Sunday, June 30, 2019

1959 – Badger 100 to Ernie Derr

Ernie Derr

De Pere, Wis. (June 30, 1959) – Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa continued to match the #1 he carries on his car when he sailed to first place in the “Badger 100” feature here Saturday night before a standing room only crowd.

The 5,000 plus fans in attendance saw Topeka’s Bill Harrison continue to have tough luck mechanically and the cagey veteran was forced to drop from the feature event after leading the pack for the first 29 laps when he threw a rod in his 1959 Pontiac.

That opened the gate for Derr and his ’57 Pontiac and the Keokuk “Komet” blazed ahead of Wayne Lee, Burlington, Iowa, making his first start behind the wheel of a new ’57 Pontiac.

Bruce Nystrom, a home-state favorite from Oshkosh, pushed his 1956 Chrysler to third place with Newt Bartholomew of Carlisle, Iowa, taking the fourth spot in a 1957 Chevrolet.

Nationals Speedways, Inc., co-sponsored the first IMCA meet here in 10 years with the Brown County Racing Association, headed by John Marquis of De Pere.

Results –

Time Trials: Bill Harrison (30.11)
Heat #1: Bill Harrison
Heat #2: Bruce Nystrom
Heat #3: Roland Wilson
Nationals Speedways Dash: Ernie Derr
Semi-Main: Bruce Nystrom
1.       Ernie Derr
2.       Wayne Lee
3.       Bruce Nystrom
4.       Newt Bartholomew
5.       Roland Wilson
6.       Ramo Stott
7.       Pete Van Oudenhoven
8.       Jeri O’Day

Saturday, June 29, 2019

1978 - Carson Takes NAPA Sprint Crown at Des Moines

Shane Carson is joined by car owner Bob Trostle after winning the NAPA Futurity. - Beetle Bailey Photo

Des Moines, Iowa (June 29, 1978) – Shane Carson of Oklahoma City, Okla., held a persistent Kim Lingenfelter of Norfolk, Neb., at bay to win the NAPA Futurity sprint car race at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

It was a blanket finish, however. The 25-lap feature event found the pair hooked up in a two-car race duel well ahead of third-place finish Doug Wolfgang of Lincoln, Neb., and Ralph Blackett of Des Moines.

The event, which had originally bet set for the day before, but was washed out, was held on a heavy track after rains made a quagmire of the oval.

But, National Speedways officials and track personnel did an admirable job preparing the half-mile track. The only drawback to what would have been an ideal night was the narrow chutes created by the heavy rains and high humidity.

For Carson, it was a double payoff. He not only pocketed the $1,000 for winning the 25-lap main event, but took over sole position of first place in the National Speedways Contest Association point standings. He was a mere 10 points behind Doug Wolfgang going into the Futurity.

Carson also won the second heat race when he bested Ralph Blackett and Wolfgang in that order.

One mishap occurred on lap 15 of the feature when Jimmy Sills of Sacramento, Calif., Mike Brooks of Knoxville, Iowa, and Con Edwards of Ankeny, Iowa, tangled coming off of turn two. No one was injured, but at the same moment, Jimmy Riggins of Lincoln, Neb. abruptly pulled off the track in turn four after sustaining burns to the back of his legs.

The semi-main was won by Jerry Potter of Kansas City. Veteran driver Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., won the first heat and Lingenfelter took the third heat.

Results –

1. Shane Carson, Oklahoma City, Okla.
2. Kim Lingenfelter, Norfolk, Neb.
3. Doug Wolfgang, Lincoln, Neb.
4. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines
5. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
6. Jimmy Boyd, Dixon, Calif.
7. Butch Bahr, Grand Island, Neb.
8. Junior Gutknecht, Pleasantville, Iowa
9. Bill Robison, Topeka, Kan.
10. Steve Hainline, Bonaparte, Iowa
11. Con Edwards, Ankeny, Iowa
12. Mike Brooks, Knoxville, Iowa
13. Jimmy Sills, Sacramento, Calif.
14. Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
15. Jimmy Riggins, Lincoln, Neb.
16. Jerry Potter, Kansas City
17. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
18. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.

Friday, June 28, 2019

1959 – Branson Wins at New Bremen

Eddie Sachs (front, right) and Don Branson (front, left) bring the field to green at New Bremen Speedway. Branson would take the win while Sachs finished third.

New Bremen, Ohio (June 28, 1959) - Don Branson, of Champaign, Ill., kept on his winning ways at the New Bremen Speedway Sunday with a remarkable win in the 30-lap feature and a second in the first 8-lap heat race.

Branson, who leads in point standings in the United States Auto Club with three victories, set a track record of 10 minutes and 42 seconds for 30-laps.

Branson repeated his victory of a year ago at the speedway, by gunning his way from number two spot and leading all the way. By the middle of the feature, he had lapped the entire field with the exception of six cars.

With 15 cars in the feature, and a heavy wind throughout the entire race he drove a skillful race and was never in trouble.

Jim McWithey, piloting the Cheesman Offy placed second and Eddie Sachs, last year's Midwest sprint champion, finished third. Jim Packard followed in fourth, A.J. Foyt, fifth, Bud Tingelstad, sixth, Tommy Hinnershitz, seventh, Ed Elisian, eighth, Bobby Grim, ninth, and Ronnie Duman, tenth.

With a purse of $5,000, the top drivers of the USAC organization flocked to the speedway for a cut of the winnings.

McWithey topped all the drivers in the qualification runs with a speedy time of 19:91 seconds for the fast half-mile track. McWithey had the same car that Sachs drove to the 1958 championship and also set the track record of 19:483.

The race was accident free, with the exception of Jud Larson, of Tampa, Fla., who grazed the wall in the second heat race and smashed the tail of his car.

Last year Jimmie Davis was killed at the track when Ed Elisian accidentally hit his car.

Results –

1. Don Branson
2. Jim McWithey
3. Eddie Sachs
4. Jim Packard
5. A.J. Foyt
6. Bud Tinglestad
7. Tommy Hinnershitz
8. Ed Elisian
9. Bobby Grim
10. Ronnie Duman
11. Chuck Weyant
12. Jim Hemmings
13. Tom McClellan
14. Jerry Richard
15. Al Miller

Thursday, June 27, 2019

1979 - 'Race Days' Title to Crawford

Alta, Iowa (June 27, 1979) – Gary Crawford made his first trip to Northwest Iowa worthwhile Wednesday night, out dueling Ed Sanger and a stellar 38-car field to win the annual “Race Days” title at Buena Vista County Raceway.

The Independence, Iowa, native pocketed well over $1,300 for his night’s work, finishing first in his heat race, third in the trophy dash and leading 25 of the 30 laps in the late model main event.

“I really enjoyed myself tonight,” said a relaxed Crawford following the win. “It’s always fun to race against guys like Eddie. When you beat guys like Ed Sanger, you’ve beat the best.”

Crawford started the 30-lap feature on the inside second row, and stormed into the lead on the sixth round, when early leader Bob Hill of Story City, Iowa, sailed high coming out of turn two.

On lap 11 of fiercely contested event, Waterloo, Iowa’s Tom Bartholomew moved past Nebraskan Clayton Petersen Jr., and into third place, behind the front-running Crawford and defending champion Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa.

A lap later, Bartholomew and the hard-charging Shryock tangled going down the back straight-away, sending both cars careening off the racetrack in a violent high-speed collision. Tempers flared as the drivers exited their cars and after the dust settled, Shryock was out of the race and Bartholomew was forced to restart at the rear of the field.

Petersen and Ed Sanger provided the action for the next eight laps, with both drivers jockeying for position as Crawford began to count his change.

On lap 21, Sanger capitalized on a Petersen error and set his sights on Crawford, who was still leading but by the narrowest of margins.

For the final nine circuits, the two Eastern Iowa drivers had the standing-room-only crowd on their feet, with Crawford riding the high side and Sanger knifing in along the inside rail.

When the pair came in front of the grandstands, it was Crawford winning by half a car length, with Sanger settling for second-place money.

Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, made his presence known, coming from his 17th starting position to nip Petersen at the flag for third place, with Bill Rice of Des Moines coming home in fifth.

In the roadrunner division, Bill Moyer Jr. of Des Moines, made short work of the 20-lap feature race, scoring a wire-to-wire victory over Steve Kosiski of Omaha.

Results –

1   1.     Gary Crawford, Independence, Iowa
2   2.     Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3   3.     Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
4   4.     Clayton Petersen Jr., Grand Island, Neb.
5   5.     Bill Rice, Des Moines
6   6.     Dave Chase, Omaha
7   7.     Frank Jorgenson, Carroll, Iowa
8   8.     Jerry Holtkamp, Williams, Iowa
9   9.     Joe Kosiski, Omaha
1   10.   Bob Hill, Story City, Iowa
1   11.   Roger Tapper, Webster City, Iowa
1   12.   Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
1   13.   Duane Errett, Harlan, Iowa
1   14.   Denny Sherrill, Sargent Bluff, Iowa
1   15.   Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
1   16.   D.Arthur Nesteby, Waterloo, Iowa
1   17.   Denny Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
1   18.   Arnie Braland, Boone, Iowa
1   19.   Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2   20.   Greg Davis, Boone, Iowa

Monday, June 24, 2019

1973 – Fraise Wins as Stocks Return to Bloomfield

Steve Fraise

Bloomfield, Iowa (June 24, 1973) – The super stocks returned to the Davis County Fairgrounds’ one-third mile Sunday and what a night of hard, fast and tight competition.

Steve Fraise of Keokuk, Iowa, drove his Chevelle into the lead at the wave of the green and held on for 20 laps to capture the first super stock feature of the season at Bloomfield.

Fraise started on the pole and stayed there, but it wasn’t an easy win as Ed Pilcher of Ottumwa, Iowa, applied pressure to Fraise until lap 15 when he had to slow with mechanical issues. With Pilcher out of the picture, Fraise would coast to the easy victory.

Junior Sweet of Kirksville, Mo., Bosco Roberts of Lancaster, Mo., and Larry Pipes of Kirksville, Mo., would have the battle of the night for third place, swapping positions for a dozen laps. Sweet would spin on lap 18, leaving the battle to Roberts and Pipes, who would finish that way.

Bosco Roberts would win the trophy dash while Fraise, Sweet and Pilcher would score heat wins. Larry Winn of Kirksville, Mo., won the consolation.

Results –

1.    Steve Fraise, Keokuk, Iowa
2.    Ed Pilcher, Ottumwa, Iowa
3.    Bosco Roberts, Lancaster, Mo.
4.    Larry Pipes, Kirksville Mo.
5.    Glen Cassidy, Kirksville, Mo.
6.    Junior Sweet, Kirksville, Mo.
7.    Jack Dunn, Memphis, Mo.
8.    Charlie Morris, Kirksville, Mo.
9.    Dan Christy, Ottumwa, Iowa
10.  Dan McClure, Cincinnati, Iowa

Sunday, June 23, 2019

1968 – Johncock Outduels Unser to Win ‘Horne Race’

Gordon Johncock is interviewed in victory lane after winning the 150-miler at Langhorne.

Langhorne, Penn. (June 23, 1968) – Gordon Johncock took the prestige and the first-place money after winning the United States Auto Club 150-mile national championship car race at Langhorne Speedway.

He also took home a whale of a sore neck.

“This has to be the toughest track on the circuit – my neck hurts from all of those sharp turns,” said Johncock of Hastings, Mich., after outdueling Bobby Unser in sweltering heat Sunday. 

Johncock and Unser, the winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, were the only leaders during the grueling test. The winner said his neck was sore, he had to drive the last 50 miles with one hand on the steering wheel and the other supporting his chin. 

“It’s physically easier to drive in the Indianapolis 500 than this track,” Johncock added. He explained that the longer straightaways made Indy look like a superhighway. 

Johncock, driving a rear-engine turbo Offenhauser, hooked up in a down-to-the-wire finish with Unser, of Albuquerque, N.M., before taking the race by 12 seconds.

The winner was timed in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 59 seconds for an average speed of 103.464 miles per hour.

The 85 degree heat didn’t bother him. “It was cooler in my car, than outside,” he remarked.

In time trials, Johncock broke his own world mark for one mile with 126.908 miles per hour. Last July, he set the old mark of 125.914 miles per hour.

Johncock led from the start to the 41st lap and the lead changed hands several times before he robbed it from Unser on the 102nd turn.

Gary Bettenhausen, of Tinley Park, Ill., was third; Mike Mosley, of Indianapolis, fourth, and Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, fifth.

A crowd of more than 34,660 watched the race. Johncock received about one-fourth of the $35,200 purse and $7,000 in accessory money.

Results –

1. Gordon Johncock
2. Bobby Unser
3. Gary Bettenhausen
4. Mike Mosley
5. Larry Dickson
6. Sonny Ates
7. Max Dudley 
8. Bill Puterbaugh
9. Roger McCluskey
10. Chuck Booth
11. Bruce Walkup
12. Al Unser
13. Bob Harkey
14. Billy Vukovich
15. Wally Dallenbach
16. Sam Sessions
17. Mario Andretti
18. Art Pollard
19. Bud Tinglestad
20. Jim Malloy
21. Lloyd Ruby
22. Bruce Jacobi
23. Gig Stephens

Saturday, June 22, 2019

1975 - Ziegler wins ‘Red’ Race

John Ziegler

Kaukauna, Wis. (June 22, 1975) — John Ziegler of Madison, Wis., wheeled his 1974 Camaro to victory in the first race of the "Red, White and Blue" state championship series at the Wisconsin International Raceway with four car lengths to spare over Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Sunday afternoon.

Slinger's Tony Strupp paced the 24-car starting field for the first three laps before Doug Strasburg of Johnson Creek slipped into the top spot. Strasburg set the pace until the 28th lap when Ziegler and Reffner bolted past on the outside.

Reffner quickly maneuvered past Ziegler and took the lead on the 30th lap with his 1974 AMC Javelin. However, Reffner was unable to pull away from Ziegler and on the 44th lap Ziegler regained the lead when Reffner began experiencing minor handling problems with his car.

Following Ziegler and Reffner across the finish line were Rich Somers of Stevens Point, the defending state champion, with his 1973 Mustang; Strasburg in his 1973 Camaro; John Reimer, Caledonia, 1973 Camaro; and Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill., '73 Camaro.

Ziegler, who has been driving the winning car only three weeks after demolishing another racer at Kaukauna this Spring, said, "Every week it keeps going a little faster. I've raced here six times and every time I either cracked up or blew an engine."

Dousman's Steve Lurvey won the 20-lap semi-feature with his smooth running 1973 Nova over Del Keup of Green Bay in a 1973 Camaro and Darrell Swartout of Janesville in a 1973 Mustang.

The race was halted on the 15th lap in one of the worst crashes ever at the track. The crash occurred when Pat Griffin of Galesville spun in the first turn. Junior Dunn of Roscoe, Ill., approached the scene at full speed, spun to avoid hitting Griffin's stalled racer, flipped over and in the process hit the first turn wall. The car flew high into the air and was caught in the outer wall wire mesh.

Dunn crawled out of the wreck and was rushed to the Kaukauna Community Hospital where he was treated for a sprained ankle and other bruises. Mike Mattson of Marquette, Mich., made his long trip to the track worthwhile as he won the 10-Iap first heat and the 15-lap consolation. The consolation was tightly contested by Butch Mierendorf of South Milwaukee second and Ray Kreyer of Rio third.

Wayne Erickson won the second heat, race while Ziegler emerged the winner in the third heat race. Larry Schuler brought the crowd of 6,174 to its feet when he outraced Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids to the finish line in the event. Schuler, a 22-year-old driver from Lockport, III., was a popular winner as he downed the national stock car feature win record holder.

Reffner topped the 56 late model stock car field with a 21.33 lap around the half-mile paved oval.

Results –

1. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
3. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.
4. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek, Wis.
5. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
6. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
7. Dave Watson, Beloit, Wis.
8. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
9. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
10. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
11. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
12. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
13. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
14. Bob Abitz, Freedom, Wis.
15. Gary Hemmerling, Beloit, Wis.

Friday, June 21, 2019

1957 – Beauchamp Wins Burlington Hawkeye 100

Burlington, Iowa (June 21, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp, driving a 1957 fuel-injection Chevrolet, won the Hawkeye 100 new model stock car race at Burlington on Saturday night.
Spirited competition was evident throughout the 200-lap affair, which saw bad luck plague many drivers as wheels flew in all directions from the speeding vehicles. 
Don White, driving a 1957 Ford, finished second in the event which saw the field cut down to six cars when the final lap was run. Doc Narber, who threw a wheel in the final few laps, managed to grab third position when the checkered flag dropped through the quick work of his pit crew in getting him back in action.

Ray Albritton of Dallas, Tex., claimed fourth driving a 1956 Ford.

Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, had trouble from the word go with his 1957 Pontiac and was in and out of the race four times during the evening before finally giving it up on lap 132.

Bob Burdick of Omaha was the hard-luck king of the evening. He paced the field and did a magnificent job of driving until the 122nd lap when rear axle on his 1957 Ford broke directly in front of the grandstand. Wheel and axle rolled the length of the straightaway and Burdick was finished for the night.

Marion, Iowa's Frank Richards, driving a 1957 Chevrolet and another popular driver with the crowd, also suffered bad luck. Running in second-place until lap 106, a broken steering arm forced him from competition.

His pit crew made an effort to replace the arm but were unable to do so in time for Richards to rejoin the race.

Burdick had the top qualifying time of 31.36 seconds around the big Des Moines County Fairgrounds’ half-mile and led the pack during the time he was in the race. At the end of 50 laps, Richards was running in second position, Beauchamp in third, Derr fourth, White fifth and Narber sixth.

With 100 laps completed Burdick led followed by Richards, Beauchamp, White Narber, Jerry Blundy, Albritton and Jimmy Clearwater.

At the three-quarter mark, Beauchamp had taken over the lead and was out front of White, Narber and Blundy.

Don White qualified in 31.77 seconds while Ernie Derr timed in at 31.89 seconds. The track record was 32.82 seconds set by Derr in 1955.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

1966 – McCluskey a Double Winner at Terre Haute

Roger McCluskey captured both ends of the USAC sprint car doubleheader at Terre Haute.

Terre Haute, Ind. (June 19, 1966) - The gate to the winner’s circle had been closed to Roger McCluskey since September 9, 1963, but Roger found the key here yesterday afternoon and made two quick trips to the promised land.

McCluskey captured both ends of USAC’s first sprint race doubleheader before a crowd of slightly over 8,000 who paid a record purse of $11,133.

By winning both of the 30-lap races McCluskey's take was $2,788, which is the largest winners share ever paid for a sprint race In the United States.

He also won two 30-30 rifles. . . one for each victory . . .and a wrist watch for having the fastest qualifying time of the day. Like I said, he waited a long time . . . but once he got started, man he did go.

The first of the 30-lappers was strictly no contest. McCluskey jumped into foe lead and was never headed. In fact, he said after the race, as he was getting his first rifle, “The car was handling beautifully and when I got the 'big lead' sign from my crew, just before the end, I slowed down a little."

Bobby Unser followed McCluskey across the finish line with the top 10 being rounded out by; Arnie Knepper, Don Branson, Larry Dickson, Dick Atkins, Greg Weld, Chuck Booth, Carl Williams and Chuck Allen.

After a 30-minute pause, while the cars and drivers were being refreshed, they were lined up in the order of finish in the first race and cranked up for another 30-lap run.

This time McCluskey wasn't able to slow down before the checkered flag fell; In fact, he was wishing for a little more oomph out of his Chevy-powered H & H Machine Special.

He was finally credited with leading 27 of the 30 laps, but during several other trips around the half-mile clay oval, the lead was changing hands more than once.

In fact, during the 16th lap McCluskey went from first to fourth and back to first again before the lap was completed and was back in the lead at the start of the 17th.

Bobby Unser, Greg Weld and rookie Dick Atkins all had a crack at the first-place spot with Unser and Atkins being able to hold the lead as they crossed the starting line, to receive credit for leading laps.

Atkins, fresh from the ranks of the California Racing Association, led from lap 22 until 25 and looked mighty impressive. He and Paul Jones, that’s right, Parnelli's brother, both made their first Midwest appearance in the sprint cars at Terre Haute.

Jones had chassis trouble and couldn’t keep his car headed in the right direction, but Atkins went like a bomb. Both of them will be heard from before this season Is over.

Atkins slipped in the second corner on the 29th lap and Bobby Unser sailed by to grab the second-place finish, but a third place your first time out in that crowd isn’t to be sneezed at.
The rest of the top 10 in the second race were: Weld, Knepper, Bob Pratt, Dickson, Allen, Gary Congdon and Williams.

It seems as though It’s getting to be a habit . . . and a bad one . . . but there was another accident yesterday. This one turned out to be one of the “not serious" kind, but it looked bad for a few minutes.

Dee Jones and Al Unser bumped wheels coming out of number four turn on the second lap of the 10-lap semi-feature and both of them smacked the outer wall, in front of the stands with a bang.

Each made the siren trip to the hospital for examination and to have cut knees stitched, but they were both back to the track - not as drivers – before the last feature race was started.

Carl Williams won the 10-lap event and along with George Snider, Chuck Taylor, Pratt and Ray Kenens earned a starting spot in the features by finishing in the top five in the semi.

Results –

Feature #1 - 

1. Roger McCluskey
2. Bobby Unser
3. Arnie Knepper
4. Don Branson
5. Larry Dickson
6. Dick Atkins
7. Greg Weld
8. Chuck Booth
9. Carl Williams
10. Chuck Allen

Feature #2 - 

1. Roger McCluskey
2. Bobby Unser
3. Dick Atkins
4. Greg Weld
5. Arnie Knepper
6. Bob Pratt
7. Larry Dickson
8. Chuck Allen
9. Gary Congdon
10. Carl Williams

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

1975 – Reffner Wins 100-Lap Tri-County Special

West Chester, Ohio (June 18, 1975) – Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., charged through a strong field of late models to take the lead on lap 36 and stayed in front to win the 100-lap feature at Tri-County Speedway on Wednesday night. The win was worth $1,200 to the driver of the 1974 AMC Javelin.

Reffner was content to stay out of the heavy early-race traffic as Lennie Waldo of Columbus, Ohio, Rodney Combs of Mason, Ohio and Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., battled for the top spot.

Senneker, the evening’s second fastest qualifier, led for two circuits before bowing out with a blown engine.

When Reffner decided to make his move, he passed Waldo and Combs and eventually stretched his advantage to a quarter-lap margin at the checkered.

Combs held off a late charge by Waldo to claim second. Harry Long of Columbus, Ohio placed fourth, with another Wisconsin driver, Dick Trickle, of Wisconsin Rapids, fifth.

Feature –

1.     Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.

2.     Rodney Combs, Mason, Ohio

3.     Lennie Waldo, Columbus, Ohio

4.     Harry Long, Columbus, Ohio

5.     Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

6.     Neal Sceva, Urbana, Ohio

Monday, June 17, 2019

1962 – 8,000 See Leep Drive to Futurity Victory

IMCA promoter Al Sweeney presents Harold Leep the Gaylord White Memorial Trophy for winning the 1962 Hawkeye Futurity. 

Des Moines, Iowa (June 17, 1964) – Harold Leep, who use to make life miserable for Offenhauser drivers, climbed into one on Sunday afternoon and took home the Gaylord White Memorial Trophy in the Hawkeye Futurity 30-lap feature before 8,000 race fans at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The Offy he drove was the same one Buzz Barton piloted to victory in the Futurity a year ago – a sleek red and black outfit owned by Irene Lempelius, a dress designer from St. Paul, Minn.

Bill Horstmeyer of Stoughton, Wis., also driving a Offy, finished second in the 25-lap, 50-mile grind worth $600 to the winner, who was third here a year ago.

Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex., finished third in the Chet Wilson Chevrolet-powered sprint car handled by Leep last year. Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., the recent Little 500 winner was fourth in the Pete Mocca Offy.

Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla., a two-time Futurity winner and three-time International Motor Contest Association champion, was jinxed by the number 13.

He drew that number twice for starting positions in the time trials and that’s where he finished in the main event. He did manage a third place in the Australian Pursuit and had the third fastest car in time trials.

Leep, a 29-year-old native of Wichita, Kan., started sixth and didn’t get the lead until he overhauled Horstmeyer on the sixth lap, when his rival grazed the west wall.

Horstmeyer, who had earlier taken the top spot from polesitter Johnny Rutherford of Fort Worth, Tex., regained the lead on lap 11 but stayed in front for only a lap before fading back to third in a duel with Johnny White of Warren, Mich.

White would later spin into the fence in turn four on lap 32 giving Horstmeyer back second place. By that time, however, Leep had put enough distance between himself and the rest of the field to erase any challenges.

Results –

Heat one – Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
Heat two – Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Heat three – Russ Long, Yucaipa, Calif.
Consolation – Bart Manley, Denver, Colo.
Pursuit – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
Feature –

1. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
2. Bill Horstmeyer, Stoughton, Wis.
3. Gordon Woolley
4. Arnie Knepper
5. Johnny Rutherford, Fort Worth, Tex.
6. Russ Long
7. Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
8. Jerry Mans, Wood River, Ill.
9. Mickey Shaw, Berea, Ohio
10. Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
11. Jerry Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
12. Al Fredenburg, Madison, Wis.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

1977 – Rice Lake Invitational to Nesteby

Dan Nesteby is flanked by Ms. Indianhead Princess and the Rice Lake Speedway Queen as he accepts his trophy after winning the 30-lap late model invitational at Rice Lake Speedway. - Steve Sorenson Photo

Rice Lake, Wis. (June 16, 1977) – Dan Nesteby was on his way back from Canada to his home in Waterloo, Iowa, when he decided to stop at Rice Lake Speedway on Thursday night. He was glad he did…

In his first appearance at the track, Nesteby scored a six car-length victory over Punky Manor of Altoona, Wis., in the 30-lap late model invitational feature. Both drover Camaros built by Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa.

A massive power outage occurred in North Central Wisconsin plunging the track into darkness for about an hour, just before the third heat. Dave Morgan and Red Steffen didn’t complain, however, as that had damaged their cars in the second heat, giving them ample time to make repairs.

When the feature finally started, Morgan took the early lead, followed closely by Leon Plank and Tom Steuding. Plank’s differential seized and he spun sideways, taking Steuding with him. Plank was towed to the pits and Stueding was forced to restart from the rear of the field.

Nesteby, in second, chased Morgan, the fast qualifier, but repeated attempts to get by him were futile. With smoke coming from Morgan’s engine, Nesteby was finally able to get by him, as did Manor and Steffen. Neither one could catch Nesteby, however.

Morgan’s troublesome engine finally gave up and he coasted to a stop just short of the finish line and officially was placed at 11th.

Results –

1.    Dan Nesteby, Waterloo, Iowa
2.    Punky Manor, Altoona, Wis.
3.    Red Steffen, Eau Claire, Wis.
4.    Brent Laursen, Cameron, Wis.
5.    Dave Palmquist, Rice Lake, Wis.
6.    Bob Husby, Menomonie, Wis.
7.    Phil Prusak, Eau Claire, Wis.
8.    Bob Lawrence, St. Croix Beach, Minn.
9.    Larry Boettcher, Cameron, Wis.
10.  Larry Quinn, Bruce, Wis.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

1965 – Nelson by Nine Seconds in USAC Tilt at Indianola

Norm Nelson

Indianola, Iowa (June 13, 1965) - Veteran Norm Nelson, a strapping "Great Dane" from Racine, Wis., tamed the hairpin curves, steep grades and narrow asphalt Sunday to win the 200-mile United States Auto Club stock car race at Greenwood Raceway.

Nelson, who looks something like a greased-smeared Gary Cooper, fought off a frantic final effort by Paul Goldsmith, Munster, Ind., and Don White, Keokuk, for the checkered flag. The 43-year-old Racine, Wis., driver covered the 200-miles in two hours, 24 minutes, 39 seconds.
A crowd announced at 10,337 swarmed thickest around the dangerous curve sections on the 3-mile track, but the race was relatively free of accidents.

There were no serious accidents over the winding three-mile road racecourse, but Jim Hurtubise, on the comeback trail after being critically burned in a racing accident last year, spent most of the race sitting on the top of his car in a nearby lake. Hurtubise spun out of control at the end of the main straightaway at about 90 miles per hour and wound up in four feet of water.
“My oil blew out and I lost control of my car going down the grade,” smiled Hurtubise, unhurt. “The car kept right on going into that little lake or swamp. It came to a rest, I scrambled out and watched the rest of the race from the roof of the car."

Goldsmith led during much of the race but lost time in two pit stops and was not able to catch Nelson. He finished nine seconds behind the winner.

Bobby Isaac, Catawba, S.C., finished fourth and Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill., came in fifth. White's Ford was the only non-Chrysler product finishing in the first five places. Winner Nelson drover a 1965 "Hemi-Head" Plymouth.

Nelson, who has been racing 25 years and is a former USAC national champion, had two pit stops. The first time he paused just long enough for his pit crew to pour 18 gallons of fuel into his 25-gallon tank. The second time he took on 20 gallons and two new tires on the left side.

Only a dozen of the original 19-car field was on hand at the finish. Besides Hurtubise, David Pearson, who qualified for the pole position in a 1965 Dodge, was among the spectators when it ended. Pearson was stalled in the pits for 20 laps due to a suspension failure after the opening lap.

In trying to get back in the race, Pearson drove like a man possessed, with radars clocking him at speeds as high as 150 miles per hour on the straightaways Twice he averaged 85 miles per hour for one lap on the treacherous course. He finally quit for good when his water pump broke on the 41st lap.

No injuries were sustained on the rough, winding Greenwood course and only two other incidents were reported. Dick Passwater blew a tire and John Riva lost a wheel.

Both Goldsmith and the victorious Nelson had two pit stops, but Goldsmith's first stop cost him two laps on a delayed tire exchange.

Results –

1. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
2. Paul Goldsmith, Munster, Ind.
3. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Bobby Isaac, Catawba, S.C.
5. Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
6. J.C. Klotz, Fort Wayne, Ind.
7. Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
8. Lou Burmeister, Milwaukee
9. Bruce Jacobi, Salem, Ind.
10. Bob Goesch, Tinley Park, Ill.
11. Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Wis.
12. Bill Moore, Villa Park, Ill.
13. David Pearson, Randleman, S.C.
14. John Riva, Chicago
15. Bob Christie, Grants Pass, Ore.
16. Dick Passwater, Indianapolis
17. Jim Hurtubise, North Tonawanda, N.Y.
18. Bud Gaghey, Indianapolis
19. Rick Clement, Chicago

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

1972 - Masters Wins at Action Track

Charlie Masters

Terre Haute, Ind. (June 11, 1972) - With a large, enthusiastic crowd on hand at the Action Track, Charlie Masters won his first United States Auto Club sprint car feature on dirt, nipping Larry Dickson by three car lengths Sunday.

Masters jumped into the lead on the first lap after starting second. Dickson was never able to catch him although he pulled even several times. Behind Dickson were Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill., Chuck Allen, San Diego, Calif., and Sam Sessions, Nashville, Mich.

Sessions’ fifth place finish allowed him to maintain his lead in the USAC sprint division point standing.

Masters, who won $1,600 of the $9,000 purse, had never won a USAC sprint car feature on a dirt track and his last feature victory in the sprints was at Salem, Ind., in 1969

Billy Cassella won the 12-lap semi-feature while Bubby Jones, Springfield, Ill., won the first heat race. Larry Cannon, Oakwood, Ill., took the second heat. Duane Carter Jr. of Huntington Beach, Calif., won the third and Merle Bettenhausen of Indianapolis took the fourth heat. 

I was lucky to win it," said Masters, as he accepted pats on the back from well-wishers following the race.

Sessions, winner of Saturday’s Eldora Sprint at Rossburg, Ohio, picked up 25 points for his fifth-place finish Sunday. He now has 334 points to lead all USAC drivers in sprint action.

Dickson for the second day in a row finished as runner up. Dickson, currently in second place in the USAC standings, closed the gap on the leader. Sessions, by adding 35 giving him 310.

Gary Bettenhausen, who qualified sixth, was the day’s fastest qualifier, winning the ice bucket trophy. Bettenhausen turned the half-mile track in 23.5 seconds.

It turned out to be a perfect afternoon for racing as the fans watched the accident-free race under clear blue skies.

Several cars spun out on the track as it turned slick after an afternoon of intense racing.

Early qualifiers found the track prepared to their liking as the first six men out turned in times on the mid-23 second range.

Results –

Heat #1 – Bubby Jones
Heat #2 – Larry Cannon
Heat #3 – Duane Carter
Heat #4 – Merle Bettenhausen
Semi-main – Bill Cassella
Feature – 
1. Charlie Masters
2. Larry Dickson
3. Gary Bettenhausen
4. Chuck Allen
5. Sam Sessions
6. Tom Bigelow
7. George Snider
8. Steve Cannon
9. Rollie Beale
10. Johnnie Parsons
11. Darl Harrison
12. Bubby Jones
13. Rick Goudy
14. Merle Bettenhausen
15. Gary Ponzini
16. Duane Carter
17. Ralph Liguori
18. Bill Cassella
19. Bill Puterbaugh
20. Larry Cannon

Saturday, June 8, 2019

1969 – Young Californian Banks $400 for Victory

Des Moines, Iowa (June 8, 1969) – Jan Opperman of Hayward, Calif., won the 15th annual Hawkeye Futurity at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

Opperman, the rookie of the year in IMCA’s midget division last year, took the lead at the drop the green and led all 30 laps.

Driving a Chevy powered printer owned by Bill Smith of Lincoln, Neb., Opperman proved hard to beat. After early morning rains had swamped the half-mile track, the sun turned the black dirt into a boulevard; slick on the bottom and mushy on the top.

The feature race wasn’t without some spinouts. Jerry Blundy and Earl Wagner spun on lap 28 as Blundy was attempting to get around the fourth running Wagner. Kenny Gritz of Lincoln, Neb., looped his machine while running third a few laps earlier.

Al Futrell of St. Louis, Mo., was treated for water burns after his car lost a water hose in the last laps of the feature. He was not seriously injured and later released from a local hospital.

A crowd of 4,500 watched the Futurity under ideal conditions, but the early morning storms put a damper on the attendance.

Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., the day’s fastest qualifier with a 24.90 second clocking, finished second to Opperman in the race.

Third went to Jay Woodside of Kansas City and Roy Bryant of Wichita took fourth. Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., rounded out the top five.

Ken Williams of Kansas City, Bryant and Dave Ross of Jetmore, Kan., were heat winners. Opperman also won the STP trophy dash and Woodside won the consolation.

Results –

1.     Jan Opperman, Hayward, Calif.
2.     Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.
3.     Jay Woodside, Kansas City
4.     Roy Bryant, Wichita
5.     Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo
6.     Dave Ross, Jetmore, Kan.
7.     Curt Houge, Ames, Iowa
8.     Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.
9.     Bill Compton, Sylvania, Ohio
10.  Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
11.  Ken Williams, Kansas City
12.  Don Mack, East Grand Forks, N.D.