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.
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