Monday, October 4, 2021

1970 - Protest Rejected as Michigan Driver Wins Sandusky 200

Sandusky, Ohio (October 4, 1970) - Despite inclement weather and a long delay in the official announcement of the final victor after a protest was filed, because of a technicality, Ed Howe of Beaverton, Mich., was crowned the Sandusky 200 super late model champion at Sandusky Speedway.

Chilly temperatures held the anticipated and expected large turnout to a minimum, but the field of cars for the two-day event was one of the most outstanding ever assembled for such an event. A total of 49 top drivers from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and even two entries from Canada, were present.

Joy Fair of Pontiac, Mich., a local favorite here for many years, started the program off on its right foot Saturday during qualifications. The husky driver broke the track record his first trip out and then stayed on the track to take his second qualification and he lowered the mark to 19.29 seconds. This assured Fair of the pole for the big race Sunday. The old mark was 19.69.

Fair held the lead for the first 80 laps of the main event before second fastest qualifier, Jim Bickerstaff of Mineral Ridge, Pa., took over when Fair developed mechanical difficulty. The Michigan pilot pulled into the pits for what appeared to be a tire change and fell on the back of the field within minutes.

However, on the 100th lap, an overheated radiator forced Fair to the pits for the day.

Meanwhile, Bickerstaff continued to increase his margin over Howe, but in the 182nd lap, in the final turn, Ed Hage of Detroit, Mich., and Jack Chambers of Northfield, momentarily lost their cars with Bickerstaff and Howe only feet behind.

Bickerstaff took the outside route and Howe nosed through on the inside to take the lead when the cars crossed the line.

From this point on, until the 198th lap, Howe and Bickerstaff staged a two-man show. Bumper to bumper, they flew around the half -mile oval until Bickerstaff was forced out of the event with a broken differential gear.

At this point, the Auburn and Grand Rapids point champion coasted home with his nearest competitor, John Anderson of Detroit, Mich., nearly a half a lap behind for victory.

After Howe took the "checkers", Anderson's owner filed a protest which was overruled after a lengthy discussion by officials. The protest concerned Howe's position early in the race when he was given the "black flag" during a caution lap.

The flagman gave Howe the black flag in an attempt to get him to take off the trunk lid after it became partially torn off during the race. Mechanics from another crew took the lid off the car and

Howe continued in the race where he was when he received the "flag," instead of falling onto the rear of the field. At the time, Howe was in fourth place.

Anderson finished the 100-mile event second with Jerry Spear of Battle Creek, Mich., third; Ron Fike of Parma, fourth; Bickerstaff, fifth; Tom Marks, Kalamazoo, Mich., sixth; Ray Bernard of Detroit, seventh; Roy Gemberling, Kent, eighth; Danny Bird, Dearborn Heights, Mich., ninth and Chambers 10th.

Fourteen of the 32 cars that started the "grind" finished the event.

Preliminary events Saturday went to Tony DeLillo, Willowick, and Carnes and Marks. Chuck Morris of Mogador took the 25-lap consy with Paul Wright of Massillon second. In the 25-lap feature; Fair finished well ahead of the pack with Bickerstaff second and Earl Ross of London, Ont., third.

Bud Middaugh of Massillon won Sunday's consy feature when he slipped by Bill Koczos of Parma in the final turn. Bernard was third.

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