Tuesday, June 30, 2020

1973 – Prymek wins West Liberty race

Ron Prymek

West Liberty, Iowa (June 30, 1973) - Ron Prymek, Iowa City, captured the checkered flag, winning the feature event at Saturday night’s Mississippi Valley Speed Club stock car races at West Liberty.

The lead position changed several times throughout the race, giving the large crowd of spectators much excitement Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, started in the pole position and led until a re-start on the first lap.

On the re-start, Niffenegger and Mel Morris, West Liberty, ran neck and neck, until another re-start after Larry Rummelhart, Riverside, lost a wheel and went into the first turn wall.

With three laps down, Morris took the lead, with Niffenegger and Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree, both on his tail, four cars piled up in the second turn. Morris hung onto the lead until the 19th lap, when he experienced difficulties and Ron Prymek slipped over the finish line to win the race.

Prymek had run in the second position for several laps after Niffenegger spun out on the 19th lap and Hemsted was sidelined with mechanical difficulties on the seventh lap.

Niffenegger started the evening by setting the fastest time at 26.02 seconds. Morris was second at 26.87 seconds and Hemsted third.

The fast car dash saw Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill., power his way to victory for his first trophy of the season. Niffenegger started in the back of the pack in the first heat, and with superb driving, captured the first heat checkers.

Morris took honors for the second heat and in the third heat it was nip and tuck for Prymek and Rummelhart, with Rummelhart awarded the victory by a nose a t the finish line. Dave Dodder, Letts, came up with the semi-main victory.

Results –

Heat #1 – Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
Heat #2 – Mel Morris, West Liberty
Heat #3 – Larry Rummelhart, Riverside
Trophy dash – Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill.
Semi-main – Dave Dodder, Letts
Feature –
1. Ron Prymek, Iowa City
2. Jim Gerber, Long Grove
3. Mel Morris
4. Ed Mellecker, Iowa City
5. Bob Helm
6. Mike Niffenegger
7. Perry Beckler, Tiffin
8. Wayne Settles
9. Mark Colberg, Muscatine
10.Phil Larsen

Monday, June 29, 2020

1969 - Bettenhausen Winner in USAC Sprint Race

Gary Bettenhausen, driving Willie Davis' #2, battles with nemesis Larry Dickson at New Bremen. - Ken Coles Photo

New Bremen, Ohio (June 29, 1969) – Gary Bettenhausen led from start to finish here Sunday to notch his second United States Auto Club sprint car victory of the season, joining Larry Dickson as the only driver with two wins.

Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill., thus strengthened his hold on second place in the point standings behind Dickson.

Jim Malloy of Denver, Colo., drove a brilliant race to finish second after starting in 10th position. Malloy, like Bettenhausen a veteran of the Indianapolis 500, steadily moved through the field, passing Mike Mosley, who placed third on the 26th lap. He could not, however, catch Bettenhausen who had a three-car-length lead.

Sam Sessions of Nashville, Mich., and Rollie Beale of Toledo, Ohio, ran fourth and fifth, respectively. Dickson, the defending sprint car champion, worked his way up from 14th starting position to sixth.

Also turning in an outstanding performance was Doc Dawson of Lima, Ohio, who finished eighth after starting 19th. Dawson nearly missed the feature but an accident on the last lap of thee semi-feature eliminated two of the leaders and he was able to move into the fifth spot to claim a berth in the feature.

Fast qualifier Cy Fairchild of Saginaw, Mich., was an accident victim twice in the feature. Fairchild, who turned a lap of 18.10 seconds for the best time of the day, rode up over the wheels of another car in a first-lap tangle on the second turn, but he was able to make repairs and got back into the race.

On the fifth lap, Al Smith, Todd Gibson and Fairchild, who were all battling for third place, mixed it up on the third turn with all three being knocked out of competition. On the 20th lap, Tom Bigelow, another strong contender, was eliminated in a crash in the second turn.

Heat wins went to Fairchild, Mosley and Beale while Bill Puterbaugh took the semi-feature on a spectacular note as second and third place drivers Wib Spalding and Don Nordhorn hit the wall on the front straight-away just short of the finish line.

Results –

1. Gary Bettenhausen
2. Jim Malloy
3. Mike Mosley
4. Sam Sessions
5. Rollie Beale
6. Larry Dickson
7. Bill Koepfer
8. Doc Dawson
9. Jim Hines
10.Arnie Knepper
11.Don Brown
12.Carl Williams
13.Nolan Johncock
14.Bruce Walkup
15.Lennie Waldo
16.Tom Bigelow
17.Todd Gibson
18.Al Smith
19.Cy Fairchild

Sunday, June 28, 2020

1978 – Shryock Grabs ‘Race Days’ Title

Bob Shryock is joined by "Race Days" Queen Annie Morris after the Estherville, Iowa, driver won the 30-lap late model feature - Margaret Gardner Photo

Alta, Iowa (June 28, 1978) – For Bob Shryock, you knew it had to happen before too long. The Estherville, Iowa, race veteran put it all together Wednesday night and walked away with the top prize in the fourth annual “Race Days” special at Buena Vista County Raceways.

“This is our first win of the season down here,” said a fatigued but happy Shryock following the win. “It’s a great win for the guys who work on the car all week, and for our sponsors.”

Shryock, driving a Camaro, started the race on the inside of the fourth row, and patiently worked his way into the third position by lap 7. On the following lap, Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, lost a front bumper coming out of turn four, puncturing his oil pan and forcing the red flag to come out.

On the ensuing restart, the crafty Shryock sailed past early leader Arnie Braland of Boone, Iowa, and second-place Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, to take the lead, a position he would hold the remainder of the 30-lap event.

“The car worked well up there tonight,” commented Shryock of his move on the restart. There was a little bump between turns one and two, and I was able to work on the high side, while Arnie and Tom stayed down low. The car stuck in there real well for me.”

From there on in, it was a two-car sprint to the finish, with Shryock holding off Braland’s Camaro for the bumper-to-bumper victory. Bill Rice of Des Moines, winner of the 1975 “Race Days” finished third while Bartholomew took fourth. Waterloo, Iowa’s Dan Nesteby rounded out the top-five.

Late model heat races were won by Bruce Sommerfeld, Braland, and Bill Christman. Braland stormed the trophy dash win with Willy Kraft taking the checkers in the B-main.

Results –

1. Bob Shryock, Estherville
2. Arnie Braland, Boone
3. Bill Rice, Des Moines
4. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo
5. D. Arthur Nesteby, Waterloo
6. Denny Hovinga. Pocohontas
7. Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
8. Al Druesdow, Omaha
9. Greg Davis, Boone
10. Frank Jorgenson, Carroll 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

1976 - Moore outruns Senneker in Dayton ASA Century

Larry Moore

Dayton, Ohio (June 27, 1976) – What started out as an eight-way duel ended up as a ding-dong two-man battle between Larry Moore of Huber Heights, Ohio and Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich.

Moore edged the “Bluebird” in a bumper-to-bumper 100-lap classic which highlighted the American Speed Association’s late model show Sunday afternoon at Dayton Speedway.

Neal Sceva of Urbana, Ohio, paced the main event for 15 laps on the high-banked, half-mile asphalt oval before the motor let go in his 1970 Mustang and he was out of business.

Rodney Combs of Mason, Ohio, who had his Don Thompson-prepared 1973 Camaro in second spot all the way, grabbed the lead at that point, followed by Senneker, Moore, Jerry Makara of Westland, Mich., John Anderson of Warren, Mich., and NASCAR ace Bobby Allison of Hueytown, Ala.

On lap 25, Moore shot his 1973 Camaro, another Thompson-owned machine, around both Senneker and Combs to take the lead. Combs held on to second with Senneker running third.

The running order was altered on lap 29 when Anderson went to the sidelines with a sick engine.

Moore held a substantial lead with Combs and Senneker battling for second until Combs’ machine began overheating and he headed for the pit area on lap 52. He later returned to action but ran only a total of 64 laps before being sidelined for good.

Senneker then set sail for Moore and even though he was banging on Moore’s bumper the final 40 laps of the chase, he couldn’t overhaul the hard-charging Ohioan.

Mike Eddy of Kawkawlin, Mich., who had been in the top five almost al day following Sceva’s departure, wound up third, one lap behind the two frontrunners, and gained enough points to take over leadership of the ASA point’s battle.

Ray Fullen of Anderson, Ind., five laps down at the finish, took fourth with Glen Ohlmann of Louisville, Ky., winding up fifth.

Moore was fast qualifier in time trials with a one-lap clocking of 17.808 seconds.

Results –

1. Larry Moore, Huber Heights, Ohio
2. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
3. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
4. Ray Fullen, Anderson, Ind.
5. Glen Ohlmann, Louisville, Ky.
6. Ron Reedy, Middletown, Ohio
7. Robin Schildknecht, Louisville, Ky.
8. L.J. Lines, Greensboro, Ind.
9. Carl Seward, Sharonville, Ohio
10.Dave Sorg, Fort Wayne, Ind.
11.Jim Brandenburg, Springfield, Ohio
12.Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.

Friday, June 26, 2020

1982 – Springfield Sprint Flag Shirley’s First in USAC

Dean Shirley

Springfield Ill. (June 26, 1982) – Hometown favorite Dean Shirley, a veteran of the outlaw sprint and midget circuits, posted his first career United States Auto Club feature victory Saturday night, with a wire-to-wire win in the sprint car headliner at the Springfield Speedway.

Shirley’s most serious threat evaporated on the ninth circuit of the 30-lap contest, when defending division titlist Sheldon Kinser, who was running second on the inside and gaining on the leader, jumped the cushion and hit the fence in the fourth turn.

The incident obviously disturbed the handling qualities of Kinser’s Chevy and dropped him back to a seventh-place finish.

Shirley, who started on the pole, stayed in the low groove all the way and won with relative ease over runner-up Larry Rice.

Rich Vogler came up with a great outside-groove drive from his 17th starting position to finish third despite nudging the fence between turns three and four midway through the race.

Another local favorite, Jim Moughan Jr., finished fourth ahead of Danny Milburn.

Dick Vant escaped injury when he rolled his Chevy in the first turn on the opening lap of the second heat.

Feature finish –

1. Dean Shirley
2. Larry Rice
3. Rich Vogler
4. Jim Moughan Jr.
5. Danny Milburn
6. Eric Trousdale
7. Sheldon Kinser
8. Jim Horn
9. Ed Angle
10.Mark Alderson
11.Johnny Coogan
12.Joe Saldana
13.Roger Rager
14.Morris Coffman
15.Al Thomas
16.Larry Martin
17.Leon Gentry
18.Red Bledsoe
19.Dave Peperak
20.Steve Long

Thursday, June 25, 2020

1972 – Latham Earns $3,462 for Victory

Ralph Latham en route to victory at Terre Haute.

Terre Haute, Ind. (June 25, 1972) – Ralph Latham from Cincinnati, driving a 1972 Monte Carlo, averaged 61.192 miles per hour in winning the United States Auto Club stock car feature at the Action Track on Sunday afternoon.

Some 8,500 watch Latham earn $3,462 for the victory.

Roger McCluskey set an Action Track record in qualifying for stock cars, recording a time of 26.18 seconds, eclipsing the old mark of 26. 24 seconds set by A.J. Foyt in 1968. Then, with 22 cars in the field for the 100-lapper, quickly took the lead.

He held the top spot until lap 28 when Al Unser took over. Unser held the lead until the 93rd circuit when he dropped out of the running and Latham, who had been running second or third all race long, took over and coasted the remaining seven laps to take the checkered flag.

Latham remarked afterwards that he ran most of the race without brakes.

McCluskey dropped out of the race on lap 60 when handling problems became too severe, while Bobby Unser was out shortly before that with overheating problems.

Both Unsers, McCluskey and Gordon Johncock — all Indy 500 veterans — were flown in from Long Pond, Penn., when rains halted time trials for the Pocono Schaefer 500-mile race until this Thursday and Friday, if then. Johncock was still running at the finish and took 11th place.

Al Unser finished 15th and brother Bobby 18th.

Paul Sizemore of Terre Haute, who ranked ninth in the USAC point totals, didn’t hurt himself by finishing 10th in the feature and taking top honors in the 10-lap semi-feature.

Lem Blankenship topped stock car point totals heading into the race and finished eighth. Ken Reiter, who was third in points, finished fourth, but Sizemore, who was ninth in points and finished 10th, and Paul Feldner, who was 10th in points and finished fifth, were the only members of the top-10 competing on Sunday.

Missing were Jack Bowsher (3), Verlin Eaker (4), Sal Tovella (6), and Don White (7). Terry Ryan, who was 7th, was at the track but withdrew because of mechanical issues before qualifications.

Bay Darnell, with his runner-up finish, took over the USAC point’s lead.

Results –

1. Ralph Latham
2. Bay Darnell
3. Chuck McWilliams
4. Ken Reiter
5. Paul Feldner
6. Jim Tobin
7. Dave Whitcomb
8. Lem Blankenship
9. Mark Sizemore
10.Paul Sizemore
11.Gordon Johncock
12.Joe Booher
13.Art Schroyer
14.Gordon Blankenship
15.Al Unser
16.Ramo Stott
17.Roger McCluskey
18.Bobby Unser
19.Jigger Sirois
20.Charlie Glotzbach
21.Art Bormet
22.Ray Bolander

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

1956 – Amick Captures Langhorne 100

George Amick

Langhorne, Penn. (June 24, 1956) - George Amick, of Los Angeles, Calif., fought a determined uphill battle through a host of favorites and sultry-weather to annex the 100-Mile National Championship at Langhorne Sunday afternoon.

Amick captured his first major racing championship before a crowd of 36,000 at the “Horne” when he piloted his mount from sixth starting position to finish first.

Jimmy Bryan, Phoenix, Ariz., Bob Veith, Oakland, Calif., Bill Garrett, Burbank, Calif., and Pat Flaherty, Chicago, Ill., set the early pace in the contest. The action centered around those four as they battled for the lead while Amick continued to pace himself in the fifth spot until the halfway mark.

Amick would make his move at the 50-lap mark and took the lead on lap 76, benefitted by pit stops and accidents that plagued the leaders.

The early leaders gave way to Amick as their troubles mounted. Bryan dropped back when he had to refuel on the 73rd lap and really fell out of the picture when he made another pit stop on the 92nd trip. Garrett, who set the time trials pace to capture the pole, spun out on the second turn on the 75th.

Flaherty blew two tires in the fourth turn on the 61st lap but displayed skill by bringing his mount into the pits without any further danger.

Amick, driving a car owned by Phil Cole, circled the one-mile oval in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 1.46 seconds for a speed of 95.212 miles per hour.

Garrett had the best qualifying time, 32.781 seconds, rolling at a speed of 109.819 miles per hour. Garrett made two trips around the course in the time trials but was given another try when the clock failed on his second turn. It was the next trip in which he earned his lead position. Amick qualified sixth at 33.38 seconds.

Bryan was seeking his third straight Langhorne 100-mile classic title. He set a blistering pace and several time electrified the crowd with his brilliant driving.

Ed Elisian, Oakland, Calif., was holding down fifth position at 70 laps when he blew a tire right in front of the grandstand on the first turn. He made it back to the pits and was off with a new tire in 41 seconds. Flaherty, who captured the Indianapolis 500-miler and races at Milwaukee and Williams Grove, was making his first bid at the Langhorne oval.

Results –

1. George Amick
2. Gene Hartley
3. Al Keller
4. Ed Elisian
5. Mike Magill
6. Jimmy Bryan
7. Don Freeland
8. Elmer George
9. Jimmy Reece
10.Bob Veith
11.Jack Turner
12.Andy Linden
13.Bill Garrett
14.Pat Flaherty
15.Jim Rathman

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

1968 – Eaker captures Twin-50’s victories

Verlin Eaker, shown here with his chief mechanic Jim Pospishil, won the Twin-50’s late model stock car races at Hawkeye Downs.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 23, 1968) – Nearly 4,000 fan watched as Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids nabbed both ends of the Hawkeye Twin 50’s on the Downs’ oval on Sunday afternoon.

Eaker piloted his ’67 hemi-powered Dodge to fast qualifying time of 24.91 seconds, averaging 74 miles per hour.

In the first 50-lapper, Mert William of Rochester, Minn., jumped to thee early lead, chased eagerly by Bob Hilmer of Dysart, Eaker and Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids.

John DeKlotz of Shellsburg gave Eaker the opportunity he needed when he spun out on lap 8.

As Williams avoided DeKlotz, Eaker slipped down on the inside and shot into the lead he never relinquished. Hilmer finished second with McDonough in third and Williams in fourth. Lem Blankenship of Keokuk rounded out the top five.

The second 50-lapper was held after a 15-minute cooling period and an inverted start was used, according to the way drivers finished in the first race.

Shortly after the field saw the green flag, Williams tangled with Fred Horn of Marion, and a little later, Gale Card of Waterloo went over the wall and rolled over. This stoppage gave Williams and his crew enough time to replace a radiator in his car, much to the delight of the fans.

Eaker, meanwhile, put on a driving display, going from his 21st starting position to the front by the midway point and distancing himself from the rest of the field for the remaining 20 circuits.

Trailing Eaker to the finish was Roger Dolan of Lisbon, and Williams, who also had to come from the rear of the field, finishing third. Ed Sanger of Waterloo was fourth and Bob Hilmer came in fifth.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
2. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
3. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
4. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
5. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk
6. Wally Christianson, Minneapolis
7. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
8. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
9. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
10.Fred Horn, Marion
11.John Tiller, Topeka, Kan.
12.Roland Wilson, Bedford
13.Marlin Lateare, Olin
14.Gale Card, Waterloo
15.Harold O'Deen, Cedar Rapids

Feature #2 –

1. Verlin Eaker
2. Roger Dolan
3. Mert Williams
4. Ed Sanger
5. Bob Hilmer
6. Lem Blankenship
7. Fred Horn
8. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids
9. Wally Christianson
10.Bill McDonough
11.John Tiller
12.Dick Heiden, Cedar Rapids
13.Harold O’Deen
14.Larry Bell, Central City
15.Perry Cottingham, Kansas City

Monday, June 22, 2020

1975 – Horstmeyer 50 to Engelhart

Sun Prairie, Wis. (June 22, 1975) – Making only his second start of the year in Badger Midget Auto Racing Association competition, Bill Engelhart roared to victory in the rain-postponed Bill Horstmeyer Memorial 50-lap feature Sunday night at Angell Park Speedway. Rain threatened again, but the showers held off and the show was completed without a hitch.

Former Badger champion Bob Walldan caught early leaders Greg Nelson and Gary Schooley, while Engelhart moved up from his seventh row starting spot. The popular Madison, Wis., speedster found running room on the inside and caught up with Walldan. The pair battled wheel-to-wheel for several laps before Engelhart got the edge on lap 35. Engelhart won by three car lengths over Walldan. Nelson was third, followed by Paul Clark.

Kevin Olson had earlier set the fast time of 16.905 seconds on the third-mile clay oval in the Willman Sesco, but gave the car up to Engelhart, when the latter returned to a sprint car show at Winchester, Ind. This had been agreed upon before Olson’s qualifying run.

Gene Russo of Kenosha, Wis., piloting the Symco Chevy II, scored a wire to wire victory in the 15-lap semi-feature while local rookie Dan Fredenburg won the consolation event, necessitated by the 52-car turnout.

Results - 

Fast time – Kevin Olson, Rockford, Ill. (16.905)
Trophy dash – Al Moldenhauer, Madison, Wis.
Heat #1 – Hank Hanson, Addison, Ill.
Heat #2 – Bill Thelander, Milwaukee
Heat #3 – Bob Walldan, Zion, Ill.
Heat #4 – John Davis, Racine, Wis.
Consolation – Dan Fredenburg, Sun Prairie, Wis.
Semi-main – Gene Russo, Kenosha, Wis.
Feature –
1. Bill Engelhart, Madison, Wis.,
2. Bob Walldan
3. Greg Nelson, Milwaukee
4. Paul Clark, Madison, Wis.
5. Chuck Dann, Milwaukee

Sunday, June 21, 2020

1979 - Harris romps at Sycamore Fastrak Clay Classic

Whitey Harris (second from left) is greeted by promoter Gene Marmor after winning the 50-lap Clay Classic at Sycamore. Richard Rose (far left) presents the trophy and starter Art Kelly (right right) holds the checkers. 

Sycamore, Ill. (June 21, 1979) – Ageless Whitey Harris of Lake Villa, Ill., won the inaugural 50-lap Clay Classic for late models, presented by Gene Marmor’s Fastrak Racing at Sycamore Speedway on Thursday night.

Making his first appearance on the clay oval, Harris took home $1,100 for his efforts.

Former Sycamore track champion Arnie Gardner finished second, with Al Johnson third, John Englekins fourth, and Don Bohlander in fifth.

Ed Ferrell started the 50-lap main event from the pole position and led the 25-car field through the initial 23 laps. However, engine problems sidelined Ferrell on the 24th circuit, giving the lead to Harris with Englekins, Tony Izzo and Gardner close behind.

Izzo made a move aimed at taking the lead on lap 29, but wound up spinning into the infield, where he then threw a mild temper tantrum to the delight of his non-fans.

With Harris enlarging his lead as the event wound down, Gardner snared the runner-up spot from Englekins on lap 37. However, Gardner’s bid to catch Harris would be too late.

The 25-lap semi-feature went to Mike Conn with Schneiderman, Don Chandler, John Kennedy and Al Johnson scoring heat triumphs and John Provenzano was the evening’s fast qualifier with a 20.24 second clocking.

Results –

1. Whitey Harris, Lake Villa
2. Arnie Gardner, Batavia
3. Al Johnson, Justice
4. John Englekins, Morris
5. Don Bohlander, Glasford
6. LeRoy Schneiderman, Woodstock
7. Larry Mosher, Belvidere
8. Larry Jackson, Lyons
9. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
10. Lloyd Griffith, Chicago
11. Cary Dehm, Chatsworth
12. Mike Conn, Big Bend, Wis.
13. Kirk Fure, St. Charles
14. Frank Claeyssen, Cherry Valley
15. Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
16. Tony Izzo, Bridgeview
17. Ed Ferrell, Willow Springs
18. Sal Tovella, Addison
19. Denny Falkos, Aurora
20. Dennis Erb, Carpentersville
21. Don Marmor, Northlake
22. Don Chandler, Pontiac
23. John Kennedy, Villa Park
24. John Provenzano, Glen Ellyn
25. Jim O’Conner, Kankakee

Saturday, June 20, 2020

1973 - Astone wins 34 Midget Go

Tommy Astone

Burlington, Iowa (June 20, 1973) - A tired but jubilant Tommy Astone peeled off his gloves and mud-splattered helmet, rested against his Sesco special, and savored his victory in the United States Auto Club’s (USAC) Midget Division main feature Wednesday night at 34 Raceways Park.

Astone, 23, a native of Fresno, Calif., was one of 27 midget racers making their first appearance in southeast Iowa. The racers gave the crowd of 500 a taste of true professionalism with an exciting finale.

Astone, the division’s 1972 Rookie of the Year, captured his first midget victory ever as he powered his way to the lead in the next to last lap of the final event.

Early leader Billy Engelhart of Madison, Wis., spun his way out of the lead in the 39th lap allowing Astone to coast in.

No winning time was given for the event as Russ Staab of Cincinnati, Ohio, spun in the middle of the track forcing the yellow flag to slow the field.

The temporary halt allowed Astone to make a move on Englehart, who had kept a strong lead throughout. The momentary pause also enabled midget division point leader Larry Rice of Crawfordsville, Ind., to gain on the leaders from the middle of the pack and take over third position.

Rice, who leads with 281 points, remained in third place finishing just ahead of a disappointed Engelhart. The runner-up spot went to Bob Olivero of Lakewood, Calif., who jumped from sixth in the pack.

Smiles filled the Astone camp following the evening’s activities.

“I’m just glad to have finally won,” Astone said. “Now I hope I can keep it up and prove myself.”

Astone was invited by the Caruthers Racing Enterprises to take national runner-up point leader Jimmy Caruthers’ spot Wednesday. Caruthers is busy preparing for the Pocono, (Penn.) 500 Saturday night.

“We knew that we had a good driver in Tommy all year,” Doug Caruthers said. “He just needed a chance.”

Caruthers, a 35-year veteran of racing, is the father of Jimmy and Danny, who won National Midget Titles in 1970 and 1971, respectively.

Now the team has found a new face to add to the list of champions.

“I had a real dog-fight with Billy (Engelhart),” Astone added. “I didn’t think I’d ever catch him. He did a fine job; I was just lucky.”

The victory gave Astone 180 points for the season and a hold on fourth place in the national standings.

The absent Caruthers held down second place in the standings at 191 points, just ahead of Billy Shuman of Tempe, Ariz., who finished sixth in the feature.

National defending champion Duane “Pancho” Carter of Huntington Beach, Calif., saw his chance for a spot in the main event evaporate when his Sesco Chevy blew a wheel bearing following a victory in the second heat.

Jerry Howe of Clarks Hill, Ind., was the only driver to encounter difficulty with control. He spun off the 3/8-mile dirt track over a retainer wall and through a wooden fence on the third turn of the second lap in the semi-main event. Howe did not flip his vehicle and was not injured.

Friday, June 19, 2020

1965 – Riegel Rides Rugged Reading Race

Red Riegel

Reading, Penn. (June 19, 1965) – The hometown favorite, Red Riegel, showed the United States Auto Club cars and stars the short way around the Berks County oval, winning the 30-lap feature.

Starting in 11th position, Riegel gradually moved up within striking distance of the leaders and then went on to beat Roger McCluskey for the top spot and money.

Third spot went to youngster Greg Weld who had been running first for most of the race but just couldn’t keep his position.

Johnny Rutherford, who really put on a terrific show behind the wheel of Steve Stapp’s sprinter, finished fourth.

Joltin’ Judd Larson was fifth and last year’s sprint king, Don Branson, grabbed sixth place.

The heat races were nothing but top notch competition as Johnny Rutherford, who set fast time in qualifying, also won the first heat. The second heat was won by Roger McCluskey while the third heat was taken by Riegel.

Weld won the 12-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Red Riegel
2. Roger McCluskey
3. Greg Weld
4. Johnny Rutherford
5. Jud Larson
6. Don Branson
7. Jerry Daniels
8. Bobby Unser
9. Bob Harkey
10.Bruce Jacobi

Thursday, June 18, 2020

1969 – Iowan Wins Late Model Invitational

John Connolly

Eau Claire, Wis. (June 18, 1969) – Misfortune overtook the locals favorite and the visiting drivers walked away with a clean sweep of honors in Wednesday night’s Late Model Invitational at Eau Claire Speedway.

An enthusiastic crowd of 2,700 watched John Connolly drive a 1964 Ford to victory in the anticlimactic feature. He towed home to Delhi, Iowa, with $525 and a sparkling championship trophy.

Connolly sputtered through a couple of wasted time trials before his machine warmed up. His final time trial was the fastest of the night and gave him the pole position for the feature.

The balding Connolly dropped behind only once in the mishap-free feature but took the lead for good on lap 7 and was never headed, pulling away from the rest of the talented field.

Phil Prusak, a weekly competitor out of the Twin Cities, came in second, half a lap behind Connolly. Prusak driving a ‘66 Chevelle, pocketed $450 for his performance.

Harold Mueller and Red Steffen, the local favorites, saw misfortune ruin their chances for victory.

Mueller, one of the Midwest's most respected drivers, had the windshield of his ’67 Chevelle collapse during the fourth lap of the feature and he was forced to hold it up with one hand the rest of the way.

Driving one-handed, Mueller still managed to hold his own through the 40-lap event but was in no position to gain ground on the leaders. He still wound up fourth and pocketed $315.

Steffen, probably the hard luck driver of the night, was driving a fine race and running fourth when his ’66 Chevelle spun out on the last corner in sight of the finish.

Connolly and Bob Jusola, Minneapolis, started the 20-car feature in the front row but Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn., shot ahead in his ‘65 Chevelle, on the third lap.

But Noble developed problems on the seventh lap and dropped out, Connolly taking the lead back, not to relinquish it again

John Johnson, Duluth, was running among the leaders in his ’67 Dodge, spun out on the 15th lap and Prusak moved into second on the 19th lap. Steffen took over third place on the 22nd lap but dropped back to fourth a few laps later.

Jusola, driver of a ’65 Chevelle, was still battling for the lead when he went out on the 30th lap.

Darrell Dike, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was running third on the next to last lap when he went out, followed by Steffen.

Taking advantage of the situation was Dave Morgan, Rice Lake, who took his ‘67 Corvette to a third place finish good for $375.

In fifth place, behind Mueller, was Bud Havel, Rice Lake, driving a ‘60 Corvette.

Results –

1. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
2. Phil Prusak, Twin Cities
3. Dave Morgan, Rice Lake, Wis.
4. Harold Mueller, Eau Claire, Wis.
5. Bud Havel, Rice Lake, Wis.
6. Cecil Henderson, Dakota, Minn.
7. Cal Swanson, Reinbeck, Iowa
8. Dick Breismeister, Clear Lake, Wis.
9. Charlie Bowe, Bloomer, Wis.
10.Jim Jensen, Eau Claire, Wis.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

1978 – Shear Gains Overall Title in ASA’s Bluegrass 300

Joe Shear accepts his trophy after being named overall winner of the ASA Bluegrass 300. 

Louisville, Ky. (June 17, 1978) – Breaking a bad luck skein that has dogged him since the season began, Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., drove to the overall win Saturday night in the 12th annual Bluegrass 300 for American Speed Association late models at Fairgrounds Motor Speedway.

Shear won the first of three 100-lap segments, then placed fifth and third, respectively, in the final two segments which were both won by Dick Trickle. However, a point system, rewarding the best average finisher in all three events, gave Shear the overall win and $2,570 from a purse of $13,255. Dave Roahrig was second in the overall standings and John Anderson was third.

The first 100-lapper was the most exciting of the evening.

Fresh from setting a new track record in qualifying with a time of 14.622 seconds around the third-mile paved oval, Jerry Makara charged from his pole position to claim the early lead.

Makara, driving a recently-completed Camaro, which was still in primer, was hounded by Mike Eddy until lap 86 when the two cars drew even, touch and rebounded with Makara ending up sideways and immobile.

With the two-time Bluegrass champion recovering from the spin, Eddy took over first place with Dave Watson right behind.

On lap 91, Eddy found himself joining Makara when Watson clipped his bumper going into the backstretch, sending Eddy into a tire-smoking, full-throttle 360-degree spin and out of first-place.

Just three laps later it was Watson’s turn to learn the law of the jungle. Shear, who had rebounded from an early spin which had dropped him far behind, pulled up on Watson and executed a “bunt” on the frontrunner’s bumper, sending Watson spinning into the infield.

Shear took the lead when Watson spun and held the top spot to the checkered for the win. Watson recovered to finish second with Eddy third, Mark Martin fourth and Roahrig fifth.

Trickle was a mechanical casualty in the first 100 pulling into the infield with his Camaro ablaze, apparently from a ruptured fuel line on lap 7. Rapid fire crew work quickly extinguished the blaze, but Trickle was faced with a formidable repair job in order to make the second 100-lapper.

With the field completely inverted according to the finish of the first race, Trickle enjoyed the pole position in the second 100.

Charlie Glotzbach, who started behind Trickle, managed to surge around Trickle on the start and lead the first 29 laps until the Wisconsin ace found the outside groove to his liking and took over the top spot.

The remainder of the race went without a hitch for Trickle. Glotzbach hung on for second-place followed by Don Gregory, John Anderson and Shear.

Trickle was invincible in the final 100, taking the lead from the pole position and eventually lapping every opponent except Roahrig and Shear, who placed second and third, respectively. Watson was fourth and Bob Strait fifth.

Despite the two segment feature wins, Trickle finished eighth in the overall tally.

“That’s the break of the game,” Trickle said after the final 100

“We would’ve had a good overall finish except for the first race. I just wanted to get the car fixed and put on a good show for all of the fans.”

Overall Finish –

1. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
2. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
3. John Anderson, Massillon, Ohio
4. Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
5. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
6. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
7. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
8. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
9. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
10.Ellis Herbert, Spiceland, Ind.
11.Jerry Makara, Pinckney, Mich.
12.Larry Meadors, Louisville
13.Harold Scott, New Castle, Ind.
14.Hank Hartlage, Louisville
15.Charlie Glotzbach, Edwardsville, Ind.
16.Terry Shirley, Seymour, Ind.
17.James Phillips, Louisville
18.Robin Schildknecht, Louisville
19.Harry Brady, Louisville
20.Clyde Brown, Indianapolis

Monday, June 15, 2020

1958 – Sachs Wins Langhorne 100-Miler

Eddie Sachs

Langhorne, Penn. (June 15, 1968) - In a race held up for almost two hours by a spectacular fire, steady driving Eddie Sachs, veteran big car pilot from Center Valley, Penn., won the annual 100-mile national championship classic at Langhorne Speedway witnessed by some 26,800 spectators.

Sachs, who was among the front-runners at the start, overtook Jud Larson on lap 62 and then breezed across the finish line with an average speed of 91.977 miles per hour.

However, Sachs’ chances of establishing a new Langhorne 100-mile standard were wiped out on the 23rd lap when Johnny Boyd’s car burst into flames after passing the grandstand.

Boyd managed to leap from the car, but firemen were unable to extinguish the blaze, which lasted well more than an hour. Boyd was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for burns on both legs. 

Following the fire, the caution was raised for 20 laps, thus preventing the field from lowering Don Freeland’s century time of 112.873 miles per hour set in 1955.

Finishing in second place was A.J. Foyt who was followed by Jud Larson, Don Branson, Tony Bettenhausen and Don Freeland.

Johnny Thomson of Boyertown, Penn., the winner of last year’s Langhorne 100-miler, blew out a tire early in the race and failed to challenge the leaders.

Sachs won the Langhorne classic driving the Peter Schmidt Special, the same car he qualified at Indianapolis with an average speed of 144.669 miles per hour.

Bettenhausen was awarded fifth-place money after considerable discussion by the Langhorne stewards. By being placed fifth, Bettenhausen picked up 100 championship points, boosting him ahead of Jimmy Bryan, who won the 500-mile Indianapolis Memorial Day classic.

Results –

1. Eddie Sachs
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Jud Larson
4. Don Branson
5. Tony Bettenhausen
6. Don Freeland
7. Mike Magill
8. Ralph Liguori
9. Len Sutton
10.Bill Cheesbourg
11.Buzz Barton
12.Jack Turner
13.Dempsey Wilson
14.George Amick
15.Johnny Boyd
16.Joe Barzda
17.Rex Easton
18.Johnny Thomson

Sunday, June 14, 2020

1977- Steuding wins Red Cedar Short Track Crown

Menomonie, Wis. (June 14, 1977) – Tom Steuding guided his 1976 Camaro to victory in the 1977 Wisconsin Late Model Short Track Championships for clay tracks at Red Cedar Speedway on Tuesday night. It was a repeat win of the title he earned in 1975.

Steuding outlasted early pressure from Ron Goss and Punky Manor and three restarts to claim his sixth feature win of the season, which earned him $1,000.

Manor shot ahead of polesitter Steuding on the first lap and held on for two circuits before succumbing to Steuding’s rush on lap 3. Goss followed Steuding, dropping Manor back to third.

With the lead trio pulling away, a fierce battle was raging for fourth between Leon Plank, Bob Lawrence, Dick Trickle and Leroy Scharkey.

Plank held fourth for the first 20 circuits before Trickle picked his way into a challenging position and passed Plank on lap 21 as his Mustang began to pick up the pace.

On lap 21 Goss drifted off turn three and lost he runner-up position to Manor. Trickle was riding Goss’s bumper by the time Goss found the track again.

Then, on lap 31, Plank suffered a suspension breakdown, causing him to spin and bring about a controversial restart. As the field moved on to the front straightaway, the starter motioned for the cars to pick up the pace, displaying one finger which indicted one more lap.

When the lead cars passed the flag stand, cars started jumping spots and passing Goss and Trickle, the green flag waved. Goss and Trickle were still holding their arms out of the window acknowledging one more lap to go.

In the ensuing scramble, in turn one, Goss was pushed off the top edge of the track, but Trickle tucked in behind Tom Nesbitt, following Nesbitt through the confusion over the next lap to regain his original fourth spot.

By lap 34, Trickle had slipped by Nesbitt on the outside with some gutty driving and took off in pursuit of Manor. He closed to Manor’s back bumper on the final lap and trailed Steuding and Manor across the finish line followed by Nesbitt, Bob Saterdalen , Wendell Kuehn and a very upset Goss.

After the race Trickle said, “I couldn’t believe it. First, he signaled one more lap before we start and then with cars start passing me on both sides, he throws the green. I passed thee cars again, but it was a raw deal.”

Results –

1. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.
2. Punky Manor, Altoona, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Tom Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ontario
5. Bob Saterdalen, Oronoco, Minn.
6. Wendell Kuehn, Rochester, Minn.
7. Jim Bruggeman, White Bear Lake, Minn.
8. Jack Harder, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Ron Prochnow, Menomonie, Wis.
10. Gary Dorn, Altoona, Wis.

Friday, June 12, 2020

1960 – Fairgrounds ‘Home’ for Don, Rex White

Don White

Nashville, Tenn. (June 12, 1960) – Maybe the Fairgrounds Speedway should be renamed White Stadium.

It would seem appropriate, since late model drivers Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, and Rex White of Spartanburg, S.C., hold all of the track records for the local half-mile track.

Don got into the act over the weekend when he set a new United States Auto Club qualifying record of 24.91 seconds and then won the 300-lapper on Sunday. The decision was worth $1,350.

But Rex still has the NASCAR late model marks in his grasp. The NASCAR star’s qualifying record of 24.31 seconds and his 71.002 miles per hour for a 200-lap distance are still on the books. Don’s average speed on Sunday was 68.390 miles per hour.

A crowd estimated at 7,000 saw Don lead for 296 laps of the race in his 1960 Ford Starliner, losing the pace only when he took a pit stop. But runner-up Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., in another 1960 Ford, had to duck into the pits for fuel on the 179th lap and White jumped back out to the lead to stay. He finished well over a lap ahead of Nelson at the checkered.

It was a one-car race after Iggy Katona of Willis, Mich., blew his right rear tire on the south bank and spun out. Katona was closing on White when it happened. He hit the outside guardrail twice and was momentarily stunned, but not injured.

Nelson of Cincinnati, who won the 300-lapper here last year, dropped out early with engine woes. But Stacy relieved Jack Shanklin of Indianapolis midway through and managed to finish fourth.

It was only the second time that White has finished a full race this season and he’s won both of them. He was lavish in praise of head mechanic Paul Newkirk of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who has handled White’s cars for the last three years.

If Fairgrounds officials sever relations with USAC, it won’t be surprising. USAC did not even have one of their drivers on hand for the event. Only through the efforts of John Marcum, ex-USAC late model chief who now runs Midwest Auto Racing Club (MARC), was a good field of cars on hand. Of the 23 starters, only 10 finished the race. A variety of engine troubles cut the field to 13 by the 80-lap mark.

Results –

1. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
3. Earl Balmer, Jeffersonville, Ind.
4. Nelson Stacy, Cincinnati
5. Paul Parks, Columbus, Ohio
6. Les Snow, Toledo, Ohio
7. Tiny Shilts, Middletown, Ohio
8. Jack Wyatt, Covington, Ky.
9. Bill Shoulders, Waukegan, Ill.
10.Augie Sandman, Pittsburgh, Penn.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

1972 – Tire Holds Up – USAC Race to McWilliams

Knoxville, Iowa (June 11, 1972) – Chuck McWilliams of Walton, Ky., a bearded southern gentleman driving a 1972 Plymouth with a completely bald right-rear tire, won the 100-lap (50-mile) United States Auto Club late model stock car feature Sunday before 10,500 at the Marion County Fairgrounds.

“That tire wasn’t going to last much longer,” said McWilliams, 36, who operates a auto salvage and wrecker service. “You might say I was lucky to win because of that.”

“I was just out there driving at a safe, fast pace and didn’t make a pit stop.”

A stop would have been costly for McWilliams, who has now won two USAC features this season – the first coming at Cincinnati, Ohio on May 14 – and finished third at Davenport on May 29.

Lem Blankenship, formerly of Keokuk, now living in Fort Wayne, Ind., finished second, approximately one-third of a lap behind.

One stop by McWilliams would have meant victory for Blankenship, who had to pit once for a tire change on his 1972 Dodge Charger.

Ray Bolander of New Berlin, Wis., finished third.

And, in a race that was dominated in the first half by Iowans, Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids and Don White of Keokuk were the only other drivers to finish in the top-10.

Eaker captured sixth and White was 10th. Both drove 1970 Dodge Chargers.

Eaker, who was the fastest qualifier with 24.60 seconds started on the pole position and took the initial lead.

Blankenship was riding his bumper by lap 4 and moved into the lead on the 10th circuit. Lem shot to a 50-yard margin, but Eaker battled back and passed on the 22nd lap. Verlin, the USAC point leader going into the program, which had been rescheduled after rainout on April 29, then set out on a record-setting pace.

That came to an abrupt halt on the 38th lap when he collided with a car driven by Paul Feldner of Richfield, Wis. in a dust-filled first turn.

Blankenship shot back into command and Eaker went to the pits, losing four laps. Lem led until lap 47 when went in for a tire change and Bay Darnell of Deerfield, Ill., became the new leader.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, who had been stalking the leaders all afternoon, pushed past Darnell for the lead on lap 73 despite smoke starting to come from his 1970 Dodge Charger.

Ramo’s reign would end three laps later, when he was forced to the pit area because of a broke oil line.

McWilliams, who had been challenging Stott for some time, took over the top spot and cruised to victory and a first-place prize of $1,600. He finished the grind in 45 minutes and 42.03 seconds, averaging 67.112 miles per hour.

Although White finished 10th, he had some moments of glory, and that came after a tire change in which he shed rain tires. “I made the wrong choice,” he remarked.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines fell out early with a blown engine. Terry Ryan of Davenport, who was second in the point standings behind Blankenship, fell out early too because of overheating.

Dan Dickey of Packwood, the third fastest qualifier, bowed out on lap 37 because of mechanical issues.

Results –

1. Chuck McWilliams
2. Lem Blankenship
3. Ray Bolander
4. Ken Reiter
5. Butch Hartman
6. Verlin Eaker
7. Dave Whitcomb
8. Bay Darnell
9. George Giesen
10.Don White
11.Kenny McEldowney
12.Jim Tobin
13.Paul Feldner
14.Ramo Stott
15.Roland Early
16.Dan Dickey
17.Don Hoffman
18.Sal Tovella
19.Paul Sizemore
20.John Schultz
21.Gordon Blankenship
22.Terry Ryan

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

1977 – Tripp wins Hales Corners USAC midgets

Franklin, Wis. (June 10, 1977) – Sleepy Tripp of Costa Mesa, Calif., is not one to rest on his laurels. The defending two-time USAC midget national champion scored an easy victory in the division’s 40-lap main event at Hales Corners Speedway on Friday night, to gain valuable ground on current point leader Gary Bettenhausen of Moravia, Ind., who could do no better than fifth place in the race.

The feature win was Tripp’s second at Hales Corners. He had won previously on August 15, 1975.

Rich Vogler of Glen Ellyn, Ill., grabbed thee feature lead at the drop of the green flag. But his lead was short-lived as Tripp slipped by him on the inside as the pair exited turn four at the conclusion of lap 1.

Even though Tripp never led by more than seven car-lengths in the remaining distance, his grasp on the top spot was a firm one.

Volger finished second with 1972 midget titlist Pancho Carter taking third and Mel Kenyon in fourth.

Kenyon, of Lebanon, Ind., a former four-time USAC midget national champ, set a new track record in qualifying with a time of 17.577 seconds around the one-third mile dirt oval. Kenyon had set the previous record of 17.644 seconds on August 15, 1975.

Kenyon also won the first heat over Tripp. Tony Lee Bettenhausen, Gary’s younger brother, won the second heat while Tom Steiner took honors in the third heat.

Gary Bettenhausen punched his ticket into the main event by winning the 12-lap semi-main.

Results –

1. Sleepy Tripp
2. Rich Vogler
3. Pancho Carter
4. Mel Kenyon
5. Gary Bettenhausen
6. Tom Steiner
7. Steve Cannon
8. Eddie Loomis
9. Frank Filskov
10. Paul Clark

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

1968 - Driver Dies in Fiery Crash

Ronnie Duman

West Allis, Wis. (June 9, 1968) - Death waited less than three minutes for Ronnie Duman Sunday. It claimed him at the south wall at the start of the third lap in the 150-mile Rex Mays Classic automobile race.

The race, won by Lloyd Ruby of Wichita Falls, Tex., continued after Duman, 36; Norman Brown, 31, who was critically injured, and Bay Darnell were taken to a hospital. Darnell escaped with relatively minor burns.

But the south wall bore the scars of the flaming crash - which injured six spectators - and Duman’s young son, Dick, sobbed unconsolably at his mother's side.

A native of Dearborn, Mich., Duman began as a stock car driver in 1951. He was severely burned at the Indianapolis 500 in 1964. The same accident claimed the life of drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald.

Just before Sunday’s race, Duman met a newsreel photographer who helped rescue him from that fire. “Sure, I remember you,” he reportedly told the cameraman. “You’re my best friend.”

Duman, a friendly man who wore the scars of that accident on the left side of his face finished sixth in the 500 last month, his best showing in eight years of trying for the big prize.

Duman, Brown and Darnell who began the race far back in the pack of 24 cars, came together in a searing crash as the field jockeying for position just seconds after the fall of the green flag.

Duman’s car sailed off the asphalt, overturned in the air, and shattered against the wall. His helmet, split by the impact, rolled away as Brown and Darnell also converged on the wall.

Darnell broke out of his cockpit before the flames swept over him. Brown struggled to get free but couldn't. Brown struggled to get free but couldn’t.

Duman sat motionless. Rescue teams pulled him clear, but Brown's legs were pinned inside the crumpled cockpit. Firemen finally freed him.

The race had been billed as a further test of Andy Granatelli's turbines against the orthodox Fords and Offenhausers.

But a turbine driven by Art Pollard was black flagged to the sidelines on the 64th lap when a judge ruled it was leaking oil.

A second turbine, driven by Joe Leonard went to the pits after losing a wheel on the 38th lap.

Ruby took the lead from second place finisher Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn., on the 108th lap and won by 2.6 seconds with a speed of 100.739 miles per hour in his turbocharged Offenhauser.

The race was delayed 33 minutes while the wreckage was cleared. Then the chase resumed, with five other drivers, including the turbo dual, taking the lead at different points.

The annual spectacular drew 39,766 at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Results –
1. Lloyd Ruby, Wichita Falls, Tex.
2. Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn.
3. Al Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
4. Johnny Rutherford, Fort Worth, Tex.
5. Bruce Walkup, Hayward, Calif.
6. Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio
7. Wally Dallenbach, East Brunswick, N.J.
8. George Snider, Fresno, Calif.
9. Bud Tinglestad, Hawthorne, Calif.
10.Jim Malloy, Denver, Colo.
11.Sam Sessions, Nashville, Mich.
12.Gordon Johncock, Hastings, Mich.

Monday, June 8, 2020

1973 – Shuman, Nordhorn win at State Fair

Billy Shuman (left) is joined by car owner Willie Davis after Shuman scored his first-ever USAC sprint car victory. – John Mahoney Photo

Indianapolis, Ind. (June 8, 1973) – Billy Shuman and Don Nordhorn both fought off challenges from Rollie Beale to win their first sprint car features of the year at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Friday night.

It was the first win ever in USAC for the 25-year-old Shuman, who piloted the Willie Davis sprinter.

Greg Leffler started the evening by driving into thee first turn too deeply and losing control. He flipped several times, wiping out the front end. Steve Cannon lost his steering on the 7th lap of the first 50-lapper and hit the fence in turn one. Cannon suffered a broken toe.

Beale took the lead from Shuman and then Sam Sessions spun on lap 12 and Shuman took the lead again on lap 17 for good.

Tony Simon went into the first turn too deep and lost control of his car, flipping several times with the front end over the outside wall.

Bruce Walkup then lost a right rear wheel as the pins sheared and was high between turns three and four. Bill Puterbaugh was in the high groove behind Walkup and hit his car, flipping both of them.

Larry “Boom Boom” Cannon finished third followed by Duane Carter and Joe Saldana.

Nordhorn became the ninth different winner in 12 features to win a USAC sprint car race this season.

Cannon led the first 17 circuits before a fast-charging Carter caught him and led until engine failure sent him to the sidelines.

Nordhorn charged from his eighth starting position to take the lead and hold off several challenges from Beale. However, it wasn’t Beale’s night and he finished three car lengths behind the winner.

The point leader going into the event, Lee Kunzman, drove for Chuck Booth and finished 27th in the first feature. He drove his own car in the second feature and finished 12th. Beale, by finishing second in both features, took over the point lead.

Feature #1 –

1. Billy Shuman
2. Rollie Beale
3. Larry Cannon
4. Duane Carter
5. Joe Saldana
6. Johnny Parsons
7. Jackie Howerton
8. Don Nordhorn
9. George Snider
10.Bob Pratt

Feature #2 –

1. Don Nordhorn
2. Rollie Beale
3. Johnny Parsons
4. Billy Shuman
5. Allen Leavell
6. Mel Cornett
7. Billy Engelhart
8. Jerry Nemire
9. Darl Harrison
10.Bob Pratt

Sunday, June 7, 2020

1964 – Winchester Records Fall as Pratt wins

Bob Pratt 

Winchester, Ind. (June 7, 1964) – The hot-driving chauffeurs of the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) went on a record-breaking binge Sunday afternoon before 4,300 race fans at Pete Wales’ world-famous, high-banked Winchester Speedway as they shattered four existing sprint car marks and came within one-hundredths of a second in breaking a fifth.

Indiana’s Bob Pratt, the fastest qualifier of the day with a one-lap time of 17.61 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second off of Johnny White’s world record for a half-mile, high-banked asphalt oval, wheeled the Vivian Buick Special, a Chevy-powered machine owned by Dale Doty home first in the 30-lap feature after a red-hot duel with another Hoosier, Red Amick.

And, despite the fact the feature was run under the yellow flag for two laps, Pratt was clocked in 9 minutes and 16.49 seconds, for the 15-mile run, to erase the from the record books the mark of 9 minutes and 17 seconds for that distance set on October 6, 1963.

The first record to fall on the program, run under the sanction of the International Motor Contest Association and under the supervision of National Speedways, Inc., and the direction of vice-president Gene Van Winkle, was in the 8-lap heat race when Dick Gaines, driving the Diz Wilson Chevy, withstood a desperate challenge by Pratt, Dick Good and Muncie’s Bob King all the way to roar home in 2 minutes and 26.44 seconds, which wiped out Johnny White’s mark of 2 minutes and 29.41 seconds set on June 23, 1963.

Dick Good got into the act when he won the 5-lap trophy dash in 1 minute and 31.20 seconds, eclipsing the old mark of 1 minute and 31.49 seconds for that distance set by Jim McCune on May 10 of this year.

Then, in the 10-lap semi-main battle, Amick continued the assault on the record book by wheeling the Abbott Chevrolet home first in 3 minute and 5.7 seconds to wash out the mark of 3 minutes and 7 seconds set my Tom McClellan on July 22, 1962.

Amick, starting on the outside of the front row, went high into turn one at the start of the feature and edged by pole-sitter Pratt to grab an early lead with Good running third and Bud Randall holding down fourth.

Randall ran into mechanical difficulty on the second lap and had to leave the race, and then, on lap 9 on the half-mile oval, Serg Tesolin, in the Fayot Lotus Ford, lopped coming own the main chute, spun into the pits and out of the race.

Pratt caught up with Amick in the fourth turn on lap 16 and went under the Muncie redhead and into the lead he never relinquished.

And what would have been a four-horse race for first-place money up to that time, disintegrated as both Good and Gaines also got bound up with other cars and fell far behind the leaders.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

1978 – No Gas, Hansen Wins Falstaff

Curt Hansen led from start to finish to win the Falstaff 100 at Hawkeye Downs. Joining Hansen in victory lane is Keith Fleck (far left), Miss Falstaff (second from right), and flagman Engel DeKock (far right). - Earl Schwartz Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 6, 1978) - A gas shortage almost cost Curt Hansen a victory in the Falstaff 100 late model stock car classic Tuesday night at Hawkeye Downs.

Hansen, who started on the outside pole and led every lap of the race, took the checkers for the sixth annual race then ran out of gas while loading his car.

“The gas tank holds 22 gallons, and I must have been going on fumes the 100th lap,” sighed the Dike driver after becoming the first driver to win two Falstaff Classics. His first triumph came in 1976.

Even though Hansen was fortunate to reach the checkers and pocket $1,600 for winning and almost $700 more in lap money, the first 99 laps were a breeze.

He started on the outside pole after qualifying in 24.33 seconds but bolted ahead of polecat Bill Beckman on the green and was never seriously challenged.

The triumph was a welcome return to the winner’s circle because after a 10th-place finish at Tunis Speedway last Sunday, Curt felt his new No. 9 Camaro was the worst ride he’d had in 10 years of racing.

“We still don’t have power steering, but for this race we set the car up like we had it originally. The wedge had been changed and some other minor things, but only the right front sway bar was different tonight.”

“The track got a little rough, but the car ran well.”

Hansen enjoyed his biggest one-day payoff in racing. He did bank $4,600 for a two-day jamboree in Knoxville last year.

Bill Martin of Council Bluffs finished second, passing Gary Crawford of Independence on the last lap. Defending champion Fred Horn of Marion was fourth and Roger Dolan of Lisbon fifth. The top three finishers ran 100 laps and Horn and Dolan 99.

Beckman, driving the Fleck Sales Camaro, had set fast time, but had to settle for sixth in money. It was his best finish ever in the race.

“I dropped a lap when I hit a hole in the back straight,” said Horn, “and the motor killed for an instant. Our team did fine, though,” added Horn, referring to teammate Beckman’s sixth place.

Waterloo’s Bill Zwanziger, the 1974 Falstaff winner, finished third in a heat, but had to retire his Nova with a blown head gasket.

Ed Sanger of Waterloo, the 1975 winner, won a heat and then made 79 laps before he went to the pits with sheared fan blades.

There were 18 cars running at the finish and the first yellow flag didn’t come out until the 32nd tour.

A record Falstaff 100 crowd of 7,000-plus watched Joe Merryfield of Des Moines win the trophy dash, and Denny Miller of Cedar Rapids, Verlin Eaker of Mechanicsville and Stan Stover of Reinbeck won heats. Stover then outdistanced the field to win the 20-lap consolation.

Pete Parker of Kaukauna, Wis., who set fast time at the Pepsi Mountain Dew Special in Eldon last week, then won the regular feature at Oskaloosa, qualified ninth, but broke after 21 laps.

Don Hoffman, a feature winner on the fast Hawkeye Downs oval this year, broke a timing chain and didn’t qualify for the 100-lapper.

Proceeds from the race, sponsored by local Falstaff beer distributor Keith Fleck, went to the United Cerebral Palsy Fund.

Results –

1. Curt Hansen, Dike
2. Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
3. Gary Crawford, Independence
4. Fed Horn, Marion
5. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
6. Bill Beckman, Lisbon
7. Bill Rice, Des Moines
8. Bob Kinsella, Dubuque
9. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
10.Bob Schulte, Delhi
11.Red Dralle, Evansdale
12.Roger Bruggeman, Dubuque
13.Duane Steffe, East Moline, Ill.
14.Verlin Eaker, Mechanicsville
15.Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun

Friday, June 5, 2020

1966 – Wet Victory for Blundy in Futurity

Des Moines, Iowa (June 5, 1966) – Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., whose weekend hobby is racing, won the renewal of the Hawkeye Futurity on Sunday in a rain-delayed program before some 5,500 fans.

Finishing behind the 40-year-old air conditioning engineer cam Jim Moughan and Chuck Lynch, both of Springfield, Ill., followed by Bill Puterbaugh of Roxana, Ill., in a surprise fourth.

Puterbaugh was far down the list after time trials and did not place in any of the preliminary heats. But he managed to slip into the last row of the field for the 30-lap feature as the fourth alternate.

Blundy was something of a surprise himself as fast timer after qualifications but failed to place until he won the 12-lap consolation. He then wheeled to a track and Futurity record of 12 minutes and 53 seconds.

The old mark for the half-mile dirt oval, in the book since 1953, was by Bob Slater in an Offenhauser. Since it was the first time the 15-mile feature was staged without a caution, the time was well under a 14 minute, 53 second time set by Johnny White of Warren, Mich., in the 1964 Futurity.

White, the ’64 Futurity winner, was in the pits Sunday afternoon as a car owner. Now paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a crash in 1964, White’s luck wasn’t much in his debut as a car owner. His Offenhauser-powered rig, driven by Jay Woodside of Wichita, Kan., blew a piston early in the contest.

An early morning rain turned the newly refinished Iowa State Fairgrounds into a muddy quagmire. Sporadic showers threatened to wash out the entire program but IMCA officials managed to get the first race off.

Blundy, a front-row starter alongside Moughan, headed his Illinois rivals by five car lengths most of the way in the caution-free race. The rest of the field was a quarter-mile back or more back from the familiar looking red #33 Chevy.

The anticipated duel between International Motor Contest Association point leader and defending national champion Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., and his rival Rollie Beale of Toledo, Ohio, didn’t last very long.

Beale, the recent winner of the prestigious Little 500 in Anderson, Ind., went to the sidelines in his Kenny Lay Chevrolet on lap 18 with Richert ahead of him.

However, Richert wasn’t concerned with Beale’s whereabouts at the rear of the 20-car field since all he had all he could manage with teammate and veteran Jerry Daniels of St. Paul, Minn.

Daniels, also driving a Frank Wagner Chevy, was on Richert’s exhaust stack all thee way until both he and Richert were forced out on lap 25 with overheated engines as a result of mud-clogged radiators.

The teammates had worked their way up to fourth and fifth after starting in the sixth and seventh rows. Richert earned $25 for his afternoon of work, notching last place.

The race was worth $500 to Blundy plus another $90 for being fast timer and consolation winner.

Results –

1. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
2. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
3. Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
4. Bill Puterbaugh, Roxana, Ill.
5. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
6. J.L. Cooper, Kansas City
7. Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
8. Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
9. Howard House, Kansas City
10. Ed McVey, Independence, Mo.
11. Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.
12. Russ Laursen, Cumberland, Wis.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

1978 – Crawford, Bentley win twin features

Greater Iowa Racing 's Vern Weber presents Gary Crawford with his trophy after the Independence driver swept the late model action at Dubuque. 

Dubuque, Iowa (June 4, 1978) – Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway race fans had good reason to believe they were seeing double Sunday night as Gary Crawford of Independence and Duane Bentley of Fairbank won two features each during a busy night of stock car racing action.

Because rain had forced postponement of the features from the previous weekend, double features were slated in both classes and Crawford, who already was the late model point leader, won both late model events.

In the makeup race, he edged Carl Severson of Dubuque, who was followed by Jim Burbridge of Delhi, Joe Schaefer of Waterloo and Roger Bruggeman of Dubuque.

Crawford, who was involved in an accident that bumped him from competition at Independence the previous evening, came back to win the feature ahead of Al Mayner of Winthrop, Bob Kinsella and Roger Bruggeman, both of Dubuque, and Bob Schulte of Delhi.

Bentley duplicated Crawford’s fete, leading the pack in the sportsman makeup race with Jim Reidl of Delhi second and Gary Henderson of Independence in third.

John McLaughlin of Dubuque and Dick Chapman II of East Dubuque won heat races in the second half of the racing program, but Bentley finished first in the semi-main and then went on to win the second feature with Reidl second and Chapman II taking third.

Results –

Late Model Makeup Feature -

1. Gary Crawford, Independence
2. Carl Severson, Dubuque
3. Jim Burbridge, Delhi
4. Joe Schaefer, Waterloo
5. Roger Bruggeman, Dubuque
6. Mark Liebfried, Rickardsville
7. Skip Kennedy, Dubuque
8. Bill Barthelmes, Troy Mills
9. Scott Nesteby, Dubuque
10.Bob Jaeger, Dubuque

Late Model Feature -

1. Gary Crawford
2. Al Mayner, Winthrop
3. Bob Kinsella, East Dubuque, Ill.
4. Roger Bruggeman
5. Bob Schulte, Delhi
6. Jim Burbridge
7. Skip Kennedy
8. Joe Schaefer
9. Carl Severson
10.Bill Barthelmes

Sportsman Makeup Feature -

1. Duane Bentley, Fairbank
2. Jim Reidl, Dubuque
3. Gary Henderson, Independence
4. Joe Churchill, Peosta
5. Denny Ansel, Dubuque
6. Chuck Martelle, Dubuque
7. Dick Chapman II, East Dubuque, Ill.
8. Ron Warthen
9. Gary Tigges, Durango
10.Rick Mills, Dubuque

Sportsman Feature -

1. Duane Bentley
2. Jim Reidl
3. Dick Chapman II
4. Denny Ansel
5. Joe Churchill
6. Gary Henderson
7. Rick Mills
8. Ron Warthen
9. Steve Uhlenhopp, Dubuque
10.Jack Kramer, Dubuque

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

1974 - Joe Shear Wins La Crosse 150

Joe Shear was the overall winner of the La Crosse 150.

West Salem, Wis. (June 2, 1974) - Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., lost some ground on a yellow flag late in the race, but retained enough of a lead to hold off Bob Senneker to win the final 50-lapper of the afternoon here yesterday during the La Crosse 150 late model stock car race at the Interstate Speedway.

Senneker, of Dorr, Mich., won the first 50-lap segment of the afternoon’s racing with Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids taking the second 50-lapper.

Shear's win was the biggest, however, as the race involved the fast 28 timers for the top prize of the day, $700 of the $10,000 total purse.

Trickle moved into the lead on the seventh lap of the feature race but went to the pits two circuits later with a broken cylinder wall.

Tom Jones of Northbrook, Ill., then held the lead for the next four laps before Shear passed him and second-running Dave Watson of Beloit to boom into a lead he would never relinquish Shear got pressure from Johnny Reimer of Caledonia, Wis., who held second place from the 19th through the 44th lap when his Camaro blew the engine and he hit the wall, bringing out a yellow flag.

Reimer was unhurt but Senneker gained second place on the restart with two already lapped cars between him and Shear. Senneker quickly overtook the two slower cars and battled Shear through the remaining laps, only to lose out by about three car lengths at the checkered flag.

Shear's 1973 Camaro was followed by Jones in third place with Wausau’s Larry Detjens fourth and Butch Miller of Benton Harbor, Mich., fifth, Watson placed sixth while Rich Somers of Stevens Point was seventh and Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., eight, Bill Oas of Bloomington, Minn., and Jim Sauter of Necedah rounded out the top 10.

“I was running well, but I knew Senneker was coming hard the last few laps, said Shear of the third race. “I was slacking off a little at the end.”

Shear picked up $1,100 for his day's work. The other 50-lap winners got $500 Senneker's two-race total was about $1,000. The first 50-lapper found Senneker taking the lead on the outside from Marv Marzofka on the 27th lap.

Marzofka held second until lap 40 when Reimer took over and held it for the rest of the way Reimer was a close second at the finish, one car length behind Senneker while Marzofka was a scant three lengths off the leader's tail. Somers placed fourth with Bob Jusola of Minneapolis fifth.

In addition to his 50-lap victory, Senneker set a track record as the day's fastest timer with a 20.881 qualifying lap Trickle took the lead from Mike Miller on the 27th lap of the second 50-lap race when Miller went to the pits with mechanical problems.

Trickle's 1970 Mustang held off Shear for the remainder of the race. Following Shear was Butch Miller third, Detjens fourth and Bill Oas fifth.

Steve Arndt of Janesville, Wis., piloted his ’67 Chevelle to the 15-lap consolation as he led from flag to flag after starting on the outside pole position. La Crosse's Ralph Bakewell was second with Larry Behrens of Northfield, Minn., third, Tom Greenlee and Gary Hemmerling rounded out the top five.

A Tri-R Promotions official set the attendance figure at 4,700.