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

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