From the Winona Daily News
Fountain City, Wis. (August 2, 1971) - The usual number of late model and street stock cars showed up for the program at Tri-Oval Speedway near here Saturday night.
But where were the hobby stockers?
Outside the gate, that’s where.
And that’s where they intend to be every racing night until they get a bigger share of the weekly purse, according to self-appointed spokesman Ron Tamke of Fountain City.
"We demand 50 percent of the money the late models get,” stated Tamke, half-owner of the hobby stock car driven by Ralph Dunbar of Winona.
"And we want the payoffs posted before the races too. The boys from Rochester are willing to ride down here each week just to protest.
"And we’ll protest until we get it — or we’ll close the track. We’ll pull the street stocks and late models along with us if we have to.”
Belmont Krause, owner of the racing complex, had this to say when told of Tamke's threat to close the four-year-old track:
“If we don’t have any cars, we’ll close the track.” Krause went on to say that "we can’t change in the middle of the season. We have a winter meeting each year — and things like this can be discussed at that time.
“I think I’ve always been fair to all the drivers. They always get at least their share — 50 percent of the gate. I’m trying to give them their share — in fact, in the past, I've given everything to the drivers when the crowds were small.
"But I can’t keep doing that all the time either. Some tracks only have two classes, street and late, then you only have to divide up between two classes.”
Tamke claimed that there were 24 hobby stocks outside the gate Saturday night. There were 18 streets and 14 late models entered in Saturday’s field. Most of the hobbys left during intermission.
Tamke added that "it costs us just as much to prepare our cars as it does the late models, so why can’t we get 50 percent of what the late models make?
“In the past, If the late model (feature winner) got $400, the hobby (feature winner) got $125.”
One driver said that last week, the hobby feature winner won $100, second place $65, third $50 and fourth $35.
Cecil Henderson of Winona, Saturday night’s late model winner, won a first-place check of $400. He also received $45 for winning his heat race.
As at least a partial result of the hobby stockers’ absence, Saturday’s crowd was well below par – estimated at 1,200. Many were seen leaving when it was announced the hobbys would not race.
Those who left, reportedly, obtained a full refund of their purchased ticket price.
“You lose some cars, you’re going to lose some fans,” noted Krause of the small crowd. “Every car has it’s own fans.”