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.
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
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