Wednesday, July 31, 2019

1977 - Kemperman Comes Home, Sweet Home

Jerry Kemperman

Blue Island, Ill. (July 31, 1977) - Returning to Raceway Park this season is "just like coming home" for Jerry Kemperman. And for somebody who hasn't been home for three years, he sure is taking over as head of the household in a hurry.

Kemperman, who was a perennial contender for the track title from 1968 (when he won it) through 1974, left Raceway in a dispute over a new tire rule which limited the late model drivers to a certain brand and size.

And it was a very profitable venture for the 39-year-old railroad switchman, who made a name for himself driving the Midwest racing circuit, winning numerous feature events.

But being a Blue Island resident, there was good reason to believe that he would once again return to his home track. That belief became reality this season, when owner/promoter Pete Jenin made another change in the tire regulations, one that Kemperman liked.

So, with a 1976 Camaro that had proven itself worthy on the half-mile circuit last year, he made his first appearance at Raceway's quarter-mile oval on opening day in the 100-lap classic.

Kemperman led that race for quite a few laps but had to settle for second when a touring professional from Ontario Canada (Junior Hanley) passed him in a tangle at the halfway point of the race. Since then, however, his record ranks on the incredible.

In 11 feature tries going into last night's action, Kemperman had 11 victories. Included in those triumphs was a win in a return match with Hanley. At this pace, he could very well set a track record for feature wins in one season, set by Bud Koehler in 1967 (30).

And the fast start this year has also inched him closer to Ted Janecyk, who is the fifth ranking driver in career feature wins with 96. Kemperman now has 74 and could conceivably pass him be the end of the current season.

On a long-term basis, there is a good chance that he could wind up second in career features if he stays at Raceway for a few more seasons. Koehler leads the field with 482, but former track star Bob Pronger only has 148 wins to show for his second place ranking.

Kemperman also has one big advantage over any of the other veteran drivers who are still active and in the top 10. Being only 39 years old, he hasn't really hit the peak of his racing years. But he may have other plans though, for the future.

"I would really like to run some of the bigger shows," he says frankly. "I just like bigger tracks. You don't get involved with as much damage arid the money is much better."

Money is something that all drivers have to depend on to keep their cars in top-notch shape. And money, or lack of it, has been the main reason that so many top short track drivers have had to remain top short-track drivers, instead of attacking the big circuit.

But money wasn't the reason that Kemperman got into racing and it won't be a reason for his leaving the sport when that day should come. In fact, love of racing may keep him on the track for many years to come.

"It's awfully hard sometimes," he admits. "Racing can become more of a job than a thrill week after week. But it's just something you do. Once it gets in you, it's hard to think about leaving it."

Other drivers may have better overall records than Kemperman, but it's unlikely that many have done better in the short time span than the late model veteran has. Kemperman has racked up those 74 features in just a little over 14 racing years at the Blue Island plant, although he's been racing full-time for 16.

"When I was 23 years old (back in 1961), I had a friend quite a bit older that raced at Raceway," he explained. "I was constantly monkeying around twisting wrenches Also, my uncle used to lake me to the races a lot when I was little. So I always wanted to be a race driver, although I felt that it was a far-fetched idea."

Kemperman ran his first race at Raceway during the 1961 season and didn't win an event. Things didn't fare well in '62 either, when he managed to win only one heat.

But signs that he was to be a great one surfaced during the 1963 campaign, when Kemperman won seven heats, three trophy dashes and four features. "He really came along pretty rapidly," said Wayne Adams, track announcer at Raceway since the middle 1940's.

Kemperman hinted around at being a contender for another few seasons until 1968, when he won four heats, four trophy dashes and a whopping 15 features to break Koehler's two-year streak.

Those early seasons took a lot out of the drivers, according to Kemperman, who spent many a day in the workshop banging out dents and crushed radiators after battling with the rough and tumble veterans.

"There was a lot of bulldogging in those days," he recalled. "It was strictly crash-bang, get out of the way racing. I've broken my ribs three times at Raceway and never really been hurt anywhere else.

And for that reason, Kemperman uses a window net - a commodity that many tracks are making mandatory this year. "After getting into an accident at Morris (another track) and my pit crew said that my head was actually hanging out the window, we went to the net."

Today, however, racing has become more a scientific sport with fewer crashes, but more skillful driving. Kemperman, who could bash fenders as well as anyone, had to change his driving style to fit the times.

Looking at his record, Kemperman is doing just fine.

Monday, July 29, 2019

1992 - Grim’s Fame Goes Round and Round

Bobby Grim

Rock Rapids, Iowa (July 29, 1992) - There is a little town in central Iowa where some would argue the bravest athletes in the world are honored.

Each August this town of 8,000 people quadruples in size with anticipation for one of the greatest spectacles in sports. The Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals are a site. To put this event into words is a reach; but I’ll try and do it justice.

It is four of the hottest, muggiest, fastest, muddiest, dirtiest, rainiest, most exhilarating days you could ever imagine. Many wouldn't miss it for the world; and once you’ve been there to see the spectacle, it's hard to walk away from ever again.

When you step on the grounds of the Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, you are immediately engulfed with every form of souvenir salesman around. They sell gads of T-shirts and memorabilia because sometimes, yes even Knoxville, the four days can get kind of.... well, long.

But now the newest toy for sprint car fans is the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum which graces the second turn at the fabled track. It’s not a hall of fame for Knoxville; but instead it's a hall of fame for the entire nation’s history of sprint car racing because Knoxville is this sports’ temple.

It is a miniature Indianapolis Hall of Fame. It’s that neat. It’s filled with old restored sprint cars that have won big races and have a rich history behind them. Tons of photos, old racing uniforms, helmets, trophies and memorabilia grace the four story structure, which houses V.I.P. suites on the top two floors.

And, each year the Hall of Fame inducts famous sprint car figures from the past into the hallowed halls of the Cooperstown of sprint car racing.

Names such as A. J. Foyt, Jan Opperman, Pancho Carter, Louis Chevrolet, Emory Collins of Le Mars and Gus Schrader of Cedar Rapids are already enshrined in the halls at

This year, a driver was inducted into the Hall of fame who used to tear up Rapid Speedway soil back in the 1950's.

Bobby Grim, of Indianapolis, was welcomed into the Hall of Fame because of his accomplishments in sprint car racing from 1946-1971. He won the IMCA circuit point championship four straight years from 1955-58.

He even qualified for the Indianapolis 500 for nine straight years from 1959 to 1967. He was the rookie of the year in 1959 driving the Sumar Special car owned by Chapman Root. It was the same car Pat O'Connor was killed in the year before at the 500 on the opening lap. Rookie of the year at the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is only shared by an elite few.

The award was established in 1952, and because of co-rookie of the year honors in 1961 and 88, there have been only 42 honored since the race began in 1911.

Grim stands with some pretty tall timber with that honor. Former rookie of the year drivers include Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti, Bill Vukovich, Rick Mears, Michael Andretti and the Dutchman from Holland, Arie Luyendyk in 1985.

The IMCA circuit that Grim dominated for four years was called the circuit of travelers as the group toured to various sites around the country, very similar to the World of Outlaw circuit of today.

There were no Knoxville Nationals or Kings Royal races in sprint car racing in the 1950's like there are now that pay $50,000 to win.

Instead, the big race in Grim’s time was the Hawkeye Futurity which was held in Des Moines at the Iowa State Fairgrounds each summer. Grim finished second in the “big car” dirt race in 1955 and ’56 and won it in ‘57 and ‘58.

He raced at Rapid Speedway only a couple of times in the 50s when he was tearing the IMCA circuit to shreds. His last appearance was Tuesday, September 9, 1958 when he won the 20-lap feature event on the then, Lyon County Fairground half-miler, and now he is celebrated among the best in Knoxville’s hallowed halls.

 “It was a great honor. I hoped the Hall of fame would recognize me,” Grim said from his Indianapolis home. “A lot of moments stand out but that is definitely one of the highlights, absolutely.”

Racing for 25 years would include a lot of great moments but Grim says he never thought about quitting the sometimes dangerous sport.

“You can’t let getting upside down bother you,” he said.

Grim raced one of the most famous cars in this sport’s past. The Bardahl Black Deuce owned by Hector Honore and built by Hiram Hillegas, the Bob Trostle of today, was built for Grim in 1953 and he drove it until 1958 before he raced for the United States Auto Club (USAC). The car was later driven by many famous drivers thereafter including Pete Folse.

It was the first sprint car with a major sponsor on the side of it as the “Bardahl” of the Black Deuce was the STP motor oil of today.

The Black Deuce now shines in the Hall of Fame in Knoxville like a work of art on display.
The money wasn’t like it is now in sprint car racing when Grim chewed up the dirt tracks across the nation. In his time; the drivers put their lives on the line for less than $1,000 a race. It was guys like him that paved the way for the success the sport has today.

The grit, determination and love for the rush of pitching a four wheeled monster into a high-banked muddy turn is what drove drivers like Grim.

Now we all have the chance to take a step back into history and see a glimpse of what this dirt track legend has done at the National Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

1976 – Steuding Nips Plank on Final Lap

Eau Claire, Wis. (July 28, 1976) - Dick Trickle was the main attraction but the heralded Wisconsin Rapids driver was forced to sit back and watch two dirt drivers battle it out for honors Wednesday night at the River City Raceway.

Trickle, a national record holder, helped pack in a season-high 1,800 fans for the second leg of the 1976 International Late Model Short Track Championship Series of stock car racing.

And the Superamerica-sponsored whiz ran a fine race but at the checkered flag, he was well behind winner Tom Steuding of Altoona and runner-up Leon Plank of Mondovi.

For Steuding and Plank, the finish was a repeat of the June Invitational here, but Wednesday’s 40-lapper was not decided until the final lap. After exchanging the lead throughout the race, the two ran neck and neck in the final five laps.

On the south turn of the last lap, Plank, the Flying Farmer and 1974 series champion, slid high with Steuding getting inside to take the lead on the backstretch and then held it as he passed flagman Jack Rada's victory stand, winning by about a car length

Even with the presence of Trickle, Steuding’s victory came as little surprise. For the White Knight of Wisconsin dirt track circles, it was his 20th feature win of the season and boosted him into the lead in the series which he won a year ago.

Steuding's time of 12 minutes and 59 seconds easily set a new 40-lap record on a record setting night and he got away with $1,000 first place money, Plank pocketing $700 for second. Trickle came to town with the reputation as the #1 short track racer in North America with over 400 feature wins, including 67 in one season.

But nearly all of his winnings came on half mile, asphalt tracks, in contrast to the quarter mile dirt track of the raceway here. Despite the change in atmosphere. Trickie showed his class.

After running a fifth best time trial of 17.53 seconds, he started inside on the third row, ran sixth early in the race only to work his way up to a solid third place finish passing track point leader Red Steffen on lap 38 to claim $500 prize money.

Steffen, who started inside on the fourth row, also ran a good race and wound up fourth to pocket $400 while Punky Manor of Altoona, the polesitter, came in fifth and checked out with $300.

Manor gained the pole with a sensational 17.31 second time trial run, setting a new track record as the first eight times bettered the old standard. Manor lost the feature race lead to Plank on the second lap, however, and Steuding. charging from his outside start in the second row, took command on the seventh lap.

Plank roared into the lead on lap 10 with Manor second but Steuding gained the runner-up position at the mid-point of the race and then moved ahead of Plank on lap 27 with Trickle passing Manor to take fourth place.

On the 32nd lap. Plank passed Steuding, setting the stage for the neck-and-neck dash to the flag. While Trickle moved into third, neither Steuding or Plank could take command until the final lap when Steuding made his victory move.

The victory pushed Steuding into the series lead with 375 points, five more than Johnny Jones of Thunder Bay, Ont., who finished 12th in the feature.

Bob Saterdalen, who finished eighth in the feature, ranks third with 350; Brent Larson of Cumberland is fourth with 340 and Steffen is fifth with 325. Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, winner of the first series event at Superior earlier this month, finished far down and dropped to tenth in the standings.

In all, there were 27 late models in the competition, 18 running in the feature event.

Results –

1. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.
2. Leon Plank, Mondovi, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Red Steffen, Eau Claire, Wis.
5. Punky Manor, Altoona, Wis.
6. Don Berger, Mondovi, Wis.
7. Tom Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ontario
8. Bob Saterdalen, Oronoco, Wis.
9. Gary Dorn, Altoona, Wis.
10.Phil Prusak, Eau Claire, Wis.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

1968 - Eaker Fails, Montgomery Takes Mid-Season Crown

Des Moines, Iowa (July 27, 1968) – Dean Montgomery of Milan, Ill., who hasn’t had too much glory at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, captured the 35-lap mid-season championship late model stock car race Saturday night before a crowd of 7,027.

Montgomery's best finish in a main event here with a 1967 Chevelle was second on May 4. However, he had compiled 945 points to rank fourth going into Saturday's program.

The mechanical woes of Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., aided Montgomery. Montgomery started in the front row with Eaker and had the lead until Eaker took over on lap 5.

Eaker stayed ahead until lap 17 when his 1967 Dodge developed engine trouble. Montgomery took the lead permanently.

Williams, one of the top drivers here, ran third for a while and was sidelined on lap 13 by heating problems. 

In sportsman action, Carl Vander Wall of Ames, Iowa, scored his sixth feature in seven attempts.

Results –

Heat #1 – John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
Heat #2 – Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
Semi-main – Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
Feature -

1. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
2. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
4. John Connolly
5. Lee Pinckney, Des Moines
6. Tom Hughes, Monticello, Iowa
7. Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
8. Ernie Speth, Davenport, Iowa
9. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
10.Bob Livingston, Des Moines

Friday, July 26, 2019

1969 - Time Trials Today For National Race

Hutchinson, Kan. (July 26, 1969) - A field of 100 cars seemed virtually assured Friday, for the 1969 National Modified Race car championship program Sunday at the Kansas State Fairgrounds.

The program will start at 1 p.m. and the first race will be at 2 p.m.

Esther Merrick, handling entries for her husband, promoter Jack Merrick, reported Friday afternoon she had 84 official entry blanks on hand. In addition, more than a half dozen drivers had phoned reporting intentions to be here. Still others had phoned that they would bring entry blanks with them and a few others had signified intentions of running, but so far had neglected to file entry sheets.

Five Hutchinson drivers have officially entered and one or two other Hutchinson entries are expected.

Heading the “home team” is Henry Ellington, the 1966 National champ, and only non-Wichitan ever to win the National. Ellington will drive the Chevy speedster owned by Kenneth McCoy.

Other Hutchinson entries are Charlie Pitts, filling station owner, and a late entry, Jay Schrock, who will be at the wheel of Pat Haskard's Gurney Ford; Les Angel Jr., who will drive the Angel Construction Special No. 76, which Ellington drove to the national title in 1966: and Dick Hendershot, who will drive another Angel Construction Co. Special, No. 3.

Another Hutchinson car will be in the field but with a Wichita driver, Jerry Everhart. Willis Curless, who helped engineer several outstanding race cars while he lived in Arkansas City, recently moved to Hutchinson. He brought one of his better cars, No. 62, to Hutchinson and Friday got confirmation that Everhart would be his driver.

Among other new entries is Gary Harrison of Topeka, who will be at the wheel of a Chevy, No. 87. Harrison is the son of Bill Harrison, who achieved considerable fame as a driver of IMCA late model stock cars,

Gordon Lucas, Wichita, “checked in” by phone Friday. He’ll be driving No. 94, as did Bill Robinson, Topeka, owner and driver of No. 47, and Tom Carlisle, Wichita, who’ll pilot No. 45.

Time trials will start at noon Saturday, following inspection, and warm-ups which will give drivers a chance to make last minute adjustments in tires or other equipment for maximum performance on the Hutchinson track. The trials will continue virtually all afternoon.

Dorothy Woods will introduce Miss National Modified queen contestants to the press and contest judges at a luncheon at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Hotel.

Special entertainment, including introduction of pageant contestants will get underway at the track at 1 p.m. Sunday. The first of four heat races will be run at 2 p.m., followed by a trophy dash featuring heat winners, the 30-lap semi-National and the 50-lap National Championship.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

1979 - Wolfgang Wins NAPA Futurity

Doug Wolfgang won the NAPA Futurity at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Lenard McCarl (left) won the "C" Main, and Ralph Blackett (right) won the "B" Main. Tim Green (second from right) finished second in the "A" Main, and John Stevenson (second from left) finished third. - Bill Haglund Photo 

Des Moines, Iowa (July 25, 1979) – Tim Green perhaps said it better than anyone else on Wednesday night.

“Wolfgang is tough,” was the way he said it, and that pretty much summed things up after Doug Wolfgang of Lincoln, Neb., took the lead on lap 31 and went on to win the 40-lap NAPA Futurity for sprint cars at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Speedway. Wolfgang earned $1,500 for the victory.

Green, who left his home in Sacramento, Calif., and moved to Iowa to learn how to drive sprint cars this year, was pretty tough himself. Although he’s driven only 30 races, Green took the lead on the first lap from his outside front row starting position and held it until Wolfgang slipped by 30 laps later.

Wolfgang started outside in the third row after posting fast time for the night at 21.85 seconds. While he worked his way into contention, Green held off National Speedways Contest Association point leader Shane Carson of Oklahoma City, Okla., for two laps before Carson began to fade.

Then, John Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn., moved into a challenging position. A few laps later, it was a three-car fray with Green leading Stevenson and Wolfgang.

Wolfgang worked around Stevenson and soon was challenging Green. Green kept to the low-side with Wolfgang repeatedly trying to get around him on the high-side. Lap after lap they continued until Wolfgang got past him on the 31st circuit.

“I knew someone was challenging me, but I didn’t know who,” Green said. “I figured it was probably Wolfgang and then I caught a glimpse of that purple 4X and I knew I was in trouble.”

Following Wolfgang, Green and Stevenson across the finish line were Bill Robison of Topeka, Kan., and Jimmy Sills of Sacramento, Calif.

Ralph Blackett of Des Moines won the 25-lap B-main, while Lenard McCarl, also of Des Moines, took the 15-lap C-main.

If there were an award for dexterity, it would have gone to Mike Thomas of Des Moines, who completed each lap of each race. He finished fourth in the C-main, second in the B-main and eleventh in the A-main – a total of 80 laps.

Results –

1. Doug Wolfgang, Lincoln, Neb.
2. Tim Green, Sacramento, Calif.
3. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
4. Bill Robison, Topeka, Kan.
5. Jimmy Sills, Sacramento, Calif.
6. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
7. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
8. Cliff Woodward, Kearney, Mo.
9. Mackie Heimbaugh, Des Moines
10. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
11. Mike Thomas, Des Moines
12. Randy Smith, Norwalk, Iowa
13. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
14. Shane Carson, Oklahoma City, Okla.
15. Mike Brooks, Knoxville, Iowa
16. Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
17. Bobby Brutto, San Jose, Calif.
18. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines
19. Mike Pinckney, Des Moines
20. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

1982 – Swindell Rolls to Accident-Marred Nationals Win

Sammy Swindell 

Sedalia, Mo. (July 24, 1982) - Sammy Swindell of Memphis, Tenn. And the Nance Racing Team left the Missouri Sprint Car Nationals $6,000 richer Saturday night after winning the 30-lap World of Outlaw Sprint Car feature at the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Swindell’s victory, however, was shrouded by a serious accident in the third heat race.

At the start of the third heat race, Danny Smith, Hendersonville, Tenn., and Bobby Nagle Jr., Belleville, Ill., came together in turn one with Smith rolling violently on the outside guard rail and Nagle going over the rail. Both drivers were taken to Bothwell Hospital and then transferred to the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center in Columbia.

Smith suffered a broken back and Nagel suffered serious head injuries. When the race was restarted, Joe McCarthy of El Paso, Tex. edged Roger Wright of Sugar Creek, Mo., at the finish line for the win.

Swindell, who started the feature in the second row outside position, by virtue of his win Friday night, was in third place at the end of the first lap behind Doug Wolfgang, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Rick Unger, Memphis. Swindell passed Unger on lap 4 and moved around Wolfgang for the lead on lap 8.

The red flag came out of lap 12 when Wolfgang got too high in the loose dirt in turn two and rolled his car.

From that point on, it was Swindell’s race to the checkered flag of victory. Steve
Kinser, Bloomington, Ind., got by Unger on the lap 18 and finished second. Unger held on for third with Brad Doty, Indiana, Pa., and Ron Shuman, Mesa, Ariz., rounding out the top five.

Kinser, who had fast time of the evening, with a clocking of 20.410 seconds on the half mile oval, won the first heat race.

Jeff Swindell, Memphis, Tenn., won the second heat but was moved back two positions for passing under the yellow flag. Thus, Shane Carson, Oklahoma City, Okla., was given credit for the win.

Jack Hewitt, Troy, Ohio, was the winner of the fourth heat race.

The semi-feature saw Roger Rager, Mound, Minn., roll his car in turn four on the first lap. The red flag came out again on lap five when a four-car pileup in turn four saw Curt Grogan, Kansas City go over.

Terry Smith, Raytown, passed Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo., on lap 10 of the 12-lap race for the win.

Results –

1. Sammy Swindell
2. Steve Kinser
3. Rick Unger
4. Brad Doty
5. Ron Shuman
6. Bobby Allen
7. Shane Carson
8. Jeff Swindell
9. Ken Schrader
10.Chuck Gurney
11.Tom Corbin
12.Rick Howard
13.Terry Smith
14.Tim Gee
15.Joe McCarthy
16.Danny Lasoski
17.Sonny Smyser
18.Roger Wright
19.Bobby Layne
20.David Dwyer
21.Jack Hewitt
22.Doug Wolfgang
23.Pat McKeehan

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

1991 – Rockford ARTGO to Cywinski

Loves Park, Ill. (July 23, 1991) – Kevin Cywinski collected his third ARTGO Challenge Series victory of the summer and his second at Rockford Speedway as he claimed the annual All Star 100 Tuesday night.

Cywinski jumped into the lead from his pole position and was rarely challenged over the first 58 circuits despite several cautions that helped keep the talented field bunched.

Joe Shear, who started the event seventh, was a solid fourth by the 50-lap mark and quickly moved up to second over the next 20 laps as he passed both Larry Schuler and ARTGO point leader Steve Carlson.

Shear began applying heavy pressure to Cywinski on lap 78 closing in on the leader in the corners only to let Cywinski slam the door shut on the straightaways.

On lap 93 Shear tried to get by Cywinski in turns three and four only to take a slide out of the fourth turn. Shear was able to regain control of his car but Cywinski was able to pull away in a comfortable fashion.

Cywinski breezed through the final seven laps to take the checkered while Shear held off Carlson for second. Schuler placed fourth followed by Jim Weber, Tony Strupp, Dennis Lampman and Matt Kenseth as the top-eight finishers completed the 100 laps. Al Schill and Kregg Hurlburt completed the top-10.

Dick Harrington, Weber and Schuler won heat races.

Results –

1. Kevin Cywinski, Mosinee, Wis.
2. Joe Shear, Clinton, Wis.
3. Steve Carlson, West Salem, Wis.
4. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
5. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
6. Tony Strupp, West Bend, Wis.
7. Dennis Lampman, Racine, Wis.
8. Matt Kenseth, Cambridge, Wis.
9. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
10. Kregg Hurlburt, Northfield, Minn.
11. Scott Hansen, Green Bay
12. Tod Coon, Peoria, Ill.
13. Pete Moore, McFarland, Wis.
14. Cliff Leach, Janesville, Wis.
15. Jerry Wood, Sun Prairie, Wis.
16. Bob Brownell, Crystal Lake, Ill.
17. Johnny Spaw, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
18. Dave Anspaugh, Bronson, Mich.
19. M.G. Gajewski, Wausau, Wis.
20. Tom Carlson, La Crosse, Wis.
21. Tracy Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
22. Dick Harrington, Otsego, Mich.
23. Joe Loehman, Westmont, Ill.
24. Ed Holmes, Portage, Wis

Monday, July 22, 2019

1973 – Gregory Wins I-70 National Championship

 Don Gregory won the rain-shortened I-70 National Championship.

Odessa, Mo. (July 22, 1973) – Don Gregory from Columbus, Ohio, wheeled his 1968 Camaro around I-70 Speedway’s high-banked paved oval, leading from start to finish in the rain-shortened version of the 300-lap National Championship race Sunday night.

Gregory was definitely the class of the field on this particular evening and was hard pressed by only one driver until the rain stopped the proceedings after 160 laps.

Buck Simmons of Woodstock, Ga., had stalked Gregory from the very first lap of the race until he was taken out by an accident on lap 127. Dan Conner of Shawnee Mission, Kan., spun coming out of turn four, collecting Simmons and several other drivers.

Second place went to Terry Bivins of Shawnee, Kan., who was two laps down in his 1973 Nova, but had worked his way up from his 19th starting position. For the last 50 laps, Bivins stayed right on Gregory’s bumper not wanting the Ohio speedster to widen the margin between them.

Third place went to Bob Senneker of Door, Mich., who was also two laps down in his 1971 Chevelle. The next two finishers also stayed within two laps of the leader, Terry Brumley of Springfield, Mo., and Tom Maier of Midland, Mich.

After collecting $5,460 for the night, Gregory explained, “It was the tires – we just picked the right set of tires. We didn’t change gears or anything after Saturday.”

Maier guided his 1973 Camaro around the half-mile oval in 18.18 seconds, destroying the former mark of 18.55 seconds set by Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Maier also won the 25-lap qualifying feature on Saturday and started the scheduled 300-lapper on the pole position.

Unfortunately for Tom, he picked the wrong tires and developed a blistered tread, and finally pitted for rubber.

Maier illustrated his dilemma, saying, “When I was running with blistered tires, my crew was clocking me at 19.70 seconds. When I got the new tires, they had me going in the 18.30’s.

Dick Trickle, who had won the last two National Championship races at I-70, was never a factor in this one as his 1970 Mustang retired to the pit area after 42 laps with a sick engine. He was running fifth at that point.

Results –

1. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
2. Terry Bivins, Shawnee Mission, Kan.
3. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
4. Terry Brumley, Springfield, Mo.
5. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
6. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
7. Larry Ball, Springfield, Mo.
8. Fred Whisler, Independence, Mo.
9. Ron Todd, Springfield, Mo.
10. David Goldsberry, Springfield, Mo.
11. Frankie Davis, Springfield, Mo.
12. Bob William, Independence, Mo.
13. Freddy Fryar, Chattanooga, Tenn.
14. Joe Wallace, Leavenworth, Kan.
15. Jim Sprague, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
16. Willie Crane, Springfield, Mo.
17. Bob Frueh, Rolla, Mo.
18. Fritz Wilson, Arvada, Colo.
19. Wayne Stallsworth, Aurora, Colo.
20. Wayne Niedecken, Pensacola, Fla.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

1957 – Larson is Grove Winner

Andy Linden (73) momentarily takes the lead from Jud Larson (2) during action at Williams Grove. Larson, however, would storm back to take the lead and the eventual win. 

Harrisburg, Penn. (July 21, 1957) - A crowd of 10,600 saw Jud Larson of Kansas City, Mo., make a clean sweep of events to win the 50-lap sweepstakes feature race at Williams Grove Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Larson had to fight it out for the lead with runner-up Andy Linden of Los Angeles. Linden finished 50 yards behind. Pat O’Connor of North Vernon, Ind., and Eddie Sachs of Center Valley, Penn., finished third and fourth respectively.

Larson won $1,650 for his victory out of a total purse of $7,800. He also set a new qualifying track record of 25.32 seconds for one lap and a new track record in the heat race of 4:19.71 for 10 laps.

Linden closed on Larson on the seventh lap and took the lead on the seventeenth. However, Larson regained the lead at the forty-eighth and came on to win.

Results –

1. Jud Larson
2. Andy Linden
3. Pat O’Conner
4. Eddie Sachs
5. Don Branson
6. George Amick
7. Bud Randall
8. Mike Magill
9. Dick Rathmann
10.Chuck Weyant
11.Johnny Thomson
12.Elmer George
13.Van Johnson
14.Rodger Ward

Saturday, July 20, 2019

1991 – Hill First at Freeport Busch All Star 50

Freeport, Ill. (July 20, 1991) – After coming close a number of times, Bob Hill finally captured a NASCAR Bush All Star Tour feature winning the 50-lap A-main Saturday night at Freeport Raceway Park.

Hill, who had posted three second-place finishes, three thirds and a fourth in nine starts prior to Freeport, inherited the lead on lap 11 when a spinning car collected race leaders Steve Kosiski and Johnny Saathoff.

Kosiski later returned to the action and limped home to a 17th-place finish.

Chasing down Hill in the final laps and finishing a close second was Willy Kraft. Rollie Frink took third followed by Ray Guss Jr. and Gary Webb.

“We’ve been running the top-five the last five or six races and I just figured sooner or later the breaks have got to come our way and we’re going to get one,” said Hill.

Hill was the fastest qualifier for the night despite the fact that his car’s power steering broke right before his qualifying run.

Results –

1. Bob Hill, Story City, Iowa
2. Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
3. Rollie Frink, Davenport, Iowa
4. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill.
5. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
6. Ed Kosiski, Omaha
7. Joe Kosiski, Omaha
8. Jerry Wancewicz, Omaha
9. Tom Svoboda, David City, Neb.
10.Tom Schony, Freeport
11.Randy McGraw, Marshall, Mo.
12.Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
13.Jim Swank, Hannibal, Mo.
14.Steve Lurvey, Dousman, Wis.
15.Tom Guithues, Lilly Lake, Ill.
16.Chuck Rankin, Kansas City
17.Steve Kosiski, Omaha
18.Mel Abels, Freeport
19.Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice, Neb.
20.Bob Pistole
21.Jim Jeffrey, Freeport
22.Ernie Lilly, Fulton, Ill.
23.Jay Johnson, Middletown, Iowa
24.Ted Beaman, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Thursday, July 18, 2019

1971 - Third-Time Rally Proves Charm for Sutcliffe at Eagle

Dick Sutcliffe 

Eagle, Neb. (July 18, 1971) - Veteran Kansas City driver Dick Sutcliffe, who has won a cluster of super modified features in a variety of ways, came up with still another way at Eagle Raceway here Sunday night.

Sutcliffe, who almost demolished his car #19 in a two-car crash Saturday night at Knoxville, Iowa, came from behind in car #119 three different times on a dry-slick track to claim his fourth feature win of the season here.

“My car was bouncing so bad in the holes that I knew I could not run in a groove fast enough to win,” Sutcliffe said of the feature, which saw four different leaders, including runner-up Thad Dosher of Topeka and third place finisher Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City.

“I could not run the hole between turns one and two continuously because it would have broken all my shocks,” Sutcliffe said. “So, I was just saving my one, best shot for the end of the race.”

The best shot to which Sutcliffe referred came with about five laps remaining when he re-assumed the lead on the race’s fourth restart after temporarily falling behind Dosher.

Starting the feature on the first row, outside position after posting the evening’s fifth fastest qualifying time, Sutcliffe also relinquished the lead twice to Goodwin before regaining it each time.

Goodwin, Saturday night’s feature winner at Knoxville, Iowa, bested Sutcliffe in the trophy dash after finishing behind him in the second heat race.

Sutcliffe, who indicated that he will not compete at Eagle for the next month because of IMCA racing commitments in Wisconsin and Illinois, complained of the track’s condition after winning Sunday’s feature.

“It’s a shame that they’re scared to put some water on the race track,” he said. “If they would so something as simple as that earlier in the day, Eagle Raceway would be the fastest one-third mile dirt track in the world.

It should be pointed out, however, that a truck did spray water onto the straightaways between the consolation race and B -feature, considerably reducing the dust in a windswept program.

Lincoln’s Lonnie Jensen, who was edged by Goodwin on the last lap of the feature Saturday night at Knoxville, finished third in the second heat race Sunday night.

He came back in the feature, however, and was challenging Sutcliffe and Goodwin for the lead when his car started smoking, forcing him to pull into the infield midway through the race.

Results –

First Heat – Thad Dosher
Second Heat – Dick Sutcliffe
Third Heat – Mike Cecak
Trophy Dash – Ray Lee Goodwin
Consolation – Jim Golden
B-Feature – Tony Farr
Feature –
1. Dick Sutcliffe
2. Thad Dosher
3. Ray Lee Goodwin
4. Dennis Oltman
5. Ralph Blackett
6. Gary Dunkle
7. Don Droud
8. Jim Riggins
9. Lloyd Beckman

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

1972 – Missouri Men Lead Way at Bloomfield

Bloomfield, Iowa (July 16, 1972) – Two Missouri men, Sonny Smyser of Glenwood and Larry Pipes of Kirksville, were in the winner’s circle at the Bloomfield Speedway Sunday night.

Smyser jumped into the lead at the drop of the flag and led all the way to his third feature win. The super modified driver was over a half-lap ahead at the finish.

Pipes finally put everything together and won his first super stock main of the season.

Pipes and Chuck Allison of Ottumwa dueled all the way with Allison leading the first six laps before Pipes passed him. The two then seesawed with John Babb and Bob McCall of Ottumwa nipping at their bumpers. Babb and McCall finished side-by-side with Babb edging out third spot.

Larry Winn of Kirksville won his second trophy dash in a row while McCall took second.

Allison and Winn had quite a battle in the first heat. The two exchanged leads several times and Allison came out on top. McCall won a hot battle in the second heat with Bob beating out Pipes. 

Smyser won his trophy dash ahead of Bill Hudson of New Sharon. Hudson followed Smyser at the finish and Don Jermier of Mt. Pleasant was third.

Cliff Powell of Hannibal took the first heat leading all the way. Burt Sonner of Des Moines was right behind him and then came Steve Hainline of Bonaparte in third.

On the seventh lap of the modified feature, Larry Cramblett and Torch Aleshire tangled down the front chute and both went into the fence. Aleshire went up on his nose and rolled over. Cramblett landed right side up. Neither were injured.

Results – 

Super Modifieds

Trophy dash – Sonny Smyser, Glenwood, Mo.
Heat #1 – Cliff Powell, Hannibal, Mo. 
Heat #2 – Sonny Smyser
Feature – 
1. Sonny Smyser
2. Cliff Powell
3. Bill Hudson, New Sharon 
4. Burt Sonner, Des Moines
5. Steve Hainline, Bonaparte
6. Harvey Grooms, Ottumwa
7. Adrian Zoutte, Knoxville

Super Stocks

Trophy dash – Larry Winn, Kirksville, Mo.
Heat #1 – Chuck Allison, Ottumwa
Heat #2 – Bob McCall, Ottumwa
Feature – 
1. Larry Pipes, Kirksville, Mo. 
2. Chuck Allison
3. Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
4. Bob McCall
5. Bob Widmar, Ottumwa
6. Charlie Morris, Kirksville, Mo. 
7. Don Benge, Selma, Iowa

Monday, July 15, 2019

1981 – History Repeats for Walton at Oskaloosa

Ken Walton

Oskaloosa, Iowa (July 15, 1981) – History repeated itself in the Pepsi-Mountain Dew Special stock car race on Wednesday night at the Mahaska County Fairgrounds when Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa, won the late model feature nipping Kenny Fenn of Washington, Iowa, by six inches.

It was Walton’s first feature win of the season although he’s finished no worse than fifth this year. “This happened three years ago, too,” said the happy Walton. “I won my first feature of the year in this event, then I went to Eldora (Speedway) and won my first World 100. I hope I can win that again too.”

Walton won $1,000 for winning the 35-lap feature on the half-mile track. The event, sanctioned by the National Speedways Contest Association, also helped Walton regain the point lead in the series’ standings.

Fenn, the point leader at the Iowa State Fairgrounds track in Des Moines, started the race on the pole and quickly took a commanding lead in his 1981 Corvette. By lap 7 he had a straight-away lead over second place Jerry Pilcher of Ottumwa, Iowa.

A yellow flag would come out on lap 11 for an accident involving Curt Hogue of Ames, Iowa and Johnny Johnson of Morning Sun, Iowa. During the caution, Fenn would replace his right rear tire.

After the restart, Fenn would lose his stagger and speed. However, Walton was unable to do much except slowly creep on Fenn, getting his Camaro into second place on lap 18.

On lap 30, Fenn would encounter lapped traffic allowing Walton to tag on to his bumper as the laps ticked away. On lap 34 tried to pass Fenn down the backstretch but couldn’t get around. Coming out of turn four, however, Fenn would get loose, sliding high, allowing Walton the opportunity to dive low and start a drag race to the checkers. Walton would nip Fenn by half a foot at the start/finish line.

Pilcher would finish third, Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, was fourth and Curt Hogue would come back from his accident earlier in the race to finish fifth.

Results –
Heat #1 – Kenny Fenn, Washington, Iowa
Heat #2 – Jerry Pilcher, Ottumwa, Iowa
Heat #3 – Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
Challenge race – Tom Hearst
Feature –

1. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
2. Kenny Fenn
3. Jerry Pilcher
4. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
5. Curt Hogue, Ames, Iowa
6. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
7. Jerry Roberts, Prairie City, Iowa
8. Craig Jacobs, Des Moines
9. Tony Stewart, Washington, Iowa
10. Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines

Sunday, July 14, 2019

1961 – Stott trails Derr in Lakeside Stock Main

Ernie Derr

Kansas City, Kan. (July 14, 1961) – A new IMCA world’s record for late model stock car was written into the books at Lakeside Stadium’s lightning fast half-mile on Friday night.

With Gene Van Winkle and Woody Brinkman handling the officiating for National Speedways, Inc., Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa flawlessly powered his 1961 Pontiac to the checkered flag in the 50-lap main event in 22 minutes and 21 seconds.

Derr, the defending IMCA national champion, thus erased the old mark of 22 minutes and 59 seconds set by Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1959.

Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk, Iowa, found the going excellent as well, as he edged Derr in the 10-lap trophy dash to set a new IMCA standard of 4 minutes and 28 seconds. Stott, racing a 1961 Ford, eclipsed the old record of 4 minutes and 31 seconds set by Derr in 1959.

Stott trailed Derr across the finish line in the main event with Chub Liebe of Oelwein, Iowa coming in third and Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., fourth. Liebe and Funk race 1961 Fords.

Derr, who also won the first heat, nudged ahead of Stott on the first lap of the feature and was able to stave off numerous challenges by his fellow townsman as he sped to the new world mark.

Results –

First Heat: Ernie Derr
Second Heat: Dick Hutcherson
Third Heat: Chub Liebe
Trophy Dash: Ramo Stott
1. Ernie Derr
2. Ramo Stott
3. Chub Liebe
4. Lenny Funk
5. Jerry McCreadie

Saturday, July 13, 2019

1969 – Bobby Unser Slips Through to Win Miller 200

Bobby Unser accepts his accolades after winning the Miller 200 at Milwaukee. 

West Allis, Wis. (July 13, 1969) – Bobby Unser navigated his 1969 Ford Talladega through a hail of metal on an oil-slicked track Sunday to win the Miller 200-mile stock car race at State Fair Park.

Unser took the lead only six miles from the finish when Jack Bowsher’s 1969 Ford Torino coasted into the pits out of fuel while a caution flag was out.

The flag was out after Paul Bauer’s 1968 Chevrolet cut off Don White, nicked the Keokuk, Iowa driver’s fender, and smashed head on into the grandstand wall on lap 192.

Two laps later, Bowsher pitted and Unser took the lead. The safety trucks kept the cars in line until the 198th lap, much to the dismay of the 31,774 race fans in attendance. When the green flag was finally reinstated, the Unser’s lead was too big for White to surmount in the final two circuits.

White’s 1969 Dodge Charger finished second, Bowsher was third, and Norm Nelson - Saturday’s fast qualifier at 103.122 miles per hour – was fourth in his 1969 Roadrunner.

Yellow flags were the story of the day and kept the winning speed down to 94.27 miles per hour as four of the race leaders were forced out.

A.J Foyt grabbed a huge early lead and held it through three yellow lights during the first 80 miles.

Ray Dropp of Palatine, Ill., spun out on lap 17 for a brief caution; then Al Unser blew his engine on the 53rd lap. Roger McCluskey skidded in the oil left from Unser’s engine and slammed backwards into the wall. McCluskey’s rear end was so wrinkled, his crew had to batter away just to remove the gas cap.

USAC rookie Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., took over the lead when Foyt pitted after another spinout on lap 80. Trickle’s lead was fleeting, and he too was forced out when the engine on his 1969 Torino let go on lap 120.

Don White was the next leader and his reign lasted from lap 90 to 135 when he went to the pits for fresh tires. During that time, Foyt and Butch Hartman staged a brilliant duel for a distant second which didn’t end until Foyt slammed into Ron Keselowski on lap 107. Keselowski spun out on the north end and there simply wasn’t any place for Foyt to go.

Butch Hartman steered his 1969 Charger into the lead when White stopped for tires and led until his engine let go on lap 168. Bowsher took over from there until he ran out of fuel.

Bobby Unser praised his car and crew. “The car ran very well,” he said. “It never missed all day. I wouldn’t have had anything to complain about if I hadn’t won. All it needed was a little chassis adjustment on the first pit stop.”

Unser, gulping aspirin, said all the blown engines and pit stop made things “a little confusing”.

“I don’t usually take aspirin after a race but the stock cars are sort of hollow and the sound reverberates in the there.”

Results –

1. Bobby Unser
2. Don White
3. Jack Bowsher
4. Norm Nelson
5. Bruce Sparrman
6. Gene Marmor
7. Jack Knippel
8. Terry Nichels
9. Whitey Gerken
10.Paul Feldner
11.Roger McCluskey
12.Dave Whitcomb
13.J.J. Smith
14.Don Hill
15.Joe Frasson
16.Bob Haack
17.Frank Freda
18.Bill Nelson
19.George Giesen
20.Paul Bauer
21.Tom Jones
22.Glen Bradley
23.Butch Hartman
24.Jim Lord
25.Jay Behimer
26.Jerry Smith
27.Dick Trickle
28.Roger Regeth
29.Ed Hoffman
30.A.J. Foyt
31.Ron Keselowski
32.Sal Tovella
33.Bill Shirey
34.Ron Goudreau
35.Everett Fox
36.Ray Dropp
37.Dale Jett
38.Al Unser
39.Fred Zack
40.Bay Darnell

Friday, July 12, 2019

1976 - Ohio's Ferkel wins Missouri Sprint Nationals Final

Rick Ferkel 

Sedalia, Mo. (July 12, 1976) - Ohio sprint car driver Rick Ferkel lived up to his reputation of being the hot test item on the circuit Saturday, blowing off the competition for a win in the 35-lap Missouri Sprint National finals.

The Tiffin, Ohio, racer picked up a check for $2,000 after running away with the second annual sprint car classic before 4,000 fans at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia.

Coming out of a half-season retirement, Sedalia s Bill Utz grabbed second place and $1,200 Saturday night, Ralph Parkinson Jr., picked up third spot and $1,000 after battling with Kearney’s Eddie Leavitt during the main event.

Racing on the half-mile dirt oval opened Thursday on a sad note with the announcement that Larry Kirkpatrick, Wood River, Ill., died earlier in the day of injuries he suffered July 5 in a sprint car race at West Memphis, Ark.

Kirkpatrick, a competitor at the Sprint Nationals last year, had made the jump this season to the United States Auto Club circuit. Saturday night drivers passing through the crowd collected $1,602 from the fans for Kirkpatrick’s widow and three children.

Second-year driver Dick Morris, Sioux City, Iowa, made the railbirds set up and take notice as he toured the track in 22.06 seconds, the fastest a sprint car has ever been timed around the oval. He erased the 1971 qualifying run of 22.45 seconds which had been the standard. It was set by Steve Schultz of Indianapolis, Ind.

Morris, rookie of the year last year at Knoxville, Iowa, not only set fast time, he also won his 12-lap heat race and copped the 5-lap cash dash added race featuring the four fastest cars.

Three of the four quick times Thursday came from the first five qualifiers on the track. Columbia's David Dwyer was the third driver out and was clocked in 22.32, good for second place. Eddie Leavitt, the 1975 National Super-Modified Champion at Knoxville, was the first car out Thursday and his 22.71 time was good enough for third spot. Chuck Amati, from Freeman Spur, Ill., was the third fastest with a 22.66 time, he was the 26th driver on the track. Morris came out in the fifth position.

The format called for four 12-lap heat races with the top three in each heat moving on to the A-Feature on Saturday night. Morris, Dwyer, Amati and Leavitt all captured first place in the heat races, Morris came back to edge Dwyer in the cash dash.

The night wound up with a 15-lap consolation feature for all the non-qualifiers. Johnny Suggs, Mesquite, Tex., edged Jerry Johnson, Kirksville, Mo., for first place in that event, with Don Bradberry, Sweet Springs, Mo., fourth.

Friday night the track was considerably slower, Ralph Blackett, Des Moines, Iowa, turned in the night’s fastest time with a 23.46 lap.

Gene Gennetten, Parkville, Mo., Ferkel, 20-year-old Sammy Swindell, West Memphis, Ark., and Utz raced to wins in the four 12-lap heat events. Blackett came back to capture the cash dash, edging out Gennetten, Ferkel and Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.

The 15-lap consolation feature went to Ralph Parkinson Sr., of Kansas City, with Jim Braden, Kansas City second and John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn., third.

Corbin gained a spot in the A-Feature on Thursday night with a second-place finish to Morris in the first heat. But he blew the engine in his sprinter on the first lap of the cash dash, forcing him to find another ride for Friday night and another shot at the field. He came back with a second-place finish to Ferkel in the second heat.

Dean Elliot, California, Mo., grabbed third place in the fourth heat to earn a spot in the A-Feature. Elliott drove Bill Campbell’s car in the Friday event. Campbell, of Russellville, had qualified for the C-Feature on Thursday night then elected to give up that spot and let Elliott have a shot at the A-Feature. Elliott made his first driving appearance since flipping down the backstretch in last year’s sprint car show at the Missouri State Fair.

While Ferkel, Utz and Parkinson Jr., took the big cash Saturday, it was Jim Jenkins, Slater, Mo., that did most of the work and passed the most cars.

The veteran racer was qualified for the B-Feature but was called upon to start in the C to make a full field of cars for the 20-lap race. Coming from the 17th spot, he took first place in that race, nipping Johnny Suggs in the final three laps.

He came back to finish second to Ralph Parkinson Sr., in the 25-lap B-Feature after only a 20-minute intermission. But in doing so he lost the brakes on the right rear of his car and was forced to change the system during the B and A main events.

In the A, Jenkins started from the 25th spot and was flagged in the ninth position when the race ended, running 80 laps of green flag competition Saturday. Gennetten, winner of the Memorial Day sprint and midget main events on the track, was unable to start the feature as he encountered car problems prior to the show Saturday night.

Morris and Dwyer made up the front row with Amati and Leavitt in the second row and Utz and Ferkel in row three. 

Defending Missouri Sprint National champ Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo., ran fifth in the A-Feature, starting from the inside sixth row spot.

Results –

1. Rick Ferkel, Findlay, Ohio
2. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
3. Ralph Parkinson Jr., Kansas City
4. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
5. Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo.
6. Dick Morris, Sioux City, Iowa
7. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
8. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines, Iowa
9. Bobby Marshall, Dallas, Tex.
10.Jim Jenkins, Slater, Mo.
11.John Beaber, Vermont, Ohio
12.Bob Williams, Kansas City
13.Dave Dwyer, Columbia, Mo.
14.Sammy Swindell, West Memphis, Tenn.
15.Steve Perry, Dallas, Tex.
16.Bill Curtis, Kansas City
17.Phil Howe, Jacksonville, Ill.
18.Jim Braden, Kansas City
19.Bob Thoman, Higginsville, Mo.
20.Dean Elliot, California, Mo.
21.Butch Bahr, Lincoln, Neb.
22.Sonny Smyser, Greenwood, Mo.
23.Chuck Amati, Freeman Spur, Ill.
24.Ron Milton, Jacksonville, Ill.
25.George Lasoski, Dover, Mo.
26.Ralph Parkinson Sr., Kansas City

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

1966 - McCluskey Sweeps Winchester Clean

Roger McCluskey

Winchester, Ind. (July 10, 1966) - It was Roger McCluskey Day on the hallowed, high-banks of the Winchester Speedway yesterday afternoon.

McCluskey, who is starting to make a runaway of the United States Auto Club’s sprint division, set fast qualifying time, won the first 8-lap heat race and came back to win the 30-lap feature. This is Roger’s fourth win out of the five sprint races.

It wasn’t really that easy racing Roger. Don Branson, USAC’s racing grandfather, got the jump on McCluskey from his (Branson’s) outside, front row starting position and Roger was running a distant second for the first few laps.

McCluskey said after the race, when asked why he fell back so far at the start, “I was just getting ready to get on it when someone bumped me in the back end. My foot slid off the throttle and Branson took off.”

Grandpa Branson “took off”, as McCluskey said, as if he wanted to win his 29th USAC sprint feature, but Roger went to work on his lead and at the end of six laps was nose-to-tail with Branson.

On the seventh lap, Grandpa slid high in number four turn and bounced his right rear wheel off the steel guard rail. This was the opening McCluskey had been working for and he drove into first place.

Roger proceeded to build a healthy lead as Al Smith, sitting in the Wynn’s Friction Proofing Special for the injured Johnny Rutherford, moved up to challenge Branson for his second-place spot.

Again, number four turn was Grandpa’ s downfall, he bounced off the rail a second time and Smith was chasing the fleeing McCluskey with Branson running third.

This was the order of finish for the first three. Bobby Unser started 10th but when the checkered flag fell he had moved the Chevrolet-powered K.E.Y. Special to fourth place and was closing on Branson.

Time for the 30-lap, 15-mile, feature was 9 minutes and 1 second, which is just a shade off the track record.

Dee Jones and Norm Brown finished the second heat race in a wheel-to-wheel battle which had the fans standing at the end of the eight laps. Jones was declared the winner, but it was by a matter of inches.

Al Smith won the third eight-lapper and Bobby Unser set a new track record for the 10-lap consolation. Unser ran the five miles in 2 minutes and 59 seconds, half a second faster than the old record, and figures out to 100.11 miles per hour. (That’s going around a half-mile oval fairly fast.)

A patient crowd of 5,500 race fans enjoyed the action. . .which got underway nine minutes early.

Results –

1. Roger McCluskey
2. Al Smith
3. Don Branson
4. Bobby Unser
5. Bud Tinglestad
6. Sam Session
7. Ronnie Duman
8. Ron Lux
9. Dave Lundy
10. Arnie Knepper
11. Dee Jones
12. Norm Brown
13. Greg Weld
14. Bob Pratt

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1967 – 20,000 See Derr Win Iowa 300

Ernie Derr accepts his trophy from Miss Iowa ‘300’ Linda Leslie as Iowa State Fair president Kenneth Fulk looks on. 

Des Moines, Iowa (July 9, 1967) - Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, took the lead on the first lap, relinquished it only briefly during three pit stops and cruised to his second straight Iowa 300 late-model stock car race Sunday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds before a crowd of 20,351.

Dick Hutcherson, the former International Motor Contest Association champion who is now a NASCAR star, provided the strongest challenge for 295 laps. That's when the engine of his 1967 Fairlane Ford blew up and he dropped from second to third place.

Keokuk's Ramo Stott, three-time Iowa 300 winner, took over second place after Hutcherson's misfortune. Derr had his 1967 Charger purring over the 150-mile grind on a track which he said was in its best condition ever.

Derr's pay for the day was $1,375. He received $1,100 for winning the race, $100 for each of two records he broke and $75 for finishing second behind Hutcherson in the time trials.

Derr broke Stott's 100-lap record of 49 minutes and 37 seconds - set July 7, 1963, with a time of 46 minutes and 4 seconds. The old 200-lap mark of 1 hour, 35 minutes and 54 seconds was Hutcherson's, set August 22, 1964. Derr's time was 1 hour, 34 minutes and 44 seconds.

Hutcherson, formerly of Keokuk, started on the pole after setting a one-lap record on the half-mile dirt track of 25.83 seconds. That broke Stott's mark of 26 seconds set July 10, 1966. Derr also was under Stott's time at 25.88 seconds to gain a front row starting position.

Hutcherson stayed close to Derr and attempted to pass on lap 35 but Derr's Dodge Charger was able to stay ahead.

Derr pulled into the pits for his 30-second mandatory pit stop in the first 100 laps on lap 91 and Hutcherson would take the lead.

Hutch then took his required recess on lap 93 and Stott went into a one-lap lead. Der would zip back in front when Stott pitted on lap 94. 

Derr would return for gas on lap 107 and again, Hutcherson would take over the top spot. But Derr would regain the lead 12 laps later and begin to pull away from Hutcherson and the rest of the field.

The seven-time IMCA national champion would lap Hutcherson on lap 171. Both would stop for gas on lap 206 with Hutcherson back on out first but his gain would be insignificant.

By lap 150, Derr had an 18-second lead and 20 circuits later, as Hutcherson began to slow with engine troubles, Derr had increased his margin to over 20 seconds.

Despite an ailing motor, Hutcherson appeared to have second-place cinched but his car began smoking badly with only 8 laps left. It finally gave out on lap 296.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Dick Hutcherson, Camden, S.C.
4. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
5. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
6. Wally Christensen, Minneapolis
7. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. George Barton, Ankeny, Iowa
9. Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
10. Bob Perry, Springfield, Mo.

Monday, July 8, 2019

1979 - Planks Tops Late Model Go in Buddy Baker 40

De Pere, Wis. (July 8, 1979) – Although all eyes were on NASCAR star Buddy Baker, Leon Plank of Mondovi, Wis., stole the show as he won the late model feature, the Buddy Baker “40” at Paul’s Super Speedway Sunday night.

Baker, who made the trip all the way from Charlotte, N.C., to be in the race, had to leave the feature after only 19 laps. No reason was given for his early departure. Baker, who hadn’t competed on a dirt track in over 10 years, started in the 17th position.

Plank, who was in second place most of the race, took the lead on lap 36 of the 40-lapper and held on to win by three car lengths.

Finishing behind Plank were J.J. Smith, Pete Parker, Mike Melius and Lowell Bennett.

The feature race was highlighted by three restarts, each one caused by a mishap in turn four.

The first restart was caused when Wayne Weckwerth of Appleton, Wis., spun out.

The next restart was caused by Bob Menor of Wausaukee, Wis., when he came out of turn four too fast and rode the outside guardrail into the grandstand. Luckily, no one was injured, but the underside of Menor’s car was severely damaged.

The final restart occurred when Doug Larson of Green Bay spun out in turn four.

Once the race finally got started, Plank, who was on the outside of the first row, jumped into the lead over Smith and Parker.

The top three stayed that way until lap 10 when Parker passed Plank before the starter signaled a yellow flag due to a spinout in turn three. Parker went on the outside coming out of turn four and was half a car length in front of Plank when they came in front of the starter waving the yellow flag.

Parker held on to first place, helped by 14 laps under the yellow flag, until lap 35. On that lap, Plank pulled alongside Parker coming out of turn four. The two remained that way for a full lap, but then coming out of turn four on lap 36, Parker got too low on the track and was slowed when he went through a large puddle that was just on the lip of the infield. This allowed both Plank and Smith to pass Parker as he tried to regain control of his car coming down the straight.

Plank then held off Smith for the last four laps and wound up in victory lane, collecting a $1,000 check. Smith finished second and Parker third.

Results –

1. Leon Plank, Mondovi, Wis.
2. J.J. Smith, Appleton, Wis.
3. Pete Parker, Kaukauna, Wis.
4. Mike Melius, Random Lake, Wis.
5. Lowell Bennett, Greenville, Wis.
6. Scott Hansen, Green Bay, Wis.
7. M.J. McBride, Shawano, Wis.
8. Bill Strom, West Allis, Wis.
9. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
10. Gordie Seegert Jr. Greenfield, Wis.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

1967 – Weld Wins Lakeside Sprint

Greg Weld

Kansas City, Kan. (July 7, 1967) -Greg Weld nipped Rollie Beale in a race as close as their battle for the USAC sprint car leadership to the delight of 6,500 at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night.

Weld jumped into the lead on the first lap. He walked away from polesitter Bruce Walkup from his outside front row starting position. After 12 laps his lead seemed insurmountable. On lap 13, a five-car crash brought the race to a halt until the track was cleared. No one was injured.

On the restart, Beale inherited second-place from Walkup who retired with an oil leak. Beale immediately applied pressure on Weld and kept it on for the rest of the 30-lap race.

Weld was equal to the challenge and held off his nearest competitor for the USAC sprint championship. It was his first victory before the home folks in three tries before his hometown crowd.

A track which was hard and slick from time trials to the finish made racing a hairy business. A lot of iron was bent but no drivers were injured.

Frank Secrist was involved in the most spectacular wreck, flipping twice in mid-air on the first lap of the consolation. He received a cut on his left hand but was otherwise alright.

Only seven of the 14 starters finished the feature with three, Mickey Shaw, Wib Spalding and Bobby Unser, retiring due to the lap 13 crash. The other dropouts were due to mechanical trouble.

Results –

Time trials – Mike Mosley (23.26)
Heat #1 – Bruce Walkup
Heat #2 – Mike Mosley
Heat #3 – George Snider
Consolation – Bobby Unser
Feature –

1. Greg Weld
2. Rollie Beale
3. Chuck Booth
4. Sam Sessions
5. Mike Mosley
6. Dick Kelm
7. George Snider
8. Dale Reed
9. Bill Puterbaugh
10. Bruce Walkup
11. Mickey Shaw
12. Wib Spalding
13. Bobby Unser
14. Johnny Rutherford