Thursday, April 30, 2020

1976- Dolan gets star billing in Downs’ Late Show

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April 30, 1976) - The "Late Show” at Hawkeye Downs Friday night certainly must have driven Johnny Carson's Nielsen ratings down.

Reason being, of course, the opening late model stock car program of the season on the refurbished half-mile oval and 3,670 paid customers stayed to watch Lisbon’s Roger Dolan roar to the 25-lap feature win that paid $500.

Rain had washed out the scheduled opener last week and threatening skies bode the same fare again Friday, but a serious parting of the heavens never came.

Time was of the essence, however, for new promoter Al Miller and his crew worked feverishly to get the track into running condition.

The extra manicuring set back the 7 p.m. time trials for over an hour but the crowd was surprisingly tolerant of the delay.

Even though the feature didn’t end until almost 10.30, action moved along smoothly once Miller and flagman Engel DeKock got the program underway.

The Downs has undergone a complete facelift since last season and despite some obvious flaws in the racing surface that cropped up during the evening, winner Dolan still praised the facility.

"One of the big reasons the drivers had become disenchanted with this track was the pattern of 'follow the leader’ that developed almost every week," explained Dolan.

"With the new banked turns and all, it was hoped passing would return and I think there was plenty of that tonight."

Vastly understated, Roger.

Even though a Downs laborer had neglected a water hose earlier in the day that had poured water onto the front stretch for two hours, the track was tacky enough to allow some heady maneuvering.

"When I first took my car onto the track for a couple of hot laps I thought the track was in awful shape,” added Dolan, "but by the feature it was in much better condition than I thought it could be.”

Dolan, in his tenth season of piloting racing machines, started in the front row on the outside and quickly sprinted into the lead ahead of polecat John Moss.

A restart was in the offing however, because Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids piled into the new wall coming out of the second turn of the initial lap. Verlin, driving Lem Blankenship's car, suffered a painful rap on the knee, and was through for the evening.

After the restart, Waterloo’s Bill Zwanziger overhauled Dolan on the fourth lap and held the lead until the Lisbon hotshoe maneuvered his 1975 Chevelle expertly through some tail-end traffic and bagged the lead on the eighth tour.

It was that way until 17 laps had been completed. A spinout then brought out the yellow flag but even after closing the gap, Zwanziger, who had set fast time with a 25.20 second lap, couldn’t squeeze in front of Dolan.

Billed as the "New Track”, Zwanziger’s 25.20 second qualifying lap becomes the new track record at The Downs.

"The car has been giving me some handling problems,” admitted last year's point champ at Eldon, "but it worked quite well tonight, despite some nasty bumps, especially on the back stretch.”

Results –

Heat #1 – Phil Larsen, Iowa City
Heat #2 – Stan Stover, Reinbeck
Heat #3 – Ron Prymek, Iowa City
Semi – Tom Stewart, Washington
Feature –
1. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
2. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
4. Curt Hansen, Dike
5. Don White, Keokuk
6. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
7. Jim Leverington, Freeport, Ill.
8. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids,
9. Bill Rice, Des Moines
10.John Moss, Iowa City

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

1962 – Branson outraces Jones at Salem

Don Branson

Salem, Ind. (April 29, 1962) – Don Branson put forth a determined effort Sunday and came home the winner Sunday afternoon in the 30-lap United States Auto Club sprint feature.

Branson out charged Parnelli Jones at the start and led the entire distance to win his first feature since 1960 on the half-mile hi-banks.

Jones kept the pressure on Branson the entire way and finished second. Elmer George was pushed to third by Ronnie Duman as Duman finished fourth. Rounding out the top-five was Roger McCluskey.

Branson and Jones began to distance themselves from the rest of the field by lap 6 and by the halfway mark had lapped three cars. On lap 25 Chuck Rodee spun in turn one and Bud Tinglestad swerved to miss Rodee but, as Rodee regained control Hugh Randall was spinning to miss Tinglestad and they collided with Tinglestad continuing with a badly mashed front end and Randall out of the race.

As the green flag returned on the 27th lap Don Davis had an oil line break which gave him a hot foot as he left the race. Branson was really charging as Jones fell some 60 feet behind and Branson lapped the third-place car, Elmer George, just before the checkered drop.

Jones out charged Branson to win the first heat while Chuck Rodee held off Ronnie Duman to take the win in the second heat. Stan Bowman, last week’s winner at Eldora, won the third heat ahead of Hugh Randall. Don Davis won the semi-main.

Results –

1. Don Branson
2. Parnelli Jones
3. Elmer George
4. Ronnie Duman
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Stan Bowman
7. Leon Clum
8. Chuck Rodee
9. Dick Northam
10.Bud Tinglestad
11.Don Davis
12.Hugh Randall
13.Calvin Gilstrap
14.Jim Hemmings

Monday, April 27, 2020

1969 – DeFrance Grabs Knoxville $$

Dale DeFrance

Knoxville, Iowa (April 26, 1969) – Knoxville Raceway started the 1969 racing season with late model stock cars on Sunday afternoon.

Dale DeFrance of Marshalltown, Iowa, whipped his yellow 1969 Pontiac GTO around the half-mile Marion County Fairgrounds to capture the 25-lap feature event.

A real dogfight took place between DeFrance and Tom Stewart of Washington, driving a 1967 Chevelle. Stewart would lead the first 10 circuits with DeFrance hot on Stewart’s tailpipe.

DeFrance would power by Stewart on lap 11 for the lead and withstand numerous challenges from Stewart until he retired on lap 22 with mechanical difficulties.

Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, driving a 1969 Ford Tornio, would inherit second place behind DeFrance and stay there until the end of the race.

Tom Hughes of Monticello, Iowa, took third in a 1964 Ford, Dan Clement of Rhodes, Iowa, in 1962 Chevy, took fourth and Dick Oldham of Des Moines, behind the wheel of a 1955 Chevy, took fifth.

George Barton of Ankeny, Iowa, was quick timer in time trials, speeding around the big half-mile in 28.84 seconds.

Hansen started of the chilly afternoon by winning the 5-lap trophy dash. DeFrance won the first 7-lap heat with Joe Alsin of Ankeny, Iowa, the winner of the second heat. Dan Clement was the third heat winner.

Results –

1. Dale DeFrance, Marshalltown, Iowa
2. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
3. Tom Hughes, Monticello, Iowa
4. Dan Clement, Rhodes, Iowa
5. Dick Oldham, Des Moines
6. L.E. Burns, Des Moines
7. Lefty Robinson, Des Moines
8. George Barton, Ankeny
9. Carl Vander Wal, Ames, Iowa
10. Tom Stewart, Washington, Iowa

Sunday, April 26, 2020

1981 – Dirt Champs make debut at Eldora

Steve Kinser - Dennis Torres Photo

Rossburg, Ohio (April 26, 1981) – A first time ever was recorded with the appearance of the United States Auto Club’s Dirt Championship Cars.

Well known racer Tom Bigelow turned in a fast qualifying time of 17.113 seconds, which will stand as track record for future races at Eldora Speedway. The 24 entries were broken into two heat races, won by Tom Bigelow and the King of the Outlaw's, Steve Kinser.

A change in rules now makes it possible for drivers who are not sanctioned with USAC to compete on the Dirt Champ circuit.

The 100-lap feature was dominated by Steve Kinser, who took the lead with the drop of the green flag and held it the entire 100 laps.

The red flag was brought out on the 41st lap when Bobby Olivero hit the cement retaining wall in the fourth turn, sending his sprinter end over end, until finally coming to rest back on its wheels at the bottom of the track. Olivero escaped injury.

Larry Rice and Larry Dickson were also taken out of the action by separate accidents.

Sheldon Kinser, who was in the tangle with Rice, managed to escape damage, but was forced to return to the tail of the field, where as he was in second position.

Gary Bettenhausen, the defending Dirt Champ qualified his car, but put Steve Chassey in his place for the feature race, which meant by USAC rules that Steve would also start on the rear.

The end result of the feature was Steve Kinser in victory lane, then came Jack Hewitt, Steve Chassey, Paul Pitzer, and cousin to the winner, all-time favorite Sheldon Kinser.

By securing the second position, Jack Hewitt now leads the Silver Crown Series in points.

At the close of the activities Sunday, promoter Earl Baltes was given an award in appreciation of all he has done for this area's racing and in recognition of the fact that over $1 million dollars has been handed out in prize money since 1965.

Results –

1. Steve Kinser
2. Jack Hewitt
3. Steve Chassey
4. Paul Pitzer
5. Sheldon Kinser
6. Leland McSpadden
7. Steve Cannon
8. Chris Cumberworth
9. Bill Compton
10.Tom Bigelow
11.Larry Dickson
12.Bud Wilmot
13.Bobby Olivero
14.Billy Vukovich
15.Greg Leffler
16.Joe Saldana
17.Larry Rice
18. Lennie Waldo
19.Bill Tyler
20.Bill Engelhart

Friday, April 24, 2020

1960 - It's Foyt, Herk at Langhorne before 10,000

A.J. Foyt is interviewed by Chris Economaki following his 50-mile win at Langhorne.

Langhorne, Penn. (April 24, 1960) - A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., captured the overall sprint car championship at Langhorne Speedway on Sunday afternoon although a tire change forced him to lose his lead in the second half of the two 50-mile features.

A crowd of about 10,000 watched 25-year-old Foyt, who prefers to be called A.J., instead of Anthony Joseph, win the first half of the twin attraction, some 200 yards ahead of Don Branson, of Champaign, Ill.

Foyt was leading the second race when he was forced to make a pit stop on the 45th lap. He got back into the race but finished fourth. His total prize for the two legs of the unique double header was $1,258.

In the overall standings, Eddie Sachs, of Center Valley, Penn., was second, earning $900 Jim Hurtubise, of Lennox, Calif., who won the second race, and Branson tied for third place in the total standings for the two races.

Branson set a new world and American record in the time trials, when he toured the oval in 32.661 seconds (110.223 mph). The former record was held by Johnny Thomson, who was clocked at 109.379 miles per hour in May of 1955 at Langhorne.

The caution flag was out for six laps in the first race, from the 28th through the 34th. and this cut the speed down to 100.453 miles per hour.

The time for the first 50 laps was 29 minutes and 51.87 seconds. Ralph Liguori’s track record, 104.106 miles per hour and 28 minutes and 49 seconds still stands.

In the second 50-lapper, an accident in the first turn on the first lap halted the action. Everything went smoothly after that, but the time was still slower than the first race – 30 minutes and 12.84 seconds.

Foyt, the second fastest qualifier, was lined up with Branson in the first row. Racing into the first turn, the pair touched wheels a few times and Foyt raced into the lead. He stayed there throughout the entire 50 miles. Branson finished second, just nipping Eddie Sachs at the wire. Wayne Weiler of Phoenix, Ariz., was fourth and Fred “Jiggs” Peters of Neshanic, N.J., took fifth.

After a 45-minute intermission the cars lined up for the second race in the order they finished the first event.

Foyt and Branson were again in the front row, but this turn Foyt had the pole. Foyt took the lead on the first turn, but behind him, Roger McCluskey of Tuscon, Ariz., bounced off the fence and Al Chamberlain of Altoona, Penn., spun off the track.

The lap counted for all and the race resumed with a single-file start. Foyt immediately built up a good-sized lead and seemed to be on his way to another victory. Then, on the 45th lap, his right rear tire ripped, and he hobbled in for a quick change.

With only five miles to go there wasn’t enough time for A.J. to catch up. Hurtubise, Sachs and Branson staged a thrilling duel behind Foyt during this race.

Hurtubise, who was 16th in the opener due to tire trouble, took the lead and beat Sachs by 14 seconds. Peters snuck in for third spot ahead of Foyt with Branson in fifth.

The total prize fund was $9,000.


Feature #1 –

1. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
2. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
3. Eddie Sachs, Centerville, Penn.
4. Wayne Weiler, Phoenix, Ariz.
5. Fred Peters, Neshanic, N.J.
6. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
7. Al Farmer, Fort Worth, Tex.
8. Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind.
9. Bob Tattersall, St. Louis, Mo.
10.Bill Randall, North Reading, Mass.

Feature #2 -

1. Jim Hurtubise, Lennox, Calif.
2. Eddie Sachs
3. Fred Peters
4. A.J. Foyt
5. Don Branson
6. Al Farmer
7. Bill Randall
8. Bob Tattersall
9. Chuck Arnold, Stamford, Conn.
10.Jim Packard, Indianapolis

Thursday, April 23, 2020

1982 – Long, Schreiner nab ‘Twin 50s’

East Moline, Ill. (April 23, 1982) – After three weeks of bad Friday weather, the East Moline Speedway held the finest Twin 50’s ever on record.

Thirty-three cars lined the pits and with such drivers as Johnny Johnson, Pete Parker, Leon Plank, Ed Sanger, Tony Izzo, Roger Long, Gary Webb and a young sensation to the area, Ron Schreiner from Eleva, Wis., the crowd was in for more than they had gambled for.

The top four in qualifying automatically made the feature with Johnson putting his J&J Steel Corvette in the 14-second bracket at 14.92. The other three qualifiers were Ray Guss Jr., Mike Chasteen and Ron Gustaf.

The top four in each heat, who were not qualified, then made the feature.

Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., won the first heat with his father Ray Guss Sr. taking the win in the second heat. Mike Chasteen of Peoria, Ill., was the third heat winner while Rollie Frink of Davenport, Iowa, won the semi-main and Bob Helm of Andalusia, Ill., grabbed second to also qualify for the main event.

The first 50-lap showdown saw Johnny Johnson of Morning Sun, Iowa, and Ray Guss Sr., setting the pace in the front row. As soon as the green dropped, Johnson was introduced to the wall, nose first, which sidelined him until the second 50-lapper.

Guss Sr. would lead from lap 1 through lap 23 when he encountered mechanical issues, allowing Jim Sandusky of Coal Valley, Ill., to motor by for the lead. It appeared that Sandusky was on his way to victory when his engine exploded on lap 41. Roger Long, the “Flying Farmer” from Fithian, Ill., would take advantage and lead the remaining nine circuits to seal the win. Pete Parker of Kaukauna, Wis., was second followed by Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa.

The second 50-lap feature would be truly unbelievable. Dave Hammond of Camanche, Iowa, and Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, occupied the front row with Sanger getting the jump on the green and leading the first five laps. Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, would scoot past Sanger for the top spot and hold that spot until lap 27 when Rollie Frink would take the lead.

Weedon would regain the lead on lap 28 as the race would see multiple leaders for the next few laps. Guss Sr. would get past Weedon on lap 33 but hold it for only one more lap as Weedon regained it again on lap 35.

As those two veterans battled it out, Ron Schreiner had come out of nowhere and was making his presence known. On lap 40, Schreiner got past Guss Sr. to take over second and three laps later, powered past Weedon for the lead.

But Schreiner wasn’t going to just pull away as now Gary Webb had moved past Guss Sr. and Weedon and was in second behind the Wisconsin hot shoe. Webb would make several challenges in the remaining laps, but Schreiner would hold on for the victory.

Weedon would hold on for third while Herschel Roberts of East Moline would get past Guss Sr. on the last lap to take fourth. Guss Sr. would be content with fifth.

What made Schreiner’s victory all that more impressive is the fact that he turned in the 32nd fastest time, didn’t qualify in his heat, finished fifth in the semi and was called upon as an alternate and started at the rear of the field.

Results –

Feature #1 –
1. Roger Long
2. Pete Parker
3. Gary Webb
4. Rollie Frink
5. Keith Remley

Feature #2 –
1. Ron Schreiner
2. Gary Webb
3. Ron Weedon
4. Herschel Roberts
5. Ray Guss Sr.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

1977 - Watson nips Martin at Springfield

Springfield, Mo. (April 22, 1977) – Dave Watson, the national short track champion from Wisconsin, held off a strong charge by Mark Martin on Friday night to win the 75-lap “Springtime Warmup” late model stock car feature at Fairgrounds Speedway.

It was another fender-to-fender finish for the 18-year-old Martin, but for the first time in three weeks, he did not win.

Traffic around the half-mile asphalt track thwarted Martin’s bid for another last lap victory. He drove outside of Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill., out of the final turn of last week’s race to win by a fender.

A fourth-turn maneuver on the track apron wasn’t enough this time. Watson, winner of the Fairgrounds’ Missouri Asphalt Championship last year, won by a car length.

Martin pulled to Watson’s bumper on lap 47. He fell back four laps later when Watson found the quickest way through a group of slower cars.

Martin quickly made up the ground, but traffic on the final lap worked against him.

Watson and Martin stayed bumper-to-bumper around two cars through the first two turns on the last circuit. Martin’s dive under Jim Cook on the track apron wasn’t enough as the leaders entered the main straight.

“I had less hope this time than I did last week,” Martin said afterward. “I knew there wasn’t any chance.”

Martin, of Batesville, Ark., was not in the running until lap 35. He was in fifth place before moving past Ed Hoffman of Niles, Ill., through the second turn of that lap.

Martin caught the third-place car, Fred Tiede of Marionville, Mo., down the front straightaway three laps later. In another two circuits, he was around Mike Eddy of Kawkawlin, Mich.

After a short stoppage on lap 40 because of rain, Watson and Martin battled nose-to-tail.

The Watson – Martin duel took away from some of the tight racing back in the pack. Hoffman held on for third but David Goldsberry of Bolivar, Mo., made a late charge past Tiede and Eddy for fourth. Eddy pitted a few laps away from the finish with engine trouble.

Other favorites, Larry Phillips of Springfield, and Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., were cut down by mechanical issues. Senneker never started the main event and Phillips dropped out on lap 13 while running in second place.

The late models raced for a $5,516 purse, of which $1,000 went to Watson and $800 to Martin.

Results –

1. Dave Watson
2. Mark Martin
3. Ed Hoffman
4. David Goldsberry
5. Fred Tiede
6. Bob Menzie
7. Jim Cook
8. Bob Schippers
9. Mike Eddy
10.Roy Hansen
11.Darrell Holt
12.Roger Chism
13.Larry Peterson
14.Bill Allen
15.Dave Phillips
16.Larry Phillips
17.Dan McCoy

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

1974 – Martin tops Knoxville Corn Belt

Bill Martin

Knoxville, Iowa (April 21, 1974) – Remember the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?”. Twenty-six thousand apple trees kept Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, away from auto racing last year.

They won’t this year. Martin opened the 1974 racing season with a stock car feature victory at the Marion County Fairgrounds Sunday.

"I changed jobs and started to manage my dad's apple farm," the 29-year-old said, after receiving his victory laurels.

“We grow vegetables too, so I had a lot to learn so it didn't leave a lot of time for racing." Fact is, Martin raced a total of four times that year.

The former truck driver hasn’t forgotten his lessons of five years of racing. He won the fourth heat, finished second in the trophy dash before winning the 20-lap feature in his 1972 Chevelle.

“What a great way to start out again,” he remarked.

Martin had a tough battle with Waterloo, Iowa's Red Dralle before he could collect the $600 winner’s share.

Dralle, also driving a 1972 Chevelle, was leading until Bill took over the point on lap 10. Dralle didn't give up and stormed back to overtake Martin on lap 15. A couple of laps later, though, Martin grabbed the lead and made it stick, capturing the checkers on the historic half-mile.

“It was a great race,” said Martin. “It was really fun having someone like Red (Dralle) beating on your door.”

Dralle would settle for second while Omaha's Bob Kosiski, Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa and Don Hoffman of Des Moines would round out the top five. In addition to Martin winning his heat, Dralle, Omaha's Ed Morris and Council Bluff's Dave Chase were winners. Dralle would also cop the trophy dash money. John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, won the consolation and Council Bluffs' Bob Jiskra was tops in the Australian Pursuit.

The car Martin drove to victory lane was owned by Larry Kelley of Omaha. It was a car previously driven by Ed Sanger the year before in which "Fast" Eddie won a staggering 44 times in it. Martin mentioned after the race, "I hope we can win half or a fourth of that total this year."

Chuck Berg of Des Moines has had a change of jobs too. He was the flagman Sunday, the first time he had that responsibility for auto races. Usually, he’s behind the wheel of a race car.

“I didn’t have a ride in stock car going, so I thought I’d give this a try,” he said.

Results –

Heat #1 – Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #2 – Ed Morris, Omaha
Heat #3 – Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Heat #4 – Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Trophy dash – Red Dralle
Consolation – Larry Jiskra, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Feature –
1. Bill Martin
2. Red Dralle
3. Bob Kosiski, Omaha
4. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
5. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
6. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
7. Mel Morris, West Liberty, Iowa
8. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
9. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
10.Dan Nesteby, Waterloo, Iowa
11.Bob Bonzer, Liscomb, Iowa
12.Leonard Woodard, Des Moines
13.Russ Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
14.Bugs Vincent, Nevada, Iowa
15.Dave Chase

Monday, April 20, 2020

1975 – Dickson takes Winchester feature

Larry Dickson in victory lane at Winchester. 

Winchester, Ind. (April 20, 1975) - Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, picked up his second feature win of the 1975 season in the USAC “Thunder and Lightning” sprint car division at Winchester Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Dickson, driving the Ernie Ensign Maude Special, also tied the one lap world record in qualifications of 16.16 seconds around the high banked one half-mile paved oval. Co-owner of the record, Bruce Walkup, originally set the mark July 28. 1974 The average speed for this time is 111 386 mph.

Billy Cassella, driving the Louis Seymour Enterprises machine led only two laps of the 40-lap feature before the yellow flag came out due to a spin on the backstretch by Jerry Poland

When the track was cleared and the green-flag fell, Dickson streaked past Cassella on the third lap and built up a sizable lead proving to the crowd he is the King of the USAC sprints with 37 sanctioned feature wins to his credit.

Second place went to Cassella followed by Pancho Carter, a former California resident now living in Brownsburg, Ind. Bruce Walkup was fourth and Gary Bettenhausen was fifth.

Heat races were won by Billy Englehart, Bruce Walkup, Pancho Carter, and Sheldon Kinser.

Rich Leavell hit the wall on the backstretch on the first lap of the fourth heat ripping off the right front wheel and putting his car out of commission for the day

He was not injured.

Results –

1. Larry Dickson
2. Billy Cassella
3. Pancho Carter
4. Bruce Walkup
5. Gary Bettenhausen
6. Greg Leffler
7. Bill Engelhart
8. Sam Sessions
9. George Snider
10.Sheldon Kinser

Sunday, April 19, 2020

1959 - Ramo Stott wins Copper 150-Miler

Phoenix, Ariz. (April 19, 1959) – A couple of speedy Keokuk citizens from Iowa finished 1-2 in today’s 150-mile stock car marathon at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

Ramo Stott, the winner in a fast-moving Ford finished 2.5 seconds ahead of Ernie Derr, driving a blazing black Pontiac.

The winning time was 2 hours, 3 minutes and 9 seconds over the one-mile track that gave little trouble except for dust in the south turn.

Nobody got hurt but there were some serious crackups. The most spectacular being a head on smack into the East wall by Jim Cook of Norwalk, Calif., when he lost control on the South turn.

A crowd of about 5,000 witnessed both Stott and Derr complete the entire 150 laps. Third-place finisher Bill Boldt of Los Angeles finished 148 laps while Bob Perry of Hawthorne, Calif., was fourth with 145 laps completed. Bill Dade of Redondo, Calif., rounded out the top-five finishers with 144 laps in the books.

Favored Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., won the pole position in time trials and led the field for the first 30 laps. Derr took over, holding the top spot until lap 48 when Sonny Morgan of Beaumont, Tex., seized the top spot.

Phoenix’s Mel Larson, a co-promoter of the event, was in the lead for a few fast turns at the midway point until his 1959 Mercury conked out on lap 79.

That gave the lead to Stott, a spot he wouldn’t relinquish for the remaining 70 circuits. The 25-year-old speedster would collect $600 for the victory. His fellow townsman Derr, would take home $500 for his runner-up effort.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Bill Boldt, Los Angeles
4. Bob Perry, Hawthorne, Calif.
5. Bill Dade, Redondo, Calif.
6. Lyle Stelter, Phoenix
7. Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
9. Jim Blomgren, Norwalk, Calif.
10.Cal Kent, Torrance, Calif.
11.Harley Scranton, Los Angeles
12. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
13.Jim Cook, Norwalk, Calif.
14.Eddie Gray, Torrance, Calif.
15.Bob Francy, Phoenix
16. Scotty Cain, Santa Monica, Calif.
17.Mel Larson, Phoenix
18.Bob Ross, Lakewood, Calif.
19.John Potter, Duluth, Minn.
20.Lucky Long, Lakewood, Calif.
21.Bob Potter, Duluth, Minn.
22.Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
23.Bill Jarick, Los Angeles
24.Marvin Porter, Lakewood, Calif.
25.Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.

Editor’ Note – A day later, a re-check by International Motor Contest Association officials showed that Ramo Stott was actually a full lap behind Ernie Derr upon the completion of the 150 laps and declared Derr to be the winner and Stott credited with second-place.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

1970 – Stott Unstoppable at Tri-County

Ramo Stott embraces the laurels of victory after winning the 100-lapper at Tri-County. 

West Chester, Ohio (April 18, 1970) – Ramo Stott, driving a new 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner, walked away with the 100-lap Auto Race Club of America (ARCA) feature and four other events at Tri-County Speedway on Saturday.

Stott, of Keokuk, Iowa, turned the 50 miles on the half-mile dirt in 38 minutes and 8 seconds, winning by 20 car lengths. He took the lead on lap 13 and never relinquished the top spot.

He was also the fastest qualifier, won the fast dash, the first heat and the Australian pursuit all of the events that he competed in. He expressed doubt about how he would race before the event because he was driving the car for the first time.

Iggy Katona of Willis, Mich., driving a 1969 Dodge, finished second and was followed by Bobby Watson of Louisville, Ky., in a 1969 Dodge. Andy Hampton, also of Louisville, finished fourth in a 1970 Dodge.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott
2. Iggy Katona
3. Bobby Watson
4. Andy Hampton
5. Ron Grana
6. Bill Kimmel
7. Paul Wensink
8. Wayne Trinkle
9. Bill Clemons
10.Jerry Norris

Friday, April 17, 2020

1976 - Over 6,000 see Weedon win Liberty spring opener

West Liberty, Iowa (April 17, 1976) – Super Stocks, Inc., presented the first late model race of the season at West Liberty Raceway on Saturday night, and a crowd of over 6,000 race fans turned out for the invitational late model special.

The sixth fastest times in qualifying were inverted for the start of the feature event with 22 cars starting the feature.

Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, powered his Camaro around the half-mile dirt oval for 25 laps, holding off the advances of last year’s co-champion, Darrel Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Right behind those two veterans was Ed Mellecker of Iowa City, who was a contender the whole way and pocketed the extra prize of $50 for finishing third.

A total of 48 cars checked in with Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, setting fast time in 24.41 seconds and pocketing $100 for his efforts.

Four heats saw Ron Prymek of Iowa City, Iowa, capture the first heat; Jim Burbridge of Delhi, Iowa, take the second heat; the ever-popular Duane Steffe of Colona, Ill., came in first in the third heat and Bob Helm of Andalusia, Ill., walked away with the fourth heat. Semi-feature honors went to Bob Helm with Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, a close second.

The feature event saw drivers from Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska lineup in the 22-car, 25-lap feature. Bob Kosiski, came all the way from Omaha, Neb., to run the open competition rules program.

Results –

Time trials – Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa – 24.41
First heat – Ron Prymek, Iowa City, Iowa
Second heat – Jim Burbridge, Delhi, Iowa
Third heat – Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
Fourth heat – Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill.
Semi-main – Bob Helm
Feature –
1. Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
2. Darrel Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Ed Mellecker, Iowa City, Iowa
4. Roger Dolan
5. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
6. John Moss, Iowa City
7. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
9. Bill Beckman, Lisbon, Iowa
10. Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
11. Larry Jenkins, Wilton, Iowa
12. Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
13. Jim Strube, Peoria, Ill.
14. Bill Rice, Des Moines
15. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
16. Larry Rummelhart, Riverside, Iowa
17. Jim Leverington, Freeport, Ill.
18. Ken DeGood, Hills, Iowa
19. Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
20. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
21. Bob Kosiski, Omaha
22. Jack Hall, Muscatine, Iowa

Thursday, April 16, 2020

1972 - Oas tops Elko field

Elko, Minn. (April 16, 1972) – Bill Oas, the Bloomington driver who three times set speed marks at Elko Speedway last season, was the big money winner in Sunday’s late model action at Phil Stewart’s southern Minnesota speed emporium.

The businessman-driver had the advantage of starting on the pole and he went full bore for 30 laps to pocket a hefty chunk of the green.

But race fans went home buzzing about the brilliant second and third-place finishes of Norm Setran of Bloomington and Dick Giles of Minneapolis. Setran, a veteran of 16 seasons, started ninth and Giles punched it from his 12th starting position, yet both were challenging Oas at the finish. For Giles, it was the second straight Sunday finishing third in the feature and the second straight Sunday he won both his heat and trophy dash.

Setran won his heat as did Oas while Larry Behrens of Northfield won the consolation.

There were no serious accidents although Mert Williams of Rochester spun twice, and Behrens had issues after blowing a tire.

Of interest to many was the first appearance of the “Flying Finn”, Bob Jusola of Burnsville. Jusola looked impressive even though he had some handling problems.

Jim Weber of St. Paul posted a clean sweep in hobby stock action, winning hi heat, trophy dash and 20-lap feature assuring race fans that he’s out in earnest to take that division’s championship.

There were 3,141 fans on hand, a top crowd considering the North Stars were on area television. Even more cars were on hand for the Sunday matinee, with almost 60 hobby stocks taking part along with the expanded field of 30 late models.

Results –

Late Model –

1. Bill Oas
2. Norm Setran
3. Dick Giles
4. Dan Prziborowski
5. Larry Smith
6. Dick Stang
7. Mike Miller
8. Bob Jusola
9. Dick Graves
10.Jeff Haar

Hobby Stocks -

1. Jim Weber
2. Joe Ritchie
3. Dave Williams
4. Lynn Peterson
5. Bill Braunworth
6. Dan Hildebrand
7. Larry Price
8. Gary McCluskey
9. Tom McKay
10.Mike Blass

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

1983 - Swindell tops 'Outlaws' field at Lakeside

Sammy Swindell 

Kansas City, Ka. (April 15, 1983) – Sammy Swindell of Bartlett, Tenn., became the first repeat winner of the World of Outlaws National Challenge Series Friday night at Lakeside Speedway.

Swindell bounced the Raymond Beadle/Old Milwaukee #1 sprinter over the rutted half-mile oval in a real “rib-cage rattler” of a win over Keith Kauffman of Mifflintown, Penn., who was expertly driving the Stanton #75.

Due to the track conditions of the first and second turns, the feature was shortened to 20 of the scheduled 25 laps. World of Outlaws officials made the decision after five cars became airborne in the first and second turns during preliminary action.

Swindell’s win came from advancing from an outside second row starting spot. The two-time World of Outlaws’ champion gained the lead on lap 9 from early pacesetter Doug Wolfgang. Wolfgang went on to finish third in the event ahead of current National Challenge Series point leader Steve Kinser.

Jeff Swindell crossed the finish line fifth, but the lead-footed lad had jumped a position on a restart and was penalized tow spots. Jac Haudenschild and Bobby Allen were awarded fifth and sixth respectively, while the younger Swindell reluctantly settled for seventh.

Brad Doty broke the World of Outlaws jinx, that being the fast qualifier crashing. Doty established fast time in qualifying, touring the half-mile in 18.62 seconds fr the evening. Although he didn’t crash, Doty didn’t stop his car to avoid one of the turn one melees and was restarted at the rear of the tail.

Results –

1. Sammy Swindell
2. Keith Kauffman
3. Doug Wolfgang
4. Steve Kinser
5. Jac Haudenschild
6. Bobby Allen
7. Jeff Swindell
8. T.J. Giddings
9. Rick Hood
10.Brad Doty
11.Tim Gee
12.Rick Ferkel
13.Cliff Woodward
14.Danny Lasoski
15.Danny Smith
16.Jerry Richert
17.Tod Bishop
18.Shane Carson
19.Randy Smith
20.Junior Parkinson
21.Ron Shuman
22.Jack Hewitt

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

1979 – Pitzer’s ‘Retirement’ ends with Reading win

Paul Pitzer en route to winning at Reading. 

Reading, Penn. (April 14, 1979) – Regulars on the United States Auto Club’s sprint car circuit are wishing Paul Pitzer would have kept his word when he announced his retirement two weeks ago.

But having second thoughts about the decision, Pitzer ended his brief hiatus Saturday night at the Reading Fairgrounds and proceeded to win the sprint division’s 40-lap feature.

Pitzer’s winning effort was aided by a caution period which enabled him to close in on front-running Sheldon Kinser late in the chase. Pitzer than passed Kinser shortly after green flag racing resumed and went on to pick up the victory.

Kinser settled for second-place money with Smokey Snellbaker third, Bubby Jones fourth, Rich Vogler fifth and Jay Myers sixth.

Outside front row starter Billy Cassella out-sprinted pole sitter Gary Gray to grab the event’s early lead with Snellbaker taking second moments later.

The early pace was slowed by caution period spin by Larry Rice and then another yellow for a tangle involving Rice and Joe Saldana on the restart following the first slowdown. The second caution sent Rice and Saldana to the pits.

Fresh from a record-setting 22.684-second mark in time trials and a victory in the semi-feature, Kinser took second from Snellbaker on lap 9 and claimed first place one lap later.

Snellbaker promptly regained second place by getting by Cassella but would yield the runner-up spot to Pitzer on lap 16.

Kinser opened up a commanding advantage by the event’s midway point but was slowed by heavy traffic allowing Pitzer to chop away at his lead.

Then, four laps from the finish, Billy Stief spun bringing out the yellow flag and allowing Pitzer to close in on Kinser. After action resumed, Pitzer darted around Kinser with two laps to go and sprinted to victory.

Results –

1. Paul Pitzer
2. Sheldon Kinser
3. Smokey Snellbaker
4. Bubby Jones
5. Rich Vogler
6. Jay Myers
7. Bob East
8. Billy Cassella
9. Chuck Gurney
10.John Draucker

Monday, April 13, 2020

1987 - Ed Kosiski scores Quincy ‘Tour’ victory

Quincy, Ill. (April 12, 1987) – Ed Kosiski of Omaha, Neb. – youngest of the three racing Kosiski brothers – captured the NASCAR Busch/Winston All Star Tour Sunday evening at Quincy.

Kosiski took over the lead when Mitch Fretheim of Decorah, Iowa, suffered a flat tire, while leading the event and he went on to lead the rest of the way.

Fretheim was fast qualifier of those timing (feature qualifiers through heats) and led from the onset before dropping out.

Rollie Frink of Davenport, Iowa, was second, Sonny Findling of Kirksville, Mo., ran third while Joe and Steve Kosiski, both of Omaha, Neb., ran fourth and fifth respectively.

A field of 45 late models participated in the event.

In support racing, Harold Hyslop off Quincy scored his first-ever feature win in the sportsman main event and Jim Brown of Hannibal, Mo., was the bomber feature winner.

Results –

1. Ed Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
2. Rollie Frink, Davenport, Iowa
3. Sonny Findling, Kirksville, Mo.
4. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
5. Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
6. Steve Fraise, Montrose, Iowa
7. Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine, Iowa
8. Curt Martin, Independence, Iowa
9. Jim Swank, Hamilton, Ill.
10. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls, Iowa
11. Gene Claxton, Kansas City
12. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
13. Rick Kimberling, Boone, Mo.
14. Jay Johnson, Wapello, Iowa
15. Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa

Saturday, April 11, 2020

1976 - Larry Dickson Back on Win Path

Larry Dickson

Rossburg, Ohio (April 1, 1976) – Last year's United States Auto Club (USAC) Sprint Car champion Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, got back on the winning track yesterday at Eldora Speedway to pick up his first USAC Sprint Car victory of the 1976 season. 

Driving the Russ Polak Sprinter, with Ernie Ensign as chief mechanic, Dickson qualified with an 18.159 second time around the half-mile dirt oval placing him eleventh on the feature event starting grid of 20 of the toughest sprint cars in the country.

California's Duane “Pancho” Carter was top qualifier of the day with a 17.403 second run at 103.45 miles per hour, a new track record for Eldora.

As the green flag fell for the 40-lap feature, pole-sitter Jan Opperman of Noxon, Mont., jumped out to the lead. Dickson made his move early taking his sprinter from eleventh place all the way up to sixth in 10 laps.

As the race drew on, Dickson steadily made progress first getting by Wisconsin's Tom Bigelow, then Bruce Walkup of Indiana to move into third by lap 18.

A hard charging George Snider gave Dickson problems but only for a short while, as Dickson turned on the aggressiveness going low on the race track and passing the Middleville, Mich., driver on the third turn.

The Ohio pilot then went to work on the leader Opperman. Staying low on the racetrack once again Dickson went into turn number three wheel to wheel with Opperman's sprinter and emerged as leader of the race.

Leaving the rest of the field literally "in the dust", Dickson opened a big lead, winning with ease. Opperman hung on to finish second, with Walkup third

The win for Dickson was the 41st USAC sprint car feature win of his career. It also moved him to the top of the USAC point standings in his drive for his unprecedented fourth USAC Sprint Championship.

Results –

1. Larry Dickson
2. Jan Opperman
3. Bruce Walkup
4. Bill Engelhart
5. George Snider
6. Larry Cannon
7. Billy Cassella
8. Pancho Carter
9. Joe Saldana
10.Lee Osborne 

Friday, April 10, 2020

1982 - Phillips Class of 'World Championships'

Larry Phillips

Phoenix, Ariz. (April 10, 1982) – Missouri’s Larry Phillips was in a class by himself in the finals of the RC Cola/7-Up Western World Championships for late model stock cars at Manzanita Speedway.

Although the line-up for the 40-lap feature was studded with driving stars, no one could match Phillips and his lightning fast Camaro. Phillips started alongside Bill Cheesbourg but easily beat the Tucson veteran into the first turn. Even though he had to endure several cautions and a red flag for refueling purposes, Phillips still managed to lap all but nine cars en route to a $3,500 payday.

There was only one car that may have been able to run with Phillips. Don Hoffman of Des Moines, Iowa, made it into the feature by virtue of winning the 20-lap semi-main and was on his way to the front when disaster struck prior to the halfway point. Hoffman had moved his Camaro into fifth place and was challenging Cheesbourg for fourth when he jumped the cushion and slammed into the retaining wall, ending a beautiful drive.

While there was really no contest for the front spot, the action was hot and heavy behind Phillips. Throughout most of the race, there were six or seven cars in contention for the runner-up spot. Mike Gibson and Carl Trimmer swapped the second position two or three times and George Brazil Jr. was in the thick of the battle and finally took over that spot with only three laps remaining. However, tough luck that has plagued him the past two weeks struck again s he blew an engine on the white flag lap and pushed his car across the finish line in tenth.

Trimmer edged Charlie Swartz for second, Cheesbourg took fourth and Steve McGuire grabbed fifth.

Hoffman, who had problems during the qualifying races, was not seriously challenged in the semi. He started fifth and was in front before the first lap was completed.

The excitement in the semi was created by Roger Saathoff. The South Dakota driver started 15th and drove his way to second place even though he was losing his clutch in his Camaro. Gaylord Lippert finished third with his Thunderbird and qualified for the feature when Red Dralle scratched. However, Lippert had to scratch a well when his mount lost oil pressure. Saathoff would last only a few laps in the feature before his transmission went out.

Results –

1. Larry Phillips
2. Carl Trimmer
3. Charlie Swartz
4. Bill Cheesbourg
5. Steve McGuire
6. Mike Gibson
7. Ivan Russell
8. Bill Black
9. Buddy Murphy
10.George Brazil Jr.
11.Bill Brandon
12.Ken Hobson
13.Jim Maguire
14.H.D. Jackson
15.Herb Laing
16.Gary Thomas
17.Art Adams
18.Fred Lundock
19.Jerry McCurdy
20.Terry Green
21.Don Hoffman
22.Roger Saathoff

Sunday, April 5, 2020

1981 – Kirk, Druschel, Fitzpatrick Win at Vinton Opener

Vinton, Iowa (April 5, 1981) – Race cars from all four borders were on hand Sunday afternoon as Vinton Speedway became the first Iowa race track to open for the 1981 season.

Traveling the greatest distance was undoubtedly Bill Kirk of Salix, Iowa, a small farming community near Sioux City, Iowa. Kirk, who farms near Salix, competed in special races in Sedalia, Mo., on Saturday before driving the 300 miles to Vinton before Sunday afternoon’s races. He then drove the 300 miles from Vinton to Salix after Sunday’s program.

However, Kirk made the trip somewhat worthwhile as he captured the open competition feature event after running 16th Saturday afternoon in Missouri after he burned two spark plug wires in the feature race.

Twice during Sunday’s feature event Kirk drove too hard into the third turn and went off the north end of the quarter-mile track. However, his lead was so great he was able to maintain his advantage even with his miscues.

Larry Druschel of Vinton captured the opening IMCA modified feature. Druschel had been running second, battling leader Bernie Juliar of Hudson, Iowa, for a number of laps when Juliar’s car suddenly lost power. That put Druschel out front and the Vinton pilot held off the challenges of Jim Cunningham of Garrison, Iowa, to capture the win.

Mike Fitzpatrick of Grundy Center, Iowa, started where he left off last season as he captured the roadrunner main event after a race-long duel with Jeff Aikey of Cedar Falls, Iowa. After the race Aikey’s engine was claimed but he refused to sell and Craig Coventry of Independence, Iowa, was awarded second place.

Results –

Roadrunner -

1. Mike Fitzpatrick, Grundy Center, Iowa
2. Craig Coventry, Independence, Iowa
3. Dave Swarts, Cedar Falls, Iowa
4. Dwayne Burkey, Vinton, Iowa
5. Mike Krall, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Max Leonard, Atkins, Iowa

IMCA Modified –

1. Larry Druschel, Vinton, Iowa
2. Jim Cunningham, Garrison, Iowa
3. Greg Seitz, Waterloo, Iowa
4. Daryl Stout, Vinton, Iowa
5. Dave Kramer, Atkins, Iowa
6. Mike Sampson, Waterloo, Iowa
7. Gary Kaune, Waterloo, Iowa
8. Bernie Juliar, Hudson, Iowa

Open Competition –

1. Bill Kirk, Salix, Iowa
2. Todd Jensen, Waterloo Iowa
3. Keith Braun, Cedar Falls, Iowa
4. Greg Hunter, Independence, Iowa
5. Bill Breuer, Wapello, Iowa
6. Duane Van Deest, Grundy Center, Iowa
7. Dave Gerner, Garber, Iowa
8. Duane White, Vinton, Iowa

Saturday, April 4, 2020

1981 - NSCA Late Model Opener to Hearst

Sedalia, Mo. (April 4, 1981) – Iowa drivers were dominant on Saturday afternoon as the late models roared to life for a new season in the opening half of the “Frostbuster 10,000” at the Missouri State Fairgrounds Speedway.

Overcast skies and cool temperatures kept the afternoon crowd down, but racing action warmed those winter-weary fans in the stands, estimated at 1,400.

Heading the Iowa contingent was Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa, who finished second in last season’s National Speedways Contest Association point race. Hearst captured his heat race and then the 30-lap feature to take the lead in this year’s NSCA title chase.

Second in the main event was Billy Moyer Jr. of Des Moines, Iowa, while Ken Schrader of Fenton, Mo., wound up third and Ken Walton of Viola, Iowa, ran fourth. C.C. Corbin of East Alton, Ill., rounded out the top five.

Fifth drivers from six states were on hand for the opener, contested on the half-mile dirt oval.

Joining Hearst with heat wins were Rick Standridge of Divernon, Ill., Walton, and Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa. Webb ran among the feature leaders until he retired with a badly smoking motor.

The last chance race was won by Dick Potts of Morocco, Ind.

In the feature, Hearst stormed to the front from his outside front row starting spot and was never headed. The track began to break up during the early going and was tough on both drivers and machines, many of them newly finished for the ’81 season.

Results –

Heat #1 – Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines, Iowa
Heat #2 – Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
Heat #3 – Rick Standridge, Divernon, Ill.
Heat #4 – Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
Heat #5 – Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
Last chance – Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
Feature –

1. Tom Hearst
2. Billy Moyer Jr.
3. Ken Schrader, Fenton, Mo.
4. Ken Walton
5. C.C. Corbin, East Alton, Ill.
6. Rick Beebe, Overland Park, Mo.
7. Rocky Hodges, Des Moines, Iowa
8. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
9. John Yearsley, Urbana, Ill.
10. Rick Standridge
11. Gary Potter, St. Charles, Mo.
12. Al Urhammer, Radcliffe, Iowa
13. Curt Hogue, Ames, Iowa
14. Dick Potts
15. Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun, Iowa
16. Bill Kirk, Salix, Iowa
17. Roger Tapper, Webster City, Iowa
18. Jerry Wancewicz, Omaha
19. Robert Jones, St. Louis
20. Gene Claxton, Kansas City
21. Ronnie Hoover, Fulton, Mo.
22. Dick Taylor, Springfield, Ill.
23. Gary Webb
24. Ken Essary, Galena, Mo.