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

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