Sunday, August 15, 2021

1975 – Missouri Modified Title to Leavitt

Eddie Leavitt is joined by starter Woody Brinkman (left) and National Speedway's Gene Van Winkle after winning the 50-lap feature event. 

Sedalia, Mo. (August 15, 1975) – Known in auto racing circles as the “King of Kearney”, Eddie Leavitt captured the Missouri Modified Championship for the second time by catching up with Sedalia’s veteran campaigner Bill Utz on the 40th lap and then kept a commanding lead for the balance of the 50-lap feature event.

Utz, who was in command from the outset, staved off Leavitt with his technique on the half-mile track that he had driven so often to victory in year’s past.

Finishing behind Leavitt and Utz was Jan Opperman, a nationally known barnstorming sprint car driver from Noxon, Mont.

Utz, Opperman, Gary Scott, Jim Jenkins and Craig Bucklew were heat winners and Rod Turner won the 15-lap semi-feature.

The closest finish was in the fourth heat as Bucklew barely edged Rick Weld of Kansas City in the drive down the homestretch. Opperman and Leavitt waged a tremendous duel in the fifth heat with Opperman coming from the rear of the pack to take the checkered flag.

The three-hour program was run under ideal conditions.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jim Jenkins, Slater
Heat #2 – Bill Utz, Sedalia
Heat #3 – Gary Scott, Holts Summit
Heat #4 – Craig Bucklew, Columbia
Heat #5 – Jan Opperman, Noxon, Mont.
Semi-feature – Rod Turner, Bushnell, Ill.
Feature –
1. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney
2. Bill Utz
3. Jan Opperman
4. Gene Gennetten, Gladstone, Mo.
5. Gary Scott
6. Rick Weld, Kansas City
7. Cliff Powell, Hannibal
8. Jay Lyle, Warrensburg
9. Ralph Parkinson Sr., Kansas City
10.Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.

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