Thursday, September 29, 2022

1979 - Bruggeman Wins 317 Cheater's Day Crown

Gerald Bruggeman, the racing veteran from Hoskins, Neb., won the 317-cubic inch sprint title during the annual Cheater’s Day at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

Sioux Falls, S.D. (September 29, 1979) – Veteran Hoskins, Neb., driver Gerald Bruggeman sped away with the 317 cubic inch Cheater’s Day sprint title Saturday night at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

Bruggeman, who became the first driver in Huset’s Speedway history to win three consecutive point championships, started on the inside of the second row and quickly moved to the front. The show was sanctioned by Huset’s.

Bruggeman, 48, also announced that his wife had given him permission to race one more year, and he’ll be back in 1980. “Hell, it’s fun,” he said.

Bruggeman is a credit to racing,” said Fred Buckmiller, promoter of the Cheater’s Day special. “He’s a man who is a clean driver, using a head and toe that work together.”

Finishing second to Bruggeman was Gordy Lamb of Moorhead, Minn., while Doug Hanson of Lakefield, Minn., was third, Marv DeWall of Jackson, Minn., was fourth, and Bill Rook of Madison, S.D., rounding out the top-five.

Heat wins were recorded by Hanson, DeWall, Bruggeman, and Terry Smith of Raytown, Mo. Kenny White of Sherrill, Iowa, won the semi-feature and DeWall won the trophy dash.

Results –

Trophy dash – Marv DeWall, Jackson, Minn.
Heat #1 – Doug Hanson, Lakefield, Minn.
Heat #2 – Marv DeWall
Heat #3 – Gerald Bruggeman, Hoskins, Neb.
Heat #4 – Terry Smith, Raytown, Mo.
Semi-main – Kenny White, Sherrill, Iowa
Feature –
1. Gerald Bruggeman
2. Gordy Lamb, Moorhead, Minn.
3. Doug Hanson
4. Marv DeWall
5. Bill Rook, Madison, S.D.
6. Larry Weiland, Mason City, Iowa
7. Denny Houseman, Estherville, Iowa
8. Kenny White
9. Jack McCorkell, Redwood Falls, Minn.
10.Don Weyhrich, Norfolk, Neb.

1968 – Whitey Gerken Nabs National Short Track at Rockford

Whitey Gerken accepts his trophy after winning the National Short Track Championship at Rockford. Rockford promoter Hugh Deery is at left. - Dennis Piefer Collection

Rockford, Illinois (September 29, 1968) – Chicago’s Whitey Gerken was crowned National Short Track Champion for 1968 at Hugh Deery’s Rockford Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The new champion went home $1,745 richer for his efforts.

Gerken snatched the lead early in the 200-lap contest and went “flat-out” to lap the entire 33-car field by lap 90. Gerken’s engine would start to develop problems, his aggressive pace would slow and as his power decreased as laps ticked by, and the rest of the field would begin to un-lap themselves.

At that point, Rockford champion Joe Shear accelerated past Gerken into the lead on lap 124. As Shear started to distance himself from the field, Dan Prziborowski of Savage, Minn., passed the ailing Gerken as well to take the second spot.

Shear would maintain the top spot until lap 184 when the rear end started smoking on Shear’s 1967 Chevelle. After Shear retired to the pit area, Prziborowski took over the top spot on lap 186 with a straight-away advantage over Gerken.

A few laps later Prziborowski, however, would get involved with some lapped traffic and cut a tire sending him into the pits for a replacement.

This put Gerken back into the lead with 22-year-old Shakopee, Minn., sensation Larry Smith breathing down Gerken’s neck. On the backstretch of the 199th and final lap, Smith got by Gerken, but the “old pro” snuck past Smith on the fourth turn and raced to victory by half a car length.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, set a new track record in qualifying, touring the high-banked quarter mile in 14.90 seconds, collecting a $100 bounty in the process.

Results –

1. Whitey Gerken, Melrose Park, Ill.
2. Larry Smith, Shakopee, Minn.
3. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
4. Roy Martinelli, Prairie View, Ill.
5. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
6. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
7. Bill Ries, Shakopee, Minn.
8. Ron Wishard Rockford, Ill.
9. Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.
10.Bill Parrott, Minneapolis
11.Don Bandt
12.Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
13.Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14.Bill Schmidt
15.Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
16.Sonny Immerfall, Marshfield, Wis.
17.Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
18.Dean Spohn, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
19.Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
20.John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

1975 – Senneker Steers to Dri-Powr 400 Win

The "Michigan Bluebird" Bob Senneker won his second Dri-Powr 400 at the high banks of Winchester Speedway.

Winchester (September 28, 1975) – Bob Senneker became the second two-time winner of the “Dri-Powr 400” Sunday with a convincing victory at Winchester Speedway.

Senneker, the “Bluebird” from Dorr, Michigan, pushed his ’75 Camaro to five-lap victory over Art Sommers of Warren, Mich.

It was his second consecutive win in the “Dri-Powr” championship for Senneker at the fifth straight late model feature for him over the half-mile high-banks. He won the 1974 “Dri-Powr” in his very first appearance at Winchester and has since recorded victories in three 100-lap American Speed Association late model events there prior to Sunday’s sixth running of the 400-lap classic.

Senneker’s winning time of 2 hours, 46 minutes and 30.81 seconds was 14 minutes slower than his record of last year when he averaged 78.530 miles per hour. His average speed this year was 72.066 miles per hour.

Misfortune struck down his closest competitors late in the race, leaving Senneker to move his way to the checkered flag virtually unchallenged. Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan., ran within a lap of Senneker from just about the 300-lap mark until he nicked the outer retaining wall at the 359-lap mark and retired with suspension damage.

The next closest pursuer, Randy Sweet Portage, Mich., who tapped the outer wall in the second turn and dropped a position to third just 20 laps from the finish.

Tom Maier, Midland, Mich., was fourth with some relief from world record holder Larry Moore. Veteran Carl Smith, West Jefferson, Ohio, was fifth. All five drove Camaros.

For his trouble, Senneker pocketed $7,765 in purse and lap money. He collected $4,000 for the win and $3,765 for leading 251 laps at $15 a circuit.

An overflow crowd of 7,500, no doubt encouraged by near-perfect weather, watched a race that was surprisingly clean despite 13 cautions flags. No one was injured in the mishaps, but much oil from tanks punctured by debris on the track was dumped on the racing surface.

Senneker led the race on three occasions, the last starting on the 262nd lap and running to the end. He had led laps 34 through 50, and 142 through 236.

Moore, who started on the pole position after obliterating the world one-lap record in Saturday’s qualifying, set sail from the start, and appeared ready to challenge Senneker’s string of victories.

But the former “Fairborn Flyer” and Senneker spun on the backstretch and Moore’s Camaro clipped enough of the outer guardrail that it was out of action for the rest of the day.

Senneker then led until lap 50 when he stopped for fuel. Maier took over the top spot until the 88th, when Sweet led his only lap of the afternoon. After getting the lead, Sweet dropped off the pace with Maier back in charge again until lap 94. On lap 95, NASCAR late model sportsman ace Harry Gant of Taylorsville, N.C., went to the lead in his ’75 Chevy Nova.

Sommer would take over the lead on lap 114 and hold that spot through 141, then Senneker from 142 to 236, and Gant again from 237 to 261. It was there that Gant came to the pits with a broken ball joint. He lost 12 laps in the pits while his crew frantically replaced the parts.

Dave Sorg, Fort Wayne, the other two-time winner, was one of those whose oil tank picked up debris. His crew welded the hole as best they could, but Sorg finally retired after 64 circuits. The other ex-winner, Vern Schrock, Middlebury, ran with the leaders for the first 50 laps, but lost a couple of laps in the pits and finally retired after lap 182 with a faulty oil pump.

Jim Hurtubise, Clermont, a favorite of racing fans wherever he goes, lasted only 34 laps until steering failure put him into the concrete wall.

Results –

1. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
2. Art Sommers, Warren, Mich.
3. Randy Sweet, Portage, Mich.
4. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
5. Carl Smith, West Jefferson, Ohio
6. Harry Gant, Taylorsville, N.C.
7. Ron Hayes, Brownsburg
8. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
9. Jim Brandenberg, Springfield, Ohio
10.Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan.
11.Jim Cushman, Worthington, Ohio
12.Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
13.Gene Prosser, New Castle
14.Frank Demske, South Bend
15.Harold Scott, New Castle
16.Clyde Brown, Indianapolis
17.Ted Brown, Columbus, Ohio
18.L.J. Lines, Greensboro
19.Jody Ridley, Chatsworth, Ga.
20.Neal Sceva, Urbana, Ohio
21.Rick Knotts, Kalamazoo, Mich.
22.Vern Schrock, Middlebury
23.Mark Lamoreaux, Bloomington, Minn.
24.Roger Herp, Byron Center, Mich.
25.Lonnie Breedlove, Indianapolis
26.Ed Vanderlaan, Grand Rapids, Mich.
27.Don Keevin, Anderson
28.Ray Fullen, Anderson
29.Don Higgins, New Castle
30.Rodney Combs, Mason, Ohio
31.Dave Sorg, Fort Wayne
32.Larry Moore, Dayton, Ohio
33.Bruce Gould, Milford, Ohio
34.Bill Reed, Elkhart
35.Jim Hurtubise, Clermont
36.Jeff Faber, Cincinnati, Ohio
37.Kenny Hemphill, Vandergrift, Penn.
38.Dave Dayton, Indianapolis
39.Dave Brandenburg, Springfield, Ohio
40.Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio

1969 - Unser Passes Sacramento Test

Al Unser shows perfect form en route to winning the Golden State 100 at Sacramento. 

Sacramento, Calif. (September 28, 1969) – First came Greg Weld and Mario Andretti, then Billy Vukovich and last and most seriously Gary Bettenhausen to hurl challenges at Al Unser, who accepted and shook them off to win the Golden State 100-mile race wire to wire on Sunday afternoon.

Bettenhausen's bid to win fell short by a car length as Unser flashed across the finish line at the “Old Fairgrounds” with a broken rear suspension, which made the car about, as easy to handle as a loaded cement truck.

Unser traveled the distance in one hour, four minutes, 9:19 seconds (a 93.523 mile per hour average) for the second fastest time ever posted here. A. J. Foyt, who canceled out because of an important Ohio race, holds the track mark at 1:02:16:6 set in 1962.

So hard was Bettenhausen, who started 15th in the field of 18, charging at the end that he got out of the groove and spun almost through the first turn and came to halt in a cloud of dust while 10,969 fans heaved a sigh of relief.

Unser's share of the $29,342 purse from the gross $53,104 amounted to a little over $8,000.

But Unser, who won his eighth career championship, almost came away empty handed when the suspension on his Ford - powered car let go with two laps left.

“The sway bar broke and when it fell down it popped the torsion bar,” said the 30-year-old Unser. “After that the car was very hard to handle.”

Weld, of Kansas City, took the pole in qualifying rounds with a 36.90-second lap in his Plymouth - powered STP Special and chased Unser until the 37th lap when Andretti slipped past his teammate. Weld never threatened after that.

Andretti was traveling five to six seconds behind Unser, but Vukovich took the challengers spot away at the midway point and Mario subsequently went out at 84 laps with engine trouble.

On the previous lap, Unser had to call on his driving skills when he got too high in the grandstand turn and nearly hit the fence. It was at this point that Vukovich and Bettenhausen closed the gap to three seconds.

When the three leaders came hurtling out of the far turn near the end of the 93rd lap the right rear tire on Vukovich's car blew. Pit crews scattered as the J.C. Agajanian Offy slid to a stop. Exit Vukovich.

Results –

1. Al Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
2. Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
3. Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
4. Bruce Walkup, Downey, Calif.
5. Carl Williams, Kansas City
6. Bill Puterbaugh, Indianapolis
7. Johnny Parsons Jr., Encinitas, Calif.
8. Johnny Anderson, Sacramento
9. Wally Dallenbach, East Brunswick, N.J.
10.Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio
11.Bob Harkey, Speedway, Ind.
12.Greg Weld, Kansas City
13.Billy Vukovich, Fresno, Calif.
14.Art Pollard, Medford, Ore.
15.Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn.
16.Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
17.Mike Mosley, West Covina, Calif.
18.Tommy Copp, Fresno, Calif.

Monday, September 26, 2022

1993 – Salem’s Fall Classic to Strait

Bob Strait won his second straight Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. - Bobby Jones Photo

Salem, Ind. (September 26, 1993) -Bob Keselowski had Sunday’s ARCA Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway in his hip pocket with two laps to go.

Wait a second…

Frank Kimmel passed Keselowski with a searing move on the front straightaway as the green flag dropped following a late caution. He had his first ARCA victory in 38 tries in the bag.

Wait a second…

Bob Strait put the same move on Kimmel at the same spot one lap later, vaulting past Kimmel to win the Fall Classic for the second straight year.

It was an incomprehensible finish.

Strait was in the process of being passed by Keselowski on lap 195. Just as Keselowski was about to put him a lap down, Bob Schact’s car spun, and brought out a caution, saving Strait.

“When I was about two inches away from getting him, I’ll bet he never dreamed this would happen,” Keselowski said.

“Unbelievable,” Strait said.

Was it an unbelievable disappointment for Kimmel, a 31-year-old who calls this his home track as much as any?

He was winless in two years of ARCA racing despite being consistently competitive and being in the top-six of points.

Sunday, he gunned into the lead on lap 106. He was passed by ARCA point leader Tim Steele on lap 126, then got it back on 137 when Steele had rear end trouble.

Kimmel then straight-armed some of ARCA’s hottest drivers – Strait, Keselowski and Bobby Bowsher among them – until lap 167. Keselowski took a half-lap lead. Then came the last yellow, cars bunched up, and Kimmel made the move that surely would make him a winner.

“It was a dream come true at that point,” Kimmel said. “I just didn’t quite do it.”

Strait set a track record in qualifying, and two others beat Bowsher’s year-old mark. Then one driver after another found Salem, with hits high-banked turns, a fender-bending place to be. Of the first 117 laps, 41 were under yellow.

“Terrible,” Strait remarked. “Nobody wanted to give anybody room, and there’s no room forgiveness out there.”

Schact’s spin destroyed Keselowski’s runaway lead and put Keselowski, Kimmel and Strait - the only three on the lead lap – nose to tail for the final dash.

It was Strait’s third straight victory at Salem, earning him $4,000 out of the $64,000 purse. He just shook his head in wonder. “Just amazing,” he said. “Salem’s been good to me.”

Results –

1. Bob Strait
2. Frank Kimmel
3. Bob Keselowski
4. Jeep Pflum
5. Jerry Churchill
6. Curt Dickie
7. Bob Brevak
8. Jerry Huffman
9. Bob Schact
10.Robert Ham
11.Dave Weltmeyer
12.Eric Smith
13.Bob Dotter
14.Glenn Brewer
15.Mark Thompson
16.Troy Green
17.Roger Blackstock
18.Perry Tripp
19.Jeff Johnson
20.Tim Steele
21.Bobby Bowsher
22.L.W. Miller
23.Kenny Allen
24.Dave Jensen
25.Tom Bigelow
26.Jeremy Mayfield
27.Don LaDuke
28.John Wilkinson
29.Billy Rowse
30.Scotty Sands
31.Dennis English
32.Randy Churchill
33.Todd Coon
34.Mark Gibson

Sunday, September 25, 2022

1959 – Shepherd Captures State Fair Feature

Tennessee State Fair president Beverly Briley presents winner A.J. Shepherd with his trophy after winning the 25-lap feature. National Speedways’ Al Sweeney looks on approvingly.

Nashville, Tenn. (September 25, 1959) – A.J. Shepherd of Gardena, Calif., pushed his mighty Offenhauser to an exciting victory over Pete Folse in the 25-lap International Motor Contest Association big car feature at the State Fair on Friday afternoon.

Pete Folse, the IMCA national champion, driving the black #2 Bardahl Honore Special, which brought fame to its former driver, Bobby Grim, finished second. He was never in serious contention after being passed by Shepherd on lap 7.

Shepherd, who also defeated Folse in the match race, gave all the credit to his car, owned by Diz Wilson. “She was running beautifully, you really got to be going to pass Folse,” he echoed after the race.

For Shepherd, the 33-year-old racing veteran, it was his first appearance with the big cars on asphalt and needless to say, he enjoyed it.

Shepherd drove the same car that Folse piloted last year, and almost didn’t make to the finish. “I was practically out of brakes for the last six laps, and I didn’t think I’d make it,” he said.

Johnny White of Warren, Mich., set a new record for the IMCA cars when circled the half-mile, high-banked oval in 21.13 seconds for an average speed of 85.8 miles per hour. White, however, wrecked his car in his heat race and was unable to compete in the feature.

Results –

Heat #1 – Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
Heat #2 – Mickey McCormick, Mitchell, Ind.
Heat #3 – Bill Holland, Reading, Penn.
Match race – A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
Australian Pursuit – Marvin Faw, Minneapolis, Minn.
Feature –
1. A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
2. Pete Folse
3. Jack Rounds, Huntington Park, Calif.
4. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Duke Hindahl, Pekin, Ill.
6. Bill Holland
7. Ken Gottschalk, St. Louis, M

Saturday, September 24, 2022

1978 – Izzo Cops National Clay Track Crown

Tony Izzo

Willow Springs, Ill. (September 24, 1978) – Tony Izzo set a track qualifying record and then romped to a convincing victory in Sunday afternoon’s National Clay Track Championship 200-lap feature for late models at Santa Fe Speedway.

The win was the second major triumph in eight days for Izzo, who had won the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 at Illiana (Schererville, Ind) Motor Speedway’s paved oval last Sunday.

After clinching the pole starting position for Sunday’s main event by winning the second 25-lap Silver Twins feature on Saturday night, Izzo displayed his winning form for the first time on Sunday by breaking his own year-old track qualifying standard of 19.16 seconds with a 19.10 clocking on the speedway’s longer oval in time trials.

With his 1978 Camaro performing flawlessly, Izzo then turned the 200-lap main event into a rout, lapping each of his 32 opponents en route to a wire-to-wire victory. It was the 17th feature win of the season for the Bridgeview, Ill., driver at Santa Fe and his fourth on the facilities’ longer circuit.

Art “Fireball” Fehrman of Worth, Ill., came in second, his best finish ever at the track. Jerry Smith of Appleton, Wis., completed the last spot on the podium with a third-place finish.

Jim O’Conner, driving in relief of Ken Pohlman, crossed the finish line in fourth just inches ahead of Ramo Stott, the 1975 USAC stock car champion.

A victory in the first Silver Twins headliner on Saturday night enabled O’Conner to start alongside Izzo on the front row. However, O’Conner proved to be no match for Izzo and then his victory hopes were jolted on lap 20 when he spun in turn one.

O’Conner retired his mount shortly afterward but returned to the contest by taking over Pohlman’s car during the mandatory 10-minute mid-race pit stop for the field. Pohlman’s vehicle was the same car O’Conner had driven to the 1976 Santa Fe championship.

Results –

1. Tony Izzo
2. Art Fehrman
3. Jerry Smith
4. Ken Pohlman (relieved by Jim O’Conner)
5. Ramo Stott
6. Denny Falkos
7. John Connolly
8. Gary Webb
9. Al Justice
10.Bobby Shell
11.Bill Davis
12.Leroy Schneiderman
13.Dennis Marcelle
14.Ray Nelson
15.Ken Widdes
16.Frank Shickel
17.Brian Leslie
18.Larry Jackson
19.Bob Pohlman
20.Whitey Harris
21.Arnie Gardner
22.Rick Smithberg
23.Terry Huizel
24.Gary Fedewa
25.Red Dralle
26.Billy Kuhn
27.Larry Robb
28.John Provenzano
29.Dick Potts
30.Jim O’Conner
31.Don Marmor
32.Ralph Baker

1960 – Indiana Driver Wins Before 10,000 at Allentown

Jim Packard enjoys his first career USAC victory with car owner Barney Flynn. 

Allentown, Penn. (September 24, 1960) – Jim Packard of Speedway, Ind., driving an Offenhauser, led from start to finish to win the United States Auto Club big car feature in which Boyertown’s Johnny Thomson was fatally injured at the Allentown Fair.

A crowd of 12,000 jammed the grandstand and paddock, with standing room only tickets being sold an hour before the program started.

Earlier, as the cars were approaching the starter’s flag for the feature event, A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., spun out in front of the grandstand and a restart was ordered. Foyt was not injured and continued in the race.

After the accident in which Thomson figured but had no other drivers involved, the race was started for the third time, an on this occasion Packard shot out in front on the first turn and was never headed.

Jim Hurtubise furnished most of the early competition for Packard, but Jiggs Peters and Parnelli Jones were right up there with him for the first 10 laps. Jones lost some time on the 16th circuit when he went high into the first turn, but after 18 laps it was still Packard, Hurtubise and Jones in that order, with the rest of the field spread out.

Tommy Hinnershitz, the Olney, Penn., veteran who holds four or five track records, moved into third place with five laps to go, but couldn’t threaten the leaders.

At the finish it was Packard, Hurtubise, Foyt, Peters and Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., rounding out the top five.

The accident which put Thomson out of the race was a jolt to the big crowd, for the Scotsman gave the spectators some of the biggest thrills of the afternoon as he won the 8-lap semi-feature, coming from his sixth starting position to win on the last lap.

Editor's note: A week later, October 1, 1960, Jim Packard would be killed in a midget race in Fairfield, Illinois

Results –

1. Jim Packard
2. Jim Hurtubise
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Jiggs Peters
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Wayne Weiler
7. Bob Cleburg
8. Tommy Hinnershitz
9. Eddie Sachs
10.Don Branson

Friday, September 23, 2022

1972 - It's Kunzman all the way at Williams Grove

Lee Kunzman 

Williams Grove, Penn. (September 23, 1972) – Leading all the way, Lee Kunzman powered his Clamato Chevrolet to victory in the 40-lap Ted Horn - Bill Schindler Memorial USAC sprint car feature Saturday night on the half-mile Williams Grove Speedway.

The win was the fourth of the year for the Guttenberg, Iowa, veteran and moved him from fourth to second in the national points race behind leader Rollie Beale.

Kunzman held the lead from the start, when he came off the pole position. Bruce Walkup, starting on the outside of the front row, stayed right behind for the race’s duration, but was unable to get around the Iowa pilot and finished two seconds behind.

Larry “Boom Boom” Cannon was third, passing Sam Sessions, who placed fourth. Don Nordhorn rounded out the top-five finishers. The time for the race was 16 minutes and 11.41 seconds.

Mitch Smith finished sixth and then announced afterwards his retirement from racing.

A record was set in qualifications as Dick Tobias lapped the track in 23.83 seconds, breaking Smith’s time of 24.02 seconds, set on June 19, 1971.

Bill Cassella won the first of three 10-lap heats with Walkup and Kunzman the other heat winners. Sessions won the 12-lap semi-man.

Results –

1. Lee Kunzman
2. Bruce Walkup
3. Larry Cannon
4. Sam Sessions
5. Don Nordhorn
6. Mitch Smith
7. Rollie Beale
8. Bill Cassella
9. Joe Saldana
10.Dick Tobias

1961 – White Wins Second Straight

Johnny White visited the winner’s circle two days in a row at Fairgrounds Speedway. Greeting him are representatives of the Tennessee State Fair - Queen Pat Smith and Judge Beverly Briley. – Gerald Holly Photo

Nashville, Tennessee (September 23, 1961) - Johnny White averaged 81.5 miles per hour in winning the 25-lap International Motor Contest Association big car feature race at Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday.

A crowd estimated at 9,500 saw White fall to second place on the first lap, the only time during the two days of racing that he hadn’t been in the lead. Ray Duckworth of Anderson, Ind., zipped past White on the first turn and remained in front until the 13th lap.

After the race, White said, “I was wondering there for a while, but I figured I’d get him before the day ran out.”

Diz Wilson, owner of the car White piloted, pointed out that the car has never been beaten at the track. A.J. Shepherd, who has since joined USAC, piloted the car to victories here for three straight years.

Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., was third as the cars circled the half-mile banked asphalt oval for the first time. He got by Duckworth on lap 17 for second place and finished in that position. Duckworth settled for third while Tampa’s Buzz Barton was fourth and Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., rounded out the top-five.

One of the best races witnessed was the Australian Pursuit, which was won by Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex. Woolley started last and kept lopping off cars one by one until he came upon Jerry Bundy. They went around for five laps, side by side, until Woolley was able to take command. The crowd loved it and seemed that everyone in the stands were on their feet, cheering.

Pete Folse, the perennial IMCA point champion, had another rough day, finishing seventh. Hector Honore, car builder and owner of the car driven by Folse said, “It’s not Pete’s fault.”

Honore elaborated, stating that all of IMCA’s races, except for Nashville, are run on dirt tracks and he refused to change one screw on Folse’s car, just for two races on asphalt. Prior to Nashville, Folse had won five straight IMCA-sanctioned features.

Results –

Heat #1 – Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
Heat #2 – Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #3 – Mac Terry, Plainfield, N.J.
Match race – Johnny White
Australian Pursuit – Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Feature –
1. Johnny White
2. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
3. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
4. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
5. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
6. Red Renner, Woodburn, Ind.
7. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
8. Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
9. Jim Murphy, South Haven, Mich.
10.Harv Konkel, West Allis, Wis.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

1979 - Hearst Wins Eldon Classic

Tom Hearst carries the checkers after winning the Eldon Classic. 

by Jeanne Niner

Eldon, Iowa (September 22, 1979) – With 57 cars competing for a $7,000 purse, the first annual Eldon Classic was a huge success.

Tom Hearst, Wilton, fresh from a third-place finish in the Yankee Dirt Track Classic, and being recently crowned the season champion at Davenport, won the 50-lap championship feature. In addition to the $1,200 payday, Hearst also led every lap on the super half-mile to collect an additional $500.

Joe Merryfield, Des Moines, Ron Jackson, Burlington, and Dan Dickey, Packwood, all tried their best to move Hearst from his self-appointed lead but were never able to push into the lead.

Heat winners were Hearst, Bill Davis, Des Moines, Merryfield, and Dickey. The consolation race was won by Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley.

Fred Horn, Marion, the recently crowned Yankee Dirt Track Champion, and pre-race favorite, blew an engine while leading the first heat and retired for the evening.

Results –

1. Tom Hearst, Wilton
2. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
3. Ron Jackson, Burlington
4. Dan Dickey, Packwood
5. Steve Keppler, Marion
6. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
7. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
8. Bill Davis, Des Moines
9. Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun
10.Ken Davidson, Des Moines

1968 – Droste Wins 50-Lap Tunis Championship

Waterloo, Iowa (September 22, 1968) – Waterloo’s Red Droste capped another outstanding season at Tunis Speedway driving his late model stock car to the 1968 season championship on Sunday night.

Droste, who was also the track’s mid-season champion, was threatened the entire 50 laps by Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., and won by barely a car-length at the checkers. Both drivers lapped the entire field.

Ken Pittman won the cadette championship and Leo Scharnhorst of Waterloo was the consolation winner.

Lynn Idler of Ionia was named Tunis Speedway Rookie-of-the-Year for 1968.

Results –

1. Red Droste, Waterloo
2. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
3. Curt Hansen, Dike
4. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
5. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
6. Bob Hilmer, Dysart

1962 – Jones Win Allentown Feature

Parnelli Jones, driving the Fike #1, leads A.J. Foyt’s Meskowski #9 during the 30-lap USAC feature at the Greater Allentown Fair.

Allentown, Penn. (September 22, 1962) – Greater Allentown Fair automobile speed records fell like ripe coconuts when Rufus “Parnelli” Jones of Torrance, Calif., won the 30-lap feature before 8,467 thrilled fans.

The old mark of 13 minutes and 32.29 seconds set by Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., last year was broke by almost a full minute as Jones covered the distance in 12 minutes and 22.71 seconds.

The former 8-lap mark of 3 minutes and 25.34 seconds set by Tommy Hinnershitz of Oley, Penn., in 1959 went overboard twice in qualifying heats. Jones made the trip in 3 minutes and 22.76 seconds to capture the first heat and Jiggs Peters of Neshanic Station, N.J., covered the distance in 3 minutes and 24.54 seconds in another heat.

Although 14 cars started, it was strictly a two-man affair. Jones, the leading driver in the United States Auto Club point’s standings, had his hands full fighting off A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., a former Indianapolis 500 winner and a crafty, determined opponent.

After maintaining their one-two positions from the start, the two engaged in a duel that grew hotter and hotter in the closing laps as Foyt made his move to gain the lead.

But Jones was able to foil his every effort by clever use of the corners, closing all avenues by which Foyt might pass him.

A battle almost equally exciting, although not figuring in the first two positions, was waged between Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., and Bud Tingelstad of Dayton, Ohio. Tingelstad clung to third place for 23 laps and then had to yield to McCluskey’s skill and daring. McCluskey finished third while Tingelstad settled for fourth and Peters took fifth.

Results –

1. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
2. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
3. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
4. Bud Tingelstad, Dayton, Ohio
5. Jiggs Peters, Neshanic Station, N.J.
6. Al Farmer, Fort Worth, Tex.
7. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
8. Jim Hurtubise, Lennox, Calif.
9. Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
10.Red Riegel, Leesport, Penn.
11.Leroy Neumayer, Compton, Calif.
12.Don Brown, San Fernando, Calif.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

1980 - Burgess Wins Old Style Invite at WIR

Steve Burgess

Kaukauna, Wis. (September 21, 1980) – Steve Burgess nosed out Alan Kulwicki by less than a car length to win the 40-lap late model feature, topping the two-day Old Style Invitational on Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin International Raceway.

A national record was established during the two days as 264 cars raced in the five-class program, snapping the existing national record of 258 cars. Some 7,032 fans turned out for the two days in spite of rainy, cool weather.

Ron Bennett came off his front row starting spot to lead the first 13 laps before being overtaken by Tony Strupp. Burgess began to advance to the front and overtook Strupp with an inside move on the 23rd round.

Kulwicki followed Burgess past Strupp on lap 25 and then he chased Burgess in a nose-to-tail battle right down to the checkered flag.

Strupp finished third followed by Ted Musgrave and Tom Jones.

In preliminary action, Dave Van Elzen of Kimberly won the 30-lap sportsman feature while Randy Butler of Iron Ridge won the 30-lap modified main event.

Results –

1. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
2. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee
3. Tony Strupp, Slinger
4. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
5. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
6. John Ziegler, Madison
7. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
8. Jerry Eckhardt, Watertown
9. Wayne Roffers, Oneida
10.Steve Moll, Wisconsin Rapids
11.Grant Wilson, Bloomington, Minn.
12.Terry Baldry, Omro

1968 – Eaker Wins Fairground Title Race

Promoter Homer Melton greets Verlin Eaker after Eaker won the 50-lap season championship at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. - Beatle Bailey Photo

Des Moines, Iowa (September 21, 1968) – Late model point champion Verlin Eaker easily won the 50-lap State Fair Speedway season championship on Saturday night.

Eaker, from Cedar Rapids, led all the way in his 1967 Dodge and collected $400 for the victory.

Lem Blankenship of Keokuk finished second after battling Marion's Fred Horn, who was third.

Presentations were made to:

Eaker and point champ Carl Vander Wal, of Ames, representing the sportsman class. Vander Wal's engine blew up last weekend and he did not race Saturday.

The sportsman championship race was won by John Meyer of Brooklyn in a '56 Chevrolet, followed by Don Hoffman and Larry Sponsler, both from Des Moines.

Results –

Late Model -

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
2. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk
3. Fred Horn, Marion
4. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
5. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
6. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
7. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
8. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
9. Dick Oldham, Des Moines

Sportsman - 

1. John Meyer, Brooklyn
2. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
3. Jack Piper, Mason City
4. Dick Gustin, Des Moines
5. Larry Sponsler, Des Moines

1957 – Grim Fixes New 25-Mile Record with IMCA Win

Bobby Grim

Nashville, Tenn. (September 21, 1957) – Bobby Grim, Indianapolis, closed out the Tennessee State Fair one-mile dirt track in a blaze of glory on Saturday as he powered the Hector Honore Offenhauser to a new IMCA world mark for 25 miles.

Grim ran away from a fast field in turning the mile oval in 17 minutes and 16.45 seconds to eclipse the old mark of 18-minute flat set by Gus Schrader of Newhall, Iowa, set at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1931.

Officials at the Tennessee fairgrounds will plow the one-mile track which dates back to eighteenth century horse racing under and build two modern hard-top surfaces for use next year.

A half-mile surface enclosing a quarter-mile track will be installed, accommodating the late model stock car racing, which has flourished in Nashville and surrounding areas.

Grim found the rain-soaked course to his liking as he closed out big car racing on the Tennessee State Fair with his record-breaking performance.

Judge Beverly Briley, president of the Fairboard, and L.E. Griffin, fair secretary, added $100 to Grim’s earnings for the new 25-mile standard.

Grim also copped first-place in the 20-lap feature at the two-day event on September 20, defeating Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla., Cotton Farmer, Dallas, Tex., Don Carr, Indianapolis, who finished a close second to Grim during Friday’s event.

Results –

1. Bobby Grim
2. Buzz Barton
3. Cotton Farmer
4. Don Carr
5. Jerry Kemp
6. Eddie Loetscher
7. Leon Hubble
8. Ken Gottschalk
9. Red Hoyle
10.R.B. Hensley

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

1970 – Big ‘D’ ahead on 37th lap – wins

Elko, Minn. (September 20, 1970) – Dan Prziborowski of Savage, Minn., returned to the heights only champions know when he won the coveted rain-shortened Midwest Late Model Championships at Elko Speedway on Sunday afternoon, successfully defending the crown he first won a year ago.

The 14-year stock car veteran of area stock car circles proved conclusively to his many fans and friends that he could come back from a brutal winter-time car accident, a mid-summer’s suspension plus various troubles with his race machine to make it back to the top.

For his troubles which also included winning a Saturday night feature, placing eighth in time trials and leading for 26 laps, Prziborowski took home nearly $1,400 plus accessory prize including a year’s supply of 7-Up.

The Savage, Minn., wheelman won the Labor Day feature plus two features just before to become the Tri-Circuit’s winningest driver since mid-August.

Area drivers proved once again over the weekend that they can hot-foot it with the best of a field of 75 cars and drivers from five states. Burnsville’s Bob Jusola had sixth fastest time and finish second in the feature. Bloomington’s Don James, the Circuit’s most improved driver this year, claimed second in the consolation and third in the feature on Saturday then placed fourth in Sunday afternoon’s main event plus poste the top time for Tri-Circuit drivers at 14.855 seconds, just a shade off that set by John Ziegler of Madison, Wis., who spun Elko’s surface in 14.784 seconds, a new track record.

As a matter of fact, 10 drivers sent under 15 seconds, all breaking the old mark set last year of 15.219 seconds.

Larry Smith of Shakopee, Minn., had a feature victory and Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., winner of the State Fair’s 300-lap event, took both a consolation win and a feature win on Saturday plus fifth on Sunday for a hefty payday.

The above-mentioned Ziegler took third in Sunday’s feature while Bill Retallick of Madison, Wis., took sixth.

Heat winners were all of the Tri-Circuit and included Bill Oas of Burnsville, Minn., Norm Setran of Bloomington, Minn., Harry Bahr of Minneapolis, Alex Metcalf of Minneapolis and Roy Lobstein of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Attendance at the third annual event held up remarkably well considering the threat of rain throughout with 2,875 on hand for Saturday’s program and 3,440 viewing the races on Sunday.

Monday, September 19, 2022

1953 – Slater in Clay County Tilt

Bob Slater

Spencer, Iowa (September 19, 1953) – Lanky Bob Slater, Kansas City, continued his winning streak here on Saturday afternoon by coming home in front of a strong field in the 25-lap feature for IMCA big cars, which wound up the speed program of the Clay County Fair.

A crowd of 13,000 jammed the grandstand and infield for the races.

Slater took over the lead in the feature race on the first lap but was pushed for the first 15 laps by Bobby Grim, Indianapolis, who rode Slater’s bumper most of the way.

Grim lost control of his Honore Offenhauser on the fourth turn and spun completely around directly in front of the oncoming field. Some skillful driving by others adverted an accident but Grim was finished for the day.

Vito Calia, Kansas City, who had been running third, picked up the chase on Slater and pressured him but Slater held strong and pulled away on the final lap.

Calia came up with a victory in the first heat, nosing out Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo. Slater and Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., put on a dandy speed duel in the second heat with Slater winning.

Billy Jim, Kansas City, outran Wayne Selzer, Omaha, in the third heat and also won the Australian Pursuit race. Jimmy Campbell nosed out Calia in the 3-lap handicap.

Results –

Heat #1 – Vito Calia, Kansas City
Heat #2 – Bob Slater, Kansas City
Heat #3 – Billy Jim, Kansas City
Handicap – Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo.
Australian Pursuit – Billy Jim
Feature –
1. Bob Slater
2. Vito Calia
3. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
4. Jimmy Campbell
5. Billy Jim
6. Jay King, Oklahoma City
7. Wayne Selzer, Omaha
8. Wade Crew, Burbank, Calif.
9. Ken Gottschalk, St. Louis

Sunday, September 18, 2022

1982 - Paxton nabs first Grove Open win

After years of trying, Lynn Paxton would nab his first career National Open title in 1982. 

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (September 18, 1982) – Lynn Paxton made his first-ever Williams Grove National Open victory a personal high $6,800 payday as he completely dominated Saturday night’s season-ending 75-lap encounter for super sprints.

The 38-year-old Paxton, a Grove Open also-ran every year since making his initial start in the event in 1963, collected $5,000 for the win plus $1,500 in lap money for leading from flag-to-flag and $300 for having had fast time.

Three-time Open winner Steve Smith gained second place at the expense of Randy Wolfe when Wolfe’s engine started to sputter with five laps to go.

Smith took home $2,250 while Wolfe held on for third and $2,200. Jimmy Horton was fourth and George Ferguson Jr. fifth. Rounding out the top-10 were Paul Lotier, Dave Blaney, Barry Camp, Jim Nace and George Bischof.

Earlier Saturday, Grove officials reviewed pictures of the finish of Friday’s 35-lap feature and declared Paxton a dead-heat winner with Blaney. Paxton pocketed an extra $500 as a result of that decision.

In a victory lane interview after his Open success, Paxton heaped praise on his mechanics, Davey Brown Jr. and Sr., for their work in preparing the Boop’s Aluminum #1 for the long-distance grind.

“When you start up front, you damned well better finish there,” Paxton said of his seventh Grove win of the season and the 37th of his career.

Paxton’s fastest of two laps as 53 cars took part in time trials was 20.82 seconds. That put him on the pole for the start of the race with Wolfe (20.84) on the outside of the front row. Lotier was third with a clocking of 20.94 seconds while Skeets Gamble turned in a 21.01 second effort and Ferguson did 21.14 seconds.

The new chassis which Smith had at his command was not up to snuff for the time trials, and the veteran driver had to run the 20-lap B-Main to make the show.

Smith came through in impressive fashion, leading all the way to beat Van May under the checkered. Dan Dietrich was third, Kramer Williamson fourth and Bischof fifth.

The 15-lap C-Main, which was first up after all cars had taken time, went to Keith Kauffman, who passed Allen Klinger with two to go. Kauffman was 11th in the B-Main, but Klinger failed to qualify.

World of Outlaws stalwart Bobby Allen was 14th in time trials with a clocking of 21.50 seconds but ducked for the pits shortly after the main event was waved off.

Results –

1. Lynn Paxton
2. Steve Smith
3. Randy Wolfe
4. Jimmy Horton
5. George Ferguson Jr.
6. Paul Lotier
7. Dave Blaney
8. Barry Camp
9. Jim Nace
10.George Bischoff
11.Cris Criswell
12.Scott Tobias
13.Dave Kelly
14.Daryl Winkler
15.Paul Kline

Saturday, September 17, 2022

1983 - Sanger Posts Smashing Win in Yankee Dirt Track Classic

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 17, 1983) - Ed Sanger smashed a four-year drought at Hawkeye Downs Speedway into 3,500 pieces Saturday night.

Sanger captured the 100-lap NASCAR Grand American late model feature in the Yankee Dirt Track Classic before a crowd of about 4,000. The victory netted the Waterloo driver and car builder a cool $3,500 and was his first triumph at the Downs since 1979.

Roger Dolan of Lisbon relinquished the lead to Sanger on the 89th lap of the main event, and Sanger beat Dolan to the checkered flag by about a second. Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., was third. Waterloo's Tom Bartholomew was fourth and Ken Walton of Viola fifth. The five mentioned racers were the only ones to finish on the lead lap.

“Boy, we needed that,” Sanger said of the win and subsequent paycheck. “This is a tough game these days, and the weekly purses haven't kept up with the expenses.”

Sanger and Plank started on the front row of the 28-car field. Dolan began in the third row. It was apparent early in the race that the winner likely would be one of those three.

Plank took the lead from the onset and held it until Sanger took over on the 34th lap. Dolan passed Sanger for first place on lap 69 and was in front 10 laps later when Joe Merryfield clipped a large section of the protective aluminum fence between the third and fourth turns. Merryfield, of Des Moines, was unhurt. The incident caused laps 79 through 87 to be run under a yellow flag while the mess was cleared.

Then, two laps after the restart, Sanger soared past Dolan on the first turn and kept the lead this time.

“I just took a shot at him (Dolan) and dove down on the bottom of the first turn,” Sanger said. “Then I went up top and took the groove back.”

Sanger drove the car he built for NASCAR superstar Bobby Allison's use in the Miller 100 at the Downs in June.

“The car has worked so damned good, I decided I better drive it,” Sanger said. “It's a sweetheart of a car. It drives so easy. I was as fresh after the race as when I started it.”

It was the largest payoff Sanger has earned since he won over $8,000 ' for taking the World 100 in Eldora, Ohio, several years ago.

Dolan picked up $2,500 for placing second. He was disappointed at not hanging on for the win but could take some consolation in putting a stranglehold on the NASCAR Central Region point derby.

With only one point race left at both Quincy, Ill. and Holts Summit, Mo., Dolan has a lock on the championship. What that means is $10,000, plus another $1,000 times three for winning track titles at Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and Farley. “That's what makes it all worthwhile,” Dolan said of his regional title-to-be.

“She wouldn't go any faster,” Dolan said of his car. “I hammered it, and it still wouldn't go.”

Jack Mitchell of Cedar Falls nosed out Davenport's Mike Wheeler to claim the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature. Mike Schulte of Norway was third.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
2. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
3. Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
4. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo
5. Ken Walton, Viola
6. Gary Webb, Davenport
7. Darrell Sells, Waverly
8. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
9. Ron Schreiner, Eleva, Wis.
10.Bill Breuer, Wapello
11.Bryan Wanner, Winfield
12.Steve Johnson, Low Moor
13.Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown
14.Ron Pallister, Wapello
15.Red Dralle, Waterloo
16.Em Fretheim, Decorah
17.Rick Wendling, Hazleton
18.Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
19.Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
20.Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
21.Tony Stewart, Washington
22.Bill Rice, Des Moines
23.Mark Keltner, Morning Sun
24.Ed Dixon, Washington, Mo.
25.Tom Hearst, Wilton
26.Ken Jackson, Burlington
27.Johnny Johnson, Wapello
28.Lynn Idler, Ionia

Friday, September 16, 2022

1979 – Shear Shades Watson in RW&B Finale

Joe Shear won his first race at WIR since 1973 when he took the 60-lap finale of the Red, White and Blue Series. – Jim Vercauteren Photo

by Pete Vercauteren

Kaukauna, Wis. (September 16, 1979) – Joe Shear, in his first appearance of the year at Wisconsin International Raceway, scored a thrilling quarter-length win over Dave Watson in the final race of the Red, White, and Blue Series on Sunday afternoon before 5,209 fans.

The victory was Shear’s first at Kaukauna since 1973. The final laps of the race were as wild as nay ever run on the half-mile paved oval, as Shear held back challenges from Johnny Ziegler and Watson during the final six circuits with the crowd on its feet.

Dick Trickle, who missed the final race in the series, edged out Shear and Watson in the final point standings. Trickle totaled 1,965 points while Shear ended up with 1,880 and Watson tallied 1,795. It was the fourth series title for Trickle as he previously won the crown in 1972, 1977, and 1978.

John Knaus led the first lap of the feature race before being overtaken by Bob Gunn. Knaus regain the lead on lap 4 and set the pace until the 9th lap when Willie Goeden used the inside groove to slip into the top position.

Watson took over second place on lap 13and nosed inside of Goeden on the 14th circuit to take the lead. Shear, meanwhile, moved into third on lap 18 and went around Goeden for second place on the 20th lap.

The yellow flag came out on lap 21 when Ted Musgrave spun in the third turn. The caution put Shear right on Watson’s bumper for the restart. A spin by Rich Somers resulted in his Mustang getting rapped by Jerry Eckhardt’s Camaro and that brought out another yellow on lap 22.

Watson made a hasty pit stop to repair a broke throttle spring on his car under the yellow flag. The pit stop dropped him to the rear of the field and handed the lead over to Shear.

Shear opened up a six-car-length margin when the green flag came out. John Ziegler, the ’75 Red, White and Blue champion, moved into second on lap 26 and whittled Shear’s lead down to three-car-lengths by lap 45. Watson, meanwhile, had fought his way back to the front, gaining third position on lap 46.

Ziegler closed in on Shear’s bumper on the 48th go-round and several times pulled alongside Shear’s rear quarter-panel going into the first turn.

Steve Burgess’s spin in the second turn on lap 54 brought out the caution flag. The re-aligned field put Watson right on Ziegler’s rear bumper with six laps remaining.

The final six laps were at full throttle for the three leaders. Watson pulled to the outside of Ziegler on lap 55 in a battle for second position with both drivers less than a car-length behind Shear.

Ziegler, with his foot to the floor, drifted high going into the first turn on lap 57 with Watson swinging low under him to grab second.

Shear and Watson ran wheel-to-wheel to the finish, with the two veterans coming out of the final turn to the checkered flag inches apart with Shear winning by a quarter-car-length.

Results –

1. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
2. Dave Watson, Milton
3. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
4. John Ziegler, Madison
5. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
6. Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
7. Larry Detjens, Wausau
8. Rich Somers, Minocqua
9. Pat Schauer, Watertown
10.Joel Laufer, Hartford
11.Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
12.Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
13.John Knaus, Rockford, Ill.
14.Lee Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
15.Bob Iverson, Hyde, Mich.
16.Jerry Eckhardt, Watertown
17.Tony Strupp, Slinger
18.Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
19.Bob Gunn, Madison
20.Fred Bender, Sun Prairie

1972 - Derr Shows Stuff at Topeka

Topeka, Kan. (September 16, 1972) – One of the biggest crowds of the Topeka Raceway season came out to see the old master of the IMCA circuit, Ernie Derr, run Saturday night.

They weren’t disappointed…

The Keokuk, Iowa, flash – who was billed as the top attraction for the Northeast Kansas Stock Car Championships prior to and throughout the two weekends of rainouts – turned out to be just that.

Not only did he flash his fabled red and white Dodge Charger around the track for the fastest time (17.76 seconds) in qualifying, but he came back some three hours later to win the 100-lap feature by nearly three full laps over his nearest competitors.

Derr, who was a consistent winner on the IMCA circuit before pulling out this year, actually trailed for the first 15 laps of the main event as Ken Baker of Kansas City, driving a 1964 Ford, jumped into the early lead.

On lap 10, Derr edged ahead for a moment on the backstretch, but Baker regained the lead in the third turn, and held the top position until Derr roared by on the backstretch of the 15th circuit.

From there on, it was no contest…

Derr and his Dodge Charger zipped to a two-car length lead over Baker on lap 17, and Baker pulled out of the running four laps later, with Don Morris, who had earlier won a heat race and trophy dash, moving into second.

Morris was no match for Derr, though, and while still holding second-place, trailed by more than half a lap after 23 tours around the quarter-mile dirt oval.

The eventual winner took a full lap’s lead on lap 48, passing Morris, who promptly fell back into third behind Dale McDaniel. On the next lap, Morris pulled into the pits.

Jerre Wichman got past McDaniel a few laps later and held second spot for a while, but he too had to pull out when his Chevelle overheated on lap 70.

By that time, Derr had the race sewn up and merely need to stay out of trouble in order to collect the $1,000 first prize. He lapped the field an entire time again by lap 83 and gradually added to his margin throughout the remaining 17 circuits.

There was one close call for Derr, however. On lap 98, and in heavy traffic, Derr barely averted a spin in the second turn when he bumped into the rear quarter panel of a slower car in the field.. But, after making the fans take a deep gasp, he regained control and surged out of the trouble area.

McDaniel finished second, with Dennis Kruse taking third.

In tine trials, Derr’s 17.76 second clocking was tops among the 50 cars entered. Baker was only a fraction slower in qualifying, with time of 17.79 seconds. None of the other drivers managed to get under 18 seconds.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr
2. Dale McDaniel
3. Dennis Kruse
4. Gene Chapman
5. Gary Jellison
6. John Linscott
7. Galen Schaefer
8. John Nitsch
9. John Oswalt
10.Tom Karrick

Thursday, September 15, 2022

1959 – Ward Wins Hoosier Hundred

Rodger Ward

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 15, 1959) - Rodger Ward of Indianapolis won the rich Hoosier Hundred auto race Saturday and nailed down his first United States Auto Club national championship in 14 years of competition.

Tony Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill., the defending USAC champion, and only driver who had an outside chance to catch Ward, was wrecked a little over halfway through the race but escaped injury.

Eddie Sachs of Center Valley, Penn., was right on Ward’s tailpipe at the finish of the race but couldn't quite catch him.

A crowd estimated at 24,000 jammed the Indiana State Fairgrounds grandstand and bleachers and overflowed into the infield of the mile-long dirt track.

A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., took third-place money, Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind., was fourth, and Len Sutton, Portland, Ore., was fifth.

Ward, the winner of the Indianapolis 500-miler and the Du Quoin, Ill., 100-miler, led every lap in a perfectly driven race. That feat alone earned him $2,500 in lap prizes. He and car owner Bob Wilke of Milwaukee will share together $11,675 out of a total purse of $36,817, the biggest ever paid for a dirt track race.

Bettenhausen drove a tremendous race in his last chance to stay in the running for the national title. Starting tenth among the 18 starters, he wheeled into second place by the 18th mile. He yielded the second spot to Eddie Sachs on lap 55 and then had his mishap.

Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., driving in his first USAC championship race, hot the guard rail and spun in front of Bettenhausen. Bettenhausen barely nicked the tail of Hurtubise’s car, but the impact was enough to burst his right rear tire and damage the wheel beyond repair.

Ward’s average speed was 91.032 miles per hour, compared with the record 92.142 miles per hour set last year by Sachs.

Results –

1. Rodger Ward, Indianapolis
2. Eddie Sachs, Center Valley, Penn.
3. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
4. Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind.
5. Len Sutton, Portland, Ore.
6. Bobby Grim, Indianapolis
7. Don Freeland, Indianapolis
8. Ralph Liguori, Tampa, Fla.
9. Bill Homeier, Pacoima, Calif.
10.Lee Drollinger, Champaign, Ill.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

1974 – Bulldog 150 to Hartman

Des Moines, Iowa (September 14, 1974) – Butch Hartman won the Bulldog 150 late model stock car race and the United States Auto Club national championship for that division at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, but it was Ramo Stott winning the admiration of the 6,500 in attendance.

Still feeling the effects of first and second-degree burns on his hand and face, Stott led much of the 150-lap, 75-mile race and was kept from one last attempt to regain the lead when he ran over a piece of exhaust pipe and cut a tire.

That forced Stott’s 1974 Plymouth into the pits for replacement of his right front tire. The replacement was low on air and Stott, who could have finished as high as second, dropped back to sixth before the checkered flag fell.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, driving a 1974 Dodge Charger, was second while Dick Hutcherson, a former Keokuk resident now living in Charlotte, N.C., was third, and Ernie Derr of Keokuk was fourth. Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., who had been the USAC stock car point leader going into the race, finished fifth.

Hartman earned 200 points for the victory and finished with 3,270 points. Nelson earned 140 points and ended the season with 3,240.

Dick Hutcherson, who now builds race cars after retiring from full-time driving several years ago, was the initial leader. His chance at winning, however, was jolted when Ralph Latham of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hutcherson collided on the 42nd lap.

“Hutch” managed to keep it going, but he lost a lap and Stott took command for five laps. Janey led laps 49 – 55. Hartman then took over for 19 circuits at that point. Stott roared past Hartman on lap 76 and cruised to a half-lap lead on the half-mile dirt track.

However, Ramo had not made a pit stop and he was forced to refuel on lap 126. He pulled back onto the track just as Hartman went past, taking the lead.

On lap 137, Ramo was back in the pits with tire problems.

Ramo had suffered first and second-degree burns a week ago in Milwaukee when his engine exploded, and fire shot into the interior of his racer.

He wore heavy gloves on his hands and a mask over his face. “I got awfully hot,” he said. “My hands sweated a lot and it brought out a lot of blisters.”

“I knew Ramo had to pit again, so I just cruised along and waited for him to go in,” said Hartman, who now has won an unprecedented four straight USAC stock car championships.

Norm Nelson did not make a battle of it with Hartman, although Butch started in the second row of cars and Nelson was in the third row.

“It wasn’t my kind of track,” moaned Nelson afterwards. “The track was too rough, and I drive best on a smooth dirt track. “

Results –

1. Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
2. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids
3. Dick Hutcherson, Charlotte, N.C.
4. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
5. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
6. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
7. Terry Ryan, Davenport
8. Butch Garner, Decatur, Ill.
9. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
10.Fred Zack, Milwaukee
11.John Schultz, Appleton, Wis.
12.Paul Sizemore, Terre Haute, Ind.
13.Steve Drake, Bloomington, Ill.
14.Bill Wrich, Kennard, Neb.
15.Larry Cope, Leroy, Ind.