Lincoln, Neb. (September 9, 1964) – Dick Hutcherson made his last appearance a good one at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds on Wednesday, wheeling his 1964 Ford to victory in the 50-lap stock car feature in a nip-and-tuck duel with Lenny Funk.
That really wasn’t unusual. It was, in fact, the 22nd feature victory of the season for the Keokuk, Iowa, racing star. Last year’s International Motor Contest Association point champion, he’s well on his way to his second straight title.
It will probably be his last because Hutcherson is moving up. Next year he’ll join the big leagues, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) circuit, starting with the Daytona 500 in February.
Off his performance in a few trial runs against that competition this Spring, he should do all right.
“I set some track records in qualifying at Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina,” he pointed out.
Hutcherson, at the moment, is the most renowned member of the famed “Keokuk Komets” which includes Ernie Derr, the winningest stock car driver in IMCA history, Don White (now on the United States Auto Club circuit), Ramo Stott, Jim Washburn, Ernie McMahon, and Jerry McCredie. Last year, Hutcherson, Stott and Derr finished 1-2-3 in the point standings.
White won the IMCA championship in 1954, 1955 and 1958. Derr won it four years in a row, 1959 through 1962, and when Hutcherson takes home again this year, it’ll be seven straight for Keokuk.
The IMCA-sanctioned tracks have provided a good living for Hutcherson. He grossed more than $21,000 last year and will make more this season. Despite the stiffer competition in NASCAR, he expects the financial rewards to be greater.
Hutcherson set three track and IMCA world records for a 5/8-mile track on Wednesday, although his qualifying mark of 33.97 seconds lasted only until Funk, a wheat farmer from Otis, Kan., zipped around a bit later at 33.45 seconds.
His other marks were 6 minutes and 1.78 seconds in the 10-lap heat and 2 minutes and 58.14 seconds in a 5-lap match race.
He lost a chance at the 50-lap record in the feature when Ole Brua of Austin, Minn., went through the fence on lap 22 and the yellow flag slowed the field for the next 12 laps.
Time trials – Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan. (33.45)
Heat #1 – Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa
Heat #2 – Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #3 – Eddie Gray, Jefferson City, Mo.
Match race – Dick Hutcherson
1. Dick Hutcherson
2. Lenny Funk
3. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
4. Frank Sedoris, Lincoln
5. Leon Bowman, Wichita, Kan.