Dick Trickle (left) and Tom Jones both took 50-lap feature wins during the Prairie State 150. -
Keith Vercauteren Collection
Morris, Ill. (May 19, 1974) - The Prairie State 150 Sunday afternoon saw three different winners from three different states as Dick Trickle, Tom Jones and Butch Miller carried the three checkered flags.Wisconsin's Trickle posted fast time and won the opening 50-lapper in convincing fashion. The second race was closer with Illinois' Jones just edging Joe Shear and Michigan's Miller took the finale in a side-by-side finish with Trickle.
The overall championship of the meet turned out to be Trickle with a first, second and the fastest time.
Trickle and Jones were the class of the opening two 50-lappers as each scored wins, Jones by the closer margin in the second race.
Al Weinrich and Lee Schuler paced the first 50-lap event for three laps before tangling in the first turn and bringing out the only yellow flag of the event as Dave Clower stalled on the track and Schuler was stuck in the infield.
Don Leach took the lead at the green and opened up a substantial lead over Tom Greenlee, Ed Hoffman, Bob Roper, Miller and fast timer Trickle
Trickle picked his way through the field using lapped cars to his advantage, often going three abreast as he moved to the front.
By the half-way point Leach was running wheel-to-wheel with Trickle and shortly Trickle was in the lead for good. Leach held on for second over Greenlee, Roper, Tom Reffner and Hoffman.
Don Marmor of Elmhurst opened up a nice lead in the second 50 lapper until the third lap when Schuler and Ray Para bumped and spun in the third turn.
When the green flew again Marmor held the lead until the 8th lap when Jones passed him for top spot in the outside groove. Joe Shear took second from Vern Schrock five laps later and the race was on between these former Rockford Speedway rivals.
Jones, popular with the hometown fans, had to survive two more yellow flags in the closing laps as first Marv Palmer blew his engine on the front straight in the front of the leaders.
Then with five laps to go Vem Browne spun in the second turn bunching Jones and Shear up for an exciting finish. Jones maintained a one-car length margin at the checkered. Bill McEnery was a distant third followed by Schrock, Al Johnson and Ray Freeman.
Larry Schuler shot into the lead in the featured third 50-lapper which started all of the top runners. Schuler soon opened up a quarter lap lead over Dave Clower and the rest of the field under two yellow flags ate up the young Schuler’s margin.
The first yellow came on lap 11 when Bill McEnery spun and then two laps later Clower dumped his engine on the backstretch piling up a number of cars. Lee Schuler, Clower and Ed Hoffman were knocked out of competition in the melee that occurred in the third turn.
After a lengthy yellow the young Schuler held the lead until the 17th lap when Butch Miller took the lead in the second turn with Trickle in hot pursuit.
The balance of the race kept the crowd on their feet as Trickle and Miller diced for the lead Miller opening up a margin when in the open and losing it back to Trickle in traffic
When Tom Urban spun in the third turn with a flat tire in the 42nd lap, the yellow flag set up a trophy dash to the checkered in the final eight laps
Trickle went to the outside in the final laps, but Miller was the master in this case as he edged Trick le into the third groove on the final turn.
Joe Shear drove a consistent race for third money while local drivers Larry Schuler, Roper and Jones fought it out for fourth Roper took that spot in the final lap followed by Schuler and Jones. Tom Reffner was sixth.
Feature #1 –
1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Butch Miller, Benton Harbor, Mich.
3. Don Leach, Rockford
4. Tom Greenlee, Rockford
5. Bob Roper, Lombard, Ill.
6. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
7. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
8. Paul Bauer, Garden Homes, Ill.
9. Jerry Kemperman, Blue Island, Ill.
10.Jake Arnold, Rockford
Feature #2 –
1. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
2. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
3. Bill McEnery, Evergreen Park, Ill.
4. Vern Schrock, Middlebury, Ind
5. Al Johnson, Justice, Ill.
6. Ray Freeman, Crete, Ill.
7. Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
8. Vern Browne, Wauconda, Ill.
9. Woody Church, Blue Island, Ill.
10.Don Marmor, Elmhurst, Ill.
Feature #3 –
1. Butch Miller, Benton Harbor, Mich.
2. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
3. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
4. Bob Roper, Lombard, Ill.
5. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
6. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
7. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
8. Bill McEnery, Evergreen Park, Ill.
9. Don Leach, Rockford
10.Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
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