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.

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