Sunday, October 31, 2021

1964 – McCluskey in Ascot USAC Victory

Gardena, Calif. (October 31, 1964) – Roger McCluskey, last year’s United States Auto Club national sprint car champion, looked like it again on Saturday night at Ascot Park as he turned back some of the nation’s top drivers before 8,620 spectators.

It was only his second sprint car drive of the season because of an injury in the Spring, but he took the lead immediately in the 30-lapper and never relinquished it.

The Tucson, Ariz., ace’s tight grip on the front end made second place among A.J. Foyt, Don Branson and Bobby Unser the “race”.

Branson was passed by Foyt on lap 26, then spun out in an attempt to regain the position. Foyt finished second and Unser took third. Branson settled for 13th.

Results –

1. Roger McCluskey
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Bobby Unser
4. Billy Cantrell
5. Johnny Rutherford
6. Parnelli Jones
7. Stan McElrath
8. Benton Burns
9. Ned Spath
10.Joe Ward

Saturday, October 30, 2021

1983 – Sauter beats Trickle to Win at Nashville

Wisconsin's Jim Sauter in victory lane after his win in the 3rd annual All-American 400 at Nashville. - Steve Zimmerman Collection

Nashville, Tenn. (October 30, 1983) – Jim Sauter pulled ahead of Dick Trickle only five laps from the finish and went on to win the All-American 400 stock car race at Nashville International Raceway.

Sauter, a Necedah, Wis., resident, who finished four car lengths ahead of Trickle, pocketed $12,000 for his record-breaking effort in this third annual fall event which brings together the top short track drivers from the North and South.

The event is billed as the “Civil War on Wheels,” since the 239.4-mile race is run jointly by Southern-based ALL PRO Racing Series and Northern-based American Speed Association. The Yankees, however, have dominated the race in previous years and continued the streak on Sunday afternoon.

Sauter and his Yankee counterparts took 10 of the top 15 spots, including four of the first five positions. Following Trickle, the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., driver who sat on the outside of the front row, were defending champion Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., Gary Balough of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Butch Miller of Lawton, Mich.

“Super” was the word for the day for Sauter, a 40-year-old father of 11 who was a popular winner with the estimated 14,000 in attendance.

“The crew did a super job. The car ran super well in the low groove. It was super to beat Dick, he’s a super competitor,” said Sauter, whose winning speed of 82.343 miles per hour bettered the race record of 75.336 m.p.h. set by Butch Lindley in 1981.

Sauter, who continually challenged Trickle for the lead for most of the final 50 laps, got a break after he slipped by Trickle in turn two to take the lead. When the pair came up on a slower car driven by Jody Ridley, Ridley pulled down to the track’s apron to allow the leaders to pass and Sauter maintained his slight lead.

Then, Larry Raines spun out in the first turn, bringing out a caution with four laps to go.

Race rules require the final five laps to be run under a green flag. So, on the restart following three unscored laps, Sauter managed to pull out to a reasonably comfortable 8-10 car length advantage for most of the final four trips around the .596-mile oval.

Polesitter Rusty Wallace of St. Louis, Mo., led the first 58 laps but fell from contention when he was forced to pit under green with a flat left rear tire. That misfortune was followed by a broken stud on the same wheel and a slight head-on collision with the pit wall.

The day wasn’t a total loss for the 27-year-old Wallace. He managed to finish 11th, good enough for a 26-point advantage to clinch the 1983 American Speed Association national points championship.

Results –

1. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
2. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
3. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
4. Gary Balough, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
5. Butch Miller, Lawton, Mich.
6. Butch Lindley, Greenville, S.C.
7. Jody Ridley, Chatsworth, Ga.
8. Harold Fair, Livonia, Mich.
9. Mike Alexander, Franklin, Tenn.
10.Terry Senneker, Wayland, Mich.
11.Rusty Wallace, St. Louis, Mo.
12.Bobby Dotter, Chicago, Ill.
13.Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
14.Larry Raines, Cummings, Ga.
15.Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
16.Muttly Kurkowski, Perry Ohio
17.Ray Putnam, Zachary, La.
18.Junior Hanley, Oakville, Ont.
19.Kent Stauffer, Elyria, Ohio
20.Mickey Gibbs, Henagar, Ala.
21.Rick Carelli, Denver, Co.
22.Pat Lane, Cantonment, Fla.
23.Freddy Fryar, Baton Rouge, La.
24.Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee, Wis.
25.Junior Niedecken, Baton Rouge, La.
26.Mike Harmon, Birmingham, Ala.
27.Steve Grissom, Gadsden, Ala.
28.Rodney Combs, Lost Creek, W.Va.
29.Mark Malcuit, Strasburg, Ohio
30.Dennis Lampman, Oak Creek, Wis.
31.Mark Martin, Charlotte, N.C.
32.Alton Jones, Pleasant Grove, Ala.
33.Doug Klein, Fairview Heights, Ill.
34.Mel Whalen, Shakopee, Minn.
35.Mike Eddy, Midland, Mich.
36.Buddy Schrock, Plain City, Ohio

Friday, October 29, 2021

1961 – Ward Wins 100 at Sacramento

Rodger Ward en route to victory at Sacramento

Sacramento, Calif. (October 29, 1961) - Rodger Ward of Indianapolis rolled home Sunday a winner for the second time in the 100-mile national championship race at the California State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt oval in Sacramento.

Ward, the 1959 Indianapolis 500 winner covered 100 laps of the one-mile dirt track in one hour, seven minutes and 35 seconds, slightly over the one hour, five minute and 57 seconds, track record.

Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., completed 99 laps and finished second. Bobby Marshman of Pottstown, Penn., finished 98 laps and was third.

Ward beat defending champion A. J. Foyt, winner of last May's Indianapolis 500. Foyt led for the 23rd through the 74th laps, when he was forced from the race by mechanical trouble.

Ward last won the 100-mile race in 1957.

Ten cars out of the 18 qualifiers were in the race at the finish.

Ward's share of the $15,150 purse isn't known, but promoter J. C. Agajanian said it will be more than $5,000.

Ward led the race from the start of the 23rd lap, when Foyt took the lead. Ward led again from the 75th circuit to the finish.

Popular Jim, Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., the 1959 winner, was another victim of mechanical trouble.

Clark Templeman of Seattle set a new track qualifying record of 35.51 seconds for one lap. This beat the 36.24 second record set by Ward in 1957.

A crowd of 14,180 paid a purse of $40,738.

Results –

1. Rodger Ward
2. Parnelli Jones
3. Bobby Marshman
4. Len Sutton
5. Cotton Farmer
6. Elmer George
7. Don Branson
8. Don Davis
9. Ronnie Duman
10.Jim McElreath
11.Roger McCluskey
12.A.J. Foyt
13.Red Riegel
14.Jim Hurtubise
15.Dempsey Wilson
16.Shorty Templeman
17.Ray Wearne
18.Al Keller

Thursday, October 28, 2021

1972 – Phillips Drives to IMCA Win

A Mar-Car, Inc., official gives the green flag to polesitter Larry Phillips (75) for the 50-lap IMCA stock car feature at Shreveport. Phillips would go on to win the event. – Bill Causey Jr. Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 28, 1972) – Larry Phillips, a picture in studied nonchalance, fended off challenge after challenge in his blue and white 1970 Chevelle Saturday to win the 50-lap International Motor Contest Association new model stock car feature at the Louisiana State Fair Speedway.

In winning the feature, Phillips broke the 50-lap world record with a clocking off 18 minutes and 11.02 seconds, erasing the old mark just set last Saturday by Phil Cronin of Houston, Tex.

Phillips also cracked the world mark for 12 laps by posting a time of 4 minutes and 28.26 seconds in winning the first heat. The old marks were also set by Cronin last Saturday – 4 minutes and 29.65 seconds.

To make the day even more memorable for Phillips and the Internal Revenue Service, Phillips also pocketed more prize money by winning the 5-lap STP trophy dash.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who placed fifth in the feature and third in the fourth heat, did nothing to hurt his chances of winning his first IMCA national championship.

In the feature, Phillips was constantly at sword’s with Cronin who won the trophy dash, heat and 50-lap feature last Saturday.

From the outset, Phillips took the lead, but Cronin shadowed him and passed Phillips in front of the grandstand on lap 17.

On the 25th circuit, Phillips returned the favor and from that point on, the two drivers exchanged the lead another four times before Phillips got the lead for keeps on lap 38.

Cronin, who commanded center ring with his driving performance last week, finished second. Freddie Cook of West Monroe, Lou., took third with Norman Blythe of Houston, Tex., in fourth and Irv Janey in fifth.

Results –

1. Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.
2. Phil Cronin, Houston, Tex.
3. Freddie Cook, West Monroe
4. Norman Blythe, Houston, Tex.
5. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
6. Terry Brumley, Springfield, Mo.
7. Mike Crofford, Houston, Tex.
8. Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
9. Tony Bettenhausen Jr. Tinley Park, Ill.
10.Larry Richardson, Gunter, Tex.
11.Tommy Taylor, Houston, Tex.
12.Dallas Kirkfield, New Orleans

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

1974 – McElreath Again in IMCA

James McElreath

Shreveport, La. (October 27, 1974) – Twenty-two year-old James McElreath Jr., son of Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim McElreath, sped to victory in as many days at State Fair Speedway on Sunday afternoon again winning the International Motor Contest Association’s 25-lap sprint car race.

McElreath broke his own one-day record with a time of 8 minutes and 56 seconds over the 12.5-mile course, nearly 3 seconds better than his winning time of 8 minutes and 59 seconds, set on Saturday, the first day ever of sprint car competition on the half-mile oval.

Ronnie Burke won the first heat in 3 minutes and 34 seconds, lowering his one-day record of 3 minutes and 36 seconds.

Richard Powell of Enid, Okla., who is USAC’s 1974 rookie-of-the-year in the midget division, won the second heat and also took home the trophy dash.

Shane Carson of Oklahoma City, driving a car built by Jim McElreath and his father, took the checkered flag in the third heat.

Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., clinched his first IMCA national championship as the race season closed out. Utz finished with 2,535 points for his first title in eight years of competition.

Results –

Heat #1 – Ronnie Burke, Houston, Tex.
Heat #2 – Richard Powell, Enid, Okla.
Heat #3 – Shane Carson, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Trophy dash – Richard Powell
Feature –
1. James McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
2. Ronnie Burke
3. Richard Powell
4. Bill Thrasher, Mesquite, Tex.
5. Rick Hood, West Memphis, Ark.
6. Ralph Parkinson Sr., Wichita Falls, Tex.
7. Tom Marshall, Grapevine, Tex.
8. Bobby Marshall, Dallas, Tex.
9. Roger Archer, Dallas, Tex.
10.Shane Carson

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

1958 – Derr Wins State Fair Finale

Ernie Derr

Shreveport, La. (October 26, 1958) – A crowd of more than 4,000 thrilled stock car patrons witnessed one of the most exciting races promoted on the Louisiana State Fairgrounds’ half-mile Sunday night as Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, withstood torrid competition by 14 other drivers to win the 198-lap feature that concluded the 1958 International Motor Contest Association season.

Derr’s victory was anything but easy and it wasn’t without its abundance of excitement, and a spectacular finish created when a blowout on a rear tire on Johnny Beauchamp’s car caused the 1956-57 IMCA national champion to spin directly in front of the grandstand and also in the path of current IMCA point’s leader Don White.

White crashed broadside into Beauchamp’s machine, sending it rolling and touching off a fire underneath the car.

Beauchamp, of Harlan, Iowa, managed to escape from the car and jump over the fence into the grandstand free of injury although his car was totally demolished. Despite a smashed front end, White was able to continue and finished second.

IMCA officials stopped the contest at lap 198 because of the oil slick on the track from Beauchamp’s wrecked car.

Derr, who hadn’t finished worse than third since July, took the lead on lap 141 when White’s car suffered a flat tire.

Herb Shannon was the early leader and set the pace until he was passed by White on lap 28. White would extend his lead and for the next 113 circuits, everything was going smooth for the Keokuk, Iowa, driver until his blowout.

The sensational finish crowned Don White the 1958 national champion, largely on points amassed during the season prior to the Louisiana State Fair.

Derr finished the season number two in points behind White with Beauchamp finishing third. Bob Burdick of Omaha, Neb., who was third in points coming into the races in Shreveport, left the State Fair on Saturday to begin his trek homeward, where he will enter the service next week.

Results -

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Doug Rollins, Corpus Christi, Tex.
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
6. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
7. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
8. Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
9. Pappy Cross, Quincy, Ill.
10.Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa

Monday, October 25, 2021

1970 - Johnny Grum sets records at Grove

Johnny Grum left no doubt who won the National Open at Williams Grove. - Harry Bricker Photo

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 25, 1970) – Johnny Grum, of Altoona, Penn., had himself a record shattering weekend at the Williams Grove Speedway.

The popular veteran won the 8th annual National Open and did it in record setting time. The record in the 150-lap event was completed in 65 minutes and 7 seconds.

It was the third record Grum had set at the Grove in two days. On Saturday Grum set a new one lap standard posting a time of 23:035 seconds. He was clocked in 32:53 in the second 75-lap leg of Sunday's feature which is also a record.

It was not an easy victory for Grum. During the first 75-lap segment of the 150-lap event, Grum had to sit back and watch Bobbie Adamson, of Wrightsville, Penn., lead all the way.

Adamson, who started second, took the lead moving into the first turn of the first lap and was never headed. However, Grum stayed close and never dropped back further than second.

During the mandatory pit stop, car owner and chief mechanic Harry Fletcher made several changes which proved the difference in the event. Fletcher decided to go to a higher gear and put a larger tire on the left rear.

It took Grum three laps to catch Adamson as the second 75 lap even started. But on the 79th lap, moving off the second turn, Grum charged into the lead.

On the following lap, Bobby Allen, McSherrytown, Penn., worked his way past Adamson, and started chasing Grum. From this point until the 120th lap Grum, the veteran, and Allen, the young charger, put on a real donnybrook.

However, when the two drivers moved into the heavy lapped traffic, Grum began opening up distance between himself and Allen. At one point he had a good five-second advantage over Allen.

When Grum took the checkered flag, he had a 3.5 second lead over Allen. Kenny

Weld, of York, who lost a header pipe on the 72nd lap, hung in and finished third. Steve Unger, Garrettsville, Ohio, turned In an impressive ride and finished fourth and Adamson hung on to collect fifth place.

Rounding out the top 10 were Irvin King, Buddy Cochran, Billy Cassella, Gene Kohr, and Tom Spriggle, who started last.

Grum earned $2,000 for winning the event, plus $720 In lap money, $200 for fast time, plus $100 bonus for setting a new track record in time trials. This brought his winnings to $3,020.

Adamson collected $720 in lap money.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

1971 – Here Comes Another Keokuk Hutcherson

Ron Hutcherson, won the 100-lap IMCA stock car feature at the Louisiana State Fair. Joining Hutcherson is his father, Leon Hutcherson, trophy girl Teresa Seals, and flagman Russ Brown. – Bill Causey Jr. Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 24, 1971) – Winning auto races is a habit that runs in the Hutcherson family of Keokuk, Iowa. Dick Hutcherson made headlines as a former IMCA national champion before moving to the high banks of the NASCAR circuit.

The latest member of the family to do the chauffeuring on the track is 28-year-old Ron Hutcherson. In 1964, Ron made his auto racing debut on the Louisiana State Fair track driving one of Dick’s cars.

Sunday afternoon’s 100-lap IMCA stock car race found Ron taking the checkered flag in a 1971 Ford Torino.

He was one of three drivers to hold the lead in the marathon. Sam Simpson of New Orleans took the early pace in a 1966 Chevelle but David Goldsberry of Springfield, Mo., put his 1970 Chevrolet to the front on lap 11. Hutcherson overtook the Missouri driver on lap 88 after a side-by-side duel for 10 laps.

Ernie Derr rushed into third place, pressing second place Larry Schild of Houston, Tex., on the final lap.

Hutcherson is in his second full season of IMCA competition and his ranked second in the point standings, the same position he held last year.

“I like dirt tracks best, but the asphalt is here was fine. My crew headed by my father had the car operating fine,” said Hutcherson. “My strategy was just to finish and to drive as fast as possible.”

Hutcherson, who spends the off-season as an operator of a paint business, said he pushed to the front when some of the other drivers seemed to lessen their speed. It was his fourth feature win of the year. His biggest win of the year was when he took a 500-lap race at the Minnesota State Fair with a record time.

“My car runs about a 1,000 pounds heavier than some of the cars entered today,” Hutcherson remarked.

A capacity crowd was attracted by the race. “This is the finest field I have ever presented,” stated promoter Bud Carson of Mar/Car Promotions out of Oklahoma City. Forty-eight cars entered the program.

Results –

1. Ron Hutcherson
2. Larry Schild
3. Ernie Derr
4. David Goldsberry
5. Larry Phillips
6. Dean Roper
7. Gerry Harrison
8. Joe Plowman
9. Ronnie Chumley
10.Donnie Simpson
11.Royce Whitlock
12.Irv Janey
13.Paul Feldner
14.Phil Cronin
15.Freddie Cook

Saturday, October 23, 2021

1966 – Atkins Tops at Sacramento 100-Miler

Dick Atkins

Sacramento, Calif. (October 23, 1966) - A tired and nervous Dick Atkins of Hayward, Calif., won his first United States Auto Club national championship race Sunday, the 16th annual Golden State 100, at the Sacramento Fairgrounds.

Atkins, 28, a rookie in the. USAC ranks, drove J.C. Agajanian's Offenhauser -powered sprint car to the $8,000 victory before 13,800 fans at the one-mile California State Fairgrounds dirt oval.

Atkins started racing in 1960 at the Oakland Exposition Building indoor midget shows, won the BCRA championships in 1964 and 1965, and the indoor midget title last year.

With qualifying time trials nearly over, Atkins held the fastest time at 37.49 seconds when veteran Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., the fastest qualifier and winner of the 1965 Golden State 100, hung the Leader-Card Offy right on the dirt bank to take over the pole position with a 37.48 second lap.

With the 1965 USAC national champion Mario Andretti sitting in the second row, Atkins dove into the lead on the first lap, but Branson moved ahead on the second lap with A. J. Foyt, a three-time winner at Sacramento, moving up from the rear into fifth spot.

By the 23rd lap, Andretti moved into second place behind Branson followed by Atkins, Fresno's George Snider, and Foyt - but then Foyt's fuel pump worked loose, and the former Indy winner was out of the race.

Andretti, turning 36.91 second laps, moved into the lead as Branson, Atkins, and Snider struggled for second place.

With 74 laps gone, Snider, with the same driving style as Andretti, appeared unable to pass the leader as the rough circuit began to take its toll on tires.

Atkins passed Dickson with Branson dropping farther back and Downey's Chuck Hulse taking over fourth place.

Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., spun on the 85th lap letting the 12 remaining cars from the 18 starters bunch up again under USAC yellow flag rules. Branson went out to change tires and the order stood at Andretti, Atkins, Snider, Hulse, and Dickson.

Then on the 95th of the 100-lap race, leader Andretti suddenly slowed. Atkins went to the portside to pass, and Snider hit Andretti's rear wheel and spun off at turn four.

Andretti’s quick change rear end had lost its oil and froze Snider's spin brought out the yellow flag.

As Andretti, the leader for 63 circuits, pushed his car back to the pits, Atkins took the checkered flag for the 88.5 mile per hour average win with the yellow flag still waving.

Atkins, obviously tired after the race, said his tire was completely worn out from loss of the shock absorber and probably wouldn't have finished the last five laps if they had been at full racing speed.

The victory was Atkins' first since joining Parnelli Jones on Agajanian's team this year. His best finish until Sunday was a second at Du Quoin. Last year Atkins, in his first year at Sacramento, finished 12th spinning on the 99th lap.

Results –

1. Dick Atkins, Hayward, Calif.
2. Chuck Hulse, Downey, Calif.
3. Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio
4. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
5. Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
6. Greg Weld, Kansas City, Mo.
7. Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
8. Bud Tingelstad, Indianapolis
9. Art Pollard, Medford, Ore.
10.Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn.

Friday, October 22, 2021

1978 – Martin Captures Buckeye 400

Mark Martin proudly shows off his trophy after winning the Buckeye 400. 

West Chester, Ohio (October 22, 1978) – A change of right tires allowed Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., to overtake John Anderson of Massillon, Ohio, in the late stages and win the second annual Buckeye 400 at Queen City Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Martin was running second behind Anderson when he decided to pit during a caution for right-side tires with a softer compound with only 29 laps left. His crew changed the tires in 21 seconds, allowing Martin to get back on the track just five seconds behind Anderson.

Martin steadily closed the gap between himself and the leader, then put his Camaro out in front on lap 290 to stay. He finished 1.5 seconds ahead of Anderson at the finish line.

“We had the tires mounted. We thought they would be good 50-lap tires,” Martin said of his crucial decision to pit so late in the race. “The time was right to come in.”

The win was worth $4,125 to Martin.

With the victory, 19-year-old hot shoe clinched the 1978 American Speed Association championship. He is the youngest driver in the sport’s modern history to clinch a major season title.

The event capped a 20-race season for the ASA, which is contested tracks in eight midwestern and southern states.

Anderson settled for second, ahead of pole-sitter Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., was fourth and Don Gregory of Columbus, Ohio, took fifth.

Anderson, who started 29th in the 30-car field, charged into the lead for the first time on lap 80 and stayed in contention the rest of the way. But a caution period prompted by Tom Harrington’s spinout on lap 266 allowed Martin to make the key pit stop.

The average speed of the race was 84.18 miles per hour, a new record for the half-mile paved oval.

Results –

1. Mark Martin
2. John Anderson
3. Dick Trickle
4. Bob Senneker
5. Don Gregory
6. Dave Watson
7. Bob Sensiba
8. Jerry Makara
9. Don Wilbur
10.Larry Schuler
11.Ed Cooper
12.Ray Young
13.Don Rand
14.Tom Harrington
15.Bob Weltmeyer
16.Dave Roahrig
17.Jim Cushman
18.Mike Eddy
19.Neil Sceva
20.Jeep Pflum
21.Junior Hanley
22.Terry Senneker
23.Kenny Adams
24.Joe Shear
25.Fred Campbell
26.Carl Smith
27.Mark Malcuit
28.Frank Gawlinski
29.Danny Byrd
30.Everett DeWitt

1972 – Reutimann captures Eastern States 200

Buzzie Reutimann

Middletown, N.Y. (October 22, 1972) - Buzzie Reutimann finally did it. Reutimann, who had been trying for years, won the Eastern States 200 modified stock car race Sunday evening at Middletown's Orange County Fair Speedway.

Reutimann, a competitor in the classic several seasons, and runner-up several times, including last year-jumped into the lead on the fifth lap, and held it all the way to the end of the grueling race.

Afterward, while signing autographs for a mob of well-wishers who wouldn't let him leave the track, he said, “It’s wonderful to finally do it. But I had to really work for it.”

Buzzie, whose brother Wayne captured fourth place in car #3, then explained that he just jumped out there and kept going without even taking time to check his instruments.

“Will Cagle was right on top of me all the time, and he's really good. I didn't dare look down to check anything for fear he'd roll right past me.”

“Also, I had to keep my eyes on the track ahead to keep from crashing at the pace I was going,” Buzzie said. “That way, I figured out what each car ahead of me would do, who would challenge, and who’d swing out wide, so I knew when to lap the car and when to hang back a little.”

“But always there was the strain of having Cagle right there like a shadow,” Buzzie added. “It was a long, tough ride.”

Cagle, another Floridian, but now using Albany as his home base, was runner-up Sunday night after keeping his #24 so close to Buzzie’s #00 most of the way that the two cars seemed to be hooked together. Top driver at the Middletown oval a few years ago, Cagle was a four-time winner of the Eastern States 200 and was defending champion.

Before the final race, Cagle paced around his car like a mother hen, checking everything his pit crew did to #24. Then, after assuring mechanics the car was carrying enough gas so it would have eight gallons left after the race and would allow him to stay on the track from start to finish of the race, Cagle showed he was doing everything he could to make absolutely sure his car was ready for a tough title defense. He grabbed a wrench, got down under the car, and personally adjusted the brakes.

Cagle got into the final by winning his heat. His finish earned him the fourth spot in the lineup for the 200-lap feature. Buzzie made the final by driving #00 to a second-place finish in his qualifying heat. His car started the feature race in the sixth position, just behind Cagle’s car on the outside of the track.

The pole position for the feature race’s start went to Gerald Chamberlain, with Middletown’s Frankie Schneider beside him. Schneider finished sixth in the feature.

Bob Malzahn of Matamoras, Penn., started the feature in the ninth position and finished in third place.

Seventh place starter Bob Bottcher of Lehighton, Penn., took fifth place in the feature with his #666, while Bob Rossell in car #56 finished seventh. Dave Lapp in #22 was eighth, Ben Stevens in #3X was ninth; and Jim Winks in #15 rounded out the top 10 finishers. Warwick’s Rich Eurich took 14th place in the feature with car #10.

Winner Buzzie Reutimann told spectators after his triumph that he hadn't been sure he was going to finish the race. “Along about the 150th lap,” he said, "the car’s power steering started to go out. The car got harder to handle each lap, and I thought a tire was going. It took all the energy I had to keep the car going right."

Thursday, October 21, 2021

1973 - Collier Drives Chevelle to Easy Win

Ferris Collier

Shreveport, La. (October 21, 1973) – IMCA rookie Ferris Collier guided his 1969 Chevelle to an easy victory in the second of the association’s fourth season-ending stock car races Sunday at State Fair Speedway.

The victory, worth $400 to the man from Lampe, Mo., was expensive for both Gordon Blankenship and Mike Derr, both of Keokuk, Iowa, who help form a triumvirate at the top of the International Motor Contest Association point list for the season – especially special because the season ends here next weekend, if not for the money involved.

Blankenship, who continued to have troubles with his ’72 Plymouth and switched to a ’70 Dodge owned by Charles Milligan for Sunday’s 100-lap feature, heads the trio in points, but his lead dwindled as Collier shoved Derr back to third place in the standings. Blankenship didn’t finish the race while Derr took third, leaving IMCA officials to call this the closest point race in its long history.

Collier, who posted the day’s fastest lap in time trials (22.07), repeated Vance Cook’s feat of a day earlier, by leading all 100 circuits.

The only real battles of the day were to see who would follow Collier to the finish line as Tony Barcelona of Houston, Tex., fought off Derr and Gerry Harrison of Topeka, Kan., from the 35th lap on.

Harlan Beene Jr. of Bossier City, La., made a brief bid against Collier, moving up from his fifth starting position on lap 45 but spun out on the 50th lap, lost a lap to the field and finally settled for 10th place.

Results –

1. Ferris Collier, Lampe, Mo.
2. Tony Barcelona, Houston, Tex.
3. Mike Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
5. Aubrey O’Conner, Houston, Tex.
6. Jim Hager, Liberty, Mo.
7. Eddie Taylor, Monroe, La.
8. Larry Richardson, Gunther, Tex.
9. Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
10.Harlan Beene Jr., Bossier City, La.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

1968 – Derr Claims Easy Win

Ernie Derr enjoys a cool beverage while taking the checkered flag from starter Russ Brown following his 100-lap IMCA triumph at Shreveport. – Bill Causey Jr. Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 20, 1968) – Ernie Derr grabbed a big boost while moving towards an all-time record of nine straight International Motor Contests Association stock car championships.

He breezed to victory Sunday afternoon before a crowd of better than 5,000 at State Fair Speedway as he took the checkered flag in the 100-lap IMCA late model stock car race.

Derr took advantage of trouble encountered by rival Ramo Stott. Stott left the pack after 33 laps when his 1968 Plymouth dropped its lower control arm pin in the track creating steering difficulties. As a result, Stott finished 15th and losing expensive points in the battle with Derr for the ’68 championship.

Derr commented after the race that the condition of the track was the roughest he had found in recent years. State Fair officials had used the track for parking Saturday night for a football game. This prevented officials from grading the surface an applying calcium on the dirt.

“I had no problems winning this one, it was a wonderful race,” Derr mentioned afterwards. “My car ran fine and smooth.”

Derr jumped into the lead trailed by Stott and Baton Rouge’s Freddy Fryar. Stott was hot on Derr’s tailpipe on lap 16.

Fryar pulled into the pits on the backstretch on lap 19 after dropping a cylinder.

Results –

Heat #1 – Ernie Derr
Heat #2 – Lenny Funk
Consolation – Tony Barcelona
Feature –
1. Ernie Derr
2. Lenny Funk
3. Butch Hall
4. Dale Keeling
5. Lewis Taylor
6. Phil Cronin
7. Harold Young
8. Thurman Lovejoy
9. Fred Wisler
10.Leon Bowman

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

1969 – Bettenhausen is Branson Classic Winner

Gary Bettenhausen celebrates after his victory at Terre Haute. 

Terre Haute, Ind. (October 19, 1969) - Other drivers on the United States Auto Club sprint car circuit must think Gary Bettenhausen owns the Action track. And a piece of the pearly gates.

With two laps to go in the Don Branson Classic yesterday, the second-generation racer from Tinley Park, III., was trailing another member of a famous racing family, Johnny Parsons Jr., when the latter spun out on the fourth turn and allowed Bettenhausen to speed to the checkered flag.

The victory was his fourth in the last five outings for the sprint cars at the Action Track, and all but gave Bettenhausen the national sprint car title.

An extremely slick track plagued drivers throughout qualification and heat races, but the feature was a different matters as the yellow flag was never needed.

Parsons led the first three laps of the feature but was passed by Bill Puterbaugh on the fourth lap. Puterbaugh built a commanding lead, but engine trouble forced him to relinquish his lead and watch the remainder of the race from the pits.

From lap 15 when Puterbaugh was forced out, Parsons held the lead. At this time, Bettenhausen was in third, but passed second-place Lee Kunzman on lap 26 and eventually took the top spot.

The fast qualifier for the day was Lee Kunzman with a time of 23.93. Charlie Masters was second, Rollie Beale took third, and Bill Puterbaugh fourth, in the qualification attempts.

Kunzman also captured a victory in the first heat, leading the entire 8-lap contest. Puterbaugh placed second in this event.

The second heat race saw fifth fastest qualifier Karl Busson charge to victory. Sam Sessions, who would place third in the feature, grabbed a second-place finish in this heat.

Heat number three was a victory for Larry Dickson. Bettenhausen, however, provided the excitement in this race, moving through the field from his tenth starting spot to finish third.

Carl Williams won the semi-feature with Larry “Boom Boom” Cannon in second and Jim Hines third.

Results –

1. Gary Bettenhausen
2. Lee Kunzman
3. Sam Sessions
4. Don Nordhorn
5. Johnny Parsons
6. Tom Bigelow
7. Merle Bettenhausen
8. Carl Williams
9. Larry Cannon
10.Rollie Beale
11.Todd Gibson
12.Charlie Masters

Monday, October 18, 2021

1992 – This Time Around, Purvis Win a Lock

Jeff Purvis celebrates with his pit crew after winning the All-American 400 at Nashville. 

Nashville, Tenn. (October 18, 1992) – Clarksville, Tenn., driver Jeff Purvis won Sunday afternoon’s All-American 400 and unlike last year, doesn’t have to hold his breath for two days before it becomes official.

“It’s a whole different feeling,” said the 33-year-old Purvis, who won the 12th annual event by several car lengths over Michigan’s Bob Senneker before an estimated crowd of 12,000.

“Last year it was just awful, just waiting to see what was going to happen. At least this time I’m leaving the track knowing the outcome.”

Last year, Purvis was announced as the winner but shortly afterwards race officials said illegal weights had been found in his car and nullified the victory. Two days later, that decision was reversed, and Purvis was re-instated as the winner.

Jason Keller finished third and was followed by NASCAR star Darrell Waltrip of Franklin, Tenn. Waltrip led several laps before fading near the end.

Jody Ridley won the All-Pro Series championship by one point over Bobby Gill. Gill had taken a 11-point lead over Ridley entering the race but was involved in a crash and finished 10th, Ridley finished seventh, just high enough to nudge Gill.

Purvis said he also received a “nudge” on his way to his fifth All Pro victory of the season. He was caught up “right in the middle” of a 13-car crash on lap 259 but made it though without a scratch.

“Someone nudged me from behind and I somehow made it through. I’m still not sure how.”

Results –

1. Jeff Purvis
2. Bob Senneker
3. Jason Keller
4. Darrell Waltrip
5. Bill Bigley Jr.
6. Randy McDowell
7. Jody Ridley
8. Dick Trickle
9. David Green
10.Bobby Gill
11.Bubba Gale
12.Scott Walters
13.Daniel Keen
14.Joe Manning
15.Hal Goodson
16.Mike Garvey
17.George Ingole
18.Dave Mader III
19.Tammy Jo Kirk
20.Gary Bradberry
21.Scott Hansen
22.Larry Raines
23.David Probst
24.Casey Elliot
25.Steve Holzhausen
26.Ron Young
27.Chad Chaffin
28.Mark Day
29.Randy Porter
30.Garrett Evans
31.Tim Steele
32.Rick Crawford
33.Darryl Sage
34.Hut Stricklin
35.Rich Bickle
36.Eddie Mercer
37.Charles Stokes
38.Jeremy Mayfield
39.Mike Cope
40.Brian Renfore

Sunday, October 17, 2021

1976 – Reffner Wins World Cup 400

Tom Reffner accepts his trophy after winning the World Cup 400 at I-70 Speedway.

Odessa, Mo. (October 17, 1976) – Heat from the North all but destroyed a swift field of 40 cars Sunday afternoon as Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., won the World Cup 400 at I-70 Speedway.

Reffner had given a hint of what was to happen when he set a new one-lap track record on Friday night of 17.414 seconds. That performance put him on the pole, and once in front, he was there more often than not.

“I guess you could say it was the pit stops,” said Reffner, explaining the victory that netted him $10,000 of a $71,000 purse.

There were several yellow flags and several other leaders before Reffner took over for good. Among the interim frontrunners were Dave Watson and Joe Shear, both of Beloit, Wis., Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., and Larry Detjens of Wausau, Wis.

Watson went on to finish second ahead of Senneker.

“I thought I had it won,” Watson, who only a couple of weeks before had won the National Short Track Championships at the quarter-mile Rockford, Ill., track. “Then the (engine) temperature went up and I went slower.”

After Senneker came Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., and Mike Eddy of Midland, Mich., to round out the top five.

Reffner dueled Senneker and Shear for more than three-fourths of the race.

“I guess we had the yellow flag about lap 350, and I figured I had it,” Reffner said. “But I know I couldn’t have gone another 100 laps.”

The famed Buck Baker of Charlotte, N.C., was the top finishing NASCAR driver at ninth-place. The top USAC driver as Dean Roper of Springfield, Mo., who finished 21st.

Reffner, who last year won 67 feature races, said that, until this event, the most money he had ever won for one race was about $3,500.

A crowd estimated at 10,000 watched “trophy dash racing” when the yellow flag wasn’t waving.

Results –

1. Tom Reffner
2. Dave Watson
3. Bob Senneker
4. Larry Phillips
5. Mike Eddy
6. John Ziegler
7. Joe Shear
8. Larry Detjens
9. Buck Baker
10.Red Farmer
11.Don Gregory
12.Ferris Collier
13.Jack Constable
14.John Behee
15.David Goldsberry

Saturday, October 16, 2021

1960 – Hurtubise Wins Reading Event

Jim Hurtubise

Reading, Penn. (October 16, 1960) - Jim Hurtubise of Speedway, Ind., won the USAC sprint car race at the Reading Fairgrounds.

He led for the entire 30-lap, 15-mile race and received $700 for his victory in a field of 16 cars.

No time was kept because two cars spun out of control and their engines stopped, forcing the other drivers to slow up for several laps under a yellow flag.

Hurtubise also won $150 for the fastest qualifying time—24.51 seconds — in the United States Auto Club competition.

A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., was second, followed by: Don Branson, Urbana, Ill., Leroy Neumeyer, Compton, Cal.; Jim McWithey, Indianapolis; Red Riegel, Leesport, Penn.; Bill Brown, Collegeville, Penn.; Chuck Arnold, Stamford, Conn., and Bud Tingelstad, Dayton, Ohio.

Results –

1. Jim Hurtubise
2. A.J. Foyt
3. Don Branson
4. Leroy Neumeyer
5. Jim McWithey
6. Red Riegel
7. Bill Brown
8. Chuck Arnold
9. Bud Tinglestad
10.Jiggs Peters

Friday, October 15, 2021

1977 – Shuman Cops Second Western Title

Ron Shuman guided the R&H Farms Chevy to victory lane at Manzanita. 

Phoenix, Ariz. (October 15, 1977) - Mesa’s Ron Shuman called his R&H Farms Chevy a “weirdo car.”

But there was nothing weird about the way he drove it to his second Western World Sprint Car Championship at Manzanita Speedway before a standing room only crowd on Saturday night.

In only the second time he’s ever driven the car, Shuman led the entire 50 laps but had all he could handle with pursuer Lealand McSpadden, then three-time California Racing Association champion Jimmy Oskie of Cerritos, Calif.

Shuman’s victory made his only the second two-time Western winner and knotted the Western scoreboard at five wins apiece between out of state and local drivers.

The victor was worth approximately $8,500 and that may have been more money than Shuman has made all year on the tough United States Auto Club sprint car circuit.

From the beginning, it appeared that the race would boil down to a Mesa vs. Tempe shootout. McSpadden put his Gary Stanton Chevy into the runner-up spot from the outset and it was like a black shadow to Shuman’s car.

Memphis flash Sammy Swindell worked his way into the third spot, but he was the first of the favorites to drop out after only 19 laps.

Then, on the 32nd lap, a tell-tale smoke began billowing out of McSpadden’s machine, signally an end to his efforts after 33 circuits.

At one point, Oskie actually dove underneath Shuman on the inside of turn two. But the racetrack had long become hard and slick and there was no traction then. Shuman stayed in the customary high groove and stayed there until the finish.

There was no cushion to run on, but Shuman knew what to do from running so many previous laps on his home turf.

At the finish it was Shuman, Oskie, Ferkel of Findlay, Ohio, Bobby Allen of Hanover, Penn., and Smokey Snellbaker of Dover, Penn.

The race had to be red-flagged for one lap when Tom Corbin of Carrollton, Mo., took out about 20 feet of the turn two wall. Unbelievably, Corbin was able to return to his race car and continue to compete.

Results –

1. Ron Shuman
2. Jimmy Oskie
3. Rick Ferkel
4. Bobby Allen
5. Smokey Snellbaker
6. Buddy Taylor
7. Dub May
8. Eddie Leavitt
9. Tom Corbin
10.Gene Brown

1961 – Joe Weatherly takes National 400

Joe Weatherly is all smiles after winning at Charlotte. 

Charlotte, N.C. (October 15, 1961) – Little Joe Weatherly of Norfolk, Va., shoved his 1961 Pontiac in front with six laps to go Sunday and went on to win the National 400 late-model stock car race by three car lengths over Richard Petty.

Weatherly, who had been among the leaders in the late stages of the race, forged into the lead after burly Junior Johnson of North Wilkesboro, N.C., who had set a blistering pace to lead from the 200th lap, lost a wheel and wrecked.

Weatherly and the 24-year-old Petty staged a stirring duel that had the 43,000 patrons standing for the final five laps. Petty almost caught the flying Weatherly on the final home stretch turn but couldn’t quite make it.

Pint-sized Bob Welborn of Atlanta finished third. Cotton Owens and Rex White, both of Spartanburg. S.C. finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Weatherly averaged 119.950 miles per hour for the distance and picked up better than $10,000 in first-place prize money.

It was a day of disappointment for one of the pre-race favorites. David Pearson, the 26-year-old Spartanburg, S.C., driver who won the pole position, was in and out of the race several times because of engine trouble.

Petty, driving a 1961 Plymouth, never led the race but stayed up front with the leaders for most of the day. He hung on Weatherly’s bumper for the final laps.

Results –

1. Joe Weatherly, Norfolk, Va.
2. Richard Petty, Randleman, N.C.
3. Bob Welborn, Atlanta
4. Cotton Owens, Spartanburg, S.C.
5. Rex White, Spartanburg, S.C.
6. Darel Dieringer, Indianapolis
7. Emanuel Zervakis, Richmond, Va.
8. Joe Lee Johnson, Chattanooga, Tenn.
9. Junior Johnson, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
10.J.C. Hendrix, Griffin, Ga.
11.Speedy Thompson, Charlotte
12.Johnny Allen, Atlanta
13.L.D. Austin, Greenville, N.C.
14.Woody Wilson, Mobile, Ala.
15.Tiny Lund, Cross, S.C.
16.Herman Beam, Johnson City, Tenn.
17.Buck Baker, Charlotte
18.Ned Jarrett, Conover, N.C.
19.Jimmy Pardue, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
20.Joe Jones, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

1984 – Waltrip Advice Helps Balough

Gary Balough in victory lane after winning the All-American 400 in Nashville. 

Nashville, Tenn. (October 14, 1984) – A lesson he learned from the Nashville Raceway master himself, Darrell Waltrip, helped Gary Balough come home an easy winner in the fourth annual All-American 400 stock car race on Sunday afternoon.

While Waltrip was winning the Holly Farms 400 in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Balough used a tip from Waltrip to get his Nashville Raceway victory and a $15,515 paycheck to go along with it.

“Darrell drives this track better than anyone, and he told me to keep the car down in the low groove, go into the corners easy, and come out hard. I came here this week with that in mind, and that, more than anything, was the biggest factor in winning today,” Balough said afterwards.

Balough sat on the pole position with a race record 112 miles per hour qualifying lap and his Chevrolet Camaro was the dominate car in the crowded 40-car field. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pilot led 301 of the 400 laps. Nearly one-third of the race – 90 laps - was run under the 12 caution flags.

Jody Ridley of Chatsworth, Ga., was second, followed by Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., Mike Alexander of Franklin, Tenn., and Butch Miller of Lawton, Mich.

Those five drivers were the only ones on the lead lap when the checkers flew.

Ridley took the lead from Balough on the 22nd lap and led until lap 106. Ridley also led lap 193, under caution, before yielding to defending champion Jim Sauter.

Sauter, who finished 16th after dropping out with a burnt piston, kept the lead for 14 circuits, but only four of those were under green. Balough turned over the lead to Alexander when he pitted on lap 307 but was back in front on lap 308 and was never seriously challenged.

Sunday’s race was billed as the “Civil War on Wheels,” since it featured drivers from the Northern-based American Speed Association and the Southern-headquartered ALL-PRO Racing Series. The South was the winner of the North-South battle, taking three of the top four positions and six of the top-10.

Results –

1. Gary Balough, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
2. Jody Ridley, Chatsworth, Ga.
3. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
4. Mike Alexander, Franklin, Tenn.
5. Butch Miller, Lawton, Mich.
6. Steve Grissom, Gadsden, Ala.
7. Harold Fair, Livonia, Mich.
8. Darrell Brown, Birmingham, Ala.
9. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
10.Alton Jones, Pleasant Grove, Ala.
11.Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
12.Randy Couch, Stone Mountain, Ga.
13.Tommy Evans, Eclectic, Ala.
14.Ronnie Sanders, Fayetteville, N.C.
15.George Hagy, San Antonio, Tex.
16.Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
17.Jay Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
18.Alan Kulwicki, Greenfield, Wis.
19.Daniel Keene, Tampa, Fla.
20.Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

1968 – Beale Outstrips Sprinters at Salem

Rollie Beale

Salem, Ind. (October 13, 1968) – Rollie Beale became the first driver this season to win two United States Auto Club sprint car features as he pushed the Ray Smith Chevy #4 to victory in the 30-lap feature at Salem Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

It was a good day for new drivers who have come over to USAC from other circuits.

Beale, who won on April 7 at Eldora, took the lead on the first lap and set the pace the entire distance to the checkered flag.

Bruce Walkup, who had fast time on the day at 18.05 seconds on the half-mile paved track, finished second in the Smith Speed Shop #50 followed by Jerry Daniels in the Wagner Chevy, Karl Busson in the Cedoz Chevy and Sonny Ates in the Dickson Chevy. There was no time in the event due to a first lap tangle.

Walkup and Beale raced wheel to wheel into the first set of turns at the start and Beale pulled away as they dashed down the back chute. Not to be denied, Walkup stayed with the leader for the first 20 laps until they encountered slower cars. At the finish there was a three-second margin.

As the leaders roared through the first turn, there was a lot of bumping in the back of the pack and Chuck Engel got up on the guard rail, straddled the rail before coming back down on all four wheels. Sam Sessions, attempting to avoid the melee, dove down and slid into the infield dirt.

Daniels, while leading the second heat, blew a radiator hose. Sliding in his own water, he bumped the guard rail. He then proceeded to the pit area where his crew installed a new hose and he came back out to win the 8-lapper.

A crowd of 3,500 turned out for the event under threatening skies and a purse of $5,000 was paid.

Results –

1. Rollie Beale
2. Greg Weld
3. Cy Fairchild
4. Bill Puterbaugh
5. Herman Wise
6. Tom Bigelow
7. Carl Williams
8. Bruce Walkup
9. Jerry Daniels
10.Wib Spaulding
11.Bob Pratt
12.Johnny Parsons Jr.
13.Chuck Booth
14.Bob Wente
15.Ralph Liguori
16.Chuck Engel

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

1968 – Tragedy Hits Manzanita; Cleburg Wins

Bob Cleburg of Tucson, Ariz., driving the Robinson #12, won the Western World Championships at Manzanita.

Phoenix, Ariz. (October 12, 1968) – Old pro Bob Cleburg of Tucson won Saturday night’s tragedy-marred $10,000 Western United States caged sprint car championships.

Cleburg, who started on the pole, led every lap to capture $2,000 of the purse, the richest event in Manzanita’s 16-year history.

Tragedy struck on lap 19 when Arizona driving champion Jerry McClung collided with another car, lost control and slammed into five pit men standing on the quarter-mile oval.

Dave Lanear of Albuquerque, N.M., was killed in the mishap. Four persons were injured, but their identities were not immediately known.

Several persons had been warned prior to the race not to stand on the portion of the track where the accident occurred but failed to heed officials’ warnings.

McClung was immediately taken from the track in a state of shock.

Finishing second in the contest was Don Nordhorn of Wadesville, Ind., followed by Colby Scroggin of Ruth, Calif.

A crowd of 6,800, the largest in the track’s history, attended the event.

Most drivers conceded that it was the most talented field ever assembled for a non-USAC event.

Cleburg was the only driver who had it easy.

The 40-year-old veteran, a former USAC competitor, simply had the best combination after a wheel-to-wheel duel with Buzz Rose of Des Moines, Iowa, for the first couple of laps.

Then Cleburg lengthened his lead from Rose and the rest of the pack and was never challenged again.

However, nothing was decided for the rest of the positions until the checkered flag waved.

Nordhorn overcame a dramatic duel for second place with teammate Bob Kinser of Bloomington, Ind., Scroggin, Ralph Quarterson of Sherry, Penn., and Dick Morgan of Phoenix.

Kinser finished fourth ahead of Billy Wilkerson of El Monte, Calif., Lee Kunzman of Guttenberg, Iowa, Morgan and Quarterson.

Another non-injurious accident only five laps from the finish saw Dick Fries of Santee, Calif., flip wildly 10 times in the third turn. He walked away but his car was demolished.

Results –

1. Bob Cleburg
2. Don Nordhorn
3. Colby Scroggin
4. Bob Kinser
5. Billy Wilkerson
6. Lee Kunzman
7. Ralph Quarterson
8. Gordon Woolley
9. Carl Adams
10.Johnny Suggs

Monday, October 11, 2021

1964 – Caldwell Awarded Win in Peach State ‘200’

Atlanta, Ga. (October 11, 1964) – After a decision that took longer than the race, Leo Caldwell of Perrysburg, Ohio, was declared the winner of the Peach State 200, the first open cockpit race ever run at Atlanta International Speedway.

Caldwell, wheeling an Indianapolis-style roadster powered with a Ford engine, took the lead on the 94th lap, when previous leader Clare Lawicki of St. Clair Shores, Mich., made his final pit stop.

The confusion of pit stops at the end, brought by the rule of the racing calling for at least two pit stops, left the winner in doubt for nearly 90 minutes. The race itself took 1 hour, 12 minutes and 4 seconds, for an average speed of 122.038 miles per hour for the 150 miles over the mile and a half high-banked speedway.

Caldwell was talking to puzzled reporters in the press box when the officials’ results flashed from the official’s trailer. He had been answering such embarrassing questions such as, “Who do you think won?”

Credited with finishing second was Lawicki while third place, according to officials was Curley Boyd of Indianapolis.

The victory was worth about $4,200 to Caldwell, plus accessory prizes, a trophy, and a kiss from a pretty girl in victory lane.

Caldwell drove a steady race, showing up in the lead several times near the finish, but never as one of the chargers.

Frank Winkley, promoter of the International Motor Contest Association event, called it an experiment, which, if successful, might open the super speedways of the South to the open cockpits that is more popular in the Midwest.

If the success depended on the gate, it was small, with only 8,500 fans contributing towards a purse of $26,000. It depended on the reaction of the crowd; it was pleasing but puzzling.

None of the fierce wrecks occurred, as predicted by many followers of the sport. Dick Gaines of Mitchell, Ind., lost a wheel and flipped early in the race but came away unscratched. Later, Gary Calvert of Tonawanda, Ill., spun into the pit fence and was momentarily knocked unconscious.

The expected hot dog of the race, Greg Weld of Kansas City, Mo., with the fastest lap time of 157.434 miles per hour in time trials, blew his engine on lap 3 and spun down to the infield grass.

Gene Bell of Schoolcraft, Mich., won the 50-mile consolation race at an average speed of 135.498 miles per hour. Leon Wieske, a substitute driver, finished second and bob King of Muncie, Ind., was third.

Results –

1. Leo Caldwell, Perrysburg, Ohio
2. Clare Lawicki, St. Clair Shores, Mich.
3. Curley Boyd, Indianapolis
4. Sam Sessions, Nashville, Mich.
5. Red Amick, Muncie, Ind.
6. Johnny Logan, Charlotte, Mich.
7. Bob Pratt, Union City, Ind.
8. Gene Bell, Schoolcraft, Mich.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

1953 – Kansas City Racer wins Bama’ Fair

Vito Calia of Kansas City is presented his trophy by Alabama State Fair manager R.H. McIntosh as National Speedways’ Al Sweeney looks on approvingly. – Museum of American Speed Collection

Birmingham, Ala. (October 10, 1953) – A Kansas City driver, who has been driving big cars on the national dirt track circuit for only two years now, won the 20-lap feature event at the Alabama State Fair on Saturday afternoon.

Driving the Tom Randol Offenhauser, Vito Calia, a veteran on the midget circuit, finished half a lap ahead of Bobby Grim of Indianapolis in the time of 10 minutes and 16 seconds on the tight half-mile paved oval.

A crowd of more than 10,000 was on hand to watch the racing card.

For his performance, Calia won the first Presidential Trophy to be presented on the International Motor Contest Association circuit, with Alabama State Fair manager R.H. McIntosh making the presentation.

There was only one accident during the afternoon when Buzz Luce of Coon Ridge, Ky., spun out of control in the third heat and jumped 15 feet into the infield.

Jimmy Campbell of Bates City, Mo., the defending National Speedways, Inc., champion, did not compete in the feature event because of mechanical failure.

Results –

1. Vito Calia, Kansas City
2. Bobby Grim, Indianapolis
3. Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
4. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
5. Kurt Lehman, St. Louis
6. Eddie Loetscher, St. Louis
7. Andy Anderson, Kellyville, Kan.
8. Frank Weischaar, St. Louis

Saturday, October 9, 2021

1971 – Opperman Surges to Western Crown

Western United States Sprint Car Championship winner Jan Opperman is joined by promoter Keith Hall (left) and runner-up Buddy Taylor (far right).

Phoenix, Ariz. (October 9, 1971) – When everything possible had happened to slow down racing during the fourth annual Western United States Sprint Car Championships at Manzanita Speedway on Saturday night, nothing was able to slow down winner Jan Opperman.

After being involved in a first lap, nine-car pileup that apparently did no damage to his car, Opperman clearly showed why he is the national sprint car champion.

Running third behind pace-setter Buddy Taylor and second place running Bob Huebner, Opperman gobbled up both of them in one swift move going into turn three on the 44th lap.

Once into the lead, the 31-year-old “hippy racer” was never threatened in his Phoenix-based “Ruggles Twister,” the car that Huebner drove to the 1969 Western Championship. Huebner had just switched from the Twister to the Quality Dry Wall #1 last month.

Taylor had led from the second to the 44th lap after starting on the outside front row. The other front row starter, Bob Moore, had shock absorber problems in his Phoenix Roadrunner Special and had to drop back.

Huebner moved into the second spot on lap 18 and stayed there until Opperman’s dramatic move for the lead. Gene Brown joined Taylor and Huebner to make it a near-blanket finish behind Opperman.

Marty Kinerk, now racing out of Tucson, rounded out the top five finishers.

Opperman thanked Huebner for several pointers on the Twister after the race. “He really helped me a lot. I was real pleased with the handling of the car,” Opperman said. “They really know how to race good here – about the best in the country.”

And it was Opperman who said, “You really haven’t won anything until you won the Western.”

Results –

1. Jan Opperman
2. Buddy Taylor
3. Bob Huebner
4. Gene Brown
5. Marty Kinerk
6. Benton Burns
7. Larry Clark
8. Wayne Basham
9. Frank McDaniel
10.Bob Moore

Thursday, October 7, 2021

1973 – Gould Survives Late Spin; Wins Delayed-Plagued Salem 500

Two tired but happy drivers at Salem after 500 grueling laps, Dave Dayton (right) and Bruce Gould, who took over for Dayton and won the race. 

Salem, Ind. (October 7, 1973) – Bruce Gould of Cincinnati, driving in relief of Dave Dayton, survived a complete spin on the last lap and went on to win the Automobile Racing Club of America’s Salem 500 stock car race before 4,012 fans at Salem Speedway.

After gaining control of Dayton’s 1973 Camaro, Gould crossed the finish line side-by-side with second-place finisher Bobby Watson of Prestonsburg, Ky., but Watson’s 1973 Camaro was four lap behind.

Dayton, from Indianapolis, started the pole position and dueled Watson and Gould for the lead in the early going in what was the opening race for the 1974 ARCA season.

However, after his own car was involved in an accident that also involved Iggy Katona, Wayne Trinkle and Jerry Norris, Gould relieved Dayton about midway through the 250-mile event and went on to score his second 1973 triumph at Salem.

Jim Robinson of New Albany, Ind., finished third in a ’73 Camaro while Wayne Watercutter was fourth in a ’72 Camaro.

Robinson, who had taken over in relief of Larry Clemons, also of New Albany, early in the race, survived a wild melee that sidelined Jesse Baird, Jack Shanklin, Jeff Faber, Tommy Spaugh, and N.D. Copley.

Indianapolis 500 veteran Jim Hurtubise managed to work his way to sixth place before an axle broke on his car he was driving, a Chevrolet owned by Bill Kimmel of Clarksville, Ind. Once repairs were made, Kimmel took over the driving chores and limped to a 10th place finish after experiencing tire trouble.

Dayton and Gould shared $2,000 first-prize money from a $14,500 purse.

Results –

1. Dave Dayton/Bruce Gould
2. Bobby Watson
3. Larry Clemons/Jim Robinson
4. Wayne Watercutter
5. Cliff Hamm
6. Jim Scott
7. Freddy Holbert
8. Darrell Basham
9. Jeff Faber
10.Jim Hurtubise/Bill Kimmel

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

1974 - Canadian Wins Oktoberfest 200

Canada's Jerry Makara won the annual Oktoberfest title at La Crosse. 

West Salem, Wis. (October 6, 1974) – Jerry “Bear” Makara of Canada won two 50-lap feature races on Sunday afternoon and the Oktoberfest overall title in late model stock car races at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway.

Makara’s payoff, plus money for his 37 leading laps in the championship race, came to over $1,000. The NASCAR Canadian point champion from Ancaster, Ont., won both his races by less than three laps over track veteran Jim Back of Vesper.

Makara changed rear tires between races which helped in the championship race, he said. Makara took the lead on the 13th lap of the championship battle as he went to the outside on the back straight to overhaul early leader Dave Watson.

Makara increased his lead to nearly a quarter-lap by the 37th circuit before a spinout by one of the middle-of-the-pack drivers brought out the yellow caution flag and bunched up the field, leaving Back in good position on Makara’s rear bumper.

But Back was unable to catch the speedy 1973 Camaro, which won by two car lengths. Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, last year’s Oktoberfest winner, finished third, less than a length behind Back. Johnny Reimer was fourth followed by Rich Somers.

In an earlier 50-lapper, Makara took over first place from Jim Sauter on the 17th lap and built a healthy lead before Back came on strong in the late stages to finish just three car lengths away. Marzofka was third in that one also. Sauter was fourth and Watson fifth.

“I was taking it easy for about the last 20 laps,” said Makara, who was hoping his tires would last the race. “I didn't see Back coming up on me until about the last lap.”

The first 50-lap feature was won by Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., another former Oktoberfest champ. Shear, the day's fast timer, took the lead on the 12th lap from Johnny Reimer, who finished second. Rich Somers placed third with Bill Oas fourth.

The 30-lap semi-feature was won by Johnny Knaus of Rockford, Ill., who took command on the 21st circuit, passing Tony Strupp of Slinger. Larry Behrens of Northfield, Minn., placed second with Strupp third. The top local finisher was Don Grant of La Crescent, sixth.

Buck Linhart of Wonewoc won the 20-lap consolation race after taking the lead on lap 11. Steve Holzhausen of West Salem came in third.

Nearly 2,900 fans braved the cold, windy weather to watch the season’s final race, which had 70 entries.

Results –

1. Jerry Makara, Ancaster, Ont.
2. Jim Back, Vesper
3. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
4. Johnny Reimer, Caledonia
5. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
7. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
8. Neil Callahan, Merrill
9. Mark Lamoreaux, Minneapolis
10.Jim Sauter, Necedah
11.John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
12.Bob Abitz, Appleton
13.Joe Ruttman, Westland, Mich.
14.Don Leach, Beloit
15.Bob Jusola, Centuria
16.Bill Oas, Minneapolis
17.Jim Pierson, Lake Mills
18.Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
19.Pete Mahlum, Onalaska
20.Gary Hemmerling, Beloit
21.Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior
22.Dave Watson, Milton
23.Jon Chrest, Hamel, Minn.