Wednesday, August 31, 2022

1975 – Howe’s Sunday Visit Pays with a Pair of Capital Wins

Ed Howe

Oregon, Wis. (August 31, 1975) – Ed Howe was “imported” to the Capital Super Speedway on Sunday afternoon to give the local drivers a run for it and when the day was over very late model in the field was thoroughly tired of chasing the Beaverton, Mich., around the half-mile paved oval.

The occasion was a special show with a $10,000 purse.

Howe set second fastest time, then came back to score solid wins in the first 50-lap feature and the 100-lap finale.

Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., gave Howe his stiffest challenge in the 100 after winning the other 50-lapper.

The field was broken down with even qualifiers starting the first 50, the odd the second and the fastest 13 from each in the finale.

In the initial half-century, Bob Roper of Chicago, led the first half-dozen laps before Rich Somers of Stevens Point, eased his 1972 Mustang ahead on lap 7.

Roper spun his 1975 Camaro on the second turn of lap 10 and brought out the first caution. Howe, after starting 15th in the 21-car field, was up to fourth.

It took two laps under the green for Howe to catch Somers for the front spot. Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids followed Howe past Somers to take second on lap 13.

The final yellow banner was flow on lap 28 when Red Hutchinson of Beloit spun his 1972 Nova in turn two. Howe had a three-second bulge at the time.

The return of the green flag brought another Howe sprint that re-established a comfortable lead. Trickle slowed on lap 47, apparently out of fuel and third-place Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids pushed him for a lap without losing position.

When fourth-place Jim Pierson of Janesville caught up with the Mustang tandem, Miller gave Trickle a final shove, and took over second, successfully holding off Pierson.

Trickle coasted another lap and placed eighth, one lap down. Larry Schuler of Lockport, Ill., garnered fourth, behind Pierson and Don Leach of Beloit was fifth.

The second 50 lined up another 21 cars. Butch Ledy of Park Forest, Ill., led the first three laps before Bob Gunn of Monona asserted himself. Gunn was scored as the leader for laps 4 through 7 and then Shear, up from 13th in the starting grid, took over for good on lap 8.

Fast qualifier Tom Reffner of Rudolph captured the attention of the crowd, charging from his 16th starting position. He took second from Caledonia’s John Reimer on lap 22 and was a bout a second-and-a-half behind the leader.

Reffner narrowed the gap to about two car lengths by lap 37 but brake and handling problems in the ono-stop event forced him to slow his pace.

Shear finished the contest with about a three-second margin, with Reffner settling for second and Reimer in third, a half-lap back.

The 100-lapper began with Doug Strasburg of Johnson Creek leading the first pair of laps before Somers took over.

The caution flag flew on lap 13 when John Ziegler and Reimer collided on the main straight with both Camaros going into the wall. Both cars were finished for the day.

Yellow flags below 90 counted so the green flag didn’t wave until lap 22 with Somers still in command, followed by Strasburg, Shear, Gunn, Trickle and Howe.

Shear moved into second on lap 24 and Trickle took possession of third on lap 27. Howe dropped Trickle back to fourth on lap 31 and Reffner moved Trickle back even further two circuits later.

Leach stalled on the main straightaway on lap 38 and the caution waved again.

The green flag got the field rolling again on lap 44. Howe moved past Somers into second on lap 46. Reffner took third and Trickle dropped Somers another notch on lap 47.

Howe, pacing himself, gradually moved up on Shear’s bumper on lap 64, and then powered into the lead on lap 65.

With Howe, Shear, Reffner, Trickle, Somers, Miller, and Gunn comprising the unlapped cars, all went well until lap 94 when Gunn and Miller tangled in the second turn with their 1970 Mustangs hitting the wall. Gunn was shaken up and taken to a hospital for observation. The damage to Miller’s car was minor and he was able to continue.

A final six-lap sprint was set up with Howe, Shear and Reffner out to claim the win.

Howe, however, was up to Shear’s challenges, and Shear, in turn, held back Reffner’s advances. The three were separated by about a car length at the finish. Trickle took fourth, Somers fifth and Miller rebounded to take sixth.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Ed Howe, Beaverton, Mich.
2. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
3. Jim Pierson, Janesville
4. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
5. Don Leach, Beloit
6. Denny Paasch, Marshfield

Feature #2 –

1. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
3. John Reimer, Caledonia
4. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek
5. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
6. Bob Gunn, Monona

Feature #3 –

1. Ed Howe
2. Joe Shear
3. Tom Reffner
4. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
5. Rich Somers
6. Mike Miller
7. Larry Schuler
8. Jim Pierson
9. Al Schill, Franklin
10.Bob Roper, Chicago

1961 – Moffit Wins Senior Jalopy Title

Charlie Moffit proudly displays his trophy after winning the senior jalopy championship during the Iowa State Fair. 

Des Moines, Iowa (August 31, 1961) – Temporarily outlawed by his own racing circuit, Charlie Moffit, the big Stanwood, Iowa, farmer, added the senior jalopy championship to his junior title before an estimated crowd of 4,200 at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday afternoon.

The big 6-foot 7-inch driver, suspended by the Cedarloo Racing Association for competing here last Sunday night, passed Newton’s Ed Warnik going into the 23rd lap to win the 25-lap feature in 12 minutes and 14 seconds.

Warnik protested Moffit’s pass on the yellow flag, but it was denied since the International Motor Contest Association rule was waived by agreement among the drivers prior to the program.

Moffit, wheeling Howard Purvis’ Chevy-powered 1939 Ford, caught the green flag just as he was coming out of the fourth turn, after gunning past Warnik.

Warnik, driving a Corvette creation of Des Moines’ race promoter Marion Robinson, had regained the lead from Moffit on lap 18 after losing it to his rival on lap 11.

At that stage, there were eight cars stalled on the track, five in the west turn.

One was the Buick flyer, owned and driven by Knoxville point leader Earl Wagner of Pleasantville.

Wagner trounced the Cedarloo point leader Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo in the fifth heat with a 3 minute and 11.29 second performance for the fastest 7-lap time.

Zwanziger, permitted to run here since Thursday’s program didn’t conflict with his own’s circuit’s date, finished fourth in the main event, trailing third-place finisher Vern Carman of Madrid.

The renewal of the duel between Moffit and Jim Houseman of Des Moines, who finished second in the junior championship on Sunday night, ended when Houseman spun on the third lap.

The track was ruled clear and Houseman, as well as others involved in spins, were forced to sit it out with no restarts because the State Fair management had set a 4 pm deadline for the end of the program, which was running 45 minutes late.

It took an hour off the first two elimination heats. The red flag dropped twice for flips, with Chariton’s Jim Irving a victim in the first heat and Joe Marchesano the third heat.

Merlin Benning of Waverly hit the wall coming out of the east turn, with the car catching on fire but Benning escaping with only minor bruises.

Results –

Heat #1 – John Roby, Rockwell City
Heat #2 – Ed Warnik, Newton
Heat #3 – Norm Weimier, Manson
Heat #4 – Charlie Moffit, Stanwood
Heat #5 – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville
Consolation – Willie Kluse, Clarion
Feature –
1. Charlie Moffit
2. Ed Warnik
3. Vern Carman, Madrid
4. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
5. Norm Weimier
6. John Roby
7. Bill Morrow, Newton
8. John Moss, Iowa City
9. Vern Weber, Cascade
10.Gene Hockensmith, Des Moines

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

1981 – Stevenson Tops on Sedalia Mile

John Stevenson holds the trophy for winning the National Speedways Contest Association sprint car feature on the Sedalia mile. Robert Lawton presents the checkers. 

Sedalia, Mo. (August 30, 1981) – “I raced here today to earn the points to keep the NSCA championship,” said a happy John Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn., after he won the 35-mile sprint car feature Sunday at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

Stevenson, who was out front for every lap but the first two, found the one-mile track to his liking. “I ran real hard for the first five laps after the green then I tried to smooth it out to save the car for the last 30.”

By lap 8 Stevenson had built a straight-away lead over second place Bobby Layne of Kansas City. Stevenson saw his big lead disappear on lap 15 when the yellow came out for Dick Howard of Kansas City.

On the restart, Stevenson once again pulled away from the pack. On lap 20 Tim Green of Carmichael, Calif., pulled in behind Layne for third place. Layne’s car began smoking on lap 22 and he broke on lap 26. By now Green was running second and Gary Scott of Holts Summit, Mo., move into third.

The red flag came out on lap 27 when Jerry Walkingstick of Bartlesville, Okla., rode the outside wall in turn three.

The restart saw Stevenson build a comfortable lead over both Green and Scott. Stevenson would build on his lead to more than a straight-away lead at the checkered flag.

As Stevenson pulled into victory lane a bolt fell out of his right rear suspension causing the right rear to slump to the ground.

Mike Brooks of Knoxville Iowa, set fast time in time trials with a time of 35.859 seconds on the dirt mile. Twelve-lap heats went to Rick Weld of Kansas City, Stevenson, and Brooks while the 4-lap trophy dash was won by Weld.

Results –

1. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
2. Tim Green, Carmichael, Calif.
3. Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo.
4. Mike Brooks, Knoxville, Iowa
5. Tom Corbin, Carrollton, Mo.
6. Rick Weld, Kansas City
7. Gene Gennetten, Parkville, Mo.
8. Jon Backlund, Kansas City
9. Danny Lasoski, Dover, Mo.
10.Mike Thomas, Des Moines
11.Chad Ward, Independence, Mo.
12.Jim McVay, Independence, Mo.
13.Roger Hurst, Kansas City
14.Bobby Layne, Kansas City
15.Jerry Walkingstick, Bartlesville, Okla.

1970 - Hutch Grabs State Fair 250

Des Moines, Iowa (August 30, 1970) – Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, the fourth fastest qualifier in his 1970 Torino, turned on the speed Sunday night to capture the 250-lap feature for IMCA new model stock cars at the Iowa State Fair.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, finished second in his 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner and Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, rammed home his 1969 Charger into third place.

Lefty Robinson of Des Moines wheeled his ’69 Camaro to a fourth-place finish and Sandy Sandstrom of Kansas City rounded out the top five.

Gordy Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, drove his 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner to fast time, touring the half-mile dirt oval in 27.87 seconds to squeeze past Dean Montgomery of Milan, Ill., who was clocked at 27.91 seconds.

Results –

1. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Mel Morris, West Liberty, Iowa
4. Lefty Robinson, Des Moines
5. Sandy Sandstrom, Kansas City
6. Leon Bowman, Wichita
7. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
8. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
10.Tom Beck, Waterloo, Iowa
11.Mike Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
12.Ralph Bowlen, Marshall, Mo.
13.Bill Stark, Des Moines
14.Chuck Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
15.Jerre Wichman, Kansas City

1958 – Derr is 100-Lap Winner at St. Paul

Minnesota State Fair winner Ernie Derr receives congratulations from IMCA secretary John Libby.

St. Paul, Minn. (August 30, 1958) – Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa, slid, skidded, and splashed his way to victory in the 100-lap late model stock car race at the Minnesota State Fair.

The little Iowan pushed his way into the lead early in the race, when Bernie Hentges of Anoka, Minn., who had taken the lead at the start, crashed into Dick Pellow, Minneapolis, who spun directly into Hentges’ path.

A hard shower interrupted the race on lap 52 and after about an hour, the track was bladed and reconditioned.

Derr grabbed the lead on the restart and was never seriously challenged. He collected $600 for the victory and a large trophy.

Russell “Sonny” Gross of Quincy, Ill., took second-place money in the event, finishing about a straightaway behind Derr. Gross took home $500.

Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, the defending champion, wound up in third place, taking home $400.

Pre-race favorites Don White of Keokuk and Bob Burdick of Omaha finished out of the money. White, caught in heavy traffic most of the afternoon, was scored in 11th place, while Burdick was forced to make a long pit stop when the engine of his 1958 Ford overheated.

Bruce Nystrom of Oshkosh, Wis., blew a tire on lap 72 while running in second. Dropping him back to 13th place.

Derr, White and Burdick all paid $50 fines before the race to get back in the good graces of the International Motor Contest Association officials. The three drivers and car owners had been disqualified Thursday after a teardown revealed their cars were not in accordance with association specifications.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
3. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
4. Chub Liebe, Oelwein, Iowa
5. Jerry Kauffman, Minneapolis
6. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.
7. Murray Folsom, Mechanicsville, Iowa
8. Jim Rehbein, Forest Lake, Minn.
9. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10.Bob Hilmer, Dysart, Iowa
11.Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
12.Dick Pellow, Minneapolis
13.Bruce Nystrom, Oshkosh, Wis.
14.Frank Richards, Marion, Iowa
15.John Kahoot, Black River Falls, Wis.
16.Dick Johnson, St. Paul
17.Bob Dugan, Waukegan, Ill.
18.Whitey Traeder, Milwaukee
19.Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
20.Floyd Matter, Hollandale

1951 – Holland Triumphs in Kansas Feature

Bill Holland accepts his trophy after winning the IMCA big car contest at Belleville. 

Belleville, Kan. (August 30, 1951) – Bill Holland of Reading, Penn., scored a victory on Thursday in the 20-lap International Motor Contest Association big car feature at the North Central Kansas Fairgrounds.

Holland took the lead on the first lap and was never headed, although he was given plenty of trouble by Bobby Grim of Indianapolis. Grim was eventually forced out of action on lap 14 when a tire on his car blew out.

Frank Luptow of Tampa, Fla., turned the fastest clocking in time trials, whirling around the half-mile dirt oval in 20.78 seconds. Luptow, however, would see his day end in the third heat when he was forced out with mechanical trouble.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jay King, Kansas City
Heat #2 – Bobby Grim Indianapolis
Heat #3 – Herschel Wagner Hickman Hills, Mo.
Handicap – Bud Dombroski, Indianapolis
Consolation – Ken Rubright, Lyndon, Ill.
Feature –
1. Lou Holland, Reading, Penn.
2. Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo.
3. Bud Dombroski
4. Bob Slater, Redfield, Kan.
5. Ken Rubright
6. Gordon Shuck, Edgar, Neb.
7. Jay King
8. Keith Saylor, Macomb, Ill.

Monday, August 29, 2022

1980 – Hearst wins Season Title at Downs

Tom Hearst capped off a dominant season at Hawkeye Downs by capturing the 35-lap season championship. - John Vass Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 29, 1980) – 1980 is a year Tom Hearst will not soon forget.

The 33-year-old stock car driver from Wilton led from start to finish en route to capturing the 35-lap season championship feature race at Hawkeye Downs on Friday night.

It was Hearst’s fifth win of the season at the Downs, and it capped a brilliant season for the happy-go-lucky veteran.

“I just planned to go out there and be consistent,” said Hearst while accepting congratulations from some of his faithful followers.

“It was a little slick out there,” added Hearst, “But it didn’t seem to bother me.”

Waterloo’s Ed Sanger kept up with Hearst for the first 21 laps before the Downs regular season points leader pulled away and cruised to paydirt.

Sanger checked in as runner-up with Cedar Rapids’ Mike Frieden coming home in third place.

Frieden, who is known locally as “the man without a sponsor,” battled it out with Viola’s Ken Walton for that spot throughout the race before he slipped past Walton on the 34th circuit to finish his best season ever on a high note.

Chopper Safley of Marion won the season championship in the street stock division and Scott Braun of Cedar Falls won the sportsman title.

Results –

Heat #1 – Rick Wendling, Hazelton
Heat #2 – Mel Morris, West Liberty
Heat #3 – Karl Sanger, Waterloo
Feature –
1. Tom Hearst, Wilton
2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
3. Mike Frieden, Cedar Rapids
4. Ken Walton, Viola
5. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
6. Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
7. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
8. Steve Keppler, Marion
9. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
10.Mel Morris

1965 – Derr Takes State Fair’s Final Race

Ernie Derr is joined in victory lane by Iowa State Fair queen Connie Schaffer and IMCA starter Gene Van Winkle after winning the rain shortened IMCA late model stock car race at the Iowa State Fair. 

Des Moines, Iowa (August 29, 1965) – Ernie Derr of Keokuk made it three in a row by winning a rain-abbreviated late model stock car feature at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday night.

A crowd of 7,000 sat patiently through the rain and early fireworks display before a downpour ended the scheduled 250-lapper on the 109th circuit.

Showers washed out the afternoon stock car program, but officials were able to get the track ironed out for the night’s feature.

Derr was about a lap ahead of Bob Jusola of Mound, Minn., when rain started to fall on lap 96. That brought out the yellow flag and they ran until the track was too muddy for further racing.

Roland Wilson of Bedford, barely 10th in last season’s point standings, made his best showing of the season in pushing his 1964 Ford to a third-place finish. Art Schmidt of St. Paul, Minn., also had his best race of the year, taking his 1964 Ford to a fourth-place finish.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, trying for his 11th triumph off the season, broke a left front spindle while running second behind the eventual winner on lap 39. Stott did not get back on the track until 16 laps later but still managed to finish 13th, regaining one of his lost laps before the rain began to fall.

Derr, who earned $1,000, was never challenged in the race. The 42-year-old Keokuk driver had a 25-yard lead on Stott until Ramo had to pit for repairs.

If the fans thought they were seeing things, they were right. Ray Littrell of Kansas City, a taxi driver, had his Chrysler-powered Yellow Cab out there running for 75 laps. He collected $50 on his meter for 16th place.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
2. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
3. Roland Wilson, Bedford
4. Art Schmidt, St. Paul, Minn.
5. Blackie Wangerin, St. Paul, Minn.
6. Butch Hall, Russell, Minn.
7. John Mickey, Columbus Junction
8. Bill Mueller, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
10.Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
11.Tom Feller, Independence, Mo.
12.Leon Fellers, Flemington, Mo.
13.Ramo Stott, Keokuk
14.Don Hensley, Holden, Mo.
15.Bill Gibson, Kansas City
16.Ray Littrell, Kansas City
17.Vic Elson, Ash Grove, Mo.
18.Roger Hale, Kansas City

1954 – Carr Captured 10-Mile Race in Record Time

Auto Racing, Inc’s Frank Winkley congratulates Don Carr after his record-breaking performance at the Minnesota State Fair. – Roby Helm Collection

St. Paul, Minn. (August 29, 1954) – Don Carr of Jackson, Mich., who all afternoon hadn’t won enough to pay for the fuel his powerful Offenhauser was burning, brought the 27,351 spectators to their feet by setting a new national record in winning the 20-lap feature at the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday.

With a standing-room-only crowd looking on, Carr churned the 10 miles under near perfect track conditions and was clocked in 8 minutes and 22.47 seconds, more than 10 seconds below the old standard set by Deb Snyder on the same track two years ago.

Snyder, ironically, was one driver who chased the Michigander to the new mark on Sunday afternoon. The Kent, Ohio, veteran, however, had to settle for third place as Homer Claytor, Tampa, Fla., took runner-up honors. Marvin Pifer, Adrian, Mich., was fourth as he dueled with Snyder in a battle of Offenhauser’s.

The show, a display of skillful driving by 34 speedsters, saw not a single mishap except for facia cuts suffered by three drivers. Scotty Scoville, Kansas City, was removed to Bethesda Hospital when a rock broke his windshield and hit him in the eye. Jerry Kemp, St. Louis, and Willie Thompson, Mill Valley, Calif., needed medical attention for cuts suffered from flying gravel.

Carr went into the last event with only a fourth place in the first heat to his credit. That netted him $30. For his first-place finish in the feature, he picked up $650 from the $6,000 total purse.

Bob Carpenter of Wabash, Ind., captured the 10-lap semi-main while Bert Hellmueller of Louisville, Ky. Won the consolation. Leon DeRock of Mason City, Iowa, copped the Twin Cities Invitational Dash.

Carpenter, piloting a purple-colored chrome job pretty enough to park in your own living room, was the day’s only double winner. He won the third heat in 2 minutes and 25.5 seconds, a shade off the IMCA national 6-lap record. Snyder took the first heat and Bob Johnson, St. Paul, outran three Offenhauser’s in his Ranger to take the second heat.

Results –

Heat #1 – Deb Snyder, Kent, Ohio
Heat #2 – Bob Johnson, St. Paul
Heat #3 – Bob Carpenter, Wabash, Ind.
TC Dash – Leon DeRock, Mason City, Iowa
Consolation – Bert Hellmueller, Louisville, Ky.
Semi-main – Bob Carpenter
Feature –
1. Don Carr, Jackson, Mich.
2. Homer Claytor, Tampa, Fla.
3. Deb Snyder
4. Marvin Pifer, Adrian, Mich.
5. Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind.
6. Leon DeRock
7. Stan Callaway, Hialeah, Fla.
8. Earl Motter, Van Nuys, Calif.
9. Bob Johnson
10.Bob Carpenter

Sunday, August 28, 2022

1971 – Schultz Cops Missouri Modified Crown

Steve Schultz receives his trophy from Miss Sedalia, Cindy Heeren. Flagman Al Hall holds the checkers while Jimmy Glenn prepares for an interview with the winner. The two young girls are the daughters of Jerry Weld, who had been killed in an accident the year before.


Sedalia, Mo. (August 28, 1971) – Steve Schultz, a former schoolteacher and former Sedalian, was crowned the new Missouri Super Modified Champion on Saturday night at the Missouri State Fair. Schultz, who now lives in Carrollton, Mo., won the 18th annual event after inheriting the lead on lap 43 from leader Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., when Leavitt pulled to the inner guardrail during a caution flag for gas.

Schultz started on the pole position when the green flag waved and ran second for most of the 50-lap race to Leavitt, the defending champion.

The yellow flag waved a total of seven times during the contest, mostly due to spinouts, causing many of the driver’s precious fuel. Yellow flags were not counted as laps during the race.

One of those who fell victim to a lack of fuel towards the end of the race was Sedalia’s Bill Utz. Utz ran either second or third for much of the race until the 50th and final circuit when his car started to sputter on the backstretch, while he was running a close second to Schultz, and as they came to the checkered flag.

In the last quarter mile, Utz dropped all the way from second place to sixth as four cars passed him in the final 100 yards.

Bob Ford of Marshall, Mo., had his most profitable day by nailing down runner-up honors. Ford, wo started near the rear of the 23-car field, drove a steady race, and cashed in on other driver’s mistakes.

Leavitt had the lead two different times in the race; he took it from the start as the field entered the first turn, but dropped back to sixth place on lap 17, when he momentarily lost control of his racer between the third and fourth turns.

That gave Schultz the lead, but Leavitt charged to the front once again and regained the top spot on lap 24. He stayed there until the 43rd lap, when he was forced to pit on the yellow flag.

According to the rules, Leavitt had to rejoin the field at the rear. That didn’t seem to bother Leavitt, however, as he mounted another charge to the front of the pack and finished an impressive third.

Following Shultz, Ford, and Leavitt were Jay Woodside of Kansas City and Dean Elliott of California, Mo.

In winning the event, Schultz pocketed $1,000.

Results –

Heat 1 – Donnie Cooper, Sedalia, Mo.
Heat #2 – Robert Thoman, Higginsville, Mo.
Semi-main – Marvin Morales, Kansas City
Feature –
1. Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
2. Bob Ford, Marshall, Mo.
3. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
4. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
5. Dean Elliott, California, Mo.
6. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
7. Jerry Johnson, Kirksville, Mo.
8. Tom Frasher, Jefferson City, Mo.
9. Jim Braden, Kansas City
10.Shorty Acker, Windsor, Mo.

1965 – Moughan Win State Fair Feature

Jim Moughan


Des Moines, Iowa (August 28, 1965) – Jim Moughan of Springfield, Ill., wheeled himself into the International Motor Contest Association’s sprint car point leadership Saturday afternoon with a surprising triumph in the 15-mile feature before 7,000 race fans at the Iowa State Fair.

Gordon Wooley of Waco, Tex., the point leader entering the contest, did not compete. He was in a hospital in Belleville, Kan., being treated for injuries suffered in a modified crash there on Friday night.

A costly spin on lap 5 of the 30-lap feature kept Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., from becoming the first driver to score a sweep in the Iowa State Fair sprint car program in nine years.

It also set Richert back fourth place in the point standings, after he finished 13th in the feature, one spot out of the money.

Moughan, never headed in the finale, was followed to the finish line by Tom Bigelow of Whitewater, Wis., Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., Dean Mast of Dover, Ohio and Rollie Beale of Toledo, Ohio, all driving Chevrolet-powered outfits.

It wasn’t an all-Chevy show, however, as Buzz Barton of Tampa, Fla., brought a lusty cheer from the crowd after winning the third heat in the Roy Thomas Offenhauser – one of the few of the four-cylinder outfits still competing.

The triumph – the third of the season for Moughan – plus a third-place finish in the consolation, sent the new IMCA point leader in front of Woolley, 1,435 to 1,300.

The only record set by the sprint cars was for the length of the program, 1 hour and 45 minutes with an unscheduled 5-lap match race, 3 8-lap heat races, an 8-lap consolation and the 30-lap feature. They had to restart one race and three others delayed by the caution yellow.

Bigelow, a comparative newcomer out of the midget ranks, took over third place with his runner-up showing behind Moughan. Bigelow now has 1,117 points and Richert is at 992.

The Minnesota contender, who has won seven features this season, was attempting to pass Moughan on the inside of the third turn, when he grazed the infield plank-fence. The impact threw Richert into a spin against the wall.

By the time Richert recouped, he was two laps behind the leaders and never had a chance.

Results –

Heat #1 – Norm Baker, Webster City, Iowa
Heat #2 – Bob Coulter, Long Beach, Calif.
Heat #3 – Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
Match Race – Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
Consolation – Jerry Richert
Feature –
1. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill
2. Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
3. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
4. Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
5. Rollie Beale, Toledo, Ohio
6. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
7. Jerry Weld, Kansas City
8. Ron Larson, Milltown, Wis.
9. Jay Woodside, Overland Park, Kan.
10. Bob Coulter
11. Buzz Barton
12. Norm Baker

1952 – Magnison Grabs ‘100’ at Fair


St. Paul, Minn. (August 28, 1952) – Chuck Magnison of Minneapolis won the 100-mile stock car race before 27,840 at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday.

However, Magnison’s victory, which was worth $750, was incidental to the day’s excitement as three drivers overturned their cars, with Russ Lee, a 33-year-old local salesman, the most seriously hurt.

Dominic Perlick, the 30-year-old Minneapolis auto mechanic, started the accident parade on the 83rd lap when his 1950 Oldsmobile blew a right rear tire. Perlick, who led the race until lap 65 before he was forced to the pits to make repairs, was not hurt but his car wasn’t in condition to continue, and he lost the runner-up position he had been running in at the time of the misfortune.

Bob Craft of Superior, Wis., rolled his car on lap 86 but was not hurt in the incident.

Lee, who won the 1950 state championship big car race at the Fair and was competing for the first time this year, flipped over on the east turn when he hit a rut in the track. The 6-3, 240-pound Lee was running eighth in the race at the time of the accident.

Magnison, who won $325 on Wednesday for winning the 25-miler, brought his grand total to $1,075 for two days of racing.

Magnison had led the race from the onset until lap 26 when Perlick took over. When Perlick was forced to the pits on lap 65 to repair an overheated motor, Magnison inherited the lead once again and never relinquished afterwards.

Magnison’s Hudson Hornet maintained the pace all the way without repair. He won the race handily by four laps over Stan Buchta of Minneapolis, Bob Dugan of Minneapolis, Chris Skadal of Des Moines, Iowa, and Eddie Larson of Minneapolis.

The winning time of the race was 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 27 seconds.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

1983 – Kinser wins Wilmot sprint finale

USAC star Sheldon Kinser won the 40-lap A-main at Wilmot.

Wilmot, Wis. (August 27, 1983) – Sheldon Kinser, a two-time USAC sprint car national champion from Bloomington, Ind., re-entered the world of winged sprint car racing Saturday night at the Wilmot Speedway and enjoyed his $2,300 victory so much, he admitted to liking it in the winner’s circle.

It was the first time in over 10 years that Kinser had competed in a sprint car with a win attached but he “winged” his way to a win in the final segment of the J&L Gas – Winged Open sprint car series in his first-ever appearance at the popular Wisconsin dirt oval.

Kiner, in his Jack Steck Hoosier Tire sprint car, qualified sixth fastest among the 39 entries topped by Ji Moulis with a time of 15.09 seconds for the third-mile oval left heavy by rain throughout most of the day.

When Dick Colburn’s pole starting car would not fire due to a faulty magneto, Kinser moved up to the outside front row starting spot and led every circuit to win the 40-lap A-main which saw four restarts before the final six laps to Wayne Soder’s double-checkered flags.

Kinser had to fight off a persistent challenge from Jim Moulis for the final 19 laps and finished only a car length in front of Moulis with Ron Standridge and Gib Wiser all on the same straightaway. John Tierney rounded out the top five finishers.

All drivers were able to hook up and run the track deep and wide open with resulting sweeping broadside action through the turns. It was by far the best racing of the three-race series which saw Rick Ferkel win the June race and Doug Wolfgang win the July contest. However, the threatening weather held the attendance down to the smallest of the three races.

Wilmot regulars Joe Kristan and Allen Schalfer won thee B and C mains. Kristan also won the third heat and set a new sprint car track record of 2 minutes and 35.73 seconds. Other heat winners were Tom Sexton, Ken Biertzer and Dean Shirley.

Although absent from the final series race, Rick Ferkel wound the overall point series winner to earn $1,000 from the $4,000 J&L Gas point fund.

Results –

1. Sheldon Kinser
2. Jim Moulis
3. Ron Standridge
4. Gib Wiser
5. John Tierney
6. Rick Lemanski
7. Joe Kristan
8. Ken Biertzer
9. Rick Schmidt
10.Bob Robel

1970 - Clutch Cools, Mosier Heats Up to Take Fair's Feature

Mark Mosier

Des Moines, Iowa (August 27, 1970) - Mark Mosier of Washington coaxed his 1964 Chevelle to victory in the 25-lap Iowa State Super Stock Championship car race at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday despite a faulty clutch.

Mosier was leading the pack through the first 10 laps but dropped back to third behind Gene Schattschneider of Algona, Iowa, and Arlo Becker of Atkins, Iowa, for the next 11 circuits.

A delay for a re-start midway through the race helped cool the clutch and the 37- year-old Mosier was able to move ahead on the 22nd lap as Schattschneider dropped back when his car threw rubber off a tire.

“That clutch was really groaning for a couple of laps before that re-start,” Mosier said. “I’d taken it easy for a couple of laps when the clutch started going . . . might not have made it if it hadn’t been re-started.”

A crowd of 5,900 saw Phil Reece of Des Moines take the consolation in a time that might be a record for slowness for 10 laps — 24 minutes and 44.15 seconds — nearly 9 minutes more than it took to run the 25-lap main (15:47.62).

There were plenty of thrills — a backstretch collision that put Bill Rice of Des Moines out of action but left him uninjured, some spectacular spinouts by Everett Hutchinson and Harvey Patterson of Northwood, Iowa —plus time out to burn gasoline off the track.

The consolation field probably covered more laps than the feature performers.

Hutchinson almost won the fourth heat race. The Sac City, Iowa, driver was leading by a seemingly safe margin when his car spun between the third and fourth turns — that became a habit of that as the afternoon wore on — and placed eighth as Don Hoffman of Des Moines won.

Results –

Heat #1 – Mark Mosier, Washington, Iowa
Heat #2 – Jim Havill, LeClaire, Iowa
Heat #3 – Joel Rasmussen, Ames, Iowa
Heat #4 – Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Consolation – Phil Reece, Des Moines
Feature -
1. Mark Mosier
2. Arlo Becker, Atkins, Iowa
3. John Moss, Iowa City
4. Butch Householder, Algona, Iowa
5. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree, Iowa
6. Earl Tice, Ames, Iowa
7. Ron Prymek, Iowa City
8. Gene Schattschneider, Algona, Iowa
9. Jim Havill
10.Denny Hovinga, Laurens, Iowa
11.Bill Newman, Burlington, Iowa
12.Jerry Roberts, Prairie City, Iowa
13.Mel Morris, West Liberty, Iowa
14.Wayne Meyer, Algona, Iowa
15.Ken Davidson, Des Moines
16.Greg Davis, Boone, Iowa
17.Roger Carmody, Osage, Iowa
18.Gary Lindgren, Ogden, Iowa

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

1975 - Hartman's Back-Up Delivers Winning Performance at Du Quoin

A dust covered Butch Hartman receives his trophy from Ms. St. Louis Auto Racing Fan Club after winning the 100-mile USAC stock car race at Du Quoin. – Tom Reel Photo

Du Quoin, Ill. (August 23, 1975) – Defending four-time champion Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio, drove his back-up Dodge to victory in Saturday afternoon’s 100-lap USAC stock car classic at Du Quoin State Fairgrounds,

Taking over the extra car, when his regular mount had engine trouble during warmups, Hartman qualified second fastest to polesitter Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio. He then took the lead on the 14th lap, lost it when he pitted for gas on the 29th, came back to regain it on lap 49 and then stayed on top to take home the win before 8,137.

Second place money in the $19,087 purse, went to Sal Tovella of Addison, Ill., in a Plymouth, who finished some five seconds behind Hartman. Third was Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in a Dodge, with Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, fourth in a Plymouth. Finishing fifth, one lap behind them were Bay Darnell of Deerfield, Ill., in a Dodge and Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, took sixth in a Dodge.

Bowsher won the pole in his 1973 Ford Torino with a time of 38.336 seconds. The start of the race was held up until 3:40 pm in unsuccessful attempts to settle the dusty track surface by watering the one-mile dirt oval.

The field finally took the green to a cloud of dust, with Bowsher leading over Janey and Hartman. The yellow came out on the first lap when tailenders Mark Dinsmore of Covington, Ind., and Ray Bohlander of New Berlin, Wis., tangled in the fourth turn before ever getting to the green flag.

The green flag waved again on the third lap and Bowsher again took off with the lead. Hartman trailed in third until lap 14 when he put a move on both Janey and Bowsher to take command.

Bowsher was out of the race by lap 20 with an overheated engine.

Terry Ryan of Davenport, Iowa, spun in the first turn on lap 28 and was tail ended by Ernie Derr, who said he could not see Ryan in the dust until it was too late.

With the yellow out, Hartman dove into the pits for fuel, but Stott stayed out and inherited the lead.

The pit stop dropped Hartman to fifth, but he was on the move again shortly afterward, taking third from Fred Zack of Milwaukee on the 34th lap, second from Don White on lap 47. Two circuits later, Hartman scooted past Stott for the lead he never relinquished.

Tovella made a late charge to take second on lap 69 could not catch the flying Hartman.

Results –

1. Butch Hartman
2. Sal Tovella
3. Irv Janey
4. Ramo Stott
5. Bay Darnell
6. Don White
7. Larry Moore
8. Harold Fair
9. Gordon Blankenship
10.Len Gittemeier
11.Fred Zack
12.Paul Feldner
13.Steve Drake
14.Dale Richardson
15.Gene Marmor
16.Jerry Sifford
17.Mark Dinsmore
18.Russ Peterson
19.Ken Rowley
20.Ken Simpson
21.Jim Scott
22.Larry Cope
23.Terry Ryan
24.Ernie Derr
25.George Coonrod
26.Jack Bowsher
27.Butch Garner
28.Ralph Latham
29.Dave Whitcomb
30.Ray Bohlander

1969 – Taylor Loses Lead, Race to Brua

Ole Brua accepts his trophy in victory lane after winning the 25-lap late model stock car feature. Woody Brinkman presents the checkers while race promoter Al Sweeney makes the announcement. 

Sedalia, Mo. (August 23, 1969) - Ole Brua of Albert Lea, Minn., in the blue ’69 Bill Greer Ford Special passed Lewis Taylor in the last 100 yards of the final lap to win the $300 first-place prize for the feature event for stock cars at the Missouri State Fair Grounds half-mile track on Saturday night.

Taylor had led from the third lap of the 25-lap feature race. He looked as if he was on his way to the finish line first, but when he came out of the fourth turn of the final lap, his ’67 Plymouth veered toward the inside guard rail. By the time he could get the car straight, Brua had gained a half car lead when the cars got the checker.

The onslaught of Ernie Derr was not enough to get him any higher than third.

Brua was running seventh at the end of the first lap, but on the 21st lap he passed Derr for the second spot, on the back stretch.

For the driver of the locally owned car, it was his second feature win of the season.

Brua is currently in fifth place in the IMCA late model stock car standings.

The consolation feature went to Fred Horn of Marion, Iowa; he also placed high at the end of the main feature, finishing fourth.

Harland Conn of Fulton and Ralph Bowlen of Marshall finished second and third respectively in the consolation run.

Results –

Heat #1 – Ole Brua
Heat #2 – Ernie De
Heat #3 – Gary Mart
Consolation – Fred Horn
Feature –
1. Ole Brua
2. Lewis Taylor
3. Ernie Derr
4. Fred Horn
5. Gordy Blankenship

Monday, August 22, 2022

1971 – McCluskey Slips into Victory in Fair Stock 200

Roger McCluskey

West Allis, Wis. (August 22, 1971) – Roger McCluskey inherited the lead on lap 192 when teammate Norm Nelson ran into tire problems and churned to victory in the 200-mile USAC late model stock car race at Wisconsin State Fair Park on Sunday.

McCluskey led a parade of Plymouths – which took four out of the first five places – and the 400 points moved him so close to division leadership that USAC officials declined to release standings until they checked with headquarters.

McCluskey’s winged Superbird was followed closely by Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, in second, Nelson third, Verlin Eaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in fourth and Sal Tovella of Addison, Ill., rounding out the top five.

Nelson himself took the lead from Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio, on lap 191after chasing Hartman’s Dodge Daytona for almost 50 laps around the one-mile paved oval.

Hartman finally pulled into the pit area overheating and all of the garden hoses his crew could find couldn’t cool it off again. Hartman attempted one more lap and then parked it.

Nelson was handicapped by this time as well. The chase of Hartman took its toll on his left rear tire, which was chunking apart, and Blankenship passed him in the final laps.

Jack Bowsher of Springfield, Mo., the stock car division leader, took over teammates A.J. Foyt’s 1969 Ford Torino and qualified it for the pole at 106.020 mile per hour. Foyt was competing in a dirt race in Springfield, Ill.

Bowsher took the lead from the green flag and held it until McCluskey took over on lap 4. McCluskey held the top spot until he pitted on lap 70. Verlin Eaker took over for one lap until Nelson gain control.

Nelson was out front until he pitted during a caution flag for light sprinkles on lap 126 and Blankenship took over for two circuits. Eaker then slipped back into the lead until yielding to Hartman on lap 141.

The yellow for the rain was one of only four during the race and lasted only 9 laps on an otherwise sunny 83-degree day.

Dave Whitcomb of Valparaiso, Ind., gave pit row a thrill when his drive shaft exploded, and he plowed into the pit wall. The yellow was out for 11 laps while track crew cleared debris.

McCluskey collected $6,555 out of a $30,700 purse.

Results –

1. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
2. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
4. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
5. Sal Tovella, Addison, Ill.
6. Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
7. Paul Feldner, Richfield, Wis.
8. Larry Berwanger, Chicago, Ill.
9. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
10. George Giesen, Menasha, Wis.

1959 – Len Sutton Wins 100-Miler

Len Sutton

Springfield, Ill. (August 22, 1959) – Veteran 34-year-old Len Sutton from Portland, Ore., shot into the lead on the 52nd lap Saturday afternoon and went on to capture the 100-lap big car race by 17 seconds at the Illinois State Fair.

Sutton took the lead when Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., had to make a pit stop because of tire trouble.

Branson, who won the pole position with the fastest qualifying time, had led all the way to the 52nd lap.

After the pit stop, he was in about seventh place but moved back up to second before the race ended on the fairgrounds’ mile oval.

Sutton’s winning time was 1 hour, 3 minutes and 2 seconds, about 96 miles per hour.

Al Keller, Green Acres City, Fla., finished third.

Rodger Ward, this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, was given last place among the 18 starters in the race.

His car went out with trouble on the third lap. Tony Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill., went out with car trouble on the eighth lap.

Behind Keller the drivers finished in this order:

Johnny Thomson. Boyertown, Penn.; Ed Elisian, Oakland, Calif.; Eddie Sachs, Center Valley, Penn.; Dick Rathmann, Chicago; Bob Veith, Oakland, Calif.; Don Freeland, Speedway, Ind.; Wayne Weiler, Phoenix, Ariz.; Chuck Weyant, Springfield, Ill.; Duane Carter, Speedway, Ind.; Jim Packard, Indianapolis; Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind.; A. J. Foyt Jr., Houston, Tex.; Bob Grim, Indianapolis, and Bettenhausen and Ward.

Jud Larson of Tampa, Fla., who qualified with the second fastest time in the field, collapsed before the race and was taken to the hospital with a mild heart attack. He will be confined to the hospital for a few days. Bobby Grim replaced him in the seat of the Bowes Seal Fast Special.

Sutton started eighth in the 18-car field and moved steadily to the front. He passed Sachs for second on the 52nd circuit before taking over for keeps three laps later.

Branson experienced much the same fate as he did last year. In both races he grabbed the lead from the start and was running away from the pack when tires failed.

He dropped back to eighth position after stopping for 21 seconds. Aided by car failures by his competitors and hard driving on his own part, Branson moved back into second position on the 71st lap when Jim Packard encountered engine trouble that dropped him back to thirteenth at the finish.

Thomson’s fourth place finish gave him 1,080 championship points and moved him to within 40 points of Jim Rathmann, who did not compete here.

The race was accident free and there was only one incident in practice. Ralph Liguori of Tampa, Fla., spun his Forbes Special in the north turn in practice Neither he nor the car were hurt.

Sutton’s share of the purse was about $5,000

Results –

1. Len Sutton
2. Don Branson
3. Al Keller
4. Johnny Thomson
5. Ed Elisian
6. Dick Rathmann
7. Eddie Sachs
8. Bob Veith
9. Don Freeland
10.Wayne Weiler
11.Chuck Weyant
12.Duane Carter
13.Jim Packard
14.Jim McWithey
15.A.J. Foyt
16.Bobby Grim
17.Tony Bettenhausen
18.Rodger Ward

Sunday, August 21, 2022

1977 – Smyser Tops IMCA Sprints at Sedalia

Sonny Smyser is joined by his crew after winning the 30-lap IMCA sprint car feature at Sedalia. 

Sedalia, Mo. (August 21, 1977) – Sonny Smyser had the pole position at the start, and he simply refused to relinquish command in winning the 30-lap IMCA sprint car race on Saturday afternoon. The race highlighted the first of six scheduled IMCA-sanctioned events at the Missouri State Fair.

The matinee program of sprint car racing was accident free and only one time did the yellow flag wave.

Smyser, who hails from Lancaster, Mo., was optimistic of his chances in the race as he talked highly of the sprint car he was to compete in. This was only the third time for him to pilot the sprint car owned by Jim Springer of Abington, Ill.

Smyser, Springer and their crew were mighty happy with the way the car performed afterwards as Smyser were able to stave off a couple of hard chargers in Jimmy Boyd of Sacramento, Calif., and Doug Wolfgang of Des Moines, the latter having just won the Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals.

It was that kind of day and that kind of track, however. Drivers found it difficult to maneuver and once a firm lead was established, there was little to no passing. The speeds were good, and the driver technique was excellent, it was just not a track surface conducive to side-by-side negotiating.

Smyser received $700 for the first-place finish and an additional $200 for having Firestone tires on all four wheels.

He gained the pole position by having the sixth fastest time of the 36 entries in qualifying – with the feature lineup being arranged so the first six spots were inverted.

The fastest qualifier of the day was Wolfgang in 22.93 seconds. He was the only driver to turn the half-mile in under 23 seconds.

Results –

Fast time – Doug Wolfgang, Des Moines (22.93)
Heat #1 – Cliff Woodard, Kearney, Mo.
Heat #2 – Gene Gennetten, Parkville, Mo.
Heat #3 – Jim Braden, Kansas City, Mo.
Match race – Gary Johnson, Colfax, Iowa
Feature –
1. Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
2. Jimmy Boyd, Sacramento, Calif.
3. Doug Wolfgang
4. Steve Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
5. Gary Johnson
6. Tom Corbin Carrollton, Mo.
7. Gary Scott, Holts Summit, Mo.
8. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
9. Dave Dwyer, Columbia, Mo.
10. Steve Lewis, Kansas City

1973 – Trickle wins Holmen – Ford 100

Dick Trickle

West Salem, Wis. (August 21, 1973) – Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids picked up his biggest paycheck of the season here Tuesday night as he handily won $1,000 first-place money in the Holmen Ford 100-lap feature race at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway.

Trickle led for 88 of the 100 laps in his 70 Mustang and held a 50-yard margin over runner-up Jim Back of Vesper in a ’73 Camaro to take the lion’s share of the $8,000 purse. This is the fifth win of the season here for Trickle, the other four coming in weekly 25-lap feature competition.

Trickle started the feature from the sixth row of the 19-car field but worked his way to second behind Tom Reffner of Rudolph by lap 11 and went to the outside on lap 12 to take the lead he was never to lose.

Front row starter Tim Carlson of La Crosse kept his ’72 Camaro in the lead for the first seven laps before giving way to Greg Aronson of Minneapolis, who led for two laps before losing out to Reffner’s Mustang on lap 10.

Once into the lead, Trickle slowly pulled away from Reffner and the rest of the pack until the yellow flag came out on lap 28 when a door fell off John Rank's ‘72 Nova and it had to be removed from the track.

After two laps under the caution flag. Reffner and Back battled for second place until lap 36 when Back went to the outside on turn three to grab a challenging position behind Trickle.

But the big duel for first place between rivals Trickle and Back never came about. Trickle managed to hold onto a comfortable lead and ate up the laps until the caution flag came out for 10 laps on the 59th circuit when Rank and Arenson collided.

Another accident happened on the 92nd lap as Rank, having an unenviable streak of bad luck, hit Ralph Bakewell, who had spun out. Both cars restarted but came into the pits on the same lap.

Trickle, meanwhile, ran steadily and Back was unable to mount a real threat. “My car was running pretty good, but the right front tire was goofed up a little,” said Trickle. “Back was running well too, but I wasn’t too worried about him catching me.”

Rich Somers placed third in the feature with June’s Pyroil 100 winner Marv Marzofka finishing fourth and Reffner fifth.

John Brevik of Fairchild battled Wayne Swartout of Janesville for 18 laps before gaining the lead and going on to victory in the 25-lap semi-feature.

A crowd of 2,500, the second largest of the season, was on hand for the program.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Jim Back, Vesper
3. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
4. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
5. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
6. Dave Watson, Beloit
7. Jon Chrest, Hamal, Minn.
8. Larry Detjens, Wausau
9. Pete Mahlum, Onalaska
10.Bob Mackesy, Wausau
11.Don Grant, La Crosse
12.Jim Sauter, Necedah
13.John Scott, Onalaska
14.Larry Anderson, La Crosse
15.Ralph Bakewell, La Crosse
16.Fred Beckler, Sparta
17.John Rank, Milwaukee
18.Greg Arenson, Minneapolis
19.Tim Carlson, West Salem

1961 – Hurtubise Wins State Fair 100-Miler

Jim Hurtubise is joined by his children and pit crew after winning the Bettenhausen Memorial at Springfield.

Springfield, Ill. (August 21, 1961) – Jim Hurtubise, the 28-year-old fireball from Lennox, Calif., blazed to a track record in winning the $20,000 Tony Bettenhausen Memorial championship dirt car race before 15,000 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds’ track.

Hurtubise covered the 100 miles in 1 hour and 56.93 seconds or 98.492 mile per hour. The previous record was 1 hour, 1 minute and 8.3 seconds set by Johnny Thomson of Boyertown, Penn., in 1958.

Hurtubise took the lead from Parnelli Jones on the 21st mile and held it the rest of the way. He finished nearly a mile ahead of second place A.J. Foyt, the Indianapolis 500 champion from Houston, Tex. Dick Rathmann of Roselle, Ill., finished third in the field of 18.

A pit stop on lap 40 to change tires probably cost Foyt a victory. He was running a close second to Hurtubise at the time. Upon his return to the track, he fell far back in the field but drove a daring race to finish second.

Hurtubise didn’t require a pit stop. After gaining a big lead, he coasted around the turns, saving wear and tear on his tires and engine for the last 20 laps.

A.J. Shepherd of Gardena, Calif., finished fourth and Shorty Templeman, the 42-year-old pilot from Seattle, Wash., was fifth. Shepherd made a costly 40-second pit stop for new tires after 75 miles when he was in second place. Foyt passed him at the time.

Neither Rathmann nor Templeman made pit stops.

Jones, after posting the fastest qualifying time on Saturday before rain postponed the event, encountered engine trouble after leading the event early on. The Torrance, Calif., youngster was a half-mile ahead of Hurtubise when he ran into trouble. Jones kept his car in the race, however, and finished 11th.

Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., came into the pits on the 45th mile while in sixth place. Allen Crowe of Springfield, whose car went out with magneto issues, took over driving duties for Branson but would later drop out on lap 76 with engine trouble.

Hurtubise collected $5,000 for the victory.

Results –

1. Jim Hurtubise, Lennox, Calif.
2. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
3. Dick Rathmann, Roselle, Ill.
4. A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
5. Shorty Templeman, Seattle, Wash.
6. Rodger Ward, Indianapolis
7. Cotton Farmer, Indianapolis
8. Elmer George, Speedway, Ind.
9. Bobby Marshman, Pottstown, Penn.
10.Len Sutton, Portland, Ore.
11.Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
12.Jack Turner, Seattle, Wash.
13.Chuck Hulse, Downey, Calif.
14.Don Davis, Phoenix, Ariz.
15.Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
16.Lloyd Ruby, Wichita Falls, Tex.
17.Allen Crowe, Springfield, Ill.
18.Al Keller, Green Acres, Fla.

1953 – McHenry Wins Big Car Race in Valley Tilt

Mack McHenry, driving the Tom Randol Offy, won the IMCA big car feature at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. – Don Radbruch Collection

Davenport, Iowa (August 21, 1953) – Mack McHenry, well-known Wichita, Kan., chauffer, dominated the IMCA big car field on Saturday afternoon at the Mississippi Valley Fair.

McHenry pushed the Tom Randol Offenhauser to cop fast time in qualifying, in addition to winning the first heat and 15-lap feature race. McHenry’s time on the big half-mile was 25.06 seconds.

A newcomer to the IMCA ranks, Dick Ferguson of Burbank, Calif., ran off with the second heat while Paul Kamm of San Francisco, Calif., won the third heat.

Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., won the International Handicap and Wade Cred took top honors in the Australian Pursuit race.

A broken engine block kept Bobby Grim, the young Indianapolis speedster, from the program.

Results –

Time trials – Mack McHenry, Wichita, Kan. (25.06)
Heat #1 – Mack McHenry
Heat #2 – Dick Ferguson, Burbank, Calif.
Heat #3 – Paul Kamm, San Francisco, Calif.
Int’l Handicap – Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
Australian Pursuit – Wade Crew
Feature –
1. Mack McHenry
2. Jerry Kemp, St. Louis
3. Dick Ferguson
4. Don Branson
5. Clyde Sullivan, Kansas City
6. Roy Blinstrup, Mendota, Ill.
7. Kenny Higginson, Des Moines
8. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

1971 - Benson, Senneker Winners in Hartford Speedway 250

Johnny Benson

Hartford, Mich. (August 20, 1971) – Drivers John Benson and Bob Senneker are best of friends off the racetrack

But on the oval the two Grand Rapids natives are all business.

Their personal battle on the asphalt ended in a dead heat Friday night as both drivers were big winners in the Invitational 250 at the Hartford Motor Speedway.

Benson won the first 50-lap segment, while Senneker came back to capture the second 50- lap feature. Both drivers pocketed $500 for their first-place finishes.

Benson, behind the wheel of a 1969 Chevelle powered by a 454-cubic inch engine, started on the pole in the first 50 lapper because of his top qualifying time of 20.97.

The 15-year veteran of the racing wars never lost the lead as he finished a comfortable half lap ahead of runner-up Senneker.

Ed Howe came in third, Senneker's older brother, Rich, took fourth and Ray Barnard was fifth in the accident-free race.

By virtue of his winning the first feature, Benson was again on the pole of the second 50 lapper - but not for long. His old pal, Bob Senneker, saw to that.

Senneker, urged on by a large contingent of the estimated 2,500 fans, breezed past Benson on the third lap.

On the 16th lap, the first yellow caution flag of the race was waved when Herb Kirts lost control of his semi-late model stock on the front stretch, smashed into a bunker and scattered dirt all over the track. But he immediately returned to the action after a quick dusting off.

Jim Gilmer sailed off the fourth turn and plowed into the retaining wall on the 26th lap, but he too recovered and returned to the business at hand.

The steady Howe finally caught Senneker on the 35th lap, but that was short-lived as Senneker regained the lead the next time around the half-mile track.

Senneker shrugged off all challenges from that point and finished a car's length ahead of Howe. Benson hugged Howe's bumper to grab third, while Rich Senneker was fourth and Barnard fifth.

For Benson, the opening feature win meant more money in the bank. He picked up $3,309 in capturing the Michigan State Invitational race last Saturday at Berlin Speedway near Grand Rapids.

"I'll tell you these long races really tire a guy out," said a happy but fatigued Benson following his victory.

"I think of my victory as a team effort - just like a football club needs teamwork," he continued. "I couldn't do much without my two mechanics. They keep me moving."

Benson, who is a brakeman for a railroad in Grand Rapids, limits his racing now to two nights a week.

"I still think this track is the best in the Midwest," he added. "They could improve the lighting, but otherwise it’s really fun to race here."

For Senneker, racing is a vocation rather than an afterhours hobby. He is a professional race car driver who has $20,000 invested in his 1969 Chevelle.

"I don't recommend this kind of work for everyone," Senneker smiled, "But it’s fun and exciting."

The 26-year-old bachelor, who motors around Midwest ovals four evenings a week, comes from a racing family. Besides Rich, he has a younger brother, Terry, who also was on hand for Friday's action.

An early casualty Friday was Joe Ruttman, who was one of the top favorites. He blew his engine in the pits even before he had a chance to qualify.

Ruttman, who owns the track record of 20.29 seconds, is the brother of Troy Ruttman, the 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner.

While the cars were cooling off, getting refueled and being checked over by the mechanics between the two 50 lappers, George Neff of Coloma nipped Al Leversee of Kalamazoo to win the semi-feature.

Heat winners were Barnard of Ann Arbor, Kirts of Elkhart (Ind.), Butch Miller of St. Joseph and Jerry Griffith of Hartford. The victory was Miller's 101st heat win of the season.

Bob Senneker