Monday, August 15, 2022

1964 – Horstmeyer, Leep Split Racing Honors at Fair

Harold Leep

Mason City, Iowa (August 15, 1964) - Maybe some autos or drivers operate better in the afternoon than at night — or the other way around. That's the way it worked out at the North Iowa Fair big car races Saturday.

Bill Horstmeyer of Stoughton, Wis., was the big gun in the afternoon sprint program. He piloted his Offenhauser to a pair of records and copped the 20-lap feature race. His time trial mark of 24.38 seconds broke a record which had stood since 1958 of 25.33 seconds by Bobby Grim, one-time terror of the IMCA circuit. In fact, eight of the qualifiers bettered the former mark.

Horstmeyer later set a 5-lap dash record of 2 minutes and 27 seconds to break mark of a year ago by about a second and a half.

In the feature, he got ahead of Harold Leep in his Chevy block conversion on the first lap and held it until the end over Leep, who finished second.

In the evening, Leep took over. He first took a 5-lap sprint in a match of the four fastest qualifiers and wound up the evening by copping the 20-lap feature race with Sonny McDaniels of Houston, Tex., second.

The windup race was halted on the 11th lap when Buzz Barton of Tampa, Fla., and Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., spun out on the southwest corner of the track. They were running fifth and sixth in the race, which was restarted for the 12th lap. Horstmeyer had engine trouble and fell out after 16 laps.

No records were set at night. The best race happened to be the Australian pursuit (the start is staggered, and autos must be passed to be eliminated). The race went the full 10 laps with McDaniels holding a bare edge over Jay Woodside of Wichita, Kan.

Editor’s note: Six days later, Horstmeyer, competing in his first championship big car event, was killed in a fiery crash in Springfield, Ill., on the mile. Horstmeyer, driving a car owned by Vance Moore of Portage, Wis., was competing in the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial.

On the 26th lap Horstmeyer's car roared off the northwest turn of the speedway, grazed the fence on the right side of the homestretch, lost a wheel, and flipped end over end three times before coming to rest on the other side of the track. The car halted next to a fence, trapping Horstmeyer inside. Seconds later the car burst into flames. He was pulled from the car and taken to St. John's hospital, where he died of extensive third degree burns a half-hour after arrival. He was 34 years of age and left behind a wife and two sons.

Results –

Afternoon Races

Heat #1 – Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #2 – Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
Dash – Bill Horstmeyer, Stoughton, Wis.
Consolation – Ted Ready, Minneapolis
Feature –
1. Bill Horstmeyer
2. Harold Leep
3. Bill Siercks, St. Paul, Minn.
4. Ted Ready
5. Dale Reed
6. Curly Boyd, Indianapolis
7. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
8. Kenny Higginson, Des Moines
9. Sonny McDaniels, Houston, Tex.
10. Ron Larson, White Bear Lake, Minn.

Evening Races

Dash – Harold Leep
Heat #1 – Jerry Richert
Consolation – Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
Australian pursuit – Sonny McDaniels
Feature –
1. Harold Leep
2. Sonny McDaniels
3. Jay Woodside, Wichita, Kan.
4. Dale Reed
5. Wally Talbot
6. Buzz Barton
7. Gordon Herring, Denver, Colo.
8. Steve Orme, Peoria, Ill.
9. Jerry Richert
10. Ted Ready

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