Topeka, Kan. (August 3, 1975) – Jan Opperman hasn’t been racing much this season. He’s hit some tracks, but those appearances have been limited by work on his youth ranch in Montana and personal engagements.
When he does race, however, he’s still s tough as anyone around. Opperman proved that by winning the Northeast Kansas Super Modified Sprint Car Championships at Topeka Raceway Sunday night. He did it with relative ease against an impressive field of drivers.
Opperman passed Rick Ferkel on lap 5 when the Findlay, Ohio, veteran got loose in turn four and cruised to victory in the 50-lap main event.
“One I got around Rick,” Opperman said afterwards, “I thought the only car that could challenge us was Bubby (Jones). He did get close, but it wasn’t exactly a battle.”
Jones ended up finishing second with Rick Hood, Gene Gennetten and Ferkel following him across the finish line.
In fact, Opperman may have run away with the race if the race hadn’t been slowed by the dozen yellow flags thrown during the race.
“We didn’t like the cautions,” Opperman said. “We were losing something on our tire combinations. Every time we slowed down, the tires would cool, and we didn’t run as well.”
Even with the yellow flags and Opperman’s tire issues working in their favor, none of the field could close the gap.
“He was running pretty good tonight,” remarked Hood, who ran second at times. “He’s so experienced. You just wave a green flag and he charges to the front.”
Being in front when the race ended earned Opperman the $1,600 first prize. The total purse was $7,000, the largest in Topeka Raceway history.
Time Trials – Sammy Swindell (14.73)
Trophy dash – Rick Ferkel
Heat #1 – Rick Ferkel
Heat #2 – Thad Dosher
Heat #3 – Bobby Marshall
Heat #4 – Bubby Jones
B-main – Roger Rager
Consolation – John Johnson
1. Jan Opperman
2. Bubby Jones
3. Rick Hood
4. Gene Gennetten
5. Rick Ferkel
6. Ralph Parkinson Sr.
7. Tommy Noblin
8. Cliff Woodward
9. Bobby Marshall