Saturday, October 31, 2020

1971 – Derr wins IMCA title again


Ms. Teresa Seals, Miss Auto Racing of Oklahoma City, presents the championship trophy to Ernie Derr after his victory in the 150-lap stock car race at State Fair Speedway in Shreveport. Veteran IMCA starter Ollie Goodridge presents the checkers. – Bill Causey Jr. Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 31, 1971) – Ernie Derr wrapped up his 12th International Motor Contest Association national stock car championship on Sunday afternoon when he emerged as the winner of the 150-lap feature at the Louisiana State Fair. The event concluded the 1971 IMCA season and it was the finale of the State Fair’s speedway program.

Derr’s time was a new world’s record for 75 miles and it was 58 minutes and 2.33 seconds, bettering the old mark set last year in the same 150-miler by Freddy Fryar of 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Ron Hutcherson finished second and was the only other driver to finish on the same lap as the winner. Hutcherson, also from Keokuk, Iowa, drove a 1969 Dodge Charger.

Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., was the leader for 142 laps before he was forced to the pits for fuel and while he was sidelined, Derr overtook the front position.

Billy Bayles of West Monroe, La., was the fastest qualifier, touring the paved half-mile in 21.78 seconds.

Twenty-four cars started the race with Warren Hughes of Baton Rouge, La., taking the early lead before Phillips began setting the pace on lap 5.

One of the first cars out of action was Tony Bettenhausen Jr., of Houston, Tex., the son of the famed Indianapolis 500 driver. Bettenhausen was knocked out after blowing his engine. His car was crashed into by Joe Plowman of Galveston, Tex. Hughes lost control of his car on lap 38 and smashed the guardrail. Freddy Fryar of Baton Rouge, the defending champion, ran into tire trouble and finished ninth.

Results - 

1. Ernie Derr
2. Ron Hutcherson
3. Larry Phillips
4. Dave Goldsberry
5. Terry Bivins
6. Phil Cronin
7. Chuck Arnold
8. Bill Bayles
9. Freddy Fryar 
10. Willie Crane 

Friday, October 30, 2020

1966 – Stott wins controversial IMCA finale at Shreveport


George England receives the checkered flag declaring him the winner of the 150-lap feature race at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds on Sunday. An official check afterwards by IMCA showed that Ramo Stott was actually the winner by over a full lap.

Shreveport, La. (October 30, 1966) – In one of the most exciting an controversial finishes in International Motor Contest Association history, Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, was declared the winner of the 150-lap IMCA stock car feature at the Louisiana State Fair Speedway on Sunday after George England had gotten the checkered flag in his 1965 Chevrolet with a blown right front tire.

The standing room only crowd saw England blow his tire on lap 145 with Stott charging closer a lap and a half behind. For the final four and a half laps, England gunned his Chevy around the half-mile course with Stott gaining all the time.

On the final turn, Stott pulled right behind England but was unable to pass the shuddering Chevy because he was blocked in. England took the checkered and the announced victory.

After the race, Stott’s pit crew were adamant that he was a lap or two ahead and had been signaling him to ease off and preserve a sure win since England was only running on three tires.

An official check by IMCA officials showed that Stott was actually the leader, and the winner. The mix-up came during a pit stop by England when Stott passed. The unofficial scoreboard in the infield did not record the pass and therefore showed England to still be the leader.

Both England and Stott were called to the timing booth where and official check showed the real results.

Ernie Derr, who wrapped up the IMCA championship by winning the 25-lap feature on Saturday, had to pull out of Sunday’s race on the first lap when the harmonic balancer broke on his Dodge Hemi. “One thing nice about the break, “said Derr, “it saved me a lot of sweat today.”

Butch Hall and Lewis Taylor teamed up for a battle for third and fourth positions with Hall finally pulling out, completing 146 laps to Taylor’s 145. Dean Roper of Fair Grove, Mo., was fifth driving a Ford.

Stott led the race for the first 50 laps before until he pitted for the mandatory 30 second stop. Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., who had given Stott such a bad time the day before, took over the lead with Ed Negre of Monett, Mo., right behind.

On lap 78, Negre pitted and Stott climbed into second place behind Phillips. Phillips went into the pits on the very next lap and Stott was back in front.

Driving his 1965 Plymouth flawlessly, Stott held on to the lead until the 117th lap when he pitted for a tie change. England then took the lead with Taylor right behind him.

Or so everyone thought…

But in an earlier pit stop by England, the scoreboard didn’t record the lap pass by Stott, which led to the big confusion at the end.

On lap 145, England’s right front tire blew and the spectators in the grandstand, not knowing of the error, watched anxiously as Stott came barreling around the oval.

Refusing to come in, England showed considerable poise in piloting his Chevy around the track, trying for what he thought was the win. On the final turn Stott pulled in right behind England and was bumper to bumper as they crossed the finish line.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott
2. George England
3. Butch Hall
4. Lewis Taylor
5. Dean Roper
6. Tony Barcelona
7. Bob Foster
8. Hughie Krana
9. Vic Elson
10.Paul Feldner
11.Tom Roller
12.Dale Keeling
13.Jack Witt
14.Joe Melichor
15.Roy Batson
16.Larry Phillips
17.Ed Negre
18.John Mickey
19.Karl Stauffer
20.Lenny Funk
21.Jerry Wolland
22.Bill Peck
23.Phil Cronin
24.Ernie Derr

Thursday, October 29, 2020

1967 – Derr nabs Fair Race in Record Time


Ernie Derr enjoys a big birthday cake after winning the Louisiana State Fair’s 150-lap championship which enabled him to clinch his record eighth IMCA national crown. Joining Derr are former IMCA champion Herschel Buchanan (far left), Auto Racing, Inc’s publicity director Nick Nachicas (second from left) and IMCA promoter Frank Winkley (far right). – Bill Causey Jr. Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 29, 1967) – Eight-time IMCA stock car champion Ernie Derr piloted his way to the biggest triumph of his career on Sunday afternoon before a capacity crowd at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.

It was a big win because Derr scored his 211th career IMCA win on his birthday while using two cars in the contest. He also shattered the State Fair tracks’ 150-lap record.

“I had no idea I would emerge the winner,” commented Derr following the checkered flag being twirled by starter Russ Brown.

Derr started the race in the driver’s seat of his 1967 Dodge Charger which was used throughout the ’67 campaign. However, on lap 19 the car was sidelined with a broken right rear axle. Upon discovery that the mechanism could not be repaired in time for returning the car to the track, Derr flagged Lewis Taylor, the driver of his other car.

And immediately Derr took over the wheel of the '66 Dodge he used in last season’s dash to the 1966 crown.

When Derr returned to action, he was two and a half laps behind the leader, Ramo Stott. But Derr eventually overtook Stott on the backstretch on lap 147 to grab the lead and hold it for the rest of the distance.

Derr erased the old State Fair Speedway 150-lap mark of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 44.25 seconds set by Stott in 1966. The winning time on Sunday was 1 hour, 7 minutes and 8.17 seconds. The victory paid Derr $500 and it also enabled him to claim big bonus currency to be awarded with his eighth national title. He becomes the first stock car driver anywhere to nail down eight national thrones. The win also jumped Derr to the nation’s #1 position in stock car racing as its biggest winner.

Stott would take runner-up honors and cash in on $400 and finish second in the point’s chase behind Derr.

Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., finished third behind Derr and Stott.

Derr commented after the race that the brakes on his second car were almost gone when he got behind the wheel.

State Fair observers hailed the race as one of the most thrilling since stock car racing entered the exposition program back in 1950.

Stott led the first lap and Darrell Bradley was ahead on the second. Derr moved ahead on lap 3 but was sidelined with axle trouble allowing Stott to build up a mile and a half lead before taking over Taylor’s cockpit.

When Derr returned to the track, he was in fourth position.

Stott made his mandatory 30-second pit stop on the 100th lap with Derr pushing ahead.

Derr wouldn’t comment on his age except that he’s like Jack Benny. He said he was 39 years of age.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Darrell Bradley, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
6. Dale Keeling, Dixon, Mo.
7. Phil Cronin, Houston, Tex.
8. Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
9. Bob Perry, Springfield, Mo.
10.Bob Foser, Conroe, Tex.
11.Joe Melichar, Albuquerque, N.M.
12.Tom Roller, Independence, Mo.
13.Chuck Arnold, Baton Rouge, La.
14.Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
15.George England, Dallas, Tex.
16.Tony Barcelona, Houston, Tex.
17.Willie Crane, Springfield, Mo.
18.Vic Elson, Springfield, Mo.
19.Ken Christie, Springfield, Mo.
20.Ray Bolander, Milwaukee, Wis.
21.Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
22.Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
23.Karl Stouffer, Independence, Mo.
24.Elmer Walton, Independence, Mo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

1962 – Foyt wins Golden State 100


A.J. Foyt accepts his trophy from California State Fair president Farrell Wrenn (right) after winning the '62 Golden State 100. Dick Wareing, trophy sponsor (left) and race promoter J.C. Agajanian (behind Foyt) join in the post-race festivities. - Bill Piggot Photo

Sacramento, Calif. (October 28, 1962) – A.J. Foyt likes to ride the high road.

And this is the route he traveled to win the Golden State 100 championship dirt car race on the California State Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon before a throng of 12,400.

Foyt was in command of the situation beginning with the seventh lap as he shattered a track record in being clocked for 100 miles in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 59.14 seconds. His time represented a speed of 97.22 miles per hour.

The Houston, Tex., speedster who dominated the 1961 United States Auto Club competition, also set a record for the 50-mile distance as he timed in 31 minutes and 48.05 seconds.

For his afternoon ride over a surface deemed excellent by the contestants, Foyt pocketed $3,970 from the record purse of $19,115 and lap awards and accessory money raised his total earnings to $5,720.

The personable Foyt, whose triumph was a popular one with the big crowd, said he likes to ride high on the track and after the first few laps, began his descent to the outside groove.

“I trailed Jim (Hurtubise) low for the first few laps,” Foyt recounted. “but soon found out I couldn’t get anywhere low, so I moved up to the high side. For me, I can get more speed out of the car riding against the cushion.”

Foyt’s record smashing performance was accomplished despite a slipping clutch which bothered him during the last 20 circuits. He admitted afterwards that he slowed down rather than risk being forced out at such a late stage in the race.

Foyt, who is the third driver in the history of the Golden State 100 to win more than once, his other being in 1960, said he did not push his car and preferred to cling to his lead and “ride it out.”

During his victorious spin, Foyt nearly lapped the field as he had a 24-second bulge on the second-place finisher, Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., who was trailing the winner by three-quarters of a mile.

It didn’t take long for Foyt to catch up to the tail end of the 18 starters as he began overtaking them on lap 19 and continued the process until he was forced to ease up on the throttle due to the slipping clutch.

Hurtubise, the early pace setter for the first six laps, settled for fourth behind Branson and Elmer George of Speedway, Ind., who came with a rush in the final 10 laps to gain third place.

Hurtubise, a former Golden State winner, held onto second for 32 laps before being passed by Jim McElreath of Arlington, Tex. McElreath eventually retired on lap 61 with a brake problem.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
2. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
3. Elmer George, Speedway, Ind.
4. Jim Hurtubise, Lennox, Calif.
5. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
6. Troy Ruttman, Dearborn, Mich.
7. Johnny Rutherford, Fort Worth, Tex.
8. Lloyd Ruby, Houston, Tex.
9. Chuck Booth, Sacramento, Calif.
10.Len Sutton, Portland, Ore.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

1968 – National Open to Adamson


Bobby Adamson accepts his trophy and new television after winning his second National Open. 

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 27, 1968) – Bobby Adamson romped to an impressive repeat triumph in the sixth annual National Open on Sunday afternoon after starting fourth in the 35-car field.

The “Coraopolis Comet” became the first two-time winner of the event and garnered $1,840 plus extras for his stellar effort.

Time on the event was 48 minutes for an average speed of 72.73 miles per hour. The lap average was 28.80 seconds.

Adamson gunned into third place on lap 12, took second on lap 14, and passed Lou Blaney of Hartford, Ohio, the 1966 winner, coming out of turn four on the 17th circuit for a lead that proved to be permanent.

Blaney, $250 richer after he set a track record of 24.04 seconds in qualifying, on Saturday night, started on the pole and withstood early challenge from Frank Gorichky and Ralph Quarterson.

Winner of 33 features in the western part of Pennsylvania this season, Quarterson was well back in the pack when the checkered flag came out as a result of engine problems.

Blaney held on for third and Gorichky, off West Middlesex, Penn., got fourth-place money as both drivers failed in their efforts to stave off a determined bid by Lynn Paxton for the runner-up spot.

Paxton, who started 14th, moved into third-place on lap 62, passing J.D. Leas of Steubenville, Ohio, then overhauled Quarterson while moving through the third turn in the outside groove of lap 69.

A yellow flag on lap 77 allowed Paxton to close in on Adamson, but Bobby quickly opened up a five-car-length lead on the restart and held it until the finish.

There were 77 cars on hand for time trials.

Results –

1. Bobby Adamson
2. Lynn Paxton
3. Lou Blaney
4. Frank Gorichky
5. Hank Jacoby
6. Ted Wise
7. Gene Kohr
8. Mitch Smith
9. Jerry Matus
10.Pete Swarmer

Monday, October 26, 2020

1974 – McElreath Nabs IMCA Run


James McElreath

Shreveport, La. (October 26, 1974) – McElreath is a familiar name in auto racing circles. Jim McElreath has run at Indianapolis and last year won the Ontario 500.

But Saturday at State Fair Speedway it was James McElreath, the veteran racer’s 22-year-old son who was in the spotlight.

James took a wire-to-wire victory in the International Motor Contest Association 25-lap sprint car feature, won the first heat and was second in the trophy dash.

“It’s just a matter of time and a little more experience,” said the proud father of his son’s potential to move up to the bigger, more powerful Indianapolis-type cars.

James’ time for the 25 turns around the half-mile asphalt oval was 8 minutes and 59 seconds as he fought off the challenges of Ronnie Burke of Houston, Tex.

Burke, running for the first time in an IMCA-sanctioned race, had won the second 10-lap heat in the day’s best time of 3 minutes and 36.4 seconds and also took the trophy dash in 1 minute and 45.8 seconds.

Bill Thrasher of Mesquite, Tex., was the winner of the third heat in 3 minutes and 39 seconds.

A crowd of 3,000 saw the drivers set new State Fair Speedway records for sprint cars in the 5, 10 and 25-lap distances since it was the first time for that type of auto to run at the track since it was paved in 1969.

Thrasher finished third in the feature followed by Shane Carson of Oklahoma City and IMCA sprint car point’s leader Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo.

Utz totaled 95 points for a day’s work, which included a second-place finish in the middle heat race, and wrapped up the national title over Larry Kirkpatrick of Wood River, Ill.

Kirkpatrick had to withdraw his car from the feature on Saturday because “it wasn’t handling right.”

“The car isn’t designed for pavement. I was just trying to get by on account of the point’s race. I’m used to racing on dirt tracks and it’s hard to get the car set up for pavement,” he added.

McElreath has gotten most of his experience at Devil’s Bowl Speedway where he’s champion in both sprint cars and super modifieds. He’s been driving competitively for five years.

“I like the track,” McElreath said. “It was a little slick, but it was okay.”

Results –

Heat #1 – James McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
Heat #2 – Ronnie Burke, Houston, Tex.
Heat #3 – Bill Thrasher, Mesquite, Tex.
Trophy dash – Ronnie Burke
Feature –
1. James McElreath
2. Ronnie Burke
3. Bill Thrasher
4. Shane Carson, Oklahoma City, Okla.
5. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
6. Richard Powell, Enid, Okla.
7. Bobby Marshall, Dallas, Tex.
8. Rick Hood, West Memphis, Ark.
9. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines, Iowa
10.Roger Archer, Dallas, Tex.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

1959 – Sacto Victory to Rookie


Jim Hurtubise is joined by his lovely wife Jane after scoring his first career USAC championship victory at Sacramento. 

Sacramento, Calif. (October 25, 1959) – Rookie driver Jim Hurtubise of Lenox, Calif., making only his third start in United States Auto Club championship competition, sped to victory Sunday afternoon in a 100-mile race at the California State Fairgrounds.

The 26-year-old Californian drove the #3 Racing Associates Special from Indianapolis over the 100 laps on the dirt track at an average of 85.9 miles an hour. His time was 1 hour, 9 minutes and 23 seconds.

Only six of the field of 18 drivers finished the race, the last of this year's USAC competition. Al (Cotton) Farmer of Dallas, Tex., was second and Gene Force of Richmond, Ind., finished third.

Roger Ward, the 1959 Indianapolis 500 winner and this year's top USAC pilot, dropped out on the ninth lap with a burnt piston. He was awarded 17th position.

Tony Bettenhausen was awarded eighth place to move into competition, just 30 points ahead of Johnny Thompson, who sat out this race with an injury.

The young Hurtubise was driving the same car Thompson drove to victory at last year's state fair 100-miler.

Bettenhausen led for 15 laps before he dropped out when his car lost Its magneto.

Results – 

1. Jim Hurtubise
2. Al Farmer
3. Gene Force
4. Jim McWithey
5. A.J. Foyt
6. Shorty Templeman
7. Wayne Weiler
8. Tony Bettenhausen
9. Bill Hyde
10.Eddie Sachs
11.Len Sutton
12.Johnnie Tolan
13.Chuck Hulse
14.Bob Cleburg
15.Don Branson
16.Dempsey Wilson
17.Rodger Ward
18.Bob Veith

Saturday, October 24, 2020

1969 - Vandiver Wins an Easy One at Talladega


A celebratory ride to victory lane was in order for Jim Vandiver and crew after winning at Talladega. 

Eastaboga, Ala. (October 24, 1969) - The third time’s the charm, and laughing Jim Vandiver, a 28-year-old rookie out of Charlotte, N. C. will testify for that one.

Running only his third super speedway race ever, the 215-pound Grand Touring graduate romped to a two-lap victory over Ramo Stott, one of ARCA’s top drivers, here Sunday afternoon in his Ray Fox Dodge.

In winning the first Vulcan 500, an ARCA-sponsored event, Vandiver set a new track record for 500 miles at the brand new Alabama International Motor Speedway. Taking a holiday from the NASCAR circuit, Vandiver averaged 156.017 miles per hour and admitted afterwards that he “never really went flat out the whole afternoon.”

The old record of 153.778 was set by Richard Brickhouse back on September 14, when he won the first Talladega 500 in a Dodge Daytona. Vandiver, running his first NASCAR race in that one, finished second. Stott, who had been hanging in the same lap with Vandiver throughout the sunny afternoon, lost his chances for a victory less than 30 laps from the finish - and he lost in the pits when an air hose remained attached to his car as he pulled back into the race.

That made it necessary for Stott to come back in on the next stop and from there his crew had to change tires without an air wrench. Vandiver had it dead-locked from that point to the finish - if not before.

“No, I didn't have too much sweat out there today,” he grinned. “There were no problems on the track and as far as I know we didn’t have any tire problems. I blew one tire, but it was on the third or fourth turn, it was time for me to pit, anyway; and that really didn’t hurt. I just came on in off the fourth turn.”

Vandiver picked up $8,575 for his victory. Stott, in second, won $5,950. Freddie Fryar, in a 1969 Plymouth, ran third while Ron Grana, in a ‘69 Ford, finishing fourth.

And there was a big story on the fifth-place car where Tiny Lund, winner of the Permatex 300 on Saturday, finished. Lund, in placing fifth, may have turned in one of his very best races ever. Starting in the second row, the big man from Cross, S. C. first 20 laps, and was running dead last in the field of 41 cars. Among his troubles was a transmission which came apart. The pit crew locked Lund's red, white, and blue Pepsi-Cola car in high gear, and by the 60th lap he had it back into sixth place.

Benny Parsons, ARCA’s defending champion who blew a motor near the mid-way point, relieved Lund near the finish; but it was Lund's spectacular driving that got his car in the top five.

An estimated 28,500 fans turned out to watch Vandiver dominate the race after race leader Don Tarr hit the wall on the 61st lap. Tarr had led for 39 laps before going out, and when it was over Vandiver had led on 132 of the 188 laps needed at the 2.66-mile track for a 500-mile race.

Results -

1. Jim Vandiver, Charlotte, N.C., 1969 Dodge, $8,575
2. Ramo Stott Keokuk, Iowa, 1969 Plymouth, $5,950
3. Freddie Fryar, Baton Rouge, La., 1969 Plymouth, $3,950
4. Ron Grana, Farmington, Mich., 1969 Ford, $2,725
5. Tiny Lund, Cross, S.C. 1967 Ford, $2,000
6. Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill., 1969 Plymouth, $1,500
7. Clifton Martin, Columbia, Tenn., 1969 Plymouth, $1,200
8. Bobby Watson, Prestonsburg, Ky., 1970 Dodge, $1,000
9. Buck Baker, Charlotte, N.C., 1967 Plymouth, $900
10. Leon Van Atta, Lima, Ohio, 1969 Ford, $850

Thursday, October 22, 2020

1950 – Carter Winner of Ted Horn Memorial


Williams Grove Speedway track owner Roy Richwine (center) joins Ted Horn winner Duane Carter (left) and runner-up Tommy Hinnershitz (right).  

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 22, 1950) – Indianapolis 500 star Duane Carter of Fresno, Calif., flashed to victory in the annual 50-lap Ted Horn Memorial automobile race on Sunday afternoon at the half-mile Williams Grove Speedway before one of the largest crowds in the history of the oval.

Piloting the Agajanian Offenhauser, Carter’s winning time for the grind was 22 minutes and 42 seconds.

His name will go down on the trophy offered by track owner Roy Richwine to the first driver to win the event twice. Carter sat in the same car in which Johnny Mantz won the event last year.

Tommy Hinnershitz of Reading, Penn., who tailed Carter across the finish line by nearly three-quarters of a lap, was presented with a gold trophy when he was crowned the 1950 Williams Grove Speedway champion for piling up more points than any other driver.

Roy Sherman of Bedford, Ohio, finished third. Doc Shanebrook of Gary, Ind., was fourth; Ed Terry, Plainfield, N.J., fifth: Bill Mackey, Indianapolis, sixth; and Jackie Holmes, Indianapolis, seventh.

Mark Light of Lebanon, Penn., was forced out of action in the sixth lap of the feature, as was Vic Nanman, another Lebanon driver, when they had car failure.

In the time trials, Carter set a new track record by circling the oval in 24.62 seconds.

Results - 

1. Duane Carter
2. Tommy Hinnershitz
3. Roy Sherman
4. Doc Shanebrook
5. Ed Terry
6. Bill Mackey
7. Jackie Holmes
8. Mike Nazaruk
9. Lee Wallard
10.Cliff Griffith

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

1973 – 12,000 see Weld notch third straight Open title

Kenny Weld is congratulated by car owner Bob Weikert (cowboy hat) as Williams Grove promoter Jack Gunn interviews the winner. 

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 21, 1973) – The largest crowd in 10 years to take in a racing program at Williams Grove Speedway saw Kenny Weld do what comes naturally in Sunday’s 150-lap National Open for super sprints

The nation’s winningest super sprint pilot gave the 12,000 plus fans a demonstration of his driving skills as he worked his way through traffic even though his brakes had gone out with 40 laps to go. 

Weld’s victory, his 45th of the season, was worth $4,100 from the total purse of $14,000.

Weld started o the pole as a field of 35 took the green for the initial 75-lap segment. He posted a time off 24.40 seconds in Saturday’s time trials to earn the inside of the front row next to Steve Smith of Hanover, Penn.

Smith, clocked in 24.91 seconds in the trials, shot into the lead at the waving of the green, and kept it for 10 laps, but he spun out while trying to avoid another car which had flipped and had to drop back to scratch (last).

Geared for a slick track by the Bob Weikert crew, Weld pushed his #29 sprinter in front and was not to be denied his third consecutive National Open triumph.

Jan Opperman was second at the halfway mark but yielded to Lynn Paxton on the 105th lap. Two yellow flags gave Paxton a crack at Weld, but Kenny proved equal to both challenges.

Paxton found himself running low on fuel late in the event, and Bobby Allen came on strong for second. It was a long haul back for Allen, who had slipped from seventh to 27th before a red flag gave his crew time to make some necessary adjustments.

Opperman placed third and Van May, who ran with the leaders throughout, was fourth. Smith rallied to take fifth as Paul Pitzer, up with the front five all afternoon long, suffered a flat tire on the final lap.

Results –

1. Kenny Weld
2. Bobby Allen
3. Jan Opperman
4. Van May
5. Steve Smith
6. Johnny Grum
7. Kramer Williamson
8. Lynn Paxton
9. Red Wise
10.Paul Pitzer
11.Junior Parkinson
12.Jay Myers
13.Jackie Howerton
14.Kenny Slaybaugh
15.Ralph Quarterson
16.Rick Schmeylun
17.Hank Rogers Jr.
18.Elvin Felty
19.Buddy Cochran
20.Bill Banick
21.Smokey Snellbaker
22.Bill Wentz Sr.
23.Ed Zirkle
24.Terry Crousore
25.Mike Lloyd
26.Doc Dawson
27.Len Seoka
28.Gus Linder
29.Lee Osborne
30.Lou Blaney

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

1974 - Rick Ferkel; Happy and Rich


Rick Ferkel 

Long Beach, Calif. (October 20, 1974) - What can a “homespun” sprint car driver from Bowling Green, Ohio, possibly teach the rock-hard veterans of the California Racing Association?

Quite a lot, as Jimmy Oskie, Don Hamilton and Ron Rea found out last year. For one thing, Rick Ferkel taught them how to lose. For another, he introduced a piece of equipment that has since revolutionized the sport.

A former auto machinist turned race car driver, Ferkel showed up at Ascot Park for last year's Pacific Coast Open sprint car championships and he had barely unloaded his Chevrolet-powered car when the jokes and snide remarks started circulating around the pits.

The object of their ridicule was the so-called “bumper” or drag race tires Ferkel installed on the rear, wheels - a full six inches wider and 10 inches larger in circumference than the traditional 94-inch “shoes” utilized by CRA drivers.

“A few of the drivers came up to me and said, ‘There's no way those tires are going to work here.’ I think they were genuinely trying to help me, but I thought I'd try ‘em anyway. Well, I guess the rest is history.”

Ferkel made some that bright October night – he went on to an embarrassingly easy victory in the 50-lap feature and picked up $2,800 from the $20,000 purse. Not by coincidence, Bubby Jones, another privateer entrant from Danville, Ill., finished second while using the radical rubber.

“The tires are fantastic because they develop a ‘crown’ when the centrifugal force builds up in a spinning tire,” explains the 33-year-old driver. “You get greater traction on a damp dirt surface since the tires have a tendency to dig in.”

“You learn to adopt these innovations as they come along. If you don't, you may end up in a breadline pretty fast.”

Ferkel is in no immediate danger of that. Last year, Ferkel - hardly a household name in American racing when compared to A.J. Foyt – still managed to gross in the neighborhood of $85,000 racing on the so-called “pirate” or “bandit” super sprint car circuit and took home close to $35,000 after expenses.

He refuses to run events sanctioned by organizations such as the United States Auto Club (USAC) because “it's not economically feasible.”

“USAC normally schedules only one or two events per week for base purses of $1,000 to $1,500. Heck, in our peak months, I may run six races in seven days for purses between $750 and $1,000, so the potential for a greater monetary return is there.”

“I've got a wife (Pat) and a daughter (Felicia, 14) to support. I enjoy what I do, but to me it's a livelihood as well as a sport.”

Ferkel is one of a growing number of “racing gypsies” who tour the East, Midwest and Southwest from March until October, stopping at such exotic way stations as Williams Grove, Pa., Knoxville, Iowa, and Hinsdale, Ill. He and his chief mechanic, Jim Darley, log anywhere from 70,000 to 80,000 miles each season with their Chevy camper and 8-foot trailer rig. The rig serves as a mini-speed shop on wheels.

“We have a spare engine, a spare frame, a rear axle, new brakes, shock, absorbers, and radius rods - virtually everything to put the car back together.

We can't afford to go running back home every time we bend the car a little. Last year, we wrote off (totaled) the car and had to go home, but that's a rare exception.”

So far, Ferkel has spent the last three years in his unusual pilgrimage across the United Stales and he figures the “pluses” outweigh the “minuses”.

“I tell you one thing, I've seen it all - the dirty one-horse towns, the sleazy hotels, the horrible food and the constant pressure to do well,” he says. "But there are the good times.”

“It's hard to believe, but practically every town in the Midwest with a population over 1,000 has a race track. Some of them are real weed patches and you swear Davy Crockett carved his initials on the retaining wall, they're that old.”

“There have been times when I look up from the pits to the grandstands one hour before the race and it's empty. Ten minutes before the trophy dash, the stands are full. The people seem to come out of the hills like magic.”

Ferkel believes sprint car fans in the Midwest are the most rabid and woe be the intruder who beats the hometown hero.

“I know I've been the bad guy on some occasions. They don't like it when they have a local ‘hot shot’ and you use his car for traction in a turn: It's kind of hard for them to idolize Superman one minute and then all of a sudden find out he's Minnie Mouse the next minute.”

Monday, October 19, 2020

1996 - Guss holds off Saathoff; wins $20,000 USMS “Ultimate 100”

West Burlington, Iowa (October 19, 1996) - Hosting its final day of racing in 1996, 34 Raceway was treated to the QMI/USMS Ultimate 100, which concluded in a 50-lap feature Sunday afternoon.

And with the temperatures soaring into the 60s and the sun shining bright, the day became perfect for Ray Guss Jr. 

Guss, a native of Milan, Ill., took home a $20,000 paycheck with a victory in the feature race.

“It was a beautiful day today,” Guss said. “It was the only way to end the season. Last year I heard about them putting up $10,000 for the winner in modifieds, so I figured I had to come down here and race. It was the first time I had ever raced a modified and before today, it was the only time I had won with a modified.”

Guss led the race from start to finish from his pole position. Guss won the pole when he placed first in Thursday's 25-lap feature.

His main competitor was Johnny Saathoff, who had won Saturday's 25-lap feature and began the race on the outside. Saathoff, who resides in Beatrice, Neb., had been coming off a win at the Gold Rush in Amarillo, Texas - earning $25,000.

After two caution flags on the first lap, Guss took off from the green flag and grabbed an early lead. Saathoff failed to keep up and Guss led the first 10 laps by nearly three seconds.

“He got on a good line,” Saathoff said of Guss' early start. “On that rubber track, you have to keep a perfect line and try not to get too high and abuse your right rear tire.”

Saathoff was nearly passed by Kevin Gundaker during the fifth lap but was able to hold off Gundaker by going high as he did in Saturday's win.

Guss compiled larger leads as the race lengthened but each time he expanded his lead it was shortened by one of the seven yellow flags. In addition, a red flag was pulled when Wayne Brooks' car crashed into Bruce Hanford's car, sending both racers to the pits.

Guss said he was able to hold his lead by driving low on the track. “The track definitely had the rubber on the bottom,” he said. “The trick was getting a lead and saving your right rear. I knew Sunday, after racing Saturday night the rubber would be taken off the track.”

Guss had faced a few problems prior to his races at 34 Raceway. Guss had been at Amarillo, Texas for the Gold Rush and finished 10th.

“I was in two of (Saathoffs) shows in Texas and Nebraska and I would have a good run and then things would go wrong,” Guss said. “I'd be racing good in the B main and then I'd break. I broke in Nebraska and then got 10th in Texas.”

Guss, a former NASCAR Central Region champion, usually races a late model. “This is only the second time I've won in a modified,” he said. “And both times have been at 34 Raceway.”

Guss finished second in Saturday night's feature in late models and was able to watch Saathoff win to see how his competition races. “I watched (Steve) Boley and Saathoff and saw how they were running,” he said. Mark Noble finished third while Bob Timm placed fourth in a tightly contested race. Boley was fifth.

Results –

1. Ray Guss Jr.
2. Johnny Saathoff
3. Mark Noble
4. Bob Timm
5. Steve Boley
6. Steve Kosiski
7. Gus Hughes
8. Russ Olson
9. Dan Chapman
10. Ron Jones
11. Kelly Shryock
12. Tim Donlinger
13. Randy Zimmerman
14. Jeff Morris
15. Kevin Gundaker
16. Chuck Mayerhofer
17. Mike Spaulding
18. David Bice
19. Joe Kosiski
20. Wayne Brooks
21. Bruce Hanford
22. Bryan Collins
23. Ryan Dolan
24. John Allen

Sunday, October 18, 2020

1970 - Tri-State 100 to Greg Davis


Greg Davis

Boone, Iowa (October 18, 1970) - Greg Davis of Boone won the Tri-State 100 at the Boone Speedway Sunday. It was his second big win there in the last three weeks as he won the season championship two weeks ago.

Three Boone drivers at one time or another held the lead during the race in which 24 cars started. There were only 13 left on the track at the end of the race.

Arlo Dorenbush held the lead for the first 20 laps until Arnie Braland finally slipped around him after riding him bumper to bumper from the beginning.

Braland then held the lead for 15 laps until his water hose broke and he had to take his Chevy into the pits. This gave Davis the break he was looking for as he then grabbed the lead and held it for the next 56 laps. His victory was worth $400.

Davis also took second in the time trials with a clocking of 18.09 seconds. Denny Hovinga of Laurens had the fast time of 17.68 seconds.

Braland won the second heat after taking the lead from Jim Cowan of Marshalltown who demolished his car after he hit the wall in front of the grandstand. There were 11 cars that started this heat and only five finished.

Jerry Roberts of Prairie City won the first heat and Stan Stover of Reinbeck took the third heat. Stover also placed third in the feature.

Darrell DeVries of Charles City won the “B” Main with Dave Noble of Blooming Prairie, Minn., second.

Results –

Time trials – Dennis Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
Heat #1 – Jerry Roberts, Prairie City
Heat #2 – Arnie Braland, Boone
Heat #3 – Stan Stover, Reinbeck
B-main – Darrell DeVries, Charles City
Feature –
1. Greg Davis, Boone
2. Pokey West, Westchester
3. Stan Stover
4. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
5. Darreld Bunkofske, Algona
6. LeRoy Watson, Fremont, Neb.
7. John Carlson, Ankeny
8. Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
9. Larry Embrey, Grimes
10.Darrell DeVries

Saturday, October 17, 2020

1971 – Ruttman wins Johnny Appleseed 100


Joe Ruttman

Mansfield, Ohio (October 17, 1971) - Most two-year-old’s have a bottle in one hand and a rattler in the other. Joe Ruttman had a grease gun and gear shift knob.

The other kids had the clean air of a nursery to breathe. Young Joe took in the smell of gas fumes and flying dust.

It showed yesterday. A good driver in a car that refused to allow any of its opponents a passing shot.

When the Ruttman's think of time, pleasure and a livelihood they think of speed. Joe's father was the instigator of it all. He raised three niche in the racing world riches in the racing world as a designer. Another, Troy, who made his name at Indianapolis when he won the 500 in 1952 and then there was Joe.

“Every other man in my family was involved in racing in one way or another,” Joe said. “It was my time, so I got in a car myself.”

“My father tried racing a few times, but found he really didn't enjoy it, so he went to designing and he worked on Troy’s car that won at Indy,” he said. “I’m too old to go into the big time racing now.”

Ruttman powered his late model super stock to victory Sunday in the Johnny Appleseed 100 at the Mansfield Raceway.

“I really had no problems with the car,” he said. “It was prepared very well. So well in fact that it was probably the best running, best handling car in the race. That's why I won.”

There was one spectator who didn't cheer for the Michigan driver as he took the checkered flag, that was his youngest daughter. When asked who her favorite drivers were, she slowly blurted out the names of all her father's competition, but never mentioned him. The race was so exciting to her that she fell asleep shortly after the halfway marker was dropped.

As for that carefully-prepared car that Ruttman powered to victory. In four showings at Mansfield Raceway, it won three times. Every race it has been run at the raceway this season has spelled victory for the #33.

Ruttman received S1,400 for his performance and a four-foot high trophy from Miss Mansfield Raceway, Becky Hoff, in the $8,000 pursed spectacular.

“I didn’t really push too hard at the start of the race,” Ruttman said. “It was just a matter of lining up the cars in front and then passing them.”

Ernie Ward of Mt. Clemens, Mich., a short muscular fellow in a semi-battered yellow racer, was pleased with the performance of the #57 as he rode it to victory in the 50-lap semi-feature, preceding the Johnny Appleseed Classic.

The Mansfield Raceway could boast a longer track for the Appleseed 100. Track officials had the course widened to the turn one and turn two curves, making it possible for a driver to go a half-mile around the circuit in one lap. Becky Hoff, Miss Mansfield Raceway, is the only person at the Raceway this season to be given a trophy and not even run. She was presented with a trophy in appreciation for her reign.

Four states and Canada were represented in the 24-car field of the 100, with drivers from Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Windsor, Ontario. Raceway officials did not announce the crowd size.

Results –

1. Joe Ruttman, East Detroit, Mich.
2. Art Sommers, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
3. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
4. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
5. Bob Cowen, Perrysville, Ohio
6. Jim Irvine, Zelienople, Penn.
7. Bob Laribee, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
8. Delmar Clark, Gnadenhutten, Ohio
9. Bob Blaney, Warren, Ohio
10.Ernie Ward, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
11.Erv Baumgarten, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
12.Dale Hasselbach, Fremont, Ohio
13.Danny Dean, Mt. Vernon, Ohio
14.Jack Monaghan, Windsor, Ontario
15.Larry Leedy, Bellville, Ohio
16.Eph Davis, Mifflin, Ohio
17.Marv Parenteau, East Detroit, Mich.
18.Ralph Latham, Cincinnati, Ohio
19.Gary Fedewa, Lansing, Mich.
20.Bob Cannon, Newark, Ohio
21.Stan Stover, Waterloo, Iowa
22.Dale Woolworth, Saginaw, Mich.
23.Ron Dolen, Zanesville, Ohio
24.Don Arnold, Mentor, Ohio

Thursday, October 15, 2020

1978 - Trickle Nips Eddy to Capture World Cup 400


Dick Trickle hoists his trophy after winning the World Cup 400.

Odessa, Mo. (October 15, 1978) – Dick Trickle took advantage of a Mike Eddy miscue and went on to win Sunday’s third annual World Cup 400 for American Speed Association late models at I-70 Speedway.

Eddy dominated most of the contest, leading 320 of thee event’s 400 laps, and was in the lead when he bobbled slightly exiting turn four on the 386th circuit. Trickle, who was close behind, capitalized on the mistake by surging around eddy to take the lead at the outset of lap 387 and led the rest of the way to record the victory. He averaged 79.036 miles per hour despite 85 caution laps.

John Anderson, the only other driver to complete the full 400 lap distance, place third and could well have won the race had he not incurred a one-lap penalty for passing Eddy’s pace-setting Camaro during a caution period on lap 292. Bob Senneker came in fourth, Jerry Makara fifth and defending ASA titlist Dave Watson in sixth.

Even though he was sidelined by a broken piston after 320 laps, Mark Martin was credited with 16th place in the 36-car field to pick up enough points to clinch the 1978 Circuit of Champions driving crown.

“Winning the championship is nice,” Martin said, “But I would have rather won the race. It’s sort of anti-climatic winning a championship while you’re in the pits.”

Bob Sensiba, who set a track record with a 17.17 second tour of the .54-mile paved banked oval, started the 400-lapper on the pole and charged into the lead at the drop of the green.

However, after leading the way for four laps, a dry sump pump problem forced Sensiba to bring his car to the pit area for the first in a series of lengthy stops. The problem eventually forced retirement after 65 laps.

Eddy inherited the top spot and remained in front until lap 193. Martin took over the top spot a lap later and stayed in the lead until yielding to Eddy on the 229th circuit.

Eddy surrendered the lead to Martin for the second time on lap 298 and the 19-year-old Batesville, Ark., pilot remained on top until lap 321 when he was forced to the sidelines, turning first-place over to Trickle.

Eddy passed Trickle to regain command four rounds later but was unable to open a comfortable advantage over the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., chauffeur.

Then on lap 386, Eddy made his slight mistake which Trickle converted into victory.

“I was starting to lose some of my stagger, but I was running real hard and just lost it,” a dejected Eddy said afterwards. “I lapsed just for an instance.”

Results – 

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
3. John Anderson, Massillon, Ohio
4. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
5. Jerry Makara, Westland, Mich.
6. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
7. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
8. Harold Scott, New Castle, Ind.
9. Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan.
10.Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
11.Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
12.Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.
13.Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa
14.Jim Campbell
15.Evert DeWitt, Janesville, Wis.
16.Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
17.Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
18.Lonnie Breedlove, Indianapolis, Ind. 
19.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
20.Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

1974 – World 100 to Sanger


Ed Sanger

Rossburg, Ohio (October 13, 1974) – Ed Sanger, a 33-year-old resident of Waterloo, Iowa, took home $7,320 after he nabbed the World 100 late model stock car race on Sunday afternoon at the high-banked half-mile Eldora Speedway.

The top 22 in time trials started the rich event, a 100-lap feature, with Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s Verlin Eaker gaining the pole position by virtue of his sixth fastest clocking as the top six were inverted. Starting on the outside of Eaker was the defending World 100 champion, Floyd Gilbert, who led the early laps of the contest.

A total of 128 cars vied for a starting berth in the race. Sanger started in the seventh position.

After Gilbert blew his engine while leading on the 40th lap, Jim Patrick took command of the race until, he too, blew an engine on lap 73, yielding to Sanger’s Camaro. 

"I ran a lower gear in the feature than what I qualified with," Sanger said afterwards. "I was just trying to hold the car together."

Don Seaborn of New Lebanon, Ind., trailed Sanger by a mere two seconds at the finish line.

Rounding out the top five were Neal Sceva of Urbana, Ohio, M.J. McBride of Green Bay, Wis., and Don Bohlander of Glasford, Ill.

Wayne Watercutter won the B-main while heat wins went to Pat Patrick, Jim Hurtubise, Watercutter, Don Taylor, Bill Hahn, Earl Smith, Robin Hayes, George Branscom, Charlie Byrd, Ron Leaser, Pete Davis and Ray Maples.

Patrick was the fast qualifier in a 1974 Camaro with a time of 20.005 seconds.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger
2. Don Seaborn
3. Neal Sceva
4. M.J. McBride
5. Don Bohlander
6. Tommy Day
7. Ron Edwards
8. Junior Smalley
9. Jim Patrick
10.Baldy McLaren
11.Ron Hutcherson 
12.Delmas Conley
13.Verlin Eaker
14.Floyd Gilbert
15.Jim Hurtubise
16.Bob Wearing
17.Pat Patrick
18.Larry Moore
19.Paul Coyan
20.Don Gregory
21.Dick Crup
22.Don Hoffman

Monday, October 12, 2020

1974 - Ferkel grabs Western World sprint title


Rick Ferkel (center) won the seventh annual Western United States Sprint Car Championships at Manzanita Speedway. He’s joined by runner-up Rick Goudy (right) and third-place finisher Bubby Jones (left).

Phoenix, Ariz. (October 12, 1974) – Rick Ferkel, a traveling professional racer from Bowling Green, Ohio, who runs 70 to 80 races a year throughout the United States, scored his greatest victory in his illustrious career when he won promoter Keith Hall’s $30,000 Western United States Sprint Car Championships on Saturday night at Manzanita Speedway’s half-mile clay oval.

The personable driver piloted the George Nicholson Chevy to victory before an estimated crowd of 10,000. It marked his third try at the event and he became the sixth different winner of the prestigious event that has been tagged as the “World Series of Sprint Car Racing”.

Ferkel, who won the 1973 Pacific Coast Championships at Ascot in the same car, termed his win “a tremendous thrill”. He earned well over $6,000 in cash and prizes, including a new Ford automobile.

Pole starter Rick Goudy, a CRA star from Norwalk, Calif., drove the race of his career in the Bill Pratt Chevy and finished a close second, only two car lengths behind Ferkel.

Bubby Jones, from Danville, Ill., started sixth and finished third in the M.A. Brown Chevy. He trailed Goudy by four car lengths at the checkers in what had to be the most exciting three-car finish ever in the event.

Jan Opperman of Beaver Crossing, Neb., started second and finished fourth in the Swanson Chevrolet, a half-lap back.

The 50-lap event was run with one yellow flag period on lap 2 when IMCA ace Larry Kirkpatrick of Wood River, Ill., was bumped and crowded into the crash wall in traffic just past the start/finish line. His car trailed sparks and stopped at the entrance to the first turn; he was unhurt.

Befitting the wide appeal of the Western United States Sprint Car Championships, the main event fielded 27 cars representing 12 states. A total of 151 entries were received for the event and 130 drivers competed during one of the three nights of preliminary events.

Results –

1. Rick Ferkel
2. Rick Goudy
3. Bubby Jones
4. Jan Opperman
5. Ron Shuman
6. Billy Shuman
7. Jerry McClung
8. Larry Clark
9. Clark Templeman
10.Gene Brown

Sunday, October 11, 2020

1969 – Foyt Wins Sedalia USAC Race


A.J. Foyt 

Sedalia, Mo. (October 10, 1969) – A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and five-time United States Auto Club champion, won the USAC national championship late model stock car race Saturday and took the lead in the point standings. Foyt was piloting a 1969 Ford Torino owned by Jack Bowsher.

The 100-lap race was called off at the end of 73 laps because of a downpour. Sedalia had about three inches of rain in the 18 hours before the competition had started. The one-mile dirt track at the Missouri State Fairgrounds was heavy but it wasn’t raining at the start.

Al Unser of Albuquerque, N.M., led for the first 20 laps but had to pull to the infield when his car overheated.

Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, who went into the race as the USAC point leader, left the track when his engine blew on the third lap.

Paul Feldner of Colgate, Wis., took second place in a 1967 Ford Fairlane. Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., was third in a 1967 Dodge. Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio, was fourth in a 1969 Dodge.

Whitey Gerken of Melrose Park, Ill., led for 20 laps in a 1969 Chevelle but was force out with engine trouble.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Paul Feldner
3. Herb Shannon
4. Butch Hartman
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Gene Marmor
7. Glen Bradley
8. Dave Whitcomb
9. Mike Stein
10.Paul Bauer
11.Bruce Sparrman
12.Bay Darnell

Saturday, October 10, 2020

1964 – Pratt Wheels to Alabama Sprint Win


Betty Sue Howell, candidate for International Speed Queen, presents the Grand Prix trophy to Bob Pratt following his 20-lap victory at the Alabama State Fair.

Birmingham, Ala. (October 10, 1964) – It was “Bob Pratt Day” at the Alabama State Fair IMCA auto races Saturday as the Union City, Ind., speed ace swept the International Grand Prix trophy race in the 20-lap feature in record time.

Pratt drove the Dale Doty Chevrolet, and Doty received the gold-plated Sturtevant torque wrench as head mechanic.

The one-lap track record of 23.78 seconds for the half-mile flat asphalt track was lowered eight times, with Pratt again posting the fastest time for the pole position with a new record of 22.58 seconds.

Jim McCune of Toledo, Ohio, won the third 8-lap heat and hung up a new record for that distance in the Price-STP Special, with a time of 3 minutes and 6 seconds.

Following Pratt across the finish line in the feature were McCune, Greg Weld of Kansas City, Don Brown of San Fernando, Calif., and Sonny McDaniels of Houston, Tex.

Results –

Heat #1 – Sonny McDaniels, Houston, Tex.
Heat #2 – Bob Pratt, Union City, Ind.
Heat #3 – Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
Match race – Jim McCune
Feature –
1. Bob Pratt
2. Jim McCune
3. Greg Weld, Kansas City
4. Don Brown, San Fernando, Calif.
5. Sonny McDaniels
6. Jerry Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
7. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
8. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
9. Doc Schaefer, Alameda, Calif.
10.Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

1973 – Wagner Wins Cheater’s Day


Earl Wagner

Sioux Falls, S.D. (October 8, 1973) – For a time it seemed Earl Wagner would be unable to run in Sunday’s Cheater’s Day at the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds.

During warmups Wagner’s engine apparently blew up as he was steaming down the backstretch. But it turned out to be a broken dry sump line and the Pleasantville, Iowa, ace was ready to roll once the action started.

Wagner won a thrilling 30-lap battle with Sioux Falls’ Darryl Dawley and also won the third heat. Dawley, Ray Lee Goodwin, and Ed Bowes also won heat races and Lloyd Beckman won the consolation.

Dawley led the main event of 17 laps with Goodwin and Wagner close behind. Wagner took over second place on the 15th circuit and passed Dawley on lap 18. Dawley almost got the lead back on the same lap he lost it, but Wagner blasted out of the fourth turn with a slight lead and was never headed again.

Harry Torgerson, the 1972 and ’73 champ at Huset Speedway, was fourth in the event and Dave Skari was fifth. 

Results – 

Heat #1 – Darryl Dawley, Sioux Falls
Heat #2 – Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
Heat #3 – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Heat #4 – Ed Bowes, Lincoln, Neb.
Consolation – Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
Feature –
1. Earl Wagner
2. Darryl Dawley
3. Ray Lee Goodwin
4. Harry Torgerson, Sioux Falls
5. Dave Skari, Grand Forks, N.D.
6. Ed Bowes
7. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines, Iowa
8. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Russ Brahmer, Wisner, Neb.
10.Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

1979 – ‘Great feeling’ says Gregory after Winchester win


Surrounded by well-wishers, Don Gregory is presented his trophy after winning the Dri-Powr 400 at Winchester. - Fred Meeks Collection

Winchester, Ind. (October 7, 1979) – It finally happened. For the first time in six years there is a new champion of the Dri-Powr 400.

Don Gregory of Columbus, Ohio, driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass, took the checkered flag Sunday afternoon at the Winchester Speedway with a new track record of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 35.79 seconds for an average speed of 86.852 miles per hour.

Gregory broke the track record set by Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., who had won the race for five straight years. Senneker was second to Gregory on lap 336 when his engine let go, causing him to spin into the wall in turn four. He finished 17th.

Taking runner-up honors was Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., in a Camaro.

Gregory, an ASA perennial favorite but seldom a winner said, “It was a great feeling and couldn’t have had happened at a better race than this one.”

The track was a tribute to a very safe and fast race with the lead changing hands 11 times between seven drivers. The caution light was on for a total of 80 laps on 10 different occasions.

The start of the race saw pole-sitter Randy Sweet jump into the lead ahead of Mike Eddy, Senneker and Dave Roahrig. Gregory, starting in the 14th position, had moved into fifth place by lap 42.

On lap 80, Senneker made his move to the front but pitted on lap 91, and Roahrig took command for the next 61 circuits, followed closely by L.J. Lines.

Lines took over the lead when Roahrig pitted on lap 163. Eddy moved back into second, followed by Senneker, with Gregory still playing the waiting game.

On lap 193, Eddy took over first, followed by Roahrig and Young. In heavy traffic on lap 246, Senneker came from third spot to move on top with ASA point leader Mark Martin in second.

Martin passed Senneker on lap 302 but engine issues knocked him out a few laps later. Senneker regained the lead with Eddy close behind. Three laps later, Eddy passed Senneker, but he ran out of gas and lost two laps to the leaders.

By this time, Gregory and Young were closing in on Senneker, who led until lap 319 when Gregory took over on a caution flag.

Senneker gave chase to Gregory until blowing his engine on lap 336. Young, a half-lap behind, tried to make up the distance but was unable to overtake the leader.

Results –

1. Don Gregory
2. Ray Young
3. Mike Eddy
4. Dick Trickle
5. Butch Miller
6. Denny Nyari
7. Harold Scott
8. Bill Noel
9. Kenny St. John
10.Bob Strait
11.Ted Johnson
12.Terry Senneker
13.Dave Roahrig
14.Mark Martin
15.Doug Hanna
16.Buddy Cole
17.Bob Senneker
18.Lonnie Breedlove
19.Ray Barnard
20.L.J. Lines
21.Moose Myers
22.Rick Knotts
23.Larry Gorman
24.Ken Adams
25.Marv Smith
26.Ken Harrison
27.Carl Smith
28.Randy Sweet
29.Ed Cooper
30.Richard Craig
31.Bob Sensiba
32.John Ziegler
33.Jeep Pflum
34.John Martin

Don Gregory

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

1974 - Martin tops Cornhusker – Hawkeye

Bill Martin

Omaha, Neb. (October 6, 1974) – Bill Martin of Council Bluffs roared into the lead with 66 laps remaining and ran away with Cornhusker – Hawkeye Challenge 100-lap late model stock car race before 2,050 fans at Sunset Speedway on Sunday night.

“After three years, it’s about time we beat those Eastern Iowa drivers,” Martin remarked from victory lane.

Denny Hovinga of Laurens, Iowa, led the first 28 laps before he tangled with Martin in the north turn. Hovinga spun and killed his engine, having to restart at the rear of the field.

When the race resumed, Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took the lead until his engine quit on lap 34. Martin assumed the lead after that and increased his margin the rest of the way over runner-up Jerry Wancewicz of Omaha.

Martin’s total earnings mounted to $1,590.

“The track was in such bad shape from the recent rains, I was afraid we were going to break something, but the car worked really good tonight. What a way to end the season!” Martin commented.

Consolations fell to Kent Tucker of Aurora; Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa; and Ron Tilley of Council Bluffs.

Heat victories were shared by Verlin Eaker; Denny Hovinga; Jerry Wancewicz; George Barton of Ankeny; Curt Hanson of Dike, Iowa; and Martin.

Results –

1. Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa
2. Jerry Wancewicz, Omaha
3. Bill Beckman, Lisbon, Iowa
4. Randy Sterner, Blair
5. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
6. Kent Tucker, Aurora
7. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
9. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
10.Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa

Monday, October 5, 2020

1975 - Reffner Wins Oktoberfest 200


Tom Reffner scored his second career Oktoberfest win in 1975. - Kurt Luoma Photo

West Salem, Wis. (October 5, 1975) – “She never missed a beat all day,” said Tom Reffner of his 1974 Javelin, which he drove to victory in the sixth annual Oktoberfest 200 feature race at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Reffner, this year's La Crosse Interstate Speedway champion, had his car in tune as he also won the first 50-lap feature in the opening race of the day before more than 4,300 race fans, the largest crowd Speedway owner Larry Wehrs has had.

“This is the biggest crowd we've had in the four years I've owned the track." said Wehrs. “We'll have this race again next year It worked out good." 

Wehrs recently purchased another track, the Dells Motor Speedway from Howard Johnson and Martin and Jerry Benson.

“It's a growing area and I think it will be a good investment. On a good night they get about 1,000 more people than we do.”

Reffner, starting near the middle of the pack in the 75-lap feature, moved into second place on the 23rd lap. then moved in the front of Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids on the 27th lap and held on for the victory

Ed Howe of Beaverton, Mich., pushed his ‘74 Camaro into second place in front of Trickle on the 36th lap, and challenged Reffner briefly following four caution flags through the final 14 laps

Howe, who won the second 50-lap race, finished runner-up while Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., was third in a ‘73 Camaro. Jerry Makar of Ancaster, Ontario, Canada and John Ziegler of Madison were fourth and fifth respectively.

“On the restarts I made sure he (Howe) didn't get under me.” said Reffner.

Reffner won $1,000 for the 75-lap feature and added $1,240 from Saturday night's and Sunday’s preliminaries to collect $2,240 in less than 24 hours of work.

I've had a good year here.” said Reffner I don’t think I’ve lost a feature I finished.”

Results –

1. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
2. Ed Howe, Beaverton, Mich.
3. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
4. Jerry Makara, Ancaster, Ontario
5. John Ziegler, Madison
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
7. John Reimer, Caledonia
8. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
9. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek
10.Ted Musgrave, Adams
11.Bill Oas, Minneapolis
12.Bob Abitz, Freedom
13.Don Marcis, Wausau
14.Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
15.Roger Lund, Eau Claire
16.Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
17.Pete Mahlum, Onalaska
18.Greg Arenson, Minneapolis
19.Jim Bohmsach, Wisconsin Rapids
20.Jeff Haar, Minneapolis
21.Tony Strupp, Slinger
22.Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
23.Mike DeMars, Minneapolis
24.Pat Griffin, Galesville
25.Dewey Gustafson, Bloomington, Minn.
26.Larry Detjens, Wausau
27.Jerry Eckhart, Lake Mills
28.Don Leach, Beloit
29.Jim Sauter, Necedah
30.Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

1964 - Baird Drives to Rare Late Model Victory


Jesse Baird

Ona, W.Va. (October 4, 1964) – Jesse Baird, aided by two fast pit stops, wheeled a ’64 Pontiac to victory Sunday afternoon in West Virginia Speedway’s 500-lap late model race.

In the Automobile Racing Club of America 1965 season opener, Baird scored a rare triumph for the Pontiac forces. Dick Freeman (third) and Andy Hampton (fourth) joined Baird as top five Pontiac finishers.

Jack Purcell, a cemetery lot salesman in his spare time, finished second in a ’64 Ford and Jack Bowsher was fifth in another ’64 Ford.

Bowsher, a two-time ARCA champion, was regarded as the driver to beat in the 219-mile grind witnessed by 3,500 windblown racing fans. He was running right on schedule until an extra pit stop to take on tires dropped him from contention.

Baird made but two stops - both times for fuel - and went all the way on a set of tires.

His average speed of 65.685 miles per hour was slowed by 42 laps under the caution flag. He and Bowsher started on the front row after both qualified at 78.175 miles per hour.

Baird had his Pontiac out front for the first 121 laps until his initial pit stop. Purcell took the lead only to lose it to Freeman when he pitted on lap 225. Freeman dropped back for a pit stop 50 laps later, allowing Bowsher to push his white Ford to the head of the pack.

The winner roared back into the lead for good when Bowsher made his second stop on lap 319. Baird took on fuel again at about the 375-lap stage, but Bowsher had to pit at the same time for tires.

“When I still had the lead after the second pit stop, I thought I had the race won,” said Baird, who’s in the auto parts business.

“We’ve got some good equipment although the Pontiac people are out of the racing business,” he added. In all of last season on the ARCA circuit, only one Pontiac saw victory lane in the 35 races with Dick Freeman nabbing that win.

Among the early dropouts in the West Virginia 500 were Junior Spencer in a ’64 Ford and Dick Passwater in a ’64 Studebaker. Jim Cushman had his ’64 Plymouth spin out early but got back into good shape before mechanical difficulties cropped up.

Results –

1. Jesse Baird
2. Jack Purcell
3. Dick Freeman
4. Andy Hampton
5. Jack Bowsher
6. Bobby Watson
7. George Swope
8. Wayne Kaufmann
9. LaMarr Marshall
10.Iggy Katona
11.Tom Pistone
12.Benny Parsons 
13.Bud Harless
14.Jim Cushman
15.Cleo Ashley
16.Homer Newland
17.Hank Teeters
18.Jim Robertson
19.Don Trees
20.Les Snow
21.Clyde Parker
22.Grant Wilmot
23.Jerry LeBlanc
24.Ken Reiter
25.Roy Wathen
26.Paul Wensink
27.Elmer Musgrave
28.Dan Arnold
29.Jack Shanklin
30.Danny Byrd

Saturday, October 3, 2020

1971 – Oktoberfest 200 to Trickle


Dick Trickle 

West Salem, Wis. (October 3, 1971) – Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids took the big one Sunday afternoon at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway, winning the Oktoberfest 200 late model stock car race.

Trickle, coming from his 30th starting position in the 33-car field, took command on lap 35. Only once did he relinquish the lead and that was on lap 129 when he took a pit stop for gas. It took 28 laps to regain the lead from Don Leach of Beloit, Wis.

From there on, it was all Trickle with Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., finishing a distant second.

The two-day event started out Saturday with time trials and qualifying race.

The three winners of the three qualifying races would start in the last three spots of the 33-car field. The top 30 qualifiers would start in inverted positions.

Trickle would blow an engine in hot laps but would quickly replace it and set fast time, touring the 5/8-mile in 20.78 seconds, just short of the track record of 20.74 seconds, which he holds.

Mike Murgic, Rosemount, Minn., won the first 20-lap qualifier with Ken Mann of Cottage Grove, Minn., second and Les Ferris of Northfield, Minn., third.

Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., took the second 20-lap qualifier over Vaughn Gerke of Rockford, Ill., and Dale Walworth of Warren, Wis.

Greg De Lapp won the third and final 20-lap qualifier and the 33rd starting position but blew an engine hot lapping before the 200-lapper and gave his starting spot to the consolation winner who would be Ken Mann.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
3. Don Leach, Beloit
4. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
5. Al Ward, Elba, Minn.
6. John Brevik, Fairchild
7. Dick Graves, Minneapolis
8. Dick Schultz, Wausau
9. Larry Behrens, Northfield, Minn.
10.Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.

Friday, October 2, 2020

1976 – Carter rips to Salt City 100 win


"Pancho" Carter is joined by trophy girl  June Cochran in victory lane after winning the Salt City 100. - Joseph Ramirez Collection

Syracuse, N.Y. (October 2, 1977) – Duane “Pancho” Carter, second generation driving whiz of former Indy star Duane Carter Sr., turned on the steam in the second half of Saturday's 100-mile USAC Championship Dirt Car race and came away with a convincing victory in the third annual Salt City 100, at the New York State Fairgrounds.

The lightning fast one mile oval was in super-smooth condition, paving the way for record speeds throughout the afternoon.

After qualifying fifth, Pancho set a deliberate pace in the early going, but finished hard to take home over $7,200 of the $30,000 payoff.

The Salt City 100 was the final event in the four race USAC dirt series and Billy Cassella of Weirton, West Virginia nailed down his first USAC crown with his fourth place finish. Popular Gary Bettenhausen survived two brushes with the outer wall to bring Pat Santello’s “City of Syracuse” Chevy home in a second. Defending Salt City Champion, Sheldon Kinser of Bloomington, Ind wound up third.

With the fairgrounds’ mile in perfect condition, qualifying time trials shattered all existing Syracuse records and Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis., sat on the pole with a new track record of 32.142 seconds, good for a 112 mile per hour average.

Tire wear was feared by many of the USAC teams and several pilots set a slower pace at the start to help tire life. George Snider of Bakersfield, Calif., jumped off the outside pole and took the early lead away from Bigelow. Snider led for 13 laps before being forced into the pits with engine ills. Lee Osborne of Indianapolis, Ind. then took over the top spot and this former area modified pilot from Rochester looked awfully smooth, as he led Bigelow and Bruce Walkup.

The only yellow flag of the entire race occurred when Spike Gelhausen of Jasper, Ind., spun in the second turn on the 17th lap.

John Parsons Jr. of Indianapolis had worked into third after 25 laps, but soon started smoking around the right rear of his car. USAC officials black flagged him for two laps, but then after protests from Parsons crew, pulled in the black and gave him the go sign.

Parsons apparently missed this sign and pulled into the pits to protest his being black flagged. When he did, he ran into one of his crewmen running over to his car. USAC officials then allowed him to rejoin the race, but John lost several valuable laps in the pits and was not a factor in the race.

Parsons, in third place in the dirt standings, could have won the title if he wasn't flagged in and he planned a formal protest to regain his spot.

At the halfway point, several cars were forced into the pits for new right rear tires. This group included Bruce Walkup of Downey, Calif., who was running third at the time. After Osborne had led from lap 14-43, Bigelow's powerful Foyt-Ford powered machine took over from laps 44-51.

Osborne then caught Bigelow in traffic and retook the first position and Gary Bettenhausen had made a beautiful charge up through the pack from his 15th starting spot to take over third. On the 64th lap, Bigelow's A.J. Watson prepared mount again was first, but the motor blew nine laps later to end his run for the big money.

With Osborne out seven laps earlier with fuel pickup problems, it was time for Pancho to move into the top spot and the Dobbins Chevy held it all the way to the checkers.

On the 84th lap, Gary Bettenhausen had his second close call of the afternoon, when Mark Alderson blew an engine in front of him going into the first turn.

Gary slid in the oil and wrapped the wall but did a beautiful job to keep his Santello machine on all fours. Gary, who was seriously hurt here in a bad spill two years ago, held on for second, 12 seconds behind the winner.

This was Carter's first USAC Championship dirt win, but Pancho has won the 1972 USAC midget title, as well as the 1973 sprint laurels. His Dobbins Chevy is owned by Steve Stapp and John Conger and Stapp was the builder, as well as chief mechanic. The winning car was powered by a 330 cubic inch Chevrolet engine. The winner's younger brother Dana, was also on hand, but was one of seven drivers that missed the show with slow qualifying times.

The new policy of allowing campers in the infield for the entire weekend proved to be a big help with attendance and promoter Glenn Donneley was pleased with the announced crowd of 17,500.

Results –

1. Duane Carter
2. Gary Bettenhausen
3. Sheldon Kinser
4. Bill Cassella
5. Chuck Gurney
6. Larry Rice
7. James McElreath
8. Gary Irvin
9. Bruce Walkup
10.Johnny Parsons
11.Jim McElreath
12.Larry Cannon
13.Mark Alderson
14.Bubby Jones
15.Larry Dickson
16.Tom Bigelow
17.Jim Hurtubise
18.Lee Osborne
19.Joe Saldana
20.Roger Rager
21.Spike Gelhausen
22.George Snider
23.Steve Chassey
24.Bill Engelhart