Saturday, May 28, 2022

1972 - Earl Wagner Holds Off Hard Charges

Earl Wagner won 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature at Sedalia. - Kyle Ealy Collection

Sedalia, Mo. (May 28, 1972) – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa, held off a fierce challenge from defending champion Ray Lee Goodwin, Dick Sutcliffe, Jerry Blundy and Roy Hibbard and copped his first International Motor Contest Association sprint feature of the season at the Missouri State Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

A sparse crowd of only 4,000 watched as Wagner took the lead from Blundy, the defending IMCA sprint car national champion and current point leader, on the third lap as the Iowa pilot found a groove on the cushion and raced for the checkered flag in the annual Sedalia Jaycees Memorial Day program.

Blundy, who damaged the rear end of his racer in Saturday night’s IMCA sprint car show at Eldon, Iowa, vaulted into the lead on the first lap from his pole position.

The first five cars in the feature’s finish, stayed within two seconds of each other virtually all the way. Goodwin, winner of Saturday night’s rain-shortened program in Iowa, had Wagner set up all the way, but just couldn’t get past him.

Wagner, who saw his one-lap IMCA record broken during time trials by Goodwin, came in with the eighth fastest time of the day at 23.16 seconds, but had to place in the consolation feature to make the field in the 30-lap main event. He made it a double payoff by winning the consolation.

Goodwin turned successive laps of 22.79 and 22.81 seconds during the time trials. The former mark broke Wagner’s one-lap mark set last year at 23.03 seconds.

Wagner started on the outside of the fourth row, but by the time that the third lap had been recorded, he had passed Blundy, David James, Sutcliffe, Ron Taylor, Goodwin and Hibbard to take the lead.

The day’s activity was virtually accident free, but the yellow flag did come out twice during the feature. The first yellow flew in the 13th lap, when Tom Stassa hit the wall on the front straightaway as he lost control of his sprinter coming out of the fourth turn. Stassa rejoined the field two laps later. James spun in the first turn, bringing out the second yellow flag He, like Stassa, was able to rejoin the race.

Ralph Parkinson, Kansas City, Dean Shirley, Lincoln, Ill., and Jerry “Flea” Atkins, Holts Summit, Mo., were the three heat winners. Shirley won his heat in record-breaking time. He was timed in at 3 minutes and 11 seconds, breaking Thad Dosher’s old mark of 3 minutes and 16 seconds set at the 1971 Missouri State Fair.

One other record was established during the IMCA program; that came in the match race (trophy dash), when Goodwin was clocked at 2 minutes and 2 seconds. That shattered Grady Wade’s time of 2 minutes and 3 seconds, established in 1966.

Results –

Time trials – Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City (22.79)
Heat #1 – Ralph Parkinson Jr., Kansas City
Heat #2 – Dean Shirley, Lincoln, Ill.
Heat # - Jerry Atkins, Holts Summit, Mo.
Trophy dash – Ray Lee Goodwin
Consolation – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Feature –
1. Earl Wagner
2. Ray Lee Goodwin
3. Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City
4. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Roy Hibbard, Marshall, Mo.
6. Bill Utz, Sedalia
7. Dean Shirley
8. Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
9. Ralph Parkinson
10.Ron Taylor, St. Louis
11.Tom Nordstrom, White Bear Lake, Minn.
12.David James, Garland, Tex.
13.Jerry Atkins
14.Ralph Krafve, Minneapolis
15.Jon Backlund, Kansas City
16.Ron Perkins, Wood River, Ill.
17.Dale McCarty, Independence, Mo.
18.Junior Dietzel, Jefferson City, Mo.

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