Sedalia, Mo. (May 28, 1974) - Not to be outdone by USAC drivers Don White and Ernie Derr, Sedalia sprint car driver Bill Utz and Gene Gennetten of Gladstone, Mo., ran side-by-ide to finish 1-2 in each of the 25-lap segments of super-sprint racing at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
White and Derr cast family ties aside as the two brothers-in-law from Keokuk, Iowa, dueled fender-to-fender in the 100-lap United States Auto Club late model stock car feature, held Monday after rain Sunday washed out any attempt at racing.
White picked up his 50th USAC feature win and his first victory since 1972 to end the longest drought in his career.
The two Keokuk drivers ran flat out on the half-mile dirt, pulling ahead of the rest of the field at the start, then wowing the 4,500 fans with some fancy driving on the rough, dry slick oval.
Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, overcame an early spin to finish third, nipping Ramo Stott of Keokuk for the spot on the 98th lap, veteran Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., the race’s fastest qualifier, ran fifth.
Utz and Gennetten outclassed the 20 invited super-sprints and pulled off two of the most exciting races ever. Utz, driving for Dean Hathman of Columbia, ducked under Gennetten on the last lap of the second 25-lap go to successfully come from the back of the pack to win.
The cars drew for position in the first 25-lap feature, then that order of finish was inverted for the second 25-lap running, putting Utz and Gennetten on the back row.
Jay Lyle of Warrensburg finished third in both shows while Gary Scott of Holts Summit was fourth in both programs. Roy Hibbard of Marshall didn’t place, breaking a steering sector in hot laps.
Martin Godsey of Jefferson City, who drew the pole position, took a ninth-place finish in the second 25-lap race.
Ageless Norm Nelson, the USAC stock car champ in 1965 and 1966, was the first man out for qualifying time trials and set the afternoon’s fastest lap in the late models with a 26.31 second clocking.
The slower cars ran a 15-lap semi-feature to earn starting spots for the 100-lapper, and Ken Rowley of Bloomington, Ill., won that race.
“We were concerned with tire wear before the race,” a happy White beamed after the race. “We were prepared to change our right rear tire about half-way through the race if everyone else did.”
“But this is where our two-way radio comes in handy. We’ve had the radio since last year, but this is really the first time it has really worked for us.”
White, along with Janey, Stott and three-time USAC champ Butch Hartman, has purchased the two-way radios for communication with the pit crew from the race car.
USAC Stock Car
1. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
6. Steve Drake, Bloomington, Ill.
7. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
8. Larry Cope, Leroy, Ind.
9. Fred Zack, Milwaukee
10. Paul Sizemore, Terre Haute, Ind.
1. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
2. Gene Gennetten, Gladstone, Mo.
3. Jay Lyle, Warrensburg, Mo.
4. Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo.
5. Jim Jenkins, Slater, Mo.
1. Bill Utz
2. Gene Gennetten
3. Jay Lyle
4. Gary Scott
5. Jerry Johnson, Kirksville, Mo.