Friday, August 21, 2020

1959 – Jones Wins Twice at All-Iowa Fair

Parnelli Jones receives the checkers from starter Jake Bozony after winning the IMCA big car doubleheader at Hawkeye Downs – Jack Albinson Collection

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 21, 1959) – A sturdy young man with the unlikely name of Parnelli Jones made a remarkable Cedar Rapids debut in IMCA sprint car racing at the All-Iowa Fair.

He started out by winning the first heat and the 15-lap feature of an invitational afternoon race before some 1,500 fans, then returned to win the 20-lap nightcap before a crowd of 5,000.

Parnelli accomplished his magic with a Chevrolet V-8 engine that embarrassed one of thee best fields of Offenhausers ever assembled on the half-mile Hawkeye Downs track.

In the evening feature, he came from far back in the pack to catch and pass IMCA’s current point leader, Pete Folse, in the final two laps of an exciting 16-car, 20-lap windup.

Arnie Knepper, who had the day’s best qualifying time of 22.35 seconds, led for the first 11 laps and seemed to have things well under control. Then, after a caution flag following A.J. Shepherd’s crash in the first turn, Knepper faded out of contention after Folse took over the lead.

Jones would make his great finish on lap 18 and lead home a field in which every spot changed constantly as seven of IMCA’s top point-makers were in competition.

It was a tough day for the national point leader Folse, who failed to win a single event. He’d wind up second ahead of Jim Hurtubise, Buzz Barton and Elmer George.

George, the son-in-law of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, threatened to make it a runaway of the night’s program with wins in the trophy dash and heat race but the torrid ace of the feature cooled his bid.

Results –

Afternoon –

Time Trials – Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill. (22.35)
Match Race – Arnie Knepper
First Heat – Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
Second Heat – Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
Consolation – Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
Feature –

1. Parnelli Jones
2. Jack Rounds, Huntington Park, Calif.
3. A.J. Shepherd, Gardenia, Calif.
4. Buzz Barton
5. Jerry Kemp, St. Louis, Mo.
6. Elmer George, Speedway, Ind.
7. Dick Ritchie, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Bob Cleburg, Tucson, Ariz.
9. Jim Hurtubise, Tonawanda, N.Y.
10. Bob Mathouser, Omaha

Evening –

Trophy Dash – Elmer George
Heat One – Johnny Poulsen, Gardenia, Calif.
Heat Two – Elmer George
Third Heat – Jerry Richert
Consolation – Jack Rounds
Feature –

1. Parnelli Jones
2. Pete Folse
3. Jim Hurtubise
4. Buzz Barton
5. Elmer George
6. Jack Rounds
7. Jerry Kemp
8. Jerry Richert
9. Harry Ross, Houston, Tex.
10. Tom Vardeman, Tulsa, Okla.

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