By Stan Kalwasinski
Loves Park, Ill. (April 12, 1981) – Joe Shear took the lead on the 47th circuit and then withstood the challenges of Larry Detjens to win the ARTGO Racing’s season-opening 81-lap late model feature at Rockford Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
It was the third ARTGO triumph for Shear, a former six-time Rockford driving king.
Detjens crossed the finish line in second place, ahead of three-time ARTGO champion Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Fred Campbell.
Pat Schauer, who started on the outside of the front row of the 20-car field, opened up a commanding lead which he maintained despite the appearance of three yellow flags during the initial 25 laps.
Schauer was still on top with 26 laps down, but then his mount lost oil pressure, sending the young charger to the sidelines.
Campbell, who had been running second, inherited the lead when Schauer departed. However, Trickle, Shear, Sauter and Larry Detjens were rapidly moving towards the front of the pack.
Detjens, the afternoon’s fastest qualifier, saw his bid for the lead sour on two occasions when he looped his Camaro in minor incidents.
Campbell kept his Camaro in front until lap 47 when Shear powered underneath him to take the top spot.
Detjens, who twice had to come from the rear of the field, set his sights on the number one position, taking fourth from Campbell on lap 53, third from Sauter on lap 55 and second place from Trickle on lap 57.
The final 24 circuits saw Shear and Detjens wage a fierce battle for first place, rubbing fenders with one another numerous times.
When the checkered dropped, Shear had a car-length advantage over Detjens with Trickle a like distance behind Detjens.
1. Joe Shear, South Beloit
2. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
5. Fred Campbell. Battle Creek, Mich.
6. Larry Schuler, New Lenox, Ill.
7. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum, Wis.
8. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
9. Dennis Vogel, Manitowoc, Wis.
10.Jim Pierson, Janesville, Wis.
11.Dave Price, Panora
12.L.J. Lines, Indianapolis
13.Bobby Dotter, Chicago
14.John Knaus, Rockford
15.Tom Jones, Northbrook
16.Wayne Lensing, Rockford
17.Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.
18.Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
19.Fran Prestay, Silver Lake, Wis.
20.Burt Weitemeyer, Lansing