Friday, September 17, 2021

1961 - Rhubarb Enlivens Finish in Milwaukee 250

A smiling Whitey Gerken accepts his trophy after winning the 250-miler at Milwaukee. 

West Allis, Wis. (September 17, 1961) - William “Whitey” Gerken of Chicago drove a 1961 Chevrolet to victory today in a 250-mile stock car race which finished with so many protests that the first seven cars were ordered torn down for inspection.

Gerken’s margin of victory over Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., the defending national champion, was 23 seconds. Gerken led the last 12 miles in a race which saw the lead change hands 15 times. He averaged 86.9 miles an hour.

Trailing Gerken and Nelson in order were John Rostek, Fort Collins, Colo.; Dick Rathmann of Roselle, III., and Paul Goldsmith of St. Claire Shores, Mich.

Nelson, Rostek and Rathmann drove 1961 Fords. Goldsmith drove a 1960 Pontiac.

A Wisconsin State Fairgrounds crowd of 22,127 paid a purse of $22,575. Gerken’s share was $4,479.

Goldsmith did not start in the car he drove to fifth place. The Michigan driver, who is the leader in this year's national standings, started in a 1961 Pontiac but was forced out early when the car overheated. He took over as relief for Whitey Johnson of Hammond. Ind., and drove the final 120 miles.

The United States Auto Club, which sanctioned the race, ordered the first seven cars dismantled for inspection after wholesale protests from the starting field of 45. The protests charged the engines did not meet USAC specifications.

Other cars to be taken apart are a 1961 Ford driven to sixth place by Elmer Musgrave of Niles, Ill., and a 1960 Pontiac driven by Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., who was seventh.

Rounding out the top ten were, in order, Sal Tovella, Chicago, 1961 Ford; Ray Berry, La Grange, Ill., 1960 Chevrolet, and Ed Meyer of Glenview, Ill., 1961 Ford.

Results –

1. Whitey Gerken
2. Norm Nelson
3. John Rostek
4. Dick Rathmann
5. Paul Goldsmith
6. Elmer Musgrave
7. Les Snow
8. Sal Tovella
9. Ray Berry
10.Ed Meyer
11.Rich Sutkus
12.Ken Finley
13.Bob Potter
14.Gil Michaels
15.Don O’Dell
16.Skeeter Wyman
17.Bob Slensby
18.Bob Lutz
19.Gordon Gorman
20.Bill Cheesbourg
21.Ted Hane
22.Paul Burrow
23.Eddie Sachs
24.Bill Shoulders

Thursday, September 16, 2021

1972 – Prymek Captures MVSC Title at Columbus Junction

Ron Prymek

Columbus Junction, Iowa (September 16, 1972) - Ron Prymek of Iowa City darted to victory here Saturday night in the 35-lap season championship feature event.

Prymek took over the lead after the 16th lap, when Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree incurred a flat right rear tire and had to start in the back of the pack after he had led the race for 12 laps. The event was marred by several spinouts which stopped the race.

Perry Beckler of Tiffin held third place for 12 laps then moved into second spot when Prymek went ahead. Beckler chewed at Prymek's door for several laps and was barely beaten out only as the checkered flag fell.

No time trials were held for the championship race, so the drivers drew for positions in the heats. Don Morgan of Muscatine finally picked up the trophy for the final trophy dash of the year at the Louisa County Fairgrounds track.

Bob Helm of Andalusia, Ill., and Hemsted fought neck-and-neck for the 10-lap first heat event, with Helm coming in first for the flag. Beckler drove to victory in the second heat event. Morgan picked up the third heat event and, in a two-car, three-lap semi-main event, Tom Spitznogle of Fruitland won hands down when Bob Kleindolph of Muscatine spun out on the white flag lap.

Results –

Trophy dash – Don Morgan, Muscatine
Heat #1 – Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill.
Heat #2 – Perry Beckler, Tiffin
Heat #3 – Don Morgan
Semi-main – Tom Spitznogle, Fruitland
Feature –
1. Ron Prymek, Iowa City
2. Perry Beckler
3. Bob Helm
4. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
5. Dan Robertson, Muscatine
6. Larry Jenkins, Wilton
7. Jim Gerber, Long Grove
8. Bill Hopp, Muscatine
9. Don Morgan
10.Tom Hearst, Muscatine

1967 – Woodside Top Winner at Hutchinson

Jay Woodside, driving the Ted Hall Chevy #9, took top honors at the Hutchinson half-mile. 

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 16, 1967) - Jay Woodside, who developed his driving skills on the dusty tracks of Kansas, outraced Jon Backlund on the last lap and won the feature event on the International Motor Contest Association sprint car program, which opened racing activity at the 1967 Kansas State Fair on Saturday.

Woodside, a former Wichita resident now living in Kansas City, outran a distinguished field of top-notch drivers.

He had trailed Backlund, the rookie sensation of the IMCA dirt track circuit this year, for 19 of the 20 laps, but slipped to the inside less than a half mile from home, gunned into the final turn and won the race with a floor-boarded accelerator down the home stretch.

Finishing third was Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio, the current leader in IMCA point standing. Fourth was Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn., a three-time IMCA sprint champ who had set a new all-time record for the state fair track with a clocking of 24.40 seconds in time trials.

Coming in fifth was Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex., another former IMCA champion.

Neither Busson nor Richert, who were expected to duel for the first place cash whenever they met, had a good day. Busson finished third in the 7-lap opening event as well as in the feature. Richert finished fifth in the opening dash and fourth in the main event.

Lee Kunzman, a rookie from Guttenberg, Iowa, won the first 10-lap heat race, while Walt McWhorter, Wichita, won the second, in his Dodge powered car. McWhorter took the lead on the opening lap and steadily pulled away to finish Chuck Kidwell, Lincoln, Neb. J. L. Cooper of Kansas City was third while two well-known jalopy pilots, Grady Wade and Roy Bryant, both of Wichita, took the fourth and fifth positions.

Backlund won the 7-lap STP dash.

Roger Lane, of Blue Springs, Mo., won the 12-lap semi-main event despite the best efforts of Roy Bryant to catch him. Bryant went high on the track, and he went low but could never move to the front.

The cars for the main event varied in size of engine from 309 to 427 cubic inches. However, several of the drivers complained that the extra horsepower was useless since the track dried out too much to allow them to use it. The track was watered several times, but the sun and skimming wheels immediately dried it out.

Results –

Time trials – Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn. (24.40)
STP dash – Jon Backlund, Kansas City
Heat #1 – Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
Heat #2 – Walt McWhorter, Wichita, Kan.
Semi-main – Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
Feature –
1. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
2. Jon Backlund
3. Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio
4. Jerry Richert
5. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
6. Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
7. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
8. Roger Lane
9. Lee Kunzman
10.J.L. Cooper, Kansas City

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

1962 – Parnelli Jones Wins First Hoosier 100

Parnelli Jones discusses pre-race strategy with chief mechanic Johnny Pouelson before the start of the 1962 Hoosier 100.

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 15, 1962) – Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif., won his first United States Auto Club-championship race this season Saturday, leaving the rest of the field more than a mile behind in the 10th Hoosier Hundred.

Jones’ winning speed of 90.604 miles an hour was more than 2 miles an hour slower than the year-old record of A. J. Foyt, partly because a spectacular wreck by Allen Crowe, Springfield, Ill., forced eight laps at slow speed.

Crowe was reported in satisfactory condition at a hospital, after his car lost a wheel, overturned and caught fire in front of the main grandstand. The blaze was extinguished quickly but the unconscious driver was pinned in the car for several minutes.

A crowd of more than 26,000 contributed to a purse of $43,775, the biggest ever paid. for a USAC-sanctioned 100-mile race. Jones and car owner J. C. Agajanian, San Pedro, Calif., picked up more than $15,000.

Jim Hurtubise, Parnelli’s old rival from North Tonawanda, N.Y., led the first five miles on the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track. But Jones shot back in front and Hurtubise spun and stalled trying to keep up with him.

Protests filed after the race left the order of finish in doubt. Veteran Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., was the apparent second-place finisher with Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex., third. However, McElreath contended Branson picked up 10 seconds during a yellow-flag period.

Foyt, Houston, Tex., the defending USAC national champion, lost a slim mathematical chance to repeat when he was stopped Saturday by mud in his radiator. He would finish 16th.

Results –

1. Parnelli Jones
2. Don Branson
3. Jim McElreath
4. Roger McCluskey
5. Roger Ward
6. Bobby Marshman
7. Chuck Hulse
8. Jim Hurtubise
9. Ernie Koch
10.Ronnie Duman

1957 – Staley Surprise Winner in ‘Horne 300’

Langhorne, Penn. (September 15, 1957) - Mechanical difficulties forced four of the top drivers in the nation out of the 300-mile Grand National championship sweepstakes— open to late model sedans and convertibles—and a virtual unknown romped to victory in record-breaking time, at Langhorne Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Gwyn Staley of North Wilkesboro, N.C., finished two laps ahead of Whitey Norman. Staley drove a ’57 Chevrolet convertible, while Norman chauffeured a '57 Ford sedan.

Staley was timed in 4 hours, 4 minutes and 2.20 seconds for an average speed of 73.755 miles per hour. The old record was set last year by Paul Goldsmith when he traveled over the 300-mile route in 4:06:33.97 or 73.60 miles per hour.

Fireball Roberts, Goldsmith, Bill Amick and Jim Reed each held the lead at different intervals during the first 210 laps. In turn, each dropped out of the contest with car troubles. Staley took over near the 200-mark and led the rest of the way.

The big surprise of the race was the fact that a new speed standard was set even though the caution flag was dropped five times.

Goldsmith, who turned in the fastest clocking at Saturday’s time trials, and Roberts the runner-up, put on a private dual for the huge crowd, estimated at over 20,000. The pair roared around the Route One oval at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour.

Goldsmith took a long pit stop and fell behind. Roberts also took a pit stop and Amick took the lead. Roberts regained the lead at the 105-mile mark and stayed in front until the 175th when front end trouble forced him out of the race. Reed took over as the leader until motor trouble forced him out, too.

Staley had a little trouble after that. The winner started from 26th position and slowly but surely advanced his way, position by position, to the winner’s purse.

Johnny Allen, in a ’57 Plymouth, was third. Rex Allen, in a ’57 Chevrolet, nosed out Buck Baker also driving a ’57 Chevrolet, in a battle for fourth and fifth positions.

Dave Terrell, of Newtown, turned in what was probably his best performance at Langhorne. Starting from 23rd position, Terrell fought his way up to sixth place. He drove a ’57 Chevrolet convertible.

Marvin Panch was the luckiest and unluckiest driver of the day. He hit the fence on the fourth turn of the 85th lap. He escaped without a scratch. His car was towed to the pits. After some furious work by his pit crew, Panch re-entered the race. But, engine trouble kept him in the pits most of the afternoon.

On the 165th lap, Al White blew a front tire on the first turn and barely missed being hit by on-coming traffic. Twenty laps later, Tiny Lund and Speedy Thompson both this the fence between the first and second turns. Neither driver was hurt, but both cars were badly damaged.

Neil Castle dropped out on the 245th lap when the gas tank on his car fell off.

Lee Petty’s pit crew turned in one of the best jobs of the day when it changed an axle in six minutes.

Results –

1. Gwen Staley
2. Whitey Norman
3. Johnny Allen
4. Rex White
5. Buck Baker
6. Dave Terrell
7. Joe Weatherly
8. Ken Marriott
9. Tommie Elliott
10.Darel Dieringer
11.Frankie Schneider
12.Bob Welborn
13.Larry Frank
14.Lee Petty
15.Pee Wee Jones
16.Roger Baldwin
17.Fireball Roberts
18.Ted Chamberlain
19.Don Gray
20.Bill Benson
21.Art Binkley
22.Bill Champion
23.Possum Jones
24.Jim Reed
25.L.D. Austin
26.Emanuel Zervakis
27.Huck Spaulding
28.Harvey Eakin
29.Bill Amick
30.Neil Castles
31.Speedy Thompson
32.Tiny Lund
33.Paul Goldsmith
34.Marvin Panch
35.Elton Hildreth
36.Glen Wood
37.Dick Klank
38.Jack Smith

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

1980 - RW&B Finale to Shear

Joe Shear accepts his trophy after sweeping the Red, White and Blue Series. 

By Gary Vercauteren

Kaukauna, Wis. (September 14, 1980) – Joe Shear completed a sweep of the Red, White and Blue State Championships Series on Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin International Raceway.

The South Beloit, Ill., driver scored a six-car-length win the 65-lap contest over Larry Detjens of Wausau to wrap up his third feature win in a row this summer. Shear became the first driver ever to win all three races in the series since the event was started in 1972. He was also the first out-of-state driver to win the title.

Shear totaled 3,495 points during the series followed by Detjens with 1,835 points. Dave Watson of Milton was third with 1,455 and Alan Kulwicki of Greenfield was fourth with 1,235. Ted Musgrave of Grand Marsh rounded out the top five point getters with 1,195.

Gene Mathu of Luxemburg led the first three laps of the main event before the race was halted when the engine in Joe Laufer’s car exploded in the front stretch. The Hartford driver slid down half of the front stretch and solidly rapped the wall on the first turn. He was not injured.

Detjens slipped around Mathu on lap 6 while Shear and Kulwicki fought their way to the front of the field. Shear and Detjens raced wheel-to-wheel until the 12th round when Shear powered past on the front stretch. On lap 13, Detjens and Kulwicki tangled going into the first turn while dueling for second position. The two drivers were relegated to the back of the pack because of the accident with neither machine sustaining any major damage.

Shear then pulled away to a seven-car-length lead until the 23rd circuit until Tom Reffner of Rudolph blew an engine and spun out in the third turn. The resulting caution flag bunched up the field for the restart.

Moving quickly through the field after his earlier tangle, Kulwicki slipped outside of Watson on lap 26 to take over the second position. Also on lap 26, Wayne Weckwerth of Appleton blew an engine going into the first turn. Gene Coleman of Menominee, Mich., followed Weckwerth into the wall on the first turn and both cars were extensively damaged. Neither driver was injured.

When the race continued, it was a two-car battle between Shear and Kulwicki. On several occasions, Kulwicki pulled even with Shear but was unable to complete the pass.

Kulwicki dropped out on lap 56 enabling Shear to cruise home to victory with Detjens taking second. Watson took the last podium finish with Musgrave coming in fourth and Wayne Roffers of Oneida rounding out the top five.

A hard crowd of nearly 4,000 turned out in drizzly, cold weather to watch the conclusion of the series. A field of 48 late model stock cars competed.

Results –

1. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
2. Larry Detjens, Wausau
3. Dave Watson, Milton
4. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
5. Wayne Roffers, Oneida
6. Ron Tellock, Oshkosh
7. Ron Bennett, Waukesha
8. Alan Kulwicki, Greenfield
9. Gordon Sannes Jr., De Pere
10.John McNamara, Baraboo
11.Tony Strupp, Slinger
12.Dennis Vogel, Manitowoc
13.Jerry Eckhardt, Watertown
14.Terry Baldry, Omro
15.Gene Coleman, Menominee, Mich.
16.Wayne Weckwerth, Appleton
17.Bob Menor, Wausaukee
18.Tom Reffner, Rudolph
19.Gene Mathu, Luxemburg
20.Rich Somers, Minocqua
21.Joel Laufer, Hartford

1972 – Davenport Tri-State Victory to Eaker

Davenport, Iowa (September 14, 1972) – Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the annual Tri-State Invitational late model feature at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Thursday night.

The event had 43 cars signed in with Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa, the fastest in time trials, with a clocking of 26.39 second on the half-mile dirt oval. This put Horn and Eaker on the front row for the 35-lap championship feature.

Eaker would take the lead at the drop of the green and never look back, winning handily at the finish. Horn would grab second while John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, finished third.

Fourth and fifth place was a photo finish as Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, just beat Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, at the wire.

Mike Wheeler, Jim Gerber, Karl Sanger and Ray Guss were heat winners while Mike McNeal won the semi-main.

Results –

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
2. Fred Horn, Marion
3. John Connolly, Delhi
4. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
5. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
6. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
7. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
8. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids
9. Duane Steffe, East Moline, Ill.
10.Karl Sanger, Waterloo
11.Benny Hofer, Rock Island, Ill.
12.Larry Fabris, Sycamore, Ill.

1957 – Jud Larson Takes Hoosier 100

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 14, 1957) - Jud Larson of Hickman Mills, Mo., Saturday broke Jimmy Bryan’s fabulous victory streak in the “Hoosier Hundred’’ auto race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds here.

Larson, who sat on the pole, took the lead on the 57th lap when Johnny Thomson, who had led from the start, went out with engine trouble.

Bryan, Phoenix, Ariz., defending national champion and three-time winner of the classic, finished second. In third was George Amick of Venice, Calif.

“It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of work,” Larson said from victory lane. Everything worked fine but A.J. Watson, my mechanic, deserves the credit because he kept the car running.”

Although covered from head to toe in dirt, Larson remarked that he didn’t mind because, after all, it was “pay dirt.”

Larson not only set a new track record in qualifying in 36.54 seconds, an average of 98.522 mile per hour on the one-mile dirt track but set a new record for 100 miles of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 23 seconds for an average of 91.75 miles per hour. The old record of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 48 seconds was set by the late Bob Sweikert in 1953.

Hard luck dogged out not only Thomson, but also Roger Ward of Los Angeles. Ward was riding in second and had come close to catching Larson several times but on the 77th lap he pulled into the pits with engine trouble, out of the race.

Larson, who had captured a 100-mile race at Du Quoin, Ill., earlier this month, picked up 200 points toward the national championship. That gave him a total of 1,020 in the point race.

A large crowd was on hand in pleasant cool weather to cheer on the veterans of the Indianapolis 500. The 18 men who qualified split a record purse of more than $30,000.

Results –

1. Jud Larson
2. Jimmy Bryan
3. George Amick
4. Len Sutton
5. Don Branson
6. Elmer George
7. Ed Elisian
8. Jimmy Reece
9. Jack Turner
10.Pat O’Conner

Monday, September 13, 2021

1968 – Foyt Victorious at Tri-County

A.J. Foyt waves to the crowd after winning the USAC stock car main event at Tri-County. 

West Chester, Ohio (September 13, 1968) - A.J. Foyt in his 1968 Torino showed no indication that Friday the 13th troubled him in any way as he aced the field to take the United States Auto Club late model stock car 100-lap feature at Tri-County Speedway.

Dave Koehler and Lennie Waldo led the first few laps but 14th place starter Roger McCluskey caught Waldo on the inside of the fourth turn and maintained the lead for the next 12 laps, followed closely by Foyt. Foyt took over the lead on the front chute of the 18th lap but McCluskey returned to the first spot on lap 19 through the 21st.

Foyt took over the permanent lead on the 22nd lap and set a hard pace to win handily.

McCluskey and White became the race to watch as they maintained a car length's distance throughout the race. La Marr Marshall came in fourth followed by Dave Whitcomb, Dave Hirschfield, Frank Freda, Bob Harkey, Lennie Waldo, and Paul Feldner rounding out the top 10.

Al Unser from Albuquerque, New Mexico, driving a 1967 Plymouth, set a new track record in qualifications clocking in at 22.14 seconds.

Unser showed that his qualifying time was no accident as he shot to the lead to cop the 4-lap fast car dash. He was followed to the flag by Don White, Butch Hartman and Dave Hirschfield.

Foyt caught early leader Glen Bradley in the fourth turn on the second lap to snare the first heat. Last place starter Unser worked his way through the pack to take second, followed closely by McCluskey.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Roger McCluskey
3. Don White
4. La Marr Marshall
5. Dave Whitcomb
6. Dave Hirschfield
7. Frank Freda
8. Bob Harkey
9. Lennie Waldo
10.Paul Feldner
11.Glenn Bradley
12.Al Unser
13.Fred Zack
14.Jim Perry
15.Dick Beinlich
16.Dale Koehler
17.Butch Hartman
18.Bob Haack
19.George Bauer
20.Gene Marmor

1964 – Cedar Rapids Pilot Wins 50-Lap Season Championship

Darrell Dake 

East Moline, Ill. (September 13, 1964) - The occasion warranted a spiffy new car, and Darrell Dake was ready for the occasion.

The veteran Cedar Rapids driver showed up at Quad-City Raceway on Sunday night in a newly-constructed white convertible to drive in the season championship 50-lap race for late model modifieds.

And drive it he did…

The season point leaders lined up at the front of the pack in the 17-car feature race field, and Dake was assigned the sixth position, with Shorty Bennett of Moline on the pole by virtue of his top ranking in point standings.

On a second restart, second-starting Benny Hofer of Rock Island spun and was placed in the rear, so Dake moved up to the fifth position.

When the race finally got under way, Bennett darted to the front and was pursued quickly by Jim Gerber of Davenport. Dake moved in, fought past Jerry Rinehart of Moline during the first 15 laps and the race then settled into a three-car duel, with Bennett out front and holding the fast groove.

Rinehart faded back in the field and his engine quit on the 29th lap. He parked along the wall on the back stretch and the race had to be stopped while he repaired his car.

On the restart, Bennett, Gerber and Dake again jumped away from the rest of the field. Dake slid inside of Gerber for second place and moved to challenged Bennett.

Riding the low groove on the track, which, by now, was getting slick, Dake finally managed to get by Bennett on the inside of the 34th circuit, and from that point, he had clear sailing to the checkered flag. Bennett settled for second, barely outlasting Del Williams of Aledo, who did the most spectacular bit of driving on the night.

On the 42nd lap, Williams lost his front wheel. He never even slowed, however, and kept on grinding, pushing Bennett and claiming third place. Gerber was fourth. Hofer finished fifth and Charley Moffitt of Stanwood, Iowa, came in sixth.

Results –

Heat #1 – Bud Bevard, Abingdon
Heat #2 – Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
Heat #3 – Jim Gerber, Davenport, Iowa
Semi-main – Dean Johnson, Davenport, Iowa
Feature –
1. Darrell Dake
2. Shorty Bennett, Moline
3. Del Williams, Aledo
4. Jim Gerber
5. Benny Hofer, Rock Island
6. Charlie Moffitt, Stanwood, Iowa
7. Ray Guss, Moline
8. Chick Hiles, Rock Island

Sunday, September 12, 2021

1976 – Nebraska Triple Crown to Bartholomew

Tom Bartholomew  

Omaha, Neb. (September 12, 1976) – Late model driver Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, joined super-modified driver Lonnie Jensen of Lincoln and modified pilot Larry Molzen of Le Mars, Iowa, as Nebraska Triple Crown winners at Sunset Speedway on Sunday evening.

Bartholomew, returning from a clean sweep victory in a special event in Denver, Colo., on Saturday night, collected $500 for stopping off in Omaha, and winning the 50-lap late model main event.

Bartholomew went low under pole sitter Bob Kosiski on the fourth corner of the 23rd lap and took the lead from the Sunset Speedway point champion for the eventual win.

Kosiski would settle for second ahead of Blair’s Randy Sterner, Fremont’s Don Styskal and Council Bluff’s Ron Tilley.

Bartholomew barely made the race by finishing fourth in his heat, and then had to work his way through the field from his 15th starting position in the 22-car field.

Defending champion Kent Tucker of Aurora was running a strong third early on but smacked the wall hard on lap 7.

Both modified and super-modified winners Larry Molzen and Lonnie Jensen led from start to finish in their respective features and also won their heat races.

Finishing behind Jensen was Garry Frantsen of Windom, Minn., and behind Molzen, the point champion in Sioux Falls, S.D., this season, was Bobby Layne of Kansas City.

The fourth annual event was the most successful with a total of 83 cars (41 late models, 24 modifieds and 18 super-modifieds) competing in a 14-event program that brought the top drivers in from all over the Midwest.

A crowd of 1,810 braved the chilly weather to witness an outstanding card.

Jan Opperman, the defending super-modified champion, was expected to compete but due to an accident that hospitalized him, he was unable to attend.

Results –

Late Model –

1. Tom Bartholomew
2. Bob Kosiski
3. Randy Sterner
4. Don Styskal
5. Ron Tilley

Super Modified -

1. Lonnie Jensen
2. Gary Frantsen
3. Kim Lingenfelter
4. Ron Williams
5. Gary Dunkle

Modified –

1. Larry Molzen
2. Bobby Layne
3. Kim Lingenfelter
4. Willie Hecke
5. Gerald Bruggeman

1971 – Al Unser Finds Victory is a Gas

Governor's Cup winner Al Unser waves to the crowd as announcer Jack Baker describes how he did it. - Gary Schmidt Photo

West Allis, Wis. (September 12, 1971) - Al Unser of Albuquerque, N.M., gave up the lead to make a fuel stop on the final caution flag of the race Sunday then took it back when his brother Bobby ran out of the same precious stuff four laps from the finish of the 250-miIe Governor’s Cup stock car race.

Al had qualified for the pole at 106.657 miles per hour, but his average race-winning speed was only 91.935 mph as eight yellow flags slowed the pace but kept the race close for the 20,488 spectators.

Caution flags had flown three times during 24 of the first 38 laps but as the 40-car starting field thinned so did the mishaps. It looked as if the final 90 laps around the one-mile State Fair Park track would be accident free until flames started spewing from beneath Bill Nelson’s 1969 Dodge in the pit straight of the 232nd lap.

Three laps later, Al surrendered a 19-second lead over Bobby to pull his 1971 Ford Torino in for an insurance shot of gas. Bobby, who had previously pitted the same time Al did around the 165th lap, decided he could make it and drove on past in his 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner.

Al rejoined the pack almost immediately and tore around the track until he was within about 10 car lengths of his brother and holding behind the pace car. When the green finally fell 11 miles from finish, Al gained slowly, but wouldn’t have caught his older brother had not Bobby sputtered down the grandstand straight with an empty gas tank on the 247th lap.

Bobby managed to get back around to the pits for a slosh of fuel and out on the track in time to finish third. Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., was second in his 1970 Plymouth Superbird, his teammate Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., was fourth in a ’70 Superbird. Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was fifth in a 1969 Dodge Daytona.

If Bobby had stopped for fuel during the yellow, he would undoubtedly have lost anyway, but he said after the race he didn’t think he would run out.

“If I’d have known I was that low on fuel I would have saved some,” he said, meaning he wouldn’t have pushed his car as hard. “My mechanics told me I had plenty, so I didn’t come in.”

Results –

1. Al Unser
2. Roger McCluskey
3. Bobby Unser
4. Norm Nelson
5. Verlin Eaker
6. Butch Hartman
7. Lem Blankenship
8. Bob Wawak
9. Bay Darnell
10.Paul Feldner
11.Don White
12.Tiny Lund
13.Sal Tovella
14.Jeff Haar
15.Larry Berwanger
16.Mike Stein
17.Leroy Austin
18.Tom Klippel
19.Bill Nelson
20.Harold Fair

1958 – White Wallops IMCA Opposition at Clay County Fair


Spencer, Iowa (September 12, 1958) – International Motor Contest Association point leader Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, walked off with the 100-lap feature race at the Clay County Fair on Friday afternoon.

The decision garnered White the appropriate amount of money, engraved trophy, and even more important, a kiss from Miss Iowa, Joanne McDonald, in her first public appearance since placing second in the Miss America contest recently.

White won going away, lapping everyone in the 16-car field except Ernie Derr, also of Keokuk. White and Derr are brothers-in-law.

Third place went to Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, in his 1957 Chevrolet. Fourth went to Bob Burdick of Omaha and Mert William of Rochester, Minn., came in fifth.

White started his blue ’58 Ford on the pole position and never relinquished his first-place spot. Derr, in a green ’58 Pontiac, managed to stay with White in the early stages but by the time the checkered flag waved, White had nearly a quarter of a lap lead.

The time for the 100-lap race was 51 minutes and 22 seconds. The record for the race was 49 minutes and 2 seconds. A yellow, slowdown for nine laps ruined White’s chances for the record.

The grandstand turnout was the largest of the week. Fair secretary Bill Woods estimated the crowd at 11,000.

Results –

1. Don White
2. Ernie Derr
3. Johnny Beauchamp
4. Bob Burdick
5. Mert Williams
6. Sandy Slack, North Platte, Neb.
7. Mel Krueger, Atlantic, Iowa
8. Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
9. Sonny Helms, Des Moines
10.Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
11.Art Brady, Omaha
12.Jim Norton, Topeka, Kan.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

1977 – Detjens Takes World Cup 400

Winner Larry Detjens accepts his trophy from Miss World Cup 400 while track owner Bill Roberts presents the checkers. – Bob Martin Photo

Odessa, Mo. (September 11, 1977) – Four hundred lap of hard racing boiled down to a 5-lap trophy dash between Larry Detjens of Wausau, Wis., and Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., Sunday afternoon at Bill Roberts’ I-70 Speedway.

When the checkers waved, it was Detjens one-car-length ahead of Senneker to pull down the top money in the American Speed Association’s World Cup 400 late model race.

Third, one lap behind the two frontrunners, was Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., driving relief for fellow townsman Mike Miller in his Mustang. Finishing fourth, after seemingly having the victory in his hip pocket just eight lap from the finish, was Larry Schuler of Lockport, Ill. Fifth, seven laps off the pace was Jerry Makara of Pinckney, Mich.

Holding a half-lap lead and driving as if in cruise control, Schuler’s hopes were dashed on the 391st lap when a gasket let go and he spun out in the fourth turn in his own water. That cost him two spots before he got straightened out.

To compound his woes, Schuler was penalized a lap after completion of the race because of failing to drop to the end of the line under the yellow.

When Schuler spun, Senneker jumped into first with Detjens right on his tail. And when the green came out for the final five circuits, those two tied up in a head-to-head duel.

Senneker led three laps, Detjens put his nose inches ahead as they flashed across the start/finish line to take the white flag and then Detjens pulled away down the backstretch, only to have Senneker roaring back negotiating through the turns.

But Senneker didn’t have quite enough horses to overhaul the Wisconsin chauffeur and Detjens was the winner by a car length to pick up the $7,590 winner’s share of a purse which exceeded $50,000.

Results –

1. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
2. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
5. Jerry Makara, Pinckney, Mich.
6. Bob Sensiba, Middleville, Mich.
7. Lonnie Breedlove, Indianapolis
8. Jack Constable, Princeton
9. Butch Miller, Portage, Mich.
10.Fritz Wilson, Arvada, Colo.
11.Terry Brumley, Springfield
12.Dale Roper, Fairgrove
13.David Goldsberry, Bolivar
14.Everett DeWitt, Janesville, Wis.
15.Wendell Scott, Danville, Va.
16.Gene Christie, Gaston, Ind.
17.Wayne Stallsworth, Brighton, Colo.
18.Tony Strupp, Slinger, Wis.
19.Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
20.Wayne Woody, Marionville

1976 - Hoosier Hundred Won by Saldana

Joe Saldana

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 11, 1976) - Joe Saldana of Brownsburg, Ind., won the USAC-sanctioned Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday after the race was restarted when the three lead cars were involved in a pileup on the 51st lap that sent Jan Opperman to the hospital.

Johnny Parsons Jr. was fast qualifier and had led all way from start when he, Opperman and Bubby Jones — the three leaders — were involved in the wreck with Spike Gehlhausen and Chuck Gurney.

The leaders were lapping the two slower cars when Parsons spun and was hit in the rear by Opperman. Opperman then spun and flipped into the wall and Jones also spun. Opperman taken to Methodist Hospital unconscious, and doctors said he was in serious condition.

Saldana was running about eighth at time but moved ahead as some drivers completed 52 laps before the race was halted. It was restarted on lap 53 under the yellow flag for a lap before going green, when Saldana took the lead.

Bruce Walkup was in the lead when the race stopped but didn’t restart because of mechanical problems. Parsons restarted in 11th position because he had not finished the 51st lap.

A. J. Foyt of Houston finished second, Sheldon Kinser of Bloomington third; Billy Cassella of Weirton, W. Va., fourth; Jim Hurtubise of Clermont fifth and Parsons sixth.

Saldana won about $12,000 from a purse of more than $40,000.

Results –

1. Joe Saldana
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Sheldon Kinser
4. Bill Cassella
5. Jim Hurtubise
6. Johnny Parsons Jr.
7. Larry Rice
8. Jerry Miller
9. Steve Chassey
10.James McElreath
11.Roy Hicks
12.Jan Opperman
13.Bubby Jones
14.Bruce Walkup
15.Chuck Gurney
16.Spike Gehlhausen
17.Mark Alderson
18.Pancho Carter
19.Jim McElreath
20.Lee Osborne
21.Larry Dickson
22.Jackie Howerton
23.Bill Engelhart
24.Roger Rager

1971 – Stover Nails Driver’s Crown

Stan Stover

Des Moines, Iowa (September 11, 1971) – Stan Stover of Reinbeck found his groove midway through the 35-lap feature, gaining a permanent lead from Bob Hilmer of Dysart on the 27th lap, and capturing both the point championship and the season championship victory in late model stock car racing before 9,005 fans at the State Fairgrounds on Saturday.

Joe Merryfield of Des Moines led all the way against a field that was short of many of the top drivers and captured the season championship victory in the 20-lap sportsman feature.

Phil Reece, also of Des Moines, clinched the sportsman point title several weeks ago.

Stover finished with a total of 4,495 points (the amount he won during the year) compared to 4,050 for Hilmer. Stover, who had a lead of 335 points (3,960 to 3,625) going into the race collected $500 for winning the feature.

“I finally found where I should be going,” the happy Stover said as kept a wary on a pit crew member as he attempted to load his 1970 Nova on the trailer.

After a couple of interruptions when Stan yelled instructions and gave a helping hand, he said the point title was the first he has ever won. “However, I won the season championship feature here last year,” he added.

Stover and Hilmer, driving a 1971 Chevelle, put on one of the battles of the season.

Both started in the front row and Bob, the 1969 late model king at the fairgrounds, took the initial lead. Stan took over in turn one, but Hilmer had the lead coming out of two and Stover slipped to third as Dan Dickey moved up behind Hilmer.

Stover fell behind briefly then he discovered he could move on the inside. It took him nearly five laps, but he passed Dickey's 1970 Dodge on the 14th lap and moved up behind Hilmer.

Stover and Hilmer waged a see-saw battle before Stover passed him for the final time on the backstretch of the 27th lap.

Meanwhile, Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids had passed Dickey in the final laps. They finished third and fourth respectively.

Dick Oldham of Des Moines, who lost his 1969 Chevelle with gear problems in an afternoon race at Spencer, Iowa, attempted to race Merryfield’s Chevelle but went out early in the late model main.

Results –

1. Stan Stover, Reinbeck
2. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
4. Dan Dickey, Packwood
5. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
6. John Meyers, Brooklyn
7. Don Davidson, Des Moines
8. Gary Jones, Des Moines
9. Dan Clement, Rhodes
10.Bob Bonzer, Liscomb

Friday, September 10, 2021

1972 - Trickle tops Midwest at Dells

Dick Trickle accepts his trophy after winning the Midwest Championship at Dells Motor Speedway. 

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (September 10, 1972) – Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., led a star-studded field of late model stock car drivers from eight midwestern states and captured his 64th feature win of the year in the 200-lap Midwest Late Model Stock Car Championships at Dells Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The victory was worth $2,680 to Trickle for the two-day event on the very fast high-banked third-mile. This victory sets a new national record for feature wins in one year as will each future win he gets through the remainder of the year.

At the drop of the green flag, Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting position and he built up as much as a straightaway lead on the rest of the field.

With the fast time trialing 16 inverted at the start, Trickle, who qualified second, had to work his way up through the field from his eighth row starting position. On lap 19, Trickle moved ahead of Marlin Walbeck of Rib Lake, Wis., and then started to chip away at Phillips’ lead.

On lap 45 he pulled alongside Phillips and took over the top spot. From that point on, Trickle was never headed, and the eyes shifted to the battle for runner-up honors.

On lap 22 Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., moved into third place and after Trickle passed Phillips, Marzofka took up the chase after him. Finally, on lap 78, Marzofka got past Phillips and move into second.

But Marzofka’s spot was not a secure one as the “Green Hornet” twin cars of Ed Howe of Beaverton, Mich., and Tom Maier of Midland, Mich., soon pulled up behind Marv and began applying pressure. After some 50 laps of bumper-to-bumper racing, Marzofka managed to pull away from the Michigan aces.

After a 15-minute weather delay, the only other battle was for fifth-place as Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., the race’s fast qualifier, battle with Phillips and finally succeeded in his bid for the fifth spot on lap 182.

From that point on, the running order remained the same and Trickle was able to lap all but the Marzofka, Maier and Howe.

esults –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
3. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
4. Ed Howe, Beaverton, Mich.
5. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
6. Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
7. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
8. Jim Sauter, Necedah
9. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
10.John Ziegler, Madison
11.Don Leach, Beloit
12.Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.
13.Dave Watson, Milton
14.Marlin Walbeck, Rib Lake
15.Carl Smith, Columbus, Ohio

1967 – Greg Weld Captures Branson Classic

Terre Haute, Ind. (September 10, 1967) – Greg Weld of Kansas City captured the United States Auto Club 50-lap Don Branson Classic for sprint cars Sunday. Three accidents marred the afternoon program at Terre Haute’s Action Track.

Most painfully injured was Wib Spalding of Granite City, Ill., who suffered minor burns when his car caught fire and spun into the pit area on lap 15 of the feature race. Spaulding’s condition is fair.

Veteran Ralph Liguori of Tampa, Fla., was knocked unconscious when his car hooked the inside guard rail and flipped in the first turn during warmups. He was not seriously hurt and was kept overnight in St. Anthony Hospital for observation.

In the consolation race, Jerry Poland escaped injury when his car flipped over the auto of Jerry Daniels who had spun out in front of Poland.

Weld’s victory helped him move closer to the UAC sprint car point’s leader Rollie Beale, who finished fourth in the feature. Beale has 453.5 points to Weld’s 426.

Bobby Unser finished second in the feature followed by Hal Minyard in third and Sam Sessions in fifth.

The Don Branson Classic was named to honor the late USAC driver who appeared numerous times at the track, won his share of the races and was a hard and popular competitor. Branson died on a California speedway last November.

Beale was the fastest qualifier on the afternoon’s card with a time of 24.71 seconds followed by Weld’s time of 24.74 seconds.

A.J. Foyt, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, won the first 8-lap heat; Bill Vukovich Jr. was the winner of the second 8-lapper; Jim Luebbert captured the third heat. Mickey Shaw drove to victory in the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Greg Weld
2. Bobby Unser
3. Hal Minyard
4. Rollie Beale
5. Sam Sessions
6. Chuck Booth
7. Sonny Ates
8. Bud Randall
9. Bill Vukovich Jr.
10.Bill Puterbaugh

1957 – Grim Wins at Spencer

Bobby Grim

Spencer, Iowa (September 10, 1957) - Bobby Grim walked off with the feature event of the International Motor Contest Association big car races at the Clay County Fair on Tuesday afternoon, but not before he had eaten the dust of a couple of competitors.

Grim took the lead from Johnny Pouelson of Gardenia, Calif., on lap 11 of the 20-lap contest.

Pouelson, who started in the second position next to Grim, too the early lead and maintained about a car-length advantage between himself and the Indianapolis speedster.

But he made his first and only mistake on lap 11 by taking the first turn too wide and Grim was quick to take advantage of Pouelson’s blunder. He ran away from Pouelson and the rest of the field and won comfortably.

The time of the contest was 9 minutes and 59.1 seconds.

Pouelson settled for second place with Al “Cotton” Farmer of Dallas, Tex., coming in third. Ken Gottschalk of St. Louis was fourth.

Farmer and Gottschalk had previously made Grim eat a little dust as they won the Barney Oldfield Dash and the Bob Slater Dash, respectively, with Grim taking second place in both.

Finishing behind Farmer and Grim in the Oldfield 5-lap dash was Vern Chamberlain of Minneapolis and Pouelson.

Behind Gottschalk and Grim in the 7-lap Slater Dash was Red Hoyle of Phoenix, Ariz.

Farmer also took the Nationals Speedways 7-lap dash in 3 minutes and 53.45 seconds. Don Carr of Detroit came in second while Eddie Loetscher of St. Louis was third.

Pouelson was the winner in the Gus Schrader 7-lap dash while Jimmy Jones of Norwalk, Iowa, grabbed runner-up honors.

All told, there were four crack-ups in the big car program. Luckily, none of the drivers were seriously injured.

Des Moines driver Bob Coons had perhaps the worst accident of the of the afternoon as he crashed through the infield fence during the feature. Coons’ car was badly damaged in the front end, but he was expected back for Saturday’s race program.

Bob Cleburg of Rio, Wis., one of the big winners last week at the Iowa State Fair, went out in the time trials, smashing into the outside wall, severely damaging the front end to his car. He is also expected back for the big finale on Saturday.

Results –

1. Bobby Grim, Indianapolis
2. Johnny Pouelson, Gardenia, Calif.
3. Al Farmer, Dallas, Tex.
4. Ken Gottschalk, St. Louis
5. Vern Chamberlain, Minneapolis
6. Don Carr, Detroit
7. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
8. Fritz Tegtmeier, Elgin, Ill.
9. Jimmy Jones, Norwalk, Iowa
10.Harry Kern, St. Paul, Minn.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

1972 – Unser, Foyt Run 1-2 in Hoosier 100

Al Unser

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 9, 1972) – Al Unser won the Hoosier Hundred for the third straight year Saturday, making the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track an even friendlier place than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway across town.

Unser, who has won the Speedway 500 twice, was fast qualifier on Saturday and led most of the 100 laps around the 1-mile horse track.

A.J. Foyt led briefly early in the race but obviously had the slower car could not challenge Unser towards the finish.

Foyt nailed down his first career United States Auto Club dirt track championship, however, to round out his spectacular racing career.

The Houston, Tex., driver, a five-time USAC national champion and three-time Indy 500 winner, took the dirt division crown despite severe injuries suffered in a pit fire at Du Quoin, Ill., early in the season. He has also been a USAC stock car and sprint car champion.

There was another pit fire at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday, but Foyt was not involved. The fuel tank of veteran Arnie Knepper’s car exploded during a refueling stop, injuring five crewmen.

One of the men was seriously injured, two were admitted to the local hospital but were said to be “in no distress” and two others were treated and released.

Unser’s winning speed was 89.04 miles per hour. Attendance for the event was 17,628.

Results –

1. Al Unser
2. A.J. Foyt
3. George Snider
4. Sam Sessions
5. Greg Weld
6. Roger McCluskey
7. Jim McElreath
8. Rollie Beale
9. Joe Saldana
10.Ron Burke
11.Jimmy Caruthers
12.Tom Bigelow
13.Carl Williams
14.Ralph Liguori
15.Rick Goudy
16.Bob Evans
17.Bill Puterbaugh
18.Mike Mosley
19.Lee Kunzman
20.Arnie Knepper
21.Jerry Miller
22.Don Nordhorn
23.Bob Harkey
24.Larry Dickson

1964 – Hutcherson Has Sights Set on Big Leagues


Lincoln, Neb. (September 9, 1964) – Dick Hutcherson made his last appearance a good one at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds on Wednesday, wheeling his 1964 Ford to victory in the 50-lap stock car feature in a nip-and-tuck duel with Lenny Funk.

That really wasn’t unusual. It was, in fact, the 22nd feature victory of the season for the Keokuk, Iowa, racing star. Last year’s International Motor Contest Association point champion, he’s well on his way to his second straight title.

It will probably be his last because Hutcherson is moving up. Next year he’ll join the big leagues, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) circuit, starting with the Daytona 500 in February.

Off his performance in a few trial runs against that competition this Spring, he should do all right.

“I set some track records in qualifying at Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina,” he pointed out.

Hutcherson, at the moment, is the most renowned member of the famed “Keokuk Komets” which includes Ernie Derr, the winningest stock car driver in IMCA history, Don White (now on the United States Auto Club circuit), Ramo Stott, Jim Washburn, Ernie McMahon, and Jerry McCredie. Last year, Hutcherson, Stott and Derr finished 1-2-3 in the point standings.

White won the IMCA championship in 1954, 1955 and 1958. Derr won it four years in a row, 1959 through 1962, and when Hutcherson takes home again this year, it’ll be seven straight for Keokuk.

The IMCA-sanctioned tracks have provided a good living for Hutcherson. He grossed more than $21,000 last year and will make more this season. Despite the stiffer competition in NASCAR, he expects the financial rewards to be greater.

Hutcherson set three track and IMCA world records for a 5/8-mile track on Wednesday, although his qualifying mark of 33.97 seconds lasted only until Funk, a wheat farmer from Otis, Kan., zipped around a bit later at 33.45 seconds.

His other marks were 6 minutes and 1.78 seconds in the 10-lap heat and 2 minutes and 58.14 seconds in a 5-lap match race.

He lost a chance at the 50-lap record in the feature when Ole Brua of Austin, Minn., went through the fence on lap 22 and the yellow flag slowed the field for the next 12 laps.

Results –

Time trials – Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan. (33.45)
Heat #1 – Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
Heat #2 – Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #3 – Eddie Gray, Jefferson City, Mo.
Match race – Dick Hutcherson
Feature –
1. Dick Hutcherson
2. Lenny Funk
3. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
4. Frank Sedoris, Lincoln
5. Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

1974 – Bosselman is State Fair Champ

Chuck Bosselman

Lincoln, Neb. (September 8, 1974) - Chuck Bosselman took advantage of Bill Wrich’s misfortune and emerged a winner in the 51-lap International Motor Contest Association-sanctioned late model stock car main event as auto racing came to a close at the Nebraska State Fair.

Bosselman, driving an American Motors car with a small (305 cubic inch) block, had to rally twice before capturing the victory in an exciting main event.

Gordon Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, took a healthy early lead with Wrich, of Kennard, Neb., and Bosselman, of Grand Island, Neb., running second and third.

But Wrich and Bosselman gradually closed in on Blankenship and coming out of turn four on lap 18, Wrich made a move to pass Blankenship.

However, Wrich slid a little too high and Bosselman dove underneath and took the lead.

“He (Wrich) went too high and I went under,” said Bosselman. There was a ring of tires marks around the track and as long as you stayed within that you were okay. But if you got out of that, it cost you.”

Wrich got another chance, later, however, when Bosselman made the same error. Coming out of the same corner on lap 31, the Grand Island driver looped his car.

“I just went in too hard,” Bosselman remarked afterwards. “I felt the rear end go out and I just decide to let it go all the way around.”

With Wrich now finally in the lead, the Kennard driver looked like a sure winner when disaster struck on lap 40.

Wrich’s starter wire fell off, shutting him down and putting Bosselman back in the lead, this time for good.

Bosselman said that he actually thought a smaller engine helped him, especially driving through the corners. “You had to almost stop when going around the corners and when you do that, it’s a little harder for those bigger cars to get going again.”

After the race, a controversy emerged over Bosselman’s tires, which may not have been regulation.

However, National Speedways’ vice-president Woody Brinkman ruled that Bosselman’s win would stand up. “No one complained about his tires during the rules meeting before the race, so it was too late to protest after the race,” Brinkman said.

Results –

1. Chuck Bosselman, Grand Island
2. Bill Wrich, Kennard
3. Gary Lindgren, Ogden, Iowa
4. Billy Meyers, Grand Island
5. Terry Richards, David City
6. Jim Anderson, Kansas City, Mo.
7. Chuck Kidwell, Harvard
8. Rex Jordan, Lincoln
9. Jim Still, Topeka, Kan.
10.Tommy Taylor, Dallas, Tex.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

1980 - Ruttman Defeats Wallace’s Red Car

Joe Ruttman

West Allis, Wis. (September 7, 1980) - With his daughter's advice riding in his ear, Joe Ruttman at last defeated Rusty Wallace’s “little red car” at State Fair Park to take a commanding lead in the United States Auto Club stock car series standings.

Ruttman, having run second to Wallace in several consecutive races at the mile oval, set a track qualifying record of 31.90 seconds and 112.853 miles-an-hour Sunday.

Then, in his determination to defeat Wallace in the 250-mile 10th annual Governor's Cup race, he preceded Wallace's Firebird under the checkered flag by 18 seconds.

In fact, Wallace was the only other entry still on the same lap with Ruttman

“My little 5-year-old kept on telling me that I was slamming on the brakes and don't let that little red car beat you.’”

Ruttman, 34, of Upland, Calif., won $8,467 of the race's $40,725 purse, and now has 1,940 points in the USAC point standings compared with runner-up Wallace's 1,610.

His Phoenix averaged 97.692 miles per hour before a crowd of 10,805, the track's smallest of the season.

Sal Tovella finished third with Alan Kulwicki fourth and Bob Schacht rounding out the top-five.

Results –

1. Joe Ruttman
2. Rusty Wallace
3. Sal Tovella
4. Alan Kulwicki
5. Bob Schacht
6. Ken Schrader
7. Gordon Blankenship
8. Bay Darnell
9. Bob Brevak
10.John Olsen
11.Fred Zack
12.Brian Paulsen
13.Rick O’Brien
14.Herb Shannon
15.Kelly Williams
16.Terry Ryan
17.Dale Koehler
18.John Kennedy
19.Gene Coleman
20.Bill Venturini
21.Russ Peterson
22.Dick Trickle
23.Tom Meinberg
24.Arnie Christen
25.Frank Freda
26.Ramo Stott
27.Don White
28.Allan Sheppard
29.Dean Roper

1974 - Clay County IMCA to Lindgren

Gary Lindgren

Spencer, Iowa (September 7, 1974) – Gary Lindgren of Ogden, Iowa, sped to a track record in qualifying then won the International Motor Contest Association 100-lap stock car feature Saturday afternoon at the Clay County Fair.

Lindgren, driving a 1974 Chevelle, turned his qualifying lap in 25.85 seconds, shattering the record of 25.91 seconds held by Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa.

Gordon Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, was second and Bill Myers of Grand Island, Neb., was third.

Results –

Time Trials – Gary Lindgren, Ogden, Iowa (25.85)
Heat #1 – Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #2 – Sonny Morgan, Blue Earth, Minn.
Feature –
1. Gary Lindgren
2. Gordon Blankenship
3. Bill Myers, Grand Island, Neb.
4. Bill Schwader, McCausland, Iowa
5. Dick Johanneck, Litchfield, Minn.
6. Jim Still, Topeka, Kan.
7. Bill Wrich, Kennard, Neb.
8. Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
9. Tommy Taylor, Irving, Tex.
10.Ron Van Roskel

1968 – Foyt Triumphs at Hoosier

A.J. Foyt in victory lane after winning his record fifth Hoosier 100. Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s announcer Sid Collins (right) joins Foyt. 

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 7, 1968) - A.J. Foyt Jr., Houston, Texas, won the annual Hoosier Hundred auto race Saturday for the fifth time before a record crowd of 30,358.

Foyt, who extended his record of United States Auto Club championship circuit victories to 40, was never seriously challenged after the first 25 miles over the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track.

Mario Andretti, of Nazareth, Penn., who beat Foyt in the Hoosier race last year, settled for second Saturday.

Andretti and Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N. M., rushed away hoping to compete in the Grand Prix of Italy Sunday at Monza. The Americans still hope to compete in the Italian classic although Monza officials said earlier drivers couldn’t compete in two races within 24 hours.

Andretti, who had won the last two Hoosier Hundreds, set a qualifying record of 107.111 miles per hour but never led a lap of the race. Bobby Unser’s brother, Al, led the first 16. Foyt, who had started in 7th position, broke in front to stay on the 17th lap.

Cars of both Unser brothers quit in the first 25 miles of the race. Bobby Unser remained on top of the USAC point standings in spite of his mechanical failure.

Foyt beat Andretti across the finish line on the one-mile track by about a quarter mile.

They were followed in order by George Snider, Bakersfield, Calif.; rookie Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.; Bill Vukovich, Fresno, Calif.; Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.; Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio; George Benson, Campbell, Calif.; Jerry “Scratch” Daniels, St. Paul, Minnesota; Art Pollard, Medford, Ore., and Chuck Booth, Sacramento, Calif.

The drivers used special short wheelbase, front engine cars; specially designed for one-mile horse tracks.

The speed of 93.296 miles per hour was not a record due to frequent slow-downs for cars spinning on the slick, hard dirt. No vehicles were seriously damaged, and no drivers were hurt.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Mario Andretti
3. George Snider
4. Gary Bettenhausen
5. Billy Vukovich
6. Arnie Knepper
7. Larry Dickson
8. George Benson
9. Jerry Daniels
10.Art Pollard
11.Chuck Booth
12.Roger McCluskey
13.Wally Dallenbach
14.Jim Malloy
15.Al Unser
16.Bobby Unser
17.Greg Weld
18.Ralph Liguori

1957 – Beauchamp Wins SoDa Feature


Huron, S.D. (September 7, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp, the current point leader in the International Motor Contest Association stock car standings, zoomed around the track in record time to win the feature event in the late model stock car races at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

Beauchamp, from Harlan, Iowa, toured the 30-lap feature race in hiss 1955 Chevrolet in the time of 15 minutes and 24.71 seconds for a new track record. Ernie Derr, the two-time IMCA point champion, was second and Bob Burdick, currently second in points behind Beauchamp, finished third.

The hot-footed Beauchamp lapped every car in the race with the exception of Derr and Burdick, in roaring to his record-breaking fete.

Beauchamp also had the fastest time in qualifying, speeding around the half-mile in 31.11 seconds. Derr was second quickest at 31.18 seconds.

The Harlan, Iowa, ace also won the first 10-lap heat with a time of 5 minutes and 21 seconds and placed second to Bob Hardy of Beaumont, Tex., in the 6-lap trophy dash.

Burdick, the youthful 22-year-old driver from Omaha, won the second heat in the time of 3 minutes and 53.58 seconds for 7 laps.

Chris Skadal of Minneapolis took the novelty race with Dick Johnson of St. Paul, Minn., in second.

In the semi-main, it was Dick Pellow of Minneapolis winning in the time of 2 minutes and 46.68 seconds with Hardy in second and Derr finishing third.

Results –

1. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Bob Burdick, Omaha
4. Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
5. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.
6. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
7. Chris Skadal. Minneapolis
8. Al Warrender, Minneapolis
9. Dick Pellow, Minneapolis
10.Kenneth Lee

Monday, September 6, 2021

1970 – Perkins’ Ace in the Hole at Lincoln

Promoter Al Sweeney presents the trophy to Ron Perkins as starter Woody Brinkman holds the checkers. Corn Belt Racing's Dave Van Patten (holding hat) and Bob Trostle (far right) join in the celebration. 

Lincoln, Neb. (September 6, 1970) – Ron Perkins had a big ace in the hole in the big sprint car race Sunday afternoon at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds.

He had the pole position and led from start to finish in the 25-lap feature which netted him and his “Corn Belt Chevy” the top prize of $600.

“I guess I had time to get tired up,” Perkins said, referring to the obvious inability for most drivers to pass on the track, which was rained out on Saturday.

“The fastest times were certainly a detriment today,” the Wood River, Ill., carpenter admitted. Fifth and sixth best qualifying times made for a hot setup.”

Perkin had the best setup, qualifying sixth fastest with a 25.81 second one-lap clocking. That placed in the 6-lap STP trophy dash where he finished fourth.

He hadn’t qualified in his 8-lap heat race, so Perkins was placed in the 10-lap consolation race.

Perkins qualified with a third-place effort, making the 1968 International Motor Contest Association rookie-of-the-year the only four-race driver for the afternoon.

“I don’t think I could have passed many drivers in the feature today,” Perkins confessed. “Most tracks are a little tackier than this one, and it’s just hard to pass.”

“When you start up front on a dry, slick surface,” he continued, “a guy can hardly get you in the turns. A good driver should be able to stay ahead.”

And that’s exactly what Perkins did, making it impossible for second place finisher Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., or hometown boy Joe Saldana to pass.

Perkins zipped off the 25 laps in 11 minutes and 15 seconds, almost 3 minutes better than the old mark but a red flag nullified any chance of a record.

Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., steered his Hathman Chevy to a 24.11 second fast time in one-lap qualifying. Thirteen cars were bumped from the competition after time trials as a record 45 entries participated in the program.

Perkins, who had been consistently finishing “fourth or fifth” this season had not won a feature yet. He won only once last year, at the Kansas State Fair in Topeka.

“I’ve run better races finishing second or third than I did today,” he confessed.

Jan Opperman of Beaver Crossing, Neb., won the first heat, Saldana was the second heat winner, Dale Reed of Wichita, Kan., took the third heat and Ralph Parkinson Jr. of Blue Springs, Mo., grabbed the fourth heat.

Saldana won the match race, Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City won the consolation and Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., set a new track record in time trials with a 24.11 second clocking on the half-mile.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jan Opperman, Beaver Crossing, Neb.
Heat #2 – Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
Heat #3 – Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #4 – Ralph Parkinson Jr., Blue Springs, Mo.
Match Race – Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
Consolation – Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City, Mo.
Feature –
1. Ron Perkins, Wood River, Ill.
2. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
3. Joe Saldana
4. Joe Demko, Minneapolis, Minn.
5. Tom Anderson, Lake Villa, Ind.
6. Barry Kettering, Minneapolis, Minn.
7. Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City, Mo.
8. Dale Reed
9. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
10.Thad Dosher, Wichita, Kan.

1964 – Leonard tops Du Quoin Stock Cars

Du Quoin winner Joe Leonard is joined by promoter A.J. Agajanian. 

Du Quoin, Ill. (September 6, 1964) - The biggest race crowd in Du Quoin State Fair history Sunday saw Joe Leonard of San Jose, Calif., set a new time trial record of 39.34 seconds in his 1964 Dodge and go on to victory in the 100-mile stock car race.

The huge crowd, which bought every ticket in sight and then grabbed standing room space, was deprived of seeing a spectacular battle between A. J. Foyt and Rodger Ward when both drivers had poor racing luck.

Foyt, driving a 1964 Dodger, and Ward, in a 1964 Mercury, both passed pole-man Leonard on the sixth lap and then took turns at the lead through 20 laps before their bad luck began.

The first mishap of the injury free race cam e on the 27th lap when Bay Darnell of Deerfield, Ill., turned over his 1964 Ford going into the south turn and the car caught fire as Darnell walked away from the wreck.

Foyt, having early tire trouble, made a pit stop while the cars ran under the caution flag. Parnelli Jones, the sixth fastest qualifier, also took his Mercury for a pit stop at this stage.

Ward held the lead at 30 laps, Len Sutton and his 1964 Dodge at 40 laps and Leonard at 50 laps as the three leaders stayed far in front of the field.

On the 58th lap Eddie Meyers of Glenview, Ill., turned over his 1964 Ford going into the north turn. Ward, Lloyd Ruby and Gary Bettenhausen, son of the driving great, Tony Bettenhausen, smashed into the wreckage and both Ward and Bettenhausen had to quit the race.

Leonard and Sutton continued to run one-two through the last 40 laps of the race. Don White, in a 1964 Ford, had threatened from third position until he went out on the 60th lap.

Foyt, who was not among the top 10 cars at the mid-way point after a second pit stop, provided most of the thrills in the last half of the race.

The 29-year-old Houston pilot, regarded as the fiercest competitor in racing, passed car after car in the battle for also run positions and finished fifth behind Leonard, Sutton, Bobby Marshman in a 1964 Ford and Norm Nelson in a 1964 Plymouth.

None of these drivers had to make a pit stop.

Leonard's winning time was a slow 1hour, 13 minutes and 5.14 seconds for an average speed of 82.1 miles per hour.

This compares with a race record time of 1hour, 10 minutes and 18.52 seconds set by Paul Goldsmith in 1961 in a Pontiac.

The race produced a Du Quoin record purse of $23,650 exclusive of accessory payments. This record stood for only 24 hours as the Labor Day big car race produced a $24,050 purse.

Results –

1. Joe Leonard
2. Len Sutton
3. Bobby Marshman
4. Norm Nelson
5. A.J. Foyt
6. Herb Shannon
7. Bill Shoulders
8. John Kilborn
9. Ted Hane
10.Rick Kleich
11.Roger Regeth
12.Gordon Gorman
13.Bob Goetsch
14.Leo Drollinger
15.Jack Knippel
16.John Rostek
17.Bruce Jacobi
18.Bobby Wawak
19.Jack Holbrook
20.Parnelli Jones

1953 – Derr Wins by Four Laps at State Fair

Ernie Derr receives his accolades in victory lane. - Barry Cisna Collection 

Des Moines, Iowa (September 6, 1953) – Ernie Derr, the weekend racer from Keokuk, Iowa, escaped a serious challenge by Ralph Dyer to win the 125-mile stock car race before 25,000 spectators at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday afternoon.

The 31-year-old auto parts manager, who tops the International Motor Contest Association point standings for stock car drivers, was four laps ahead of Dyer, the Shreveport, La., motorcycle cop, when starter Al Sweeney’s checkered flag dropped to stop the long-distance grind after 2 hours, 52 minutes and 1 second.

The race was interrupted eight times by various spins, blowouts, and crashes, with the most serious resulting in minor facial injuries to Hal Kent of Richmond, Va., a stuntman who filled in for Bob McElrath of Waterloo, Iowa.

Kent was involved in a three-car pileup on the east turn during the 216th lap when Ken Jahn of Fort Worth, Tex., spun off the curve into the path of Gordon Howard of Marshalltown, Iowa. Kent, unaware of the crash, sped full speed into the area blocked by two cars and a wrecker going to the rescue. Kent crashed head-on into Jahn’s car.

The race was delayed for 18 minutes while the track could be cleared and the field reformed for the closing laps.

Despite the crash that forced Kent from the field, McElrath’s car had enough laps to finish ahead of last place Jack Skadal of Des Moines, who was 54 laps behind the leader.

Picking up third place was Sonny Gross of Quincy, Ill., followed by Tubby Harrison of Topeka, Kan. Gross was five laps back of the winner and Harrison was 15. Finishing fifth, 16 laps back, was Mel Krueger of Anita, one of 11 Iowans entered in the grind.

It wasn’t until brother-in-law Don White of Keokuk dropped out with a broken axle on lap 46 did Derr take command.

White, driving a 1953 Oldsmobile, a part of his loot for winning a 125-mile feature at the Minnesota State Fair earlier this week following his 50-mile sprint triumph here a week ago Sunday, set the top qualifying time of 32.54 seconds to win the pole position.

Dyer caught up with Derr at lap 166 and the rivals battled for the first place through the 181st circuit, when the Shreveport pilot actually nudged ahead by a car length and held the top through the 183rd.

In the stretch, however, Dyer lost his right rear tire and while he was in the pits, Derr stretched his lead to six laps. Then, as Dyer returned to the race, Derr went to the pits for a tire change and was back on the track after losing only two laps of his six-lap cushion.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
2. Ralph Dyer, Shreveport, La.
3. Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
4. Tubby Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
5. Mel Krueger, Anita
6. Jerry Goodman, Ames
7. Gordon Howard, Marshalltown
8. Dick Houdek, Wichita, Kan.
9. Russell Gross, Quincy, Ill.
10.Dick Robinson, Des Moines
11.Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids
12.Bob Halston, Chicago
13.Ken Jahn, Fort Worth, Tex.
14.Bob McElrath, Waterloo
15.Jack Skadal, Des Moines

Sunday, September 5, 2021

1976 – Iowa Drivers Clean up at Marshfield

Marshfield, Wis. (September 5, 1976) – Mike Niffenegger led an Iowa invasion of the Central Wisconsin Fairgrounds’ half-mile dirt on Sunday afternoon as the Kalona, Iowa, veteran captured top honors in the 80-lap late model event. Four of the top six positions were taken by drivers from the Hawkeye state.

Niffenegger, behind the wheel of Vince Fiala’s Camaro, traded the lead several times with Leon Plank of Mondovi before finally securing the top spot on lap 27 as the pair began lapping slower traffic.

In the next 20 circuits, Niffenegger built a three-second cushion over Plank’s Camaro, but the advantage was erased by a red flag on lap 47 when Ron Ashbeck stalled on the backstretch.

The caution period allowed Niffenegger’s major challengers, Plank and Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, another opportunity to wrest the top position from the 17-year veteran.

However, Niffenegger was up to the challenge and while Sanger nipped at Plank’s rear bumper, the 36-year-old leadfoot opened up a six-second margin at starter Keith Knaack’s checker.

Plank edged Sanger’s Camaro by a car-length at the finish. Bill Beckman of Lisbon, Iowa, led Eau Claire’s Red Steffen, Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, Bob Saterdalen of Oronoco, Minn., and Tom Greenlee of Loves Park, Ill. To round out the top eight.

The victory was worth $1,000 to Niffenegger, the 1976 track champion at West Liberty.

Results –

1. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
2. Leon Plank, Mondovi
3. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
4. Bill Beckman, Lisbon, Iowa
5. Red Steffen, Eau Claire
6. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
7. Bob Saterdalen, Oronoco, Minn.
8. Tom Greenlee, Love Park, Ill.
9. Pete Parker, Kaukauna
10.Herb Iverson, Hyde, Mich.