Sunday, March 31, 2019

1957 - Thomson Sweeps Reading, Set Two New Records

Reading, Penn. (March 31, 1957) – Sunday's USAC-sanctioned Eastern Inaugural Sweepstakes at the Reading Fairgrounds proved to be a happy event.
Not only for the Russ Moyer, the promoter, who was blessed with sunny weather and an estimated 7,500 spectators,  but to Johnny Thomson who snapped two existing records and pocketed $1,456. The prize money was the greatest ever presented to a sprint car winner on a half-mile track in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Thomson, who now makes his home in Boyertown, R.I., topped the field in the 30-lap feature and set records in time trials and the 10-lap qualifying event.
His 23.94 second mark in qualifying erased the standard of 23.95 seconds set by Jud Larson of Kansas City, Mo., last October while the old 10-lap mark of 4 minutes and 16 seconds set by Jiggs Peters of Plainfield, N.J., in October of 1954, was bettered by Thomson in the first heat.
Thomson, who won the Reading farewell last October, had everything going his way in the feature after shaking Oley’s Tommy Hinnershitz early in the race.
A minor collision on the third lap, involving several drivers including Bob Tattersall and Jim Packard, forced the field to an Indian style restart.
At this point, Thomson pulled ahead of Hinnershitz and was never again threatened. Hinnershitz stayed in the race for eight more laps until he was forced to the pits with a faulty spark plug.
Following Thomson across the finish line was Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., Charlie Musselman of Collegeville, Pa., Jiggs Peters, Ernie McCoy of Reading, Elmer George of Indianapolis, Ind., and Bob Cleburg, also of Indianapolis.

Results –
1. Johnny Thomson
2. Don Branson
3. Charlie Musselman
4. Jiggs Peters
5. Ernie McCoy
6. Elmer George
7. Bob Cleburg
8. Bill Randall
9. Eddie Sachs
10. Len Duncan 

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