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.
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.