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

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