Sunday, May 2, 2021

1969 – Downs Opener to the Redhead

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 2, 1969) – Red Droste, the master of short track dirt ovals, opened the 1969 Hawkeye Downs campaign Friday night with a victory in the 25-lap late model feature.

Although he admitted that his 1968 Chevelle wasn’t handling well, the Waterloo, Iowa, redhead, the 1968 Downs’ point champion, finished two car lengths ahead of Curt Hansen off Dike, Iowa, in a ’68 Torino.

Droste lost the lead to Independence, Iowa’s Glen Martin, also in a ’68 Chevelle, on the sixth lap when Droste drifted high on the backstretch, and with two laps, Martin had mounted a five-car advantage.

But Martin hit a rut on the first turn of the quarter-mile oval, and Droste forged back into the top spot with Hansen all over his tailpipe.

As Droste opened up the throttle, Hansen would drop back two car lengths and Droste would widen his margin, eventually winning by four car lengths.

Droste and Hansen were followed by Walt Carney of West Branch, Iowa, and young Bill Barthelmes of Walker, Iowa.

Late model heats went to Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in a ’68 Camaro and Barthelmes in his ’68 Chevelle, with McDonough also taking the win in the trophy dash.

Dick Bragg of Hiawatha, Iowa, outdistanced fellow townsman Ed Ginter to cop the 20-lap novice feature.

Results –

1. Red Droste, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
3. Walt Carney, West Branch, Iowa
4. Bill Barthelmes, Walker, Iowa
5. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. Willie Klingfus, Cedar Falls, Iowa
7. Claus Stricker, Waterloo, Iowa
8. Roger Kruse, Independence, Iowa
9. Morey Willis, Van Horne, Iowa
10. Larry Bell, Central City, Iowa

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