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.
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