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

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