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

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