Saturday, July 16, 2022

1969 - Stewart Wins Oskaloosa Main

Tom Stewart

by Ida May Van Genderen

Oskaloosa, Iowa (July 16, 1969) - It was an extra-long night of racing at the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds half-mile oval Wednesday night. The 38-car field put on some wild races with plenty of spin outs providing the thrills.

Tom Stewart of Washington piloted his #17 Chevelle to victory for the 15-lap super stock main. Stewart took the lead on the first lap from his pole starting position and was never headed.

Stewart was challenged hard by Mel Morris of West Liberty in what was a bumper-to-bumper duel for most of the race.

The win put Stewart up a notch in the point standings. Tom now holds down second place behind point leader Morris. Joel Rasmussen of Gilbert held off John Moss of Iowa City to place third with Moss coming in fourth.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines collected his first trophy dash of this season at Oskaloosa. Clarence Grubb was second and Ron Van Roekel of Pella was third.

Tom Stewart also won the first heat race. Stewart grabbed the lead from Joel Rasmussen on the sixth lap for the win. Mike Niffenegger and John Moss were in third and fourth spots.

Don Hoffman captured the crash-marred second heat race. Frank Orr of Brooklyn was second followed by George Derry and Joe Merryfield.

The red flag was dropped on the second lap when Charles Allison of Ottumwa and Harold Sanders of Montezuma tangled coming out of the fourth turn slamming into the inside guard rail.

Allison glanced off the rail and managed to gain control and keep the car on the track coming to a halt in the first turn. Sanders wasn’t as fortunate and crashed through the inside guard rail heading toward the judges stand. He then spun and slid to a crashing halt against the pit fence next to the infield concession stand. Neither driver was injured in the mishap.

Mel Morris copped the third heat by a wide margin over second place car, Pokey West. Mike Keen was third with a considerable lead over Bob Bonzer in fourth.

Del Stokke of Ames won the eight-lap Australian Pursuit race ahead of Joel Rasmussen and Tom Stewart.

Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree was the victor of the 10-lap consolation race. Twenty-three cars started the event with only nine finishing due to the many spin outs causing the red flag to be out four times.

Results –

Trophy Dash - Don Hoffman, Des Moines
First Heat - Tom Stewart, Washington
Second Heat - Don Hoffman
Australian Pursuit - Del Stokke, Ames
Consolation - Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
Feature -
1. Tom Stewart
2. Mel Morris, West Liberty
3. Joel Rasmussen, Gilbert
4. John Moss, Iowa City
5. Pokey West, West Chester
6. Bob Bonzer, Liscomb
7. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
8. Bill Newman, Burlington

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