Saturday, April 30, 2022

1967 - Daniel’s fortune, Wente’s misfortune at Winchester

Jerry "Scratch" Daniels

Winchester, Ind. (April 30, 1967) - Dame Fortune cast a dirty frown at Bob Wente on the 29th lap of the feature race at the high-banked Winchester oval, Sunday.

Wente started on the pole position and at the drop of the green flag charged into the lead. He masterfully drove his high-powered sprinter through traffic and had the race all sewed up until his gearbox failed just one lap from victory.

Jerry “Scratch” Daniels, St. Paul, Minn., inherited the lead from Wente and went on to capture the 30-lap feature.

The action was fast and furious when the practice session began shortly after noon. Ralph Liguori, veteran USAC driver, spun going into the first turn causing Harold Smith, Dayton, Ohio, to lock-up his #51 Smith Chevy. They both kissed the outer retaining wall inflicting minor damage to both racers. Neither driver was injured in the slight mishap.

Qualifications were well off the current track record of 17.18 seconds, held by Gordon Johncock. The best time of the day was turned in by Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio, of 17.80 seconds. Busson, driving the #94 Cedoz Chevy, was making his first appearance on the Winchester oval.

In the first 8-lap heat race, Bob Wente, St. Louis, Mo., showed Karl Busson, the fastest qualifier, and Bruce Walkup, Downey, Calif., the short way around the high-banked oval as they finished second and third, respectively.

Scratch Daniels, feature winner, also captured the second 8-lapper. He started on the outside of the first row and was never headed. Finishing second behind Daniels was Sam Sessions and third went to Mickey Shaw. Bud Randall caused the yellow caution flag to fly when he looped his sprinter going into the backstretch.

Butch Wilkerson, driving the #93 Iddings Special, won the accident-marred third heat. Bud Randall got into trouble again spun and flipped upside down. The unlucky driver wasn’t seriously injured, thanks to the good ol’ roll bar.

Aside from a few broken teeth and a sore tongue, Randall was okay.

Rollie Beale, winner of the Eldora opener, captured the semi-feature over hard charging Al Smith and newcomer Duke Cook.

Fourteen cars lined up for the feature race behind Bob Wente, driving the #16 Dunseth Chevy, and Karl Busson, in the #95 Cedoz Chevy. After five laps, Wente had a comfortable four second lead over Busson. While Wente was threading his way through traffic, Sammy Sessions decided he didn’t want to finish in 7th, in the exact same spot.

While Sessions and Walkup were battling for third, Scratch Daniels was giving Busson fits. Daniels was constantly pressing Busson for second. With about four laps to go, Busson’s Chevy blew, causing his racer to spin against the wall.

Daniels now had second position. The Minnesota speedster was too far behind Wente to catch up, so he settled himself for second place. However, Lady Luck stepped into the picture. She frowned at Bob Wente, causing his gearbox to let go, and smiled at Scratch Daniels (again), giving him the lead and the win.

Results –

1. Jerry Daniels
2. Bruce Walkup
3. Sam Sessions
4. Mickey Shaw
5. Al Smith
6. Rollie Beale
7. Chuck Engel
8. Larry Dickson
9. Dee Jones
10.Jerry Poland

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