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

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