Leon Plank won the Thunderbird Open at Dodge County Speedway. Promoter Calyton Dornack joins Plank in victory lane. - G&J Photo
Kasson, Minn. (August 16, 1979) – Leon Plank of Mondovi, Wis., led wire-to-wire and took the 11th annual Thunderbird Open for late models at the Dodge County Fairgrounds on Thursday evening.Plank, who started on the pole, had a quarter of a lap lead over the rest of the field by lap 18.
Three cars crashed on the backstretch on lap 19, bringing out the red flag. Bob Saterdalen, Mark Noble and Don Berger were sidelined, but uninjured, because of the mishap.
Plank would open up a substantial lead on the restart and was followed to the finish line by Canada’s Tom Nesbitt, Punky Manor of Altoona, Wis., Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Darrell Zweifel of Rochester, Minn.
Plank took home the $1,500 winner’s share of the purse in addition to $400 in lap money.
1. Leon Plank, Mondovi, Wis.
2. Tom Nesbitt, Thunder Bay, Ont.
3. Punky Manor, Altoona, Wis.
4. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
5. Darrell Zweifel, Rochester, Minn.
6. Wendell Kuehn, Rochester, Minn.
7. Red Dralle, Evansdale, Iowa
8. Jim Bruggeman, White Bear Lake, Minn.
9. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
10.Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.