Tuesday, June 29, 2021

1969 – McCluskey Wins Memphis 200

Roger McCluskey

Memphis, Tenn. June 29, 1969) – Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., powered his 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner to victory Sunday in the sun-scorched Memphis 200 stock car race at Shelby International Speedway.

McCluskey overtook five-time United States Auto Club champion A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., with less than 3 mile to go in the $20,000 event, staged in temperatures nearly 100 degrees.

With the victory, McCluskey picked up 100 points to add to his first-place hold in the USAC stock car standings.

Foyt held the lead from the start of the race except for a brief six-lap period when McCluskey charged and caught him, setting up a see-saw battle three-quarters through the race.

Foyt, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, shot past McCluskey on the 96th circuit of the 118-lap contest and opened up a lead of almost a full minute on the 1.7 mile course.

Foyt was rounding the sixth turn on the narrow, winding strip with victory only two full laps ahead when he blew a tire and ha to nurse his Ford Torino back to the pit area.

McCluskey moved back into the lead and held it for the checkered flag. He averaged 78.03 miles per hour, over the 200-mile course.

Results –

1. Roger McCluskey
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Don White
4. Butch Hartman
5. Jack Bowsher
6. Terry Nichels
7. J.J. Smith
8. Paul Feldner
9. Glen Bradley
10.Jim Perry
11.Fred Zack
12.Dale Koehler
13.Dick Beinlich
14.Bill Shirley
15.Roger Regeth
16.Don Hill
17.George Rondelli
18.Ray Bolander
19.Bob Haack
20.Parnelli Jones
21.Ed Hoffman
22.Gene Marmor
23.Rabon Hinkle
24.Dave Whitcomb
25.Ron Goodrow
26.Verlin Eaker

Sunday, June 27, 2021

1982 – Shear Forced Out, Sauter Takes WIR ARTGO

Jim Sauter

Kaukauna, Wis. (June 27, 1982) – Jim Sauter took advantage of Joe Shear’s misfortune and went on to win the ARTGO late model stock car race Sunday at Wisconsin International Raceway.

Shear took the lead on lap 28 of the 150-lap feature and held it until all cars were required to make a pit stop on lap 91.

Shear, however, failed to get his 1982 Firebird started following his pit stop because of ignition problems and was forced to retire.

Sauter, who was running second to Shear when the mandatory pit stop took place, found himself in the lead when he came out and kept it the rest of the way.

“We had that same problem at an earlier race,” Sauter said, referring to Shear’s ignition problem. “But we were able to get it fixed.”

Sauter, who also drove a 1982 Firebird, was plagued with yellow flags after he took the lead.

He held a lead of eight car lengths over Dave Watson on the 105th lap. But Terry Baldry and Conrad Morgan slid together in the first turn and that brought out a yellow flag.

On lap 118, cars driven by Al Schill, Ron Bloomberg, and Mike, Miller, Jim Weber and Tracy Schuler piled up near the lower guardrail on the backstretch.

The yellow came out on the final lap when a slow-moving car hit a guardrail coming out of turn four, forcing Sauter to beat Watson in a one-lap dash to victory.

Mark Martin, the current NASCAR Grand National rookie point leader, started 15th in the 26-car field and finished third despite car trouble.

He was running third midway through the race when his car suddenly stopped on lap 74. He moved into third again on lap 109, but his car came to a halt for a second time on the 117th lap.

Martin was driving Shear’s backup car. Like Shear, his troubles were with the ignition as well.

Top qualifier Tom Reffner was knocked out the race early along with J.J. Smith and Grant Wilson when those three were involved in an accident in turn one.

Results –

1. Jim Sauter, Necedah
2. Dave Watson, Milton
3. Mark Martin, Harrisburg, N.C.
4. Jim Back, Vesper
5. Steve Burges, Eau Claire
6. Bob Iverson, Hyde, Mich.
7. Steve Murgic, Burnsville, Minn.
8. Conrad Morgan, Dousman
9. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
10.Danny Duke, Blue Island, Ill.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

1971 – Wollenberg Grabs Third Modified Win

Cresco, Iowa (June 26, 1971) — Austin, Minn., driver Gerhard Wollenburg powered his 1967 Chevelle to an easy feature victory at the Howard County Speedway here Saturday night, but wasn’t relaxed until it was over.

Wollenburg started in the second row on the outside of the 15-lap, eight-car feature, pulled into first place on the second lap and won going away, even after two restarts that put the cars in single file.

He took the lead by going around Roger Hofner of Austin, Minn., on the outside of the second turn in the second lap. He then fought off surging Bobby Saterdalen of Oronoco, Minn., the final four laps.

“Tonight, things went very well for me,” said Wollenburg. “I made a couple of mistakes in the feature, by not getting set up right, but the car handled extremely well, in the feature that is,” he added.

Although ahead for 14 of the 15 laps and winner by several car lengths in front of Saterdalen, Wollenburg said, “It doesn’t matter how big a lead you have, you never have a race cinched. So much can go wrong,” he added.

Wollenburg won $300 for taking the first in the feature (his third this season) and $20 more for third in a 10-lap heat, and he guaranteed himself of staying in first place in the point standings at the Cresco track.

Saterdalen, driver of a 1971 Monte Carlo, had a good night too, winning $178 for his runner-up finish in the feature and a second in a 10-lap heat. He was third in the point standings but was 175 points behind Wollenburg.

Decorah's Em Fretheim brought many cheers from the 981 paid fans when he powered his 1969 Chevelle from last to first in the 12-lap semi-feature, passing Mason City’s Jack Pieper on the inside of the fourth turn on lap 9. Fretheim didn’t arrive until intermission and missed the two heat races but won $76 for the semi win.

Wayne Peters of Rochester, Minn. and Terry Messersmith of New Hampton, Iowa were the heat winners.

Peters took the lead in the third lap after previous leader Ron Huffman of Austin had engine trouble and dropped out. Messersmith went to the front in the second heat after Pieper dropped out after one lap with engine trouble.

Results –

Heat #1 – Wayne Peters, Rochester, Minn.
Heat #2 – Terry Messersmith, New Hampton, Iowa
Semi-main – Em Fretheim, Decorah
Feature –
1. Gerhard Wollenberg, Austin, Minn.
2. Bobby Saterdalen, Oronoco, Minn.
3. John Leger, Austin, Minn.
4. Wayne Peters
5. Roger Hofner
6. Ron Klimesch, Delmar, Iowa
7. Ed Kirschbaum, Mason City
8. Roger Carmody, Osage


Friday, June 25, 2021

1983 – Ferkel Learns Fast, Wins Wilmot Feature

Rick Ferkel

Wilmot, Wis. (June 25, 1983) – Rick Ferkel, Tiffin, Ohio, brought the Morgan sprinter to the first of a three-race series of the J&L Gas – Wilmott Winged Open on Saturday night and although he was only 21st fastest of the 41 qualifiers, he improved quickly, winning his 10-lap heat race, the 25-lap B-main and the top prize of $2,000 after winning the 50-lap A-main.

Dick Colburn started the race off by leading the first three laps before his engine lost power. This allowed Craig Hemmen to take over followed by Ferkel, Jim Moulis and Bill Kojis.

Ferkel was the 13th starter in the 20-car field but found that number not to be unlucky as he took the lead from Hemmen on lap 13. Bob Robel, who started alongside Ferkel in the 14th position, was not as quick to get up front but once he made his move, he was able to overhaul the runner-up spot from Hemmen just before Craig dropped out with transmission problems. Robel collected $1,000 for hi second-place finish ahead of Rick Lemanski, Dean Shirley and Chuck Amati.

The top-three finishers on the A-main had just finished that way in the B-main with Dean Shirley being the first of the top 12 qualifiers “seeded” to the A-main to finish as high as fourth.

The C-main of 15 laps was won by Sam Spitz of Kenosha, Wis., who earned a starting spot in the B-main in which he finished seventh, good enough for a spot in the A-main, where he finished 14th.

Heat winners were Chuck Amati of Freeman Spur, Ill., Dean Shirley of Middleton, Ill., Joe Fote of Oak Creek, Wis., and Ferkel.

Results –

1. Rick Ferkel
2. Bob Robel
3. Rick Lemanski
4. Dean Shirley
5. Chuck Amati
6. Gib Wiser
7. Bill Kojis
8. Randy Standridge
9. Bob Warren
10.Jim Moulis
11.Greg Curzon
12.Darrell Dodd
13.Tom Mislich
14.Sam Spitz
15.Dick Colburn
16.Dave Bliss
17.Craig Hemmen
18.Gary Zobel
19.Ken Biertzer
20.John Tierney

Thursday, June 24, 2021

1972 - Stott Captures Best Eldon Running

Ramo Stott

Eldon, Iowa (June 24, 1972) - Ramo Stott has class and displayed his wares in taking feature honors at Eldon Raceway on Saturday. It was the ninth win in 14 outings for the Keokuk gent.

“There was a fine field of cars here tonight and I didn’t breathe easy until it was over,” stated Stott. “This is getting to be one of the best tracks around and everyone was really running.”

Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo didn’t set precedent as he missed in his attempt to win his fourth straight feature.

“Zwanziger beat me out at Cedar Rapids Friday and he can really move,” added the nationally-known driver.

The night had to rate as the best in every sense in this season and likely for the two-year span. Twenty-five late models and 11 sportsman cars made a big night for the 2,500-plus crowd. Next week’s purse has been upped $200 in the feature making a total purse of $2,700.

Stott started in 10th position and maneuvered his way through the tight field. Steve Fraise of Keokuk leaped from his burning auto on the fifth lap. Mike Niffenegger of Kalona took the early lead but lost it on a spin out following a tangle which resulted in a verbal confrontation with Pokey West of West Chester afterwards.

Stott passed Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids and Niffenegger on the 14th time around and Niffenegger spun on lap 15. The next time around Ron Perdock of Washington got a bumper car ride and was smashed several times in a spin. Junior Reese of Belknap dealt the crushing blow after several others were caught up in the tangle.

With five laps to go, the field was cut in half from the starting 16. Bill Newman of Burlington and Mike Derr of Keokuk got to needling each other toward the finish to add more anxious moments.

John Babb of Ottumwa took the early lead in the first heat but wound up third behind Niffenegger and Stott after getting hung up in a turn.

Zwanziger won the second heat and kept Gordy Blankenship off his tail for second. Blankenship drove all night from Eldon to race USAC in Terre Haute, Ind., on Sunday.

Fraise led all the way the third heat and West nosed out Bob McCall of Ottumwa for second under the checkers.

Niffenegger won the Australian Pursuit taking out McDonough and Fraise while Zwanziger was second eliminating West. Derr won the 10-lap consolation ahead of fender-bending foe Newman.

Dick Lewis of Ottumwa kept Dick Jones of Eldon off his tail and cruised to the sportsman main. Lewis qualified by winning his heat easily holding off Jones again. Ernie Weeks of Eldon won the other heat.

Results –

Heat #1 – Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
Heat #2 – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
Heat #3 – Steve Fraise, Montrose
Consolation – Mike Derr, Keokuk
Australian Pursuit – Mike Niffenegger
Feature –
1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
2. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
3. Pokey West, West Chester
4. Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
5. Mike Derr
6. Bob McCall, Ottumwa
7. John Wolf, Cedar Rapids
8. Larry Pipes, Kirksville, Mo.
9. Ed Pilcher, Bloomfield
10.Dale Snyder, Cedar Rapids

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

1979 - Illiana Stock Mains taken by Wallace, Ryan

Rusty Wallace

Schererville, Ind. (June 23, 1979) – Rusty Wallace and Terry Ryan each won a 75-lap feature to highlight USAC’s stock car program on an unseasonably cold summer night at Illiana Motor Speedway, Saturday.

The first 75-lapper saw Bay Darnell lead the way for the first nine laps before Sal Tovella made a bid for the top spot. As the two cars approached turn three on the 10th round, they collided and spun wildly into the infield.

Tovella slammed into the inside barrier, damaging his 1977 Volare to such an extent that he was through racing for the evening. Darnell was able to have his Camaro repaired during a subsequent pit stop and returned to finish 10th in the 20-car field.

The Darnell-Tovella mishap turned the lead over to Ryan, who remained in front until Dave Watson and Wallace passed him to claim first and second respectively, on lap 17.

Wallace, the night’s fastest qualifier, pulled ahead of Watson on laps 21, but six circuits later Watson retaliated to regain the number one spot. Wallace moved in front again on lap 40 on the half-mile oval and the duel ended moments later when a malfunctioning piston sidelined Watson after 42 laps.

Wallace’s only other serious challenge came late in the event, when Ryan began closing in on the Arnold, Mo., pilot, but Wallace was equal to the task and held on to record the victory. Ryan settled for second, ahead of Ramo Stott, Bill Venturini, Chuck Gurney and Ricci Ware Jr.

The field for the second 75-lapper was gridded according to the order of finish in the opener, putting Wallace on the pole and Ryan on the outside of row one. At the drop of the green, the two immediately pulled away from the rest of the field, with Wallace leading the initial 55 laps.

However, oil pump problems forced Wallace to the sidelines on lap 56, giving Ryan the lead he would never relinquish. Only Gurney, who placed second, was able to avoid being lapped by Ryan as the Iowa chauffeur breezed to an easy triumph. Ware came in third, Venturini fourth, Darnell fifth and Jim Cushman sixth.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Rusty Wallace
2. Terry Ryan
3. Ramo Stott
4. Bill Venturini
5. Chuck Gurney
6. Ricci Ware Jr.
7. Bob Dotter
8. Rich Clement
9. Bob Schacht
10. Bay Darnell
11. Frank Freda
12. Randy Ogden
13. Alan Sheppard
14. Jim Cushman
15. Bob Brevak
16. Russ Peterson
17. Dave Watson
18. Rich Sundling
19. Larry Cope
20. Sal Tovella

Feature #2 -

1. Terry Ryan
2. Chuck Gurney
3. Ricci Ware Jr.
4. Bill Venturini
5. Bay Darnell
6. Jim Cushman
7. Bob Brevak
8. Ramo Stott
9. Rich Clement
10. Frank Freda
11. Rick O’Brien
12. Brian Paulsen
13. Rusty Wallace
14. Clyde Dagit
15. Randy Ogden
16. Rich Sundling
17. Bob Dotter
18. Bob Schacht
19. Alan Sheppard

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

1976 - Hansen Takes Big Prize at Chateau Classic

Lansing, Minn. (June 22, 1976) - Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, hasn’t done a whole lot of racing at the Chateau Speedway in Lansing, but it's going to be awhile before his name fades out of the picture.

Hansen brought his 1975 Camaro to the Chateau Tuesday and when the Late Model Invitational action was over, there was quite a crowd around Hansen and his car.

From a second place finish in the fourth heat race of the night, Hansen vaulted to a first place finish in the 40-lap windup. He also pocketed $650 and a large trophy for the big win.

In the feature, Hansen started in the fourth row on the outside.

On the second lap of the finale, a spectacular five-car pileup sent favored Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., Dave Noble from Blooming Prairie, Ed Sanger from Waterloo, Iowa and Darrell Zwiefel from Kasson to the pits under wrecker power.

The other car in the wreck stayed in the race. That was Hansen's. He took the front row spot in the restart and from then on it was just a matter of who would finish second, Don Hoffman of Des Moines. Iowa.

Dick Sorenson from Rochester and Rich Olson from Rochester finished in that order behind Hansen and Hoffman.

Hansen ended up with $710 in total winnings. There were 30 late model cars in the invitational from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Results –

1. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
2. Don Hoffman, De Moines, Iowa
3. Dick Sorenson, Rochester
4. Rich Olson, Rochester
5. Bob Saterdalen, Oronoco
6. Terry Hanson, Kruger
7. Tom Grant, Winona
8. Ray Forsyth, Mankato
9. Denny Anderson, Austin
10.Wendell Kuehn, Rochester

Monday, June 21, 2021

1959 – Branson Wins Before Record Crowd

 Indianapolis Star sportswriter Wayne Fuson presents Don Branson his trophy after the Illinois veteran won the 30-lap feature at Terre Haute. - Jim Adams Collection

Terre Haute, Ind. (June 21, 1959) - The largest crowd ever to view car racing at the Fairgrounds, some 8,000 fans, saw chunky Don Branson win the feature race and the $1,287 that goes with it Sunday afternoon. Including his qualifying money, promoter Don Smith, reported that the 38-year-old Urbana, Ill., veteran netted somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,200 for his efforts.

Branson has always been regarded as a regular here during the sprint and midget races. However, it has been during recent years that he garnered the big money.

In the past, he would be among the top qualifiers but couldn’t snag first place. That’s all changed since Branson captured the 100-lap midget feature last October and opened he local sprint car season with a victory.

He has to be recognized as the hottest driver on the track here now.

Smith, in reviewing the race, commented, “I thought we were going to have a really big crowd. Cars were lined up for blocks and blocks. I was very pleased with the turnout.”

Branson experienced little difficulty in winning the feature after the first lap when he fought off Van Johnson.

Some 12 minutes and 47 seconds later he was nearly a quarter of a lap ahead and Van Johnson was busy with Tommy Hinnershitz from improving his third-place position.

Ed Elisian, who sporadically gave Hinnershitz a battle for third, settled for fourth.

The first three drivers – Branson, Johnson and Hinnershitz – all consummated the race in the same location they started.

Branson won the first heat with Johnson finishing some 30 yards behind in the rear.

Bobby Grim finished last in the first heat but got the pole position for the next heat and won handily. Red Amick’s car wouldn’t cooperate in the second heat and didn’t start while Jud Larson didn’t even complete one lap.

Ed Elisian turned in the niftiest show of the afternoon in the third heat. Larson and A. J. Foyt were in the front row, with Art Plas in the second row on the inside and Elisian on the outside.

The 31-year-old Elisian in his black car, which bore the #98 passed Larson, Foyt and Plas on the first three turns and commanded a redoubtable lead for the rest of the race.

Foyt and Eddie Sachs started one-two in the semi-feature and completed the 10 lapper in the same fashion.

Jud Larson, who beat most of the drivers into Terre Haute by arriving Saturday night with his Bud Sherk Offy, set a new track record for one lap but it was so on replaced by Van Johnson with his 23.70 second time.

Don Smith regretted that Johnny Thomson didn’t appear. “I don’t know what happened. We were under the impression he would come, and I’m sorry we put it in our press releases.”

Results –

1. Don Branson
2. Van Johnson
3. Tommy Hinnershitz
4. Ed Elisian
5. Bobby Grim
6. Johnny Roberts
7. Eddie Sachs
8. A.J. Foyt
9. Art Plas
10.Bud Tinglestad
11.Jim Hemmings
12.Joe Barzda
13.Leon Clum
14.Jud Larson

Sunday, June 20, 2021

1968 - Morris Wins Mid-Season Title at West Liberty

Mel Morris is joined by MVSC president Dale Gegner after grabbing the 50-lap mid-season title at West Liberty. - Dick Kleindolph Photo

West Liberty, Iowa (June 20, 1968) – Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, picked up the first of two mid-season championships for the Mississippi Valley Speed Club on Saturday night before a capacity crowd.

Mark Mosier of Washington, Iowa, finished second in the feature to take over the MVSC point lead with 106 points.

Stan Crooks of Muscatine, Iowa, was leading the 50-lap main event until lap 44 when he got caught in lap traffic, allowing Morris to slip by for the lead and the eventual win. Crooks would retire to the pit with a faulty gas line.

Crooks turned in the fastest time on the half-mile, clocking in at 26 seconds flat. Bud Darting of Wilton, Iowa, turned in the second fastest time at 26.01 seconds.

Tom Harris of Iowa City, Iowa, picked up the first win of the evening in the trophy dash. Wahlee Brown of Rock Island, Ill., was the first heat winner while Morris took the second heat. Tom Stewart of Washington, Iowa, grabbed the victory in the third heat and Darting took the fourth heat.

With 41 cars entered, a consolation was needed. John Noble of Burlington, Iowa, followed by Charlie Moffitt of Stanwood, Iowa.

Results –

1. Mel Morris, West Liberty, Iowa
2. Mark Mosier, Washington, Iowa
3. John Moss, Iowa City, Iowa
4. Ron Prymek, Iowa City, Iowa
5. Byron Buchele, Muscatine, Iowa
6. Bill Newman, Burlington, Iowa
7. Tom Harris, Iowa City, Iowa
8. Bud Darting, Wilton, Iowa
9. Dan Robertson, Muscatine, Iowa
10. Jerry Onnen, Muscatine, Iowa
11. Dave Dodder, Letts, Iowa
12. Bob Helm, Rochester, Iowa

Saturday, June 19, 2021

1955 – Hilmer Cops 100-Mile Race

Bob Hilmer of Waterloo, Iowa, smiles after scoring his first career IMCA stock car victory at Sioux Empire Fairgrounds. – Tom Jellems Photo


Sioux Falls, S.D. (June 19, 1955) – Taking advantage of numerous mechanical mishaps to many of the pre-race favorites, 26-year-old Bob Hilmer of Waterloo, Iowa, drove a 1955 Oldsmobile to first place in the 100-mile late model stock car race at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

An estimated 7,000 fans watched as Hilmer, making only his third start in International Motor Contest Association stock car competition, take the lead away from “Wild” Bill Harrison of Topeka, Kan., on the 136th lap and hold on the rest of the way in the 200-lap grind.

Hilmer’s time of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 10.18 seconds set a new 200-lap record for the Sioux Empire track. The old mark was 1 hour, 52 minutes and 36.14 seconds set last August by Don White of Keokuk, Iowa.

Second place went to IMCA veteran Herschel Buchanan off Shreveport, La., making his comeback in a 1955 Thunderbird, which he flipped earlier this year. It was his first race since recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.

Third place went to Delmar Donaldson of Burlington, Iowa, in a 1955 Oldsmobile. He also completed the 100 miles without stopping.

Then came Harrison in a ’55 Olds; Roxy Dancy of Shreveport, La., in a 1954 Hudson; Wayne Chadwick of Des Moines in a 1955 Chevrolet; Tubby Harrison of Topeka, Kan., in a 1954 Dodge; Bob Brown of Springfield, Mo., in a 1955 Thunderbird; Tiny Lund of Anita, Iowa, in a 1953 Hudson; and Al Street of Rochester, Minn., in a 1955 Buick.

Winding up 11th was Marshall Gardner of Worthing, S.D., one of the kingpins of the Sioux Falls modified ranks.

White, the defending IMCA stock car national champion, was plagued all afternoon long by an overheating engine in his 1955 Oldsmobile. His six pit stops dropped him back to a 12th place finish.

But the “Keokuk Komet” wasn’t the only driver beset by mechanical headaches.

Harrison, the balding veteran, who set a new one-lap track record with a time of 31.48 seconds in time trials, led the race from lap 98 until lap 136 but was forced back by two pit stops. He still finished fourth after a fine bit of driving.

Bob Potter of Duluth, Minn., driving a glittering new 1955 Chevrolet, also broke the former one-lap record of 31.81 seconds previously held by White but could never get going during the race and finished 13th.

“Starvin’ Marvin” Copple, the Lincoln, Neb., banker drove a beautiful race in his checkerboard-top 1955 Chevrolet before being forced to the sidelines after 72 laps with a burned-out wheel bearing. He was leading at the time after having been forced to start at the rear of the 20-car field because mechanical issues had kept him out of time trials.

Harrison, starting on the pole, took the lead at the start of the race and held it until White passed him on lap 10.

White, really sailing, stayed in front until lap 34 when he made the first of his six pit stops. Harrison took over again and held the top spot until Copple powered past him on lap 56.

When Copple pulled into the pits on lap 72, Hilmer took over first. Harrison wrestled the lead away from the young Iowan on lap 98 and then kept it until Hilmer zoomed ahead on lap 136 and never relinquished from there on to the checkered.

Hilmer was overjoyed at winning his first big race. He has six years of modified stock car experience under his belt in Iowa and last year won the Hawkeye Racing Association title.

A trucking line operator when he’s not racing, he had driven in only two previous IMCA late model stock car events, taking third at Owatonna, Minn., and sixth at Topeka, Kan.

Results –

1. Bob Hilmer, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Herschel Buchanan, Shreveport, La.
3. Delmer Donaldson, Burlington, Iowa
4. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
5. Roxy Dancy, Shreveport, La.
6. Wayne Chadwick, Des Moines
7. Tubby Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
8. Bob Brown, Springfield, Mo.
9. Tiny Lund, Anita, Iowa
10.Al Street, Rochester, Minn.
11.Marshall Gardner, Worthing, S.D.
12.Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
13.Bob Potter, Duluth, Minn.
14.Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
15.Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
16.Don Rosenberg, Carlisle, Iowa
17.Bob Guffy, Des Moines
18.Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
19.Marvin Copple, Lincoln, Neb.
20.Gene Richmond, Springfield, Mo.

Friday, June 18, 2021

1961 – 28,000 See Foyt Win ‘Langhorne 100’

A.J. Foyt accepts his trophy after winning the 100-mile USAC national championship race at Langhorne. 

Langhorne, Penn. (June 18, 1961) – A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500, captured the 24th annual 100-mile national championship race at Langhorne Speedway with nearly 28,000 – a record for recent years – looking on. “Lady Luck”, who rides along with all winners of auto races, apparently didn’t have as much to do with Sunday’s race as it first appeared.

According to the scorers and the public address announcer, Jim Hurtubise was in the lead from the 33rd lap to the 94th, when his engine conked out and he was forced out of the race.

Foyt, “Who was running in second” at this point, took the lead and won the race six miles later, and fans were talking about how “Lady Luck” was working overtime on Foyt’s behalf.

When the race was over, Foyt and his pit crew argued with officials and scorers that Foyt did not take the lead on lap 94 but had been leading ever since lap 44.

Foyt said that on the 44th lap Jim Hurtubise took a spin into a ditch, and he passed him. Hurtubise readily admitted this after the race. It only took him 10 or 15 seconds to get back into the race but by this time, Foyt was way ahead.

However, Foyt’s scorer missed scoring him for the lap. After Foyt’s complaint, a recheck of the records showed that he was right. Either way, Foyt won, but he didn’t want to be tagged the “Lady Luck” driver.

An announcement was made over the public address system about the mistake, but by this time most of the fans had already left.

It was a record purse. A.J. won 25 percent of $22,300 ($5,575), plus other money contributed by manufacturers of automobile accessories. Not bad for an hour’s “drive.”

Foyt covered the 100 miles in one hour and 14 seconds for a speed of 99.601 miles per hour.

Don Branson’s standard one mile (113.996 MPH) stood up during the time trials. The best effort was Al Keller’s 106.374 MPH to win the pole position.

On the opening lap, Hurtubise took the lead away from Keller and held the lead for 21 miles. Then Keller took command until the 33rd lap. At this point, Hurtubise moved back in front and stayed there until he took a spin into that ditch on the 44th lap.

Foyt then led the rest of the way. Parnelli Jones, of Torrance, Calif., finished second, followed by Eddie Sachs, of Centerville, Penn., Elmer George of Speedway City, Ind., and Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz.

“I was working easy,” Foyt said later. “I did have some rear transmission trouble and couldn’t use my brakes, but you don’t use them on this track anyway.”

He admitted having one close call on the 96th lap when he bounced over a bump in “Puke Hollow" (first turn) and thought he might go through the fence. But he straightened out and breezed to victory.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Parnelli Jones
3. Eddie Sachs
4. Elmer George
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Dick Rathmann
7. Red Riegel
8. Jim Hurtubise
9. Rex Easton
10. Bruce Jacobi
11. Bobby Marshman
12. Jiggs Peters
13. Don Davis
14. Don Branson
15. Al Keller
16. Cotton Farmer
17. Jack Rounds
18. Chuck Hulse

Thursday, June 17, 2021

1961 – Snow First in Soldier Field Race

Les Snow poses next to his 1960 Pontiac prior to action at Soldier Field. - Wayne Bryant Photo/Stan Kalwasinski Collection

Chicago, Ill. (June 17, 1961) – Les “Tiger” Snow of Bloomington, Ill., captured top honors Saturday night in the United States Auto Club late model stock car races at Soldier Field before a crowd of 11,225.

Snow completed the 30-lap main event in 12 minutes and 22.28 seconds, finishing ahead of defending USAC champion Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis.

Nelson grabbed fast time honors with a lap of 23.67 seconds around the oval, which USAC listed as a half-mile as the track was extended to the far north end of the stadium.

Results –

1. Les Snow
2. Norm Nelson
3. Elmer Musgrave
4. Don White
5. Sal Tovella
6. Gene Marmor
7. Eddie Meyer
8. Bill Cheesbourg
9. Ted Hane
10.Don Oldenberg

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

1983 – Webb Quickest in Santa Fe ‘Dixieland Challenge’


Gary Webb went wire to wire in winning at Santa Fe Speedway. 

Hinsdale, Ill. (June 16, 1984) – Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, was all grins on the winner’s stand Thursday night at Santa Fe Speedway. From the start to the finish, polesitter Webb led the Dixieland Challenge 50-lap race on the quarter-mile.

Competition was tough, as some of the best dirt late model drivers in the Midwest teamed up with Southern-bred Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker.

The first caution appeared as Ken Pohlman spun out on the second lap. The caution tightened the gap between Webb and Jim O’Conner, in second position, but not for long.

The yellow appeared a second time on the fourth lap, once again pulling Webb back into the pack. The flag waved for Dennis Erb and Buddy Baker as they collided in the fourth turn.

Shortly after the green reappeared, Webb shot into a strong lead, which he maintained throughout the endurance of the contest.

On lap 18, with Webb in the lead and Darrell Marmor holding onto a strong second, an awesome battle for third-place ensued between O’Conner and Al Johnson. O’Conner and Johnson drove door-to-door for eight laps until Johnson finally secured the position on lap 25.

Not ready to settle for a third-place finish, Johnson drove on Marmor’s tail by lap 32 and stole second position two laps later. The top seven racers maintained their positions throughout the rest of the race.

Johnson crossed the finish line in second behind Webb. Marmor settled for third with O’Conner in fourth and Tony Izzo and John Provenzano following. Bobby Allison finished a respectable seventh.

Results –

1. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa

2. Al Johnson, Justice

3. Darrell Marmor, River Grove

4. Jim O’Conner, Kankakee

5. Tony Izzo, Bridgeview

6. John Provenzano, Aurora

7. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.

1957 – ‘Bank Rookie’ Foyt Wins at Salem

A.J. Foyt

Salem, Ind. (June 16, 1957) – An old axiom in auto racing says future champions “cut their teeth” on the high-banks of Salem Speedway’s half-mile asphalt oval.

If it holds true for 22-year-old rookie A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., he may realize that his #1 ambition to someday win the Indianapolis 500-mile race.

Foyt, driving for the first time on a banked track, roared across the finish line to capture the 30-lap feature race sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA).

He steered his 270-cubic inch Offenhauser-powered sprint car home ahead of Bob Cleburg of Rio, Wis., another driver with championship-car ambitions. Cleburg’s Offenhauser has a 220-cubic inch piston displacement.

Marvin Pifer of Lansing, Mich., beat out Al “Cotton” Farmer of Fort Worth, Tex., for third-place.

Foyt, a Houston garage owner, who has been driving for about five years, had won only one feature in sprints before Sunday afternoon. His first triumph came in the summer of 1956, winning an IMCA-sanctioned race at Fargo, N.D.. He also had two third-place finishes and a fourth-place showing in his first season with IMCA sprints.

Foyt, who hides his names, Anthony Joseph, with his initials, ranks in the top-10 in the United States Auto Club midget standings. He recently won a 100-lap race on dirt in Kansas City.

The car Foyt drove to victory lane was owned by Les Vaughn of Omaha, Neb.

Foyt led for the first 10 laps until Cleburg overhauled him for the top spot. Foyt finally got back in front again only four laps from the finish. Pifer passed Farmer on lap 21 to claim the third spot.

Salem promoter Russ Barnard remarked that despite a turnout of only 2,500, that another IMCA event would take place in July.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
2. Bob Cleburg, Rio, Wis.
3. Marvin Pifer, Lansing, Mich.
4. Al Farmer, Fort Worth, Tex.
5. Harold Haberling, St. Louis, Mo.
6. Johnny Pouelson, Gardena, Calif.
7. Bobby Graves, Tullahoma, Tenn.
8. Marvin Faw, Minneapolis, Minn.
9. R.B. Hensley, Richmond, Ky.
10.Bud Norris, Columbus, Ind.
11.Johnny Golden, Hopkins, Minn.
12.Johnny Riva, Morton Grove, Ill.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

1971 – Mueller Blazes to Victory in Invitational

Harold Mueller (left to right), Phil Prusak and Cecil Henderson display the trophies they captured for taking the top three places in Tuesday night’s Late Model Invitational at the Eau Claire Speedway.

Eau Claire, Wis. (June 15, 1971) - Harold Mueller made sure the first place money stayed at home Tuesday night at the Eau Claire Speedway.

Roaring from the third row of the 28-car, 40-lap feature, Mueller, laying it on his 1970 Monte Carlo, took the lead on the 13th lap and was pulling away at the finish.

Victory in the annual Late Model Invitational Championships netted the local gas station operator $600 in cold cash.

Phil Prusak made it a 1-2 local finish when, unable to cope with Mueller’s triumphant dash to the wire, he finished second and took home $450. Cecil Henderson, Dakota, Minn., hung in there all the way to take home the $350 third place money.

Fourth place and $300 went to Tim Lorentz, Ladysmith, while Kenny Mann, St. Cloud, Minn., finished fifth for $250.

But the story of the race, held on a balmy evening with temperatures in the 70s and a crowd of more than 2,000 fans looking on, was Mueller.

The popular and talented driver, deservingly respected as one of the top drivers in the Northwest strictly a battle between Mueller, Prusak and Jusola.

When Jusola suffered a flat tire while running second on the 27th lap, Prusak moved into the challenging position only to see Mueller pull steadily away.

By the 30th lap, Mueller had stretched his lead to a half lap, and he widened the margin to three-fourths lap seven laps later and eventually won by that margin.

Winning on the Eau Claire track is nothing new to Mueller, who is the season point leader and a former Late Model Invitational champion.

Only I0 of the original 28 cars finished the feature, all placing in the money.

Sixth was Ken Campeau of New Richmond; seventh was Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.; eighth was Dick Wilhelm, Duluth, Minn.; ninth was Scott Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and 10th was Denny Osborne, Thunder Bay.

Nesbitt was the winner last year and started the feature alongside Mueller in the third row Tuesday night only to slip back and finally be lapped by the leaders.

Results –

1. Harold Mueller, Eau Claire, Wis.
2. Phil Prusak, Eau Claire, Wis.
3. Cecil Henderson, Dakota, Minn.
4. Tim Lorentz, Ladysmith, Wis.
5. Kenny Mann, St. Cloud, Minn.
6. Ken Campeau, New Richmond, Wis.
7. Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie, Minn.
8. Dick Wilhelm, Duluth, Minn.
9. Scott Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ontario
10.Denny Osborne, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Monday, June 14, 2021

1974 - Bjorge Captures Cresco Spring Championship

Dave Bjorge

Cresco, Iowa (June 14, 1974) – Dave Bjorge continued to hold a firm grip on the late model feature event at the Howard County Fairgrounds, capturing the Spring Championship stock car title Friday night, his second win in as many races on the Cresco dirt oval.

Starting toward the rear of the pack, Bjorge moved into the fourth slot, on the eighth lap, and passed two cars on the next lap to assume second place in the 16-car field on the ninth lap following a restart.

The veteran Austin, Minn., driver was held off by New Hampton, Iowa’s, Ken Ferrell for the next two laps before Bjorge squeezed on the inside to take the lead and hold it for the remainder of the 25-lap feature.

Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa, and Wayne Peters of Rochester, Minn., finished second and third behind Bjorge.

The late model feature was marred by a crack-up on the grandstand straightaway when Gerhart Wollenburg of Austin, Minn., spun-out on the fourth turn and was hit broadside by Ron Kester of Brownsdale, Minn.

Both drivers escaped injury, but the two were forced from the race. Wollenburg was holding third place at the time of the crash, and Kester was fifth.

In the late model semi-feature event, Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo, Iowa, took first place honors, holding the lead from the start. Red Dralle of Waterloo, Iowa, and Al Greenman of Austin, Minn., finished behind the winner.

Results –

Heat #1 – Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #2 – Em Fretheim, Decorah, Iowa
Heat #3 – Ron Kester, Brownsdale, Minn.
Semi-main – Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
Feature –
1. Dave Bjorge, Austin, Minn.
2. Bob Shryock, Estherville, Iowa
3. Wayne Peters, Rochester, Minn.
4. Mert William, Rochester, Minn.
5. Karl Sanger
6. Ken Harrell, New Hampton, Iowa
7. John Grube, Cresco, Iowa
8. Em Fretheim
9. Larry Schmidt, New Hampton, Iowa
10.Red Dralle, Waterloo, Iowa

Sunday, June 13, 2021

1982 – Watson Outruns Field in Red, White, & Blue Opener

Dave Watson won the Red, White, and Blue Series opener at Wisconsin International Raceway. Joining the winner are Old Style distributor representative Al Baer, Miss WIR Tara Skalmusy, and Dick Stout, also of Old Style. – Gary Vercauteren Photo

Kaukauna, Wis. (June 13, 1982) – Dave Watson’s 1982 Firebird could do nothing but go fast on Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin International Raceway, as he wheeled the car to a quarter-lap victory in the first race of the Old Style Red, White & Blue State Championship Series before a crowd of 6,712.Watson took the lead on the 34th lap as he slipped past Steve Burgess for second place and leader Ton Reffner ducked into the pits at the same moment with engine problems after setting a torrid pace during the early portion of the contest.

Willie Goeden put his car into the early lead and raced wheel-to-wheel with fellow front-row starter Kevin Stepan. Reffner roared past Goeden along the backstretch on the fifth lap while Burgess moved into second on lap 6 and J.J. Smith tucked himself in behind Burgess on lap 7 to hold down third spot.

Reffner smoothly eased to a six-car length lead over Burgess and Smith by lap 25. Watson, meanwhile, made his move and overtook Smith for third on lap 27 and then moved past Burgess on lap 34 as Reffner fell out of the event with mechanical problems.

Results –

1. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
2. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
3. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
4. John Ziegler, Madison, Wis.
5. J.J. Smith, Appleton, Wis.
6. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
7. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
8. Wayne Roffers, Oneida, Wis.
9. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh, Wis.
10.Terry Baldry, Omro, Wis.
11.Willie Goeden, Kewaskum, Wis.
12.Bob Iverson, Hyde, Mich.
13.Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
14.Steve Burgess, Eau Claire, Wis.
15.Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
16.Jerry Wood, Cottage Grove, Wis.
17.Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
18.Kevin Stepan, Mosinee, Wis.
19.Gary Roehrborn, Kimberly, Wis.
20.Wayne Lensing, Rockford, Ill.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

1973 - Connolly Scores Illowa 101 Victory

John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, won the Illowa 101 at Davenport. IMCA official Larry Shipley (left) presents the trophy while Woody Brinkman (right) presents the checkered. – Beetle Bailey Photo

Davenport, Iowa (June 12, 1973) – John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, took the lead on lap 70 Tuesday night and held on to win the Illowa 101 International Motor Contest Association late model stock car race at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.

Connolly, driving a 1969 Ford Torino, notched $500 for his efforts before an estimated crowd of 3,500.

Second place went to Gary Brooks of Grand Prairie, Tex., driving a 1972 Monte Carlo.

Connolly took an early lead on the fourth lap, being challenged by Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley, Iowa, for the entire early portion of the race.

Weedon passed Connolly on the backstretch on the 27th circuit and a three-car battle ensued between the two drivers and Jim Tobin of Hudson, Ill.

Connolly lost his windshield on lap 55 and was forced to the pit area with Weedon taking control and Tobin settling into second. A flat tire on lap 68 pushed Weedon to the sidelines, allowing Tobin to move into the lead for the first time.

On lap 70, Tobin’s engine began to overheat, helping Connolly to open up a commanding lead and breezing to the win. Just eight cars finished the race.

Martha Wideman of Lufkin, Tex., the first woman driver in IMCA history, finished eighth in the-car field.

Results –

Heat #1 – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Heat #2 – Jim Tobin, Hudson, Ill.
Feature –
1. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
2. Gary Brooks, Grand Prairie, Tex.
3. Tom Frasher, Jefferson City, Mo.
4. Ron Weedon
5. Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
6. Ron Dendy, Arlington, Tex.
7. Robert Gander, Bunceton, Mo.
8. Martha Wideman, Lufkin, Tex.
9. Jim Tobin
10.Larry Lynch, Garland, Tex.

Friday, June 11, 2021

1967 – Unser, Weld Capture Victories

Greg Weld (92) and Bobby Unser (1) battle it out at The Action Track. 

Terre Haute, Ind. (June 11, 1967) - Bobby Unser of Albuquerque, N. M., and Greg Weld of Kansas City, Mo., won 30-lap sprint car races at the Action Track Sunday.

Unser led the first feature from the first lap and was leading in the second feature race when his engine blew on the 17th lap. Weld finished second in the first race and took over the lead in the second when Unser dropped out.

George Snider of Fresno, Calif., won the semifinal race. Bud Tinglestad of Hawthorne, Calif., was the fastest qualifier.

Top qualifying time of the day was posted by Bud Tinglestad with a time of 23.39 seconds. Johnny Rutherford holds the record for the fastest qualifier for sprinters at the Action Track — 22.76 seconds.

No times were posted for any of the races Sunday afternoon as the yellow light was flashed during each race due to spins.

Roger McCluskey holds the winning time for a 30-lapper at the local track — 12 minutes and 14 seconds, set in June of 1963. McCluskey, the Tucson, Ariz., driver who made a clean-sweep of the Twin-30's at the Action Track in 1966 was entered for Sunday's events but was unable to get to Terre Haute from Le Mans, France, where he competed in the 24-hour road race, in time for the action here.

The five fastest qualifiers of the day were Tinglestad, Unser, 23.92, Weld, 24.04, Don Thomas, 24.52, and Frank Secrist, 24.63.

Jim Hurtubise, making his first start in sprint cars since his accident in a big car race at Milwaukee on June 7, 1964, experienced trouble in his qualifying runs when his racer began spewing oil. However, he took over the auto driven by Tingelstad in the first feature event, and although starting in last place in the second 30-lapper, pushed it to a sixth-place finish. Johnny Rutherford, sidelined last year with racing injuries, qualified with a time of 25.34 seconds, then ran into trouble in the semi-feature when he blew a tire on the fourth turn. He was out of competition for the day.

In the first feature of a long afternoon of racing, Tinglestad was on the pole with Unser on the outside. Lined up behind the pair were Weld, Thomas, Frank Secrist, Wib Spaulding, Sonny Ates, Chuck Booth, Bob Wente, George Snider, Ralph Liguori, Bill Puterbaugh, Rollie Beale and Jerry Daniels.

Order of finish for the event was Unser, Weld, Tinglestad, Liguori, Puterbaugh, Thomas, Booth, Beale, Ates, Spaulding, Snider, Secrist, Wente and Daniels.

Weld won $1,531 of the total $9,440 day's purse for his finishes. Weld, a 23-year-old, has been driving for eight years. He said he started when he was 15, but "the cars I started out with didn't run very fast."

Thirty-four cars qualified for the action during the afternoon.

About 8,000 fans were on hand for the day’s action. Some grew a bit impatient because of a long delay between the semi-feature and first feature event as track crews tried to iron the track out with water to improve running conditions and establish a safe track with a good “cushion.”

An official out to check Rutherford's spin in the semi-feature provided onlookers with a chili when it was left unattended on the top of the fourth turn and started to roll down into the path of the racers who were driving under a yellow flag. An unidentified spectator vaulted into the vehicle and drove it away from the path of the race drivers.

Unser and Weld, besides receiving their winning purses, were awarded kisses by Janice Cruse, the "500" Festival Queen, and each received a .30 caliber rifle.

Results –

Feature #1 -

1. Bobby Unser
2. Greg Weld
3. Bud Tinglestad
4. Ralph Liguori
5. Bill Puterbaugh
6. Don Thomas
7. Chuck Booth
8. Rollie Beale
9. Sonny Ates
10.Wib Spaulding

Feature #2 - 

1. Greg Weld
2. Rollie Beale
3. Don Thomas
4. Bill Puterbaugh
5. Chuck Booth
6. Jim Hurtubise
7. Bob Wente
8. Ralph Liguori
9. Bobby Unser
10.Sonny Ates

Thursday, June 10, 2021

1972 - Derr Pulls Out - Moss Wins Fairgrounds’ Feature

John Moss

Des Moines, Iowa (June 10, 1972) - Ernie Derr of Keokuk may have had the right idea Saturday night.

With John Moss of Iowa City starting in the front row of the late model stock car feature, Derr chose to withdraw from the race. As it turned out Moss, driving a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner, easily won the race, although Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Don Hoffman of Des Moines and Dave Chase of Council Bluffs did offer some late challenge before 9,242 fans.

The track was unusually slick and as a result there were more than the usual number of spinouts and accidents.

Saturday night’s late model program promised to be one of the best ever with Derr and Stott present.

Ramo, the 1970 and '71 Automobile Club of America (ARCA) champion and present United States Auto Club (USAC) competitor, was making his first appearance of the season here.

Derr, the 12-time International Motor Contest Association champion, was too. He drove in the first heat race – Moss also started on the front row in that one too – and finished second with Moss winning.

Derr loaded his 1970 Charger before the feature started. When asked why, he said, "I race that car to make money, and there is no way I can win with Moss in the front row.”

“It was my understanding there would be time trials, but under the point system, all new-comers have to start at the rear.”

Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, the co-promoter with Homer Melton of Rock Island, Ill., tried to get Derr to change his mind, but he was having nothing of it.

Derr said he believed the fair way to race was with positions determined by time trials.

Moss, who stands 6-foot 4-inches and weighs approximately 225 pounds, led all the way in the 25-lapper. Even being slowed down by way of two caution flags failed to slow his momentum.

Stott, driving a 1972 Challenger, moved into second place on lap 11 and started cutting away at Moss’ margin slightly.

On lap 18, Chase started challenging Stott and both drivers had moved within respectable distance behind Moss.

Chase, arriving late to the track because he and his crew worked on the car until 5:30 repairing damage sustained on Memorial Day in Harlan, Iowa, hit the wall on the second turn on lap 22.

“I was over driving in the turn,” said Chase, who finished seventh.

The yellow flag for Chase brought Stott and now Don Hoffman of Des Moines closer to Moss. Hoffman would get by Stott on the lap 24 but Moss was on cruise control and won easily.

Results –

Heat #1 – John Moss, Iowa City
Heat #2 – Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
Feature –
1. John Moss
2. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
3. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Sonny Morgan, Blue Earth, Minn.
5. George Barton, Ankeny, Iowa
6. Joe Merryfield
7. Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
8. Phil Reece, Des Moines
9. Bill Schwader, McCausland, Iowa
10.Don Davidson, Des Moines
11.Buggy Vincent, Nevada
12.Ken Davidson, Des Moines

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

1981 – Wisconsin Racer Wins Miller 100

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 9, 1981) - Leon Plank has had nothing but bad luck at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway in the past.

Last season the Eau Claire, Wis., driver led the Yankee Dirt Classic for 99 laps, only to be outsprinted by Rodney Combs of Lost Creek, W.Va., on the final lap. And earlier this year, at the Downs' first special event, Plank crashed and was unable to finish.

But Tuesday night Plank had all the luck he needed, and a little more. He outlasted 28 drivers and nipped Viola's Ken Walton to win the ninth annual Miller 100 at Hawkeye Downs.

“I had some luck and I needed it,” said an excited Plank after receiving his trophy. “My car didn't feel good at the beginning of the race, but we made some changes that definitely helped.”

Plank, who had the fourth fastest qualifying lap with a 23.669 second clocking over the half-mile oval, took control of the 50-mile race on the 78th lap. That's when Joe Merryfield of Des Moines and Steve Kosiski of Omaha pulled off the track with car problems.

Merryfield, who had held the lead since the 28th lap, pulled off the dirt track after Kosiski was black flagged for having debris hanging from the rear of his car. After two laps had passed however, Merryfield returned to the race and ended with 94 laps, placing seventh overall.

Tom Hearst, who started in the second spot, grabbed the early lead and held on to that position until the 27th lap when his distributor broke, forcing the Wilton driver to pull out of the race.

“The car was running real good,” said Hearst, last year's Hawkeye Downs point champion. “But I started to feel the timing get worse and worse, then finally she just wheezed out.”

Only four yellow caution flags were brought on during the 100-lap benefit.

One was for Curt Hansen, the only two-time champion in Miller 100 history, when he hit the wall on the first turn of the 86th lap. His new # 9 car had to be towed off the track, but the Dike driver completed enough laps to place him eighth in the final standings.

Don Hoffman, who was the pole sitter with the fastest qualifying time of 23.233 seconds, was also involved in an accident. The Des Moines driver was caught in a pile-up on the final corner of the 17th lap and had to be towed from the track.

Pete Parker of Walcott completed 99 laps to finish third behind Walton. Mike Frieden of Cedar Rapids was fourth and Ron Schreiner of Eleva, Wis., was fifth.

In other action, Dave Birkhofer of Muscatine raced to an easy victory in the 15-lap “B” feature. Ron Jackson of Burlington followed, with Denny Miller of Cedar Rapids third.

Billy Moyer of Des Moines won the trophy dash, which involved the top eight qualifiers. Moyer, who had the third fastest clocking in the time trials, was followed by Parker and John Provenzano of Aurora, Ill.

Results –

1. Leon Plank, Mondovi Wis.
2. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
3. Pete Parker, Walcott, Iowa
4. Mike Frieden, Cedar Rapids
5. Ron Schreiner, Eleva, Wis.
6. Roger Bruggeman, Dubuque
7. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
8. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
9. Steve Kosiski, Omaha
10.Dave Chase, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

1975 – Moore Wins Salem USAC Go

Larry Moore

Salem, Ind. (June 8, 1975) – Larry Moore of Dayton, Ohio, won his first-ever United States Auto Club late model stock car race with a victory in Sunday’s 100-lap event at the half-mile paved Salem Speedway.

Moore, driving in place of Roger McCluskey, led from start to finish with Butch Hartman, winner of USAC’s first two races, placing second and Ralph Latham third. The original second-place finisher, Jeff Bloom, was disqualified after the discovery of an illegal roller cam in his Camaro.

In the feature, Jim Bowsher and George Coonrod tangled on lap 21, sending Coonrod into the wall in turn one. No one was hurt.

Point leader Hartman set quick time in qualifying, touring the high-banked track in 19.332 seconds. Even though he started from the pole position, he could never get around Moore and in the late stages of the race, was lapped by the winner.

Results –

1. Larry Moore
2. Butch Hartman
3. Ralph Latham
4. Bay Darnell
5. Terry Ryan
6. Ken Simpson
7. Les Gittemeier
8. Tony Bettenhausen
9. Chuck McWilliams
10.Ramo Stott
11.Gary Bowsher
12.Harold Fair

Monday, June 7, 2021

1959 – 10,000 See Folse Win Futurity

Pete Folse is presented the beautiful Gaylord White Memorial trophy by Dr. Robert Johnson, administrative assistant to Iowa Governor Herschel Loveless.

Des Moines, Iowa (June 7, 1959) – Pete Folse, the wise-cracking veteran of the dirt tracks, had room to spare in winning the 25-mile Gaylord White Memorial feature of the fifth annual Hawkeye Futurity auto race before 10,000 Sunday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

It wasn’t until motor ills forced two previous leaders to the sidelines that the grizzled Floridian moved to the front on the 12th lap. He finished 700 yards ahead of second-place Jim Hurtubise of New Lennox, Calif. 

Folse’s winning time was 23 minutes and 48.75 seconds.

There were no serious accidents despite a hard, slippery racing surface which made the going dangerous through the late laps of the race.

Third place went to Parnelli Jones, reportedly a red-hot driver from the California Racing Association, in a Chevrolet-powered outfit. Lee Drollinger of Champaign, Ill., grabbed fourth and fifth went to Harold Leep of Wichita, Kan., who nosed out Buzz Barton of Tampa, Fla.

Folse, driving thee same Offenhauser that Bobby Grim won in last year, was a bad third-place through the first five laps. Herschel Wagner of Hickman Hills, Mo., a contender who won the pole position with a qualifying time of 25.01 seconds led the field at that stage.

Then Arnold Knepper of Belleville, Ill., caught Wagner on a turn going into the 6th lap and kept the lead on until the 9th when a valve trouble put him out of the race.

Wagner regained the lead but only briefly. On lap 12, with Folse riding his exhaust stack, Wagner experienced brake failure and was forced to quit.

Mickey McCormick of Hutchinson, Kan., challenged Folse for the next few laps but dropped out with a broken piston on lap 16.

Jones took up the next pursuit and lasted until lap 38. The Californian almost spun on a high turn, slowed to avoid it and was passed by Hurtubise, who had moved up from ninth position.

At that stage, seven of the original 20 starters were in the pits and no one was in contention.

Hurtubise wheeled off the best 5-mile qualifying heat mark with a time of 4 minutes and 18.77 seconds, only two seconds from matching a 1936 mark set here by the late Gus Schrader, the Cedar Rapids race pioneer.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jim Hurtubise, New Lennox, Calif.
Heat #2 – Ned Kirkpatrick, Hartford, Ill.
Heat #3 – Ken Rubright, Rock Falls, Ill.
Heat #4 – Bill Nelson, Wichita, Kan.
Consolation – Arnold Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
Feature –
1. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
2. Jim Hurtubise
3. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
4. Lee Drollinger, Champaign, Ill.
5. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
6. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
7. Don Carr, St. Petersburg, Fla.
8. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
9. Ned Kirkpatrick
10.Bill Nelson
11.Dick Ritchie, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
12.Fritz Tegtmeier, Elgin, Ill.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

1972 – Stott Takes Davenport Invitational

Track announcer Roger Bear interviews NASCAR star Bobby Allison as feature winner Ramo Stott looks on after the 100-lap "Invitational" in Davenport. - B.E. Tappa Photo

Davenport, Iowa (June 6, 1972) – Ramo Stott – starting on the pole position and then dropping as far back as tenth – steadily worked his way back to the front and hung on for a victory in the 100-lap Mid-Continent Open Invitational at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Tuesday night.

Stott, another one of those famous drivers from Keokuk, Iowa, outdueled John Moss of Iowa City and NASCAR star Bobby Allison of Hueytown, Ala., for the $1,000 first prize.

Sonny Morgan of Blue Earth, Minn., and Ed Sanger of Waterloo nailed down the next two spots to round out the top five finishers.

The crowd of close to 6,000 came to see Allison, the winner of more than a quarter of a million dollars last season and he didn’t disappoint. But credit Stott and Moss, for that matter, with a fine job of driving to finish ahead of him.

“It was a tough haul,” grinned Stott, one of the leading drivers last season on the United States Auto Club stock car circuit and winner of three features at Hawkeye Downs Speedway thus far this season where he is racing regularly.

By posting the night’s fastest qualifying time, Stott started on the pole but lost it almost immediately.

“For a moment I thought I had a flat tire, so I backed off so I wouldn’t cause a wreck. I dropped back quite a few spots and thought I was done. During the first caution my crew signaled to me that I was fine, so I went full-throttle from there on.”

Stott eventually moved his way back through the field, getting by Moss for the top spot about three-quarters of the way through the race. For the final 25 laps, Stott fought off the charges of both Moss and Allison but managed to hold on for the victory.

Results –

Time trials – Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa (
Trophy dash – Terry Bivins, Kansas City
Heat #1 – Ed Sanger, Waterloo
Heat #2 – Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Feature –
1. Ramo Stott
2. John Moss, Iowa City
3. Bobby Allison, Hueytown, Ala.
4. Sonny Morgan, Blue Earth, Minn.
5. Ed Sanger
6. Ron Perdock, Washington
7. Don Hoffman
8. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
9. Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley
10. John Connolly, Delhi

Saturday, June 5, 2021

1982 – Burgess wins ‘Nabbefeldt’ Twin 55’s

Steve Burgess

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (June 5, 1982) – Steve Burgess of Eau Claire, Wis., thoroughly dominated the night’s racing program, setting fast time, and then winning both of the 55-lap Lyle Nabbefeldt Memorial main events.

His only loss of the night was in the trophy dash, which was won by Tom Reffner off Rudolph, Wis.

Reffner finished second to Burgess in the first 55-lapper followed by Steve Holzhausen of Bangor, Wis., Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., and Jim Weber of Roseville, Minn.

In the second 55-lapper, early leader Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., came in a close second to Burgess with Jim Sauter of Necedah, Wis., in third and Mike Miller and Tom Reffner farther back in fourth and fifth.

Marzofka jumped to a half-lap lead by the mid-point of the second feature, but a blown engine on lap 35 erased Marzofka’s comfortable margin, and two laps later, Burgess had the top spot for good.

Burgess takes possession of the Lyle Nabbefeldt Memorial traveling trophy for on year before returning to Dells Motor Speedway in 1983 to be contested again. Nabbfeldt, a veteran driver from Wisconsin Rapids, lost his life at the speedway in a racing accident in 1973.

The traveling trophies were the idea of the Nabbefeldt’s children. Mike Miller, the defending champion, relinquished the trophy at this year’s event.

In preliminary action, Mark Schultz of Wausau, Wis., Rich Lofy of Nekoosa, Wis., Tom Lichtfield of Montello, Wis., and Greg DeLapp of Mauston, Wis., were heat winners and Jim Dundey of Wausau, Wis., and Lofy won twin consolations.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
2. Ton Reffner, Rudolph
3. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
4. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
5. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
6. Kevin Stepan, Mosinee
7. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
8. Jim Sauter, Necedah
9. Tony Strupp, Slinger
10.Bob Gunn, Madison

Feature #2 –

1. Steve Burgess
2. Marv Marzofka
3. Jim Sauter
4. Mike Miller
5. Tom Reffner
6. Bob Gunn
7. Kevin Stepan
8. Jim Weber
9. Tony Strupp
10.Steve Holzhausen

Friday, June 4, 2021

1974 - Eaker Captures 3rd Straight Challenge Cup

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 4, 1974) - They may have to start calling it the “Eaker Cup.”

Whatever, Verlin Eaker continued his habit in the Iowa Challenge Cup stock car championship race by capturing the 4th annual classic Tuesday night at Hawkeye Downs before a crowd estimated at 6,000.

Eaker and his 1972 Nova led the final 29 laps of the 50-lap feature on the half-mile dirt track, en route to claiming his third Challenge Cup in a row.

The Cedar Rapids pilot also pocketed the lion’s share of the record $7,000-plus purse offered by the sponsoring Cedar Rapids Jaycees.

He won $1,580, including $1,000 for first place and $580 in lap prize money at $20 per lap.

Mindful that winning just one Challenge Cup “is nice”, Eaker said “winning three of them in a row gives me a great feeling. From where I started, I didn’t think I had a chance.”

“Other cars may have as much horsepower, but I think we out-chassised them tonight. Really, the car was working so good it made it look easy.”

Eaker started eighth in the 18-car field. But he was up to third by the ninth lap and had moved into second by the 11th tour.

Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley was the man to catch at that point. By virtue of his top clocking of 25.51 seconds in time trials, he had earned the pole position and was setting a fast pace for the first 12 laps.

But on the 13th tour, Eaker and the rest of the field got a break when the second and final red flag allowed them to close on the restart. From that point on, Eaker was right on the bumper of Weedon’s 1973 Chevrolet.

By the 19th lap they were dueling wheel to wheel and were in a dead heat at the finish of lap 21. Eaker took Weedon on the backstretch of the next lap and six laps later Weedon was forced to drop out of the battle with a broken A-frame.

Eaker said the last restart was what he had hoped for. “I thought if I could close the gap and keep the pressure on him (Weedon), he’d make a mistake,” Verlin explained.

“I didn't think he could last the full 50 laps at the pace he was going.”

The restart also enabled Eaker’s crew to make a significant change during the lull.

He explained, “The nose had been pushing, so we took some weight out of it. We changed the wedge and then the car started drifting evenly.”

Eaker was not pressed after Weedon dropped out, but there was a jam-up battle for second place between Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids and Ed Sanger of Waterloo.

In fact, they had gone at it for the entire race. Dake led from lap 38 until Sanger took over on lap 46. But Darrell and his 1972 Nova came right back on the ensuing lap to regain the number two spot and he stayed there the rest of the way.

Second-place money was worth $650, while Sanger picked up $550. Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo and Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids rounded out the top five. McDonough is the Challenge Cup’s only other winner, having taken the initial race in 1971.

Sanger, McDonough, Bob Kosiski of Omaha, and Gordy Blankenship of Keokuk won the 10-lap heat events. Zwanziger topped the 6-lap trophy dash and Stan Stover of Reinbeck took the 25-lap consolation.

Results –

Fast time – Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley (25.51)
Trophy dash – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
Heat #1 – Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk
Heat #2 – Bob Kosiski, Omaha
Heat #3 – Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
Consolation – Stan Stover, Reinbeck
Feature –

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
3. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
4. Bill Zwanziger
5. Bill McDonough
6. Mel Morris, Atalissa
7. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids
8. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
9. Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
10.Don Hoffman, Des Moines