, Mo., who started on the pole position, in third. Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio, finished fourth. 

Results –

1. Gary Bettenhausen
2. Johnny Parsons
3. Ken Schrader
4. Larry Dickson
5. Pancho Carter
6. Rich Vogler
7. Larry Rice
8. Sheldon Kinser
9. Jim McElreath
10.Tom Bigelow

Friday, November 1, 2019

1981 – Teamwork Key to Race Win for Lindley

Butch Lindley

Nashville, Tenn. (November 1, 1981) – Butch Lindley says he’s had good luck racing at Nashville in the past, but he credits teamwork for his victory in the All-American 400 stock car race.

Lindley, of Greenville, S.C., took home $14,625 Sunday afternoon for crossing the finish line 5.5 seconds ahead of polesitter Mark Martin of North Liberty, Ind., at the Nashville International Speedway.

“We’ve had awful good luck here at Nashville and this isn’t the first time we’ve won here,” Lindley said. “But I believe this is the biggest race we’ve won as far as the most money and the most different types of drivers.”

The 33-year-old Lindley said he enjoyed Sunday afternoon’s 3 hour, 50 minute and 9 second drive on the .596-mile asphalt track. His average speed was 75.33 miles per hour.

“The crew did a heckuva job and that’s what it takes to win. If you don’t put it all together at the same time, most of the time you lose,” Lindley remarked.

“They knew what to do today and I tried to do the best job I possibly could,” added the victor, who is a two-time NASCAR sportsman national champion.

Lindley, driving a GT Racing Flash Dillon Camaro, led 204 of the 400 laps.

Behind Lindley and Martin were Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Joe Shear of Twin Lakes, Wis., and Don Sprouse of Greer, S.C.

Lindley led all but 15 of the last 154 laps, falling behind only when he pitted for a fresh set of tires. Martin did not change tires for the final 270 laps and slowed towards the end of the contest.


1. Butch Lindley
2. Mark Martin
3. Dick Trickle
4. Joe Shear
5. Don Sprouse
6. Alan Kulwicki
7. Dave Watson
8. Bruce VanderLaan
9. Sterling Marlin
10. Buddy Schrock
11. Bobby Tinkham 
12. Harold Fair
13. Butch Miller
14. Rick Wilson
15. Rat Lane
16. Dennis Vogel
17. Rusty Wallace
18. Junior Niedecken
19. Bob Senneker
20. Doug Klein
21. Jackie McGuire
22.Alton Jones
23. Tony Cunningham
24. Freddy Fryar
25. Bob Strait
26. John Knaus
27. Don Gregory
28. Randy Couch
29. Larry Moyer
30. Mike Eddy
31. Steve Grissom
32. David Pearson
33. Kasper Miles
34. Darryl Sage
35. Bob Sensiba
36. Don Biederman
37. Jimmy Finger
38. John Briggs
39. Rodney Combs
40. Robin McCall

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

1977 - Detjens Wins Craig NASCAR

Larry Detjens accepts his trophy and congratulations after winning. 

Las Vegas, Nev. (October 30, 1977) - After coming all the way from frigid northern Wisconsin. Larry Detjens froze out defending champion Larry Phillips over the final few laps to capture the ninth annual NASCAR Championships at Craig Road Speedway Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 5,400.

Detjens, Wausau, Wis., who started from the second row, took over the lead on the 55th lap from pole-sitter Jimmy Insolo and drove a perfect race for the remainder of the 150-lapper over the quarter-mile paved oval.

The 33-year-old body shop owner never had trouble with his 1976 Camaro until the brakes began to fade over the final 20 laps. But he had built up a large enough lead that he could afford to ease up a little and still hold off the hard-charging Phillips who was only about five lengths behind at the finish.

Phillips, Springfield, Mo., had won last year’s finale at Craig Road and started ninth in this race. But he moved quickly through the field and took over second place from the quickly-fading Insolo on the 71st lap. By that time, Detjens had built up a sizable lead.

Detjens, who earned $5,000 plus lap money and contingencies, and Phillips were the only drivers on the same lap when the checkered flag fell.

Ivan Baldwin, Modesto, Calif., who started fifth, drove his usual steady race to finish third, while Jim Robinson, Sylmar, Calif., turned in the most spectacular work of the day, starting in the 24th and final spot on the grid with his 1974 Camaro and finishing fourth.

Robinson, who did not qualify during the time trials Saturday but won a semi-main event to earn a spot in the finale dueled former Craig Road champion Jim Sanderson over the latter half of the race, but Sanderson's badly smoking Camaro slowed considerably over the final 15 laps.

Phil Hayes, this year's Craig Road points champion, was the only other Southern Nevada driver in the field. He started fourth and lost valuable groun early in the race but still finished strong.

“It was a well-run race. I’m certainly happy to win it,” said Detjens. “Everything was going our way. But 20 laps from the finish, the brakes began to fade. I had to get off the pace a little just to save them.”

Detjens said he had only a little bit of brakes remaining when the race finished but he couldn't afford to make any mistakes with Phillips behind him.

"I raced back in the Midwest with him,” the winner said of Phillips. "He’s an excellent driver, one of the top racers up there.”

It was Detjens first trip to the West and he called Sunday’s event the best pay day for any quarter-mile race of 150 laps anywhere in the country. Detjens was particularly happy with the safe driving of his rivals who forced only a few routine yellow flags and one red caused by a four-car mishap 44 laps into the event.

“I’m impressed with the drivers out here. They're excellent.”

Results –

1. Larry Detjens
2. Larry Phillips
3. Ivan Baldwin
4. Jim Robinson
5. Jimmy Insolo
6. Phil Hayes
7. Mike Bonicelli
8. Mark Martin
9. Dick Trickle
10.James Sanderson

Friday, October 25, 2019

1969 - Foyt Finishes First But McCluskey Wins

A.J. Foyt (left) and Roger McCluskey

Memphis, Tenn. (October 25, 1969) – A.J. Foyt crossed the finish line first in the Race of Champions, finishing in a borrowed car, but crew-cut Roger McCluskey piloted his Plymouth Roadrunner to the United States Auto Club’s late model stock car national championship over the 1.7-mile Shelby County International Raceway on Saturday.

Foyt's Ford Torino went out on the 80th lap after an accident, one of several that marred the race; and he borrowed a similar car from teammate Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, to finish the course.

Only 12 of the 32 cars which started the run, the last USAC stock car race of the year, finished over the nine-curve tricky layout.

Going into the race, Foyt, of Houston, Tex., was the USAC point leader, standing 90 points ahead of McCluskey. But Bowsher got the 400 points for the victory and Foyt didn’t place officially. McCluskey received 320 points for finishing second.

Bowsher and Foyt shared the $2,000 first-place money and 19 percent of the gate, which was a disappointing crowd of only 6,421.

USAC rules require that the driver finish in the car that he started in. Foyt, visibly angry at the decision which denied him the championship, drove away immediately after the race without comment.

It was clear, however, that Foyt believed he should have had the title on the basis of his point lead going into the race and should not have had to run here. The Race of Champions wasn’t even on the USAC calendar and was granted grand national status only several weeks ago.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Roger McCluskey
3. Bay Darnell
4. Whitey Gerken
5. Dave Whitcomb
6. Bill Shirey
7. Paul Feldner
8. Woody Walcher
9. Les Heikka
10. Bob Minor
11. Glen Bradley
12. Don White

Thursday, October 24, 2019

1965 – Sacramento 100-Miler to Branson

Don Branson  shows perfect form in winning the Golden State 100 - Bob Tronolone Collection

Sacramento, Calif. (October 24, 1965) - Don Branson, 45-year-old grandfather from Champaign, Ill., fought off determined challenges from former national driving champion A. J. Foyt and 1965 champion Mario Andretti yesterday and won the 15th annual Golden State 100-mile auto race.

Branson started from the pole position but twice lost the lead to Andretti before regaining it for good on the 64th lap. Branson completed the 100-lap race in 1 hour, 9 minutes, winning an estimated $7,500 of a $28,579 purse.

Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N.M., took fourth and Jud Larson of Kansas City finished fifth.

Foyt, two-time Indianapolis 500 mile winner and four-time United States Auto Club National Champion, kept many of the 13,452 spectators on their feet as he worked his way through the field from a ninth place starting position.

Foyt, who finished second, almost didn't make the race on three cylinders and obviously wasn't able to maintain full speed.

Branson's victory was his third of the season. His earlier victories were at Phoenix in March and Du Quoin, Ill., in September.

Results –

1. Don Branson
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Mario Andretti
4. Bobby Unser
5. Jud Larson
6. Johnny Rutherford
7. Arnie Knepper
8. Jim McElreath
9. Roger McCluskey
10.Bob Harkey
11.Al Unser
12.Dick Atkins
13.Carl Williams
14.Larry Dickson
15.George Snider
16.Bud Tinglestad
17.Bob Tattersall
18.Gary Congdon

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Thad Dosher - 1962

Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Knoxville, Iowa - 1962

Sunday, October 20, 2019

1963 - Michigan Pilot Wins National Open at Grove

Gordon Johncock won the first National Open

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 20, 1963) – Gordon Johncock, a 28-year-old sawmill operator from Hastings, Mich., dusted off a field of the nation's best modified and super modified stock car drivers in the first-annual 100-lap National Championship Race at Williams Grove Speedway, Sunday afternoon.

Tooling a 427-cubic inch Chevy, Johncock made the century grind with the 14th fastest qualifying time giving him that position in the 36-car field. He worked himself through the pack, reaching second spot on the 23rd circuit when the early runner-up, brother Nolan Johncock, also of Hastings, left the event with mechanical trouble. 

For the next 10 circuits, Johncock rode on the tail of early pacesetter Dean Mast of Dover, Ohio. On the 33rd go-round, the eventual winner overtook Mast, coming off the fourth turn, going to the outside to do the job.

From that point on it was no contest as Johncock opened up a gap that reached a lap and a half at times. He turned in a 25.3 second lap on several occasions as he sped down the straightaways and through the corners on the low groove.

Results –

1. Gordon Johncock
2. Dick Good
3. Lou Blaney
4. Hank Jacoby
5. Bud Folkenroth
6. Leo Caldwell
7. Gus Linder
8. Jerry Weld
9. Ron Anderson
10.Dick Tobias
11.Johnny Logan
12.Don Gillette
13.Ralph Smith
14.Ray Tilley
15.Larry Cannon

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

1960 – Hurtubise Wins Reading Event

Jim Hurtubise

Reading, Penn. October 16, 1960) - Jim Hurtubise of Speedway, Ind., won the feature sprint car race at the Reading Fairgrounds.

He led the entire 30-lap, 15-mile race and received $700 for his victory in a field of 16 cars.

No time was kept because two cars spun out of control and their engines stopped, forcing the other drivers to slow up for several laps under a yellow flag.

Hurtubise also won $150 for the fastest qualifying time - 24.51 seconds - in the United States Auto Club competition.

A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., was second, followed by: Don Branson, Urbana, Ill., Leroy Neumeyer, Compton, Cal.; Jim McWithey, Indianapolis; Red Riegel, Leesport, Penn.; Bill Brown, Collegeville, Penn.; Chuck Arnold, Stamford, Conn., and Bud Tingelstad, Dayton, Ohio.

Results –

1. Jim Hurtubise
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Don Branson
4. Leroy Neumeyer
5. Jim McWithey
6. Red Riegel
7. Bill Brown
8. Chuck Arnold
9. Bud Tinglestad
10. Jiggs Peters

Saturday, October 12, 2019

1958 – Eddie Sachs is Salem Winner

Salem winner Eddie Sachs accepts congratulations from USAC president Tom Binford. - Bob Scott Photo

Salem, Ind. (October 12, 1958) – Eddie Sachs of Center Valley, Penn., won his first USAC Midwest sprint car championship Sunday with a victory in the 100-lap feature at Salem Speedway.

Sachs’ victory in the Salem race earned him 296.5 points. Second-place in the championship standings went to A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., who also finished second in the race, a half-lap behind Sachs.

Foyt finished with 240.5 points while defending Midwest champion Elmer George of Speedway, Ind., finished third with 231 points.

Sachs averaged 86.111 miles per hour in Sunday’s race, a new 100-lap record for the fast Salem track.

George was the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s race with a time of 19.539 seconds in the HOW Special, giving him an unprecedented record of being the fastest qualifier in every race on the paved, high-bank tracks of the Midwest – fast times six times out of six starts.

Elmer led the first 16 laps of thee race but spun out on lap 17 and dropped far back. He managed to recover well and finish fourth behind third-place Rex Easton of Springfield, Ill.

Sachs won $1,236 out of a total $7,000 purse. Heat races were won by Leon Clum of Wapakoneta, Ohio; Bob Wente of St. Louis, and Bob McClellan of Waynesville, Ohio.

Results –

1. Eddie Sachs
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Rex Easton
4. Elmer George
5. Don Branson
6. Jim Packard
7. Bob McLean
8. Jim McWithey
9. Red Amick
10.Don Carr
11.Bruce Jacobi
12.Bud Tinglestad
13.Leon Clum
14.Bob Wente
15.Tom McClellan
16.Orville Cramer
17.Curly Boyd
18.Jim Hemmings

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

1977 – Repeat Victory for Young in Bettenhausen 100

Ray Young poses with his trophy after winning his second consecutive Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100. - Stan Kalwasinski Photo

Schererville, Ind. (October 9, 1977) – Repeating his performance of last year, Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., captured Sunday afternoon’s 16th annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 for late models at Illiana Motor Speedway.

The 45-year-old veteran of over 20 years of racing put his Camaro into the lead on the eighth lap and led the rest of the way to the checkered flag for his second Bettenhausen 100 victory in as many years.

Rookie Bobby Dotter charged from his pole starting position to pace the 30-car field at the drop of the green flag. The 17-year-old son of ARCA and USAC competitor Bob Dotter stayed on through lap 7 before Young, who had started in row four, took command.

Joe Shear, Larry Schuler, Ed Hoffman and Jerry Kemperman followed Young to the front and moved in behind the frontrunner by the 12th circuit.

The event passed the 30-lap mark when the first yellow flag waved for Milwaukee-area based pilot Al Schill, who suffered mechanical woes and stalled in turn two.

When the green flag reappeared, Young continued to keep his mount out front with Shear, Schuler, Hoffman and Kemperman within striking distance. The battle continued until lap 43 when the engine in Tony Hertko’s Camaro let go.

Schuler would suffer a setback when his 1977 “Junkyard Dog” Camaro encountered fuel problems and stalled during the same caution. The incident cost Schuler a number of laps.

Young retained his frontrunning status on the restart, with Shear’s 1974 Camaro right behind. Following the pacesetting duo were Hoffman and Kemperman.

As the race progressed to the three-quarter mark, Young slowly began to pull away from Shear. Kemperman moved his 1976 Camaro past Hoffman to claim third on lap 75 and began zeroing on Shear.

Kemperman’s bid for second-place ended on lap 95 when a set of ground up quick change gears sent him to the pit area. One lap later Schuler, who seemed to have the fastest car on the track in the event’s late stages, fell out with differential problems.

At the finish it was Young, followed by Shear, Hoffman, Tom Musgrave and his brother Ted Musgrave.

Hoffman, winner of his third career Illiana late model driving championship in 1977, led all qualifiers for the event with a lap of 20.80 seconds around the paved half-mile oval.

Results –

1. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
3. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4. Tom Musgrave, Des Plaines, Ill.
5. Ted Musgrave, Friendship, Wis.
6. Tony Izzo, Bridgeview, Ill.
7. Ron Bloomberg, Elgin, Ill.
8. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.
9. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
10.Dave Evans, Crystal Lake, Ill.
11.Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee
12.Bobby Dotter, Chicago
13.Rich Kleich, Long Lake, Ill.
14.Butch Ledy, Matteson, Ill.
15.Bill Venturini, Chicago
16.Larry Middleton, East Hazelcrest, Ill.
17.Roy Acuff, Long Lake, Ill.
18.Harold Rife, Champaign, Ill.
19.Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
20.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.

Monday, October 7, 2019

1973 – Marzofka Wins Oktoberfest 200

West Salem, Wis. (October 7, 1973) – Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa won the fourth annual Oktoberfest 200 at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway here Sunday by nearly a lap in a confused finish with Bill Oas of Bloomington, Minn.

Marzofka, the Interstate point champion last year, used an early pit stop to his advantage and later brought confusion to much of the crowd of 2,300. He pitted during the 49th lap, under the yellow flag after a spinout by national short track champion Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn.

The result of that stop was that Marzofka trailed early leaders Larry Smith. Oas and Jim Back until he took over the lead for good on about lap 130 when Back and Oas were in the pits taking their mandatory stops.

In addition to the $1,500 first place payoff, he unofficially collected $710 in lap money ($10 going to the leader of each lap) and added payoffs from the fast dash and a heat race, bringing his weekend total to $2,340.

Smith started the race from the outside pole position and led through the first 57 laps before Oas took over. Smith fell back and eventually placed 10th. Oas maintained the lead for 32 laps before Back, this season’s track point champ, winner of five regular season races here and Saturday's fast timer, took command.

Back stretched the lead to nearly half a lap before pitting on lap 128, shortly before Oas went in.

Back got in and out of the pits quickly and was working his way through the pack towards Marzofka before engine trouble forced him out of the race on the 159th circuit.

Marzofka’s '73 Camaro had a commanding lead over Oas' Camaro throughout the rest of the race, but amid the confusion of pit stops, many thought that Oas had won. He was waved under the checkered flag first, about two seconds ahead of Marzofka.

But a recheck of the records found that Oas had lost nearly a whole lap to Marzofka while making his stop.

Even Marzofka’s pit crew was fooled. They signaled that he was running second late in the race, but the pilot knew better. “I was positive I was leading,” he said.

The early pit stop was part of his overall strategy. “Any time after 30 laps I was looking for a chance to pit,” he said.

Oas indicated that he was unsure of whether he was really running first or second at the checkered flag. He said he didn't know how much time Marv had spent in the pits, but hoped he was leading.

Rich Somers of Stevens Point finished third. Second place payed $1,250 while third collected $1,000.

Dave Watson of Beloit and Jon Chrest of Hamal, Minn., rounded out the top five. Last year’s champ, Joe Shear, finished sixth.

A total of eight laps were run the caution flag. There were no serious accidents in the feature race.

Red Hutchison of Byron, Ill., won the wreck-marred 25-lap semi-feature. Also qualifying for the big race were second place finisher Jack Brewer, John Knaus in third and Ray Kreyer fourth. La Crosse’s Don Turner was fifth, just missing a feature berth.

Results –

1. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
2. Bill Oas, Bloomington, Minn.
3. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.
4. Dave Watson, Beloit, Wis.
5. Jon Chrest, Hamal, Minn.
6. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
7. Jim Pierson, Beloit, Wis.
8. Greg Arenson, Minneapolis
9. Don Leach, Rockford, Ill.
10.Larry Smith, Shakopee, Minn.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

1969 - Connolly Wins CornBelt 1000 at Speedbowl Park

John Connolly

Sterling, Ill. (October 5, 1969) – John Connolly, from Delhi, Iowa, picked up the rich plum of $1,000 after winning the 100-lap CornBelt 1000 at the Sterling Speedbowl. The late model stock car race was managed and promoted by the staff of Rockford Speedway under the direction of Hugh Deery.

Connolly started on the pole after setting fast time in qualifying. His time of 18.34 seconds on the third-mile dirt oval stole top honors from Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, who was the first qualifier out with a time of 18.41 seconds.

Jim Gerber of Mt. Joy, Iowa, worked his way into second-place by lap 65 and five circuits later, was able to work his way around the rim-riding Connolly for the top spot.

Connolly stayed with Gerber and kept the pressure on and finally on lap 87, Gerber’s Dodge Charger drifted high in turn three and Connolly shot back into the lead.

Gerber managed to recover to stay in second but had nothing for Connolly and his 1969 Ford. Connolly would take the checkers a full straightaway ahead of Gerber.

Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, would finish third followed by Red Droste of Waterloo, Iowa, in fourth and Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rounding out the top five.

Earlier, Gerber won the trophy dash and received a 100-bushel truckload of shelled corn. He and promoter Huge Deery were knee-deep in the rich harvest for the presentation.

Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, Benny Hofer of Rock Island, Ill., Bob Kelly of Wheaton, Ill., and Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, were heat winners.

Results –

Trophy dash – Jim Gerber, Mt. Joy, Iowa
Heat #1 – Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #2 – Benny Hofer, Rock Island, Ill.
Heat #3 – Bob Kelly, Wheaton, Ill.
Heat #4 – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Feature -

1. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
2. Jim Gerber, Mt. Joy, Iowa
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Red Droste, Waterloo, Iowa
5. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
7. Jim Strube, Peoria, Ill.
8. Wendell Essex
9. Jim Havill, Le Claire, Iowa
10.Curt Hanson, Dike, Iowa
11.Ron Weedon
12.Ed Bohlen, Peoria, Ill.
13.Don Bohlander, Glasford, Ill.
14.Gary Reeder, Peoria, Ill.
15.Jerry Roedell, Peoria, Ill.
16.Dick Nelson, Chicago
17.Bill Munson
18.Paul Lewis, Peoria, Ill.
19.Don Adams, Milan, Ill.
20.Red Forbes, Rock Island, Ill.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

1971 - Gould Grabs Big 'E' Purse

Bruce Gould was the very first winner of the World 100.

Rossburg, Ohio (October 3, 1971) - Ohio late model stock car drivers dominated the winner's list in the first World 100 dirt track championship race held Sunday at the half-mile Eldora Speedway oval.

Bruce Gould of Milford, Ohio, led the way to the checkered flag from the half-way point and claimed the $4,000 first prize. Finishing second was Joe Ruttman of Dearborn, Mich., while George Branscum of Chillicothe came in third.

Rounding out the top five were Paul Woolridge of Frankfort, Ky., and Joe Greenslate of South Shore, Ky.

Chick Hale of Louisburg, Ohio set the pace in qualifying runs, circling the track in 20.20 seconds or 96.02 miles per hour.

Much of the race was run under the caution flag, although no serious injuries resulted.

Results –

1. Bruce Gould
2. Joe Ruttman
3. George Branscum
4. Paul Woolridge
5. Joe Greenslate
6. Joe Stricker
7. Bobby Creveston
8. Larry Moore
9. Pat Patrick
10.Chick Hale
11.Chuck McWilliams
12.Bob Wearing
13.Wayne Watercutter
14.Ralph Latham
15.Earl Smith

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

1977 – Weedon posts victory in Knoxville special

Knoxville, Ill. (October 2, 1977) – Ron Weedon, veteran late model driver from Pleasant Valley, Iowa, started on the outside pole position by virtue of his qualifying heat win, and went on to win the 20-lap feature event during the open competition special promoted by W.A.S. Productions at the Knox County Fairgrounds.

Weedon took advantage of a rough and dusty track to hold off Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the win.

Dake, who started on the pole, battled side by side with Weedon for the first few laps until Weedon was able to secure the top spot. Dake pulled in on Weedon’s bumper where he remained for the rest of the race.

Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, ran with the leaders until midway through the race when he ran into visibility issue in lapped traffic and fell slightly off the pace finishing third.

Ray Guss of Milan, Ill., finished a distant fourth and Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, rounded out the top five.

John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, came from well back in the pack to win the semi-main and qualify for the feature event. Dave Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, finished second, also qualifying for the feature.

For Tom Herbert of Silvis, Ill., the semi was a heartbreaker. Herbert led for most of the race until he was passed by Connolly. He then was edged at the checkers doe second by Birkhofer, falling back to third and failing to qualify for the main event.

Heat races were won by Weedon, Dake, Jackson and Johnny Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa.

An excellent turnout of 39 cars were on hand for the open competition on a chilly but sunny autumn day.

Results –
Heat #1 – Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Heat #2 – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Heat #3 – Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
Heat #4 – John Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
Semi-main – John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
Feature –
1. Ron Weedon
2. Darrell Dake
3. Ron Jackson
4. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
5. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
7. John Connolly
8. Duane Steffe, East Moline, Ill.
9. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10. Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

1972 – Eaker Tops Eldora Clay; Captures World 100

Rossburg, Ohio (October 1, 1972) – Eldora Speedway hosted 81 top late model drivers and cars in Sunday’s second annual World 100 and it was Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s Verlin Eaker carting off the $5,000 first-place money. Eaker also picked up $180 in lap money, staying in front from the 82nd lap.

Cincinnati’s Pat Patrick showed the way for the first 46 circuit in his 1970 Chevelle, owned by Cliff Polking. Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, Iowa, would get past Patrick on lap 47 and hold the top spot until lap 82 when Eaker would roar past en route to the victory.

Zwanziger would spin out, finishing 16th with Patrick regaining the runner-up and staying there until the end. Bruce Gould of Milford, Ohio, driving a 1971 Torino, would take third.

Chevrolet drivers Earl Smith of Anniston, Ala., and Chick Hale of Lewisburg, Ohio rounded out the top five. Ron Edwards of Cincinnati copped the semi-feature ahead of Bob Davis of Mansfield, Ohio.

Besides the $1,500 second place money, Pat Patrick also collected $460 in lap money. Gould would take home $1,000.

Eight heats were necessary for the large number of late models. Dick DeBolt, Mike Shaw, Ed Sanger, Dale Woolworth, Ron Edwards, Roger Paul, Jim Patrick and Buster Blackford took home honors.

Results –

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2. Pat Patrick, Cincinnati, Ohio
3. Bruce Gould, Milford, Ohio
4. Earl Smith, Anniston, Ala.
5. Chick Hale, Lewisburg, Ohio
6. Joe Bennett, Fort Wayne, Ind.
7. Jim Fleming, Bellevue, Ohio
8. Jerry Miller, Hazel Park, Mich.
9. Danny Dean, Mt. Vernon, Ohio
10. Dick DeBolt, Union City, Ind.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

1973 – Stover wins Fairgrounds' Title Race

Stan Stover

Des Moines, Iowa (September 29, 1973) - Stan Stover of Reinbeck won his second late model stock car season championship race and Larry Embrey of Grimes captured his first sportsman season title Saturday night at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Stover, who also won the title in 1971, started on the outside of the first row, took the lead on the second lap and was never threatened by the 22-car field in the 35-lap event before a crowd of 4,395.

It started to rain shortly after the feature began and Stover, who drove a 1969 Chevelle, said, "It made it a little tough, but I was working too hard to worry about it. They could have shortened the race a little though."

Randy Sterner of Blair, Neb., placed second in the late model feature and Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids clinched the season point crown by finishing third.

Embrey, who drove a 1965 Chevelle, said he had "no confidence whatsoever" despite leading the field of 24 the entire way because it was "the first season championship I've finished in the six years I've raced here."

The victory gave Embrey the season point title. Billy Geil and Marvin Korns, both of Des Moines, placed second and third, respectively. Ron Van Roekel of Otley, driving a 1958 Ford snared the sportsman semi-main with Bill Carter of Des Moines taking second and Fred Knapp of Des Moines, who was second in point standings before Friday, taking third. Knapp failed to finish the feature due to fan belt problems.

The late model semi-main was won by McDonough. Lefty Robinson of Des Moines claimed second and George Barton of Ankeny was third.

Results –

Sportsman -

1. Larry Embrey, Grimes
2. Billy Geil, Des Moines
3. Marvin Korns, Des Moines
4. Ken Gerhart, Des Moines
5. Cliff Van Zandt, Des Moines
6. Virgil Webb, Des Moines
7. Jerry Campbell, Des Moines
8. Jim Welshon, Indianola
9. Dave Kepley, Ames
10.Gordon Head, Des Moines
11.Shorty Selsor, Des Moines
12.Art Moose, Indianola
13.Ken Paulding, Des Moines
14.Mike Pinckney, Des Moines
15.Bill Davis, Des Moines

Late Model -

1. Stan Stover, Reinbeck
2. Randy Sterner, Blair, Neb.
3. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
4. George Barton, Ankeny
5. Cal Swanson, Reinbeck
6. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
7. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
8. Larry Wasserfort, Waterloo
9. Ken Davidson, Des Moines
10.Bill Rice, Des Moines
11.Bill Ludington, Carlisle
12.Bugs Vincent, Nevada
13.Bob Bonzer, Liscomb
14.Bob Burrell, Des Moines
15.Dick Oldham, Des Moines

Saturday, September 28, 2019

1975 – Shear tops Rockford Nationals

Rockford, Ill. (September 28, 1975) – Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., won the 10th annual National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

It was the third time and second in a row that the six-time Rockford champion has dominated the 200-lap event, the highlight race of the weekend of super late model stock car racing which carries a purse of over $20,000.

There were only three leaders in the race, all from the Beloit-South Beloit area. Coming from the pole position, Don Leach of Beloit, Wis., took the initial lead in hi 1973 Camaro. Leach stayed in front until lap 12 when a confrontation in turns one and two on the high-banked quarter-mile asphalt cost him his radiator.

Dave Watson, also from Beloit and who also started on the front row, took over in his ’73 Camaro and would proceed to lead the pack for the next 77 circuits.

On lap 90 Watson went high in the first set of turns and Shear went under him for the lead. He would go unchallenged for the remaining 111 laps.

Tom Reffner, the Rudolph, Wis., ace who has been winning everything in sight on the Midwestern circuit behind the wheel of his “Blue Knight” 1974 AMC Javelin, opened the weekend of racing by setting a new track record on the Rockford oval. Going into Saturday’s qualifications, the track mark was 14.17 seconds set by Shear in 1973. On his first tour of the track, Reffner topped the mark with a 14.04 second time. His second trip around was a blistering 14.002 seconds.

The winner of the two 50-lap qualification races were Tony Strupp of Slinger, Wis., and Bob Sensiba of Middleville, Mich. The checkered in the four 30-lap qualification events were taken by Dave Weltmeyer of Harvey, Ill., Bill Venturini of Chicago, Jeffrey Haar of Robbinsdale, Minn., and Jim Weber of Roseville, Minn.

Action in the third annual National Short Track Pit Stop contest was brisk and the $1,000 first place money was collected by the crew of Danny Bellard of Beloit, Wis. They performed all the required chores in 55.11 seconds.

Results –

1. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
2. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
5. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.
6. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek, Wis.
7. Bob Sensiba, Middleville, Mich.
8. Dave Watson, Beloit, Wis.
9. Bob Jusola, Minneapolis, Minn.
10. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.

Friday, September 27, 2019

1981 - Gawlinski wins Bettenhausen Classic

Frank Gawlinski shows off his hardware after scoring his first ARTGO-sanctioned victory in the Tony Bettenhausen 100.

Schererville, Ind. (September 27, 1981) – Coming back from an early race spin and using 10 additional yellow flags to his advantage, Frank Gawlinski was the victor in Sunday afternoon’s ARTGO-sanctioned Tony Bettenhausen Classic 100-lap late model stock car race at Illiana Motor Speedway.

The 34-year-old Lynwood, Ill., leadfoot wheeled his 1981 Camaro past race leader Tom Jones with only seven laps to go to score the win. For Gawlinski, the 1980 Illiana track champion, it was his first ARTGO feature win of his career, which began late model competition back in 1977.

Jones’ victory hopes faded on lap 94, when Gawlinski, who credited the numerous yellow flags in giving him a chance to make chassis adjustments, charged into the lead. Lap 95 saw the caution light flash again as Larry Middleton, running an impressive fourth, and Alan Kulwicki got tangled up in turn four, with Middleton spinning and Kulwicki grazing the outside guardrail.

With a trophy dash to the checkers set, Gawlinski maintained the edge and went on to victory, becoming the 16th different winner of the Bettenhausen Classic and the ninth different winner on the ARTGO tour in 1981.

Trailing Gawlinski at the end of the 100-laps were Tom Jones, Ed Hoffman, ’74 race winner Tom Reffner and Billy Venturini.

Jim Sauter set a new track record during time trials, turning a lap in 19.331 seconds, to set fast time for the day.

Results –

1. Frank Gawlinski, Lynwood, Ill.
2. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
3. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
5. Billy Venturini, Chicago, Ill.
6. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
7. Steve Moll, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
8. Larry Middleton, East Hazel Crest, Ill.
9. Tony Hertko, Joliet, Ill.
10. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
11. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee, Wis.
12. Gil Tarbutton, Hebron, Ind.
13. Rich Sundling, Addison, Ill.
14. Junior Hanley, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
15. Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
16. Jack Carey, Orland Park, Ill.
17. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
18. Billy Kuhn, Freeport, Ill.
19. Dave Weltmeyer, Harvey, Ill.
20. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
21. Fred Campbell, Battle Creek, Mich.
22. Mel Whalen, Shakopee, Minn.
23. Ron Bloomberg, Elgin, Ill.
24. Jim Weber, Rosemount, Minn.
25. Trace Embrey, Schererville, Ind.
26. Larry Schuler, New Lenox, Ill.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

1971 - Young Wins Grundy Open Comp

Morris, Ill. (September 26, 1971) - The first annual open competition championship races at the Grundy County Speedway were a big success as Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., beat Joe Shear of Beloit, Ill., on the 100th and final lap to pick up the $677 first place money.

These late model races brought to an end the first season of auto racing at the Grundy County Speedway. The wide track was in excellent shape as 28 cars started the main which was run to completion without a red or yellow flag and saw 17 cars running at the checkered flag.

Bob Dotter of Chicago took the lead from his second row starting berth and held on until the 15th lap when Tom Jones of Northbrook, Ill., started totaling up the $2.00 per lap in lap prizes, but Young was right there passing Jones for first in the 18th lap and leading until the 25th lap when Ed Hoffman of Niles, Ill., 1971 track champion here, moved in front.

However, it was no run away for Hoffman as Young stayed glued to his rear bumper waiting for a mistake. Ten laps later Hoffman apparently touched a lapped car spinning into the infield. He returned to the track and passed enough cars to finish in third spot.

At the half-way mark Young had a scant six car length lead on Shear with Jones third and Hoffman already back in fourth in front of Lee Schuler of Lockport, Ill.

By the 70th lap the two cars were bumper-to-bumper and on the 74th they made contact in the third turn, with Shear getting the worst of the deal.

Shear did drop back at that point not catching Young until the 92nd lap as the leader was slowed by lapped cars. Then the crowd went wild as Shear nipped Young’s back bumper in every straight-away with Young sliding high as the two leaders raced for the white flag at 99 laps.

They were side-by-side at the finish line with one lap to go, but both cars were a little out of shape with Shear detouring through the infield. Young blazed around the track one more time to win by just three car lengths in one of the best 100-lap events ever contested.

Hoffman was the only other car on the same lap with the leaders as he finished third. Jones was fourth followed by Whitey Gerkin of Villa Park, Ill., Schuler, John Kennedy of Villa Park, Ill., and Ed Jast of Melrose Park, Ill. The Denver, Colo., cars of Pick Pickering and Chuck Stitcher finished 11th and 13th respectively while Terry Bivins of Shawnee, Kan., dropped out around the 80th lap while running 7th.

Also, on the sidelines were Jim Blount of Lapaz, Ind., due to a feature accident, Bob May of Gurnee, Ill., with a flat tire, Dotter with overheating, Carl Major of Chicago with a blown engine in the heat races and Bob Anzinger of McHenry, Ill., with a blown engine in hot laps.

The race of champions saw Shear win after Blount and Hoffman tangled in the final lap while running one-two. Hoffman won the fast heat easily, but Dotter just beat a spinning Schuler in the second heat and Dick Schultz of Villa Park, Ill., won the third in a tight three-way finish.

Feature Results –

1. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
2. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
3. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
5. Whitey Gerkin, Villa Park, Ill.
6. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
7. John Kennedy, Villa Park, Ill.
8. Ed Jast, Melrose Park, Ill.
9. Roger Erickson, Dolton, Ill.
10.Gordon Olson, Morrison, Ill.
11.Pick Pickering, Denver, Colo.
12.Speedy Gonzalez, Blue Island, Ill.
13.Al Hanson, Chicago
14.Russ Gordon, Joliet, Ill.
15.Rich Sundling, Addison, Ill.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

1966 – Daniels Leads Wire-to-Wire in Nashville IMCA Sprints

Jerry 'Scratch' Daniels

Nashville, Tenn. (September 25, 1966) – Jerry “Scratch” Daniels led all the way and set a record for International Motor Contest Association sprint cars in winning the 30-lap feature at the Fairgrounds Speedway.

Daniels was clocked in 10 minutes and 24 seconds on the half-mile, banked asphalt, cracking the old mark of 10 minutes and 30 seconds that was set here in 1964 by Bob Pratt.

Jimmy Griggs, the local favorite who has inspirations to join the IMCA tour in 1967, also established a mark for the IMCA sprinters at a distance of 8 laps. Griggs time was 2 minutes and 44 seconds, and he was the second driver to crack the mark at that distance. In the first heat, Dick Gaines was clocked in 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

The old standard was 2 minutes and 46 seconds, set here by Gene Bell in 1964.

Daniels said, “My brother is ‘Itch’ and I used to be referred to as ‘Little Itch’ but it was changed to ‘Scratch’ later on.”

Only 28 years of age, Daniels would like to try Indianapolis someday. He’s the father of three children, girls, three months and three years, and a five-year-old son. They live in St. Paul, Minn.

“This was my second year to race here, but my first success,” he laughed. Asked if it was an easy race, he pushed back his hair and said, “That Charley Masters was on my bumper the whole way.”

Masters finished second and Karl Busson took third.

A blanket could have covered the drivers in positions three through seven, prompting promoter Al Sweeney to remark during the race, “That’s beautiful equipment out there and those are real pros.”

Rollie Beale, Saturday night’s winner, was forced to withdraw from Sunday’s event because of oil leaking from his car.

Results –

Heat #1 – Dick Gaines
Heat #2 – Jimmy Griggs
Heat #3 – Don Carmichael
STP Handicap – Jerry Richert
Consolation – Jerry Daniels
Feature –
1. Jerry Daniels
2. Charley Masters
3. Karl Busson
4. Dick Gaines
5. Dick Cook
6. Jerry Richert
7. Jimmy Griggs
8. Jerry Blundy
9. Benny Rapp
10. Butch Wilkerson

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

1978 – Trickle Grabs Second Rockford National Championship

NSTC winner Dick Trickle is joined by Rockford Speedway's Hugh and Jody Deery. 

Rockford, Ill. (September 24, 1978) – Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., won the first annual National Short Track Championships in 1966. Twelve years later he repeated that performance as he won the 13th annual 200-lap National Short Track Championship in stylish fashion lapping all but one of the 32 competitors.

Trickle has been a contender to repeat his 1966 win every year but the victory had eluded him in about every fashion from mechanical problems to heart-stopping photo finishes.

After the race, the jubilant Trickle exclaimed, “I really earned this victory. I had to work for it. It’s not like some races that something happens and bang, you’re in the lead. This one I really had to work for.”

Ed Hoffman of Niles, Ill., took the initial lead from his outside front row position and led the field until lap 18 when a differential failure forced him to an early exit. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., inherited the top spot as the first of three yellow flags flew on lap 19. It’s here where Trickle’s struggle began.

A three-way accident sent Trickle to the pits after he brushed Mark Martin and bent the right front sheet metal into the tire. Trickle headed straight for the pit area and returned after his crew pulled the metal away just as the green flag was waving, where he fell in at the rear of the pack.

Miller led the charge until the mandatory pit stop on lap 105. The pit stop appeared to come just in time for Miller as his 1979 Cutlass was beginning to puff smoke. At the completion of the 19.5-minute stop, Miller appeared only for warmup laps and then returned his car to the pit area with a faulty water pump.

Fast qualifier and defending National Short Track Champion, Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., who was running second at the break, took the lead at the resumption of the race. Trickle, driving a brilliant race, had worked his way up to second-place and followed Martin’s bumper until lap 129 when Trickle dived low and passed the 19-year-old driver.

From lap 130 and on it was Trickle all the way, lapping every driver in the field except second-place finisher Martin, who was six seconds behind Trickle when the checkers waved.

Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., was third, Rusty Wallace of Arnold, Mo., fourth and Don Gregory of Columbus, Ohio, fifth, all one lap down.

Ideal Midwestern fall weather prevailed the entire weekend as over 17,000 fans attended the three-day affair.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
3. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
4. Rusty Wallace, Arnold, Mo.
5. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
6. Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.
7. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
8. Ray Jackson, Lakewood, Colo.
9. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
10. John Boegeman, Shakopee, Minn.
11. Conrad Morgan, Dousman, Wis.
12. Steve Seligman, Lake Bluff, Ill.
13. Steve Lurvey, Dousman, Wis.
14. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
15. John Speer, Janesville, Wis.
16. Ken Lund, Deerfield, Wis.
17. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
18. Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
19. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
20. Rudy Stynoski, Chicago
21. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
22. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek, Wis.
23. Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
24. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
25. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
26. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
27. Tony Strupp, Slinger, Wis.
28. Everett DeWitt, Janesville, Wis.
29. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
30. Fran Prestay, Silver Lake, Wis.
31. Greg Arenson, Prior Lake, Minn.
32. Rich Bickle, Edgerton, Wis.
33. Bobby Dotter, Chicago

Monday, September 23, 2019

1973 – Detjen Takes Old Style 200

Elko, Minn. (September 23, 1973) – Larry Detjens of Wausau, Wis., powered his 1972 Dodge Challenger past Minnesota NASCAR champion Larry Smith with just 7 laps remaining to capture the third annual Old Style 200 at Minnesota National Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Detjens, who started ninth in the 30-car field, ran among the leaders throughout the 200-lap race before making his move on the 193rd lap, and went on to pocket the $2,000 first prize.

He thus becomes the third Wisconsin driver to win the prestigious event, joining Tom Reffner and Dick Trickle, who won the first two Old Style races respectively.

Smith, from Shakopee, Minn., had slowed in the final stages of the event with tire problems suffered when he was forced to brush the retaining wall while taking the lead from Jim Sauter of Necedah, Wis., on lap 168.

Smith would hang on to finish second ahead of Sauter, Bob Jusola of Mound, Minn., and Bill Oas of Bloomington, Minn.

NASCAR star Red Farmer of Hueytown, Ala., whose original mount was sidelined on Saturday night with a blown engine, jumped into Roy Varner’s 1972 Camaro for the 200-lapper and drove from his 21st starting spot to a sixth-place finish. Tiny Lund of Cross, S.C., the other NASCAR champion entered, left the race on lap 11 when the engine let go as he challenged Sauter for the top spot.

Jon Chrest of Hamels, Minn., suffered the most disappoint blow of the afternoon on lap 110 when he and Sauter bumped while battling for the lead, and he spun out, losing a lap to the field. The hard-charging Camaro driver came back, however, to pass everyone and un-lap himself. He would settle for eighth place as the seven other drivers completed the 200 laps.

Saturday night’s event, which included qualifying events for the 200, got off to a flying start when Jusola toured the 3/8-mile paved oval in record time in his 1973 Camaro. The veteran driver, who had earlier established new track records on the half-mile at the Minnesota State Fair, was clocked in 15.51 seconds, eclipsing the old mark of 15.57 seconds which he had set in July.

Almost $18,000 in prize money, awards and merchandise were distributed during the weekend, making it the richest of the three Old Style 200’s thus far.

Results –

1. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
2. Larry Smith, Shakopee, Minn.
3. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
4. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
5. Bill Oas, Bloomington, Minn.
6. Red Farmer, Hueytown, Ala.
7. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
8. Jon Chrest, Hamel, Minn.
9. Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.
10. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

1968 – Nordhorn Takes Nashville IMCA Go

Don Nordhorn

Nashville, Tenn. (September 21, 1968) – Don Nordhorn of Mitchell, Ind., won the 25-lap IMCA sprint car feature at the Tennessee State Fair half-mile track last night before a crowd of 6,800 as two new track records were established.

Nordhorn took the lead away from Ray Wright of Elkhart, Ind., and withstood the challenges of Wright in a bumper-to-bumper battle down to the checkered flag.

Jay Woodside of Kansas City took second in a blanket finish and Wright came in third. Claire Lawicki of St. Clair Shores, Mich., and Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., finished fourth and fifth respectively.

The time for the 25-lap main event was 8 minutes and 43 seconds, a new track record for distance. The old track record was 9 minute and 9 seconds held by Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill.

In time trials, Don Carmichael of Chicago set a new half-mile record, turning the oval in 19.72 seconds to break the old record of 19.76 seconds held by Dick Gaines of Mishawaka, Ind.

Results –

Time trials: Don Carmichael – 19.72
Trophy dash: Don Nordhorn, Mitchell, Ind.
First heat: Cliff Cockrum, Benton, Ill.
Second heat: Dick Gaines, Mishawaka, Ind.
Third heat: John Peddle, Madison, Ind.
1. Don Nordhorn
2. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
3. Ray Wright, Elkhart, Ind.
4. Claire Lawicki, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
5. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
6. Fred Linder, Toledo, Ohio
7. Dick Gaines
8. Butch Smith, Frankfort, Ky.
9. Cliff Cockrum
10. Doc Dawson, Dayton, Ohio