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

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