Proctor, Minn. (August 11, 1976) – Displaying the driving skill that has marked him as possible the best dirt late model driver in the country, Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, captured the 50-lap Silver 1000 late model feature Wednesday night at Proctor Speedway.
A heat race mishap almost eliminated the veteran, but Sanger repaired his car quickly and entered the feature by virtue of a third-place semi-feature finish.
Dave Bjorge of Austin, Minn., grabbed the lead from polesitter Tom Nesbitt of Thunder Bay, Ont., and led the hotly-contested chase until retiring on lap 16 with a hole in his oil pan. Nesbitt then fought off Leon Plank of Mondovi, Wis., Jim Eliason of Duluth, Minn., and Ed Ward of Rochester, Minn., as attrition began to take its toll.
Punky Manor of Eau Claire, Wis., Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa and Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., all were sidelined with mechanical issues, while running in the top five during the first half of the race.
Back in the pack, a group of five fast Camaros, led by Tom Steuding of Altoona, Wis., and including John Jones of Thunder Bay, Ont., J.J. Smith of Appleton, Wis., and Sanger, were roaring thru traffic.
With Steuding in seventh, Sanger using the highest possible groove, caught Smith and over-hauled Arnie Hobbs of St. Paul, Minn., for eighth on lap 22. Smith then dropped out with a broke ball joint.
Just as Plank slipped by Nesbitt for the lead on lap 25, Jones fell victim to Sanger. Red Steffen of Eau Claire would be the Iowan’s next victim, two laps later.
With Sanger in sixth, Steuding and Dwain Erickson of Superior, Wis., were next to fall to his charge. Eliason gave up third to Sanger on lap 32, while Nesbitt was passed seven laps later.
Once in second, it took Sanger’ lightning-quick Camaro only two circuits to catch Plank. On lap 44, Plank’s car lost its fuel pressure which forced him to the infield.
Sanger then finished the race and drove around for an insurance lap before stopping in victory lane for the trophy presentation. When Sanger restarted the car, it ran out of fuel on the first turn. Nesbitt was second followed by Eliason, Steuding and Jones.
1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Tom Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ont.
3. Jim Eliason, Duluth, Minn.
4. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.
5. John Jones, Thunder Bay, Wis.
6. Arnie Hobbs, St. Paul, Minn.