Wednesday, September 18, 2019

1966 – White wins Milwaukee Governor’s Cup

Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, is all smiles after winning the Governor's Cup at the Milwaukee Mile. 

West Allis, Wis. (September 18, 1966) – Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, sped to a 22-second victory in the Governor’s Cup race, a 250-mile late model stock car race at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., finished fourth, clinching his second consecutive United States Auto Club national championship.

White covered the distance in 2 hours, 40 minutes and 39 seconds in his 1966 Dodge Charger to take the home the $5,180 winner’s share of the purse before 18,837 fans.

Billy Foster of Victoria, B.C., Canada, took second and Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, grabbed third.

Nelson, who led the pack for the first nine laps, then had to make a pit stop because of tire trouble, had all but clinched the USAC crown on points before Sunday’s event. The club often adds races to the schedule towards the end of the season, however, and Sunday’s finish insured his title no matter if races are added or not.

White, who is second in the point standings, averaged 93.460 miles per hour and led for all except 42 laps over the one-mile paved oval.

Results –

1. Don White
2. Billy Foster
3. Jack Bowsher
4. Norm Nelson
5. A.J. Foyt
6. Sal Tovella
7. Herb Shannon
8. Roger Regeth
9. Terry Parker
10. Ed Kozbiel
11. Terry Blakely
12. Paul Feldner
13. Eddie Meyer
14. Jerry Norris
15. George Rondelli
16. Wayne Brockman
17. Dave Whitcomb
18. Bobby Dugan
19. Whitey Gerken
20. Jim Hurtubise

Monday, September 16, 2019

1968 – Parkinson Sr. Wins Hutchinson BCRA

Ralph Parkinson Sr. 

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 16, 1968) - Like old stage hands determined that the show must go on, 24 sprint car drivers turned up at the Kansas State Fairgrounds oval Monday afternoon despite rain, mud and cold.

The time trials, scheduled to start at 2 p.m., were held up for an hour while workmen tried to pack down the muddy track. The races, sponsored by the Big Car Racing Association of Colorado, were mud-strewn from start to finish, but the sparse crowd, filling about one-third of the grandstand, seemed pleased.

In a race stopped twice by spin-outs at the turns, Ralph Parkinson took the checkered flag in the main event. Starting in the first row, Parkinson, Wichita Falls, Tex., took the lead at the first turn and never lost it. He was followed by Harold Leep of Wichita and Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex. 

The semi-main title went to Roy Bryant of Wichita, followed by Roger Lane of Blue Springs, Mo. and Dick Sutcliffe of Kansas City, Mo. Gary Tuten of Denver was the only other racer who finished the semi. Bryant is three-time national jalopy champion.

The mud took its toll right from the start. Most of the cars had only minor collisions but spin outs aplenty on the turns thwarted hopes of several drivers. Although usually allowed two runs in time trials in case of spin outs, etc., the drivers Monday were limited to one chance, A spinout meant elimination from the main event where the big purse is found.

In addition to winning the main event, Parkinson also took first in the third heat over eight laps. The holder of the fastest time in the trials, Dale Reed of Wichita, placed second and Woolley placed third. Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., claimed the checkered flag in the second heat, followed by two others from Lincoln — Joe Saldana and Chuck Kidwell.

Lane, who was second in the semi-main, won the first heat with Bryant second and Sutcliffe third. Leep, Reed, and Woolley finished in that order in the trophy dash. Woolley, known as the "outlaw of the half-mile track," was never satisfied with his car. His pit crew and he worked on the Bellmire Chevy out of Dallas. He finished third in every race he entered.

Results –

Trophy dash – Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #1 – Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
Heat #2 – Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
Heat #3 – Ralph Parkinson Sr., Wichita Falls, Tex.
Semi-main – Roy Bryant, Wichita, Kan.
Feature –
1. Ralph Parkinson Sr.
2. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
3. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
4. Dave Ross, Jetmore, Kan.
5. Jan Opperman, Des Moines
6. Keith Hightshoe, Ashland, Neb.
7. Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City
8. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
9. Chuck Kidwell, Lincoln, Neb.
10.Dick Bloom, Wichita, Kan.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

1979 - Nesteby wins Memphis Nationals

Memphis. Mo. (September 15, 1979) – D. Arthur Nesteby captured the late model title at the Mid-America Half-Mile Nationals at the Scotland County Fairgrounds on Saturday evening.

The Waterloo, Iowa, veteran driver made the tow almost 200 miles to race at Memphis and as if that was not enough, he had to survive numerous yellow flags to win the 40-lap feature.

The 40-lapper got off to a bad start when a mix-up on the backstretch caused a complete restart. The next attempt wasn’t any more successful as several cars got together in turn four, necessitating another restart.

The third time saw Jerry Pilcher of Ottumwa, Iowa, grab the lead only to drop out on the second lap due to earlier damage.

Pilcher’s bad luck was Nesteby’s good fortune as he inherited the top spot. That lead would be short-lived as Johnny Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa, would slip under Nesteby on lap 8.

Nesteby would get around Babb on lap 11 to regain control. Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, who had been nibbling at the leaders’ bumper, would slide by Babb as well to take over second.

Meanwhile, Joe Churchill of Peosta, Iowa, and Bob McCall of Ottumwa, Iowa, were challenging all three contenders. They stayed that way until lap 19 when Churchill’s car went up in smoke and was forced to the pits.

On the same lap, Jackson, sensing victory, dove under Nesteby to take the lead. The two drivers battled wheel to wheel and came across the line in a dead heat on lap 24. Jackson would maintain the edge until lap 32 when Nesteby slipped under him.

Jackson would go to the outside and on lap 38, pass Nesteby in turn four, only to spin out between laps one and two.

Nesteby would roar by the disabled Jackson for the lead and hold it for two laps to score the win. Jackson would recoup to hold on to second while Johnny Babb took third. Bob McCall would grab fourth and Russ Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, rounded out the top five.

In other action, Fred Knapp of Des Moines won the sportsman title and Darrel DeFrance of Marshalltown, Iowa, was the hobby stock titlist.

Results –

1. D. Arthur Nesteby, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
3. Johnny Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
4. Bob McCall, Ottumwa, Iowa
5. Russ Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
6. Mark Keltner, Morning Sun, Iowa
7. Paul Carr, Ottumwa, Iowa
8. Leo Randall, Sigourney, Iowa
9. Karl Ritterbusch, Clermont, Mo.
10. Randy Harrison, Memphis. Mo

Saturday, September 14, 2019

1963 – Ward Wins Hoosier Hundred

Rodger Ward show perfect form en route to winning the 1963 Hoosier Hundred. - Walt Imlay Photo

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 14, 1963) - Rodger Ward of Indianapolis set a blistering pace from start to finish to win the 11th annual Hoosier Hundred in record time at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday.

Leading from the pole position, which he won at a record clip of 103.986 miles per hour, the two-time Indianapolis “500” champion raced the distance in 1 hour and 4 minutes, for an average speed of 93.545 mph.

Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., finished second, trailing Ward across the finish by 16 seconds. A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., third followed by Johnny Rutherford of Fort Worth, Tex., and Jim McElreath of Arlington, Tex.

Seventeen of the 18 starters finished the race. The missing was Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., who spun on the very first lap, returned to the race but was out for good a few laps later with mechanical issues.

Ward, who grabbed his 23rd major victory in the last 10 years, pocketed $16,725 for the winner’s share of the purse worth $51,850. Both were records for the Indiana event.

It was also Ward’s third triumph of the year, having won 100-mile events at Milwaukee and Springfield, Ill.

Results –

1. Rodger Ward, Indianapolis
2. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
3. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
4. Johnny Rutherford, Fort Worth, Tex.
5. Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
6. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
7. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
8. Lloyd Ruby, Houston, Tex.
9. Ronnie Duman, Dearborn, Mich.
10.Jim Hurtubise, North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Friday, September 13, 2019

1958 – Sachs Wins Hoosier 100 in Record Time

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 13, 1958) – Eddie Sachs, ignoring a broken windshield and cut hands, won the rich Hoosier Hundred auto race Saturday at an Indiana State Fairgrounds record speed of 92.142 miles per hour. A crowd of 21,000 witnessed the action.

The grinning Center Valley, Penn., veteran fought his Schmidt Special around Johnny Thomson of Boyertown, Penn., in the 52nd mile and beat him to the finish line by three-quarters of a mile.

Sachs’ cuts, from glass splinters when his windshield split, were no serious. He collected $9,000 from a $32,700 purse – biggest on the USAC circuit outside the Indianapolis 500 race.

Jud Larson of Tampa, Fla., who set the old record of 91.751 miles per hour last year, hung up a one-mile qualifying record at 100.167 miles per hour, but his engine quit early in the race.

George Amick of Venice, Calif., the current USAC point leader, was also sidelined by engine problems, even before the race started.

Tony Bettenhausen, the old-timer from Tinley Park, Ill., led the first 49 miles. Thomson passed him but held the lead for only two miles before Sachs charged ahead.

Thomson had won the last three 100-milers at Springfield, Ill. Du Quoin, Ill., and Syracuse, N.Y. Sachs’ only previous victory of the season was at Langhorne.

Results –

1. Eddie Sachs, Center Valley, Penn.
2. Johnny Thomson, Boyertown, Penn.
3. Rodger Ward, Los Angeles
4. Don Branson, Urbana, Ill.
5. Tony Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
6. Earl Motter, Hayward, Calif.
7. Jimmy Reece, Indianapolis
8. A.J. Foyt, Houston Tex.
9. Ed Elisian, Oakland, Calif.
10. Elmer George, Indianapolis

Thursday, September 12, 2019

1975 – Parkinson Sr. tops Spencer IMCA Sprints

Ralph Parkinson Sr. accepts congratulations and the trophy from IMCA flagman Larry Shipley while track steward Hal Meyer presents the checkers. - Beetle Bailey Photo

Spencer, Iowa (September 12, 1975) – The International Motor Contest Association’s point race for the grand championship sprint cars was tightened, two new records were set, and Ralph Parkinson Sr., of Kansas City, won the 30-lap feature here at the Clay County Fair on Friday afternoon.

The racing activities got underway with Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., the defending IMCA sprint car national champion, establishing fast time in qualifying. He made the one-lap circuit with a time of 24.04 seconds around the half-mile dirt oval. Parkinson Sr. had sixth quickest time, which, with the inverted top six start, gave him the pole position for the feature event.

Parkinson would grab the lead at the wave of the green flag and never look back, leading all 30 laps in a dominating performance.

The racing action took place for second and third positions which were held by Jan Opperman of Noxon, Mont., and Utz. The two veterans raced nose to tail for almost the entire race with Opperman frustrating the champion at every turn.

Dick Forbrook of Morgan, Minn., who was running behind Utz, challenged the duo only once and settled for fourth place.

Bob Thoman of Higginsville, Mo., Opperman and Dick Morris of Sioux City, Iowa, were heat winners and Gene Kester of Odessa, Mo., grabbed the consolation. Bill Mellenberndt of Sioux Falls, S.D., won the STP trophy dash.

Results –

1. Ralph Parkinson Sr., Kansas City
2. Jan Opperman, Noxon, Mont.
3. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
4. Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
5. Bill Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls, S.D.
6. Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
7. Daryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.
8. Jim Edgington, Fairmont, Minn.
9. Gene Kester, Odessa, Mo.
10. Dave Engebretson, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

1966 - Kunzman Wins National

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 11, 1966) – Young Lee “Stub” Kunzman borrowed the ride of his life Sunday afternoon as he captured the National Late Model Modified Stock Car Championship before a crowd of 7,500 at Hawkeye Downs.

The Guttenberg native smashed up his 1966 Chevy convertible in Saturday night’s regular weekly program and sought a ride for the nationals. He found one in a 1964 Ford, owned and chauffeured normally by Buzz McCann of St. Paul, Minn.

McCann was under doctor’s orders not to drive and things couldn’t have worked out better.

The outcome of the 100-lap feature produced a check for $1,000 to Kunzman and McCann, the largest chunk of change ever won for a single race by the popular 22-year-old.

“It just feels great,” Kunzman said after receiving his championship trophy from promoter Homer Melton. “Buzz’s car handled beautifully. It was real steady during the whole race and that made the difference.”

For the second year in a row, Benny Hofer of Rock Island latched onto second place. He took home $600. Mert William of Rochester, Minn., finished third for $300. John Connolly of Delhi won $200 for finishing fourth.

Total purse for the program was $5,000.

Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., Jerry Reinhart of Moline, Ill., and Connolly all picked up checkered flags in their respective heat races. Shannon also triumphed in the 10-lap consolation with Dolan coming in second.

Johnny Beauchamp of Atlantic, Iowa, raced to victory in the 20-lap semi-feature after starting 20th in the 26-car field. He whipped Mert Williams by two car lengths in an exciting finish. Beauchamp, a former IMCA national champion, wasn’t as fortunate in the feature.

Kunzman and Hofer both drove a dandy of a race, even though the 100-lap spectacular started out as a game of “catch us if you can” with front row starters Verlin Eaker and Darrell Dake, both of Cedar Rapids, setting the pace for the first 58 laps.

Eaker earned the pole position by setting a Downs’ record on the quarter-mile oval with a time of 16.67 seconds in his hemi-powered 1965 Dodge. Williams had established the previous mark of 16.89 seconds earlier this year. Dake also cracked the standard with a time of 16.74 seconds.

Dake, hoping to defend his national championship successfully, charged into the lead on the 58th lap when Eaker’s car began to heat up. Red Droste of Waterloo, the season point champion, had already dropped from the race by this time. He went to the pits on lap 35.

Dake’s hopes lasted for only two more laps when he was forced out with a flat tire.

Eaker regained the lead, but by this time, his engine had heated up, smoking badly and obvious he wouldn’t able to maintain the torrid pace much longer. On lap 65, the inevitable happened.

Beauchamp slipped inside the slowing Eaker and grabbed the front spot, followed by Kunzman and Hofer. Johnny had started seventh in the 24-car field, Kunzman 10th and Hofer started way back in the 20th slot.

For the next 30 circuits, Beauchamp controlled the thrilling action in his 1955 Chevrolet. The ex-Daytona 500 driver experience seemed to be the difference.

But on the fourth turn of the 95th lap, the cap broke on Beauchamp’s right front tire, crippling his car. Kunzman snapped into the lead and held tight the rest of the way with Hofer breathing down his neck.

Results –

Heat #1 – Roger Dolan, Lisbon
Heat #2 – Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
Heat #3 – Jerry Reinhart, East Moline, Ill.
Heat #4 – John Connolly, Delhi
Consolation – Herb Shannon
Semi-main – Johnny Beauchamp, Atlantic, Iowa
Feature –

1. Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg
2. Benny Hofer, Rock Island, Ill.
3. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
4. John Connolly
5. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
6. Johnny Beauchamp
7. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
8. Don Bohlander, Glasford, Ill.
9. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
10.Jim Gerber, Mount Joy

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

1978 – Bobby Unser Wins Governor’s Cup

Bobby Unser takes the checkers at the Milwaukee Mile.

West Allis, Wis. (September 10, 1978) – Bobby Unser, the hard-charging driver from Albuquerque, N.M., led much of the way Sunday and easily won the Governor’s Cup 250-mile late model stock car race as the event ended under the yellow flag at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Unser, who hadn’t won a stock car race since 1974, was leading Dave Watson of Milton, Wis., by 13.5 seconds when a yellow flag waved seven laps from the finish of the race.

The victory earned Unser $7,885 – the winner’s share of a record $41,400 purse.

A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., who leads the United States Auto Club point standings, finished third.

Unser, driving a 1978 Camaro, led 191 of 250 laps, battling Foyt, who also drove a 1978 Camaro, in the early stages before Foyt was forced to make a series of pit stops because of tire issues. After that, Watson, driving a 1977 Buick Skylark, challenged Unser through the middle stages of the race but could not take command.

Sal Tovella of Addison, Ill., was fourth, two laps back, in a 1977 Plymouth Volare, followed by Jim Sauter of Necedah, Wis., piloting a 1977 Dodge Aspen.

Unser said the race was especially satisfying for him because it had been so long since he’d been in the winner’s circle.

“It was a very timely victory,” Unser said. “It did me a lot of good. I’ve had a hard time winning races lately, yet I know I’m a good race driver.”

Results –

1. Bobby Unser
2. Dave Watson
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Sal Tovella
5. Jim Sauter
6. Bob Brevak
7. Bay Darnell
8. Gary Bowsher
9. Bob Schacht
10. Ramo Stott
11. Joe Ruttman
12. Terry Ryan
13. Gordon Blankenship
14. Tom Schley
15. Rich Clement
16. Jack Bowsher
17. Rick O’Brien
18. Eddie Wachs
19. Dale Koehler
20. Russ Peterson
21. Ken Miller
22. Charlie Glotzbach
23. Tom Meinberg
24. Terry Pearson

Monday, September 9, 2019

1967 – Andretti, Foyt 1-2 in Rich Hoosier 100

Mario Andretti eagerly awaits the start of the 1967 Hoosier Hundred.

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 9, 1967) – Defending champion Mario Andretti, who led for the last 86 laps of the Hoosier Hundred on the Indiana State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt track, defeated A.J. Foyt and nudged within 60 points of Foyt in the USAC national driving championship standings for the year.

Andretti, who handled the dirt like the White Knight, finished the race with an average sped of 95.546 miles per hour before a record crowd of 26,733 spectators.

Andretti, who now has 2,380 racing championship points, compared with Foyt’s 2,440, was nearly 10 seconds ahead of Foyt at the finish line.

They were followed to the checkers by Al Unser, rookie Bill Vukovich Jr., Jim McElreath and rookie Bruce Walkup.

Vuky, the son of a racing great, and Walkup both made big splashes as rookies in this, the richest of all dirt events.

Vukovich made a big move in the last 20 laps, and finished fourth by taking both McElreath and Walkup, who had startled the veteran stars by winning the pole with a record qualifying lap of 104.076 miles per hour.

Foyt, winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, then gave chase to the rookie from Downey, Calif., finally slipping past on the fourth turn of the 35th lap.

Andretti had opened a big lead by the mid-point of thee race with Foyt still trying to shake loose from Walkup and McElreath dueling with Al Unser for fourth-place.

By the end of the 100 laps, however, Unser had shaken loose and Vukovich had come from the back of the pack to take both McElreath and Walkup.

The total purse for the 15th annual running of the Hoosier Hundred was a record $61,400. The bulk of which, of course, will go in the pocket of the “Lil Italian” from Nazareth, Penn., who has won five other championship class events this year.

Results –

1. Mario Andretti
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Al Unser
4. Bill Vukovich
5. Jim McElreath
6. Bruce Walkup
7. Carl Williams
8. Roger McCluskey
9. Chuck Hulse
10. Ralph Liguori
11.Ronnie Duman
12. Rollie Beale
13. Norm Brown
14. Larry Dickson
15. Bill Puterbaugh
16. Johnny Rutherford
17. George Snider
18. Bobby Unser

Sunday, September 8, 2019

1962 – Ward Wins Syracuse 100-Miler

Rodger Ward is presented the Revelle Motors Trophy after winning the 100 miler at Syracuse in 1962 - presenting the trophy is Mrs. Jack Revelle.

Syracuse, N.Y. (September 8, 1962) - Rodger Ward, the 41-year-old kingpin of auto racing, won the United States Auto Club championship 100-mile race at the New York State Exposition Grounds for the second straight year yesterday as he came home first in record time of one hour, two minutes, and 46 seconds. His average speed was 95.571 miles an hour, topping his former speed mark of 95.01 miles an hour set here in victory last year.

A tremendously disappointing attendance, 4,936, probably the lowest in State Fair history, watched Ward triumph as he drove a steady race and escaped tire and mechanical troubles which affected most of the other 18 qualifiers from an original field of 21 cars.

Parnelli Jones, the speedster from Torrance, Calif., set the pace for 74 laps as he averaged about 96 miles per hour in his #98 J.C. Agajanian Offenhauser. But a burned piston sent him to the pits and Ward, who had been running second, took command and nursed his tires the rest of the way as he won by 27 seconds over second place A. J, Foyt, who had been slowed by a 19-second pit stop when he was running second at the halfway mark.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” was Ward’s first comment after pulling his #3 Bob Wilke Offenhauser into the winner’s circle. After 92 laps I was worried about my right rear tire, it was beginning to wear something awful.”

Agajanian, a popular industrialist and businessman from Los Angeles, Calif., and owner of the car, said, “Parnelli would have won without any trouble if the car had held out. No one was touching him, and we had plenty of rubber on the tires.”

The main topic in the pit area prior to race time was the condition of the track. The majority of the drivers thought the track was in excellent shape except for the thick dust going into the second and third turns.

Third-place finisher Troy Ruttman of Dearborn, Mich., driving the #2 Al Dean Offenhauser, said he thought the one-mile track was the fastest of any dirt track he’s raced on. Ruttman, the 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner, was putting in his first appearance on dirt since 1957.

Jim Hurtubise Lennox, Calif., never did get amongst the front-runners, fighting his Sterling Plumbing Special most of the race but finishing a respectable fourth.

Results –

1. Rodger Ward
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Troy Ruttman
4. Jim Hurtubise
5. Allen Crowe
6. Roger McCluskey
7. Don Branson
8. Bob Mathouser
9. Ronnie Duman
10.Jim McElreath
11. Lloyd Ruby
12. Ernie Koch
13. Bobby Marshman
14. Al Miller
15. Parnelli Jones
16. Cotton Farmer
17. Bobby Marvin
18. Elmer George
19. Bud Tinglestad
20. Chuck Hulse
21. Carl Williams
22. Jiggs Peters

Saturday, September 7, 2019

1975 - Reffner Takes Carter Classic

Wayne Carter Classic winner Tom Reffner (left) receives congratulations from ARTGO promoter Art Frigo.

Morris, Ill. (September 7, 1975) - Tom Reffner wheeled his ’74 AMX Javelin to a new track record and the win in the First Annual Wayne Carter Classic at the Grundy County Speedway Sunday afternoon.

It was Reffner’s 60th win of the season.

Reffner set a new one-lap record of 16.25 seconds in time trials among the 49 late model cars which entered. Later the Rudolph, Wis., ace missed a clean sweep as he blistered a tire in the 15-lap ‘Challenge Cup’. Joe Shear won that race by passing Larry Schuler on the outside with one lap to go.

Jim O’Connor jumped into the feature lead as 25-cars took starter Frank Ropp’s green flag. Lee Schuler took second spot in the third lap and then took the lead from O’Connor in the 6th lap.

Bob Roper, the ’74 Chicagoland Champion, took over the lead on the 8th lap driving Marv Palmer’s quick #6 and opened up a comfortable margin over the runner-up.

Reffner went to the outside and passed Roper for the lead in lap 44 and was home free then for the win. Roper held on for second money while fast closing Joe Shear managed to take third from Musgrave in the closing laps.

Whitey Harris took the win in the second 20-lapper which was open to the even qualifiers not among the top-10. Red Huthison finished second.

Shear then won the ‘Challenge Cup’ over Larry Schuler and Tom Reffner.

The 12-lap consolations went to John Provenzano . . . in a controversial finish as Al Schill and Hal Davis crashed in the final lap while going for the lead.

The promotion was the first for rookie promoter Art Frigo of Lake Bluff, the President of ARTGO Racing Enterprises.

Results –

1. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
2. Bob Roper, Chicago
3. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
4. Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
5. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
6. Don Leach, Beloit, Ill.
7. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
8. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
9. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
10.Dave Evans, Crystal Lake, Ill.

Friday, September 6, 2019

1965 – Brown Grabs IMCA Feature Win

 Don Brown

Lincoln, Neb. (September 6, 1965) – Don Brown, a lean Californian who is making Lincoln his summer residence, started in first place Monday afternoon and stayed there to win the tightly contested 30-lap International Motor Contest Association feature race before 10,000 spectators at the Nebraska State Fair.

Brown spoiled Harold Leep's bid for a sweep of the sprint car racing weekend. But, for the Wichita, Kan. Bowling proprietor, it was not all sour grapes as he finished a close second to the hard-driving Brown.

It was like a hometown boy had won when Brown slid his racer to halt in front of the grandstand to accept the victory trophy and the plaudits of the racing spectators.

Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex. jarred the Hector Honore sprinter loose for the first time at the State Fair and won the first heat. Bob Coulter, who is also living this summer in Lincoln with Brown, did a soft roll on the first lap of the first heat race. He wasn't seriously hurt, but his car was hurried off to a local speedway parts house and repaired in time for his return and eleventh spot finish in the feature event. Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., wiped out a front end in the same mishap and was sidelined from further competition.

Leep was his old self in the second heat race, winning the 8-lap dash over local favorite Lloyd Beckman in his familiar roadster. Tom Bigelow, who was third in the feature event, was the third heat winner getting around Tom Custer of Rock Island, Ill., on the seventh lap of the 8-lapper.

Jim Moughan took the consolation race chased to the checkered flag by the veteran Ray Duckworth of Anderson, Ind. Moughan, who hails from Springfield, Ill., was fourth in the feature event.

The tacky track cut down some of the faster times, but the racing was swift and exciting on every turn.

Results –

Heat #1 – Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Heat #2 – Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #3 – Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
Consolation – Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
Feature –

1. Don Brown, San Fernando, Calif.
2. Harold Leep
3. Tom Bigelow
4. Jim Moughan
5. Gordon Woolley
6. Bill Puterbaugh, Roxana, Ill.
7. Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
8. Norm Baker, Webster City, Iowa
9. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
10.Bill Eubank, Danville, Ind.
11.Bob Coulter, Long Beach, Calif.
12.Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

1971 - Goodwin Triumphs in State Fair Feature

Ray Lee Goodwin

Lincoln, Neb. (September 5, 1971) – Ray Lee Goodwin, who earned the pole position through a stroke of luck, won his second straight International Motor Contest Association sprint car race Saturday at the Nebraska State Fair.

The veteran Kansas City driver, who won a rich 50-lap feature in Sedalia, Mo., last weekend, moved into the pole position when Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., who had set a one-lap record in time trials, failed to make the main event.

Had Leavitt avoided mechanical trouble and advanced to the feature, Goodwin would have started the race on the fourth row, inside position based on his seventh fastest qualifying time.

But since the top six cars in qualifying start the feature in inverted order, Goodwin inherited the pole where he only momentarily lost the lead to Wib Spalding of Granite City, Ill., before a crowd of 5,800 fans.

“It looked like Wib’s engine quit or something for a bit, and that’s when I got back around him,” said Goodwin, who lost his lead on the first lap but regained it 10 laps later.

“I think the car had more straightaway speed than anyone else’s,” Goodwin added. “It seemed like a drag race because the corners were so rough from the rain.”

“But the track was in good shape as it could have been, considering a half of inch of rain was dumped on it this morning,” he pointed out.

The feature win was Goodwin’s 20th of the season and his first ever at the Nebraska State Fair.

His fuel-injected Chevy, owned by Charlie Williams and Gary Swenson, used a Firestone rain tire on the right rear wheel to gain better traction on the fairgrounds’ half-mile track.

Following Goodwin and Spalding to the finish line were IMCA point leader Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., Steve Schultz of Chillicothe, Mo., and hometown favorite Lonnie Jensen.

Ron Perkins of Des Moines, one of two defending State Fair feature champions, did not finish among the leaders. Ralph Parkinson Jr., of Kansas City, the other defending champion, did not qualify for the feature.

Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., which whisked to a 5-lap record in the trophy dash, became entangled with Eddie Leavitt’s car on the first lap of the first heat.

Leavitt was forced out of the race and also failed to finish subsequent efforts in the trophy dash and consolation feature where he started on the pole and held an abbreviated lead.

Forty-seven cars participated in time trials, which was delayed a little more than an hour due to light rain.

Results –

1. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
2. Wib Spalding, Granite City, Ill.
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
5. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
6. Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.
7. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
8. Daryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.
9. Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
10. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

1963 – Neighbors Put on Battle in Lincoln

Dick Hutcherson takes the checkered ahead of Ramo Stott before a capacity crowd at Lincoln.

Lincoln, Neb. (September 4, 1963) - You normally don't find reruns at the Nebraska State Fair.

But they had one Wednesday. It took place during the running of the stock-car races sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA).

Stars in the performance work Dick Hutcherson, winner of the 50-lap feature race, and Ramo Stott who finished second.

Less than a car length separated these two Keokuk, Iowa, neighbors at the finish line. Earlier in the afternoon the identical situation prevailed in one of the 10-lap preliminaries.

And you could also list popular Ernie Derr as a co-star. He finished third in the big race, still less than a car length behind Stott.

IMCA director Al Sweeney said this was the greatest stock-car race he had seen in his 28 years of promoting.

In another 10-lap prelim it was Derr winning over Jim Washburn. The latter finished fourth in the big race

And drivers who hope to get anywhere in the world might take a tip and move to Keokuk. Because Hutcherson, Stott, Derr and Washburn are all neighbors in this small Iowa town which calls itself “The Stock Car Capital of the World”.

Hutcherson scored what could be called a grand slam of racing Wednesday. In three races, he garnered three victories and set three fairground records.

The national point leader among stock car drivers started the day with a one lap time trial record of 34.67 seconds. He then lowered the 10-lap mark from 6 minutes and 6 seconds to 5 minutes and 58 seconds. His 50-lap record time was 27 minutes which wiped out his own mark of 29 minutes and 31 seconds set in 1961.

Don Bowles of Kansas City won a 10-lap heat race and Ed Negre of Monett, Mo., captured the Australian pursuit event.

Results –

First Heat: Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
Second Heat: Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
Third Heat: Don Bowles, Kansas City, Mo.
Australia Pursuit: Ed Negre, Monett, Mo.

1. Dick Hutcherson
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Ernie Derr
4. Jim Washburn, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
6. Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee, Wis.
7. Ed Negre
8. Don Bowles
9. Luther Poteet, Topeka, Kan.
10. Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City, Mo.
11. Frank Sedoris
12. B.D. Super

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

1962 – Richert Cops Feature at State Fair

Huron, S.D. (September 3, 1962) - Jerry Richert, the hottest driver on the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) speedway circuit, drove off with top honors in the big car races at the South Dakota State Fair Monday afternoon.

With over 7,000 fans looking on, Richert won the 20-lap feature race in the time of 8 minutes and 59 seconds. Piloting the McDonald Offenhauser, Richert started on the pole position and led all the way in the feature with about a half-lap margin over second place Bill Horstmeyer, Madison, Wis.. at the end. 

Horstmeyer dueled with Jerry Daniels of St. Paul for second place most of the way but Daniels’ radiator blew up three laps from the finish knocking him out of the race.

Richert, who is from Forest Lake, Minn., earned the pole position by winning the first heat race in the State Fair record time of 3 minutes and 7 seconds over seven laps.

Don O’Reilly of Los Angeles wound third in the feature with Ted Ready of St. Paul fourth and Gordon Herring of Golden, Colo., was fifth.

Dale Reed, the Kansas dirt track champion from Wichita, who was driving a Chevrolet conversion racing engine, won the semi-main contest by posting a time of 3 minutes and 34 seconds for 8 laps.

Roger Lane, the Missouri state champion from Blue Springs, was second while Sonny McDaniels, the Texas state champion, was third.

Richert was also the winner in the first heat. Tony Farr of Pomona, Calif., was second while Ready was third.

O’Reilly won the second heat with Horstmeyer second and Daniels third.

Reed was the third heat winner with Art Pratt of Escondido, Calif., second and Harry Kern of St. Paul third.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
Heat #2 – Don O’Reilly, Los Angeles
Heat #3 – Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
Semi-Main – Dale Reed
Feature -
1. Jerry Richert
2. Bill Horstmeyer, Stoughton, Wis.
3. Don O’Reilly
4. Ted Ready, St. Paul, Minn.
5. Gordon Herring, Golden, Colo.

Monday, September 2, 2019

1957 – Record Crowd Sees Larson Win

Jud Larson is surrounded by well-wishers after winning the Du Quoin 100-miler. 

Du Quoin, Ill. (September 2, 1957) – Jud Larson of Kansa City, winner of the annual Labor Day 100-miler at the Du Quoin State Fair, set no speed record – but he received the biggest ovation in the fair’s 34-year history.

Most of the more than 15,000 spectators who saw the Ted Horn Memorial big car race from the grandstand, streamed on onto the track at the finish. The fans kept the track gates jammed for more than 20 minutes.

The biggest race crowd ever noted at Du Quoin overflowed into the new bleacher stands put up this past summer while an additional 2,000 saw the race from a standing position alongside the track fence.

Larson’s time for the unexciting 100-mile grind was just one and half seconds short of the 66-minute mark.

Johnny Thomson of Boyertown, Penn., would finish second while Rodger Ward of Indianapolis finished third after leading the first 53 lap of the contest.

Grinning through a coating of mud, with his face scratched from dust, Larson accepted his trophy from A.H. Hulman, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The victory was worth $4,550 to Larson.

Results –

1. Jud Larson
2. Johnny Thomson
3. Rodger Ward
4. Elmer George
5. Bob Veith
6. Johnny Boyd
7. Len Sutton
8. Pat O'Connor
9. Don Branson
10. Ed Elisian
11. Jack Turner
12. Billy Garrett
13. Don Edmunds
14. Jimmy Reece
15. Tony Bettenhausen
16. George Amick
17. Ralph Liguori
18. Jimmy Bryan

Sunday, September 1, 2019

1968 – 11,000 Watch Californian Opperman Win at Lincoln

Jan Opperman proudly displays his trophy after winning the 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature at the Nebraska State Fair. - Bob Mays Collection

Lincoln, Neb. (September 1, 1968) – Jan Opperman of Hayward, Calif., grabbed first place in Sunday’s 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature at the Nebraska State Fair before 11,000 spectators.

Opperman, starting on the outside in the front row, paced the 18-car field for 16 circuits before he went wide in the fourth turn and yielded two positions to Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., and Joe Saldana of Lincoln.

Opperman, however, would get the lead back, when Saldana and Utz tangled while battling for the lead, severely damaging the leader’s car and sending the Missourian to the pit area.

On the restart, Opperman would quickly separate himself from the rest of the field and lead the remaining three laps to seal the victory.

Dave Ross of Jetmore, Kan., and Dale Reed of Wichita, Kan., would follow Opperman across the finish line.

An earlier mishap took out Hank Smith of Mt. Ayr, Iowa, Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., and J.L. Cooper of Kansas City. That accident would occur on the lap 2 when Roger Lane of Blue Springs, Mo., rammed Sutcliffe from behind.

In the preliminaries, heat race wins went to Hank Smith in a curtain raiser; Opperman took the second heat; and Roy Bryant of Wichita, Kan., won the third heat. Lane won the 10-lap consolation.

In contrast to Sunday’s opener, the track was had-slick much of the time and race times were some 10 seconds off the record-smashing pace established in the first day of racing.

Results –

1. Jan Opperman, Hayward, Calif.
2. Dave Ross, Jetmore, Kan.
3. Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
4. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
6. Roger Rager, Mound, Minn.
7. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
8. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
9. Jerry Weld, Kansas City
10. Chuck Taylor, East Alton, Ill.
11. Bill Hudson, Montezuma, Iowa
12. Sonny McDaniel, Pasadena, Tex.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

1973 - Sanger Wins CR Stock Car Title Test

Ed Sanger

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 31, 1973) – Ed Sanger avoided temptation and that probably ensured his capturing the late model stock car season championship Friday night at Hawkeye Downs.

"I had a strong urge to do a lot of different things to the car (1972 Chevelle) for this race," Sanger explained after running away from the rest of the field in the 30-lap feature that climaxed the 1973 weekly season at the Downs.

I was tempted to try a bigger carburetor and bigger gear," Sanger added, "but I hadn't tried the big carburetor here before, so I decided to stay with what had gotten me this far."

That had lo be a wise move for the star pilot from Waterloo. He had gone into the final race as the season point leader and the victory clinched his third straight point championship at the Downs.

Ed's first title came on the quarter-mile dirt track and the last two have been on the half-mile.

"I'm really happy," Sanger exclaimed. "The championship here means more to me than any other another track. There’s more competition here than any place else, so there's more prestige when you can finish on top."

Sanger's final point total was 4,835. That was 290 points better than second-place Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, who finished second in the feature in a 1972 Nova.

Verlin Eaker, also of Cedar Rapids, drove his 1971 Nova to third place in the feature and also took third in the point derby.

Friday's feature triumph was Sanger's fourth of the campaign at the Downs, but it also marked the 34th time this year that the 32-year-old driver had claimed the checkered in a main event.

He also is the point leader at three other ovals.

Sanger, who led the entire distance, said it was his easiest win of the year at the Downs. There wasn't much doubt of that in the minds of the 3,842 in attendance.

"I didn’t really think I could get that kind of jump on Dake going into the first corner,” he explained. “But my engine really came alive tonight. It was brand new three weeks ago and it’s gotten stronger week by week.

“It was ideal tonight.”

The real battle in the feature was for fourth place and Waterloo's Bill Zwanziger held off Dike's Curt Hansen and Cedar Rapids’ Bill McDonough to claim that spot.

McDonough also won a heat and the consolation. Dave Bedard of LaPorte City and Dr. Al Mayner of Winthrop took heats, too, while Stan Stover of Reinbeck won the Australian Pursuit and Chuck Lukemyre of Tipton was the All-Star winner.

Results –

First heat: Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Second heat: Dave Bedard, LaPorte City, Iowa
Third Heat: A.E. Mayner, Winthrop, Iowa
Australian Pursuit: Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
Consolation: Bill McDonough
All-Star: Chuck Lukemyre, Tipton, Iowa
1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
5. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
6. Bill McDonough
7. Stan Stover
8. A.E. Mayner
9. Tim McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10. Dave Bedard

Friday, August 30, 2019

1964 – Bowsher Scores Winchester ARCA Victory

Jack Bowsher

Winchester, Ind. (August 30, 1964) – Jack Bowsher wheeled his 1964 Ford to a 4.5-second victory over Iggy Katona in Sunday’s ARCA-sanctioned 100-lap stock car race at Winchester Speedway.

Bowsher toured the high-banked half-mile pavement 100 times in 35 minutes and 25 seconds to shatter the existing track record for 100 laps by more than 12 minutes. The old record was 45 minutes and 35 seconds turned in by Frankie Schneider in 1959.

Bowsher’s feature win added 100 points to his total and pushed him closer to the ARCA driving championship. Money-wise, he collected $535 of the $3,000 purse offered by owner-promoter Pete Wales.

Katona, piloting a 1964 Ford, was never more than a half-lap behind the fast-moving Bowsher and, at one point near the end of the race, had trimmed the margin to 2.2 seconds. Only one other driver finished on the same lap as Bowsher and Katona with Jim Cushman finishing third in a 1964 Plymouth. Cushman crossed the finish line to receive the white flag just a car-length ahead of Bowsher, who took the checkered at the same time.

By virtue of his fastest qualifying time, also a new track record, Bowsher started on the pole and jumped to a straightaway lead over Dick Freeman’s 1963 Pontiac on the first circuit. Freeman held second ahead of Katona and Cushman but began slowly dropping back at the halfway mark and finished fourth.

Katona passed Freeman on lap 51 and Bowsher lapped him on the 76th go-round, then set sail for Cushman only to run out of laps.

The entire program was accident free with only two spinouts to mar the afternoon’s activities. Stu Shouse spun his 1964 Pontiac on lap 24 and La Marr Marshall looped his 1962 Chevrolet in the first turn two laps later.

Results –

1. Jack Bowsher
2. Iggy Katona
3. Jim Cushman
4. Dick Freeman
5. John Summerville
6. Paul Wensink
7. Stu Shouse
8. Elmer Davis
9. Jerry Norris
10. Bill Clemons
11. John Baker
12. Jim Robinson
13. Jack Purcell
14. La Marr Marshall
15. Dick Dunlevy

Thursday, August 29, 2019

1970 – Marzofka Downs IMCA Greats at Minnesota

St. Paul, Minn. (August 29, 1970) – Two world records toppled when the Wisconsin late model champion, Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., blew by IMCA’s ironmen to win the Northland 300 new model stock car race.

Marzofka breezed past defending IMCA national champion Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, lap 8 of the 300-lap grind around the half-mile asphalt Minnesota State Fair oval and went on to set a 50-lap world record of 19 minutes and 24 seconds. Earlier, he had set a 10-lap mark of 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

Bud Helm of Brainerd, Minn., pushed his 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a second-place finish behind Marzofka’s streaking 1969 Ford Torino. Bill Mueller of Minneapolis was third in a 1970 Plymouth RoadRunner.

So complete was the rout of the highly touted IMCA new models that the champion Derr managed only a sixth-place finish behind five non-IMCA chauffeurs.

Results –

1. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
2. Bud Helm, Brainerd, Minn.
3. Bill Mueller, Minneapolis
4. Clyde Boegman, Shakopee, Minn.
5. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
6. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
7. Bill Nelson, Minneapolis
8. Blackie Wangerin, Bloomington, Minn.
9. Ray Henningson, Hoyt Lakes, Minn.
10.Wayne Larson, Bloomington, Minn.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

1959 – Leep Beats Folse in State Fair Race

Des Moines, Iowa (August 28, 1959) – Harold Leep and converted stock motors had another big day at the Iowa State Fair Sunday afternoon as 14,000 watched the Wichita, Kan., driver win his second straight IMCA big car sprint feature here.

The 26-year-old, whose triumph Friday was regarded as somewhat a fluke, again beat International Motor Contest Association’s top-ranked Pete Folse – this time by a good 200-yard margin – over the 10-mile route.

Unlike Friday, when Leep passed Folse on the final lap, Leep overhauled his Offenhauser-powered rival on the third lap and was never headed.

Folse, from Tampa, Fla., was no match for Leep’s Chevrolet-powered outfit on the asphalt-like turns. Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., was third and Herschel Wagner of Hickman Hills, Mo., finished fourth.

Up to the consolation, open to previous non-money winners, not a single Offenhauser-powered machine won Chevy plants won the first four events.

Leep earned $700 for his main event win plus $50 for the fastest preliminary heat and another $40 for whipping Folse in the trophy dash.

Sunday’s performance swelled Leep’s earnings here to $1,539 in two days, though car owner Chet Wilson of Wichita, Kan., takes more than half.

Two other drivers besides Folse had frustrating afternoons.

Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., was set back to fifth in the feature after he appeared to finish third, because of passing on a yellow flag on lap 14.

A lap later, Bill Holland, one-time Indianapolis 500 winner, who switched from the Mocca Offy to the Mueller Olds Sunday, pulled into the pits and never came back.

Results –

Heat #1 – Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #2 – Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
Heat #3 – Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
Trophy dash – Harold Leep
Consolation – Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
Feature –
1. Harold Leep
2. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Herschel Wagner
5. Arnie Knepper
6. Colby Scroggin, Pasadena, Calif.
7. Dale Reed
8. Bill Sullivan, Novato, Calif.
9. Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
10.Jerry Massey, Wilmington, Calif.
11.Jim Hemmings, North Vernon, Ind.
12.Hank Lawshe, Winchester, Ill.

Monday, August 26, 2019

1967 – Stott Wins Rain-Shortened 100-Miler

Ramo Stott

Sedalia, Mo. (August 26, 1967) - Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa, won the scheduled 100-mile Missouri State Fair Late Model Stockcar Championship which was called on the 86th lap because of rain, Saturday afternoon.

His fellow townsman, Ernie Derr’s chances vanished on the 78th lap when he blew a tire and finished in second position.

Derr and Stott started on the front line by virtue of their fast times in the time trial.

Both smashed the one-mile time record. Stott beat his own record of 40.31 seconds made in 1966 by turning the mile in 39.96 seconds this time fell by the wayside seconds later as Derr spun the mile in 39.90 seconds, which gave Derr $100 for the fastest time and $100 for breaking the record, and Derr drew the pole position.

The race actually turned into a five-way duel between Stott, Derr, Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan., Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan., and Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn., all of whom finished in the money.

The race was moving along in excellent condition until the 20th lap when Dale Keeling, Dixon, Mo., spun out on the first turn and created a five-car pile-up, with none of the drivers being injured. This put the race into moving on a caution signal until the track was cleared.

Resuming the speeds of 100-miles-an-hour or better the race continued to the 36th lap when Winfred Keeling, brother of Dale, crashed into the inside rail on the first turn and spun across the track striking the iron guard safety rail on the outside edge of the track. 

Keeling was taken to the local hospital complaining of a neck and arm injury. He later walked out of the hospital after examination with nothing more than bruises. His car was in a tight spin as it spun across the track.

Stott and Derr, when dueling for first place on the 62nd lap actually broke the one-mile time when they snapped across the electric eye for the mile in 39.36 seconds. However, this did not count on the mile record for time.

It began to sprinkle about the 75th lap, and by the 86th the track was too slick; an oddity of the rain, the heavy portion fell on the north end of the mile track making it extremely dangerous. As the checkered flag dropped on the 86th lap it began to rain heavily and stopped 10 minutes later.

On the 25th lap Derr had the lead, Stott second. Funk third; at the 50th it was Stott, Derr and Taylor; Taylor moved to the front on the 51st lap for one circle of the track. Stott was back in the lead on the 57th lap; Derr took over on the 70th and was there through the 75th; Stott moved out front on the 78th when Derr had tire trouble.

The finish when the event was stopped on the 86th lap was Stott, Lennie Funk, Derr, Ole Brua, and Taylor rounding out the top five.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Lennie Funk, Otis, Kan.
3. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
5. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
6. Blaine Morrow, Mt. Joy, Ill.
7. Jim Martin, Kanas City
8. Larry Stottlemyre, Kansas City
9. George Lemke, Mosinee, Wis.
10.Michael Null, St. Louis

Sunday, August 25, 2019

1962 – Unser Captures 50-Lap Missouri Futurity

Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N.M., accepts congratulations for his victory in the Missouri Futurity from Joan Ritzenthaler. National Speedways, Inc., starter Woody Brinkman (left) and promoter Al Sweeney (right) join in the celebration.

Sedalia, Mo. (August 25, 1962) – Bobby Unser, making his first invasion of International Motor Contest Association circles since 1956, snagged one of the venerable association’s most coveted laurels as he won the 8th annual Missouri Futurity in near-world record time before some 12,000 thrilled race fans.

Unser, driving the Ron McGowen Chevy, sat on the pole for the 50-mile feature but trailed going into the first turn as front row starter Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., speared the Wilson Chevy ahead on the start.

With the Albuquerque, N.M. hairpin artist fast on his bumper, Blundy set a torrid pace for the first 13 laps, only to have Unser get by on the outside as Blundy found himself boxed in by lapped traffic on the first turn.

At that point, Unser set sail, turning laps at 39.12 seconds, more than a quarter under his time trial mark, and opening up a lead that ranged at times to half a mile.

Unser averaged 90.22 miles per hour in a race that took 33 minutes and 15 seconds, seven seconds off the mark set by Jerry Blundy last year. He collected $1,150 for the victory.

It was a track for big car racers powered by Chevrolet motors. The car with Chevy motors took all but one event, that going to an Offenhauser-powered car driven by Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., the winner of the second heat.

The first heat, 10 laps, was won by Jack Brunner of Garden City, Calif., the second heat by Knepper and the third heat by Jerry Mans of Wood River, Ill. Gordon Wooley of Waco, Tex., won the 10-lap Handicap and Duke Wyrenbeck of Los Angeles, Calif., took the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
2. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
3. Colby Scroggins, Eagle Rock, Calif.
4. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
5. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
6. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
7. Buzz Rose, Palos Verde, Calif.
8. Duke Wyrembeck, Los Angeles
9. Joe Noeske, Freeport, Ill.
10. Jack Brunner, Garden City, Calif.
11. Jim Murphy, South Haven, Mich.
12. Steve Orme, Sherman, Ill.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

1968 – York Dominates St. Paul Sprints

Tom York raises his hand in victory after winning the 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature. 

St. Paul, Minn. (August 24, 1968) – The freckles, the wide eyes, the Tom Sawyer look…

Lives with the shadows of Notre Dame’s Golden Dome, puts the bubbles in a hometown beer, and delights in pushing hiss young children around in a wagon.

That’s the incongruous but highly adaptable story of Tom York, King for the Day of the Minnesota State Fair sprint car races Saturday on a cool track which produced remarkably warm competition for the 8,560 fans.

York’s low-slung roadster pulled away from the 20-car field in the 30-lap IMCA feature on the sleek half-mile asphalt bowl and at the end of the accident-marred main feature, the Hoosier invader owned a comfortable 8-length lead over runner-up Ray Wright.

York admits he’s no dirt lover, but he eats up the asphalt. Earlier in the day he had problems, but he switched to a new Hoosier left rear tire, thinned his fuel mixture, and shifted his chassis weight ratios for the feature. It was only a matter of time until his long, low silhouette owned the field.

But the early stages of the feature had its moments when hometown hero Jerry Richert battled for the lead with another Indiana roadster Ray Wright. But Richert’s car wasn’t handling the way he knew it should. Suddenly, while fighting for third-place, the Forest Lake, Minn., IMCA point leader felt the familiar shakes which told him that the left front shocks had torn loose.

Wright’s roadster finished second and Bob Davis, who claimed he “was not running completely healthy,” was third.

It was in all a remarkable day of racing and a due tribute to the memory of the late Frank Winkley who directed the competition for over two decades. His widow, Verna, was in command and the action was fast, furious and perhaps the closest in Fair annals.

Results –

Trophy dash – Tom York
Heat #1 – Bob Davis
Heat #2 – Jack Houseworth
Heat #3 – Jim Sullivan
Semi-main – Bucky Petersen
Feature –
1. Tom York
2. Ray Wright
3. Bob Davis
4. Buzz Gregory
5. Barry Kettering
6. Russ Laursen
7. Don Mack
8. Darl Harrison
9. Jerry Lepinski
10.Fred Linder

Friday, August 23, 2019

1964 – Amick Beats Weld as 14,000 Watch

Richard "Red" Amick

Des Moines, Iowa (August 23, 1964) – Indianapolis veteran Red Amick kept Greg Weld of Kansas City back on his exhaust stack for 24 laps and won the 25-lap International Motor Contest Association sprint car feature at the Iowa State Fair before an announced crowd of 14,000.

Weld, a 21-year-old rookie sensation who won at Sedalia, Mo., on Saturday, had the lead on the first lap, but lost it going high in the first corner of the second lap and was never able to pass his 35-year-old rival.

Amick, driving the Floyd Abbott Chevrolet out of Danville, Ky., stayed in the only groove on the hard, asphalt-like surface which was responsible for crashes and spin outs in all but one of the six races, two which had to be restarted.

The chief casualties were Jerry Daniels of St. Paul, Minn., second in the current IMCA points, and Harold Leep of Wichita, Kan., second to IMCA point leader Jerry Richert in Friday’s opening 30-lap feature.

Richert, of Forest Lake, Minn., did not compete on Sunday because of a race date in another IMCA-sanctioned in Owatonna, Minn.

Daniels, who flipped on top of Amick at Sedalia Saturday, was attempting to move up on the leaders when he spun coming off the third turn. He was out of the money by the time the wrecker had pushed him into the pits for an inspection.

Leep came to grief on the fourth lap of the second qualifying heat when he nosed into the inside rail, taking a section out of the rail and himself out of the remainder of the program. This started several spins among drivers attempting to get out of the way and caused the race to be restarted.

The opening heat also was red-flagged for a restart on the third lap. Gordon Woolley, last year's IMCA sprint champion, rode over Amick's rear wheel, causing both to spin coming out of the second turn. Both escaped damage.

The yellow flag dropped for two laps in the third heat after Chuck Berg of Des Moines locked front wheels with Doc Schaeffer of Alameda, Calif., coming off the second turn on the inaugural lap.

Schaeffer spun again on the third turn during the fifth lap, causing the yellow flag fly again. Don Rittman of Lee’s Summit, Mo., spun coming off of turn four on the sixth lap.

The consolation was finally halted after the four spin-outs and collisions at the end of the eighth lap. The race got under way, with a triple spin-out in the first turn.

Wilburn Bennett of Berkeley, Mich., spun, then Carl Williams of Kansas City swerved to avoid a collision, but slid into Jerry Weld, knocking Greg's brother against the wall and putting him out for the day.

Bennett spun out twice more and was pushed off the track. Then on the eighth lap, after the green flag had waved for only two go-rounds, Bob Coulter of Long Beach, Cal., was hit by Jerry Higgins of Des Moines, coming off the second corner.

Pete Stone of Indianapolis slid in the wall and also left competition for the day.

Amick, the IMCA's new half-mile speed record-holder, and Weld ran off and left Woolley and Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., third and fourth-place finishers, at the head of the pack which didn’t relish on trying to be brave on the dangerous, slick dirt oval.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #2 – Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
Heat #3 – Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
Trophy dash – Red Amick, Muncie, Ind.
Consolation – Red Amick
Feature –
1. Red Amick
2. Greg Weld, Kansas City
3. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
4. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
6. Bob Pratt, Union City, Ind.
7. Dale Reed, Topeka, Kan.
8. Dean Mast
9. Jay Woodside
10. Ray Duckworth
11. Don Brown, Sam Fernando, Calif.
12. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

1976 - Watson Outraces Schuler for ‘Red, White & Blue’ Title

Dave Watson

Kaukauna, Wis. (August 22, 1976) - Dave Watson, driving the Neilson Enterprises 1976 Camaro, outraced Larry Schuler to win the final race of the “Red, White and Blue” state championship series for late model stock cars at the Wisconsin International Raceway Sunday afternoon.

Watson also collected his second state championship with 1,610 points. He won the title in 1973. Schuler finished second in the series with 1,270 points followed by Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids with 1,120 points.

Rich Somers of Steven Point led the first 10 laps of the 65-lap feature with his “Thunder Pony” 1972 Mustang. Caledonia’s John Reimer then took over the lead on the 11th lap after battling side-by-side with Somers for five laps.

Reimer held onto the top spot until the 14th round when he was passed by Trickle, driving a 1970 Mustang. Trickle, a former state titlist, paced the 24-car field until the 17th lap when Schuler, a 23-year-old flash from Lockport, Ill., sped past in his 1976 Camaro.

Schuler stayed out front until the 24th lap when Watson, of Milton, flew past him on the front chute. Schuler then dogged Watson for the rest of the event. At several times Schuler pulled even with Watson in the turns but could not overtake the winner. Watson won by four car lengths at the finish.

Finishing behind Watson and Schuler in third place was Rudolph’s Tom Refiner in his 1974 AMC Javelin. Reffner was the top qualifier in the 51-car field with a 20.82 clocking around the half-mile paved oval. Rounding out the top six were Trickle, Reimer and Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids.

Earlier in the afternoon Miller won the first 20-lap qualifying neat race. The event was a real tussle as Kaukauna’s Pete Parker dueled with John Schultz of Shawano for the opening seven laps. Schultz spun out of the second position on the sixth lap and the pack tightened up on Parker on the restart.

John Speer of Beloit took the lead for several laps before giving way to Bloomington, Minn., pilot Bill Oas. Miller then made his move and passed Oas for the lead on the 14th lap. Oas was second and Roger Regeth of Kimberly third. Reimer won the second heat event by a half of a car length over Somers with Doug Strasburg of Johnson Creek third.

Dave Bruggink of Sheboygan, racing for the first time at the Kaukauna track, won the 30-lap semi-feature. The 22-year-old former sportsman driver wheeled his 1976 Camaro to an impressive win over Steve Lurvey of Dousman and Gene Coleman of Menominee, Mich.

Bruggink led the first 24 laps of the race before Coleman surged out in front. Coleman stayed in the lead until the final lap when Bruggink overtook him.

The race was marred by a spectacular crash on the eighth lap when Dan Johnson of Oneida and Mike Langsdorf of Rio collided on the backstretch. Both cars crashed through the inside guardrail at full throttle. Neither driver was injured, but both were eliminated from the race.

The afternoon’s races, witnessed by 5,854 fans, got off to a wild start as the first lap of the dash for cash resulted in a multi-car pileup on the backstretch when cars driven by Schuler and Jim Sauter of Necedah came together Sauter’s car veered into the inside guard rail and Schuler's climbed the outside wall

They were leading the pack when the crash occurred, and the rest of the field scattered in all directions in a cloud of smoke Both rejoined the race and Sauter came back to win the eight-lap affair.

Results –

1. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
2. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
3. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
4. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
5. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
7. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek, Wis.
8. Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills, Wis.
9. Tom Musgrave, Arlington Heights, Ill.
10. Bill Oas, Bloomington, Minn.
11. Larry Niggle, Albany, Wis.
12. Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
13. Ray Kreyer, Rio, Wis.
14. Todd Acklam, Racine, Wis.
15. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
16. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
17. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
18. Lenard Reimer, Janesville, Wis.
19. Roger Regeth, Kimberly, Wis.
20. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee, Wis.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

1971 - Wagner Squelches Utz' Efforts in Opener

Sedalia, Mo. (August 21, 1971) – Bill Utz, defending champion of the opening-day sprint car feature at the Missouri State Fair, pulled some heroics in front of the hometown fans Saturday afternoon on the Fairgrounds’ half-mile dirt oval.

But those heroics were not good enough to notch a feature win as he trailed Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, and second-place finisher Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., across the finish line.

Utz, who drew 44th in the time trial runs, barely made the main event. After his time trials, his clocking of 24.52 seconds placed him out of the consolation feature. However, he was placed in the consolation after two of the cars dropped out.

The top five cars in each of the three heats, as well as the consolation, qualified for the feature. Starting on the outside of the last row, Utz managed to finish third and make the field for the 30-lap finale.

But his start there was no better than it was in the consolation – on the back row. By the fifth lap, however, the Sedalia pilot had moved into seventh position and on lap 11, he sailed past Eddie Leavitt and took over third-place. Ten laps later he passed Richert, who was running second but dropped back into third on the 27th circuit.

Rounding out the top-five positions in the 30-lap feature were Bob Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., and Wib Spalding of Granite City, Ill.

Track conditions during the early stages of the racing program were fast and two State Fair standards were erased. Harold Leep’s one-lap record of 23.11 seconds was shattered by Wagner. Wagner eclipsed that mark with a clocking of 23.03 seconds on the second of two qualification laps.

Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., wiped out the old mark for an 8-lap heat race with a time of 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Utz had set the previous mark in 1970 at 3 minutes and 18 seconds. 

It was a profitable day for Wagner. He nabbed $750 for winning the feature, pocketed $200 for setting fast time and collected another $40 for placing fourth in the first heat. 

Eddie Leavitt, Thad Dosher, and Steve Schultz won heat races while Leavitt beat Jerry Blundy to the wire in the 5-lap match race. Wib Spalding nailed down the consolation. 

Wagner’s win was the second feature victory for him so far this season. He nabbed the IMCA sprint car feature at Cedar Rapids on Memorial Day.

The main event was slowed two times due to yellow flags. The first one came out on the third lap when Dale McCarty flipped going into the first turn and ended up head first on top of the guard rail. McCarty was not injured in the accident but was forced to the pits. 

The other wreck occurred on the tenth lap when Dave Ross went over the hub rail in the first turn. He and Steve Schultz tangled going into the curve, when Schultz nicked Wib Spalding’s rear wheel. Ross dropped out but Schultz rejoined the field.

Results –

Time trials – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa (23.03)
Match race – Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
Heat #1 – Eddie Leavitt
Heat #2 – Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
Heat #3 – Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
Consolation – Wib Spalding, Granite City, Ill.
Feature –
1. Earl Wagner
2. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
3. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
4. Bob Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
5. Wib Spalding
6. Chuck Amati, Greenfield, Tenn.
7. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
8. Steve Schultz
9. Eddie Leavitt
10.Thad Dosher