Monday, May 31, 2021

1970 – Utz Grabs Feature at Jaycee’s Event

Bill Utz accepts his trophy after winning the annual Jaycee's race on his hometown track.

Sedalia, Mo. (May 31, 1970) - Auto racing is like all other sports — that is ifs good to win on the road, but it’s great to win at home.

That’s probably the way Bill Utz of Sedalia felt Monday morning following his Sunday win in the Jaycees Memorial Day Weekend races at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, in front of a packed grandstand crowd.

After battling Joe Saldana of Lincoln, Neb., who won the pole position in the morning super modified time trials, and Jay Woodside of Kansas City for the first 10 laps, Utz grabbed the lead on the 13th lap and held on for the rain-shortened victory.

The super modified feature had gone a total of 19 laps of a scheduled 30-lap feature, before the rain began.

In addition to winning the main feature, the flying blacksmith captured the fourth heat race, ran second in the trophy dash and placed second in the time trials

Rain forced cancellation of the consolation super modified feature and the feature event for the late models.

This is the second year in a row for the Jaycees that rain has forced the racing program to an early halt.

A total of 84 cars timed in during the morning; times were not nearly as fast as last year, but the track half-mile mark was topped by Joe Saldana, who turned in the fastest time of the super modified qualifiers He turned the oval in a clocking of 22.67 seconds, this eclipsed the old mark set last year during the Jaycees event.

Utz turned in the second fastest clocking with a time of 22.93 seconds.

In the field of 60 plus super modifieds, two notable pilots were absent from the feature event Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., and Roy Hibbard of Marshall, who was the defending champion of that division.

Neither, driver was able to place in the top 20 during the time trials, the only way the drivers could qualify for the feature events.

In the super modified trophy dash event. Jay Woodside won the race finishing ahead of Utz and Bobby Ward of Conway, Ark.

Super modified heat race winners included Mike Hill of Kansas City, Jerry Blundy, Ron Perkins of Granite City, Ill., Bob Williams of Kansas City and Bill Utz.

Utz's feature win netted him $600. That was $100 more than Roy Hibbard pocketed last year for winning the event.

Results –

Time Trials – Joe Saldana (22.67)
Trophy dash – Jay Woodside
Heat #1 – Mike Hill
Heat #2 – Jerry Blundy
Heat #3 – Ron Perkins
Heat #4 – Bill Utz
Heat #5 – Bob Williams
Feature –
1. Bill Utz
2. Jay Woodside
3. Steve Schultz
4. Joe Saldana
5. Russ Hibbard
6. Bob Williams
7. Jerry Atkins
8. Wib Spaulding
9. Ron Perkins
10.Tom Corbin
11.Ralph Parkinson Sr.
12.Al Murie
13.Dick Sutcliffe
14.Bobby Ward
15.Eddie Leavitt

1953 – Slater Takes 50-Lap Race, 3 Marks Fall

Bob Slater

Des Moines, Iowa (May 31, 1953) – Death intruded at the Iowa State Fairgrounds’ track on Sunday as Bob Slater of Kansas City won the 25-mile Frank Luptow Memorial Sweepstakes auto racing feature.

Three records were broken in the seven-card program.

Al Speth, a 41-year-old implement company employee from Davenport, driving a newly purchased Offenhauser, was killed when his car crashed into the railing on the east turn at the finish of the third heat.

Prior to the crash, which resulted in the third racing fatality on the half-mile oval since 1951, Speth had spun nearly into the rail on the opening qualifying dash.

In the second race, the 7,200 spectators watched Eddie Loetscher of St. Louis narrowly avert a crash into the east wall on the first lap of that race.

Slater, who scored three smashing triumphs here last fall, broke two International Motor Contest Association records in whipping the IMCA point leader, Bobby Grim of Indianapolis, in the 50-lap championship race.

The lean pilot wheeled his Blue Crown Offy, a car owned and raced by Bill Holland here only last season, in 12 minutes and 57.9 seconds through the first 15 miles (30 laps) to better Grim’s record of 13 minutes and 18.42 seconds set on the same track in June of 1952.

Taking the lead at the outset, Slater gunned through the 40th lap, past the 20-mile point, in 17 minutes and 42.35 seconds, to erase Grim’s previous mark of 17 minutes and 44.36 seconds.

However, in the jockeying past stragglers in the closing laps, Slater, second-place Jimmy Campbell of Bates City, Mo., and third-place Grim all lost time with the winner going the 25-mile distance in 23 minutes and 28.10 seconds.

Grim, a consistent winner until Sunday’s event, set the third mark of the afternoon when he thundered around the half-mile dirt oval in 24.10 seconds to create a new track record in time trials.

The Indianapolis veteran throttled his black Offenhauser, nearly a duplicate of the one driven to laurels by Luptow himself, under the 24.38 second mark set by Luptow in 1951.

From then on, Grim was forced to the rear by the heavy-footed Slater, who captured the opening qualifying dash, nosing out Billy Jim of Kansas City. Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., was the winner of the second heat and Ken Higginson of Des Moines, driving his newly-designed GMC, won the third heat, marred by Speth’s fatal crash.

The 10-lap consolation went to Mickey McCormick, the United Racing Association star from Oberlin, Kan.

The big race was strictly a three-way battle between Slater, Campbell and Grim, who race in that order, end to end, all the way.

Grim attempted twice to cut down his two rivals by shooting the curves on the inside. However, both times he was fouled up by loss of traction.

The three leaders, however, set such a break-neck pace that it took the official scorer nearly an hour afterwards to determine lesser positions, among the top-10 money spots, with most of those trialing by at least one lap if not more.

Slater’s triumph was his first this season. He acquired Holland’s car this spring after the former Indianapolis 500 winner announced he was returning to sprint car racing back east.

Results –

1. Bob Slater, Kansas City
2. Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo.
3. Bobby Grim, Indianapolis
4. Mack McHenry, Wichita, Kan.
5. Billy Jim, Kansas City
6. Clyde Sullivan, Kansas City
7. Gordon Shuck, Edgar, Neb.
8. Ken Higginson, Des Moines
9. Willie Hunsicker, Sioux City, Iowa
10.Ardell Young, Hastings, Neb.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

1963 – Parnelli Jones Wins Record 500

Parnelli Jones basks in the glory of winning the Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 30, 1963) – Favorite Parnelli Jones dodged nine crackups and shook off Scotland's Jimmy Clark in the final laps Thursday to win the richest and fastest 500-mile speedway auto race in history.

A record crowd of nearly 300,000 gave the 29-year-old Torrance, Calif., speedster a thunderous ovation as he roared across the finish line in record speed and became the seventh pole winner to win the Memorial Day classic.

Clark, a rookie here but runner-up in last year's Grand Prix world road racing standings, made a game try of it in his highly-touted British Lotus powered by an American eight-cylinder Ford engine. At one time he cut Jones’ lead to 3.5 seconds, but the Californian won by 33 seconds at a record clip of 143.13 miles per hour. The old record, set by Rodger Ward last year, was 140.293 miles per hour.

The first four finishers all beat Ward's old record. A. J. Foyt, driving the same car in which he won the grind two years ago. was third, Ward was fourth, and teammate Don Branson was fifth. Jim McElreath was sixth, the same as last year. Unofficially the top 10 were rounded out by Dan Gurney in the other Lotus-Ford. Chuck Hulse, Al Miller, and Dick Rathmann.

Only 16 of the 33 starters were running at the finish. Despite the rash of accidents which turned on the yellow caution light more than 50 minutes, no driver was injured.

It was a tremendous victory for Jones, the speedway's fastest qualifier both this year and last. It was also sweet revenge for last year when faulty brakes halted Jones' dash toward victory lane, and he finished seventh.

The race, run in sunny and mild weather, had four leaders, with Parnelli in front most of the time. He took the lead from Jim Hurtubise on the second lap, held it through the 63rd, surrendered to Roger McCluskey on his first pit stop, and took it from Clark on lap 96. That was when Clark, the race's only foreign entry, made his lone pit stop.

Clark took the lead from McCluskey, who led but four laps, on the 68th circuit.

Jones made three evenly spaced pit stops — his last two after 126 and 162 laps. He used up 72.4 seconds in the pit and retained the lead after his last two stops for tires and fuel.

Jones won $25,050 in lap prize money alone and his total earnings, to be announced at Friday night's victory banquet, could reach $200,000 from a jackpot of about $500,000 — both records.

Jones was driving a conventional, 4-year-old four-cylinder roadster built by A. J. Watson, who handled four winners in recent years. Jones could have had a new car. but decided to stick with the "old buggy" because it handled so perfectly.

It was also a great victory for J. C. Agajanian. Jones’ car owner, whose only other previously winner was driven by Troy Ruttman in 1952.

Results –

1. Parnelli Jones
2. Jim Clark
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Rodger Ward
5. Don Branson
6. Jim McElreath
7. Dan Gurney
8. Chuck Hulse
9. Al Miller
10.Dick Rathmann
11.Dempsey Wilson
12.Troy Ruttman
13.Bob Christie
14.Ebb Rose
15.Roger McCluskey
16.Bobby Marshman
17.Eddie Sachs
18.Paul Goldsmith
19.Lloyd Ruby
20.Eddie Johnson
21.Chuck Stevenson
22.Jim Hurtubise
23.Duane Carter
24.Jim Rathmann
25.Bobby Grim
26.Bob Veith
27.Allen Crowe
28.Bud Tinglestad
29.Johnny Rutherford
30.Elmer George
31.Art Malone
32.Johnny Boyd
33.Bobby Unser

Saturday, May 29, 2021

1972 - Davenport USAC 100-lapper to White


Davenport winner Don White is joined in victory lane by promoter Homer Melton. - Kyle Ealy Collection

Davenport, Iowa (May 29, 1972) – Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, captured the big 100-lap feature for USAC late model stock cars before a capacity crowd at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Monday evening.

White also set fast time, turning a 26.92 second run on the big half-mile.

White gained the lead from Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, after Bowsher experienced problems trying to avoid hitting Gordy Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, who spun out.

The early part of the race saw a tight battle for the top spot.

The race saw four cautions, most seriously was Paul Feldner of Colgate, Wis., escaping serious injury when his car rolled multiple times during the feature.

Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapid won the trophy dash and Jim Tobin of Bloomington, Ill., won the semi-main.

Results –

1. Don White
2. Lem Blankenship
3. Chuck McWilliams
4. Terry Ryan
5. Ramo Stott
6. Ken Reiter
7. Don Hoffman
8. Butch Hartman
9. Dan Dickey
10.Paul Sizemore
11.Verlin Eaker
12.Art Bormet
13.Ron North
14.George Giesen
15.Ray Bolander
16.Mark Dinsmore
17.Paul Feldner
18.Jim Tobin
19.Bay Darnell
20.Kenny McEldowney
21.Jack Bowsher
22.Gordon Blankenship

Friday, May 28, 2021

Remembering Wayne Adams (1919 - 2021)

Wayne Adams 
(Stan Kalwasinski Collection)

by Stan Kalwasinski
Dolton, Ill. (May 27, 2021) - Missing today is a piece of the fabric that made up Chicago area automobile racing for over 50 years. Legendary announcer and motorsports writer, Wayne Adams passed away at his home here on Thursday morning at the age of 102.

“Well good evening ladies and gentlemen. Once again this is Wayne Adams bidding you welcome to Raceway Park.”

That’s the way Wayne Adams use to open up a night of racing at Raceway Park. Adams was the “voice” of the Chicagoland raceway for some 40-plus years. Adams, born in St. Joseph, Mo., on April 15, 1919, was the speedway’s announcer, beginning in 1947 and ending after the 1989 season. With his distinctive-sounding voice, he would announce 2,625 races in seven states during his career – more than 2,000 of those at Raceway Park – once known for hosting racing sometimes four-nights-a-week.

Adams came to Chicago after graduating high school to live with his mother and stepfather. Adams witnessed his first auto race – an indoor midget racing program at Chicago’s 124th Field Artillery Armory, which was a few blocks away from his home, in 1936.

"I went over there one Sunday night and saw midgets for the first time," reminisced Adams many years later. "I was so enthused and so excited about the action that I saw there and that was it. That was the start of it. I never missed a Sunday night after that during the winter of 1936-1937."

Adams bought a camera and began taking photos at the races. Long before interstate highways, Adams, along with the mother and stepfather traveled to numerous “big car” events, including races at Indiana tracks like Jungle Park, Winchester, Fort Wayne and Hammond and Ohio speedways in Dayton and Greenville.

Adams became a correspondent for the old weekly auto racing newspaper, Illustrated Speedway News, in December of 1940 and would write race result stories and his column, Midwest Whispers, until the paper ceased publishing in the early 1980s. Before World War II, he was also the official scorer for a time at Raceway Park. During the War years, Adams was a member of the United States Army and was a First Lieutenant in the Combat Engineers Battalion, serving his country for some four years including one year in the Philippine Islands.

Prior to his overseas duty, Adams married the former Grace "Boots" Stevens in November of 1942. He had met his future wife at a skating rink in April of 1940. The couple raised four children, Wayne Jr., April Darlene, Jill and Craig with grandchildren and great grandchildren following. His beloved “Boots” passed away in March of 2016.

In 1947, Adams announced his first racing program – a United Auto Racing Association (UARA) midget event at Chicago’s Hanson Park Stadium. Before he knew it, he was also the announcer at Raceway Park (for the first time on August 2, 1947) and Soldier Field – handling the weekly PA duties at all three major Chicagoland speedways in his first year of announcing.

He announced the area’s first short track stock car races at Gill Stadium in Chicago during the latter part of 1948. "It seemed like the people screamed for a half hour after a 10-lap race," remembered Adams years later.

Adams announced over 100 racing events in 1948 including programs at Raceway Park and UARA races. He also announced at various tracks in the Midwest, announcing IMCA “big car” races and handling the microphone at Indiana’s Schererville Speedway (later renamed Illiana Motor Speedway) during some of the track’s early weekly Sunday afternoon stock car races in 1950. He even promoted some stock car races at the fairgrounds track in Danville, Ill., in 1951.

Several times Adams did the announcing for televised races from Raceway Park, including in 1954 when the races were “live” on WBKB, the Chicago area ABC station.

"I remember the first Police Benevolent race at Soldier Field that I worked in 1947," said Adams decades later. "They had 77,000 people for that midget race. I'll never forget that night. I was so scared. I was never nervous before, a little concerned maybe, but not nervous. But that night at Soldier Field, I walked out into the infield and there were about 30,000 people already there for time trials. Later that night, I thought here's a little boy from Missouri announcing in Chicago before 77,000. I’ve really hit the big time."

Adams was a trophy salesman by trade, traveling throughout the Midwest to bowling pro shops and sporting goods stores. He built some impressive-looking trophies for Raceway Park and other local speedways in addition to the Tom Marchese-promoted “Milwaukee Mile” in Wisconsin. Adams even sold some trophies to Bill France Sr. for NASCAR’s “Speed Week” in Daytona Beach, Fla., in the early 1950s.

Adams received numerous racing accolades and awards, including being inducted into the National Old-Timers Hall of Fame in Flemington, N.J., in 1988, the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2012 and the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2014. Adams was honored by the Village of Dolton when his street, Parkside Drive, was named Wayne Adams Way during his 100th birthday celebration in 2019.

Adams once said, “If you never saw (legendary Chicago stock car racers) Bud Koehler, Bob Pronger and Bill Van Allen in the same race, you never saw a race.”

If you never heard Wayne Adams announce a race, you never heard one of the best.

1983 - Trickle tops Capital ARTGO field

Dick Trickle celebrates his Spring Nationals victory.

Oregon, Wis. (May 28, 1983 — Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids topped a field of 48 late models Sunday afternoon in the rescheduled ARTGO Spring Nationals at the Capital Super Speedway.

Trickle posted a near record fast qualifying lap of 18.076 seconds and then pushed his 1983 Firebird to win the first 50-lap feature. He then took the lead in the second 50-lap feature with a clean sweep in mind.

However, defending Capital track champion Joe Shear of Beloit battled back to regain the lead from Trickle with five laps remaining to win the nightcap.

Trickle was awarded the overall win, with Shear second.

The 25-lap semi-feature was stopped by a five-car accident early in the race, sending drivers Richard Lofy of Madison, Joe Tyrell of Sycamore, Ill., and Spike Lindley of Tomah to various hospitals. All three were treated and released.


Feature #1 –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Joe Shear, Beloit
3. Jim Sauter, Necedah
4. Al Schill, Franklin
5. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
6. Mike Chase, Bakersfield, Calif.
7. Tom Musgrave, Glenview, Ill.
8. Terry Baldry, Omro
9. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
10.Rich Bickle, Edgerton

Feature #2 –

1. Joe Shear
2. Dick Trickle
3. Tom Reffner
4. Jim Sauter
5. Jay Sauter, Necedah
6. Bob Gunn, Madison
7. Don Leach, Beloit
8. Mike Chase
9. Dick Stang, Prior Lake, Minn.
10. Jim Back, Vesper

Thursday, May 27, 2021

1972 – Donohue Praises Pit Crew in 500 Win

1972 Indy 500 winner Mark Donohue is interviewed in victory lane. 

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 27, 1972) - Mark Donohue, a mild-voiced thinking man, turned over the spotlight to the owner of his Indianapolis 500-winning car at a news conference after Saturday’s race.

The 35-year-old driver answered some questions then turned over the microphone to Penske.

Penske said, “Mark and I wanted to win Watkins Glen. After we did that, the next big one had to be Indy. Now we’ve got that.”

Penske had a tough day keeping tabs on both his entries, Donohue and Gary Bettenhausen.

Penske said the two McLaren-Offenhauser cars had a few basic differences.

He said, “Mark decided to use a smaller blower on his car and the gear ratio and the gear in the transmission were different. Gary ran a great race.”

Bettenhausen, from Tinley Park, Ill., led for a long stretch in the race before having a problem with his spark plugs after slowing for a yellow light.

Referring to the smaller boost on his engine, Donohue said, “It was something I bad to live with. I was resigned to looking bad on the straightaways. I couldn’t pass anybody, even drafting (using another car’s slipstream to give a car a speed boost).”

He said, “I did it (used the smaller blower) because I felt we had to be able to run the whole distance.”

Donohue’s car suffered numerous mechanical problems during practice for the race.

Penske said he thought second-place finisher Jerry Grant of Escondido, Calif., signaled to his pit crew that he was running out of gas before he came in on the 188th lap and yielded the lead to Donohue.

He said, “I knew we had a lap on the field after that.”

Penske said there was some question in his mind about the legality of Grant’s last pit stop. He said it appeared that Grant overshot his own pit, wound up at least partially to the pit of teammate Bobby Unser and was given gas from Unser’s gas tank.

Each car is allowed only a specific amount of fuel during the race and must use only its own supply. Grant’s car owner, Dan Gurney, said Grant actually came in for the final pit stop because a wheel on his Eagle-Offy was out of balance.

Frank DelRoy, chairman of the Speedway technical committee, ruled that no fuel was removed from Unser’s pit tank when Grant made his last pit stop.

Results –

1. Mark Donohue
2. Al Unser
3. Joe Leonard
4. Sam Sessions
5. Sam Posey
6. Lloyd Ruby
7. Mike Hiss
8. Mario Andretti
9. Jimmy Caruthers
10.Cale Yarborough
11.George Snider
12.Jerry Grant
13.Dick Simon
14.Gary Bettenhausen
15.Wally Dallenbach
16.John Martin
17.Lee Kunzman
18.Mel Kenyon
19.Dennis Zimmerman
20.Gordon Johncock
21.Steve Krisiloff
22.John Mahler
23.Jim Hurtubise
24.Roger McCluskey
25.A.J. Foyt
26.Mike Mosley
27.Johnny Rutherford
28.Billy Vukovich
29.Carl Williams
30.Bobby Unser
31.Peter Revson
32.Swede Savage
33.Salt Walther

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

1978 – Tobias, Cassella, McSpadden capture Hoosier Sprints

Dick Tobias is joined in victory lane by his wife Mary after winning the 34-lap USAC sprint car finale at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. – John Mahoney Photo

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 26, 1978) – Dick Tobias won the 34-lap finale after Lealand McSpadden and Billy Cassella each captured 33-lap features in the USAC Hoosier Sprints program at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Friday night.

Polesitter Duane “Pancho” Carter built a commanding early lead in the first 33-lapper before McSpadden and Rich Vogler began to close the gap on lap 15.

However, after completing 18 circuits, Carter’s car was sidelined by a blown engine, turning the top spot over to McSpadden. Despite constant pressure from Vogler, the “Tempe Tornado” remained in first place the rest of the way to record his first feature win of the campaign.

Vogler placed second and was followed by Bill Engelhart, Mark Alderson and Jimmy Oskie.

Carter wasn’t the only driver deprived of a high first feature finish by a blown engine. Bobby Olivero lost his grip on third-place after his car’s powerplant gave way on the final round.

Greg Leffler charged from hi outside front row starting berth to lead the first four circuits of the second 33-lapper. Cassella, who had started fifth, edged ahead of Leffler to claim the number one spot on lap 5, but spent the next eight circuits defending the lead from the challenges of Leffler and Tobias.

Engine trouble on lap 14 eliminated Leffler and the battle between Cassella and Tobias was interrupted when Chuck Gurney smacked the fourth turn wall on lap 27.

When action resumed, Cassella held off Tobias to post the victory. Tom Bigelow placed third and was followed by defending champion Sheldon Kinser and George Snider.

Engelhart, who had earlier set fast time with a 35.036-second clocking on the one-mile dirt oval, started the 34-lap finale on the pole, but was out charged by Tom Bigelow in the battle for the top spot at the drop of the green.

Bigelow remained at the front of the pack only until reaching turn four on the opening lap when Tobias used the outside route to claim first.

Cassella moved into second moments later and pressured Tobias for the top spot throughout the race’s final 20 circuits. However, Tobias refused to relinquish the lead and soared to the checkered flag in the record time of 12 minutes and 19.70 seconds.

Cassella settled for second with Bigelow third, Vogler fourth and Sheldon Kinser rounding out the top five.

The victory was Tobias’ second on the USAC circuit this month, following his triumph in the Tony Hulman Classic at Terre Haute on May 6.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Lealand McSpadden
2. Rich Vogler
3. Bill Engelhart
4. Mark Alderson
5. Jimmy Oskie
6. Jerry Weeks
7. Jerry Miller
8. Steve Cannon
9. Bobby Olivero
10.Mack McClellan

Feature #2 –

1. Billy Cassella
2. Dick Tobias
3. Tom Bigelow
4. Sheldon Kinser
5. George Snider
6. Ralph Parkinson Jr.
7. Bobby East
8. Duke Cook
9. Rich Leavell
10.Roy Hicks

Feature #3 –

1. Dick Tobias
2. Billy Casella
3. Tom Bigelow
4. Rich Vogler
5. Sheldon Kinser
6. George Snider
7. Bill Engelhart
8. Ron Shuman
9. Jerry Weeks
10.Bobby Olivero

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

1958 – Alspaugh Captures Rain-Halted Little 500

Local driver Wayne Alspaugh sent the crowd home happy after winning the rain-delayed Little 500 in 1958. He captured the event in Howard Hall's Cadillac-powered car. 

Anderson, Ind. (May 25, 1958) - Rain and a roaring field of sprint cars couldn't stop Anderson's Wayne Alspaugh on Sunday evening as he drove his way to first place honors in the 10th Annual Little 500 at Sun Valley Speedway.

The clock proved no match either for the smooth driving speedster, for Alspaugh piloted his beautiful red #2 to a record breaking victory. He covered the 125-mile grind in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 22 seconds, eclipsing by six minutes the mark set two years ago when Bob Cleburg of Rio, Wis., won the local classic.

The Anderson, Ind., driver, who has appeared in many previous Little 500’s, made only one pit stop during his 500 circuits of the famed quarter-mile. This came on lap 342 and thanks to the rapid work of his pit crew, was back on the track in short order after losing only two laps.

Alspaugh had started on the pole Sunday after leading the race Saturday night when the rains came. He had been running second to pole-sitter Bill Kimmel of Louisville, Ky., during the Saturday night segment when Kimmel made a pit stop and Alspaugh sped into the lead.

Alspaugh’s race was a picture of consistency throughout. He was never lower than third after jumping into the lead from his middle starting spot in the front row at the start of the race. Kimmel wrested the lead from him at the 11th lap and for the next several laps Kimmel and Nelson Stacy of Maysville, Ky., fought for the lead. Alspaugh was cruising behind the two leaders in third place.

Alspaugh was lucky and got through the colossal mix-up on the main straightaway during the 76th lap. That five-car pileup sidelined Stacy, though for only three laps, but allowed Alspaugh to move in behind Kimmel.

At the time of the crash, Kimmel, Stacy, Alspaugh and Cotton Farmer of Fort Worth, Texas, were all riding in the same lap. Alspaugh moved into second when Stacy got into trouble and Farmer slipped up to third.

Kimmel made his first pit stop on the 153rd lap and the rain start falling as if this – signaled the loosening of a valve.

On the 112th lap, before rain halted the Saturday night activity, Alspaugh, in a roaring battle with Kimmel, zoomed into the lead. Three laps later Kimmel had piloted his yellow #70 back to the front and stayed there until his first pit, stop.

Sun Valley officials waited several minutes until a check with the Indianapolis Weather Bureau disclosed there was no prospect for a let up in the dampness. It was then announced to the 9,000 fans attending that the race would be completed Sunday.

The first five positions Sunday, at the restart, were Alspaugh, Farmer, Johnny White of Warren, Mich., Ronnie Duman of Dearborn, Mich., and Bud Tinglestad of Dayton, Ohio.

Farmer, White and Duman were each one lap behind Alspaugh and Tinglestad was three. Farmer lost three positions, almost immediately, as the racers whirled into the first turn. He slipped high on the curve and dropped to fourth.

This cued the beginning of bad luck for the evening, because on lap 17 he pulled into the pits with brake troubles and the stop took so long, the Texan was never again in contention.

The only serious challenge in Alspaugh’s high-flying path after the race was restarted was that made by Duman. Duman actually led the race for several laps. After running third at the 300-lap mark, he was in first place at the 350 mark because of Alspaugh’s pit stop.

When Duman finally made his stop on lap 390 he was delayed so long that the bright red deuce regained the lead and proceeded to build up a two-lap plus margin that he never relinquished.

From that point on it was just a matter for Alspaugh of staying out of the tight spots and hope the engine would hold up for the remainder of the grueling contest.

It did, and the local fellow who had tried to win the race five previous times had turned the trick. He collected $1,400 for his record-breaking performance and added more laurels to car owner Howard Hall, who is also from Anderson.

The previous best finish for Alspaugh was third in the 1955 race. He had won the pole position for three Little 500 races.

Results –

1. Wayne Alspaugh, Anderson, Ind.
2. Ronnie Duman, Dearborn, Mich.
3. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
4. Bud Tinglestad, Dayton, Ohio
5. Bill Kimmel, Louisville, Ky.
6. Al Miller, Roseville, Mich.
7. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
8. Red Renner, Woodburn, Ind.
9. Frazier Crane, Hamilton, Ohio
10.Cotton Farmer, Fort Worth, Tex.

Monday, May 24, 2021

1975 – Reffner wins I-70 Memorial 100

Tom Reffner

Odessa, Mo. (May 24, 1975) – “The Blue Knight” Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., set a new one-lap record of 17.58 seconds, then went on to victory in the Coca-Cola 100 Memorial race at I-70 Speedway on Saturday night.

Reffner’s clocking in time trials was the first time under 18 seconds ever recorded at I-70 and eclipses the old mark of 18.01 seconds set by Bob Senneker of Door, Mich., in I-70’s Springtime 200in May of 1974. Reffner’s record represent a speed of over 109 miles per hour around the high-banked half-mile asphalt oval.

The victory was Reffner’s 11th of the season already in his 1974 AMC Javelin, a car which has outhandled and outpowered the Chevrolets that have long dominated short track stock car racing the past few years.

The 100-lap race was started early due to the threat of rain and Jack Constable of Princeton, Mo., led the first five laps, setting a torrid pace. Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., driving a 1972 Ford Mustang, then took over the top spot.

Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., took the lead from Trickle on a lap 15 restart and led the next three circuits until a tremendous chain reaction accident occurred on the back straightaway, collecting Jack Constable, Nyle Castle of Excelsior Springs, Mike Kempton of Shawnee Mission, Terry Brumley and Freddie Whisler of Independence, and Dick Trickle. The cars of Castle, Whisler and Trickle were demolished, and the other cars suffered serious damage.

On lap 71, Reffner got around Phillips and took over the lead. He started to string out his advantage and it appeared he was heading for an easy victory.

Then, Terry Bivins crashed into the back of David Goldsberry in turn three and Reffner was forced into the wall. Larry Phillips came blasting through and ran up alongside Reffner’s car in an effort to avoid Bivins and Goldsberry.

During the caution period, Reffner’s crew managed to pull away the damaged sheet metal from around the left rear tire and replaced a broken shock absorber, getting him back into the race.

The race resumed on lap 98 and Reffner drove unchallenged to the checkered flag.

Dick Trickle won the trophy dash and Reffner won the V8 fast heat. Gene Boomershine won the middle heat while John Beehee won the slow heat.

Results –

1. Tom Reffner
2. Larry Phillips
3. Joe Shear
4. Terry Bivins
5. Gene Boomershine
6. David Goldsberry
7. Dean Roper

Sunday, May 23, 2021

1970 – Harrison Wins 2nd Little 500

Little 500 winner Darl Harrison is presented the trophy by the Little 500 Speed Queen and Larry Shipley presents the checkers. – Wayne Holt Photo

Anderson, Ind. (May 23, 1970) – Darl Harrison, one of two former Little 500 champions in the field, piloted his Chevy-powered #44 sprint car the distance in a race plagued with engine problems and an oil-slicked track to win the Little 500 for the second time Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 15,000 at Sun Valley Speedway.

The 33-car field was whittled to six by the time Harrison took the checkered flag. It was actually the first checkered flag finish for Harrison, who was relieved in the final 116 laps in 1967 by Cy Fairchild, but he officially joins and elite number of rivers who have won the sprint car classic more than once.

Harrison, a Tiffin, Ohio, native, started from the outside of the second row, taking the lead on the 296th lap and led the rest of the way, building up a cushion and taking it easy as the oil slick built up with car after car encountering mechanical problems.

The race ended under the caution flag as Taylorsville's Bobby Black, driving the #86 car from the pole position, began throwing smoke, temporarily blinding him. As he steered for the infield, he tangled with Art Braithwaite's #7 machine.

Harrison took the lead from Tom York, who had assumed it on the 194th lap after leading briefly in the early going. York stayed right behind Harrison until the 391st lap, when he encountered engine trouble and had to drop out of the race.

Although there were numerous spinouts and a few cars which smacked the wall, the race was a fairly calm one with no serious accidents and no injuries. The ambulance was not used, and the fire crew had an easy night. Engine trouble, however, took a big toll of the starting field.

The dubious honor of last place in the field went to Herman Wise, who came all the way from Cumming, Ga. His machine lasted only one lap before giving out.

Harrison had an 11-lap lead at the finish, his closest pursuer being Chuck Lynch of Springfield, Ill. There was a total of eight lead changes during the race with York and Harrison leading most of the race.

Harrison almost encountered trouble once but managed to avoid a collision. The rest of race was a steady grind for the former winner.

Last year's winner, Buzz Gregory of Indianapolis, had trouble early and only completed a few laps.

“I planned on a relief driver, the way I did in 1967,” Harrison commented after the race, “but I felt so good when I took my pit stop, I decided to go all the way.”

“The new pavement on the track makes it very smooth, I think that’s one reason I decided to stick it out. The track got very, very slippery but everyone used their heads out there.”

Naturally, Harrison wanted to win again this year, but did not feel he had the race won until the late going.

“When I saw that-lap mark, I started thinking whether I could do it again,” he remarked.

The 15,000 turnout was the first sellout in the 22-year history of the Little 500, sponsored by the International Motor Contest Association.

Third place went to Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., while Black had completed enough laps to be scored in fourth, one spot ahead of early leader Benny Rapp of Toledo, Ohio.

Results –

1. Darl Harrison, Tiffin, Ohio
2. Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Bobby Black, Taylorsville, Ind.
5. Benny Rapp, Toledo, Ohio
6. Arthur Braithwaite, Jackson, Mich.
7. Jerry Powell, Indianapolis
8. Sheldon Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
9. Jim Murphy, South Haven, Mich.
10.Bob Sitz, Arcola, Ill.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

1979 - Hansen nips Bartholomew in PBR 100

East Moline, Ill. (May 22, 1979) – For 75 laps Tuesday night, Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, set the pace around the quarter-mile Quad City clay oval.

For nearly all those 75 laps, another Eastern Iowa driver – Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa – ran second, waiting for his opportunity to move on Bartholomew.

That chance came on lap 76 when Bartholomew pushed too hard and Hansen dove underneath in the third and fourth turns, took the lead and held it for the final 25 circuits to win the fourth annual Pabst Blue Ribbon 100.

Ironically, however, it was Bartholomew who took with him the largest paycheck of the night. Although the race offered a $1,000 top prize to the winner, it also carried $20 in lap money paid to the lead car.

Bartholomew pocketed $600 for his second-place finish, but added $1,500 for leading 75 laps of the feature, pushing his total to $2,100. Hansen garnered $1,000 for the victory, $500 in lap money and $150 for winning the semi-feature, and carried home $1,650.

The only other car to finish on the lead lap with Hansen and Bartholomew was another Iowan, Mike Niffenegger of Kalona, and Hansen was threatening to put him a lap behind before a red flag halted the race on lap 97. Tony Izzo of Bridgeview, Ill, finished fourth and was the top Illinois finisher in the talented field.

The entire field, except Hansen and Bartholomew, turned time trial laps in the 16 to 17 second bracket. Bartholomew was fastest at 15.90 seconds and Hansen was a flash behind at 15.92 seconds.

Izzo walked off with the win in the first heat, Dan Bennett of Peoria, Ill., took the second heat and Bobby Toland of East Moline won the third heat.

Although the top four in time trials automatically qualified for the main event, Hansen was eligible to run the semi-feature because he finished out of the top four in his heat race. In the semi, Hansen moved steadily through the pack to take the win over Johnny Johnson of Morning Sun, Iowa, and Jerry Wolland, the racing policeman from Peoria, Ill.

Results –

Fast qualifier – Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa (15.90)
First heat – Tony Izzo, Bridgeview, Ill.
Second heat – Dan Bennett, Peoria, Ill.
Third heat – Bobby Toland, East Moline, Ill.
Semi-feature – Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
Feature –
1. Curt Hansen
2. Tom Bartholomew
3. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona, Iowa
4. Tony Izzo
5. Don Bohlander, Glasford, Ill.
6. Dan Bennett
7. Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
8. Ray Guss Sr. Milan, Ill.
9. Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun, Iowa
10. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill.
11. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
12. Steve Fraise, Montrose, Iowa
13. Jim Sandusky, Coal Valley, Ill.
14. Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
15. Dick Taylor, Springfield, Ill.

Friday, May 21, 2021

1976 - Fairmont $$ to Wolfgang

Doug Wolfgang is joined in victory lane by car owner Bob Trostle after winning at Fairmont. 

Fairmont, Minn. (May 21, 1976) – Doug Wolfgang of Des Moines slipped under Roger Larson of Madison, S.D., a few yards from the finish to win the sprint car feature at Fairmont Speedway on Friday night.

The race started as a four-car battle, then turned into a two-car duel between Wolfgang and Larson. Larson, starting on the outside of the second row, took the lead on lap 4 from early leader Bill Mellenberndt of Sioux Falls, S.D. Wolfgang, who started on the outside of the third row, powered past Mellenberndt a few laps later and the race was on between Wolfgang and Larson.

Mellenberndt would stay in third until lap 23 when he drifted too high on the backstretch and spun off the wall. Darryl Dawley of Sioux Falls, S.D., would miss a spinning Mellenberndt to grab third spot.

Wolfgang collected $400 for the win while Larson earned $300. A total of 20 cars started the A-main and 12 were still running at the finish.

Results –

Heat #1 – Barry Kettering, Minneapolis
Heat #2 – Bill Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Heat #3 – Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
Heat #4 – John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
Fast dash – Doug Wolfgang, Des Moines
Consolation – Roger Mulder, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Feature –
1. Doug Wolfgang
2. Roger Larson, Madison, S.D.
3. Darryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.
4. Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
5. Barry Kettering
6. Lenard McCarl, Des Moines
7. Eddie Leavitt
8. Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.
9. John Stevenson
10.Mike Pinckney, Des Moines

Thursday, May 20, 2021

1972 – Iowa Driver Wins Fair City 50

Irv Janey

Huron, S.D. (May 20, 1972) – Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who is in his fifth year of racing on the International Motor Contest Association circuit, gained the lead within the first two laps of the Fair City 50 on Saturday night at the State Fairgrounds Speedway and captured first-place honors in the 50-lap feature race.

Ronnie Muth, a local racer from Huron, was in the lead position during the first laps of the race, but an early mechanical problem forced him to slow and drop to the middle of the 12-car pack.

Janey and his 1972 Plymouth finished ahead of Mike Haugen of Sioux Falls, S.D., who drove a 1968 Plymouth. Thurman Lovejoy of Kansas City, Mo., finished third ahead of Ronnie Muth and Butch Hall of Russell, Minn., rounded out the top five.

Results –

STP trophy dash – Ronnie Muth, Huron, S.D.
Slow heat – Don Wagner, Miller, S.D.
Fast heat - Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Consolation – Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City, Mo.
Feature –
1. Irv Janey
2. Mike Haugen, Sioux Falls, S.D.
3. Thurman Lovejoy
4. Ronnie Muth, Huron, S.D.
5. Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
6. Don Bull, Huron, S.D.
7. Vern Covert, Topeka, Kan.
8. Roger Brown, Waverly, Iowa
9. Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
10.Carl Vander Wal, Ames, Iowa
11.Doug Wagner, Miller, S.D.
12.Clayton Theobold, Pierre, S.D.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1972 – Columbus Junction Main to Prymek

Columbus Junction, Iowa (May 19, 1972) – The weatherman cooperated, and it turned out to be a beautiful night for Mississippi Valley Speed Club racing at the Louisa County Fairgrounds.

The 25-lap late model feature was red flagged multiple times before the checkered flag fell for Ron Prymek of Iowa City. Prymek started on the front row and led from start to finish.

On lap 14 Jerry Reinhart of Davenport slid off of turn one and four laps later Bill Hopp of Muscatine went over the embankment in the same turn. The red flag came out again on lap 21 when Doug Crawford of Genesco, Ill., went over the embankment in turn three. He was taken to the hospital in Muscatine and held for observation.

Crawford would win the 5-lap trophy dash, his first win of the season. Ray Guss of Milan, Ill., Perry Beckler of Tiffin, Larry Jenkins of Wilton, and Jim Gerber of Long Grove were heat winners and Gail Brenner of Wilton won the semi-main.

A field of 27 cars timed in with Bill Hopp setting the fastest time of 26.27 seconds. Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree was second quickest with a time of 26.85 seconds around the half-mile oval.

Results –

Time trials – Bill Hopp, Muscatine (26.27)
Trophy dash – Doug Crawford, Genesco, Ill.
Heat #1 – Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
Heat #2 – Perry Beckler, Tiffin
Heat #3 – Larry Jenkins, Wilton
Heat #4 – Jim Gerber, Long Grove
Semi-main – Gail Brenner, Wilton
Feature –
1. Ron Prymek, Iowa City
2. Shorty Bennett, Moline, Ill.
3. Larry Jenkins
4. Tom Stewart, Washington
5. Ed Mellecker, Iowa City
6. Del Abney, Muscatine
7. Dale Welsh, Cedar Rapids
8. Gail Brenner
9. Harold Picha, Freeport, Ill.
10.Walt Carney, West Branch

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1975 – Trickle Triumphs at WIR

Despite getting caught up in a early-race accident, Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids stormed back to win the "Spring Opener 50" at Kaukauna. 

by Gary Vercauteren

Kaukauna, Wis. (May 18, 1975) – Dick Trickle, America’s winningest stock car driver, survived a 10th lap, three-car pileup to win the “Spring Opener 50” at Wisconsin International Raceway before a crowd of 5,268 here on Sunday afternoon.

Trickle wheeled his 1970 Mustang to victory with 10 car lengths to spare over Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill., and Rich Somers of Stevens Point.

Madison’s John Ziegler brought the crowd to its feet on lap 10 when the engine in his green 1974 Camaro exploded on the front stretch at an estimated 100 miles per hour in front of the majority of the 24-car field.

In second place at the time of the crash, Ziegler’s car broadside down the front chute in a cloud of black smoke as oil spewed from the engine onto the track.

The rest of the cars tried to avoid Ziegler’s spinning car which bounced off the first turn wall into the center of the track. In avoiding Ziegler’s car, Trickle and Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa collided in the first turn with a minor fire starting in Marzofka’s car.

Trickle’s purple racer sustained a punctured tire and wrinkled right fender. None of the drivers were injured and the fire was put out by the safety crew.

Trickle hustled his car into the pit area and a new tire was installed and the fender straightened out.

Ziegler had paced the field for the first eight laps of the 50-lap event on the banked, half-mile paved oval. Somers assumed the lead when he was able to duck under Ziegler in the third turn. However, Trickle began his move to the front and moved into second place on lap 18. On the 20th round, Kimberly’s Roger Regeth spun in the second turn, bringing out the yellow flag and bunching up the pack.

Somers and Trickle then staged a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle with Trickle moving inside and out in an attempt to get past Somers’ 1973 Mustang.

Trickle’s opportunity came on lap 31 when he was able to sweep past Somers on the outside. The remainder of the race was an easy Sunday afternoon drive for the Wisconsin Rapids veteran with Shear nipping Somers for second on the last lap.

Beloit’s Dave Watson placed fourth in his 1973 Camaro with Bob Gunn of Madison taking fifth in a 1970 Mustang.

Pre-race favorite and fast qualifier Tom Reffner of Rudolph dropped out of the event on lap 15 with mechanical problems in his 1974 AMC Javelin. Reffner outran the field in qualifying with a lap of 21.38 seconds.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
3. Rich Somers. Stevens Point
4. Dave Watson, Beloit
5. Bob Gunn, Madison
6. Larry Detjens, Wausau
7. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
8. John Reimer, Caledonia
9. Neil Callahan, Merrill
10.John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
11.Wally Jors, Fond Du Lac
12.Roger Regeth, Kimberly
13.Bob Abitz, Freedom
14.Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
15.Paul Smith, Marquette, Mich.
16.Tony Strupp, Slinger
17.Gary Hemmerling, Beloit
18.Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
19.John Pierson, Janesville
20.Don Leach, Beloit

Monday, May 17, 2021

1975 – Hartman Wins USAC Opener at Champaign

Butch Hartman won the USAC stock car season opener at Champaign. - Terry Young Collection

Champaign, Ill. (May 17, 1975) – Defending United States Auto Club stock car champion Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio, started his quest for a fifth title on a perfect note Saturday night with a victory in the 100-lap USAC season opener on the Champaign Motor Speedway half-mile dirt oval.

Dirt track veteran Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, led the first 49 laps of the event after starting fifth before overheating issues forced him to the sidelines. Hartman, who started on the pole, then went to the front in his 1974 Dodge Charger and led the final 51 circuits.

Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, driving a Dodge, finished second, followed by Terry Ryan of Davenport, Iowa, in a Chevrolet. Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk, Iowa, finished fourth in a Plymouth and George Coonrod of Monticello, Ind., rounded out the top five behind the wheel of a Camaro.

There were two yellow flag periods in the race – laps 55-59 when Paul Sizemore and Marcus Phelps tangled in turn one and laps 61-63 when Ryan spun in the same turn. Ryan recovered to take third.

Tony Bettenhausen, driving his own 1972 Monte Carlo, came home seventh in his first competition on dirt.

Larry Cope of LeRoy, Ind., won the 15-lap semi-main in a 1973 Mustang and Lee Pinckney of Des Moines was victorious in the 4-lap trophy dash.

Results –

1. Butch Hartman
2. Don White
3. Terry Ryan
4. Ramo Stott
5. George Coonrod
6. Paul Feldner
7. Tony Bettenhausen
8. Harold Fair
9. Ralph Baker
10.Paul Sizemore
11.Dale Richardson
12.Ken Miller
13.Bay Darnell
14.Marcus Phelps
15.Irv Janey
16.Ernie Derr
17. Lee Pinckney
18.Jim Tobin
19.Larry Cope
20.Ralph Latham

Sunday, May 16, 2021

1954 – Johnson Serious; Snow Wins Downs’ 100-Miler


Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 16, 1954) – Bob Johnson, an experienced young driver from Amery, Wis., was in serious condition at Mercy Hospital because of a series of accidents that accompanied Sunday’s 100-mile stock car race at Hawkeye Downs.

Johnson survived an emergency operation Sunday night for a severe compression of the spinal cord, and he was to be taken off the critical list by Monday. He was still paralyzed from the injury, but his condition was greatly improving.

Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., won the first annual Corn Belt championship in a 1954 Hudson, but not before Johnson and two other drivers had been sent to the pit area by flips, while a dozen others were sidelined with broken wheels, blowouts, and overheated engines.

Johnson, who had been driving stock cars for five years, flipped his car three times in the first turn early in the race as the current leaders, Don White and Ernie Derr crowded him in a battle for the top spot.

He appeared to lose temporary control of the car near the post, and it turned sideways as it entered the curve and began its sensational roll. The top of the car was virtually ripped off the body as more than 6,000 fans looked on.

Jim Norton of Garnett, Kan., broke through the guardrail and flipped his car outside the track on the first turn of the first lap, resulting in a restart of the bulky field. He escaped without injury.

On the second restart, Gordon Howard of Aurora, Ill., flipped on the second turn, but he too, was uninjured.

Snow, a late entry who started in the 18th position, earned his victory with a steady performance that carried him to seventh place after 25 laps, into second place at the 65-lap mark and into the lead on lap 111 when he squeaked past Bill Harrison of Topeka, Kan.

Ernie Derr of Fort Madison, who led through much of the early going, was sidelined shortly after the halfway mark when his car overheated. Highly rated Don White of Keokuk, whose series of comebacks brought him the plaudits of the crowd, was in the pit area on several occasions, dropping out of the top-10 after only 25 laps.

White was in fourth after 65 laps and held that spot until lap 120, when he moved into third. He passed Bill Harrison on lap 160 and was less than a lap behind the winner when the checkered waved.

Bob “Doc” Narber of Cedar Rapids, driving in his first race of the season in a ’54 Ford, set a steady pace from the start and worked his way up to fourth place in the final 20 laps when he blew a tire and hung his car on the outside guardrail in the second turn.

Results –

1. Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill.
2. Don White, Keokuk
3. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
4. Roger Isaacson, Slater Bay, Wis.
5. Tubby Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
6. Chris Skadal, Des Moines
7. Bob Halston, Chicago, Ill.
8. Marvin Copple, Lincoln, Neb.
9. Robert Narber, Cedar Rapids
10.Whitey Traeder, Green Bay, Wis.
11.Dick Murrin, Minneapolis
12.Russ Gross, Quincy, Ill.
13.Mike Gleeman, Minneapolis
14.Art Schmidt, Somerset, Wis.
15.Ernie Derr, Fort Madison
16.Bob Potter, Duluth, Minn.
17.Bill Fitzgerald, Manitowoc, Wis.
18.Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
19.Pete Petersen, Chicago, Ill.
20.Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
21.Chug Montgomery, Springfield, Mo.
22.Bob Johnson, Amery, Wis.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

1974 – Phil Stewart, Elko Promoter, Dies


Elko, Minn. (May 15, 1974) – Minnesota racing promoter Phil Stewart, a dynamic force behind the growth of stock car racing in the Upper Midwest, died suddenly in his home Wednesday of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 37-years-old.

Stewart was the owner and operator of Minnesota National Speedway in Elko, but also promoted races at Raceway Park in Shakopee during the past four seasons, and operated Twin City Speedway in New Brighton in 1969 and ’70.

At one time he had interest in Golden Spike Speedway in St. Cloud, Minn., and had been involved for several seasons in the stock car racing program at the Minnesota State Fair, last year directing the mot successful Labor Day Weekend events in recent fair history.

A former driver, Stewart abandoned his trucking business in the fall of 1965 to purchase the then Elko Speedway in mid-construction. He engineered the completion of the quarter-mile asphalt oval, and then began his career as a promoter. In 1971, he tore up the old oval, expanded it to its present 3/8-mile length, and constructed what has been called, “one of the finest short track facilities in the country.”

Stewart was an innovator in the sport, introducing to the region long-distance, post-season events that attracted drivers from across the country; the “speed sport spectacular”, a multi-event program featuring several types of racing.

He became affiliated with NASCAR prior to the start of last season, earning a sanction from the sport’s largest governing body for his weekly programs at Minnesota National, and the National Championship event last Labor Day at the State Fair.

Friday, May 14, 2021

1966 – Stott a Winner at Knoxville

Ramo Stott

Knoxville, Iowa (May 14, 1966) – Ramo Stott of Keokuk led all the way in winning the Hawkeye 200-lap late model stock car race in 1 hour, 31 minutes and 31.43 seconds on Saturday night.

An opening season crowd of 4,500 at the Marion County Fairgrounds saw Stott put his 1966 Plymouth out in front of hometown rival Ernie Derr, then coast home in the accident-free contest.

Derr, who turned in the fastest qualifying time (25.74 seconds) in his 1966 Dodge, had to battle Ed Negre of Monett, Mo., for the first 50 or so laps for the second position.

Negre’s 1965 Ford finished third in the 100-mile event, completing 194 laps. Lewis Taylor of Shawnee, Kan., completed 185 laps in his 1964 Plymouth to place fourth.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
3. Ed Negre, Monett, Mo.
4. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
5. Bill Moore, Mundelein, Ill.
6. Roland Wilson, Bedford
7. John Mickey, Columbus Junction
8. George Baxter, Springfield, Mo.
9. Tom Roller, Independence, Mo.
10.Karl Stauffer, Independence, Mo.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

1951 – Luptow Sets Track Record, Wins at Jacksonville

Frank Luptow

Jacksonville, Ill. (May 13, 1951) – Frank Luptow, whose Black Panther Offenhauser has been the class of the Jacksonville track for the past two years, broke his old record in time trials on Sunday afternoon but was almost beaten in the feature by one of the brightest stars in the business, Bobby Grim of Indianapolis.

Racing for the National Speedways, Inc., under the auspices of the Jacksonville Zingabad Grotto, the drivers thrilled more than 5,000 spectators with one of the best track programs ever held at the Morgan County Fairgrounds.

It was the first time out this season for the 15-car field.

With conditions so perfect it was little wonder that Luptow, from Tampa, Fla., wound up his big Offy and circled the half-mile track in 23.98 seconds in time trials. This surpassed the old track record of 24.11 seconds set here a year ago.

Luptow had little trouble winning the first preliminary and settled back to await the feature. Grim, heralded as one of the young stars to watch, won the second preliminary, shaving two seconds off Luptow’s time in the opening 5-lap run.

Ken Rubright, Deb Snyder and Jack Fisher won the other preliminary races. These drivers, plus the second and third-place finishers, comprised the starting field for the main event.

Grim, also driving a sleek Offenhauser, jumped into the lead at the onset of the run for the money. Luptow and the Indianapolis youngster see-sawed their cars in and out of the top spot for the entire race, with neither driver separated by more than two car lengths.

Setting a pace that starter Al Sweeney claimed would have been a new world’s dirt track record had someone not pulled the plug on the electric timing device midway through the hotly contested event, Luptow finally edged Grim by the narrowest of margins that had the everyone on their feet.

The world’s record for 15 laps on a dirt track was established in 1939 by Emory Collins at the Iowa State Fair. The record time is 6 minutes and 36.7 seconds. Officials were certain that Luptow and Grim both broke that mark but were unable to substantiate the fact without their official electric timer.

Results –

Time Trials – Frank Luptow (23.98)
Heat #1 – Frank Luptow
Heat #2 – Bobby Grim
Heat #3 – Ken Rubright
Heat #4 – Deb Snyder
Semi-main – Jack Fisher
Feature –
1. Frank Luptow
2. Bobby Grim
3. Phil Mocca
4. Ken Rubright
5. Herschel Wagner
6. Al Kern
7. Fritz Tegtmeier
8. Verne Bradley
9. Jack Biddison
10.Gerald Blundy

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

1963 – White Shatters Record at Winchester

Car owner Dizz Wilson (left) joins his driver, Johnny White, who accepts his trophy and check from Pete Wales, the owner of Winchester Speedway, for setting a new 1-lap world record of 17.66 seconds which equals to 101.925 mph on a half-mile track.

Winchester, Ind. (May 12, 1963) – Johnny White re-wrote the record books at Funk’s Winchester Speedway on Sunday afternoon, winning the 30-lap feature and shattering the world half-mile sped record.

In all, the slender driver from Warren, Mich., set four speed marks and won three events. For this, he pocketed $625 in prize money.

White the defending International Motor Contest Association national champion, throttled his new #1 Weinberger Chevrolet to a record shattering 17.66 second lap on the half-mile paved track, which figures out to 101.925 miles per hour.

The old record of 18.06 seconds was set last fall by Parnelli Jones and Roger McCluskey in a USAC sprint show. White’s IMCA mark for the distance was 18.08 seconds, which was a world record for about two months before being lowered by Jones and McCluskey.

White blazed to victory in the 30-lap feature, setting an IMCA record of 9 minutes and 26.63 seconds for the race. The old mark of 9 minutes and 38.77 seconds was held by Bob King of Muncie, Ind.

Also falling before the onrushing White were the IMCA marks for five and seven laps. He won the 5-lap match race in 1 minute and 30.82 seconds to break Johnny Rutherford’s standard of 1 minute and 32.65 seconds and scooted home in 2 minutes and 10.87 seconds in the 7-lap first heat, bettering his own mark of 2 minutes and 13.35 seconds.

The race, run before 1,500 chilly spectators, was entirely free of mishaps despite numerous cars spilling or spraying oil on the surface.

White was hard-pressed by Bob Pratt, who ran second to White for 26 laps of the feature until the engine let go in his Engle Chevy, eliminating the Union City, Ind., driver in a large puff of blue smoke.

After pulling out to a straightaway lead over Pratt and Tom McClellan, White ran into slower traffic on lap 7, allowing Pratt to trim the lead to about three car-lengths at the halfway point.

Then Pratt ran into traffic and White went back to his straightaway advantage. Pratt again began picking up ground on White at this point as White’s began spraying oil back into the cockpit.

At that point, Pratt’s engine let go and White coasted the remaining four circuits, more than a half-lap ahead of McClellan. White was treated in the winner’s circle for burns on his right leg and face.

Jim Nelson of Saginaw, Mich., driving the Rube Snellenberger Chevy, took third. Fourth was Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex., in the Colvin-Young Chevrolet and fifth went to Al Smith of Dayton, Ohio, in a Buick-powered mount.

Heat winners, in addition to White, were Don Friend of Detroit, Mich., driving the Helke Chevy, and Smith. Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., driving the Pete Mocca Offenhauser, won the 10-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
2. Tom McClellan, Dayton, Ohio
3. Jim Nelson, Saginaw, Mich.
4. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
5. Al Smith, Dayton, Ohio
6. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
7. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
8. Bob Davis, Dayton, Ohio
9. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
10.Vern Schmidt, Toledo, Ohio

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

1986 – USAC Stocks to Purvis at Monett

Jeff Purvis

Monett, Mo. (May 11, 1986) – After rain threatened to wash away racing on Saturday night, the sun popped out on Sunday and made for perfect racing conditions and a great crowd for the final leg of the United States Auto Club (USAC) Late Model Series tour.

Jeff Purvis of Clarksville, Tenn., would establish the fast time with a 17.01 second tour of the newly lengthened 3/8-mile dirt oval.

Polesitter T.J. Pauschert of Carlisle, Ark., took the lead on the opening green flag with Gary Herbert of Waynesburg, Ind., settling in behind. Pauschert. Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., would take over second place on lap 2 and then three lap later, would sneak by. Pauschert for the top spot. Pauschert, John Mason of Millersburg, Ohio and Larry Moore of Dayton, Ohio, would settle in behind Phillips.

Purvis would slowly enter the picture as he was able to pick off both Mason and Moore on lap 9 to move into third position. Purvis used the high side to get by Pauschert on lap 18.

Lap 19 would bring out the caution for Jerry Inmon of Bruce, Miss., as he stalled in turn one. Just as the yellow was waving, Larry Phillips banged the front stretch wall going through lapped traffic.

Only one lapped car separated Purvis from Phillips on the restart and Purvis quickly disposed of him. Purvis challenged Phillips for the next three circuits, and was able to win a drag race down the front stretch to take over the lead. His lead, however, was only temporary as the crowd rose to their feet to witness Phillips regain the top spot on the 25th lap.

Handling problems would start to develop on Phillips’ badly damaged car, however, and Purvis would regain the lead on lap 30 and then build half a straightaway lead in the last 10 laps.

Phillips would limp home to a second-place finish while. Pauschert would hold on for third. Gary Wright of Hooks, Tex., normally behind the wheel of a sprint car, would drive to an impressive fourth place finish and Larry Moore would claim fifth.

Results –

1. Jeff Purvis, Clarksville, Tenn.
2. Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
3. T.J. Pauschert, Carlisle, Ark.
4. Gary Wright, Hooks, Tex.
5. Larry Moore, Dayton, Ohio
6. Billy Moyer Jr., Batesville, Ark.
7. John Mason, Millersburg, Ohio
8. Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
9. Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
10. Gary Herbert, Waynesburg, Ind.
11. Doug Ingalls, Tyler, Tex.
12. Johnny Bone, Pea Ridge, Ark.
13. Ernie Barrow, Bloomington, Ind.
14. Roger Hines, Joplin, Mo
15. Robbie Starnes, Houston, Tex.
16. Greg Moyer, Ankeny, Iowa
17. Lee Hoffman, Rockport, Ind.
18. Ray Guss Jr., Milan, Ill.
19. Skip Thompson, Mountain Grove, Mo.
20. Jerry Inmon, Bruce, Miss.

Monday, May 10, 2021

1975 - Dolan is Third Eldon Winner

Roger Dolan is shown after winning the super stock feature at the Wapello County Fairgrounds. - Karen Fenn Collection

Eldon, Iowa (May 10, 1975) - Roger Dolan of Lisbon became Eldon Raceway’s third feature winner Saturday over a field of racing greats which included USAC stock car driver Don White of Keokuk. Dolan held off a field of 16 super stocks for 20 laps in one of the best competitive races ever run on the big half-mile.

Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo kept pace for the second spot losing it briefly to White, who worked his way through the field from last row starting position. Zwanziger’s winnings placed him first in the point standings.

White arrived to unveil a new model never before put into competition. He was forced into the pits during his heat race when the ignition wires became loose. Back into action in the consolation, White jumped out into the lead at the top of the green and stretched out his position for the initial victory.

Super stock heat one was a toss-up all the way between Zwanziger, Steve Fraise of Montrose, and Larry Jenkins of Wilton. Fraise overcame leader Zwanziger on the outside in turn four of the second lap fighting a hub-to-hub battle for two laps then along came Jenkins briefly nosing them both out.

Zwanziger came back to the number one spot as the green flag waved each lap as he crossed the wire. When the threesome came out of turn four towards the checkers they were three breast with Fraise squeezing by Zwanziger and Jenkins for the win.

Dolan and Dick Lewis of Agency led all the way for the second and third heat wins. Zwanziger zipped by Dolan out of turn four of the final lap for the Australian pursuit victory.

Dan Beaver of Tracy led all the way for the sportsman first heat over Jerry Pilcher of Ottumwa. Jerry Hamm of Ottumwa was holding third when a puff of smoke rose from his car coming out of turn four. A blaze beneath sent the Eldon fire crew to the rescue as Hamm slid onto the apron.

Sportsman second heat had difficulty clearing the number one turn. As the green flag gave the go in two starts, massive pile-ups resulted in sheet metal wrinkles, flat tires, and torn machinery. Del Beals of Ottumwa was taken to a hospital for a check-up and released reportedly okay.

Cathy Fenn presented her father, Kenny Fenn of Washington, the trophy after taking the sportsman feature as well as his heat for the third week in a row.

Eldon has had a different feature winner weekly. Jenkins, Zwanziger, and Dolan have cropped the winners’ share of the $3,500 purse.

Results –

Super Stocks

Heat #1 – Steve Fraise, Montrose
Heat #2 – Roger Dolan, Lisbon
Heat #3 – Dick Lewis, Agency
Australian Pursuit – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
Consolation – Don White, Keokuk
Feature –
1. Roger Dolan
2. Bill Zwanziger
3. Don White
4. Steve Fraise
5. Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
6. Bob McCall, Ottumwa
7. Russ Derr, Keokuk
8. Bill Beckman, Martelle
9. Ron Jackson, Burlington
10.Dick Lewis


Feature –
1. Kenny Fenn, Washington
2. Jerry Pilcher, Ottumwa
3. Dan Beaver, Tracy
4. Paul Lanphier, Oskaloosa
5. Rick Scott, Eldon
6. Jerry Sprouse, Eldon
7. Mac McDowell, Fort Madison
8. Ron McWhirter, Fairfield

Saturday, May 8, 2021

1971 – Blundy Wins at Knoxville

Jerry Blundy is interviewed by announcer Skip Nelson after his super modified victory at Knoxville, Iowa. - Roger Arndt Photo

Knoxville, Iowa (May 8, 1971) – Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., capped a busy racing day with a victory in the 25-lap super modified feature at the Marion County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

Blundy, last year’s International Motor Contest Association sprint car champion, qualified for May 22’s Little 500 in Anderson, Ind., on Saturday afternoon, then flew to Des Moines. He arrived just minutes before qualifying took place. 

Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City led the first 21 laps before Blundy took over. Goodwin was then passed by Roger Rager of Lincoln, Neb., on the next lap.

Rager, who broke his nose in winning the third heat, finished second to Blundy, followed by Goodwin and Del Schmidt of Topeka, Kan. Jay Woodside of Kansas City rounded out the top five.

Results –

Time trials – Darryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D. (21.95)
Trophy dash – Roger Rager, Lincoln, Neb.
Heat #1 – Stacy Redmond, Mason City
Heat #2 – Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
Heat #3 – Roger Rager
Consolation – Jay Woodside, Kansas City
Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
2. Roger Rager
3. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
4. Del Schmidt, Topeka, Kan.
5. Jay Woodside
6. Jon Backlund, Kansas City
7. Bob Williams, Kansas City
8. Don Droud, Lincoln, Neb.
9. Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
10. Darryl Dawley

Friday, May 7, 2021

1978 - Milwaukee ASA Go to Senneker

Bob Senneker waves to the crowd after winning the 150-mile American Speed Association race at the Milwaukee Mile - Stan Kalwasinski Photo

West Allis, Wis. (May 7, 1978) - Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., took home the top prize, three Wisconsin drivers made the top five finishers and 19-year-old Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., gave his fans something to cheer about.

But the pace car also played a key, role Sunday in the first American Speed Association stock car race ever run on the Wisconsin State Fair Park one-mile paved track.

Senneker, 33, who like most ASA drivers is a veteran of years of short track competition, averaged 96.55 miles per hour and won the $3,950 first prize out of a total purse of $32,300, while 16,173 fans looked on despite the chilly, drizzly weather.

Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., finished second, followed by Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Larry Detjens of Wausau, Wis., and Dave Watson of Milton, Wis.

Senneker, Martin and Phillips, all driving Camaros, battled for nearly the first 100 miles of the 150-mile event, exchanging the lead several times and pulling away from the field before a spin-out caused the caution flag to go out on the 106th lap with Martin in front.

Many of the drivers headed for the pits under the caution flag, but Martin stayed on the track, with his pit crew frantically trying to have him come in for refueling.

"I didn't want to come in until the pace car was out," Martin said, adding that he did not know the pace car would try to move in front of his car "I had no idea I was leading the race.”

Officials said the drivers failed to slow down enough, and the pace car was sent out to take a position ahead of Martin and slow the field.

However, Martin collided with Randy Sweet's Firebird as the two tried to avoid the pace car and other cars that had already slowed, and Danny Darnell also nicked one of their cars There were no injuries.

"I was coming down the back straightaway, just maintaining the space behind the car ahead when I saw the pace car coming up,” said Martin, who was the ASA rookie of the year last season and had won the pole position with a track record 114.452 qualifying speed. "I just couldn't get it slowed down."

After repairs on damaged steering parts, Martin returned to the track, eventually finishing 15th.

“I don't know who to blame,” he said. "It's just one of those things.”

Wayne Doebling, an ASA spokesman, said they felt the drivers, most of them accustomed to shorter tracks, probably didn’t realize they still might have been traveling nearly 100 mph after slowing down somewhat.

Questions about the final standings kept officials busy several hours after the race, and they admitted a mistake was made in allowing Senneker’s car to advance with two other cars to the end of the field on the 112th lap.

However, Doebling said Phillips only gained one second on Senneker from the 125th lap, the first full lap after the caution flag was finally lifted, until the end, and the mistake thus would probably not have affected the outcome.

Watson, who competed in a Buick Regal, won two out of four United States Auto Club events on the State Fair track last season when he was named the USAC rookie of the year.

He said that in the ASA event, featuring lighter cars than are allowed in USAC races, there was “not a minute to rest out there” because of the stiff competition.

Watson, who battled with Trickle for the sixth position through much of the early going, said his strategy called for a late sprint.

“The rain hurt us,” he said "We were geared up to sprint to the end It was still a sprint to the end. but it wasn’t the same.”

Results –

1. Bob Senneker
2. Larry Phillips
3. Dick Trickle
4. Larry Detjens
5. Dave Watson
6. Bob Strait
7. John Anderson
8. Larry Schuler
9. Mike Miller
10.Don Gregory
11.Ed Hoffman
12.Ray Young
13.Arnie Christen
14.Jim Cushman
15.Mark Martin
16.John Knaus
17.Dick Anderson
18.Rusty Wallace
19.Danny Darnell
20.Evert DeWitt