Morris, Ill. (September 26, 1971) - The first annual open competition championship races at the Grundy County Speedway were a big success as Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., beat Joe Shear of Beloit, Ill., on the 100th and final lap to pick up the $677 first place money.
These late model races brought to an end the first season of auto racing at the Grundy County Speedway. The wide track was in excellent shape as 28 cars started the main which was run to completion without a red or yellow flag and saw 17 cars running at the checkered flag.
Bob Dotter of Chicago took the lead from his second row starting berth and held on until the 15th lap when Tom Jones of Northbrook, Ill., started totaling up the $2.00 per lap in lap prizes, but Young was right there passing Jones for first in the 18th lap and leading until the 25th lap when Ed Hoffman of Niles, Ill., 1971 track champion here, moved in front.
However, it was no run away for Hoffman as Young stayed glued to his rear bumper waiting for a mistake. Ten laps later Hoffman apparently touched a lapped car spinning into the infield. He returned to the track and passed enough cars to finish in third spot.
At the half-way mark Young had a scant six car length lead on Shear with Jones third and Hoffman already back in fourth in front of Lee Schuler of Lockport, Ill.
By the 70th lap the two cars were bumper-to-bumper and on the 74th they made contact in the third turn, with Shear getting the worst of the deal.
Shear did drop back at that point not catching Young until the 92nd lap as the leader was slowed by lapped cars. Then the crowd went wild as Shear nipped Young’s back bumper in every straight-away with Young sliding high as the two leaders raced for the white flag at 99 laps.
They were side-by-side at the finish line with one lap to go, but both cars were a little out of shape with Shear detouring through the infield. Young blazed around the track one more time to win by just three car lengths in one of the best 100-lap events ever contested.
Hoffman was the only other car on the same lap with the leaders as he finished third. Jones was fourth followed by Whitey Gerkin of Villa Park, Ill., Schuler, John Kennedy of Villa Park, Ill., and Ed Jast of Melrose Park, Ill. The Denver, Colo., cars of Pick Pickering and Chuck Stitcher finished 11th and 13th respectively while Terry Bivins of Shawnee, Kan., dropped out around the 80th lap while running 7th.
Also, on the sidelines were Jim Blount of Lapaz, Ind., due to a feature accident, Bob May of Gurnee, Ill., with a flat tire, Dotter with overheating, Carl Major of Chicago with a blown engine in the heat races and Bob Anzinger of McHenry, Ill., with a blown engine in hot laps.
The race of champions saw Shear win after Blount and Hoffman tangled in the final lap while running one-two. Hoffman won the fast heat easily, but Dotter just beat a spinning Schuler in the second heat and Dick Schultz of Villa Park, Ill., won the third in a tight three-way finish.
Feature Results –
1. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
2. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
3. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
5. Whitey Gerkin, Villa Park, Ill.
6. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
7. John Kennedy, Villa Park, Ill.
8. Ed Jast, Melrose Park, Ill.
9. Roger Erickson, Dolton, Ill.
10.Gordon Olson, Morrison, Ill.
11.Pick Pickering, Denver, Colo.
12.Speedy Gonzalez, Blue Island, Ill.
13.Al Hanson, Chicago
14.Russ Gordon, Joliet, Ill.
15.Rich Sundling, Addison, Ill.