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.
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