Thursday, September 30, 2021

1973 – Steady Schrock Wins Dri-Powr 400

Vern Schrock chomps on a cigar after a hard-fought battle to win the Dri-Powr 400. – Wayne Doebling Photo

Winchester, Ind. (September 30, 1973) – Veteran Vern Schrock drove a steady pace at the Winchester Speedway on Sunday afternoon to win the fourth annual Dri-Powr 400 for late model stock cars.

Schrock, from Middlebury, Ind., led the final 107 laps of the 400-lap grind and beat second-place Jim Cushman of Worthington, Ohio, by more than a lap. The victory was worth $5,620 out of a total purse of more than $25,000.

Bill Bielby of Flint, Mich., was taken to a local hospital with second- and third-degree burns on his hands and neck as a result of a fiery eight-car mishap early on in the race.

The fuel tank on Bielby’s Chevelle exploded after being struck by the car driven by Larry Moore of Hamilton, Ohio. Bielby was the only driver injured.

The accident, which halted the race for 52 minutes on the 22nd lap, was triggered by John Anderson’s spin. Anderson’s car was struck by the one driven by Moose Myers, Fort Wayne in the fourth turn. Bielby came upon the accident and slide up the bank trying to avoid the spinning cars. He was then hit by Moore’s car. Cars driven by Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa and Bill Wyrick of Gas City, Ind., slammed into the cluster of wrecked cars as Bielby’s fuel tank burst into flames.

Quick and determined efforts by the Winchester Speedway fire and safety crew beat down the flames before they engulfed other cars.

Ed VanderLaan of Grand Rapids, Mich., started from the pole position after a world record qualifying run on Saturday and held a narrow lead for the first 114 circuits over Don Gregory of Columbus, Ohio and Tom Maier of Midland, Mich.

Maier took over on lap 115 and led through 160 until he pitted, surrendering the top spot to Don Schoenfeld of Fort Smith, Ark. Maier came back to lead laps 199 and 200, but pitted again and VanderLaan resumed the top spot on lap 201.

The fast-moving VanderLaan, who qualified at 17.93 seconds on the high-banked half-mile asphalt oval, blew the engine in his Chevelle on lap 232, yielding the lead to Cushman. Cushman held on until he pitted on lap 290. Schrock took over at that point and never relinquished the lead for the rest of the contest.

Both former winners of the Dri-Powr 400 were in the field but succumbed to mechanical ailments. Dave Sorg, winner of the 1970 and ’72 races, wound up 26th and Dennis Miles, the ’71 champion, was 24th.

Results –

1. Vern Schrock, Middlebury, Ind.
2. Jim Cushman, Worthington, Ohio
3. Don Roberts, Coleman, Mich.
4. Paul Weisner, Muskegon, Mich.
5. Joe Ruttman, Rutland, Mich.
6. La Marr Marshall, Louisville, Ky.
7. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
8. Cliff Hamm, Cumberland, Ind.
9. John Sommerville, Clarksville, Ind.
10.Ned Webb, Westchester, Ohio

1973 - Hubert takes National Clay Track Title

Hinsdale, Ill. (September 30, 1973) – Larry Jackson of Lyons, Ill., who sold his Buick for a Chevy ride, chased his old car unsuccessfully for 97 lap Sunday afternoon at Santa Fe Speedway as Earl Hubert of Aurora Park, Ill., drove Jackson’s old car to victory in the 200-lap National Clay Track Championships.

Jackson, some seven car lengths back, settled for runner-up honors while 1973 Santa Fe track champion Jim O’Conner of Kankakee, Ill., finished third. Dave Bjorge made the long haul from Austin, Minn., and took home a fourth-place finish and Bob Kelly of Leland, Ill., rounded out the top five.

Thirty-two cars made the field with 17 sticking around for the checkered flag. Fifty-six cars qualified with 24 competing in the 20-lap semi-main won by Jeff Koehler of Blue Island, Ill.

The race was red-flagged once and slowed down five times by caution flags. After lap 55, however, the 100-miler was run non-stop. Harold Mueller of Eau Claire, Wis., made one-half lap when a tire came bouncing off into the infield bringing out the re flag, knocking out Mueller and opening the way for an alternate starter in Koehler.

Crowd favorite Dick Nelson immediately took charge on the restart. The seven-time speedway champion was making his final start in a brilliant career dating back to 1957. It was obvious that Nelson, the fast qualifier at 20.51 seconds on the half-mile, wanted to leave Midwest clay oval fans winning memories before moving to Florida.

Nelson survived five yellow flags and repeated stabs by Jackson to lead for the entire first half of the 200-lapper.

Hubert, meanwhile, had moved from his third-row starting position to pass Jackson and challenge Nelson on lap 100. On lap 103, Hubert broad slid Nelson with such awesome power that it appeared Nelson had been standing still.

It seemed evident a few laps later that only mechanical difficulties, a costly miscalculation, or a sudden surge by another driver could stop Hubert’s bid for the title. It was not to be…

Jackson did cut into Hubert’s advantage around lap 150 as Hubert was having trouble getting by USAC stock car star Bay Darnell of Deerfield, Ill., and Michigan driver Don Bray. Jackson pulled within tow car lengths at that point as a packed house encouraged the Santa Fe regular.

The difference proved to be the Buick’s power in the straightaways, a difference, ironically, Jackson had in previous years used to his advantage at Santa Fe half-mile shows.

This time, he was a victim of that power shortage.

Results –

1. Earl Hubert, Aurora Park, Ill.
2. Larry Jackson, Lyons, Ill.
3. Jim O’Conner, Kankakee, Ill.
4. Dave Bjorge, Austin, Minn.
5. Bob Kelly, Leland, Ill.
6. Don Waldvogel, Lockport, Ill.
7. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
8. Ken Widdes, Chicago
9. Billy Kuhn, Blue Island
10.Jim Kubik, Lyons, Ill.
11.Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill.
12.Tony Izzo, Bridgeview, Ill.
13.Jeff Koehler, Blue Island, Ill.
14.Bill Knippenburg, Hinsdale, Ill.
15.Art Fehrman, LaGrange, Ill.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

1957 – Hawkeye Stock Title to Beauchamp

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 29, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, raced to top honors Sunday at Hawkeye Downs in the first-ever 500-lap stock car race held in the state of Iowa. The event was sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association.

Beauchamp lived up to his ranking as IMCA national stock car champion, as he pushed his 1957 Chevrolet to a victory by four laps over runner-up Don White of Keokuk, another IMCA star in a 1957 Ford.

A disappointing crowd of just over 9,000 fans watched Beauchamp survive a hectic first 300 laps and then systematically eliminate all of his chief pursuers.

The system included good, steady driving, combined with a car that was finely tuned, and an alert and able pit crew.

Despite 10 caution flags and three pit stops, Beauchamp negotiated the 250-mile grind in 4 hours 26 minutes and 55.37 seconds for a IMCA national record.

The crowd poured into the infield as Beauchamp accepted the giant Sinclair Power-X trophy, presented by the Cedar Rapids Sinclair dealers.

That was the climax of the biggest day ever of auto racing for the state of Iowa.

It started late, at 1:45 after drivers had been introduced and the field had circled the half-mile track in four preliminary laps, and it ended about 6:15, just in time to avoid darkness.

Tire blowouts were the most common cause of 10 caution flags, but there were no serious injuries. It started on the third lap when Don Oldenberg’s 1957 Buick convertible broke an axle and flipped sensationally on the backstretch. Two other serious accidents came later. George Miller of Cedar Rapids, delayed frequently by a troubled car, spun, and flipped backwards, completely over the on the west turn on lap 141. Bill Brown, one of the leaders on Sunday, was treated for a bruised shoulder after his car leaped the guardrail and crashed through the fence on the same turn, on lap 242.

Besides the 500-lap total, records were set on the 200, 300, and 400-lap point. The time for 200 laps was 1 hour, 38 minutes and 10.55 seconds. After 300 it was 2 hours, 39 minutes, and 13.34 seconds. At the 400-lap mark it was 3 hours, 42 minutes, and 12.22 seconds.

Two of the pre-race favorites were early-race casualties. Bob Burdick of Omaha was forced out by motor trouble and lap 19 and Robert “Doc” Narber of Cedar Rapids was sidelined on lap 51 with the same issues.

Results –

1. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan
2. Don White, Keokuk
3. Chub Liebe, Oelwein
4. Frank Richards, Marion
5. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
6. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.
7. Jere O’Day, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
8. Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
9. Lou Fegers, Glenview, Ill.
10.Red Duvall, Chicago
11.Dick Johnson, St. Paul
12.Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill.
13.Don Lewis, Waupaca, Wis.
14.Larry Odo, Chicago
15.Bob Dugan, Waukegan, Ill.
16.Bob Potter, Duluth, Minn.
17.Bill Brown, Chicago
18.Pete Peterson, Chicago
19.Fred Hoff, Chicago
20.Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

1975 - Santa Fe 200 Title to Gardner

Hinsdale, Ill. (September 28, 1975) – Clay oval magician Arnie Gardner of Batavia, Ill., bested a field of 33 top Midwestern chauffeurs on Sunday afternoon to capture the 200-lap National Clay Oval Championships at Santa Fe Speedway.

Moving to the front on lap 23 and never even challenged to the checkers, Gardner lapped the entire field save runner-up J.J. Smith of Appleton, Wis.

Picking up $2,000 of the $6,400 purse, Gardner turned the hotly competitive event into a routine Sunday drive in the country.

Sixty-three late models qualified for the title with 31 moving directly into the 100-mile main event. Winners of two semi-mains moved into the tail of the field for the field.

Smith would prove to be the fastest in qualifying with a lightning quick 20.07 second tour of the half-mile oval. Joining Smith on the front row was Jim O’Conner of Kankakee, Ill. Gardner and Karl Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, sat on the second row.

O’Conner would set the early pace with Gardner and high-flying Al Johnson of Justice, Ill., slicing and dicing for the second spot.

O’Conner’s usually mechanically perfect Camaro began sputtering and limped into the pits on lap 23 – an early spectator. Gardner would take his cue from there and never look back.

Late in the race the crowd took interest in the battle for second between the Wisconsin ace Smith and local favorite Johnson. Johnson would bust a tie rod and crept game fully around the track until retiring with five laps to go giving Smith runner-up honors.

Results –

1. Arnie Gardner, Batavia, Ill.
2. J.J. Smith, Appleton, Wis.
3. Dick Potts, Morocco, Ind.
4. Errol Van Allen, Justice, Ill.
5. Billy Kuhn, Blue Island, Ill.
6. Don Waldvogel, Lockport, Ill.
7. Larry Jackson, Lyons, Ill.
8. Rich Clements, LaGrange, Ill.
9. Larry Mosher, Belvidere, Ill.
10. Larry Robb, LaGrange, Ill.

Monday, September 27, 2021

1953 -Nazaruk Cops Feature at Winchester

Winchester winner Mike Nazaruk (second from right) is joined by (l -r) car owner Lee Elkins, trophy presenter Wilbur Shaw, and mechanic Mutt Anderson. 

Winchester, Ind. (September 27, 1953) – Mike Nazaruk wheeled his #83 Kalamazoo Special to victory in the 100-lap AAA sprint car race at Winchester Speedway.

The iron man from North Bellmore, N.Y., was more than a lap ahead of Leroy Warriner of Indianapolis, at the finish of the 50-miles. Warriner was driving the McNamara Special, also owned by Lee Elkins of Kalamazoo, Mich.

Nazaruk took the lead on lap 20 when early leader Jimmy Daywalt of Wabash, Ind., was involved in a minor collision with Pat O’Conner of Mt. Vernon, Ind.

Both cars were able to continue in the race, Daywalt finishing ninth in the Cheesman Offy, and O’Conner, the Midwest circuit point leader, later was forced to drop out in the Engle-Stanko Special.

Bob Scott, Los Angeles, finished third, followed by Don Freeland, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Nazaruk picked up $810 in lap money and picked up a total of $2,660 from the total purse of $9,135. His winning time of 36 minutes and 4.2 seconds tops the 50-mile sprint car record set by Troy Ruttman at Dayton Speedway in 1951.

Nazaruk’s victory in the “Wilbur Shaw 100” was his second in a race of this type. He won the Dayton 100-lapper last year.

A crowd estimated at 8,000 watched the program which was marked by only a couple of minor mishaps.

Results –

1. Mike Nazaruk, North Bellmore, N.Y.
2. Leroy Warriner, Indianapolis
3. Bob Scott, Los Angeles
4. Don Freeland, Redondo Beach, Calif.
5. Duane Carter, Speedway, Ind.
6. Jerry Hoyt, Indianapolis
7. Gene Force, Richmond, Ind.
8. Bob Sweikert, Hayward, Calif.
9. Jim Daywalt, Wabash, Ind.
10.Red Renner, Woodburn, Ind.
11.Ed Elisian, Salinas, Calif.
12.George Lynch, Indianapolis
13.Pat O’Conner, North Vernon, Ind.
14.Eddie Sachs, Allentown, Penn.
15.Larry Crockett, Columbus, Ind.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

1964 – Kansan Wins Fair Event

Harold Leep drove Chet Wilson's Chevy to victory in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City, Okla. (September 26, 1964) – Veteran Harold Leep of Wichita, Kan., piloting a Chevrolet-powered sprint car, won Saturday’s 20-lap feature race, and set a new Oklahoma State Fair racing record before an opening day crowd of 6,000.

Leep’s winning time for the 10-mile distance was 8 minutes and 29.60 seconds and it bettered the two-year-old mark of 8 minutes and 41.54 seconds owned by Roger Lane of Kansas City.

The Kansan’s new feature record was one of two new standards he authored Saturday. The other was a 22.09 second trip around the half-mile in qualifying, breaking the old mark of 23.66 seconds set by Gordon Herring of Denver, Colo.

Results –

Time trials – Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan. (22.09)
Heat #1 – Harvey Shane, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #2 – Shady McWhorter, Garland, Tex.
Heat #3 – Jerry Weld, Kansas City
Consolation – Ron Larson, Milltown, Wis.
Feature –
1. Harold Leep
2. Shady McWhorter
3. Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
4. Dale Reed, Wichita
5. Don Melton, San Bernardino, Calif.
6. Ralph Blackett, Bartlesville
7. Sonny McDaniel, Houston
8. Ron Larson
9. Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.
10.Grady Wade, Wichita, Kan.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

1965 – Beale Wins IMCA Test

Rollie Beale 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 25, 1965) – Rollie Beale of Toledo, Ohio, won his first career International Motor Contest Association sprint car race at Fairground Speedway Saturday night before a “bundled up” crowd of over 5,000.

In winning the 25-lap feature, Beale bested 15 other cars and posted a winning time of 9 minutes and 54.48 seconds.

Jim McCune, also of Toledo, ran second while Dick Gaines, Mitchell, Ind., was third.

The big point battle for first place still continues with Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn., and Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill. In the driver’s seat. Richert is in first place with Moughan right behind him.

Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex., who had been third in the IMCA point standings was mathematically eliminated as he drove in the consolation but not in the feature.

Beale, driving a Chevy, had little trouble in winning the feature. He grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and never looked back, winning by five car lengths at the finish.

The only major accident of the afternoon occurred at the beginning of the consolation when Gordon Woolley and Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis., got tangled up.

Woolley hit the outer fence at the start and Bigelow got caught up in the melee, ending up under the steel fence. The race had to be halted for 15 minutes to remove the car and Bigelow was taken to an area hospital where he was listed in good condition with tire burns on his right shoulder.

Results –

Heat #1 – Charlie Masters, Waddy, Ky.
Heat #2 – Don Brown, Sam Bernardino, Calif.
Heat #3 - Don Hewitt, Toledo, Ohio
STP Match Race – Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Consolation - Dick Gaines, Mitchell, Ind.
Feature –
1. Rollie Beale, Toledo, Ohio
2. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
3. Dick Gaines
4. Sonny McDaniels, St. Paul, Minn.
5. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
6. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
7. Duke Cook, Dayton, Ohio
8. Don Brown
9. Bill Puterbaugh, Roxanna, Ill.
10.Chuck Taylor, Alton, Ill.

Friday, September 24, 2021

1978 - Williamson Captures Open at Grove

National Open winner Kramer Williamson is joined by his wife and child and mechanic Davey Brown in victory lane. – Lee Greenwalt Photo

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (September 24, 1978) – Kramer Williamson took the lead with 40 laps remaining in the 100-lap National Open on Sunday, breaking open what had been the most competitive race in the 16-year history of the season-ending classic.

During the first 50-lap segment of the long-distance grind, Williamson chased Smokey Snellbaker, who started on the pole as a result of his 21.58 second clocking in Saturday’s time trials and led every lap.

Williamson moved into the runner-up spot on lap 25 and held it until lap 45 when Van May, the defending National Open champion, passed him for a brief moment.

It was at this stage that Snellbaker, May, and Williamson all got together, with May getting the worst of is and dropping back to sixth.

After the incident, Williamson followed Snellbaker under the checkered as the race was halted for a mandatory fuel stop.

When the race restarted, Snellbaker retained the upper hand until a caution on lap 60. On lap 61, Williamson moved low in the first turn and came off the second turn with the lead.

Once in front, the veteran chauffeur was the class of the field. He never got a serious challenge even though the yellow flag was displayed on two occasions.

For his victory, Williamson collected $4,180 in purse and contingency money. He was quick to credit mechanic Davey Brown with numerous changes during the mid-race break. They included new rear tires, an adjustment with the wing and a slight change of weight.

Snellbaker hung on for second, a quarter of a lap behind. For his day’s work, he collected $3,030. As for May, he was never a factor after being forced to pit stop on the 58th lap.

Tom Spriggle came home third even though he was running a small 312 engine. Allen Klinger was fourth and Rod Gross fifth after a last-lap mix-up which saw Keith Kauffman drop from third to 11th.

Results –

1. Kramer Williamson
2. Smokey Snellbaker
3. Tom Spriggle
4. Allen Klinger
5. Rod Gross
6. Barry Camp
7. Bobby Weaver
8. Steve Smith
9. George Harbour
10.John Draucker
11.Keith Kauffman
12.Garry Kuhn
13.Gary Howard 
14.Scott Ausherman
15.Elmer Stoltzfus
16.Dan Heatherly
17.Van May
18.Tom Dickson
19.Billy Stief
20.Ed Zirkle

1960 – Tennessee Fair Feature to Shepherd

A.J. Shepherd waves to the crowd after winning the 25-lap IMCA big car feature at the Tennessee State Fair. – Merle Wilson Collection 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 24, 1960) – A.J. Shepherd proved once again that the half-mile Tennessee State Fair racetrack belongs to him as he roared to his fourth straight victory in the International Motor Contest Association big car contest.

The standing room only crowd of 11,000 cheered Shepherd as he crossed thee finish line but turned loose with a tremendous standing ovation for the runner-up, Johnny White.

Shepherd may have been the winner, but White was the hero. He started last, in the 15th position. It’s doubtful anyone had their eyes on anybody but White from the time starter Al Sweeney dropped the green flag, until he waved the checkered.

White, who had earned the right to start on the pole position with a record shattering performance in times trials, lost the right when he spun out in his heat race. Not finishing his heat race barred him from starting in the feature but with the capacity crowd encouraging Sweeney to “bend the rules”, White was allowed to start at the rear of the field.

In the first heat, White spun high on the embankment of the first turn, tearing up almost everything under his car. For the rest of the afternoon, White’s crew worked feverishly to get the car running again.

Once on the track, White was a driving maniac with one thought in his mind; To win.

Did the last place start discourage him”

“Heck no, you can always win a race, no matter where you start,” White replied, who was being mobbed by spectators after the race.

Even Sweeney admitted afterwards it was the second best race he’s seen in 25 years. Bert Hellmueller started 16th in a race at Tampa once and won the race. “If Johnny had won this, it would’ve been the best,” Sweeney said.

“I couldn’t imagine who that was coming so hard,” Shepard said as he and White exchanged congratulations.

Most of the crowd felt that with three more laps, White may have won the race. “Time just ran out on me,” White remarked.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jerry Blundy
Heat #2 – A.J. Shepherd
Heat #3 – Hank Lawshe
Match race – Buzz Barton
Consolation – Marvin Faw
Feature –
1. A.J. Shepherd
2. Johnny White
3. Buzz Barton
4. Hugh Randall
5. Mickey McCormick
6. Red Renner
7. Harvey Konkel
8. LeRoy Neumayer
9. Bob Mathouser
10.Jerry Blundy

Thursday, September 23, 2021

1973 – Grundy’s Short Track Championships Dominated by Wisconsin Drivers

Dick Trickle won the second 100-lapper at Morris. - Vince Mayer Photo

Morris, Ill. (September 23, 1973) - The North American Short Track Championships for Late Model Stock Cars at the Grundy County Speedway Sunday turned out to be the Wisconsin championships as Joe Shear and Dick Trickle dominated the action in the two 100-lap championship events.

Shear won the first 100-lapper in a close finish over Back and Trickle as the Illinois regulars managed five of the top ten spots. The second century saw Trickle taste the lead for the first time in the day on the 56th lap and then pull away from Shear after the final caution for the win.

Sunday’s wrap-up the two-day speed spectacular was a contrast to Saturday’s preliminaries where Illinois drivers won all seven events on the third-mile paved fairgrounds speedway. However, Saturday’s 12-car feature pile-up took its toll on equipment with most restarting Sunday in a crippled condition.

Track champion Ed Hoffman, in the center of Saturday’s melee, dropped out of the second race with engine vibration; Ray Young, the only other 100-lap winner in the track’s three-year history, cruised the distance with a stock replacement engine.

Larry Schuler cracked the fourth turn wall in the second race; and Tom Jones dropped out of the first race while running third with a burned piston.

The only serious accident of the day came in the opening laps of the first race when Bob Brevak backed into the third turn wall and set a new altitude record as Tom Reffner slid into him. Both cars were out for the balance of the program.

Following introductions of the 28 starters at trackside, Back shot past pole sitter Jones at the green flag to hold a firm lead for the first 30-laps before Shear worked his way to the front. For the next 20 circuits Back and Shear ran tightly through the traffic mainly in the outside groove before Shear took the lead.

In the 94th lap Dave Watson spun on the homestretch, bringing out the final caution flag and bunching the leaders to set up close finish.

After an intermission, the second race was line up in reverse order of the first finish with Lee Schuler taking the lead at the green for five laps before John Knaus came past on the outside groove for the lead.

Super modified driving star Johnny Reimer gave the hometown fans something to cheer about as he took the lead on the 10th lap, but in three laps Watson took over. Five laps later Reimer tried for the lead again, but Watson chopped him into the infield causing Reimer to lose nearly a lap. He finished 8th after dropping out of the first race when the rear-end locked up.

Trickle moved swiftly through the field to race side-by-side with Watson for several laps before the caution flag came out in the 52nd lap. When the green flew three laps later, Trickle moved into the lead past Watson and was not to be touched in the last half of the race.

The match between the country’s two 400-plus feature race winners — Dick Trickle and Bud Koehler — never developed as Koehler hit the wall in the first event and was not competitive in the second leg.

Before the start of the race, Koehler was most critical of the ‘no-bumping’ rule being enforced; “For 25 years we’ve (Raceway Park drivers) been building tanks to bang into each other with to fill the stands and today cars of half the weight come here to run. . . and we can’t touch them.”

Koehler’s comments received a big ovation by the good-sized Sunday turn-out.

Results -

Feature #1 –

1. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
2. Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Bill McEnery, Evergreen Park, Ill.
5. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
6. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
7. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
8. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
9. Boyce Sparkman, Rockford, Ill.
10.Gary Zobel, Mundelein, Ill.

Feature #2 –

1. Dick Trickle
2. Joe Shear
3. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
4. Al Schill
5. Jim Back
6. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
7. Don Leach
8. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia, Wis.
9. Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
10.T.K. Shear, Beloit, Wis.

1967 – Nashville IMCA Tilt to Busson

Karl Busson

Nashville, Tenn. (September 23, 1967) – Karl Busson increased his point lead Saturday night as he captured the 25-lap feature race of the two-day IMCA sprint car championship races at Fairgrounds Speedway.

Busson, of Oregon, Ohio, took the lead on the first lap and never looked back. Driving a Chevy-powered car, Busson increased his point margin over Jerry Richert by some 350 points as Richert finished in the runner-up spot. Richert, a three-time national champion, never gave up, staying on Busson’s bumper the entire race.

Two cautions were the only things that kept Busson from setting his second record of the night. He won the 10-lap dash in a record-setting 3 minutes and 29.26 seconds. That broke the old mark of 3 minutes and 29.76 seconds set by Dick Gaines in 1964.

Gaines, who finished third in the feature, still has something to lean back on, however, as he set a new one-lap qualifying record time of 19.76 seconds.

An estimated crowd of 6,350 saw Charlie Masters and Don Brown fill out the top five, respectively, of a starting field of 18 cars.

Masters, driving a Chevy-powered roadster out of Harrodsburg, Ky., won the 5-lap STP dash.

1956 - Sachs is Winner over O'Connor

Eddie Sachs

Salem, Ind. (September 23, 1956) - Eddie Sachs of Greensboro, S. C., captured the 100-lap United States Auto Club-sanctioned Joe James Memorial big car sprint race here Sunday afternoon.

Sachs in the Cheesman Special won the 50-mile feature after catching Pat O'Connor of North Vernon, Ind., on the 43rd lap. It was strictly a two-car race between Sachs and O'Connor the entire route. O'Connor pushed Sachs all the way.

The North Vernon speedster, who was piloting the Bob Estes Special, finished in second place. He also set the fastest qualifying time of the afternoon.

The race which attracted a nearly record crowd and some of the nation’s top drivers was delayed until almost 5 o'clock due to rain.

Andy Linden, veteran Indianapolis pilot, crossed the finish line in third place followed by Tony Bettenhausen, another 500-mile veteran.

Fifth place went to Bob Veith the 1956 Indianapolis Speedway “Rookie of the year”.

Other top-10 finishers in order were Jim McWithey, Ed Elisian, Don Branson, Gene Force and Red Renner.

Results –

1. Eddie Sachs
2. Pat O’Conner
3. Andy Linden
4. Tony Bettenhausen
5. Bob Veith
6. Jim McWithey
7. Ed Elisian
8. Don Branson
9. Gene Force
10.Red Renner

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

1962 – Blundy Wins Nashville IMCA Race

Nashville winner Jerry Blundy receives a kiss from Mrs. Jerry Blundy in victory lane. 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 22, 1962) – Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., surprised favorites Johnny White and Pete Folse and won the International Motor Contest Association big car race at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

White, the young driver from Warren, Mich., who had won four straight features in the last two years here, finished second. Folse, the three-time IMCA champion from Tampa, Fla., took third.

Going into the race Folse held a 30-point lead for national honors and White managed to whittle 20 points of this margin with only three races remaining on the circuit.

Blundy traveled 20 laps in in a record time for IMCA. His average speed of 85.308 miles per hour broke the old mark of 84.096 set by White here last year.

Folse, who has never done well in Nashville, gave his best local racing performance, apparently racing for his life. He came up with the fastest time in time trials, averaging 85 miles per hour, slightly off White’s record of 85.88 miles per hour.

The feature had to be restarted before one lap was completed. Tom McLellan spun on the backstretch coming off the number two turn. While he was sitting on the track, Al Williams came barreling into him. Williams went over the front end of the car and somersaulted down the track. Miraculously, no one was injured.

A packed house was on hand for the six-event program which began with Harry Kern of St. Paul, Minn., edging White in the first heat. Twenty-six cars were in action.

Results –

Heat #1 – Harry Kern, St. Paul, Minn.
Heat #2 – Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
Heat #3 – Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
Match race – Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
Consolation – Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy
2. Johnny White
3. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
4. Arnie Knepper
5. Ray Duckworth
6. Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
7. Buzz Rose, Compton, Calif.
8. Harry Kern

1957 – Burdick Leads Oklahoma Stockers

Bob Burdick

Muskogee, Okla. (September 22, 1957) – Persistence and a flash of daredevil driving paid off for young Bob Burdick, the Omaha Comet, Sunday as he rode home first in the 100-lap late model stock car race at the Oklahoma Free State Fair.

The time of the big event, curt from 150 laps because of track conditions, was 51 minutes and 12.85 seconds.

Burdick, who is waging a nip and tuck duel with Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, the current point’s leader in the International Motor Contest Association, dog-tailed Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., for the first 80 circuits before making his bid for the victory.

The winner, driving a borrowed car, sped through an opening on the south turn on the 82nd lap to take the lead from Funk, then stayed in front for the remainder of the way.

Track officials said that before the race Burdick’s regular car had been damaged and sent back to Nebraska for repairs, but the Omaha Comet had borrowed a 1957 Ford from a friend in order to compete in the race after it had been announced that he would be entered here.

Funk finished second for the second straight year and Darrel Dake was third. Funk, driving a 1957 Chevrolet, comes from Otis, Kan. Dake hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and wheeled a 1957 Chevrolet around the half-mile dirt track, which was lightning fast in the straightaways but soggy, muddy and plenty rough in the south turn.

Track officials spent Sunday morning working on the racing surface to make it suitable for racing before an overflow crowd of 8,000. As it was, the program didn’t start until 3:45 pm following the time trials.

Dake turning in the best time in the fight for starting positions with a clocking of 31.62 seconds. Funk was second fastest with a time of 31.65 seconds followed by Burdick at 31.70 seconds.

Beauchamp, the defending IMCA national champion, finished fifth in the race behind Dick Pellow of Minneapolis, Minn. He rode in fourth position for most of the race but lost a spot when he had to stop for water late in the race.

Burdick and Funk went the entire distance without having to make a pit stop, and Dake went 97 laps, losing three laps when he spun out midway in the race and crashed into the fence on the front straightaway.

Funk took the lead at the very start with Dake running second, Burdick third and Beauchamp fourth, a lineup that held until lap 50 when Dake lost ground and time in his accident.

After that, Funk set a sizzling pace with power and skillful driving, and Burdick waged a one-two battle with Funk until the 82nd lap when Burdick went out to stay in front.

Results –

1. Bob Burdick, Omaha
2. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Dick Pellow, Minneapolis
5. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
6. Al Warrender, Harlan, Iowa
7. George Parsons, North Platte, Neb.
8. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.
10.Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

1980 – Sauter takes Rockford NSTC

 Jim Sauter smiles proudly after winning the 200-lap feature at the National Short Track Championship in Rockford. 

Rockford, Ill. (September 21, 1980) – Jim Sauter, the 15-year stock car veteran from Necedah, Wis., became the 11th different winner in the 15-year history of the National Short Track Championships as he won the 200-lap premier event on the Rockford Speedway quarter-mile oval Sunday afternoon.

When the opening green fell, on a starting grid that included drivers from eight different states, Bob Strait of Crestwood, Ill., took the initial lead with Chicago’s Billy Venturini and Sauter falling into position behind him. This was the way the front three ran until lap 51 when Sauter slipped past Venturini and the two exchanged slots.

Sauter took advantage of his new location and another six laps saw him move past Strait for the top spot. By lap 65, he would extend his lead to a quarter-lap margin.

Rockford’s John Knaus would replace Venturini in third place and started putting pressure on Strait. Lap after lap, it was Sauter, Strait and Knaus until the 97th circuit when three-time NSTC winner Joe Shear got by Knaus and immediately tucked in behind Strait’s Camaro.

At the mandatory 101st lap pit stop, it was Sauter into the lead. Following his white 1979 Camaro were Strait, Shear, Knaus and Venturini in the next four positions.

Four laps after the restart, Shear slipped by Bob Strait and started closing the distance between he and Jim Sauter. It didn’t take long for the South Beloit, Ill., pilot to eliminate the gap, pull in behind the popular Wisconsin driver and start looking for his chance to move to the front.

Finally, on lap 134, Shear saw his chance and going low into turns #3 and #4, took the lead. It was Shear and Sauter with Dick Trickle a distant third. Then it happened…

On lap 159, Joe picked the wrong groove, got bogged down in slower traffic, and could only watch as Sauter moved around Shear and back into the number one spot. Shear would apply pressure to Sauter several more times but couldn’t regain the top spot.

As the final checkered came down, it was over the hood of Sauter. Shear settled for runner-up honors with Dick Trickle, Mark Martin and John Knaus rounding out the top five.

Mark Martin, the Arkansas kid now driving out of Libertyville, Ind., was the event’s fast qualifier turning a 13.47 second time during Saturday’s time trials.

Results –

1. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Mark Martin, Libertyville, Ind.
5. John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
6. Bob Strait, Crestwood, Ill.
7. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
8. Bill Venturini, Chicago
9. Tom Musgrave, Friendship, Wis.
10.George Dukas, Zion, Ill.
11.Jerry Sisco, Nashville, Tenn.
12.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
13.Bill Berkheimer, Roscoe, Ill.
14.Steve Murgic, Rosemount, Minn.
15.Bobby Hacker, Roscoe, Ill.
16.Dave Price, Bettendorf, Iowa
17.Bart Reiner, Jefferson, Wis.
18.Bobby Dotter, Chicago
19.Rich Bickle, Edgerton, Wis.
20.Tony Hertko, Joliet, Ill.
21.Ed Hoffman, Bensenville, Ill.
22.Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.
23.Ken Lund, Deerfield, Wis.
24.Dick Graves, Rosemont, Wis.
25.Jay Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
26.Don Turner, La Crosse, Wis.
27.Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
28.Fred Campbell, Battle Creek, Mich.
29.Fran Prestay, Silver Lake, Minn.
30.Wayne Dion, Warwick, R.I.

1969 – Derr Tops I-70 Speedway Races

"The Old Fox" Ernie Derr, won the 200-lap IMCA stock car feature at Odessa, Mo. 

Odessa, Mo. (September 21, 1969) – Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, the nine-time International Motor Contest Association national stock car champion, won the 200-lap late model stock car feature on I-70 Speedway’s half-mile asphalt oval.

It was Derr’s first appearance at the new speedway. Over 7,200 turned out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to watch Derr set a new world’s record in qualifying as he was clocked at 19.62 seconds in qualifying breaking the old mark (19.65) set earlier this month at the half-mile track at the Minnesota State Fair.

Derr’s time for the 200-lapper was 1 hour, 16 minutes and 38 seconds, eclipsing the previous record for 100 miles on a half-mile asphalt track set by Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, on September 6, 1965, at 1 hour, 18 minutes and 19 seconds.

Derr led the race from the 75th lap on. He made his mandatory pit stop on lap 92 and another quick pit stop later in the race for a splash of gas.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took runner-up honors. Janey led the race from lap 34 until Derr passed him on lap 75. He kept in close contention with Derr but three pit stops cost him valuable time.

Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa, kept the crowd on its feet with his fine driving ability. He would finish in third, giving Iowans a clean sweep.

Lewi Taylor of Shawnee, Kan., was fourth while Butch Hall of Russell, Minn., took fifth.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Fred Horn, Marion, Iowa
4. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
5. Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
6. Leland Cain, Miller, S.D.
7. Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.
8. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Dave Wall, Kansas City
10.Thurman Lovejoy, Kansas City        

1963 – Duckworth Cops Race

Nashville, Tenn. (September 21, 1963) – Ray Duckworth, a son-in-law who aims to please his mother-in-law, won the International Motor Contest Association big car feature on the half-mile asphalt at the Tennessee Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday afternoon.

A State Fair crowd estimated at 8,500 was in attendance. The spectators were treated to two record-shattering performances. Duckworth’s time for the 25-laps was 8 minutes and 54.54 seconds. The old mark was 9 minutes and 9.65 seconds set by A.J. Shepherd in 1958.

The other record was set in time trials by Bob Pratt of Union City, Ind. Pratt toured the course in 20.56 seconds, faster than any other driver in any type of vehicle had ever navigated the tricky half-miler. His speed was 87.6 miles per hour.

Johnny White had held the old mark of 20.87 seconds and the track record for all vehicles was held by Friday Hassler in modifieds, 20.6 seconds.

The first person to greet Duckworth after his triumph was Mrs. Asa Moore, whom he identified as his mother-in-law. Mrs. Duckworth was next and it’s a good thing she wasn’t jealous for Mrs. Moore gave Ray a bearhug.

“I had to win that one for my mother-in-law,” laughed Duckworth. “She came all the way from Macon, Ga., to see me last year and I didn’t do too good. But I did pretty well this time out.”

Duckworth recalled that he had almost won here two years ago when he led all the way only to watch White whizz by him on the last lap to win.

Pratt, who was hot on the heels of Duckworth for the entire distance, finished second Gordon Woolley, the IMCA point leader, finished third and former national champion Pete Folse took fourth. The four maintained their positions the entire race.

Jerry Blundy, winner of both races here last year, had third place sewn up until his car encountered mechanical issues and conked out on lap 23.

There were no mishaps in the feature but a few in the heat races. Bob King, Blundy, and Jigger Sirois got together in the first heat and spun out.

Results –

1. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
2. Bob Pratt, Union City, Ind.
3. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
4. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
5. Dick Gaines, Mitchell, Ind.
6. Curly Boyd, Indianapolis
7. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
8. Clare Lawicki, St. Clair Shore, Mich.
9. Carl Williams, Kansas City
10.Dean Mast, Toledo, Ohio

Monday, September 20, 2021

1980 – Green Captures World of Outlaws Race

Tim Green

Knoxville, Iowa (September 20, 1980) – Tim Green of Sacramento, Calif., got two big breaks to win the 25-lap feature in the World of Outlaws winged sprint car race Saturday night at the Marion County Fairgrounds.

Green escaped damage to his car, owned by Jensen Construction of Des Moines, when he collided with Gary Dunkle of Waverly, Neb., on lap 21. Dunkle was running second at the time and Green, who was trying to pass, was third.

Green also had the benefit of Steve Kinser running out of fuel on the 24th circuit, while leading by a comfortable margin.

Kinser, the present World of Outlaws’ point leader and two-time champion, slowed on the backstretch on the white flag lap. His momentum still carried him to a fourth-place finish.

Green earned $2,000 for the victory while Kinser settled for $800.

Kinser, of Bloomington, Ind., had won three World of Outlaw features at the historic half-mile this season including the Knoxville Nationals last month. He and his crew complained that officials should have stopped the race to allow teams to refuel.

The cars ran several laps under yellow.

Flagman Steve Coon disputed the Kinser claim. “Kinser should have had a full tank of fuel when he started the race,” said Coon. “Nobody else ran out of fuel.”

Green was booed by many of the estimated 6,500 in attendance when he stopped to receive the post-race honors. The booing was apparently because of the collision with Dunkle. Dunkle said afterwards that he doubted Green ran into him deliberately.

Dunkle’s car was hit on the right rear and he was forced to retire. He was credited with a 11th place finish.

Dunkle led the first 10 laps before Kinser took over and set the pace from lap 11 to 23.

Several top drivers were sidelined before and during the feature.

Sammy Swindell of West Memphis, Tenn., the second fastest in qualifying, dropped out in the trophy dash with mechanical problems and called it a night. Mike Brooks of Knoxville, the season point champion here, was sidelined on the seventh lap of the third heat.

Doug Wolfgang of Sioux Falls, S.D., one of the early front-runners in the feature, blew a tire on lap 12 and eventually finished 17th. Jan Opperman of Beaver Crossing, Neb., pulled his Bob Trostle sprinter in early during the main event.

Bobby Marshall of Arlington, Tex., finished second behind Green. Bob Hop of Mendota, Minn., was third followed by Kinser and Mike Peters of Wichita, Kan.

Results –

1. Tim Green, Sacramento, Calif.
2. Bobby Marshall, Arlington, Tex.
3. Bob Hop, Mendota, Minn.
4. Steve Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
5. Mike Peters, Wichita, Kan.
6. Con Edwards, Altoona, Iowa
7. Junior Parkinson, Kansas City
8. Darrell Trowbridge, Burnsville, Minn.
9. John Sernett, Minneapolis
10.Jeff Swindell, Memphis, Tenn.
11.Gary Dunkle, Waverly, Tex.
12.Jerry Potter, Kansas City
13.Bill Robison, Topeka, Kan.
14.Ken Potter, Kansas City
15.Bill Dollansky, Elk River, Minn.
16.Mike Thomas, Des Moines
17.Doug Wolfgang, Sioux Falls, S.D.
18.Randy Smith, Norwalk, Iowa
19.Jan Opperman, Beaver Crossing, Neb.
20.Mark Shaffer, Newton, Iowa
21.Lee James, Lipton, Ind.
22.Chris Maurer, Colfax, Iowa

1959 – Lorenzen wins Milwaukee 250-Miler

Fred Lorenzen snuggles with his trophy after winning the 250-miler at Milwaukee. 

West Allis, Wis. (September 20, 1959) - Fred Lorenzen, 24-year-old driver from Elmhurst, Ill., set a record in winning the 250-mile late model stock car race at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds on Sunday.

Lorenzen, driving a 1958 Ford, averaged 87.123 miles per hour and was timed at 2 hours, 52 minutes. 8.38. seconds. Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix set the old mark of 85.684 miles per hour in 1956.

Bryan finished third in the race in a 1957 Mercury, coming in behind Rodger Ward of Indianapolis, winner of the 500-mile race for big cars at Indianapolis last Memorial Day.

Ward, who drove a 1953 Ford, was nearly a lap behind Lorenzen on the paved, one-mile track. Ward won the other late model stock car race here earlier in the year.

Lorenzen, in addition to pocketing about $3,250, took over the lead in the United States Auto Club stock car standings. He is the defending champion.

There were no serious accidents in the race which drew 16,472 spectators who paid a total purse of $16,500.

Results –

1. Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill.
2. Rodger Ward, Indianapolis
3. Jimmy Bryan, Phoenix
4. Johnny Allen, Atlanta, Ga.
5. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
6. Bill Cheesbourg, Tucson, Ariz.
7. Mike Klapak, Warren, Ohio
8. Dick Rathmann, San Gabriel, Calif.
9. Les Scott, Pacoima, Calif.
10.Darel Dieringer, Indianapolis

Sunday, September 19, 2021

1970 – Unser Breezes to Sedalia USAC Victory

Al Unser steered the Johnny Lightning 500 Special to victory at Sedalia. 

Sedalia, Mo. (September 19, 1970) – Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser and his Johnny Lightning 500 Special struck pay dirt once again in J.C. Agajanian’s inaugural Missouri State 100-mile USAC National Championship Dirt Car race at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

It marked Unser’s eighth visit to victory lane this year on the USAC Championship trail, and his fourth straight dirt track win. He captured the race by over a lap, setting a new 100-mile record for dirt tracks by winning in the time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 12 seconds, smashing the former record of 1 hour, 14 minutes and 37 seconds set by Bobby Grim during a 1958 IMCA sprint car race here.

Unser nursed his Indy-Ford V8 to the finish, as he ran low on fuel with 2 laps to go and was forced to slow his pace. His only challenger, three-time national champion Mario Andretti, ran out of fuel on the last lap, and coasted to a stop on the backstretch. He had completed enough laps to finish second in his STP Oil Treatment Ford V-8.

Finishing third one lap behind was Larry Dickson followed by Mike Moseley in fourth. USAC newcomer Bentley Warren was scored in fifth place.

Only half of the 18-car field was around to take the checkered flag. Tom Bigelow, Jim Malloy, Greg Weld and Bob Harkey were still on the track when the checkers waved.

Unser showed the 5,500-race fans in attendance that he was going to be the driver to beat. During time trials he smashed thee one-lap record by more than 3 seconds, with a 32.26 second clocking or 111.593 miles per hour.

The record setting ride by Unser made the Sedalia mile the fastest dirt track mile on the USAC circuit. The previous mark, 32.89 seconds, was established at the Springfield Mile by Jim McElreath.

Unser would lead the 18-car field to the green, but it was Andretti who would grab the point at the drop of the green flag. On lap 4 Unser made his bid for the lead coming off of turn four, he went to the outside and zipped by Andretti for the top spot. He wouldn’t be headed for the remainder of the race.

Results –

1. Al Unser
2. Mario Andretti
3. Larry Dickson
4. Mike Moseley
5. Bentley Warren
6. Tom Bigelow
7. Jim Malloy
8. Greg Weld
9. Bob Harkey
10. Roger McCluskey
11. Sam Sessions
12. Johnny Rutherford
13. Jim McElreath
14. Bruce Walkup
15. George Snider
16. Gary Bettenhausen
17. Bill Puterbaugh
18. Johnny Parsons

Saturday, September 18, 2021

1970 – Goodwin Tops Spencer Sprints

Ray Lee Goodwin's first career IMCA sprint car win came at the Clay County Fair. IMCA's Woody Brinkman presents the checkers. - Beetle Bailey Photo

Spencer, Iowa (September 18, 1970) – National modified race champion Ray Lee Goodwin won the International Motor Contest Association sprint car race at the Clay County Fair on Friday afternoon.

For the Kansas City chauffeur, it was his first career IMCA sprint car victory as he nipped Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., second-place finisher and Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., third-place finisher.

Rounding out the top five were Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., and Joe Saldana of Lincoln, Neb.

Blundy and Jay Woodside of Kansas City tangled in the first heat, flipping the car driven by the Missourian. Woodside escaped injury while Leavitt went on to win.

Other heat winners were Ron Perkins of Wood River, Ill., and Darrell Dawley of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Blundy nabbed the trophy dash and Ralph Blackett of Des Moines took the consolation.

Little Joe Saldana set a record as he won fast qualifying time, touring the half-mile dirt oval in 23.40 seconds, to erase a 13-year-old mark set by Bobby Grim of 24.14 seconds back in 1957.

Results –

1. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
2. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
3. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
4. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
5. Joe Saldana, Lincoln, Neb.
6. Lonnie Jensen, Lincoln, Neb.

1954 – Bryan Wins Hundred, Prove Right to Title

Hoosier Hundred winner Jimmy Bryan is interviewed by Sid Collins while mechanic Clint Brawner (straw hat) looks on proudly.

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 18, 1954) – Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix, Ariz., proved his right to the 1954 AAA national driving title before 19,000 speed fans at the Indiana State Fairgrounds by capturing the second annual Hoosier Hundred auto race.

Driving the same Dean Van Lines Special, which won last year’s Hoosier Hundred, Bryan finished about half a straightaway ahead of Bob Sweikert of Speedway, Ind., last year’s winning driver.

Sweikert, who switched to the Lute’s Auto Parts Special for this race, bested Sam Hanks of Burbank, Calif., in the Belanger Special for second place by about a car length after a thrilling duel in the late stages of the race.

Don Freeland of Redondo Beach, Calif, escaped serious injury in a spectacular crash. Freeland’s Bob Estes Special was damaged badly when it struck the outside guardrail in the first turn and then flipped over. The 29-year-old driver ducked into “the basement” and suffered only a sore right shoulder.

Bryan finished nursing a badly worn right tire but had built up enough of a lead over Sweikert and Hanks that he didn’t have much to worry about except the size of the prize.

It turned out to be $23,600 with lap prizes and accessory awards increasing the total to $26,740. Of that total, Bryan won $7,180 for himself and car owner Carl Dean of Los Angeles.

He also dragged down 200 more championship points – almost double of that off Jack McGrath of Inglewood, Calif., who moved into second place by capturing fourth-place in the race in the Hinkle Special.

Bryan, the 26-year-old “Arizona Cowboy,” started in the fifth spot. Manuel Ayulo of Burbank, Calif., won the pole position for the second year in a row, this time with a fast lap of 39.93 seconds.

Sweikert took the lead from Ayulo on the first lap. He had built up a six-second lead by the end of five laps but Bryan who had moved past Ayulo into second by the ninth lap, started trimming it. The margin was down to four seconds on lap 15 and two car-lengths by lap 20.

The crowd was on its feet as the lead changed hands between Sweikert and Bryan twice on lap 24 and three times on lap 25 but Sweikert managed to beat off the challenges and still have first place at the finish line on both laps.

Bryan dropped back slightly and played a waiting game for a while but moved under Sweikert in the west turn on lap 40 to take first place. Sweikert challenged Bryan on lap 41 but Bryan would come out on top for good.

He boosted his lead to six seconds at the 50-mile mark and was still pulling away at the three-quarter mark when Johnnie Parsons of Van Nuys, Calif., spun and brushed the outside guardrail on the east turn.

On the restart, Bryan pulled away again and despite the tire issues late in the contest, won handily.

Results –

1. Jimmy Bryan
2. Bob Sweikert
3. Sam Hanks
4. Jack McGrath
5. Jimmy Reece
6. Ed Elisian
7. Tommy Hinnershitz
8. Johnnie Tolan
9. Rodger Ward
10.Jerry Hoyt
11.Cal Niday
12.Rex Easton
13.Bob Carroll
14.Ray Crawford
15.Manuel Ayulo
16.Johnnie Parsons
17.Chuck Weyant
18.Jiggs Peters

Friday, September 17, 2021

1961 - Rhubarb Enlivens Finish in Milwaukee 250

A smiling Whitey Gerken accepts his trophy after winning the 250-miler at Milwaukee. 

West Allis, Wis. (September 17, 1961) - William “Whitey” Gerken of Chicago drove a 1961 Chevrolet to victory today in a 250-mile stock car race which finished with so many protests that the first seven cars were ordered torn down for inspection.

Gerken’s margin of victory over Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., the defending national champion, was 23 seconds. Gerken led the last 12 miles in a race which saw the lead change hands 15 times. He averaged 86.9 miles an hour.

Trailing Gerken and Nelson in order were John Rostek, Fort Collins, Colo.; Dick Rathmann of Roselle, III., and Paul Goldsmith of St. Claire Shores, Mich.

Nelson, Rostek and Rathmann drove 1961 Fords. Goldsmith drove a 1960 Pontiac.

A Wisconsin State Fairgrounds crowd of 22,127 paid a purse of $22,575. Gerken’s share was $4,479.

Goldsmith did not start in the car he drove to fifth place. The Michigan driver, who is the leader in this year's national standings, started in a 1961 Pontiac but was forced out early when the car overheated. He took over as relief for Whitey Johnson of Hammond. Ind., and drove the final 120 miles.

The United States Auto Club, which sanctioned the race, ordered the first seven cars dismantled for inspection after wholesale protests from the starting field of 45. The protests charged the engines did not meet USAC specifications.

Other cars to be taken apart are a 1961 Ford driven to sixth place by Elmer Musgrave of Niles, Ill., and a 1960 Pontiac driven by Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., who was seventh.

Rounding out the top ten were, in order, Sal Tovella, Chicago, 1961 Ford; Ray Berry, La Grange, Ill., 1960 Chevrolet, and Ed Meyer of Glenview, Ill., 1961 Ford.

Results –

1. Whitey Gerken
2. Norm Nelson
3. John Rostek
4. Dick Rathmann
5. Paul Goldsmith
6. Elmer Musgrave
7. Les Snow
8. Sal Tovella
9. Ray Berry
10.Ed Meyer
11.Rich Sutkus
12.Ken Finley
13.Bob Potter
14.Gil Michaels
15.Don O’Dell
16.Skeeter Wyman
17.Bob Slensby
18.Bob Lutz
19.Gordon Gorman
20.Bill Cheesbourg
21.Ted Hane
22.Paul Burrow
23.Eddie Sachs
24.Bill Shoulders

Thursday, September 16, 2021

1972 – Prymek Captures MVSC Title at Columbus Junction

Ron Prymek

Columbus Junction, Iowa (September 16, 1972) - Ron Prymek of Iowa City darted to victory here Saturday night in the 35-lap season championship feature event.

Prymek took over the lead after the 16th lap, when Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree incurred a flat right rear tire and had to start in the back of the pack after he had led the race for 12 laps. The event was marred by several spinouts which stopped the race.

Perry Beckler of Tiffin held third place for 12 laps then moved into second spot when Prymek went ahead. Beckler chewed at Prymek's door for several laps and was barely beaten out only as the checkered flag fell.

No time trials were held for the championship race, so the drivers drew for positions in the heats. Don Morgan of Muscatine finally picked up the trophy for the final trophy dash of the year at the Louisa County Fairgrounds track.

Bob Helm of Andalusia, Ill., and Hemsted fought neck-and-neck for the 10-lap first heat event, with Helm coming in first for the flag. Beckler drove to victory in the second heat event. Morgan picked up the third heat event and, in a two-car, three-lap semi-main event, Tom Spitznogle of Fruitland won hands down when Bob Kleindolph of Muscatine spun out on the white flag lap.

Results –

Trophy dash – Don Morgan, Muscatine
Heat #1 – Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill.
Heat #2 – Perry Beckler, Tiffin
Heat #3 – Don Morgan
Semi-main – Tom Spitznogle, Fruitland
Feature –
1. Ron Prymek, Iowa City
2. Perry Beckler
3. Bob Helm
4. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
5. Dan Robertson, Muscatine
6. Larry Jenkins, Wilton
7. Jim Gerber, Long Grove
8. Bill Hopp, Muscatine
9. Don Morgan
10.Tom Hearst, Muscatine

1967 – Woodside Top Winner at Hutchinson

Jay Woodside, driving the Ted Hall Chevy #9, took top honors at the Hutchinson half-mile. 

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 16, 1967) - Jay Woodside, who developed his driving skills on the dusty tracks of Kansas, outraced Jon Backlund on the last lap and won the feature event on the International Motor Contest Association sprint car program, which opened racing activity at the 1967 Kansas State Fair on Saturday.

Woodside, a former Wichita resident now living in Kansas City, outran a distinguished field of top-notch drivers.

He had trailed Backlund, the rookie sensation of the IMCA dirt track circuit this year, for 19 of the 20 laps, but slipped to the inside less than a half mile from home, gunned into the final turn and won the race with a floor-boarded accelerator down the home stretch.

Finishing third was Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio, the current leader in IMCA point standing. Fourth was Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn., a three-time IMCA sprint champ who had set a new all-time record for the state fair track with a clocking of 24.40 seconds in time trials.

Coming in fifth was Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex., another former IMCA champion.

Neither Busson nor Richert, who were expected to duel for the first place cash whenever they met, had a good day. Busson finished third in the 7-lap opening event as well as in the feature. Richert finished fifth in the opening dash and fourth in the main event.

Lee Kunzman, a rookie from Guttenberg, Iowa, won the first 10-lap heat race, while Walt McWhorter, Wichita, won the second, in his Dodge powered car. McWhorter took the lead on the opening lap and steadily pulled away to finish Chuck Kidwell, Lincoln, Neb. J. L. Cooper of Kansas City was third while two well-known jalopy pilots, Grady Wade and Roy Bryant, both of Wichita, took the fourth and fifth positions.

Backlund won the 7-lap STP dash.

Roger Lane, of Blue Springs, Mo., won the 12-lap semi-main event despite the best efforts of Roy Bryant to catch him. Bryant went high on the track, and he went low but could never move to the front.

The cars for the main event varied in size of engine from 309 to 427 cubic inches. However, several of the drivers complained that the extra horsepower was useless since the track dried out too much to allow them to use it. The track was watered several times, but the sun and skimming wheels immediately dried it out.

Results –

Time trials – Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn. (24.40)
STP dash – Jon Backlund, Kansas City
Heat #1 – Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
Heat #2 – Walt McWhorter, Wichita, Kan.
Semi-main – Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
Feature –
1. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
2. Jon Backlund
3. Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio
4. Jerry Richert
5. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
6. Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
7. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
8. Roger Lane
9. Lee Kunzman
10.J.L. Cooper, Kansas City

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

1962 – Parnelli Jones Wins First Hoosier 100

Parnelli Jones discusses pre-race strategy with chief mechanic Johnny Pouelson before the start of the 1962 Hoosier 100.

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 15, 1962) – Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif., won his first United States Auto Club-championship race this season Saturday, leaving the rest of the field more than a mile behind in the 10th Hoosier Hundred.

Jones’ winning speed of 90.604 miles an hour was more than 2 miles an hour slower than the year-old record of A. J. Foyt, partly because a spectacular wreck by Allen Crowe, Springfield, Ill., forced eight laps at slow speed.

Crowe was reported in satisfactory condition at a hospital, after his car lost a wheel, overturned and caught fire in front of the main grandstand. The blaze was extinguished quickly but the unconscious driver was pinned in the car for several minutes.

A crowd of more than 26,000 contributed to a purse of $43,775, the biggest ever paid. for a USAC-sanctioned 100-mile race. Jones and car owner J. C. Agajanian, San Pedro, Calif., picked up more than $15,000.

Jim Hurtubise, Parnelli’s old rival from North Tonawanda, N.Y., led the first five miles on the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track. But Jones shot back in front and Hurtubise spun and stalled trying to keep up with him.

Protests filed after the race left the order of finish in doubt. Veteran Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., was the apparent second-place finisher with Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex., third. However, McElreath contended Branson picked up 10 seconds during a yellow-flag period.

Foyt, Houston, Tex., the defending USAC national champion, lost a slim mathematical chance to repeat when he was stopped Saturday by mud in his radiator. He would finish 16th.

Results –

1. Parnelli Jones
2. Don Branson
3. Jim McElreath
4. Roger McCluskey
5. Roger Ward
6. Bobby Marshman
7. Chuck Hulse
8. Jim Hurtubise
9. Ernie Koch
10.Ronnie Duman