Sunday, May 31, 2020

1972 - Stott Becomes Fifth Different Osky Winner

Ramo Stott is joined by Ms. Wokke Bosma of Friesland, Holland, after winning the 20-lap late model feature in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Wednesday night, May 31, 1972.  — Morris "Beetle" Bailey Photo

Oskaloosa, Iowa (May 31, 1972) - For the fifth straight week of racing at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds there has been a different winner. Ramo Stott of Keokuk became #5 as he captured the 20-lap main event before 3,200 people here Wednesday.

Stott took the lead on the lap 6 replacing Bill Newman of Burlington. Newman was forced to drop out when his auto broke an axle. But Stott didn’t exactly breeze home to the checkered flag as John Moss of Iowa City moved up on him.

Stott started out on the outside of the second row while Moss was back in the fourth row. Don Hoffman of Des Moines held onto third for most of the race until he developed engine trouble and was passed by Ed Sanger of Waterloo.

Sixteen of the 18 cars that started the event finished and remarkably there was not a single red flag all through the entire night of racing. Stott took home $580 which included his win in the second heat.

Bob Hilmer of Dysart won the first heat while Pokey West of West Chester took the third. West battled off five others who were right behind him for the flag and nipped Karl Sanger as both came across bumper-to-bumper.

Stott also won the Australian pursuit.

Newman won the consolation honors while last week ’s feature winner, Larry Wasserfort of Cedar Falls, finished second.

Results –

Heat #1 – Bob Hilmer, Dysart, Iowa
Heat #2 – Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #3 – Pokey West, West Chester, Iowa
Australian Pursuit – Ramo Stott
Consolation – Bill Newman, Burlington, Iowa
Feature –
1. Ramo Stott
2. John Moss, Iowa City, Iowa
3. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
4. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
5. Ron Perdock, Washington, Iowa
6. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
7. Chris Maurer, Colfax, Iowa
8. Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
9. Bob Hilmer
10.Pokey West

Saturday, May 30, 2020

1965 - Blundy a Winner in Jaycee Program

Sedalia, Mo. (May 30, 1965) – Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., set three new records and won the 50-lap main event Sunday in the Jaycee-sponsored Memorial Day super modified races at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

There was little competition in the feature for the heavy-footed Blundy after Kanas City’s Kenny Weld had a right rear tire peel off on lap 24. Blundy had won the pole position and led from the start, but Weld was hot on his heels.

Blundy had shaved two seconds off the qualifying record for the Memorial Day races, circling the half-mile dirt track in 23.558 seconds in time trials. That mark eclipsed the old record held by Tom Corbin of Carrollton, Mo., who held the previous mark of 25.56 seconds.

The Illinois driver’s time in the feature was 20 seconds better than the old record but could have been even better if mishaps hadn’t forced so many caution flags. A $1,000 purse went with the winning of the feature event.

Blundy also topped the 3-lap trophy dash and took second in the sixth heat trailing Kenny Weld. Blundy’s new record time in the trophy dash was 1 minute and 12 seconds.

Don Melte of Cowgill, Mo., nabbed the semi-feature and earned $125 in prize money.

Dennis Onwiler, chairman of the Jaycees racing program, and other club officials estimated the crowd at 7,000 persons.

Blundy came to Sedalia Sunday morning after racing in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday night, where he won the 20-lap feature race and collected $382 – a good evening’s work but small compared to his winnings here.

Results –

Trophy dash – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.

Heat #1 - Joe Smith, Jefferson City, Mo.

Heat #2 – Don Melte, Cowgill, Mo.

Heat #3 – Bob Ford, Marshall, Mo.

Heat #4 – Jerry Weld, Kansas City

Heat #5 – Bill Ward, Carrollton, Mo.

Heat #6 – Kenny Weld, Kansas City

Semi-Feature – Don Melte

Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy
2. Jerry Weld
3. Ken Taylor, Slater, Mo.
4. Ken Williams, Kansas City
5. Roy Hibbard, Marshall, Mo.
6. Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.
7. Junior Hower, Kansas City
8. Don Cooper, Sedalia
9. Bill Ward
10.Wib Spaulding, Granite City, Ill.

Friday, May 29, 2020

1964 – Morehouse Wins Valley Feature

Cliff Morehouse

Davenport, Iowa (May 29, 1964) - Clint Morehouse, Moline, Ill., and Benny Hofer, Rock Island, Ill., waged a grueling duel for 30 laps before the former came out in front by less than a car’s length to win the modified division feature last night at Davenport’s Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds

Close to 4,500 fans watched Morehouse and Hofer battle down to the finish line with Tuffy Meyers, Clarence, placing a close third. It was Morehouse’s first feature victory at the Davenport track.

Earlier in the competition the Moline driver won the second heat race in the modified class, edging Iowa City’s Johnny Moss. Other heat winners were “Slim” Prior, Moline, Ill., and Jerry Reinhart, Moline, Ill.

Capturing honors in the semifinal dash was Meyers. Hal Schroeder, Davenport, won the consolation event.

Crack-ups came at a fast pace in the modified feature race with six cars going to the sidelines during the first three laps. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill., then slammed into a light pole on lap 7 and was put out of commission This accident also delayed competition for several minutes.

Results –

Heat #1 – Slim Prior, Moline, Ill.

Heat #2 – Clint Morehouse, Moline, Ill.

Heat #3 – Jerry Reinhart, Moline, Ill. 

Semi-feature - Tuffy Meyers, Clarence

Consolation – Hal Schroeder, Davenport

Feature –

1. Clint Morehouse
2. Benny Hofer, Rock Island, Ill.
3. Tuffy Meyers
4. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
5. Don Bohlander, Glasford, Ill.
6. Lloyd Caldwell, Prophetstown, Ill.
7. Red Droste, Waterloo
8. Blaine Morrow, Milan, Ill.
9. Jim Gerber, Davenport
10.Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

1960 – Duman Repeats in Little 500

Ronnie Duman is surrounded by crew, family and well-wishers after winning his second Little 500. 

Anderson, Ind. (May 28, 1960) - Ronnie Duman of Dearborn, Mich., overtook A.J. Shepherd of Gardena, Calif., on the 360th lap and went on to win the 12th annual Little 500-lap Classic before more than 12,000 screaming fans at the Sun Valley Speedway oval.

It was Duman’s second win in the sprint car classic, having won the 1959 race as well. Duman’s winning time was 2 hours, 12 minutes and 40 seconds.

John Garner, alias Bret Maverick of TV fame, drove the pace car that sent the 33-car field roaring away nearly 40 minutes after the scheduled 8:30 starting time.

Two Gardena, California drivers shared the lead the first 100 laps with A. J. Shepherd taking over on the 71st lap, followed by fellow townsman Parnelli Jones. Shepherd, driving an Offy and holder of the pole position, led Jones piloting a Chevy V8, followed by Duman in a GM car, third; Tom McClellan of Waynesville, Ohio, driving a Ford, was fourth, at the end of the first 100 trips around the all-banked, asphalt oval.

Shepherd took over the lead on the ninth lap and Jones zoomed back into the lead at the 40th lap.

On the 122nd lap, McClellan’s car slammed into another, rolled over twice and the daredevil was taken to St. John's Hospital. A total of 19 cars were out of the long race after 125 laps due to accidents, engine or other mechanical failures.

A capacity crowd of over 10,000 pushed and elbowed their way into the arena.

Dick Carter, of Merrill, Mich., was the only newcomer among the top four at the end of 200 circuits with Shepherd still leading the pack, followed by Jones. Carter held third and Duman was still fourth.

Shepherd was still leading the pack by a couple of laps at the 300th lap, followed closely by Duman, who had moved up from fourth; Jones slipped to third, and Carter occupied the fourth spot.

In the next 15 laps, Duman, driving the GMC car which won in 1957, gained a full laps on the flying Shepherd.

Duman would roar away into the lead on lap 360 and began to pile up a lead of three laps on the second-place Shepherd. Shepherd would eventually develop steering problems and fade to a seventh place finish.

That allowed Jones and Carter to move up in position, where they finished.

Track officials announced that more than 12,000 gasoline alley partisans jammed and packed every nook and corner of the stands at Sun Valley Speedway for the 12th annual classic.

Results –

1. Ronnie Duman, Dearborn, Mich.
2. Parnelli Jones, Gardena, Calif.
3. Dick Carter, Breckenridge, Mich.
4. Wayne Alspaugh, Anderson, Ind.
5. Danny Cravens, Louisville, Ky.
6. Leroy Neumeyer, South Gate, Calif.
7. A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
8. Clare Lawicki, Madison Heights, Mich.
9. Harv Konkel, Milwaukee, Wis.
10.Frank Wright, Danville, Ind.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

1972 – Goodwin Lives Up to His Last Name

Ray Lee Goodwin

Eldon, Iowa (May 27, 1972) – Eldon Raceway was home to the “Iowa Futurity” sprint car classic on Saturday night but rain wetted the excitement 15 laps short of the checkers in the feature event.

Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City was the winner of the title as he withstood a great come-from-behind effort by Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa.

Wagner moved from his sixth starting position to second place as the event was halted after 10 laps.

The evening got off in electrifying fashion as Del Schmidt of Topeka, Kan., went end over end during time trials. The third turn was a wicked one for Schmidt and he was only the first to bite into the concrete wall. He was badly shaken up but regained consciousness as he was being placed in an ambulance.

Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., took charge from the start of the first heat and was followed by Ron Perkins of Des Moines and Bill Hudson of New Sharon, Iowa.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., brought out the red flag halfway through the race when he snagged a rough spot in the third turn sending his auto airborne into a roll and dipped some of the fence. But Blundy escaped injury and his main thought was to get his car back on the track and running.

Jon Backlund of Kansas City took the second heat. Wagner fought another hard battle in trying to take second but had to settle for third as he kissed the wall coming in for the winning flag.

John Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa, shot into a good lead to start off the third event. But hard-driving Ralph Krafve from the dairy state of Wisconsin came from out of the darkness and into the light to nose Babb out. It was a great battle and Babb forged ahead to take the checkers.

Rain started to fall lightly, and officials decided to skip the consolation and try and get the main event in. All 21 cars were rapidly lined up and soon were off with the fall of the green signal.

The action was fast on the newly widened oval and Goodwin led the pack with Blundy moving all the way from 15th to third before the rain really started to come.

Results –

Heat #1 – Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.
Heat #2 – Jon Backlund, Kansas City
Heat #3 – John Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
Feature –
1. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
2. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
5. Dick Sutcliffe
6. Ron Perkins, Des Moines
7. David James, Garland, Tex.
8. Jon Backlund
9. John Babb
10.Ralph Parkinson Jr., Kansas City
11.Dale McCarty, Kansas City
12.Leonard McCarl, Des Moines
13.Ron Taylor, St. Louis
14.Bill Hudson, New Sharon, Iowa
15.Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
16.Wayne Rutherford, Bonaparte, Iowa
17.Tom Nordstrom, White Bear Lake, Minn.
18.Fran Wewers, Milwaukee

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

1975 – Chase, Sanger Capture ‘Twin 80’ Crown

Dave Chase

Des Moines, Iowa (May 26, 1976) - Dave Chase and Ed Sanger each won a feature Monday in the International Motor Contest Association “Twin 80” national late-model stock car races, but Sanger was convinced he should have been a double winner.

"I know I won it,” snapped Sanger, referring to the first race in which, he finished second to Chase. "I could go up and argue with the scorekeepers about it but that’s their job. I know that I won it, though".

In the first 80-lap feature at the Iowa State Fair Speedway finished in such confusion that it took the scorekeepers 20 minutes to figure out the first four places.

The commotion was caused by the mandatory pit stop each driver was to make. When a number of drivers pulled into the pits on the second lap during a caution flag, Sanger said that he stayed on the track and didn't pit until the last few laps.

Sanger insisted that he had passed Chase while he was in the pits and that when Sanger pitted Chase didn't pass him, thus making him the winner.

Sanger wasn't the only driver who wasn't sure of the outcome. Don Hoffman of Des Moines and Bill Schwader also were confused about the finish. But the official order showed Chase of Council Bluffs the winner, followed by Sanger, Hoffman, Schwader of Riverdale and Red Dralle of Waterloo.

Chase was just as sure he was the winner and was happy to go away with the $500 top prize. His margin of victory was nearly a half lap.

"I don't know why we ran so good,” said Chase who also was victorious in the trophy dash. "It (the car) was just handling beautifully.

“It felt like it was on asphalt," continued Chase. "It dug right into the turns and came right out in great shape."

In the trophy dash, Chase had the slowest qualifying speed of the six entrants, but he led all six laps for the triumph. Sanger was the runner-up and Stan Stover of Reinbeck was third.

Schwader, last season's IMCA point champion, posted the fastest time around the half-mile oval in his 1971 Torino, a backup car.

Schwader blew the engine in his new 1975 Torino Friday night, but felt that his older car might have had an advantage over the other entries.

"The great big engines running on a hard track are a detriment," he said. "They run good at night when the track isn't as hard, but my lighter one runs better with the hard track."

Sanger took over the first position in the second race when Stover was forced out with wheel trouble after leading the first 59 laps.

Following Sanger in the second feature were Hoffman, Roy McClellan of Riverside, Mo., Schwader and Tommy Edwards of Moore, Okla.

Race officials waived the mandatory pit stop rule in the final feature to avoid repeating the problems of the opener.

Results -

Feature #1 –

1. Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
3. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
4. Bill Schwader, Riverdale
5. Red Dralle, Waterloo
6. Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk
7. Bill Myers, Grand Island, Neb.
8. Ken Davidson, Des Moines
9. Roy McClellan, Riverside, Mo.
10.Dick Jensen, Aurora, Neb.
11.Tommy Taylor, Irving, Tex.
12.Fred Knapp, Des Moines
13.Tommy Edwards, Moore, Okla.
14.Connie Edwards, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Feature #2 –

1. Ed Sanger
2. Don Hoffman
3. Roy McClellan
4. Bill Schwader
5. Tommy Edwards
6. Jim Hansen, Des Moines
7. Red Dralle
8. Ken Davidson
9. Bill Myers
10.Tommy Taylor
11.Stan Stover
12.Dave Chase
13.Dick Jensen
14.Gordon Blankenship
15.Phil Reece, Des Moines

Monday, May 25, 2020

1963 - White edges Folse In Little 500

Johnny White (1) takes the high-side past Pete Folse (2) during the 1963 Little 500.

Anderson, Ind. (May 25, 1963) – Johnny White of Warren, Mich., won the 15th annual Little 500 staged at Sun Valley Speedway on Saturday night. However, he received some fine relief driving from Bob Coulter of Lakeside, Calif., for 177 laps.

White had been involved in a fascinating duel with Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla., until he slowed down to come in for a relief driver after 263 laps. The eventual winner had sustained a back injury at Winchester, Ind., on May 11 and that injury caused him to call for a relief driver.

Coulter came on to renew the duel with Folse after he had stepped in the Weinberger #1 machine. Coulter would make a pit stop on lap 419 which surprised the standing-room-only crowd of over 13,000 which witnessed the International Motor Contest Association-sanctioned classic. Coulter lost almost three laps during that pit stop which was made to allow White to resume driving.

With only 81 laps remaining to be run around the quarter-mile oval to complete the race, it appeared as though Folse had the win in his pocket. However, in what turned out to be the most fabulous "charging” ever shown by a driver at Sun Valley, White passed Folse no less than four times in the final 81 circuits to win by more than a one-lap margin.

Folse and his crew protested the victory, contending the #1 car had passed illegally during the race while the yellow light was showing, but the protest was disallowed.

The victory was White’s second in 15 running’s of the Little 500. He had won previously in 1957.

Defending champion Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., and Gordon Wooley of Waco, Tex., made it the closest Little 500 finish in history by staying in contention the whole distance. Knepper took third, while Wooley was fourth.

White picked up $2,507 out of a total purse of approximately $15,000.

Results –

1. Johnny White/Bob Coulter
2. Pete Folse
3. Arnie Knepper
4. Gordon Wooley
5. Al Smith
6. Greg Weld
7. Bob Davis
8. Buzz Gregory
9. Don O’Riley
10.Jim McCune
11.Vern Schmidt
12.Clare Lawicki
13.Roger Lane
14.Calvin Gilstrap
15.Ted Shackelford
16.Dave Robinson
17.Mickey McCormick
18.Jerry Richert
19.Jerry Daniels
20.Wilbur Robinson
21.Jerry Daniels
22.Don Brown
23.Dave Hollis
24.Larry Cannon
25.Bob Coulter
26.Dick Gaines
27.Jim Murphy
28.Dick Atkins

Sunday, May 24, 2020

1959 – Ernie Derr takes Badger 200

Ernie Derr

West Salem, Wis. (May 24, 1959) - Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, drove his 1957 Pontiac to a dusty victory Sunday afternoon in the Badger 200-lap race at the Inter-State Fair track near West Salem.

Derr’s time for the 100-mile distance was 1 hour, 57 minutes and 5 seconds. Pacing his car all the way, Derr came from the middle of the 19-car pack early in the race and was always a contender when not in the lead.

Derr took the lead for the last time on the 164th lap and held it when Newt Bartholomew of Carlisle, Iowa, piloting a 1957 Chevrolet, ran out of gas before the third turn to lose the lead.

Bartholomew signaled frantically for his pit crew, but couldn’t make the full lap back, which cost him additional time before he returned to action. He led from lap 129 to 164.

Nine of the 19 cars that started the race finished the competition before 4,000 spectators.

Dick Hutcherson, also of Keokuk driving a 1957 Pontiac, was the initial pace-setter for the first 13 circuits.

Then, Frank Richards of Cedar Rapids took his 1957 Chevrolet convertible into first place on lap 14 after Hutcherson experienced mechanical difficulties. Hutcherson re-entered the race later but was never a threat (finished 12th).

Richards led 47 laps before Derr captured his first lead on lap 61. Bartholomew and was behind Derr and Richards.

Richards pressed Derr, nearing the lead when his car pulled to the top of the track on lap 72 with a broke spindle. Richards, who recorded thee fastest time in qualifying with a time of 30.65 seconds, would come back later to finished 10th.

Derr would continue to lead until lap when Bartholomew made his bid for the top spot on lap 76. However, Bartholomew’s lead would be short-lived as Derr moved to the front of the field on lap 92.

From lap 92 to 125 Derr held the top spot. On lap 126 Derr and Bartholomew were wheel-to-wheel in front of the grandstand. Derr led on laps 127 and 128.

Bartholomew then staged his bid to grab the lead on lap 129. He held it until Derr took over for keeps on lap 164.

By the time he returned to action, Derr held a five-lap lead on Bartholomew. Bob Potter of Duluth, Minn., driving a 1959 Chevrolet, held second place. Potter - a hard-luck pilot with the International Motor Contest Association – then had problems of his own. He completed 184 lap before mechanical difficulty (broke rear-end housing) dropped him from second to a fourth-place finish, behind Bruce Nystrom of Oshkosh, Wis.

Bartholomew again stopped before the third turn, but he had 192 laps under his belt to clinch second place even though he couldn’t finish the race.

With the victory, Derr moved into first place in the IMCA standings. The previous leader, Ramo Stott of Keokuk, finished dead last after only completing 20 laps in his 1958 Ford.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
3. Bruce Nystrom, Oshkosh, Wis.
4. Bob Potter, Duluth, Minn.
5. Milo Van Oudenhoven, Appleton, Wis.
6. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
7. Pete Van Oudenhoven, Appleton, Wis.
8. J.R. McHugh, Green Bay, Wis.
9. Don MacDonald, Necedah, Wis.
10.Frank Richards, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
11.Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
12.Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
13.Bob Kosiskie, Omaha
14.Wally Stanton, Platteville, Wis.
15.Darrel Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
16.Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
17.Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
18.Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee
19.Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa

Saturday, May 23, 2020

1975 – Saldana, Snider share Indiana Fairground wins

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 23, 1975) – Joe Saldana and George Snider came away with victories, Larry Cannon suffered a broken back and John Hubbard lost all the way around in the United States Auto Club’s Hoosier Twin-50’s sprint car extravaganza at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Saldana smoked off with the opening feature and Snider romped in the nightcap before some 10,000 race fans who paid a $17,500 purse.

Cannon stopped the show and broke the four lower lumbar vertebrae in his back after flipping up onto the third turn wall on the third lap of the opener. “Boom Boom” who crashed in nearly the same spot a year ago, was pinned under the steering wheel for a short time but removed and taken to an area hospital. Doctors expect him to recover in approximately six to eight weeks.

Hubbard, whose racing evening ended before he could even run a semi, watched Cannon’s entire ride. He saw the wheel and the axle sail over the wall but what he didn’t see was where they landed – on his Mercedes. The windshield was shattered, the hood was flattened, and Hubbard was in shock.

Back on the racetrack, which was in poor condition, pole sitter Thad Dosher led the next two circuits following the red flag. Rollie Beale jumped ahead on the sixth lap and held on until Gary Bettenhausen got by him on the 15th circuit.

But Saldana, having a wonderful season in the sprints, took command on the next time around ad held off Beale, Pancho Carter, Bettenhausen and Snider to the checkered.

Round two was the best racing of the evening.

Pancho, still sore from his carburetion crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday, started third but bolted into the lead on the fourth turn.

And the defending USAC sprint car champion, who broke the track record in qualifying, battled Snider and Saldana low and high for 33 laps.

But Carter touched the wall between three and four and George and Joe sailed by. The impact flattened Pancho’s right rear tire and he was forced to park a couple of laps later.

Bettenhausen, who spun in the opener but stormed back to take fourth, did the same in the second 50-lapper. He lost it, fell back to 15th and then charge back to fifth. That’s where he was when he looped it again on lap 43, and Sammy Sessions, running sixth, hit the wall to avoid him. Sessions was forced out but okay, as was Gary.

Snider had no trouble stretching his advantage after the yellow and the race finished under the caution.

Beale was second, Saldana was third, Billy Cassella was fourth and Tommy Astone fifth. Cassella put on a brilliant drive, coming from his 18th starting position.

Results -

Feature #1 –

1. Joe Saldana
2. Rollie Beale
3. Pancho Carter
4. Gary Bettenhausen
5. George Snider
6. Tommy Astone
7. Sam Sessions
8. Larry Dickson
9. Steve Cannon
10.Ronnie Burke

Feature #2 –

1. George Snider
2. Rollie Beale
3. Joe Saldana
4. Billy Cassella
5. Tommy Astone
6. Ronnie Burke
7. Larry Dickson
8. Lee Osborne
9. Karl Busson
10.Bob Evans

Friday, May 22, 2020

1970 – Zwanziger Again at Hawkeye Downs

Bill Zwanziger

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 22, 1970) - “It’s fun” said Bill Zwanziger. And that may be one of the biggest understatements of the year in auto racing.

You see, Zwanziger’s “fun” involves a winning streak of eight straight events at Hawkeye Downs, including three feature triumphs, an incredible feat.

The 20-year racing veteran from Waterloo, piloting a 1970 Chevy Nova, kept his streak intact Friday night by capturing the 25-lap late-model stock car feature before a crowd of 3,963 at The Downs. The win was worth $300.

Bill also won the third heat and “B” semi events to mark the second straight week he's completed the “slam”. He began his streak three weeks ago by finishing the night with semi and feature wins. As a result, he's taken a commanding lead in the season point race.

“I’ve never had a streak like this before,” he smiled. “I know there can be lean times; things can change awfully quick.”

“The track was hard and slick tonight, but I like it that way. The car's just handling real well. We haven’t had to change a gear. If I want to run high, I can run high, and if I want to run low, I can run low.”

For the second week in a row, defending track champion Red Droste of Waterloo, also in a ’70 Nova, finished second to Zwanziger in the feature. Droste started 13th in the 16-car field and Zwanziger began in the 10th spot.

After Bill took the lead on the 19th lap it was clear sailing, but Red had his hands full with the likes of Glen Martin, Karl Sanger, Chub Liebe and Curt Hansen. It was a tight battle for the runner-up spot until Droste broke through the pact on the 22nd tour.

Martin, Sanger, Liebe and Hansen followed Droste across the finish line.

Hansen and Bill Beckman of Lisbon copped heat victories. Other wins went to Bill Barthelmes of Walker in the “A” semi and Larry Schulte of Cedar Rapids in the consolation.

Results –

Heat #1 – Bill Beckman, Lisbon
Heat #2 – Curt Hansen, Dike
Heat #3 – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
A-semi – Bill Barthelmes, Walker
B-semi – Bill Zwanziger
Consolation – Larry Schulte, Cedar Rapids
Feature –
1. Bill Zwanziger
2. Red Droste, Waterloo
3. Glen Martin, Independence
4. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
5. Chub Liebe, Oelwein
6. Curt Hansen
7. Tom Hughes, Monticello
8. John Webb, Independence
9. Perry Beckler, Tiffin
10.Al Mayner, Winthrop

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

1972 – Knoxville Super Win to Blundy

Jerry Blundy

Knoxville, Iowa (May 20, 1972) – Jerry Blundy found a sticky track surface to his liking as the veteran from Galesburg, Ill., set fast time, won his heat, and then took the 25-lap feature on the Marion County Fairgrounds’ half-mile Saturday night. Blundy took home $615 from the $2,500 prize money up for grabs.

The victory in the feature gave Blundy the point’s lead, moving him from third to first in the standings and knocking out previous leader Roger Rager of Lincoln, Neb.

Following Blundy in the feature was Bill Utz, the former blacksmith, now restaurateur, from Sedalia, Mo., Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln, Neb., Stacy Redmond of Mason City, Iowa and Steve Schultz of Chillicothe, Mo.

The track was fast, less than two hundredths of a second separated the top three in qualifying time trials. Blundy turned a 21.19 second lap, the second fastest of the year, for top honors. Rager had a 21.23 second lap and Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, last week’s fast qualifier, toured the oval in 21.35 seconds.

The 5-lap trophy dash went to Roger Larson. A recent winner at Topeka, Larson jumped to a big lead ahead of Lonnie Jensen and was never headed.

The feature was marred on the second lap when Daryl Dawley of Sioux Falls, S.D., cartwheeled his super-modified five times in between turns three and four. He ended up landing outside of the track on all four wheels. He was taken to a local area hospital for observation, but he did walk from the ambulance to the hospital.

Also involved in the collision were Rager, Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., and Jon Backlund of Kansas City. All three drivers were knocked out of the race.

Steve Shultz won the first 10-lap heat while Pleasantville, Iowa’s Earl Wagner was victorious in the second heat. Blundy’s victory came in the third heat.

Bill Utz won the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

Time trials – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill. (21.19)
Trophy dash – Roger Larson, Solomon, Kan.
Heat #1 – Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
Heat #2 – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Heat #3 – Jerry Blundy
Consolation – Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy
2. Bill Utz
3. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.
4. Stacy Redmond, Mason City, Iowa
5. Steve Schultz
6. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
7. Bill Robison, Topeka, Kan.
8. Earl Wagner
9. Roy Bryant, Wichita, Kan.
10.Ron Perkins, Des Moines

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1957 - 12,000 see Bob Burdick win Hawkeye 300

Bob Burdick

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 19, 1957) - The Burdick brothers, Bob and Bud, dominated the first annual Hawkeye 300 stock car race at the All-Iowa fairgrounds Sunday before a crowd of more than 12,000 fans.

Bob Burdick, a young IMCA veteran from Omaha, won both halves of the grueling 150-mile race and almost pushed his brother Bud, home to second place in the second of two 150-lap features.

The crowd that overflowed the Hawkeye Downs grandstand facilities despite cold temperatures and a threatening drizzle was kept warm throughout the three and-a-half hour program by some sizzling duels on the half-mile track and a series of accidents that dominated the second half of the longest stock race ever held in Iowa.

The most serious accident, however, occurred during the first half of the split feature. Arthur “Bud” Aitkenhead of Omaha, making his first IMCA start of the year, lost control of his car midway through the backstretch. He seemed to gain control as he neared the corner, but then his car spun and flipped twice. Aitkenhead was reported in good condition at Mercy Hospital early Monday.

His crash was only one of a series of mishaps that plagued the leaders in the two 150-lap tests.

Defending point champion Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa and Don White of Keokuk, a former champ who led part way in both halves of Sunday's race, both were eliminated in accident during the second half.

Beauchamp, who finished second in the first race, was leading the field at 67 laps of the second event after a long duel with White when he flipped at nearly the same spot in which Aitkenead was injured. Beauchamp stayed in the car and got back in t he race, but was flagged off the track after twice nearly sending Bob Burdick over the outside of the wall.

Promoter Frank Winkley chastised Beauchamp, who at first refused to leave the race, after reaching the pits. He complained that Burdick had been responsible for the two near accidents.

There were numerous other accidents in the final 150 laps, but none of them serious. White was well in front on the 96th lap when he suddenly lost out on the same turn that Beauchamp an Aitkenhead and battled with. He held control of his car, and came to rest against the outside guardrail.

Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., and Frank Richards of Marion, Iowa both did some fine driving to avoid serious accidents in the second half when front wheel eluded their cars in the main stretch. Chub Liebe of Oelwein, Iowa who did an outstanding job of driving to wind up second in the overall standings, missed crashing into Richard where his wheel was lost.

White did some fine driving in both halves of the race. He was in contention in the first 150-lap race when a tie-rod broke and his front wheels locked. He held control of the car and guided it into the pits.

In the meantime, Bob Burdick, driving his 1957 Ford, did some fine work in both halves to sweep the split event. He wound up the afternoon by giving an assist to brother Bud that almost brought Bud a second-place finish,

Bud was in second, over a lap ahead of Liebe, when his car ran low on fuel and began to smoke. He was in trouble with a lap and-a-half to go and brother Bob needed only to finish to score the sweep.

Bob suddenly pulled his car in behind his brother's machine and proceeded to push him a lap-and a half to the finish line. Race promoter Frank Winkley, however, ruled that it was illegal for another car to assist and took the lap away from Bud, giving second spot to Liebe.

The act of brotherly love may have cost Bud Burdick, since he might have held second if he was able to finish, even at a reduced speed.

Results -

Feature #1 -

1. Bob Burdick
2. Johnny Beauchamp
3. Chub Liebe
4. Bud Burdick
5. Lennie Funk
6. Herb Shannon
7. Bill Chennault
8. Russ Gross
9. Don Lewis
10. Shorty Ebert

Feature #2 -

1. Bob Burdick
2. Chub Liebe
3. Bud Burdick
4. Lennie Funk
5. Russ Gross
6. Earl Ness
7. Al Warrender
8. Shorty Ebert
9. Tubby Harrison
10. Clarence Bolton

Monday, May 18, 2020

1979 - Cannon tops USAC Midgets at Santa Fe

Willow Springs, Ill. (May 18, 1979) – Steve Cannon captured his first USAC midget feature win of the year at Santa Fe Speedway on Friday night.

It was the 20th career feature triumph in the division for the 38-year-old resident of Danville, Ill.

Steve Lotshaw charged into the lead of the 30-lap event and remained in front until lap 4 when Cannon, who had started eighth, took over for good.

Rich Vogler, the division’s defending driving champion, was second at the finish followed by Lonnie Caruthers in third, Johnnie Parsons Jr. in fourth and Lotshaw taking fifth.

Cannon’s triumph prevented Caruthers from scoring a sweep in the program. Caruthers had opened the evening by setting fast time with a 14.52-second effort in qualifications and then won the first heat.

Results –

Fast time – Lonnie Caruthers (14.52)
Heat one – Lonnie Caruthers
Heat two – Stan Fox
Heat three – Rich Vogler
Heat four – Tommy Thomas
Semi-main – Mel Kenyon
Feature –
1. Steve Cannon
2. Rich Vogler
3. Lonnie Caruthers
4. Johnnie Parsons Jr.
5. Steve Lotshaw
6. Mel Kenyon
7. Tom Corcoran
8. Jerry Weeks
9. Sleepy Tripp
10. Ken Biertzer
11. Ron Mullen
12. Wes Stafford
13. Bob Wente Jr.
14. Gary Lynch
15. Bob Bennett
16. Kevin Olson
17. Rick Duman
18. Stan Fox
19. Dave Stoltz
20. Tommy Thomas

Saturday, May 16, 2020

1975 - McWithey recalls days as Indianapolis 500 driver

Jim McWithey - 1959

Anderson, Ind. (May 16, 1975)- The city of Anderson can point with great pride the accomplishments of several area athletes who have participated in the professional ranks Carl Erskine, Joe Campbell and Kenny Johnson are probably recalled the quickest in the minds of our sport oriented citizens.

Jim McWithey, one of the better race drivers of the late fifties and early sixties, has also brought recognition to our town.

Born on July 4, 1927, this natural firecracker starter his brilliant career in 1949 with the roaring roadsters of the Mutual Racing Association here in Anderson.

He stayed with the MRA for three years where he ran in three “Little 500’s” finishing third in one, fifth in another and dropped out of the third race with some bent equipment.

McWithey then turned to the sprint curs as a driver for Diz Wilson on the Central States Racing Association circuit. After a successful year with this group Jim moved up to the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) where he set track records at Memphis, St. Paul and Des Moines.

After winning several features during his days with IMCA, Jim decided to turn to the USAC trail. With the USAC Sprint Division he became one of the top competitors setting records at such tracks as Salem, Terre Haute, and Winchester in Indiana, and Reading and Williams Grove in Pennsylvania. Jim was almost unbeatable on the dirt at Langhorne.

One of Jim’s victories that still stand out came at Terre Haute's half-mile dirt oval on August 16, 1959, when McWithey won the feature beating out seven-time sprint car champion Tommy Hinnershitz. Ed Elision finished third in that event. A year earlier at the same track on June 22, Jim set a new track record of 24.03 seconds in qualifying, a time that would be fast enough to get into any feature today. He then won the first heat and finished third in the feature behind Eddie Sachs and Hinnershitz.

During his USAC sprint car days he finished fifth in point standings in 1957 and third the next two years. Jim drove the Columbus, Indiana Auto Supply Store car in ‘57 and wheeled the Bob Estes owned sprinter in ‘58 and ’59. The chief mechanic for the Estes’ car was Jud Phillips who later turned the wrenches for Bobby Unser's winning machine at the 1988 Indy 500.

McWithey's first championship ride came at Indianapolis in 1957. Because of the wet month that year, Jim did not get to practice enough in the Dayton Steel Foundry Special, so he did not qualify for the race. He came back in 1958 and crashed the Federal Engineering Special during qualifications. In 1959 he joined the Ray Brady team out of Norristown, Pennsylvania, with Bill Cheesman his crew chief. Jim qualified his roadster in the 33rd and final spot and then impressed a lot of people with a fine 13th place showing. This gained him membership in the elite 100 mph club of which there is only 67 living members.

Again in 1960 Jim started on the tail of the Indy field and completed 66 laps before a broken brake line on the beautiful orange Hoover Motor Express Special forced him out of the event. He ran the Hoover car on the championship trail that year and finished the season 8th in point standings.

In 1961, Jim ran a limited number of championship races and finished 16th in the point chase. In the fall of ’61, a bothersome thyroid condition ended his driving career. He was never injured in a racing related accident with his most serious wreck coming at DeGraff, Ohio, when he flipped a roadster while racing with the Mutual Racing Association.

With over a 100 career wins to his credit, Jim was truly one of the best to ever strap himself into a race car.

“Of all the drivers I ran against,” recalls Jim. “I believe A.J. Foyt was the best overall. Don Branson was perhaps the best sprint driver with Tommy Hinnershitz being right up there with the best. Of today’s drivers on the sprint trail, Larry Dickson is about the best around. He proved that when he broke Branson's record for feature wins.”

Asked to compare the drivers of his days with today’s drivers Jim claims, “The drivers I ran against would all do well in today's races. The equipment we used was much heavier and harder to handle than today's cars. I really don't believe the speeds on the sprint trail have increased all that much, although today's cars are so much safer.”

His most exciting moment in auto racing?

“Qualifying for the Indy 500 is about as big a thrill as a race driver can have. Being able to finish the race and gaining membership in the 100 mph club is something that doesn't happen to everyone, so this was just as exciting.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

1965 – Nashville ARCA 300 to Bowsher

Nashville, Tenn. (May 15, 1965) – Jack Bowsher drove his 1965 Ford to an easy victory in the 300-lap Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) new car race at Fairground Speedway Saturday afternoon.

A crowd of 5,592 fans saw the Springfield, Ohio, native swap the lead with Dick Freeman twice before grabbing it for good on the 201st turn of the high-banked half-mile.

Bowsher set a record-breaking pace of 72 miles per hour in the almost caution free race that saw the yellow appear only three times for 11 laps. Bowsher, who has now won three straight races here, held the old mark of 69.7 miles per hour set in 1964.

Jack earned the pole position yesterday afternoon when he qualified at an average speed of 78.7 miles per hour.

Bowsher led for the first six laps, relinquishing the front spot to Freeman when he got tangled up in traffic.

Freeman, driving Bowsher’s old 1964 Ford, stayed ahead until Bowsher overtook him on lap 26.

When Bowsher made a 53-second pit stop on lap 153, Freeman assumed the lead again. Freeman would pit a lap later but required only 28 seconds to fuel up. Bowsher’s delay in the pits was caused when his crew had trouble taking off the gas cap. A screw driver finally had to be employed.

Freeman stayed in front until lap 200 when Bowsher passed him on the backstretch.

Not sure whether he was still a lap behind, Bowsher would pass Freeman again for good measure, nailing down the victory.

Results –

1. Jack Bowsher
2. Dick Freeman
3. Bobby Watson
4. Iggy Katona
5. Jerry Bowsher
6. Benny Parsons
7. Les Snow
8. Hank Teeters
9. Paul Wensink
10. Shad Wheeler
11. Jesse Griffith
12. Clyde Parker
13. Charley Binkley
14. Bill Clemons
15. La Marr Marshall
16. Namon Martin
17. Dennis Reinner
18. Elmer Davis
19. Jack Shanklin
20. Joe Burkhardt

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

1963 – Crowe is USAC Sprint Winner

Allen Crowe is surrounded by well-wishers after scoring his first career USAC sprint car victory. - Steve Estes Collection 

Rossburg, Ohio (May 12, 1963) – Allen Crowe of Springfield, Ill., won Sunday's United States Auto Club national sprint car series race while Indianapolis Speedway record smasher Parnelli Jones watched helplessly from the infield.

Jones, who drove a lap at 152.027 miles an hour on the Memorial Day "500" track Saturday, was forced out of action Sunday when his car's crankshaft broke before he could complete his first qualifying lap.

Crowe, 34, took the lead on the 16th lap of the 30-lap feature over the approximately half-mile oval and pulled away from Chuck Hulse of Downey, Calif., finishing a quarter-lap ahead.

The winning time was 10 minutes 14.61 seconds.

First place, including heat money, was worth $850 to Crowe – who has three youngsters to support.

Al Miller of Roseville, Mich., treated the crowd of 3,800 to an impressive performance when he finished third after starting 11th.

Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., won the pole position as the fastest qualifier, doing one lap in 18.77 seconds, but settled for fourth place in the main event.

Results –

1. Allen Crowe
2. Chuck Hulse
3. Al Miller
4. Roger McCluskey
5. Zeke England
6. Mickey Shaw
7. Jiggs Peters
8. Roy Robbins
9. Troy Ruttman
10.Steve Stapp

Sunday, May 10, 2020

1972 - Moss tops Oskaloosa field

Oskaloosa, Iowa (May 10, 1972) – John Moss of Iowa City was the victor at the Southern Iowa Speedway on Wednesday night. A record breaking field of car was on hand as 72 cars participated in the evening’s events before a capacity crowd of enthusiastic fans. Because of the great crowd, the driver’s payoff, originally set at $3,000, was raised to $3,585.

“Big” John grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and held on the entire race for the feature win in the upper stock division. Moss had a fair size lead on the rest of the 20-car field when the checkers came out.

At the initial start Moss did not have the lead as newcomer Jim Gerber of Long Grove jumped in front only to have that nullified by a red flag when four cars had a mix-up between turns three and four.

The original restart gave Moss the chance he needed, and he was on his toes when the green flag dropped a second time.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, in his first appearance at Oskaloosa, finished a distant second behind Moss. Both drivers were piloting Plymouths.

Holding down the third spot was last week’s winner, Don Hoffman of Des Moines. Hoffman held off Stott until the final few laps when Stott managed to pass him.

Rounding out the top five finishers were Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, and Jim Gerber of Long Grove, Iowa.

Joe Merryfield of Des Moines had a look at starter Jack Thompson’s black flag when he lost his hood in the last third of the race. Joe was holding fourth place when he was forced to pull out of the race.

Hoffman, Moss, Gerber and Stott were heat winners. Because of the large number of cars, it was decided that two consolations would be run. Bob Hilmer of Dysart won the first consolation while Dan Clement of Rhodes grabbed the second.

In sportsman action, Cliff Van Zandt of Des Moines won the 10-lap feature.

Results –

Heat #1 – Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Heat #2 – John Moss, Iowa City
Heat #3 – Jim Gerber, Long Grove
Heat #4 – Ramo Stott, Keokuk
Consolation #1 – Bob Hilmer, Delhi
Consolation #2 – Dan Clement, Rhodes
Feature –
1. John Moss
2. Ramo Stott
3. Don Hoffman
4. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
5. Jim Gerber
6. Ron Prymek, Iowa City
7. Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
8. Curt Hansen, Dike
9. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
10.Pokey West, West Chester

Saturday, May 9, 2020

1982 - Green wins Stoneking Memorial

Burlington, Iowa (May 9, 1982) – Native Californian Tim Green, driving the Bob Trostle sprinter out of Des Moines, flew to victory in the 20-lap main event during the 4th annual Dick Stoneking Memorial on Sunday at 34 Raceway.

The sprint car main started out on the wrong foot as Ned Fry of Burlington, Iowa, ran high coming out of turn four and hit the front straightaway wall hard, putting him out of action for the evening.

On the second restart, Green, starting inside of row two, dove to the inside and grabbed the lead in turn one. Tom Corbin of Carrollton, Mo., tucked himself behind Green and would follow him the remainder of the race.

Galen Martin of Fairfield, Iowa, the trophy dash winner, finished third, defending sprint car champion Cliff Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., took fourth and Jim Hetrick of Gladstone, Ill., was scored in fifth.

Results –

Time trials – Tim Green, Carmichael, Calif.
Trophy dash – Galen Martin, Fairfield, Iowa
Heat one – Mike Thomas, Des Moines
Heat two – Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
Feature –
1. Tim Green
2. Tom Corbin
3. Galen Martin
4. Cliff Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Jim Hetrick, Gladstone, Ill.
6. Bill Hetrick, Carmen, Ill.
7. Bobby Ensminger, Burlington, Iowa
8. Mike Thomas
9. Larry Wilson, Industry, Ill.
10. Randy Plath, Burlington, Iowa

Thursday, May 7, 2020

1972 – Derr cops Sedalia USAC race

Sedalia, Mo. (May 7, 1972) – Ernie Derr, the 46-year-old driving veteran from Keokuk, Iowa, drove to victory Sunday afternoon in the 100-lap United States Auto Club late model stock car race before a rain-threatened crowd of 4,200.

It was a struggle of 73 laps for Derr, the 12-time national champion of the IMCA circuit, who started on the front row and was never worse than third place during the race.

A three-car tangle on lap 73 – one of the cars was driven by Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, who was in the lead at the time – a spinout by Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, who was in second place – allowed Derr to retake the top spot.

It was easy sailing the remaining quarter of the race for Derr, piloting a 1970 Dodge Charger.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, another IMCA veteran, finished second in a ’71 Plymouth Roadrunner. Third was Bowsher in a ’71 Torino. The first three finishers completed the 50 miles of racing on the half-mile dirt oval.

Bowsher, who set quick time in qualifying with a time of 25.64 seconds, and Derr, who timed in at 25.70 seconds, started in the front row. Both drivers bettered Derr’s previous quick time of 25.71 seconds, set on August 6, 1970.

Derr made a daring move in the fourth turn to pass Bowsher on the first lap and the Iowan led the first five circuits. Bowsher, displaying great driving skill, took the lead from Derr on lap 6 and led through the 68th time around. Blankenship, who charged the entire time he was in the race, then slipped past Bowsher on the low side coming off of turn four, hitting the Ohioan on the left front and putting him into the cement retaining wall. Bowsher recovered to hold second place.

On lap 73, two slower cars that had been lapped several times tangled in the third turn. Blankenship had no room to maneuver and crashed into both cars and the fence.

Bowsher, in close pursuit, deliberately spun his car to avoid all three, which he did. Derr saw it all, slipped by all four drivers on the low side, and won going away. Janey also eased past Bowsher and went on to claim second.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, the 1971 ARCA champion, had the fifth fastest qualifying time but blew an engine midway through the race after holding fourth the entire distance. Butch Hartman, a rising star in the USAC ranks, suffered a broken rear axle and limped to the finish.

Because of the overall conditions, the entire field of 27 cars was place in the feature. The drivers drove for an estimated $8,500 purse of which Derr collected $1,700.

“I want to win them all,” Derr said after the race. “This one doesn’t mean any more than any of the others. I do think some of the guys out there were running a little over their heads and we’re trying to make it a 100-lap trophy dash.”

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
4. Bud Schroyer, Toledo, Ohio
5. Terry Ryan, Davenport, Iowa
6. Ken Reiter, Louisville, Ky.
7. Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
8. Paul Feldner, Richfield, Wis.
9. Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill.
10.Jim Tobin, Bloomington, Ill.
11.Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
12.Paul Sizemore, Terre Haute, Ind.
13.Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
14.Bernie Ford, St. Louis, Mo.
15.Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
16.Sal Tovella, Addison, Ill.
17.Roland Early, Toledo, Ohio
18.Bill Davis, Chesterton, Ind.
19.Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
20.Lefty Robinson, Des Moines

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

1973 – Des Moines, Knoxville Tracks Open Season

Des Moines, Iowa (May 5, 1973) - The 1973 spring racing season got under way this weekend with a record opening night crowd reported at the Iowa State Fairgrounds’ half-mile track.

More than 11,300 spectators were on hand to see Dave Bjorge win the 25-lap feature race. Bjorge, racing for the first time in Des Moines, had the pole position and led throughout the race, driving a 1972 Monte Carlo.

The Austin, Minn., driver defeated Sonny Morgan of Blue Earth, Minn., who was second and Ken Davidson of Council Bluffs who was third.

In the 15-lap sportsman event, Ken Gerhart of Des Moines took the lead in the fifth lap and went on to edge Fred Knapp of Des Moines. Glen Woodard finished third.

At Knoxville, Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., won the 25-lap feature, Dick Sutcliffe of Kansas City, Mo., finished second, Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., third, and Darrell Dawley of Sioux Falls, S.D., fourth.

Other winners included Thad Dosher of Topeka, Kan., in the time trials, Dawley in the five-lap trophy dash, Roger Rager of Lincoln, Neb., in the 10-lap first heat, Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., in the 10-lap second heat, Larry Kirkpatrick of Wood River, Ill., in the 10-lap third heat and Lonnie Jensen in the 10-lap consolation event.

Monday, May 4, 2020

1968 – Derr Cops Feature at Des Moines

Des Moines feature winner Ernie Derr receives the trophy from promoters Homer Melton (l) and Johnny Beauchamp. 

Des Moines, Iowa (May 4, 1968) – Despite 40-degree weather, over 9,500 fans turned out to watch Ernie Derr and his 1967 Dodge Charger to win the 25-lap late model feature at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

Derr, one-half of the Keokuk Komets two-some, fought off three cars, during most of the race. Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, piloting a 1967 Dodge formerly owned by Derr, Ramo Stott, the other half of the Keokuk duo, and Dean Montgomery of Milan, IL, were involved in the nip and tuck battle.

Derr moved into the lead on the second lap and never gave up. Numerous times, Eaker was close on his tail, but he never got around the eight-time International Motor Contest Association champion.

Eaker dropped back to third, letting Montgomery and his 1967 Chevelle move into second, and then fell down to fourth, letting Stott in his 1967 Plymouth, climb to third.

Derr started the evening on the right foot, winning the first heat while Eaker won the second heat. A newcomer to the Des Moines oval, Stan Stover of Reinbeck, won the 15-lap semi-main.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
2. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
3. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
4. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
5. Dick Nesteby, Dubuque
6. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
7. Darrel Dake, Cedar Rapids
8. John Connolly, Delhi
9. Fred Horn, Marion
10.Buzz McCann, St. Paul, Minn.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

1974 - Jim Sauter wins La Crosse opener

Jim Sauter

West Salem, Wis. (May 3, 1974) – Jim Sauter of Necedah piloted his 1973 Chevrolet Nova to the checkered flag in the 25-lap feature race at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway opener here last night.

Sauter grabbed the lead from Rich Somers of Stevens Point on the 20th lap, then held on the final five laps for the win.

Johnny Brevik of Fairchild kept his ‘70 Ford Mustang in the lead for the first four laps of the feature, before relinquishing the top spot to eventual runner-up Somers who rode his ‘73 Mustang to the lead for the next 15 laps before succumbing to Sauter.

Wausau’s Larry Detjens wheeled his ’73 Dodge Challenger to third place while Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa drove his '74 Chevrolet Camaro to fourth. Don James of Bloomington, Minn., rounded out the top five in his ’72 Chevrolet Chevelle.

“I was running pretty well, but it was really tight.” said Sauter of the close four-car finish. “Everything is closer now with less engine and more weight.”

A new rule this season contends there must be eight pounds of weight for every cubic inch of engine displacement.

Sauter coupled his feature win along with a first in the five-car fast dash He took a third in the third stock heat and was the evening's second fast timer behind Marzofka who turned the 5/8-mile oval in 21.209 seconds.

When asked if he had any changes in store for his pony car Sauter said. “No, it's running real well right now.”

Brevik won the first stock heat while Bob Jusola of Burnsville, Minn., won the second stock heat in his ’72 Nova. The 6-lap non-money winner’s race was won by Larry Behrens of Northfield Minn., in a ’73 Camaro.

Results –

1. Jim Sauter, Necedah
2. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
3. Larry Detjens, Wausau
4. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
5. Don James, Bloomington, Minn.
6. Don Grant, La Crosse
7. Jay Hebert, Hopkins, Minn.
8. Jim Derhaag, Minneapolis
9. Johnny Brevik, Fairchild
10.Larry Behrens, Northfield, Minn.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

1982 - Senneker takes ASA 'Badgerland 150'

Milwaukee, Wis. (May 2, 1982) – Bob Senneker continued a long string of successes at the Milwaukee Mile by winning the ASA-AMSOIL Racing Series ‘Badgerland 150’ edging Alan Kulwicki by a narrow half-second margin that capped a spectacular late race duel.

The final 20 miles of the 150-mile event saw Senneker’s ’81 Camaro and Kulwicki’s ’82 Firebird just inches apart in an all-out scrap.

Mike Eddy was third and Butch Miller was fourth. Bobby Dotter was fifth, a lap off the pace for his best-ever ASA finish; Minnesota’s Mel Whalen drove an inspired race to finish sixth, and the top ten was filled out by Harold Fair, Billy Kuhn, rookie Kent Stauffer, and Rusty Wallace.

For Senneker, the win – an unpreceded 36th in American Speed Association competition – offered welcome relief from a skein of early season misfortune, including a massively damaging first-lap crash at Nashville and a flame ride at Atlanta when an oil filter exploded onto hi headers.

“I would have been happy just to finish,” Senneker commented after the race. “But to win is frosting on the cake.”

Senneker collected $6,000 of a $39,425 purse for the win, his third out of six ASA 150-mile events at Milwaukee since 1978. He has completed 100% of a possible 600 miles in competition during that time.

Results –

1. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
2. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee, Wis.
3. Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
4. Butch Miller, Lawton, Mich.
5. Bobby Dotter, Chicago
6. Mel Whalen, Shakopee, Minn.
7. Harold Fair, Livonia, Mich.
8. Billy Kuhn, Frankfort, Ill.
9. Kent Stauffer, Elyria, Ohio
10. Rusty Wallace, Valley Park, Mo.
11. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
12. Buddy Schrock, North Liberty, Ind.
13. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
14. Tom Harrington, Loveland, Ohio
15. Dennis Lampman, Oak Creek, Wis.
16. Dennis Vogel, Manitowoc, Wis.
17. Mark Hall, Kansas City
18. Rick Hanley, Dousman, Wis.
19. Dave Jensen, Independence, Mo.
20. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
21. Ed Evans, West Allis, Wis.
22. Don Ely, Kingman, Kan.
23. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
24. Gene Mathu, Luxemburg, Wis.
25. Jack Drolema, Grand Rapids, Mich.
26. Bobby Tinkham, Youngstown, Ohio
27. Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
28. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.

Friday, May 1, 2020

1976 – Jan Opperman is Hulman Winner

Jan Opperman en route to a Hulman Classic victory.

Terre Haute, Ind. (May 1, 1976) – Jan Opperman, the one-time “outlaw” super star won the sixth annual Tony Hulman Classic at Terre Haute’s Action Track here Saturday.

Opperman, driving the Speedway Motors sprinter, led the entire 40 laps to pocket $11,149 for his effort. Opperman also moved into fourth place in the USAC sprint car standings with the win. Larry Dickson, who finished 10th Saturday, still leads the standings with 132 points. Second-place finisher Pancho Carter is second with 117 points.

Although leading every lap, the Noxon, Mont., minister had his hands full, due to a persistent Carter. Carter, last year’s winner, started sixth but moved to second in two laps. Carter was able to pull right behind Opperman on each of the three yellow flags which slowed the field. But each time the race was green-flagged Opperman jumped out in front. Opperman’s car, performing beautifully, was just too much for his foes.

At the finish line Opperman was greeted with the red and checkered flag simultaneously due to a final lap accident involving Chuck Gurney. Gurney exited the track by flipping over the turn two guard rail. He was pulled from his car semi-consciously and rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was reported to be badly shaken but not seriously injured.

For Opperman, it was his first USAC victory of the young season. Following Jan across the finish line were: Carter, Bubby Jones, Dana Carter, Pancho’s younger brother, and Bruce Walkup, a former Hulman Classic winner.

The best effort of the day was recorded by Sheldon Kinser of Bloomington. The former Tri-State Speedway champ started in 16th position and wheeled his Grant King sprinter to a sixth-place finish.

Opperman, Billy Cassella, Roger Rager and James McElreath were heat winners. Bruce Walkup took the semi-feature while Johnny Parsons Jr. won a consolation race for those not making the feature event.

Results – 

1. Jan Opperman
2. Duane Carter
3. Bubby Jones
4. Dana Carter
5. Bruce Walkup
6. Chuck Gurney
7. Sheldon Kinser
8. Rollie Beale
9. Billy Cassella
10.Larry Dickson
11.Karl Busson
12.Tom Bigelow
13.Roger Rager
14.Kenny Weld
15.Lee Osborne