Wednesday, October 30, 2019

1977 - Detjens Wins Craig NASCAR

Larry Detjens accepts his trophy and congratulations after winning. 

Las Vegas, Nev. (October 30, 1977) - After coming all the way from frigid northern Wisconsin. Larry Detjens froze out defending champion Larry Phillips over the final few laps to capture the ninth annual NASCAR Championships at Craig Road Speedway Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 5,400.

Detjens, Wausau, Wis., who started from the second row, took over the lead on the 55th lap from pole-sitter Jimmy Insolo and drove a perfect race for the remainder of the 150-lapper over the quarter-mile paved oval.

The 33-year-old body shop owner never had trouble with his 1976 Camaro until the brakes began to fade over the final 20 laps. But he had built up a large enough lead that he could afford to ease up a little and still hold off the hard-charging Phillips who was only about five lengths behind at the finish.

Phillips, Springfield, Mo., had won last year’s finale at Craig Road and started ninth in this race. But he moved quickly through the field and took over second place from the quickly-fading Insolo on the 71st lap. By that time, Detjens had built up a sizable lead.

Detjens, who earned $5,000 plus lap money and contingencies, and Phillips were the only drivers on the same lap when the checkered flag fell.

Ivan Baldwin, Modesto, Calif., who started fifth, drove his usual steady race to finish third, while Jim Robinson, Sylmar, Calif., turned in the most spectacular work of the day, starting in the 24th and final spot on the grid with his 1974 Camaro and finishing fourth.

Robinson, who did not qualify during the time trials Saturday but won a semi-main event to earn a spot in the finale dueled former Craig Road champion Jim Sanderson over the latter half of the race, but Sanderson's badly smoking Camaro slowed considerably over the final 15 laps.

Phil Hayes, this year's Craig Road points champion, was the only other Southern Nevada driver in the field. He started fourth and lost valuable groun early in the race but still finished strong.

“It was a well-run race. I’m certainly happy to win it,” said Detjens. “Everything was going our way. But 20 laps from the finish, the brakes began to fade. I had to get off the pace a little just to save them.”

Detjens said he had only a little bit of brakes remaining when the race finished but he couldn't afford to make any mistakes with Phillips behind him.

"I raced back in the Midwest with him,” the winner said of Phillips. "He’s an excellent driver, one of the top racers up there.”

It was Detjens first trip to the West and he called Sunday’s event the best pay day for any quarter-mile race of 150 laps anywhere in the country. Detjens was particularly happy with the safe driving of his rivals who forced only a few routine yellow flags and one red caused by a four-car mishap 44 laps into the event.

“I’m impressed with the drivers out here. They're excellent.”

Results –

1. Larry Detjens
2. Larry Phillips
3. Ivan Baldwin
4. Jim Robinson
5. Jimmy Insolo
6. Phil Hayes
7. Mike Bonicelli
8. Mark Martin
9. Dick Trickle
10.James Sanderson

Friday, October 25, 2019

1969 - Foyt Finishes First But McCluskey Wins

A.J. Foyt (left) and Roger McCluskey

Memphis, Tenn. (October 25, 1969) – A.J. Foyt crossed the finish line first in the Race of Champions, finishing in a borrowed car, but crew-cut Roger McCluskey piloted his Plymouth Roadrunner to the United States Auto Club’s late model stock car national championship over the 1.7-mile Shelby County International Raceway on Saturday.

Foyt's Ford Torino went out on the 80th lap after an accident, one of several that marred the race; and he borrowed a similar car from teammate Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, to finish the course.

Only 12 of the 32 cars which started the run, the last USAC stock car race of the year, finished over the nine-curve tricky layout.

Going into the race, Foyt, of Houston, Tex., was the USAC point leader, standing 90 points ahead of McCluskey. But Bowsher got the 400 points for the victory and Foyt didn’t place officially. McCluskey received 320 points for finishing second.

Bowsher and Foyt shared the $2,000 first-place money and 19 percent of the gate, which was a disappointing crowd of only 6,421.

USAC rules require that the driver finish in the car that he started in. Foyt, visibly angry at the decision which denied him the championship, drove away immediately after the race without comment.

It was clear, however, that Foyt believed he should have had the title on the basis of his point lead going into the race and should not have had to run here. The Race of Champions wasn’t even on the USAC calendar and was granted grand national status only several weeks ago.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Roger McCluskey
3. Bay Darnell
4. Whitey Gerken
5. Dave Whitcomb
6. Bill Shirey
7. Paul Feldner
8. Woody Walcher
9. Les Heikka
10. Bob Minor
11. Glen Bradley
12. Don White

Thursday, October 24, 2019

1965 – Sacramento 100-Miler to Branson

Don Branson shows perfect form in winning the Golden State 100 - Bob Tronolone Collection

Sacramento, Calif. (October 24, 1965) - Don Branson, 45-year-old grandfather from Champaign, Ill., fought off determined challenges from former national driving champion A. J. Foyt and 1965 champion Mario Andretti yesterday and won the 15th annual Golden State 100-mile auto race.

Branson started from the pole position but twice lost the lead to Andretti before regaining it for good on the 64th lap. Branson completed the 100-lap race in 1 hour, 9 minutes, winning an estimated $7,500 of a $28,579 purse.

Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N.M., took fourth and Jud Larson of Kansas City finished fifth.

Foyt, two-time Indianapolis 500 mile winner and four-time United States Auto Club National Champion, kept many of the 13,452 spectators on their feet as he worked his way through the field from a ninth place starting position.

Foyt, who finished second, almost didn't make the race on three cylinders and obviously wasn't able to maintain full speed.

Branson's victory was his third of the season. His earlier victories were at Phoenix in March and Du Quoin, Ill., in September.

Results –

1. Don Branson
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Mario Andretti
4. Bobby Unser
5. Jud Larson
6. Johnny Rutherford
7. Arnie Knepper
8. Jim McElreath
9. Roger McCluskey
10.Bob Harkey
11.Al Unser
12.Dick Atkins
13.Carl Williams
14.Larry Dickson
15.George Snider
16.Bud Tinglestad
17.Bob Tattersall
18.Gary Congdon

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Thad Dosher - 1962

Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Knoxville, Iowa - 1962

Sunday, October 20, 2019

1963 - Michigan Pilot Wins National Open at Grove

Gordon Johncock won the first National Open

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 20, 1963) – Gordon Johncock, a 28-year-old sawmill operator from Hastings, Mich., dusted off a field of the nation's best modified and super modified stock car drivers in the first-annual 100-lap National Championship Race at Williams Grove Speedway, Sunday afternoon.

Tooling a 427-cubic inch Chevy, Johncock made the century grind with the 14th fastest qualifying time giving him that position in the 36-car field. He worked himself through the pack, reaching second spot on the 23rd circuit when the early runner-up, brother Nolan Johncock, also of Hastings, left the event with mechanical trouble. 

For the next 10 circuits, Johncock rode on the tail of early pacesetter Dean Mast of Dover, Ohio. On the 33rd go-round, the eventual winner overtook Mast, coming off the fourth turn, going to the outside to do the job.

From that point on it was no contest as Johncock opened up a gap that reached a lap and a half at times. He turned in a 25.3 second lap on several occasions as he sped down the straightaways and through the corners on the low groove.

Results –

1. Gordon Johncock
2. Dick Good
3. Lou Blaney
4. Hank Jacoby
5. Bud Folkenroth
6. Leo Caldwell
7. Gus Linder
8. Jerry Weld
9. Ron Anderson
10.Dick Tobias
11.Johnny Logan
12.Don Gillette
13.Ralph Smith
14.Ray Tilley
15.Larry Cannon

Saturday, October 12, 2019

1958 – Eddie Sachs is Salem Winner

Salem winner Eddie Sachs accepts congratulations from USAC president Tom Binford. - Bob Scott Photo

Salem, Ind. (October 12, 1958) – Eddie Sachs of Center Valley, Penn., won his first USAC Midwest sprint car championship Sunday with a victory in the 100-lap feature at Salem Speedway.

Sachs’ victory in the Salem race earned him 296.5 points. Second-place in the championship standings went to A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., who also finished second in the race, a half-lap behind Sachs.

Foyt finished with 240.5 points while defending Midwest champion Elmer George of Speedway, Ind., finished third with 231 points.

Sachs averaged 86.111 miles per hour in Sunday’s race, a new 100-lap record for the fast Salem track.

George was the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s race with a time of 19.539 seconds in the HOW Special, giving him an unprecedented record of being the fastest qualifier in every race on the paved, high-bank tracks of the Midwest – fast times six times out of six starts.

Elmer led the first 16 laps of thee race but spun out on lap 17 and dropped far back. He managed to recover well and finish fourth behind third-place Rex Easton of Springfield, Ill.

Sachs won $1,236 out of a total $7,000 purse. Heat races were won by Leon Clum of Wapakoneta, Ohio; Bob Wente of St. Louis, and Bob McClellan of Waynesville, Ohio.

Results –

1. Eddie Sachs
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Rex Easton
4. Elmer George
5. Don Branson
6. Jim Packard
7. Bob McLean
8. Jim McWithey
9. Red Amick
10.Don Carr
11.Bruce Jacobi
12.Bud Tinglestad
13.Leon Clum
14.Bob Wente
15.Tom McClellan
16.Orville Cramer
17.Curly Boyd
18.Jim Hemmings

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

1977 – Repeat Victory for Young in Bettenhausen 100

Ray Young poses with his trophy after winning his second consecutive Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100. - Stan Kalwasinski Photo

Schererville, Ind. (October 9, 1977) – Repeating his performance of last year, Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., captured Sunday afternoon’s 16th annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 for late models at Illiana Motor Speedway.

The 45-year-old veteran of over 20 years of racing put his Camaro into the lead on the eighth lap and led the rest of the way to the checkered flag for his second Bettenhausen 100 victory in as many years.

Rookie Bobby Dotter charged from his pole starting position to pace the 30-car field at the drop of the green flag. The 17-year-old son of ARCA and USAC competitor Bob Dotter stayed on through lap 7 before Young, who had started in row four, took command.

Joe Shear, Larry Schuler, Ed Hoffman and Jerry Kemperman followed Young to the front and moved in behind the frontrunner by the 12th circuit.

The event passed the 30-lap mark when the first yellow flag waved for Milwaukee-area based pilot Al Schill, who suffered mechanical woes and stalled in turn two.

When the green flag reappeared, Young continued to keep his mount out front with Shear, Schuler, Hoffman and Kemperman within striking distance. The battle continued until lap 43 when the engine in Tony Hertko’s Camaro let go.

Schuler would suffer a setback when his 1977 “Junkyard Dog” Camaro encountered fuel problems and stalled during the same caution. The incident cost Schuler a number of laps.

Young retained his frontrunning status on the restart, with Shear’s 1974 Camaro right behind. Following the pacesetting duo were Hoffman and Kemperman.

As the race progressed to the three-quarter mark, Young slowly began to pull away from Shear. Kemperman moved his 1976 Camaro past Hoffman to claim third on lap 75 and began zeroing on Shear.

Kemperman’s bid for second-place ended on lap 95 when a set of ground up quick change gears sent him to the pit area. One lap later Schuler, who seemed to have the fastest car on the track in the event’s late stages, fell out with differential problems.

At the finish it was Young, followed by Shear, Hoffman, Tom Musgrave and his brother Ted Musgrave.

Hoffman, winner of his third career Illiana late model driving championship in 1977, led all qualifiers for the event with a lap of 20.80 seconds around the paved half-mile oval.

Results –

1. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
3. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4. Tom Musgrave, Des Plaines, Ill.
5. Ted Musgrave, Friendship, Wis.
6. Tony Izzo, Bridgeview, Ill.
7. Ron Bloomberg, Elgin, Ill.
8. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.
9. Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
10.Dave Evans, Crystal Lake, Ill.
11.Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee
12.Bobby Dotter, Chicago
13.Rich Kleich, Long Lake, Ill.
14.Butch Ledy, Matteson, Ill.
15.Bill Venturini, Chicago
16.Larry Middleton, East Hazelcrest, Ill.
17.Roy Acuff, Long Lake, Ill.
18.Harold Rife, Champaign, Ill.
19.Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
20.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.

Monday, October 7, 2019

1973 – Marzofka Wins Oktoberfest 200

West Salem, Wis. (October 7, 1973) – Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa won the fourth annual Oktoberfest 200 at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway here Sunday by nearly a lap in a confused finish with Bill Oas of Bloomington, Minn.

Marzofka, the Interstate point champion last year, used an early pit stop to his advantage and later brought confusion to much of the crowd of 2,300. He pitted during the 49th lap, under the yellow flag after a spinout by national short track champion Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn.

The result of that stop was that Marzofka trailed early leaders Larry Smith. Oas and Jim Back until he took over the lead for good on about lap 130 when Back and Oas were in the pits taking their mandatory stops.

In addition to the $1,500 first place payoff, he unofficially collected $710 in lap money ($10 going to the leader of each lap) and added payoffs from the fast dash and a heat race, bringing his weekend total to $2,340.

Smith started the race from the outside pole position and led through the first 57 laps before Oas took over. Smith fell back and eventually placed 10th. Oas maintained the lead for 32 laps before Back, this season’s track point champ, winner of five regular season races here and Saturday's fast timer, took command.

Back stretched the lead to nearly half a lap before pitting on lap 128, shortly before Oas went in.

Back got in and out of the pits quickly and was working his way through the pack towards Marzofka before engine trouble forced him out of the race on the 159th circuit.

Marzofka’s '73 Camaro had a commanding lead over Oas' Camaro throughout the rest of the race, but amid the confusion of pit stops, many thought that Oas had won. He was waved under the checkered flag first, about two seconds ahead of Marzofka.

But a recheck of the records found that Oas had lost nearly a whole lap to Marzofka while making his stop.

Even Marzofka’s pit crew was fooled. They signaled that he was running second late in the race, but the pilot knew better. “I was positive I was leading,” he said.

The early pit stop was part of his overall strategy. “Any time after 30 laps I was looking for a chance to pit,” he said.

Oas indicated that he was unsure of whether he was really running first or second at the checkered flag. He said he didn't know how much time Marv had spent in the pits, but hoped he was leading.

Rich Somers of Stevens Point finished third. Second place payed $1,250 while third collected $1,000.

Dave Watson of Beloit and Jon Chrest of Hamal, Minn., rounded out the top five. Last year’s champ, Joe Shear, finished sixth.

A total of eight laps were run the caution flag. There were no serious accidents in the feature race.

Red Hutchison of Byron, Ill., won the wreck-marred 25-lap semi-feature. Also qualifying for the big race were second place finisher Jack Brewer, John Knaus in third and Ray Kreyer fourth. La Crosse’s Don Turner was fifth, just missing a feature berth.

Results –

1. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
2. Bill Oas, Bloomington, Minn.
3. Rich Somers, Stevens Point, Wis.
4. Dave Watson, Beloit, Wis.
5. Jon Chrest, Hamal, Minn.
6. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
7. Jim Pierson, Beloit, Wis.
8. Greg Arenson, Minneapolis
9. Don Leach, Rockford, Ill.
10.Larry Smith, Shakopee, Minn.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

1969 - Connolly Wins CornBelt 1000 at Speedbowl Park

John Connolly

Sterling, Ill. (October 5, 1969) – John Connolly, from Delhi, Iowa, picked up the rich plum of $1,000 after winning the 100-lap CornBelt 1000 at the Sterling Speedbowl. The late model stock car race was managed and promoted by the staff of Rockford Speedway under the direction of Hugh Deery.

Connolly started on the pole after setting fast time in qualifying. His time of 18.34 seconds on the third-mile dirt oval stole top honors from Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, who was the first qualifier out with a time of 18.41 seconds.

Jim Gerber of Mt. Joy, Iowa, worked his way into second place by lap 65 and five circuits later, was able to work his way around the rim-riding Connolly for the top spot.

Connolly stayed with Gerber and kept the pressure on and finally on lap 87, Gerber’s Dodge Charger drifted high in turn three and Connolly shot back into the lead.

Gerber managed to recover to stay in second but had nothing for Connolly and his 1969 Ford. Connolly would take the checkers a full straightaway ahead of Gerber.

Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, would finish third followed by Red Droste of Waterloo, Iowa, in fourth and Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rounding out the top five.

Earlier, Gerber won the trophy dash and received a 100-bushel truckload of shelled corn. He and promoter Huge Deery were knee-deep in the rich harvest for the presentation.

Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, Benny Hofer of Rock Island, Ill., Bob Kelly of Wheaton, Ill., and Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, were heat winners.

Results –

Trophy dash – Jim Gerber, Mt. Joy, Iowa
Heat #1 – Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #2 – Benny Hofer, Rock Island, Ill.
Heat #3 – Bob Kelly, Wheaton, Ill.
Heat #4 – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Feature -
1. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
2. Jim Gerber, Mt. Joy, Iowa
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Red Droste, Waterloo, Iowa
5. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
7. Jim Strube, Peoria, Ill.
8. Wendell Essex
9. Jim Havill, Le Claire, Iowa
10.Curt Hanson, Dike, Iowa
11.Ron Weedon
12.Ed Bohlen, Peoria, Ill.
13.Don Bohlander, Glasford, Ill.
14.Gary Reeder, Peoria, Ill.
15.Jerry Roedell, Peoria, Ill.
16.Dick Nelson, Chicago
17.Bill Munson
18.Paul Lewis, Peoria, Ill.
19.Don Adams, Milan, Ill.
20.Red Forbes, Rock Island, Ill.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

1971 - Gould Grabs Big 'E' Purse

Bruce Gould was the very first winner of the World 100.

Rossburg, Ohio (October 3, 1971) - Ohio late model stock car drivers dominated the winner's list in the first World 100 dirt track championship race held Sunday at the half-mile Eldora Speedway oval.

Bruce Gould of Milford, Ohio, led the way to the checkered flag from the half-way point and claimed the $4,000 first prize. Finishing second was Joe Ruttman of Dearborn, Mich., while George Branscum of Chillicothe came in third.

Rounding out the top five were Paul Woolridge of Frankfort, Ky., and Joe Greenslate of South Shore, Ky.

Chick Hale of Louisburg, Ohio set the pace in qualifying runs, circling the track in 20.20 seconds or 96.02 miles per hour.

Much of the race was run under the caution flag, although no serious injuries resulted.

Results –

1. Bruce Gould
2. Joe Ruttman
3. George Branscum
4. Paul Woolridge
5. Joe Greenslate
6. Joe Stricker
7. Bobby Creveston
8. Larry Moore
9. Pat Patrick
10.Chick Hale
11.Chuck McWilliams
12.Bob Wearing
13.Wayne Watercutter
14.Ralph Latham
15.Earl Smith

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

1977 – Weedon posts victory in Knoxville special

Knoxville, Ill. (October 2, 1977) – Ron Weedon, veteran late model driver from Pleasant Valley, Iowa, started on the outside pole position by virtue of his qualifying heat win, and went on to win the 20-lap feature event during the open competition special promoted by W.A.S. Productions at the Knox County Fairgrounds.

Weedon took advantage of a rough and dusty track to hold off Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the win.

Dake, who started on the pole, battled side by side with Weedon for the first few laps until Weedon was able to secure the top spot. Dake pulled in on Weedon’s bumper where he remained for the rest of the race.

Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, ran with the leaders until midway through the race when he ran into visibility issue in lapped traffic and fell slightly off the pace finishing third.

Ray Guss of Milan, Ill., finished a distant fourth and Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, rounded out the top five.

John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, came from well back in the pack to win the semi-main and qualify for the feature event. Dave Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, finished second, also qualifying for the feature.

For Tom Herbert of Silvis, Ill., the semi was a heartbreaker. Herbert led for most of the race until he was passed by Connolly. He then was edged at the checkers doe second by Birkhofer, falling back to third and failing to qualify for the main event.

Heat races were won by Weedon, Dake, Jackson and Johnny Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa.

An excellent turnout of 39 cars were on hand for the open competition on a chilly but sunny autumn day.

Results –
Heat #1 – Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Heat #2 – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Heat #3 – Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
Heat #4 – John Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
Semi-main – John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
Feature –
1. Ron Weedon
2. Darrell Dake
3. Ron Jackson
4. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
5. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
7. John Connolly
8. Duane Steffe, East Moline, Ill.
9. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10. Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

1972 – Eaker Tops Eldora Clay; Captures World 100

Rossburg, Ohio (October 1, 1972) – Eldora Speedway hosted 81 top late model drivers and cars in Sunday’s second annual World 100 and it was Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s Verlin Eaker carting off the $5,000 first-place money. Eaker also picked up $180 in lap money, staying in front from the 82nd lap.

Cincinnati’s Pat Patrick showed the way for the first 46 circuit in his 1970 Chevelle, owned by Cliff Polking. Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo, Iowa, would get past Patrick on lap 47 and hold the top spot until lap 82 when Eaker would roar past en route to the victory.

Zwanziger would spin out, finishing 16th with Patrick regaining the runner-up and staying there until the end. Bruce Gould of Milford, Ohio, driving a 1971 Torino, would take third.

Chevrolet drivers Earl Smith of Anniston, Ala., and Chick Hale of Lewisburg, Ohio rounded out the top five. Ron Edwards of Cincinnati copped the semi-feature ahead of Bob Davis of Mansfield, Ohio.

Besides the $1,500 second place money, Pat Patrick also collected $460 in lap money. Gould would take home $1,000.

Eight heats were necessary for the large number of late models. Dick DeBolt, Mike Shaw, Ed Sanger, Dale Woolworth, Ron Edwards, Roger Paul, Jim Patrick and Buster Blackford took home honors.

Results –

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2. Pat Patrick, Cincinnati, Ohio
3. Bruce Gould, Milford, Ohio
4. Earl Smith, Anniston, Ala.
5. Chick Hale, Lewisburg, Ohio
6. Joe Bennett, Fort Wayne, Ind.
7. Jim Fleming, Bellevue, Ohio
8. Jerry Miller, Hazel Park, Mich.
9. Danny Dean, Mt. Vernon, Ohio
10. Dick DeBolt, Union City, Ind.