Tuesday, August 10, 2021

1969 – Babb Scores First IMCA Triumph at Eldon

Eldon, Iowa (August 10, 1969) — The announcer shouted, “Let’s go racing” and that’s exactly what Johnny Babb of Ottumwa, Iowa, did here Sunday afternoon during the IMCA sprint car program of the Wapello County Fair.

Babb captured the main event of the seven-card program with his Chevy-powered car ahead of Ralph Parkinson of Wichita Falls, Tex., before the largest grandstand crowd in the auto racing history of the Wapello County Fair.

“What a great place to win,” commented Babb, who paced a 15-car pack in the 20-lap race.

“Winning my first IMCA (International Motor Contest Association) race was even more an honor for me behind a field of some of the finest racing drivers in the United States.”

The finale event was slowed in timing due to a couple of spinouts. Babb broke the photo electric cell light at 10 minutes - a minute and half away from the 1956 record set by Bob Grim at 8 minutes and 36 seconds.

Emory Collins’ Eldon track record of 1949 remained intact for another year on the dirt turf. Collins rounded the half-miler in 24.21 seconds in an Offenhauser, now nearly extinct on the circuit. Jan Opperman of Hayward Calif., was the fast qualifier in time trials, touring the half-mile in 25.43 seconds.

Babb, who ranked 79th in the IMCA sprint car division year last year, surpassed top 10 drivers Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., Darl Harrison of Tiffin, Ohio, Benny Rapp of Toledo, Ohio, and Don Mack of East Grand Forks, Minn., on the Eldon track Sunday.

The 1968 IMCA Rookie of the Year, Ron Perkins of Bethalto, Ill., started the racing card off winning the Bob Burman Dash. Springfield, Ill.’s Chuck Lynch nudged out Babb in the Pepsi-dash.

Finishing third last year and in 1967 in the final point standings, Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., drove his own Chevy-powered car to win the Gus Schrader Dash.

Jay Woodside of Kansas City, Mo., won the STP handicap. Don Mack stirred the dust in the consolation event ahead of home town rival Tom Stasa.

Results –

Time trials – Jan Opperman, Hayward, Calif. (25.43)
Bob Burman Dash – Ron Perkins, Bethalto, Ill.
Pepsi Dash – Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
Gus Schrader Dash – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
STP Handicap – Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
Consolation – Don Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
Feature –
1. Johnny Babb, Ottumwa, Iowa
2. Ralph Parkinson, Wichita Falls, Tex.
3. Darl Harrison, Tiffin, Ohio
4. Jay Woodside
5. Ron Perkins
6. Jan Opperman
7. Buzz Rose, Des Moines
8. Jerry Blundy
9. Chuck Lynch
10.Benny Rapp, Toledo, Ohio

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