Tuesday, August 31, 2021

1969 – Ellefson Wins Fair Race, Sets Record

Norm Ellefson and his chief mechanic are all smiles after winning the Golden 200 for IMCA sprint cars at the Minnesota State Fair. – Robert Paulson Photo

St. Paul, Minn. (August 31, 1969) – Norm Ellefson of Spokane, Wash., broke a world record in the Minnesota State Fair Golden 200 sprint car feature Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 14,872.

Ellefson’s time of 1 hour, 12 minutes and 26.98 seconds broke the previous mark of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 8 seconds set by Karl Busson of Toledo, Ohio, on the half-mile oval here in 1967.

It was Ellefson’s third feature win in four tries at this year’s Fair. Ellefson, driving a Chevy, went the 200-lap distance without any pit stops to overcome Ray Wright of Elkhart, Ind.

Russ Laursen of Cumberland, Wis., was third followed by Bob Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., and Jay Woodside of Kansas City.

Top qualifier Oscar Fay of Mishawaka, Ind., led for the first 10 laps before losing a wheel on the second turn. Darl Harrison of Tiffin, Ohio, and the current IMCA sprint car point’s leader, was sidelined early with engine trouble.

The victory was worth $2,000 to Ellefson, who posted the record time despite five caution flags.

Results –

1. Norm Ellefson, Spokane, Wash.
2. Ray Wright, Elkhart, Ind.
3. Russ Laursen, Cumberland, Wis.
4. Bob Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
5. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
6. Jim Eberstein, Vicksburg, Mich.
7. Fred Linder, Fremont, Ohio
8. Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
9. Dick Gaines, Mitchell, Ind.
10.Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.

1958 – McWithey Sets World Mark, Money Record

Jim McWithey

St. Paul, Minn. (August 31, 1958) – Jim McWithey became the biggest money winner in 51 years of Minnesota State Fair racing when he captured the International Championship Derby in world record time before 27,316 shivering fans.

His time for the 25-mile International Motor Contest Association big car event was 20 minutes and 28 seconds, bettering by 48.5 seconds the previous record set by Emmett “Buzz” Barton two years ago on the same half-mile dirt oval.

The victory capped a week of brilliant driving by the muscular used car salesman out of Anderson, Ind., taking four first-place finishes and one runner-up finish in five feature events.

His near-sweep was worth $4,555 in prize money, the largest purse ever earned by one driver in State Fair competition.

McWithey credited his victory in the feature to a discovery of a faulty balance and steering during warmups. Some fast work in the pit area and some borrowed parts from fellow racers put McWithey’s car on the track in time to record what Jim termed,” My greatest week of racing.”

Jerry Richert, the 25-year-old drill press operator from Forest Lake, Minn., won the Minnesota State Championship with his stock Chevrolet engine.

Richert overtook Glen Anderson of Owatonna at the 4-mile mark when the leader’s car developed an oil leak. A heavy cloud of smoke streamed from Anderson’s car, but he was able to hang on for the final two miles to finish second.

Eddie Sachs of Center Valley, Penn., sped into second-place at the 15-mile mark but couldn’t close on and the red and yellow Estes Offenhauser of McWithey.

Results –

1. Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind.
2. Eddie Sachs, Center Valley, Penn.
3. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
4. Mickey McCormick, Hutchinson, Kan.
5. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
6. Elmer George, Speedway, Ind.
7. Keith Rachwitz, Los Angeles
8. Dick Ritchie, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
9. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
10.A.J. Shepard, Gardena, Calif.
11.Marvin Faw, Minneapolis
12.Bill Horstmeyer, Stoughton, Wis.
13.Vern Chamberlain, Minneapolis
14.LeRoy Neumayer, Compton, Calif. 
15.Jack Rounds, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Monday, August 30, 2021

1979 - Burbridge wins Vinton open competition

Vinton, Iowa (August 30, 1979) – Jim Burbridge of Delhi, Iowa, led the whole way to win the season-ending open competition special at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Burbridge was one of several late model drivers to bring their cars to the Vinton quarter-mile and they were dominant. Darrell Sells of Waverly, Iowa, wound up second and Tom Fitzpatrick of Gilbertville, Iowa, was fourth, coming from far back in the field.

Scott Braun of Cedar Falls, Iowa, driving a sportsman, finished third.

Tim Jensen of Waterloo, Iowa, finished fifth and Ed Sanger of Waterloo, driving a borrowed sportsman car, came from dead last on the starting grid to finish sixth.

Sanger had not qualified for the main event from his heat race, but won the “B” feature to grab the last starting spot in the 20-lap “A” main.

While the “A” and “B” mains were accident free, the 15-lap “C” main was another story. The race was repeatedly stopped as cars flew off with uncanny regularity. Arlo Becker of Atkins, Iowa, driving a modified, won the race.

Heat wins went to Dave Bentley of Fairbank, Iowa, Dave Plum of Waterloo, Jim Buhlman of Waterloo and Fitzpatrick, all in late models.

Dick Ennenga of Waterloo won the “Hare n’ Hound” race, successfully eluding hounds Bill Tharp of Garrison, Iowa, and Larry Sommerfelt of Waterloo in the five-minute event.

Results –

First heat – Dave Bentley Fairbank, Iowa
Second heat – Dave Plum, Waterloo, Iowa
Third heat – Jim Buhlman, Waterloo, Iowa
Fourth heat – Tom Fitzpatrick, Gilbertville, Iowa
C-main – Arlo Becker, Atkins, Iowa
B-main – Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
Feature –
1. Jim Burbridge, Delhi, Iowa
2. Darrell Sells, Waverly, Iowa
3. Keith Braun, Cedar Falls, Iowa
4. Tom Fitzpatrick
5. Tim Jensen, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Ed Sanger
7. Jim Buhlman
8. Dean Wagner, Waterloo, Iowa
9. Mike Krall, Waterloo, Iowa
10. Ben Schaefer, Raymond, Iowa
11. Greg Kastli, Waterloo, Iowa
12. Dave Bentley

1964 – Marshman Triumphs in Springfield Race

Bobby Marshman, driving the Zecol Lubaid Galaxie (2) passes Norm Nelson (3) on his way to victory at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Springfield, Ill. (August 30, 1964) – Bobby Marshman of Pottstown, Penn., won the Allen Crowe Memorial 100-mile stock car race on Sunday afternoon after mechanical troubles sidelined two other front-runners.

Marshman was in third place for most of the race as A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., led the field for the first 57 circuits. Foyt lost the lead when he was forced to make a quick pit stop to fix a banged-up fender which was rubbing against his tire.

Joe Leonard of San Jose, Calif., took over the lead but was forced out briefly thereafter due to a worn tire and fuel leak.

With Leonard gone, Marshman inherited the top spot with only eight laps to go and ran unchallenged the remainder of the way. He averaged 94.41 miles per hour in the winning effort.

Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, was second followed by Leonard in third, Foyt taking fourth and Lloyd Ruby of Wichita Falls, Tex., rounding out the top five.

The one-mile dirt oval was jammed with 31 starters, however, only 19 were still on the track at the finish.

Results –

1. Bobby Marshman
2. Don White
3. Joe Leonard
4. A.J. Foyt
5. Lloyd Ruby
6. John Kilborn
7. Norm Nelson
8. Roger Regeth
9. Gary Bettenhausen
10.Bob Christie

Sunday, August 29, 2021

1970 - Iowa Drivers Dominate Sedalia

Fred Horn

Sedalia, Mo. (August 29, 1970) – Although 10-time International Motor Contest Association stock car champion Ernie Derr was not here to defend his 100-mile Missouri International title at the State Fairgrounds, the Iowa driving tradition was carried on by Fred Horn.

Horn, behind the wheel of a 1970 Plymouth, carried away the first-place money of $1,000 in the time of 1 hour, 13 minute and 33 second. The time was better than two minutes short of the old mark of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 27 seconds set by Dick Hutcherson in 1962.

Only three cars completed the 100 circuits; in addition to Horn, second place finisher Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, and Mike Derr, also of Keokuk, completed the required distance.

Young Mike, the 23-year-old some of veteran IMCA campaigner Ernie Derr, posted his best finish ever in International Motor Contest Association competition.

Gordon Blankenship, yet another stock car driver from Keokuk, grabbed fourth place. Rounding out the top five finishers was Johnny Snow of Bolivar, Mo.

The race was virtually accident-free, but California, Mo., driver Gary Martin lost control of his 1969 Ford Torino between the third and fourth turns, the car suffered heavy damage.

Fred Whisler’s car escaped severe damage when he lost control of his Ford Torino on the backstretch early in the race.

Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan., starting on the outside front-row position and an early race leader, was forced from the 1-mile oval within the first 10 laps.

The day’s fastest time was set by Fred Horn; he was clocked at 40.31 seconds. Gordy Blankenship was second in the time trials at 40.53 seconds.

Results –

1. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
2. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Mike Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
5. John snow, Bolivar, Mo.
6. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
7. Fred Whisler, Liberty, Mo.
8. Jerre Wichman, Kansas City
9. Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
10.Paul Wallis, Gardner, Kan.


1959 - Hurtubise Sets New Record in Fair Victory

Jim Hurtubise

St. Paul, Minn. (August 29, 1959) – Jim Hurtubise of North Tonawanda, N.Y., pushed the St. Paul-owned Ker-Mac Offenhauser to victory in the thrill-packed International Motor Contest Association 20-lap speedway car feature Saturday afternoon before 22,700 spectators.

Two new track records were set in racing that saw one pilot ride the concrete retaining wall and another spin out in the thick of the action in the main event.

The husky youngster Hurtubise started in the pole position, grabbed the lead in the first turn and held it all the way. He drove a flawless race and was never in trouble.

Jack Rounds of Huntington Beach, Calif., driving the Wilson Offy, chased Hurtubise all the way but was out of contention by lap 12.

Jerry Kemp of St. Louis, Mo., driving the Kephart Offy, had the close call, getting the car on the concrete wall just off the first turn and tearing down almost 50 feet of fence and canvas. He managed to get the car back on four wheels and limp to the pit area.

On the final lap, Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., spun out on the second turn. Leaving his car crosswise on the racetrack but skillful driving avoided a crash.

The program got off to a fast start as A.J. Shepard of Gardena, Calif., driving the Abajian Offy, to win the 8-lap first heat and setting a new track record of 3 minutes and 8.11 seconds. Shepard came from his sixth starting position to outduel Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., for the win.

Bob Cleburg of Tucson, Ariz., won the second heat, working his way up through the field after starting in the sixth position as well. Jerry Kemp of St. Louis, Mo., won the 6-lap third heat and set a new track record turning the 3 miles in 2 minutes and 28.13 seconds, to break the old mark of 2 minutes and 30 seconds set by Leon Hubble in 1954.

In the 7-lap consolation race, Minneapolis’ Harvey Porter outran the field while Tommy Vardeman of Tulsa, Okla., won the 10-lap semi-final.

Results –

Heat #1 – A.J. Shepard, Gardena, Calif.
Heat #2 – Bob Cleburg, Tucson, Ariz.
Heat #3 – Jerry Kemp, St. Louis, Mo.
Consolation – Harvey Porter, Minneapolis
Semi-main – Tommy Vardeman, Tulsa, Okla.
Feature –
1. Jim Hurtubise, North Tonawanda, N.Y.
2. Jack Rounds, Huntington Beach, Calif.
3. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
4. Bob Cleburg
5. Elmer George, Speedway, Ind.
6. Nick Valento, Sepulveda, Calif.
7. A.J. Shepard, Gardena, Calif.
8. Wayne Alspaugh, Fort Wayne, Ind.
9. Bill Nelson, Wichita, Kan.
10.Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

1979 - Schiltz Survives Challenge Cup

Dick Schiltz shows off his trophy after winning the Challenge Cup VII. 

Huron, S.D. (August 28, 1979) - Somehow, between all the caution flags and confusion, the Challenge Cup VII race finally ended with Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, joining an elite group of late model drivers who have won the coveted race.

Challenge Cup VII kicked off the 1979 South Dakota State Fair Tuesday night and offered grandstand viewers a five-hour racing show.

The lead changed hands four times with Schiltz leading at the start of the race and at the all-important finish. Sandwiched between were bids by Huron's Dennis Selting and Waterloo, Iowa’s Tom Bartholomew to establish control.

Selting, last year’s Challenge Cup champion, led for just one lap, but remained near the front of the 27-car field to place second Bartholomew was third, followed by Joe Kosiski of Omaha, Neb., and Sheldon Reding of Harrold.

A total of 42 late models were on hand, bidding for a start in the rich late model main, which paid $1,200 to the winner The race offered a total purse of $8,500.

The large purse could be blamed for some of the delays in the racing program as drivers were constantly struggling for an improved position, even when that position was not entitled them.

Several restarts were hampered by drivers failing to take their correct spot in the line-up.

Problems aside, the Challenge Cup VII race was considered a success by promoter Tony Dean. The 42 late models represented some of the Midwest’s finest racing machines and competition was constantly fierce.

Schiltz started on the outside front row position in the 50-lap main event and he utilized that spot to establish early control. For 16 laps he was untouchable, then Selting slipped by for a brief stay in the lead The next lap. Bartholomew took the lead and led until Schiltz moved back on top in lap 39.

Schiltz, a heat winner and ninth place finisher in the highly successful KIJV South Dakota 100 held earlier this month, was one of six heat winners in Challenge Cup. The remaining heats were won by George Jundt of Aberdeen, Dwaine Hanson of Lakefield, Minn., Bartholomew, Selting and Reding.

Willie Yost of Miller won the consolation.

Results –

Heat #1 – George Jundt, Aberdeen
Heat #2 – Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #3 – Dwaine Hanson, Lakefield, Minn.
Heat #4 – Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
Heat #5 – Dennis Selting, Huron
Heat #6 – Sheldon Reding, Harrold
Consolation – Willie Yost, Miller
Feature - 
1. Dick Schiltz
2. Dennis Selting
3. Tom Bartholomew
4. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
5. Sheldon Reding
6. Dwaine Hanson
7. Em Fretheim Decorah, Iowa
8. Bob Shryock, Estherville, Iowa
9. Willie Yost
10.Dave Knott, Wabbaso, Minn.
11.Dallas Lafferty, Reliance
12.Galen Kea, Grand Island, Neb.
13.Dennis Gross, Huron
14.Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
15.Roland Small, Watertown
16.Len Ferguson, Rapid City
17.Ron Droog, Aberdeen
18.Bill Kirk, Salix, Iowa
19.Wayne Steenhoven, George, Iowa
20.Bill Rice, Des Moines
21.Gary Nagel, Gettysburg
22.Billy Moyer, Jr., Des Moines
23.Cliff Lantz, Pukwana
24.Randy Schilling, Gettysburg
25.Roger Saathoff, Bruce
26.Dave Weisz, Aberdeen

1955 – Grim Outclasses Fair Race Field

Bobby Grim was victorious at the Iowa State Fair.

Des Moines, Iowa (August 28, 1955) – Bobby Grim, the hurrying Hoosier of the dirt track world, ran away with the 10-mile Midwest Sprint Championship before 20,000 sweltering spectators at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday afternoon. 

In fact, the Indianapolis veteran put his black Offenhauser so far in front of the field that the International Motor Contest Association point leader was never challenged.

Even when the race was halted by two crack-ups through the seventh lap, causing a single-file restart with the leaders only a wheel apart, the winner had no competition.

He covered the 10 miles in 9 minutes and 3.65 seconds, considered fairly fast on the hard, slippery half-mile track. The IMCA record is 8 minutes and 36.94 seconds.

The big contest was some 400 back of Grim, with Don Hutchinson of Kansas City, Ken Gottschalk of St. Louis, Red Hoyle of Colona, Ill., and Bob Cleburg of Rio, Wis., bunched in a fight for second place.

Hutchinson, one of the qualifying heat winners and fourth fastest in time trials, finally moved 200 yards ahead at the finish to take runner-up money.

After setting quick time in qualifying with a time of 26.01 seconds, Grim barley placed third in his qualifying heat, won by Cleburg, the IMCA rookie of the year for 1954.

Eddie Zimmerman of Urbana, Ill., captured the Australian Pursuit race when he passed Cecil Burnaugh of Los Angeles, Calif., and Harry Moyer of Crown Point, Ind., on the ninth lap.

Results –

Time trials – Bobby Grim, Indianapolis (26.01)
Handicap – Don Hutchinson, Kansas City
Australian Pursuit – Cecil Burnaugh, Los Angeles
Heat #1 – Bob Cleburg, Rio, Wis.
Heat #2 – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
Heat #3 – Don Hutchinson
Feature –
1. Bobby Grim
2. Don Hutchinson
3. Ken Gottschalk, St. Louis, Mo.
4. Red Hoyle, Colona, Ill.
5. Bob Cleburg
6. Andy Anderson, Hastings, Neb. 
7. Gordon Shuck, Edgar, Neb.
8. Jerry Blundy
9. Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
10.Don Elliot, Topeka, Kan.

Friday, August 27, 2021

1960 – Shepherd Captures Race Prize at Fair

A.J. Shepherd took Dizz Wilson's Offenhauser to victory at St. Paul. 

St. Paul, Minn. (August 27, 1960) – A.J. Shepherd of Gardena, Calif., slid himself into an $850 first prize on the first turn in the Minnesota State Fair speedway car races on Saturday before 3,813 spectators.

Shepherd, the lean, lanky veteran, won the first heat and the 15-lap main event in his Offenhauser. And in each case, he admitted the first turn was the key.

Starting on the outside of the front row, he slipped between two cars on the first turn and took the lead for good.

But that was only part of it. “When you get there, you better hang your hoof in it or you’re gonna get passed,” he said.

And that’s what he did, beating second-place Leroy Neumayer of Compton, Calif., by a wide margin. Shepherd finished the event in 6 minutes and 16.19 seconds.

In the first heat event, A.J. (“name’s Alfred, Junior, that’s why I use A.J.”) moved from the back of the pack to challenge on the first turn, then took first place from Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn., on the fourth lap.

Shepherd, the number two man in the International Motor Contest Association point standings, drove one of three participating Offenhauser's of the Dizz Wilson stable. Second-place Leroy Neumayer, drivers another and Mickey McCormick of Mitchell, Ind., piloted the other to a fourth place finish.

After Shepherd took over first place, Neumayer hung back, looking for an opening which never came. “I didn’t want to eat all that dirt, and I knew I couldn’t pass him,” Neumayer said.

Buzz Barton of Tampa, Fla., won the second heat and Dick Ritchie of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took the third heat. Billy Woods of Kenosha, Wis., grabbed the consolation and the semi-finals.

Woods, a midget driver, piloted a speedway car for only the second time ever.

Results –

1. A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
2. Leroy Neumayer, Compton, Calif.
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Mickey McCormick, Mitchell, Ind.
5. Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
6. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
7. Billy Woods, Kenosha, Wis.
8. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
9. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
10.Dick Ritchie, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

1977 – Feldner Claims First USAC Victory

Actress Joy Wilkerson lifts the cowboy hat on Du Quoin stock car winner Paul Feldner as car owner Gary Wutke (left) dumps champagne on him. Feldner’s wife Joanie (right) joins in the celebration.  

Du Quoin, Ill. (August 27, 1977) – Somebody offered 38-year-old Paul Feldner of Colgate, Wis., a bottle of champagne instead of the traditional bottle of milk after he won the 100-mile stock car race at Du Quoin on Saturday afternoon.

The victory called for the more-than-usual celebration because it was Feldner’s first triumph in a United States Auto Club event.

Many of the 8,659 fans attending could recall that A.J. Foyt, an unheralded driver in his early 20’s, also won his first USAC event at Du Quoin in 1960. Foyt has since won more USAC championships than any other driver.

Feldner not only earned the $4,100 first-place money out of the $23,000 purse, he also picked up 250 points to give himself a tie with race runner-up Sal Tovella of Addison, Ill., for the season point’s lead in the stock car division.

The race was hardly an artistic success ass the time of 1 hour, 21 minutes and 6 seconds translated to an average speed of 73.968 miles per hour. In 25 such events at Du Quoin, only the 1 hour, 24 minutes and 15 second clocking in 1954 was slower when Don O’Dell won the race in a Packard.

The caution flag was waved six times for almost one-quarter of the 100 miles.

An oddity was when the race leader, Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, blew his right rear tire entering the south turn on the 27th lap. Stott had been the fastest qualifier at 38.30 seconds and started on the pole.

Earlier, Jack Bowsher had gone out after only eight laps and Don White pulled into the pits on lap 14 with engine trouble. Only 10 of the 28 starters were still around when the checkered flew.

Feldner grabbed the lead after Stott left, gave it up for the mandatory pit stop and then regained the lead on lap 58. He had some luck in getting on top again as leader Ken Rowley hit the north turn fence on lap 52 after a collision with Kevin Housby.

Charlie Glotzbach of Sellersburg, Ind., was then thrown into the lead for four laps before Feldner took over for good.

Fans had some hopes for a stirring finish when the green flag for lap 80 found Feldner, Sal Tovella and Bay Darnell of Deerfield, Ill., bumper to bumper for the lead.

There were no thrills, however, as Tovella fell farther and farther back. Darnell dropped back even farther and had to coax his car just to finish fourth behind Jim Hurlbert, who had moved into third-place.

The victory by Feldner saved some face for the Dodge boys. This was the fifth straight year a Dodge model had been the winner. Stott, Tovella and Rowley, all driving Plymouth Volare’s, had their chance for victory.

Results –

1. Paul Feldner
2. Sal Tovella
3. Jim Hurlbert
4. Bay Darnell
5. Charlie Glotzbach
6. Bob Brevak
7. Wayne Watercutter
8. Gordon Blankenship
9. Dave Decker
10.Rich Sundling
11.Ken Miller
12.Tom Meinberg
13.Ken Simpson
14.Ken Rowley
15.Kevin Housby
16.Tom Bigelow
17.Butch Garner
18.Dean Roper
19.Ramo Stott
20.Steve Drake
21.Larry Cope
22.Larry Moore
23.Len Gittemeier
24.Don White
25.Boyce Sparkman
26.Jack Bowsher
27.Tom Helfrich
28.Gene Marmor

Thursday, August 26, 2021

1973 – Bowsher Wins State Fair Century

A dirty and exhausted Jack Bowsher relaxes after winning the State Fair Century at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Indianapolis, Ind. (August 26, 1973) – Stock car driver Jack Bowsher won the State Fair Century on a prayer and a flat tire Sunday afternoon.

Bowsher’s right rear tire had been losing air the last 10 laps of the 100-miler. And it let go as he was racing down the backstretch just one-half mile from the finish line. The Springfield, Ohio, chauffeur nursed his swaying Ford Torino through the final corner and beat a rapidly closing Butch Hartman in a Dodge Charger to the checkered flag by two car lengths.

“I felt the tire go and I saw him coming up behind me,” Bowsher said. “I thought if I could get through the corner one more time, I could run the wheels off it down the straightaway.”

Averaging 84.517 miles per hour for the distance in the blistering heat, the exhausted driver had to be doused with a bucket of ice water before he could take part in the post-race presentation.

He was further taking punishment from an engine whose oil temperature was running way above normal.

With Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, setting a track record of 93.726 miles per hour to take the pole position, Bowsher started on the outside of the front row and led laps 1 through 8, with the first five being run under yellow when Bob Whitlow of Warren, Mich., hit the outside wall in turn two.

In a real speed duel, Stott led laps 9-14; Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio, laps 15-20; and then Bowsher took it back on lap 21.

On lap 25, Bowsher almost outengineered himself. He made his mandatory pit stop on lap 25 under a yellow flag for a stalled Charlie Glotzbach, and this made a long way to go for his Firestones on a slick, hard track which was tough on the rubber.

His victory was salvaged by virtue of a 14-second lead which he built up over Hartman. When his rubber began to go bad, he had enough of cushion that he could ease up a little bit and hope to hold on at the finish.

“I kept signaling the crew at 90 laps that the rubber was starting to go,” he remarked. “Then I kept trying to drive it as straight as I could in the corners to make it last.”

Hartman’s crew apparently picked up the signal, because the Ohio speedster began putting on the pressure, whittling the time difference down on every circuit.

While Bowsher had led from lap 37 to the finish, Stott, Hartman, and Norm Nelson were engaged in a three-way battle at the halfway point for second through fourth positions.

Hartman got past Stott to put the lock on second place with Nelson finishing third at the end. Ralph Latham of Cincinnati came from his ninth starting position to take fourth and Stott settled for fifth.

Attendance was 7,877 with Bowsher collecting $3,710 in prize money.

Results –

1. Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
2. Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
3. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
4. Ralph Latham, Cincinnati, Ohio
5. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
6. Charlie Glotzbach, Edwardsville, Ind.
7. Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill.
8. Tiny Lund, Cross, S.C.
9. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
10.Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
11.Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
12.Harold Fair, Lavonia, Mich.
13.Terry Ryan, Davenport, Iowa
14.Mark Dinsmore, Covington, Ind.
15. A.J. Moldenhauer, Madison, Wis.
16.Mickey Flora, Anderson, Ind.
17.Bruce Jacobi, Salem, Ind.
18.Steve Drake, Bloomington, Ill.
19.Joe Booher, Montmorency, Ind.
20.Jim Osgar, Mansfield, Ohio

1967 – Blundy Wire to Wire at State Fair Sprint Race

Iowa State Fair secretary Kenneth Fulk (right right) presents feature winner Jerry Blundy with his trophy as IMCA vice-president Gene Van Winkle (far left) and starter Woody Brinkman look on. – Beetle Bailey photo


Des Moines, Iowa (August 26, 1967) – The winner was different, but the victory pattern was the same in Saturday’s IMCA sprint car races at the Iowa State Fair.

A crowd of 6,000 saw Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., earn the pole position in time trials, then lead from green to checkered in the 30-lap feature.

It was the same formula Jay Woodside of Kansas City used a week ago in the first sprint car main. Woodside wasn’t on hand Saturday, choosing to run the asphalt at the Minnesota State Fair.

Blundy, like Woodside last week, also won the consolation race, again leading from start to finish. He earned $800 for winning the feature.

A morning rain failed to soften the track which became slick under the heavy traffic.

“The pole was the place to be,” said the 39-year-old Blundy after his victory. “There was just one place to run – along the rail. It was difficult to pass anyone.”

‘Gentleman’ Jim Moughan of Springfield, Ill., did manage to pass Dale Reed of Wichita, Kan., on the last lap to nail down second place.

Reed had been running second throughout the race, but his engine started smoking badly on lap 28 and he couldn’t hold off Moughan, who won the Hawkeye Futurity earlier this summer.

Moughan took home $600 while Reed collected $450.

Heat winners were Lee Kunzman of Guttenberg, Iowa, Don “Itch” Daniels of St. Paul, Minn., and Jim Smith of Burgoon, Ohio. Blundy led flag to flag in the consolation.

Results –

Time Trials – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill. (26.00)
Heat #1 – Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
Heat #2 – Don Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
Heat #3 – Jim Smith, Burgoon, Ohio
Consolation – Jerry Blundy
Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy
2. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
3. Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
4. Grady Wade, Wichita, Kan.
5. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
6. Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
7. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
8. Bob Herring, Arvada, Colo.
9. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
10. Bob Evans, Long Beach, Calif.
11. Dick Ritchie, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
12. Benny Rapp, Toledo, Ohio
13. Jim Smith
14. Stan Borofsky, Lincoln, Neb.
15. Lee Kunzman
16. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines

The 30-lap feature, which was accident free, was run in 12 minutes and 46 seconds.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

1979 - DeWall wins Jackson National Sprint Championship

Jackson, Minn. (August 25, 1979) – Fast and steady, Marv DeWall moved from his sixth starting spot to the front of the pack Saturday night as he laid claim to the title in the first annual Jackson Grand National Sprint Championships at the Jackson VFW Speedway.

DeWall stayed among the leaders in the early going, but once the starting field got itself strung out, he began picking off the front-runners. He moved in to challenge race leader Bobby Geldner of St. Peter, Minn., and shot past him and into the lead on lap 20.

The Laurens, Iowa, based Valentine Racing Team sprinter stayed out front the rest of the way, claiming the $5,000 first place money and some the $60 lap money provided by the Jackson merchants.

Gary Scott of Holts Summit, Mo., got past Geldner for second place and managed to close the gap on DeWall, but was unable to mount a serious challenge in the late stages.

Behind Geldner in fourth was Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., a two-time winner of the Knoxville Nationals. Another former winner of the Knoxville Nationals, Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., finished ninth in Saturday night’s main event.

Jack McCorkell’s ride to seventh place in the finale was a story in itself at the Saturday night show.

McCorkell experienced problems both Thursday and Friday while attempting to qualify for the “A” feature through a point system established by the Jackson VFW racing committee. Because he failed to qualify, McCorkell was placed at the rear of the 15-lap “C” feature, but he quickly moved through the field of cars and won the event to advance to the rear of the “B” feature.

Again, McCorkell threaded through traffic to win the accident-stopped “B” feature to earn a spot at the rear of the “A” main. Starting 21st in the main event, the Redwood Falls, Minn., pilot passed 14 cars to finish an impressive seventh.

The Saturday night crowd of about 7,000 fans is said to be the largest ever to view a race at Jackson VFW Speedway, which has seen 26 consecutive years of operation.

Results –

1. Marv DeWall, Jackson, Minn.
2. Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo.
3. Bob Geldner, St. Peter, Minn.
4. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
5. Keith Frantzen, Windom, Minn.
6. Don Weyrich, Norfolk, Neb.
7. Jack McCorkell, Redwood Falls, Minn.
8. Mike Foley, Sioux Falls, S.D.
9. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
10. Bob Hanson, Windom, Minn.
11. Randy Smith, Norwalk, Iowa
12. Gene Brudigan, Hoskins, Neb.
13. Randy Kinser, Waynetown, Ind.
14. Art Smith, Estherville, Iowa
15. Miles Grein, Lakefield, Minn.
16. Gary DeWall, Jackson, Minn.
17. Mike Thomas, Des Moines
18. Jerry Frantzen, Windom, Minn.
19. Shane Carson, Oklahoma City
20. Dick Forbrook, Morgan, Minn.
21. Leland Van Emmrick, Salem, S.D.
22. Lenard McCarl, Des Moines

1963 – Missouri Futurity to Al Unser

Al Unser piloted the McGowen Chevy to victory at Sedalia. 

Sedalia, Mo. (August 25, 1963) – Al Unser, an Albuquerque, N.M., wrecking yard operator who finds driving a race car more to his liking, copped the ninth annual Missouri Futurity here Sunday in a storybook race that left some 14,000 State Fair fans limp and hoarse from cheering.

Unser captured the lead only two laps from the finish from Gordon Woolley, who had earlier astounded fans and racing personnel alike by moving from last spot to first in five lightning laps. And Woolley likely would have won had not his Weinberger Chevrolet developed a sour cylinder in the late stages of the race.

The classic got underway with Woolley on the pole, and he led for two brief laps before spinning out on turn two, Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., also looping to avoid a crash.

On the restart, Unser paced the single-file field, with Woolley and Blundy in the rear. But Unser lost his tremendous advantage when the McGowan Chevy, the same car in which his brother Bobby, won a year ago, slipped out of gear and he dropped back eight spots on the backstretch.

Woolley, meanwhile, was flying, passing car after car. He stormed to the front, finally getting past Gordon Johncock of Hastings, Mich., on the seventh circuit.

And all of the while, Unser and Blundy were picking up spots, Unser finally getting by Johncock on the 10th circuit. Johncock also relinquished third spot to Blundy on lap 30 when he pitted for fuel. Still another fuel stop put him out of contention.

Unser made repeated bids during the next 30 laps he was in second, but could never steam past Woolley, either inside or outside, until lap 47 when the Weinberger faltered.

Earlier, Woolley had shattered the IMCA World record for a flat mile track when he screamed around the oval in 35.78 seconds, eclipsing the 10-year-old mark of Jimmy Campbell’s 35.95 second mark set in 1953.

Five 10-lap heats preceded the feature with Woolley, Blundy, Art Pauley, Unser and Jim Moughan winning.

Results –

1. Al Unser
2. Jerry Blundy
3. Jim Moughan
4. Pete Folse
5. Jim McCune
6. Bob McCoy
7. Don Brown
8. Art Pauley
9. Jay Woodside
10. Gordon Johncock

1959 – Richert Wins, Tragedy Mars Race

Starter Jake Bozony waves the checkers over Minnesota State Fair winner Jerry Richert. – Jack Albinson Collection

St. Paul, Minn. (August 25, 1959) – Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., drove to victory in the 25-lap feature race of the tragedy-marred Minnesota State Fair speedway car racing program on Saturday afternoon.

Don Johns, 28, of Bellflower, Calif., was killed and Harvey Konkel, 30, of West Allis, Wis., was hospitalized in critical condition with burns over 60% of his body.

The accident, which occurred during the third heat race, saw Konkel lose control of his racer as he entered fourth turn. The car slid into a five-foot wall west of the grandstand, which was filled with 11,200 spectators, bounded off and rolled into the path of Johns. Johns’ car struck the rear of Konkel’s machine, flipping both cars end over end.

The Konkel car, now in flames, slammed into the pit area near the judge’s stand, scattering officials and pit crews.

Two mechanics ran to Konkel’s car, tried to beat out the flames and rescued the driver.

Meanwhile, other mechanics wrenched Johns’ crushed body from his upended car in front of the grandstand. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Richert, a former state champion, nosed out Herschel Wagner of Hickman Hills, Mo., by two car lengths in the main event. Both drove Offenhauser’s.

Johnny White of Warren, Mich., also driving an Offenhauser, finished third.

Richert collected $800 in prize money, Wagner $650 and White $350.

Heat winners were Bill Horstmeyer, Stoughton, Wis., Bob Hogle, Buena Park, Calif., and Mickey Shaw, Berea, Ohio. Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., won the 10-lap semi-final.

Results –

1. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
2. Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
3. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
4. Jerry Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
5. Dick Gaines, Mitchell, Ind.
6. Bill Horstmeyer, Stoughton, Wis.
7. Gordon Herring, Golden, Colo.
8. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
9. Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio
10.Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

1969 – Wisconsin Driver Wins ‘300’

Marv Marzofka accepts his Northland 300 trophy from IMCA's Gene Van Winkle. 

St. Paul, Minn. (August 24, 1969) – Marv Marzofka, riding a string of track records that humbled even the likes of Ernie Derr, sped to victory in Sunday’s exhausting Northland 300-lap stock car race before a sun-drenched crowd of 16,305.

Driving a 1967 Mercury Cyclone, Marzofka set his fourth track record of the past week in qualifying to win the pole position for the International Motor Contest Association race at 21.68 seconds.

The Nekoosa, Wis., pilot umped quickly into the lead over Derr, the perennial winner at the half-mile paved fairgrounds track. Derr was to later suffer brake failure, requiring a lengthy pit stop, and had all he could to do to wheel his ’68 Dodge Charger home to an eighth-place finish, completing 287 of the 300 laps.

The only real challenge Marzofka had after establishing his lead was from Bill Mueller – the 41-year-old “Wild Bill” that use to dominate Twin Cities’ area tracks.

Starting from the sixth spot, Mueller ran his 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner a strong second from lap 90 on, challenging Marzofka until an exchange of pit stops left him three laps behind. Mueller survived a three-car spinout but slowed down late in the race, yielding second place to Joe Frasson, as both drivers completed 296 laps.

When the race had ended, Mueller brought his car to the pit area and upon exiting his car, passed out from heat exhaustion. He was taken by ambulance to the first aid station and treated with oxygen for almost an hour.

Marzofka finished the race with his right rear tire going flat, while Mueller’s right rear was also losing air, and Frasson’s Charger had its right front tire hissing flat as he got out of it.

With Mueller and Frasson both from Minneapolis, Twin Cities drivers had one of their best days ever in IMCA races at the Minnesota State Fair. Bob Jusola of Mound was fourth, Mike Stein of Burnsville fifth and Billy Ries of Shakopee finished sixth.

Results –

1. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa, Wis.
2. Joe Frasson, Golden Valley
3. Bill Mueller, Minneapolis
4. Bob Jusola, Mound
5. Mike Stein, Burnsville
6. Billy Ries, Shakopee
7. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
8. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
10.Tom Eich, Minneapolis

1975 – Bigelow Posts Wire-to-Wire Win at Du Quoin

Tom Bigelow

Du Quoin, Ill. (August 24, 1975) – Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis., led wire-to-wire to win Sunday’s 100-mile USAC Championship Dirt race at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.

Bigelow, driving the Leader Card – Lodestar Ford, averaged 92.776 miles per hour in recording his second career win in the division. His other win was also scored at this track on May 28, 1972.

A giant cloud of dust erupted when the 24-car field took starter Ray Chalke’s green flag. But, the dusty conditions which had been a problem in the two previous days of racing here was somewhat improved.

Bigelow, starting outside of Al Unser on row one, promptly shot into the lead followed by Pancho Carter, Unser, Gary Bettenhausen, Sam Sessions, Arnie Knepper and Larry Rice.

Bigelow immediately opened up a dozen car-length lead and Unser went under Carter to take second after 16 laps around the mile dirt oval. Six laps later, fuel pump issues sent Carter to the pit area.

After 25 laps, Bigelow and Unser had pulled away from the rest of the field and began lapping the tail enders.

A number of cars brushed the wall, but the day’s first yellow didn’t fly until lap 47.

It was then that Unser, who was challenging Bigelow, went wide into turn one and smacked the outer wall. His Viceroy Ford had to be towed to the infield, but Unser escaped injury.

When racing resumed on lap 52, only Rice, Sessions, Jimmy Caruthers and Jackie Howerton remained on the same lap as Bigelow.

The only driver to mount a serious challenge to Bigelow was Rice, who pulled to within one-half second of the leader in the closing 10 miles. But, then Bigelow accelerated, padding his lead by a few more car lengths.

Rice, as he admitted afterwards, ran out of bravery, not wanting to jeopardize his runner-up position. The race was only Rice’s second ever in the division, the other coming at Sedalia, Mo., where he crashed while running second.

Sessions brought the Smith Chevy home in third and Caruthers fourth in the Pizza Hut Ford. Caruther’s finish enabled him to increase his lead in the point standings over Art Knepper, who finished fifth in the Patterson Driveshaft Chevy.

The hard-luck driver of the day was Rollie Beale. After starting 21st, Beale made his way to third by lap 62 and probably had the fastest car on the track. However, just as Beale was pulling up behind Rice, he hooked a rut exiting the narrow turn two and clobbered the outside guard rail.

Results –

1. Tom Bigelow
2. Larry Rice
3. Sam Sessions
4. Jimmy Caruthers
5. Arnie Knepper
6. Steve Chassey
7. Darl Harrison
8. Jim Hurtubise
9. Tommy Astone
10.Bruce Walkup
11.James McElreath
12.Jackie Howerton
13.Bill Vukovich
14.Jerry Miller
15.Larry Dickson
16.Rollie Beale
17.Al Unser
18.Gary Bettenhausen
19.Spike Gehlhausen
20.Sheldon Kinser
21.Jim McElreath
22.Pancho Carter
23.Bill Cassella
24.Joe Saldana

1952 – Kansas City Driver Wins Before 27,000

Bob Slater

Des Moines, Iowa (August 24, 1952) – Robert Slater, the skinny 35-year-old Kansas City graduate of midget race cars, tossed dust on a few favorites on Sunday afternoon as he roared away with the 20-lap feature.

He finished six car lengths ahead of Bobby Grim of Indianapolis, one of the big names on the International Motor contest Association circuit, to win going away before a throng of 27,000 in the Iowa state Fair’s 20-lap grind.

Bill Holland, the Reading, Penn., veteran who was scheduled to renew his duel with Grim, was forced out by a jammed throttle on lap 13 after running in third place.

Slater, who averaged nearly 100 miles per hour in the Tom Randol-owned Offenhauser to capture the Missouri Futurity at Sedalia, Mo., only the day before, was clocked in 9 minutes and 3.27 seconds for his 10-mile romp on Sunday.

The IMCA record for that distance, 8 minutes and 36.94 seconds set here two years ago by Frank Luptow, and others withstood the assault of the big car drivers although one track record was unofficially lowered.

Jimmy Campbell, the heavy-footed farmer from Bates City, Mo., warmed up his Offenhauser with a reported 23.71 second trip around the rutted half-mile to shade the official mark of 24.38 seconds.

However, when the Missourian, who lifted Luptow’s Sedalia mark only 24 hours earlier, attempted to get an official clocking he slammed his racer into the west wall, wrecking his machine.

Third place money went to Red Hoyle of Cedar Rapids, some 22 yards back of Slater and Grim. Hoyle had earlier chalked up the fastest time in qualifying with a time of 24.40 seconds.

Results –

1. Bob Slater, Kansas City
2. Bobby Grim, Indianapolis
3. Red Hoyle, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
5. Johnny Pouelson, Los Angeles
6. Phil Mocca, St. Louis
7. Speed Wynn, Tampa, Fla.
8. Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
9. Fritz Tegtmeier, Elgin, Ill.
10.Lowell Blume, Linton, Ind.
11.Jud Larson, Austin, Tex.
12.Jim Wegescheider, St. Louis

Monday, August 23, 2021

1973 – ‘Terrible’ season brighter for Burlington’s Jackson

Des Moines, Iowa (August 23, 1973) - Ron Jackson of Burlington has had a “terrible” season of auto racing, but things were looking much brighter to him after he won the 25-lap Iowa State Super Stock Championships feature Thursday at the State Fair.

“It’s unbelievable the car performed as well as it did,” the 31-year-old truck driver said after the race, which was witnessed by an estimated 7,000 fans.

“We’ve been racing at Eldon and Oskaloosa and haven’t been able to do anything all season. Then we come up here and win.”

Jackson won the first heat with his 1973 Mercury Comet and, as a result, started the feature on the front row pole position.

He grabbed the lead when the green flag fell and led for the first two laps. Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, driving a 1972 Nova, had started beside Jackson.

The lead see-sawed between them several times on laps three and four. Then Jackson went ahead in the second-turn on the fifth lap and led the rest of the way.

Dake, Lem Blankenship of Keokuk and Don Hoffman of Des Moines were eliminated because of an accident on the 15th lap.

Cal Swanson of Reinbeck, in a 1968 Chevelle, and Stan Stover of Reinbeck, driving a 1978 Nova, finished second and third, respectively. Joe Merryfield of Des Moines was fourth.

“I’ve been racing the Comet since July 1,” Jackson said. “We've made several major changes on it, but it just hasn't worked right. This week we put 250 pounds of lead over the rear wheels and it looks like we have it all together now.”

“The track was dry-slick today and 1 was able to get a good bite, Also, I got the break by being in the hot spot (pole starting position) and I got the jump.”

“If Dake had been the leader first, I doubt if I would have passed him.”

Blankenship, driving a 1972 Monte Carlo, was trying to pass Dake in the fourth turn on the 15th lap when their cars smacked together. Both were sidelined. Hoffman, running close behind, had nowhere to go and got into the melee, He also watched the remainder of the race from the pits.

“I guess Dake didn't want me to pass,” Blankenship said. “I was halfway by him and I got shoved into the wall.”

Dake said he didn’t know what happened. He and Hoffman thought Blankenship was responsible.

Jackson collected $500 for the victory with Swanson taking home $400, Stover $225 and Merryfield $175.

Results –

Heat #1 – Ron Jackson, Burlington
Heat #2 – Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
Heat #3 – Lem Blankenship, Keokuk
Heat #4 – Cal Swanson, Reinbeck
Semi-main – Dave Bedard, Waterloo
Feature –
1. Ron Jackson
2. Cal Swanson
3. Stan Stover, Reinbeck
4. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
5. Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley
6. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
7. Mike Keen, Marshalltown
8. Curt Hansen, Dike
9. George Barton, Ankeny
10.John Connolly, Delhi
11.Larry Wasserfort, Waterloo
12. Phil Reece, Des Moines
13. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids
14. Billy Geil, Des Moines
15. Bob Bonzer, Liscomb
16. Lee Pinckney, Des Moines
17. Joel Rasmussen, Ames
18. Red Dralle, Evansdale

1969 – Opperman Nabs State Fair Sprints

Jan Opperman

Des Moines, Iowa (August 23, 1969) – Jan Opperman was easy to spot in the pit area at the Iowa State Fair’s grand championship sprint car races Saturday afternoon.

The charging International Motor Contest Association driver wore a three-foot-tall Mexican sombrero.

On the track he was equally distinguishable. This time it was his foot rather than his head that caught everyone’s attention as the 29-year-old driver set fast time and then lead-footed his Speedway Motors Chevy to feature laurels.

The Lincoln, Neb., racer piloted his car around the half-mile at a 23.63 second clip to barely miss Jud Larson’s record of 23.55 seconds set with knob tires in 1956.

In the 30-lap feature, Opperman charged from his sixth starting position at the drop of the green flag. By lap 3, Opperman was all by himself out front, having slipped under Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo.

Sutcliffe finished second with Ralph Parkinson of Wichita Falls, Tex., third in the 18-car feature.

Buzz Rose of Lomita, Calif., piloting the Burger King Special, protected his pole position in the consolation run and took the checkered flag by a comfortable margin.

Heat winners were Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., Sutcliffe and John Stevenson of Elmo, Minn.

Results –

Time trials – Jan Opperman, Lincoln, Neb. (23.63)
Heat #1 – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
Heat #2 – Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo.
Heat #3 - John Stevenson, Elmo, Minn.
Consolation – Buzz Rose, Lomita, Calif.
Feature –
1. Jan Opperman
2. Dick Sutcliffe
3. Ralph Parkinson, Wichita Falls, Tex.
4. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
5. Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
6. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
7. Buzz Rose
8. Dave Ross, Jetmore, Kan.
9. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
10.John Stevenson
11.Jerry Blundy
12.Tom Custer, Rock Island, Ill.
13.Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
14.Ron Perkins, Wood River, Ill.
15.Ron Jackson, Burlington
16.Roy Cary, Booneville, Mo.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

1964 – 12,500 See Keokuk Ace Set 5 Marks

Dick Hutcherson (1) and Ramo Stott battle early on during the 200-lap IMCA late model feature at the Iowa State Fair.

Des Moines, Iowa (August 22, 1964) – Dick Hutcherson was the big money winner Saturday in the twin racing program at the Iowa State Fair.

Hutcherson, the 32-year-old International Motor Contest Association defending stock car champion, smashed three of his own track marks to win the 200-lap late model grind before an official crowd of 12,500 Saturday afternoon.

“Handsome” Dick, who made only two pit stops, led all the way, finishing seven laps ahead of his hometown rival Ernie Derr in a record time of 1 hour, 35 minutes and 54 seconds. Hutcherson also broke two other records.

Lenny Funk, the Otis, Kan., wheat farmer, finished third, trailing the winner by nine laps. Bob Jusola of Mound, Minn., was fourth and Jim Washburn of Keokuk was fifth.

Washburn had second place nailed down for 120 laps of the race until he broke an axle and limped the rest of the way, allowing Derr, Funk and Jusola to slip by him.

Derr, a five-time national champion, went into a slide coming off of turn four on lap 2 and was hit by fellow townsman Ramo Stott. Derr was forced to return to the sidelines to unbend a damaged fender, losing four laps in the process.

“If Ramo hadn’t straightened me out, I would have been in trouble,” Derr explained afterwards.

Stott pushed Hutcherson until lap 76 when he was forced to the pits with a broken rear axle. Stott managed to get back in action on lap 83, finishing seventh, 26 laps back.

The rutted track condition sent more than a dozen other cars in the starting field of 21 to the pits for frequent repairs.

Hutcherson, who made a 15-second stop for fuel at the halfway mark in his record-breaking drive, revealed he made his second stop “only as insurance”.

“I probably could have gone the whole distance without any stops,” grinned the Keokuk contractor, who won the Iowa International 300 here last month.

Hutcherson. who drives a “high-winder” Ford, set the following marks, along with a new half mile record of 26.73 seconds during qualifying: 25 miles - 22 minutes and 57.30 seconds to beat a 1955 time of 26:22.84 by Herschel Buchanan; 50 miles - 46:45.92 to beat his 1963 mark of 47:33.17; 75 miles - 1 hour, 11 minutes, 52.75 seconds to beat his 1962 record of 1.15:08.90; 100 miles - to beat a former 1:37.27:43 record set by Derr in 1962.

Results –

1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk
2. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
5. Jim Washburn, Keokuk
6. Bill Thomas, Lake Elmo, Minn.
7. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
8. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Dave Steffens, Minneapolis
10.Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
11.Bob Todd, Kansas City
12.Don Harmon, Des Moines
13.Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
14.Roland Wilson, Bedford
15.Buzz McCann, Minneapolis

Saturday, August 21, 2021

1983 – Schulte nips Mitchell in IMCA National

Mike Schulte won the IMCA Modified Nationals at Vinton Speedway. Schulte is present the trophy by race sponsor Jack Kempers and trophy girl Kristi Howell. Also pictured are Merv Chandler (left), who finished third, and Jack Mitchell (right), who finished second. - Gary Oberreuter Photo

Vinton, Iowa (August 21, 1983) – You really couldn’t blame Mike Schulte of Norway if you heard him say something favorable about 100-lap races at the quarter-mile Vinton Speedway…. after all, he’s won the last three.

Easily the biggest win of the trio, though, was the 100-lap win he posted Sunday in the first Kemper’s International IMCA Modified Nationals at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Schulte’s victory was worth $1,000 of the $10,000 purse and that will climb by another estimated $300 when all of the lap money is added in. He also won both 100-lap events held during the 1982 season.

Schulte, runner-up Jack Mitchell of Cedar Falls, and third-place finisher Merv Chandler of Cedar Rapids, were covered with dirt following the grueling battle around the quick Vinton oval. Mitchell and Schulte, too, were awash with perspiration following the event in hot, humid weather.

“There for a while…around the 30th or 40th lap…I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it,” Schulte said. “It was so hot in there and I could feel myself weakening. Then we got a red flag, and my crew dumped a bucket of ice water on me and that really helped. In fact, I got stronger near the end.”

Schulte started the race in the ninth spot after failing to qualify among the six fastest in Saturday’s time trials but winning the third qualifying heat.

Mitchell started outside in the front row and set the pace in the 38-car field for the first 27 laps before Mike Krall of Waterloo, who started third on the grid, swept past and into the lead. Krall set a blistering pace as he put quite a distance between his car and the trailing Mitchell.

Meanwhile, Schulte settled into the third spot behind Mitchell, then got around him to run second. Krall started to slow and dropped from contention on lap 42 allowing Schulte to scoot into the lead on the 43rd circuit and then was chased by Mitchell the rest of the way.

From that point on, it was a two-car battle, although Chandler got into contention late in the race before he faded in lapped traffic. Mitchell tried a number of times to get around Schulte but couldn’t get the job done.

Lapped traffic was Schulte’s main concern with 26 cars still running at the end.

“I knew if Jack could get me, it’d be because I either made a bad mistake, or I got caught in lapped traffic,” Schulte remarked.

Race cars from six states were in the pits for the two-day show with time trials and qualifying races held Saturday.

Winning the fast dash was Krall, while the six heat winners were Dan Higdon of Vinton, Buz Kaster of Kansas City, Schulte, Todd Jensen of Waterloo, Lyle Breberg of Dawson, Minn., and Steve Stinger of Hiawatha.

Sunday’s action included two non-qualifier races, won by John Steenstra of Avon, Mo., and Chandler, plus a “B” feature won by Ronnie Parsley of Kansas City.

Results –

1. Mike Schulte, Norway
2. Jack Mitchell, Cedar Falls
3. Merv Chandler, Cedar Rapids
4. Ron Becker, Conrad
5. Mike Wheeler, Davenport
6. John Light, Wadena
7. Denny Bjonfald, Eden Prairie, Minn.
8. Todd Jensen, Waterloo
9. Jim Mettlin, Cambridge, Ill.
10.Bryan Housley, Davenport
11.Steve Stinger, Hiawatha
12.Tom Herbert, Silvis, Ill
13.Ron Parsley, Kansas City
14.Bob Dlouhy, Tipton
15.Lyle Breberg, Dawson, Minn.
16.Rollie Wold, Dawson, Minn.
17.Monty Ohrt, Tipton
18.John Steenstra, Avon, Mo.
19.Dan Higdon, Vinton
20.Rollie Hahn, Grand Mound

1966 – Beale Scores Hot Triumph Before 9,000

Rollie Beale is presented a clock from Iowa State Fair secretary Bill Hitz while starter Larry Shipley presents the checkers. Car owner Kenny Lay is all smiles behind them. – Beetle Bailey Photo

Des Moines, Iowa (August 21, 1966) – Rollie Beale, a 36-year-old driver from Toledo, Ohio, won the International Motor Contest Association sprint car feature at the Iowa State Fair Sunday afternoon after a smoking battle with Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., and Jerry “Scratch” Daniels of St. Paul, Minn.

Daniels finished second in the near-record 25-lap feature staged before some 9,000 enthusiastic race fans.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., this year’s Hawkeye Futurity winner, took third followed by Grady Wade of Wichita, Kan., and Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis.

Richert, the defending IMCA sprint car national champion who blew an engine in Sedalia. Mo., on Saturday, did it again here on Sunday and consequently wasn’t running at the finish.

Jerry, no better than seventh quickest in time trials, led from lap 7 to lap 12 before losing his radiator hose and backing off the pace. His pit crew frantically waved him on to continue and the current point leader slammed his foot to the floor. He was in sixth place when he had to pull in on lap 19 with a smoking engine.

Meanwhile, Daniels grabbed the top spot from Beale on lap 17 but the margin wasn’t much as the two dueled side-by-side for the next three laps.

Beale regained the lead and held a slender margin the rest of the way as Daniels applied pressure but couldn’t muster a pass.

Beale earned his starting spot in the feature with a second-place finish in the 10-lap consolation – a rip-roaring duel between him and winner Bill Puterbaugh of Roxana, Ill., driving the Hector Honore Chevy.

The program also marked the inaugural appearance of Aldo Andretti, twin brother of the more famous Mario Andretti, that of Indianapolis 500 fame. Also spun out in the third heat, couldn’t crack the top-five qualifiers in the consolation.

Results –

Fast Time – Grady Wade, Wichita, Kan. (24.83)
Heat #1 – Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
Heat #2 – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
Heat #3 – Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
Consolation – Bill Puterbaugh, Roxana, Ill.
Feature –
1. Rollie Beale, Toledo, Ohio
2. Jerry Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
3. Jerry Blundy
4. Grady Wade
5. Tom Bigelow
6. Bill Puterbaugh
7. Bill Wachter, St. Paul, Minn.
8. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
9. Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
10. Gordon Wooley, Waco, Tex.
11. Junior Parkinson, Wichita Falls, Tex.
12. Lloyd Beckman

1960 - Stott Wins All-Iowa Fair Finale

Ramo Stott of Keokuk receives a handshake and the checkered flag from starter Jake Bozony of Minneapolis after winning the 200-lap stock car feature that wound up the 1960 All-Iowa Fair. – Bob Strempke Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 21, 1960) – Ramo Stott chauffeured his 1960 Ford convertible to one world record and nearly set another Sunday at Hawkeye Downs as the late model stock car brought the 25th anniversary of the All-Iowa Fair to a close.

The young Keokuk, Iowa, driver, won the 5-lap dash in the afternoon program in the record time of 2 minutes and 18.65 seconds, bettering the old mark of 2 minutes and 19.32 seconds set by another Keokuk driver, Ernie Derr, in 1959 at Oskaloosa.

Stott came back for the evening program before a sellout crowd of 8,000 to cop the grueling 200-lap event in 1 hour, 33 minutes and 4 seconds - just 2.75 seconds off the IMCA’s world record for a half-mile dirt track. He probably would have set the mark if the race hadn’t been slowed for about five laps for two separate spinouts.

The fans saw quite a battle all the way for the top spot. Stott, Joe Dolphy of Minneapolis in a 1960 Plymouth, and Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., in a ’59 Plymouth were bumper to bumper throughout the entire grind. All three drivers were attempting to outlast the other as gasoline supply dwindled.

Finally, on the 147th lap, Dolphy gave up his second position to re-fuel. Within the next 10 circuits, the top four drivers all made a pit stop for gas. From then on, the top three were pretty well settled with Stott, Dolphy and funk finishing in that order.

Results –

Afternoon –

Time trials – Buzz McCann, St. Paul, Minn. (27.35)
Heat #1 – Bob Kosiskie, Omaha
Heat #2 – Ramo Stott, Keokuk
Heat #3 – Ben Hofer, Davenport
Trophy dash – Ramo Stott
Consolation – Jerry Draper, Cedar Rapids
Feature –

1. Buzz McCann
2. Bob Kosiskie
3. Joe Dolphy, Minneapolis
4. Ramo Stott
5. Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids
6. Nick Kersting, New Brighton, Minn.
7. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
8. Al Terrell, Peoria, Ill.
9. Ron Olson, Minneapolis
10.Ron Snow, Hastings, Minn.

Evening –

Feature –
1. Ramo Stott
2. Joe Dolphy
3. Lenny Funk
4. John Jones, Marshall, Minn.
5. Doc Narber
6. Ron Olson
7. Ted Snoddy, Houston, Tex.
8. Jack Toutant, Minneapolis
9. Bob Kosiskie
10.Buzz McCann
11.Ron Snow
12.Nick Kersting
13.Jerry Draper
14.Bob Albright, Mt. Pleasant
15.Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
16.Al Terrell

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

1973 – Derr Wins at State Fair with Thin Tires

Winner Mike Derr is joined by IMCA officials Larry Shipley (left), Woody Brinkman (second, right) and Hal Meyer (far right), after the 200-lap IMCA stock car race at Des Moines. 

Des Moines, Iowa (August 18, 1973) - His tires were worn thin and he was involved in a collision, but Mike Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, scored his first victory in a long race on Saturday, winning the 200-lap International Motor Contest Association event at the State Fair.

The 25-year-old business education teacher at Central Argyle High School led for the last 124 laps in the 100-mile grind over the half-mile dirt track.

A crowd estimated at 8,000 saw young Derr, son of 12-time IMCA champion Ernie Derr, finished 1½ laps ahead of Stan Stover of Reinbeck, who was competing in his first race over 50 miles. Gordon Blankenship of Keokuk captured third, regaining the lead in IMCA point standings.

Derr was pushed into the wall in the fourth turn on the ninth lap when Eddie Anderson of Grinnell lost control of his 1972 Chevelle. Mike was trying to pass in his 1970 Dodge Charger at the time.

“I thought Anderson might lose it (control),” Derr said. “I should have backed off.”

“The car apparently was not damaged too badly. I thought the front end might be out of alignment after the impact, but the car steered okay.”

“The guys (his pit crew) warned me to take it easy for the last 50 laps because of the tires. And they were right. The right rear tire was really worn and wouldn't have lasted much longer.”

Mike has been flirting with victory in long races at the Fairgrounds for three years. He was second in the Firecracker 300 July 4. He said he won 50 and 25-lap races at the Missouri State Fair in 1971 and 1970, respectively.

Stover, driving a 1972 Nova, led for 66 laps. He started on the pole in the front row and led for the first 60 laps.

“I almost didn’t compete,” Stover said. "I debated about running all the way down here this morning. I finally decided to go ahead. The car has been running great.”

“It is the longest race in which I have ever competed. I sure am glad I decided to run now.”

Stover, one of the top drivers in regular Saturday night racing at the Fairgrounds, won $750. Derr went home with $1,000. Blankenship had problems with his 1972 Plymouth Duster but still finished third. He had trailed Ferris Collier of Lampe, Mo., by 10 points in the IMCA standings going into the race and Collier did not earn any points.

Gordy, who earned 90 points, said he had to take it easy the last 120 laps. “It was kicking all of the oil out,” he said. "There was a crack in the oil pan. Also I had some problems with the back end.”

A few minutes later he reported the right rear wheel fell off when he jacked up the car. He said a bearing had burned out.

Stover completed 199 laps and Blankenship 197. Collier was forced out of the race on the seventy-fourth lap when he was involved in am accident with Bland Robinson of Des Moines and Eddie Anderson of Grinnell, the 1949 IMCA national champion, who was competing in his first race since 1952.

Anderson spun and Robinson went wide to miss him. Collier was passing Robinson at the time and was forced into the wall. He said the same thing had happened to him at Wausau, Wis., last Sunday when he was leading a race.

Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa, was another leader in the race. However, he was sidelined on the 145th lap with engine trouble.

“It was pumping out a lot of oil,” said Horn, who was driving a 1970 Plymouth usually driven by Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids. Horn, who has sold his race car, said he would return for the 200-lapper next Sunday and “get revenge.”

He passed Stover in the third turn on the 61st lap but Stan went ahead on lap 70. He was in command until the seventy-seventh lap when Derr took over permanently.

There were 14 yellow flags in the race and it was run under those conditions for 29 laps because of accidents and spinouts. There were no serious wrecks. Bill Wrich of Kennard, Neb., who was running second and elsewhere in the top five early in the race, was sidelined with engine problems on the 111th lap.

Results –

1. Mike Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Stan Stover, Reinbeck, Iowa
3. Gordon Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Jim Anderson, Kansas City, Mo.
5. George Barton, Ankeny, Iowa
6. Shorty Aker, Windsor, Mo.
7. Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
8. Don Cooper, Sedalia, Mo.
9. Jim Still, Topeka, Kan.
10. Charles Benedict, Independence, Mo.
11. Jerre Wichman, Kansas City, Mo.
12. Larry Lynch, Garland, Tex.
13. Mike Wallis, Gardner, Kan.
14. Larry Harvey, Kansas City, Mo.
15. Vernie Covert, Topeka, Kan.
16. John Linscott, Kansas City, Mo.
17. Bill Stahl, St. Paul, Minn.
18. Eddie Anderson, Grinnell, Iowa
19. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
20. Gary Truelove, Trimble, Mo.
21. Fred Kirk, Gardner, Kan.
22. Gary Jellison, Topeka, Kan.
23. Bill Wrich, Kennard, Neb.
24. Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo.