Thursday, May 30, 2019

1969 – Ernie Derr Keeps Winning; Takes Topeka

Ernie Derr

Topeka, Kan. (May 30, 1969) – It took longer than usual for him to get to the front, and he had to listen to the first boos to come his way in several years, but Ernie Derr finally won the 50-lap feature for IMCA late model stock cars at the Mi America Fairgrounds on Friday night.

It was a race which seemed to never really want to get started. Twelve of the first 20 laps were run under yellow and the first of those cautions are what rankled the 6,500 fans at Derr.

On the start, Ray Harrison’s 1968 Camaro stalled between turns one and two and in the hard braking when the yellow came out, Derr’s 1969 Dodge Charger got pinched by two other cars and the right rear tire blew out.

The field was lined up again as Derr changed the tire, and that brought out a series of catcalls from the fans. IMCA rules say when a yellow flag comes out on the first lap, there will be a complete restart.

On the restart, Lewis Taylor put his 1967 Plymouth in the lead and stayed there for 28 laps. Two more yellows slowed thee action. The longest occurred when Ray Littrell rolled, and all of his gasoline poured on to the track. The cars slowed for five laps while the fuel burned off.

The green flag waved on lap 16, but Tommy Taylor spun and Thurman Lovejoy hit him to bring out another yellow for two laps. The race was finally on for good on lap 21.

Taylor held off Derr until lap 29, when the nine-time IMCA national champion, put his Dodge Charger ahead on the backstretch and was off and running.

On lap 42, both Irv Janey and Fred Horn got by Taylor, and Janey claimed second while Horn took third. Taylor would drop out as the white flag waved with engine trouble and would settle for seventh.

Results –

1.    Ernie Derr
2.    Irv Janey
3.    Fred Horn
4.    Joe Wallace
5.    Leon Bowman
6.    Sandy Sandstrom
7.    Lewis Taylor
8.    Jay McIntosh
9.    Joe Melichar
10.  Dave Wall
11.  Bill Schwader
12.  Ron Hutcherson
13.  Jerre Wichman
14.  Dale Keeling
15.  Gary Martin

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