Friday, September 30, 2022

1979 – Michigan driver wins Oktoberfest 200

Butch Miller (kneeling, left) accepts his trophy from promoter Larry Wehrs (kneeling on right) after winning the overall title at Oktoberfest.

West Salem, Wis. (September 30, 1979) – Butch Miller f Lawton, Mich., raced to the championship in the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday at La Crosse Interstate Speedway.

He did it by winning the first 100-lapper and placing third in the second race.

Out-of-towners placed 1-2 in the first feature, but Interstate veterans Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids and Jim Sauter of Necedah, were 1-2 in the second 100-lap contest.

By the 30th lap, Miller was in control of the first feature and able to hold off Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., for the victory.

Martin, who set a new track record in qualifying on Saturday with a time of 19.654 seconds on the 5/8-mile paved oval, finished about five seconds behind Miller at the finish.

Miller said he liked the two-race system to determine an overall champion. “That way, if something happens in the first race you have an opportunity to redo it in between,” Miller said.

At the beginning of the second feature, Wausau’s Larry Detjens, winner of the ’76 and ’77 Oktoberfest championships, drove to the top spot from his second row outside position. He was passed on lap 4 by Sauter and the pair opened up a gap on the rest of the field.

Trickle worked his 1979 Trans Am past Detjens on the second turn of the 19th lap and then rode Sauter’s draft until passing him on the backstretch of lap 25.

Martin had been running fourth, but rear end problems on his 1979 Camaro sent the 20-year-old hot shoe to the sidelines on lap 85.

For Sauter, the 100th lap came too soon. “I think I could have passed Dick had the race been a little longer,” he said. “The trouble is that Dick is a foxy driver, and you never know how much he’s using his car.”

Trickle said his Trans Am had more left. “I could have gone faster if I wanted to,” he said.

By contrast, Trickle said, “Everything was wrong in the first race. We replaced springs and tires between races.”

Sauter, who hasn’t won a feature here since 1974, was pleased with the day’s work. “This is the first time in 10 years I’ve finished an Oktoberfest race. I’ve never finished one,” he remarked.

Lee Schuler of Lockport, Ill., won the 40-lap semi-feature. Richard Zickert of Watertown and Joe Krzykowski of Wisconsin Rapids won 20-lap consolation races.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Butch Miller, Lawton, Mich.
2. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
3. Dave Watson, Milton
4. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
5. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
7. Jim Sauter, Necedah
8. Tony Strupp, Slinger
9. Mark Malcuit, Strasburg, Ohio
10.Larry Detjens, Wausau

Feature #2 –

1. Dick Trickle
2. Jim Sauter
3. Butch Miller
4. Dave Watson
5. Mike Miller
6. Mark Malcuit
7. Bob Senneker
8. Bruce Sparrman, Minneapolis
9. Mel Whalen, Shakopee, Minn.
10.Jim Back, Vesper

1973 – Reutimann Wins Schaefer 100 at Syracuse

Buzzie Reutimann is all smiles in victory lane after winning the Schaefer 100 at Syracuse.

Syracuse, N.Y. (September 30, 1973) – Buzzie Reutimann didn’t let a 35th-place starting position bother him a bit Sunday as he charged to victory in the $40,000 Schaefer 100 modified stock car race at the New York State Fairgrounds.

The Zephyr Hills, Fla., veteran, who has won back-to-back point titles at Nazareth Speedway, grabbed the lead on the 62nd lap around the one-mile dirt track and out-raced polesitter Tom Corellis of Rensselaer, N.Y., to the checkered flag.

The victory, the second straight in this race for Reutimann, brought the 32-year-old speedster $7,060 in purse, lap and contingency prizes.

Fifty-one cars started the race, which was staged before 18,000 spectators. The event had six different leaders, with Reutimann piling up more lead laps than any other driver.

Corellis led for 35 laps, other leaders included Gary Balough, Dick Tobias, Lee Osborne and Billy Osmun.

Will Cagle, who raced for many years in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but is now based in Albany, N.Y., during the racing season, was third. Billy Wilson took fourth and Reading point king Gerald Chamberlain was fifth.

Results –

1. Buzzie Reutimann
2. Tom Corellis
3. Will Cagle
4. Bill Wilson
5. Gerald Chamberlain
6. John Botz
7. Budd Olsen
8. Butch Jelley
9. Rich Eurich
10.Wayne Reutimann

1962– Hassler wins Southern 300

Red Farmer (left) and Friday Hassler tug at the Southern 300 winner’s trophy during a publicity photo for the 1962 classic.

Nashville, Tenn. (September 30, 1962) – About the biggest problem Friday Hassler had at the Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday was how to get his gigantic Southern 300 winner’s trophy home in one piece.

“This is one of the more pleasant headaches you have in stock car racing,” grinned the Chattanoogan as he dismantled the prize for safe handling. He never did find a place in his truck to put it and wound up giving it to a friend to carry home.

However, he probably he didn’t need any help carrying home the $1,000 he earned for finishing first in front of 32 other drivers in the final auto race of the season. A crowd of 7,656 watched the action.

It was a sweet victory (and the richest) for Hassler, who totally demolished his car in Montgomery, Ala., in June and had to sit out six weeks. He and his chief mechanic, David Walker, built an entirely new one with a 327-cubic inch Chevrolet engine, and it couldn’t have performed better on Sunday.

His average speed for the 150 miles was 64.539 miles per hour. The race was run under the caution flag for 50 laps.

Hassler started the race in the eighth position and drove cautiously for the first 100 laps while Donnie and Bobby Allison lapped everyone in the field except Red Farmer, Fred Thompson, and himself.

About that time, both Allison’s had to pit for tires, Thompson got caught up in a six-car wreck on the back straightaway, and Farmer and Hassler suddenly found themselves running 1-2.

Farmer pitted on the 148th lap, then blew an engine shortly thereafter, and it was Hassler and Malcom Brady dueling for the lead the rest of the way.

Hassler came in on a caution flag on lap 173, took on gas and got back on the track without losing a lap. Brady, who had taken his pit stops under earlier caution flags (also without losing a lap) took the lead.

Down in Brady’s pit, the crew was elated. Brady was about 10 seconds ahead of Hassler. The laps rolled by, and Hassler was unable to gain on the leader. It began to look as if Brady was on his way to the victory.

But Brady’s pit crew’s fuel calculations were wrong. On the 265th circuit, Brady ran out of gas. He whirled into the pits for a 10-second fuel stop, but that was all Hassler needed. By the time Brady got back up to speed, Hassler was by him and already building up a half-lap margin.

There was a brief moment of excitement when Bobby Allison wrecked on the front straightaway trying to pass Coo Coo Marlin for third place on lap 295. The yellow flag came out until lap 299, and the race was finished on one green flag lap.

Marlin wound third and Donnie Allison was fourth. Charlie Stofel was fifth and Bobby Allison took sixth.

Results –

1. Friday Hasler
2. Malcom Brady
3. Coo Coo Marlin
4. Donnie Allison
5. Charlie Stofel
6. Bobby Allison
7. P.B. Crowell
8. Charley Griffith
9. Tommy Gober
10.Alton Jones
11.Eddie Mitchell
12.Jack Marlin
13.Crash Bond
14.John Thoni
15.Armond Holley
16.Joe Holley
17.George Bonee
18.Stokey Hamburg
19.Pee Wee Johnson
20.Fletcher Ford
21.Red Farmer
22.Mardi Brewer
23.Earl Abis
24.Fred Thompson
25.Charley Parrish
26.Jimmy Griggs
27.Herschel Bond
28.Bud Fox
29.Jerry Lawley
30.Bill Morton
31.Bob Reuther
32.Bobby Hunley

Thursday, September 29, 2022

1979 - Bruggeman Wins 317 Cheater's Day Crown

Gerald Bruggeman, the racing veteran from Hoskins, Neb., won the 317-cubic inch sprint title during the annual Cheater’s Day at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

Sioux Falls, S.D. (September 29, 1979) – Veteran Hoskins, Neb., driver Gerald Bruggeman sped away with the 317 cubic inch Cheater’s Day sprint title Saturday night at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

Bruggeman, who became the first driver in Huset’s Speedway history to win three consecutive point championships, started on the inside of the second row and quickly moved to the front. The show was sanctioned by Huset’s.

Bruggeman, 48, also announced that his wife had given him permission to race one more year, and he’ll be back in 1980. “Hell, it’s fun,” he said.

Bruggeman is a credit to racing,” said Fred Buckmiller, promoter of the Cheater’s Day special. “He’s a man who is a clean driver, using a head and toe that work together.”

Finishing second to Bruggeman was Gordy Lamb of Moorhead, Minn., while Doug Hanson of Lakefield, Minn., was third, Marv DeWall of Jackson, Minn., was fourth, and Bill Rook of Madison, S.D., rounding out the top-five.

Heat wins were recorded by Hanson, DeWall, Bruggeman, and Terry Smith of Raytown, Mo. Kenny White of Sherrill, Iowa, won the semi-feature and DeWall won the trophy dash.

Results –

Trophy dash – Marv DeWall, Jackson, Minn.
Heat #1 – Doug Hanson, Lakefield, Minn.
Heat #2 – Marv DeWall
Heat #3 – Gerald Bruggeman, Hoskins, Neb.
Heat #4 – Terry Smith, Raytown, Mo.
Semi-main – Kenny White, Sherrill, Iowa
Feature –
1. Gerald Bruggeman
2. Gordy Lamb, Moorhead, Minn.
3. Doug Hanson
4. Marv DeWall
5. Bill Rook, Madison, S.D.
6. Larry Weiland, Mason City, Iowa
7. Denny Houseman, Estherville, Iowa
8. Kenny White
9. Jack McCorkell, Redwood Falls, Minn.
10.Don Weyhrich, Norfolk, Neb.

1968 – Whitey Gerken Nabs National Short Track at Rockford

Whitey Gerken accepts his trophy after winning the National Short Track Championship at Rockford. Rockford promoter Hugh Deery is at left. - Dennis Piefer Collection

Rockford, Illinois (September 29, 1968) – Chicago’s Whitey Gerken was crowned National Short Track Champion for 1968 at Hugh Deery’s Rockford Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The new champion went home $1,745 richer for his efforts.

Gerken snatched the lead early in the 200-lap contest and went “flat-out” to lap the entire 33-car field by lap 90. Gerken’s engine would start to develop problems, his aggressive pace would slow and as his power decreased as laps ticked by, and the rest of the field would begin to un-lap themselves.

At that point, Rockford champion Joe Shear accelerated past Gerken into the lead on lap 124. As Shear started to distance himself from the field, Dan Prziborowski of Savage, Minn., passed the ailing Gerken as well to take the second spot.

Shear would maintain the top spot until lap 184 when the rear end started smoking on Shear’s 1967 Chevelle. After Shear retired to the pit area, Prziborowski took over the top spot on lap 186 with a straight-away advantage over Gerken.

A few laps later Prziborowski, however, would get involved with some lapped traffic and cut a tire sending him into the pits for a replacement.

This put Gerken back into the lead with 22-year-old Shakopee, Minn., sensation Larry Smith breathing down Gerken’s neck. On the backstretch of the 199th and final lap, Smith got by Gerken, but the “old pro” snuck past Smith on the fourth turn and raced to victory by half a car length.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, set a new track record in qualifying, touring the high-banked quarter mile in 14.90 seconds, collecting a $100 bounty in the process.

Results –

1. Whitey Gerken, Melrose Park, Ill.
2. Larry Smith, Shakopee, Minn.
3. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
4. Roy Martinelli, Prairie View, Ill.
5. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
6. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
7. Bill Ries, Shakopee, Minn.
8. Ron Wishard Rockford, Ill.
9. Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.
10.Bill Parrott, Minneapolis
11.Don Bandt
12.Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
13.Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14.Bill Schmidt
15.Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
16.Sonny Immerfall, Marshfield, Wis.
17.Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
18.Dean Spohn, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
19.Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
20.John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

1975 – Senneker Steers to Dri-Powr 400 Win

The "Michigan Bluebird" Bob Senneker won his second Dri-Powr 400 at the high banks of Winchester Speedway.

Winchester (September 28, 1975) – Bob Senneker became the second two-time winner of the “Dri-Powr 400” Sunday with a convincing victory at Winchester Speedway.

Senneker, the “Bluebird” from Dorr, Michigan, pushed his ’75 Camaro to five-lap victory over Art Sommers of Warren, Mich.

It was his second consecutive win in the “Dri-Powr” championship for Senneker at the fifth straight late model feature for him over the half-mile high-banks. He won the 1974 “Dri-Powr” in his very first appearance at Winchester and has since recorded victories in three 100-lap American Speed Association late model events there prior to Sunday’s sixth running of the 400-lap classic.

Senneker’s winning time of 2 hours, 46 minutes and 30.81 seconds was 14 minutes slower than his record of last year when he averaged 78.530 miles per hour. His average speed this year was 72.066 miles per hour.

Misfortune struck down his closest competitors late in the race, leaving Senneker to move his way to the checkered flag virtually unchallenged. Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan., ran within a lap of Senneker from just about the 300-lap mark until he nicked the outer retaining wall at the 359-lap mark and retired with suspension damage.

The next closest pursuer, Randy Sweet Portage, Mich., who tapped the outer wall in the second turn and dropped a position to third just 20 laps from the finish.

Tom Maier, Midland, Mich., was fourth with some relief from world record holder Larry Moore. Veteran Carl Smith, West Jefferson, Ohio, was fifth. All five drove Camaros.

For his trouble, Senneker pocketed $7,765 in purse and lap money. He collected $4,000 for the win and $3,765 for leading 251 laps at $15 a circuit.

An overflow crowd of 7,500, no doubt encouraged by near-perfect weather, watched a race that was surprisingly clean despite 13 cautions flags. No one was injured in the mishaps, but much oil from tanks punctured by debris on the track was dumped on the racing surface.

Senneker led the race on three occasions, the last starting on the 262nd lap and running to the end. He had led laps 34 through 50, and 142 through 236.

Moore, who started on the pole position after obliterating the world one-lap record in Saturday’s qualifying, set sail from the start, and appeared ready to challenge Senneker’s string of victories.

But the former “Fairborn Flyer” and Senneker spun on the backstretch and Moore’s Camaro clipped enough of the outer guardrail that it was out of action for the rest of the day.

Senneker then led until lap 50 when he stopped for fuel. Maier took over the top spot until the 88th, when Sweet led his only lap of the afternoon. After getting the lead, Sweet dropped off the pace with Maier back in charge again until lap 94. On lap 95, NASCAR late model sportsman ace Harry Gant of Taylorsville, N.C., went to the lead in his ’75 Chevy Nova.

Sommer would take over the lead on lap 114 and hold that spot through 141, then Senneker from 142 to 236, and Gant again from 237 to 261. It was there that Gant came to the pits with a broken ball joint. He lost 12 laps in the pits while his crew frantically replaced the parts.

Dave Sorg, Fort Wayne, the other two-time winner, was one of those whose oil tank picked up debris. His crew welded the hole as best they could, but Sorg finally retired after 64 circuits. The other ex-winner, Vern Schrock, Middlebury, ran with the leaders for the first 50 laps, but lost a couple of laps in the pits and finally retired after lap 182 with a faulty oil pump.

Jim Hurtubise, Clermont, a favorite of racing fans wherever he goes, lasted only 34 laps until steering failure put him into the concrete wall.

Results –

1. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
2. Art Sommers, Warren, Mich.
3. Randy Sweet, Portage, Mich.
4. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
5. Carl Smith, West Jefferson, Ohio
6. Harry Gant, Taylorsville, N.C.
7. Ron Hayes, Brownsburg
8. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
9. Jim Brandenberg, Springfield, Ohio
10.Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan.
11.Jim Cushman, Worthington, Ohio
12.Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
13.Gene Prosser, New Castle
14.Frank Demske, South Bend
15.Harold Scott, New Castle
16.Clyde Brown, Indianapolis
17.Ted Brown, Columbus, Ohio
18.L.J. Lines, Greensboro
19.Jody Ridley, Chatsworth, Ga.
20.Neal Sceva, Urbana, Ohio
21.Rick Knotts, Kalamazoo, Mich.
22.Vern Schrock, Middlebury
23.Mark Lamoreaux, Bloomington, Minn.
24.Roger Herp, Byron Center, Mich.
25.Lonnie Breedlove, Indianapolis
26.Ed Vanderlaan, Grand Rapids, Mich.
27.Don Keevin, Anderson
28.Ray Fullen, Anderson
29.Don Higgins, New Castle
30.Rodney Combs, Mason, Ohio
31.Dave Sorg, Fort Wayne
32.Larry Moore, Dayton, Ohio
33.Bruce Gould, Milford, Ohio
34.Bill Reed, Elkhart
35.Jim Hurtubise, Clermont
36.Jeff Faber, Cincinnati, Ohio
37.Kenny Hemphill, Vandergrift, Penn.
38.Dave Dayton, Indianapolis
39.Dave Brandenburg, Springfield, Ohio
40.Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio

1969 - Unser Passes Sacramento Test

Al Unser shows perfect form en route to winning the Golden State 100 at Sacramento. 

Sacramento, Calif. (September 28, 1969) – First came Greg Weld and Mario Andretti, then Billy Vukovich and last and most seriously Gary Bettenhausen to hurl challenges at Al Unser, who accepted and shook them off to win the Golden State 100-mile race wire to wire on Sunday afternoon.

Bettenhausen's bid to win fell short by a car length as Unser flashed across the finish line at the “Old Fairgrounds” with a broken rear suspension, which made the car about, as easy to handle as a loaded cement truck.

Unser traveled the distance in one hour, four minutes, 9:19 seconds (a 93.523 mile per hour average) for the second fastest time ever posted here. A. J. Foyt, who canceled out because of an important Ohio race, holds the track mark at 1:02:16:6 set in 1962.

So hard was Bettenhausen, who started 15th in the field of 18, charging at the end that he got out of the groove and spun almost through the first turn and came to halt in a cloud of dust while 10,969 fans heaved a sigh of relief.

Unser's share of the $29,342 purse from the gross $53,104 amounted to a little over $8,000.

But Unser, who won his eighth career championship, almost came away empty handed when the suspension on his Ford - powered car let go with two laps left.

“The sway bar broke and when it fell down it popped the torsion bar,” said the 30-year-old Unser. “After that the car was very hard to handle.”

Weld, of Kansas City, took the pole in qualifying rounds with a 36.90-second lap in his Plymouth - powered STP Special and chased Unser until the 37th lap when Andretti slipped past his teammate. Weld never threatened after that.

Andretti was traveling five to six seconds behind Unser, but Vukovich took the challengers spot away at the midway point and Mario subsequently went out at 84 laps with engine trouble.

On the previous lap, Unser had to call on his driving skills when he got too high in the grandstand turn and nearly hit the fence. It was at this point that Vukovich and Bettenhausen closed the gap to three seconds.

When the three leaders came hurtling out of the far turn near the end of the 93rd lap the right rear tire on Vukovich's car blew. Pit crews scattered as the J.C. Agajanian Offy slid to a stop. Exit Vukovich.

Results –

1. Al Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
2. Gary Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
3. Bobby Unser, Albuquerque, N.M.
4. Bruce Walkup, Downey, Calif.
5. Carl Williams, Kansas City
6. Bill Puterbaugh, Indianapolis
7. Johnny Parsons Jr., Encinitas, Calif.
8. Johnny Anderson, Sacramento
9. Wally Dallenbach, East Brunswick, N.J.
10.Larry Dickson, Marietta, Ohio
11.Bob Harkey, Speedway, Ind.
12.Greg Weld, Kansas City
13.Billy Vukovich, Fresno, Calif.
14.Art Pollard, Medford, Ore.
15.Mario Andretti, Nazareth, Penn.
16.Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
17.Mike Mosley, West Covina, Calif.
18.Tommy Copp, Fresno, Calif.

Monday, September 26, 2022

1993 – Salem’s Fall Classic to Strait

Bob Strait won his second straight Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. - Bobby Jones Photo

Salem, Ind. (September 26, 1993) -Bob Keselowski had Sunday’s ARCA Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway in his hip pocket with two laps to go.

Wait a second…

Frank Kimmel passed Keselowski with a searing move on the front straightaway as the green flag dropped following a late caution. He had his first ARCA victory in 38 tries in the bag.

Wait a second…

Bob Strait put the same move on Kimmel at the same spot one lap later, vaulting past Kimmel to win the Fall Classic for the second straight year.

It was an incomprehensible finish.

Strait was in the process of being passed by Keselowski on lap 195. Just as Keselowski was about to put him a lap down, Bob Schact’s car spun, and brought out a caution, saving Strait.

“When I was about two inches away from getting him, I’ll bet he never dreamed this would happen,” Keselowski said.

“Unbelievable,” Strait said.

Was it an unbelievable disappointment for Kimmel, a 31-year-old who calls this his home track as much as any?

He was winless in two years of ARCA racing despite being consistently competitive and being in the top-six of points.

Sunday, he gunned into the lead on lap 106. He was passed by ARCA point leader Tim Steele on lap 126, then got it back on 137 when Steele had rear end trouble.

Kimmel then straight-armed some of ARCA’s hottest drivers – Strait, Keselowski and Bobby Bowsher among them – until lap 167. Keselowski took a half-lap lead. Then came the last yellow, cars bunched up, and Kimmel made the move that surely would make him a winner.

“It was a dream come true at that point,” Kimmel said. “I just didn’t quite do it.”

Strait set a track record in qualifying, and two others beat Bowsher’s year-old mark. Then one driver after another found Salem, with hits high-banked turns, a fender-bending place to be. Of the first 117 laps, 41 were under yellow.

“Terrible,” Strait remarked. “Nobody wanted to give anybody room, and there’s no room forgiveness out there.”

Schact’s spin destroyed Keselowski’s runaway lead and put Keselowski, Kimmel and Strait - the only three on the lead lap – nose to tail for the final dash.

It was Strait’s third straight victory at Salem, earning him $4,000 out of the $64,000 purse. He just shook his head in wonder. “Just amazing,” he said. “Salem’s been good to me.”

Results –

1. Bob Strait
2. Frank Kimmel
3. Bob Keselowski
4. Jeep Pflum
5. Jerry Churchill
6. Curt Dickie
7. Bob Brevak
8. Jerry Huffman
9. Bob Schact
10.Robert Ham
11.Dave Weltmeyer
12.Eric Smith
13.Bob Dotter
14.Glenn Brewer
15.Mark Thompson
16.Troy Green
17.Roger Blackstock
18.Perry Tripp
19.Jeff Johnson
20.Tim Steele
21.Bobby Bowsher
22.L.W. Miller
23.Kenny Allen
24.Dave Jensen
25.Tom Bigelow
26.Jeremy Mayfield
27.Don LaDuke
28.John Wilkinson
29.Billy Rowse
30.Scotty Sands
31.Dennis English
32.Randy Churchill
33.Todd Coon
34.Mark Gibson

Sunday, September 25, 2022

1959 – Shepherd Captures State Fair Feature

Tennessee State Fair president Beverly Briley presents winner A.J. Shepherd with his trophy after winning the 25-lap feature. National Speedways’ Al Sweeney looks on approvingly.

Nashville, Tenn. (September 25, 1959) – A.J. Shepherd of Gardena, Calif., pushed his mighty Offenhauser to an exciting victory over Pete Folse in the 25-lap International Motor Contest Association big car feature at the State Fair on Friday afternoon.

Pete Folse, the IMCA national champion, driving the black #2 Bardahl Honore Special, which brought fame to its former driver, Bobby Grim, finished second. He was never in serious contention after being passed by Shepherd on lap 7.

Shepherd, who also defeated Folse in the match race, gave all the credit to his car, owned by Diz Wilson. “She was running beautifully, you really got to be going to pass Folse,” he echoed after the race.

For Shepherd, the 33-year-old racing veteran, it was his first appearance with the big cars on asphalt and needless to say, he enjoyed it.

Shepherd drove the same car that Folse piloted last year, and almost didn’t make to the finish. “I was practically out of brakes for the last six laps, and I didn’t think I’d make it,” he said.

Johnny White of Warren, Mich., set a new record for the IMCA cars when circled the half-mile, high-banked oval in 21.13 seconds for an average speed of 85.8 miles per hour. White, however, wrecked his car in his heat race and was unable to compete in the feature.

Results –

Heat #1 – Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
Heat #2 – Mickey McCormick, Mitchell, Ind.
Heat #3 – Bill Holland, Reading, Penn.
Match race – A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
Australian Pursuit – Marvin Faw, Minneapolis, Minn.
Feature –
1. A.J. Shepherd, Gardena, Calif.
2. Pete Folse
3. Jack Rounds, Huntington Park, Calif.
4. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
5. Duke Hindahl, Pekin, Ill.
6. Bill Holland
7. Ken Gottschalk, St. Louis, M

Saturday, September 24, 2022

1978 – Izzo Cops National Clay Track Crown

Tony Izzo receives congratulations from Keith Knaack, publisher of Hawkeye Racing News, after winning the National Clay Track 200 at Santa Fe. Knaack was acting as substitute flagman for the event. - Vince and Dorothy Mayer Photo 

Willow Springs, Ill. (September 24, 1978) – Tony Izzo set a track qualifying record and then romped to a convincing victory in Sunday afternoon’s National Clay Track Championship 200-lap feature for late models at Santa Fe Speedway.

The win was the second major triumph in eight days for Izzo, who had won the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 at Illiana (Schererville, Ind) Motor Speedway’s paved oval last Sunday.

After clinching the pole starting position for Sunday’s main event by winning the second 25-lap Silver Twins feature on Saturday night, Izzo displayed his winning form for the first time on Sunday by breaking his own year-old track qualifying standard of 19.16 seconds with a 19.10 clocking on the speedway’s longer oval in time trials.

With his 1978 Camaro performing flawlessly, Izzo then turned the 200-lap main event into a rout, lapping each of his 32 opponents en route to a wire-to-wire victory. It was the 17th feature win of the season for the Bridgeview, Ill., driver at Santa Fe and his fourth on the facilities’ longer circuit.

Art “Fireball” Fehrman of Worth, Ill., came in second, his best finish ever at the track. Jerry Smith of Appleton, Wis., completed the last spot on the podium with a third-place finish.

Jim O’Conner, driving in relief of Ken Pohlman, crossed the finish line in fourth just inches ahead of Ramo Stott, the 1975 USAC stock car champion.

A victory in the first Silver Twins headliner on Saturday night enabled O’Conner to start alongside Izzo on the front row. However, O’Conner proved to be no match for Izzo and then his victory hopes were jolted on lap 20 when he spun in turn one.

O’Conner retired his mount shortly afterward but returned to the contest by taking over Pohlman’s car during the mandatory 10-minute mid-race pit stop for the field. Pohlman’s vehicle was the same car O’Conner had driven to the 1976 Santa Fe championship.

Results –

1. Tony Izzo
2. Art Fehrman
3. Jerry Smith
4. Ken Pohlman (relieved by Jim O’Conner)
5. Ramo Stott
6. Denny Falkos
7. John Connolly
8. Gary Webb
9. Al Justice
10.Bobby Shell
11.Bill Davis
12.Leroy Schneiderman
13.Dennis Marcelle
14.Ray Nelson
15.Ken Widdes
16.Frank Shickel
17.Brian Leslie
18.Larry Jackson
19.Bob Pohlman
20.Whitey Harris
21.Arnie Gardner
22.Rick Smithberg
23.Terry Huizel
24.Gary Fedewa
25.Red Dralle
26.Billy Kuhn
27.Larry Robb
28.John Provenzano
29.Dick Potts
30.Jim O’Conner
31.Don Marmor
32.Ralph Baker

1960 – Indiana Driver Wins Before 10,000 at Allentown

Jim Packard enjoys his first career USAC victory with car owner Barney Flynn. 

Allentown, Penn. (September 24, 1960) – Jim Packard of Speedway, Ind., driving an Offenhauser, led from start to finish to win the United States Auto Club big car feature in which Boyertown’s Johnny Thomson was fatally injured at the Allentown Fair.

A crowd of 12,000 jammed the grandstand and paddock, with standing room only tickets being sold an hour before the program started.

Earlier, as the cars were approaching the starter’s flag for the feature event, A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., spun out in front of the grandstand and a restart was ordered. Foyt was not injured and continued in the race.

After the accident in which Thomson figured but had no other drivers involved, the race was started for the third time, an on this occasion Packard shot out in front on the first turn and was never headed.

Jim Hurtubise furnished most of the early competition for Packard, but Jiggs Peters and Parnelli Jones were right up there with him for the first 10 laps. Jones lost some time on the 16th circuit when he went high into the first turn, but after 18 laps it was still Packard, Hurtubise and Jones in that order, with the rest of the field spread out.

Tommy Hinnershitz, the Olney, Penn., veteran who holds four or five track records, moved into third place with five laps to go, but couldn’t threaten the leaders.

At the finish it was Packard, Hurtubise, Foyt, Peters and Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., rounding out the top five.

The accident which put Thomson out of the race was a jolt to the big crowd, for the Scotsman gave the spectators some of the biggest thrills of the afternoon as he won the 8-lap semi-feature, coming from his sixth starting position to win on the last lap.

Editor's note: A week later, October 1, 1960, Jim Packard would be killed in a midget race in Fairfield, Illinois

Results –

1. Jim Packard
2. Jim Hurtubise
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Jiggs Peters
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Wayne Weiler
7. Bob Cleburg
8. Tommy Hinnershitz
9. Eddie Sachs
10.Don Branson

Friday, September 23, 2022

1972 - It's Kunzman all the way at Williams Grove

Lee Kunzman 

Williams Grove, Penn. (September 23, 1972) – Leading all the way, Lee Kunzman powered his Clamato Chevrolet to victory in the 40-lap Ted Horn - Bill Schindler Memorial USAC sprint car feature Saturday night on the half-mile Williams Grove Speedway.

The win was the fourth of the year for the Guttenberg, Iowa, veteran and moved him from fourth to second in the national points race behind leader Rollie Beale.

Kunzman held the lead from the start, when he came off the pole position. Bruce Walkup, starting on the outside of the front row, stayed right behind for the race’s duration, but was unable to get around the Iowa pilot and finished two seconds behind.

Larry “Boom Boom” Cannon was third, passing Sam Sessions, who placed fourth. Don Nordhorn rounded out the top-five finishers. The time for the race was 16 minutes and 11.41 seconds.

Mitch Smith finished sixth and then announced afterwards his retirement from racing.

A record was set in qualifications as Dick Tobias lapped the track in 23.83 seconds, breaking Smith’s time of 24.02 seconds, set on June 19, 1971.

Bill Cassella won the first of three 10-lap heats with Walkup and Kunzman the other heat winners. Sessions won the 12-lap semi-man.

Results –

1. Lee Kunzman
2. Bruce Walkup
3. Larry Cannon
4. Sam Sessions
5. Don Nordhorn
6. Mitch Smith
7. Rollie Beale
8. Bill Cassella
9. Joe Saldana
10.Dick Tobias

1961 – White Wins Second Straight

Johnny White visited the winner’s circle two days in a row at Fairgrounds Speedway. Greeting him are representatives of the Tennessee State Fair - Queen Pat Smith and Judge Beverly Briley. – Gerald Holly Photo

Nashville, Tennessee (September 23, 1961) - Johnny White averaged 81.5 miles per hour in winning the 25-lap International Motor Contest Association big car feature race at Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday.

A crowd estimated at 9,500 saw White fall to second place on the first lap, the only time during the two days of racing that he hadn’t been in the lead. Ray Duckworth of Anderson, Ind., zipped past White on the first turn and remained in front until the 13th lap.

After the race, White said, “I was wondering there for a while, but I figured I’d get him before the day ran out.”

Diz Wilson, owner of the car White piloted, pointed out that the car has never been beaten at the track. A.J. Shepherd, who has since joined USAC, piloted the car to victories here for three straight years.

Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., was third as the cars circled the half-mile banked asphalt oval for the first time. He got by Duckworth on lap 17 for second place and finished in that position. Duckworth settled for third while Tampa’s Buzz Barton was fourth and Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., rounded out the top-five.

One of the best races witnessed was the Australian Pursuit, which was won by Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex. Woolley started last and kept lopping off cars one by one until he came upon Jerry Bundy. They went around for five laps, side by side, until Woolley was able to take command. The crowd loved it and seemed that everyone in the stands were on their feet, cheering.

Pete Folse, the perennial IMCA point champion, had another rough day, finishing seventh. Hector Honore, car builder and owner of the car driven by Folse said, “It’s not Pete’s fault.”

Honore elaborated, stating that all of IMCA’s races, except for Nashville, are run on dirt tracks and he refused to change one screw on Folse’s car, just for two races on asphalt. Prior to Nashville, Folse had won five straight IMCA-sanctioned features.

Results –

Heat #1 – Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
Heat #2 – Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #3 – Mac Terry, Plainfield, N.J.
Match race – Johnny White
Australian Pursuit – Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
Feature –
1. Johnny White
2. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
3. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
4. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
5. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
6. Red Renner, Woodburn, Ind.
7. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
8. Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
9. Jim Murphy, South Haven, Mich.
10.Harv Konkel, West Allis, Wis.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

1979 - Hearst Wins Eldon Classic

Tom Hearst carries the checkers after winning the Eldon Classic. 

by Jeanne Niner

Eldon, Iowa (September 22, 1979) – With 57 cars competing for a $7,000 purse, the first annual Eldon Classic was a huge success.

Tom Hearst, Wilton, fresh from a third-place finish in the Yankee Dirt Track Classic, and being recently crowned the season champion at Davenport, won the 50-lap championship feature. In addition to the $1,200 payday, Hearst also led every lap on the super half-mile to collect an additional $500.

Joe Merryfield, Des Moines, Ron Jackson, Burlington, and Dan Dickey, Packwood, all tried their best to move Hearst from his self-appointed lead but were never able to push into the lead.

Heat winners were Hearst, Bill Davis, Des Moines, Merryfield, and Dickey. The consolation race was won by Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley.

Fred Horn, Marion, the recently crowned Yankee Dirt Track Champion, and pre-race favorite, blew an engine while leading the first heat and retired for the evening.

Results –

1. Tom Hearst, Wilton
2. Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
3. Ron Jackson, Burlington
4. Dan Dickey, Packwood
5. Steve Keppler, Marion
6. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
7. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
8. Bill Davis, Des Moines
9. Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun
10.Ken Davidson, Des Moines

1968 – Droste Wins 50-Lap Tunis Championship

Waterloo, Iowa (September 22, 1968) – Waterloo’s Red Droste capped another outstanding season at Tunis Speedway driving his late model stock car to the 1968 season championship on Sunday night.

Droste, who was also the track’s mid-season champion, was threatened the entire 50 laps by Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., and won by barely a car-length at the checkers. Both drivers lapped the entire field.

Ken Pittman won the cadette championship and Leo Scharnhorst of Waterloo was the consolation winner.

Lynn Idler of Ionia was named Tunis Speedway Rookie-of-the-Year for 1968.

Results –

1. Red Droste, Waterloo
2. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
3. Curt Hansen, Dike
4. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
5. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
6. Bob Hilmer, Dysart

1962 – Jones Win Allentown Feature

Parnelli Jones, driving the Fike #1, leads A.J. Foyt’s Meskowski #9 during the 30-lap USAC feature at the Greater Allentown Fair.

Allentown, Penn. (September 22, 1962) – Greater Allentown Fair automobile speed records fell like ripe coconuts when Rufus “Parnelli” Jones of Torrance, Calif., won the 30-lap feature before 8,467 thrilled fans.

The old mark of 13 minutes and 32.29 seconds set by Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Calif., last year was broke by almost a full minute as Jones covered the distance in 12 minutes and 22.71 seconds.

The former 8-lap mark of 3 minutes and 25.34 seconds set by Tommy Hinnershitz of Oley, Penn., in 1959 went overboard twice in qualifying heats. Jones made the trip in 3 minutes and 22.76 seconds to capture the first heat and Jiggs Peters of Neshanic Station, N.J., covered the distance in 3 minutes and 24.54 seconds in another heat.

Although 14 cars started, it was strictly a two-man affair. Jones, the leading driver in the United States Auto Club point’s standings, had his hands full fighting off A.J. Foyt of Houston, Tex., a former Indianapolis 500 winner and a crafty, determined opponent.

After maintaining their one-two positions from the start, the two engaged in a duel that grew hotter and hotter in the closing laps as Foyt made his move to gain the lead.

But Jones was able to foil his every effort by clever use of the corners, closing all avenues by which Foyt might pass him.

A battle almost equally exciting, although not figuring in the first two positions, was waged between Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., and Bud Tingelstad of Dayton, Ohio. Tingelstad clung to third place for 23 laps and then had to yield to McCluskey’s skill and daring. McCluskey finished third while Tingelstad settled for fourth and Peters took fifth.

Results –

1. Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
2. A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex.
3. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
4. Bud Tingelstad, Dayton, Ohio
5. Jiggs Peters, Neshanic Station, N.J.
6. Al Farmer, Fort Worth, Tex.
7. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
8. Jim Hurtubise, Lennox, Calif.
9. Jim McElreath, Arlington, Tex.
10.Red Riegel, Leesport, Penn.
11.Leroy Neumayer, Compton, Calif.
12.Don Brown, San Fernando, Calif.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

1980 - Burgess Wins Old Style Invite at WIR

Steve Burgess

Kaukauna, Wis. (September 21, 1980) – Steve Burgess nosed out Alan Kulwicki by less than a car length to win the 40-lap late model feature, topping the two-day Old Style Invitational on Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin International Raceway.

A national record was established during the two days as 264 cars raced in the five-class program, snapping the existing national record of 258 cars. Some 7,032 fans turned out for the two days in spite of rainy, cool weather.

Ron Bennett came off his front row starting spot to lead the first 13 laps before being overtaken by Tony Strupp. Burgess began to advance to the front and overtook Strupp with an inside move on the 23rd round.

Kulwicki followed Burgess past Strupp on lap 25 and then he chased Burgess in a nose-to-tail battle right down to the checkered flag.

Strupp finished third followed by Ted Musgrave and Tom Jones.

In preliminary action, Dave Van Elzen of Kimberly won the 30-lap sportsman feature while Randy Butler of Iron Ridge won the 30-lap modified main event.

Results –

1. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
2. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee
3. Tony Strupp, Slinger
4. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
5. Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
6. John Ziegler, Madison
7. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
8. Jerry Eckhardt, Watertown
9. Wayne Roffers, Oneida
10.Steve Moll, Wisconsin Rapids
11.Grant Wilson, Bloomington, Minn.
12.Terry Baldry, Omro

1968 – Eaker Wins Fairground Title Race

Promoter Homer Melton greets Verlin Eaker after Eaker won the 50-lap season championship at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. - Beatle Bailey Photo

Des Moines, Iowa (September 21, 1968) – Late model point champion Verlin Eaker easily won the 50-lap State Fair Speedway season championship on Saturday night.

Eaker, from Cedar Rapids, led all the way in his 1967 Dodge and collected $400 for the victory.

Lem Blankenship of Keokuk finished second after battling Marion's Fred Horn, who was third.

Presentations were made to:

Eaker and point champ Carl Vander Wal, of Ames, representing the sportsman class. Vander Wal's engine blew up last weekend and he did not race Saturday.

The sportsman championship race was won by John Meyer of Brooklyn in a '56 Chevrolet, followed by Don Hoffman and Larry Sponsler, both from Des Moines.

Results –

Late Model -

1. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
2. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk
3. Fred Horn, Marion
4. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
5. Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
6. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
7. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
8. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
9. Dick Oldham, Des Moines

Sportsman - 

1. John Meyer, Brooklyn
2. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
3. Jack Piper, Mason City
4. Dick Gustin, Des Moines
5. Larry Sponsler, Des Moines

1957 – Grim Fixes New 25-Mile Record with IMCA Win

Bobby Grim

Nashville, Tenn. (September 21, 1957) – Bobby Grim, Indianapolis, closed out the Tennessee State Fair one-mile dirt track in a blaze of glory on Saturday as he powered the Hector Honore Offenhauser to a new IMCA world mark for 25 miles.

Grim ran away from a fast field in turning the mile oval in 17 minutes and 16.45 seconds to eclipse the old mark of 18-minute flat set by Gus Schrader of Newhall, Iowa, set at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1931.

Officials at the Tennessee fairgrounds will plow the one-mile track which dates back to eighteenth century horse racing under and build two modern hard-top surfaces for use next year.

A half-mile surface enclosing a quarter-mile track will be installed, accommodating the late model stock car racing, which has flourished in Nashville and surrounding areas.

Grim found the rain-soaked course to his liking as he closed out big car racing on the Tennessee State Fair with his record-breaking performance.

Judge Beverly Briley, president of the Fairboard, and L.E. Griffin, fair secretary, added $100 to Grim’s earnings for the new 25-mile standard.

Grim also copped first-place in the 20-lap feature at the two-day event on September 20, defeating Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla., Cotton Farmer, Dallas, Tex., Don Carr, Indianapolis, who finished a close second to Grim during Friday’s event.

Results –

1. Bobby Grim
2. Buzz Barton
3. Cotton Farmer
4. Don Carr
5. Jerry Kemp
6. Eddie Loetscher
7. Leon Hubble
8. Ken Gottschalk
9. Red Hoyle
10.R.B. Hensley

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

1970 – Big ‘D’ ahead on 37th lap – wins

Elko, Minn. (September 20, 1970) – Dan Prziborowski of Savage, Minn., returned to the heights only champions know when he won the coveted rain-shortened Midwest Late Model Championships at Elko Speedway on Sunday afternoon, successfully defending the crown he first won a year ago.

The 14-year stock car veteran of area stock car circles proved conclusively to his many fans and friends that he could come back from a brutal winter-time car accident, a mid-summer’s suspension plus various troubles with his race machine to make it back to the top.

For his troubles which also included winning a Saturday night feature, placing eighth in time trials and leading for 26 laps, Prziborowski took home nearly $1,400 plus accessory prize including a year’s supply of 7-Up.

The Savage, Minn., wheelman won the Labor Day feature plus two features just before to become the Tri-Circuit’s winningest driver since mid-August.

Area drivers proved once again over the weekend that they can hot-foot it with the best of a field of 75 cars and drivers from five states. Burnsville’s Bob Jusola had sixth fastest time and finish second in the feature. Bloomington’s Don James, the Circuit’s most improved driver this year, claimed second in the consolation and third in the feature on Saturday then placed fourth in Sunday afternoon’s main event plus poste the top time for Tri-Circuit drivers at 14.855 seconds, just a shade off that set by John Ziegler of Madison, Wis., who spun Elko’s surface in 14.784 seconds, a new track record.

As a matter of fact, 10 drivers sent under 15 seconds, all breaking the old mark set last year of 15.219 seconds.

Larry Smith of Shakopee, Minn., had a feature victory and Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., winner of the State Fair’s 300-lap event, took both a consolation win and a feature win on Saturday plus fifth on Sunday for a hefty payday.

The above-mentioned Ziegler took third in Sunday’s feature while Bill Retallick of Madison, Wis., took sixth.

Heat winners were all of the Tri-Circuit and included Bill Oas of Burnsville, Minn., Norm Setran of Bloomington, Minn., Harry Bahr of Minneapolis, Alex Metcalf of Minneapolis and Roy Lobstein of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Attendance at the third annual event held up remarkably well considering the threat of rain throughout with 2,875 on hand for Saturday’s program and 3,440 viewing the races on Sunday.

Monday, September 19, 2022

1953 – Slater in Clay County Tilt

Bob Slater

Spencer, Iowa (September 19, 1953) – Lanky Bob Slater, Kansas City, continued his winning streak here on Saturday afternoon by coming home in front of a strong field in the 25-lap feature for IMCA big cars, which wound up the speed program of the Clay County Fair.

A crowd of 13,000 jammed the grandstand and infield for the races.

Slater took over the lead in the feature race on the first lap but was pushed for the first 15 laps by Bobby Grim, Indianapolis, who rode Slater’s bumper most of the way.

Grim lost control of his Honore Offenhauser on the fourth turn and spun completely around directly in front of the oncoming field. Some skillful driving by others adverted an accident but Grim was finished for the day.

Vito Calia, Kansas City, who had been running third, picked up the chase on Slater and pressured him but Slater held strong and pulled away on the final lap.

Calia came up with a victory in the first heat, nosing out Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo. Slater and Don Branson, Champaign, Ill., put on a dandy speed duel in the second heat with Slater winning.

Billy Jim, Kansas City, outran Wayne Selzer, Omaha, in the third heat and also won the Australian Pursuit race. Jimmy Campbell nosed out Calia in the 3-lap handicap.

Results –

Heat #1 – Vito Calia, Kansas City
Heat #2 – Bob Slater, Kansas City
Heat #3 – Billy Jim, Kansas City
Handicap – Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo.
Australian Pursuit – Billy Jim
Feature –
1. Bob Slater
2. Vito Calia
3. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
4. Jimmy Campbell
5. Billy Jim
6. Jay King, Oklahoma City
7. Wayne Selzer, Omaha
8. Wade Crew, Burbank, Calif.
9. Ken Gottschalk, St. Louis

Sunday, September 18, 2022

1982 - Paxton nabs first Grove Open win

After years of trying, Lynn Paxton would nab his first career National Open title in 1982. 

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (September 18, 1982) – Lynn Paxton made his first-ever Williams Grove National Open victory a personal high $6,800 payday as he completely dominated Saturday night’s season-ending 75-lap encounter for super sprints.

The 38-year-old Paxton, a Grove Open also-ran every year since making his initial start in the event in 1963, collected $5,000 for the win plus $1,500 in lap money for leading from flag-to-flag and $300 for having had fast time.

Three-time Open winner Steve Smith gained second place at the expense of Randy Wolfe when Wolfe’s engine started to sputter with five laps to go.

Smith took home $2,250 while Wolfe held on for third and $2,200. Jimmy Horton was fourth and George Ferguson Jr. fifth. Rounding out the top-10 were Paul Lotier, Dave Blaney, Barry Camp, Jim Nace and George Bischof.

Earlier Saturday, Grove officials reviewed pictures of the finish of Friday’s 35-lap feature and declared Paxton a dead-heat winner with Blaney. Paxton pocketed an extra $500 as a result of that decision.

In a victory lane interview after his Open success, Paxton heaped praise on his mechanics, Davey Brown Jr. and Sr., for their work in preparing the Boop’s Aluminum #1 for the long-distance grind.

“When you start up front, you damned well better finish there,” Paxton said of his seventh Grove win of the season and the 37th of his career.

Paxton’s fastest of two laps as 53 cars took part in time trials was 20.82 seconds. That put him on the pole for the start of the race with Wolfe (20.84) on the outside of the front row. Lotier was third with a clocking of 20.94 seconds while Skeets Gamble turned in a 21.01 second effort and Ferguson did 21.14 seconds.

The new chassis which Smith had at his command was not up to snuff for the time trials, and the veteran driver had to run the 20-lap B-Main to make the show.

Smith came through in impressive fashion, leading all the way to beat Van May under the checkered. Dan Dietrich was third, Kramer Williamson fourth and Bischof fifth.

The 15-lap C-Main, which was first up after all cars had taken time, went to Keith Kauffman, who passed Allen Klinger with two to go. Kauffman was 11th in the B-Main, but Klinger failed to qualify.

World of Outlaws stalwart Bobby Allen was 14th in time trials with a clocking of 21.50 seconds but ducked for the pits shortly after the main event was waved off.

Results –

1. Lynn Paxton
2. Steve Smith
3. Randy Wolfe
4. Jimmy Horton
5. George Ferguson Jr.
6. Paul Lotier
7. Dave Blaney
8. Barry Camp
9. Jim Nace
10.George Bischoff
11.Cris Criswell
12.Scott Tobias
13.Dave Kelly
14.Daryl Winkler
15.Paul Kline

Saturday, September 17, 2022

1983 - Sanger Posts Smashing Win in Yankee Dirt Track Classic

Ed Sanger won the sixth annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Hawkeye Downs Speedway. Carroll Chase of Cedar Rapids Honda and Cindy Anderson present the trophy and Bill Newman holds the checkers. - Gary Rummens Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 17, 1983) - Ed Sanger smashed a four-year drought at Hawkeye Downs Speedway into 3,500 pieces Saturday night.

Sanger captured the 100-lap NASCAR Grand American late model feature in the Yankee Dirt Track Classic before a crowd of about 4,000. The victory netted the Waterloo driver and car builder a cool $3,500 and was his first triumph at the Downs since 1979.

Roger Dolan of Lisbon relinquished the lead to Sanger on the 89th lap of the main event, and Sanger beat Dolan to the checkered flag by about a second. Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., was third. Waterloo's Tom Bartholomew was fourth and Ken Walton of Viola fifth. The five mentioned racers were the only ones to finish on the lead lap.

“Boy, we needed that,” Sanger said of the win and subsequent paycheck. “This is a tough game these days, and the weekly purses haven't kept up with the expenses.”

Sanger and Plank started on the front row of the 28-car field. Dolan began in the third row. It was apparent early in the race that the winner likely would be one of those three.

Plank took the lead from the onset and held it until Sanger took over on the 34th lap. Dolan passed Sanger for first place on lap 69 and was in front 10 laps later when Joe Merryfield clipped a large section of the protective aluminum fence between the third and fourth turns. Merryfield, of Des Moines, was unhurt. The incident caused laps 79 through 87 to be run under a yellow flag while the mess was cleared.

Then, two laps after the restart, Sanger soared past Dolan on the first turn and kept the lead this time.

“I just took a shot at him (Dolan) and dove down on the bottom of the first turn,” Sanger said. “Then I went up top and took the groove back.”

Sanger drove the car he built for NASCAR superstar Bobby Allison's use in the Miller 100 at the Downs in June.

“The car has worked so damned good, I decided I better drive it,” Sanger said. “It's a sweetheart of a car. It drives so easy. I was as fresh after the race as when I started it.”

It was the largest payoff Sanger has earned since he won over $8,000 ' for taking the World 100 in Eldora, Ohio, several years ago.

Dolan picked up $2,500 for placing second. He was disappointed at not hanging on for the win but could take some consolation in putting a stranglehold on the NASCAR Central Region point derby.

With only one point race left at both Quincy, Ill. and Holts Summit, Mo., Dolan has a lock on the championship. What that means is $10,000, plus another $1,000 times three for winning track titles at Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and Farley. “That's what makes it all worthwhile,” Dolan said of his regional title-to-be.

“She wouldn't go any faster,” Dolan said of his car. “I hammered it, and it still wouldn't go.”

Jack Mitchell of Cedar Falls nosed out Davenport's Mike Wheeler to claim the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature. Mike Schulte of Norway was third.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
2. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
3. Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
4. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo
5. Ken Walton, Viola
6. Gary Webb, Davenport
7. Darrell Sells, Waverly
8. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
9. Ron Schreiner, Eleva, Wis.
10.Bill Breuer, Wapello
11.Bryan Wanner, Winfield
12.Steve Johnson, Low Moor
13.Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown
14.Ron Pallister, Wapello
15.Red Dralle, Waterloo
16.Em Fretheim, Decorah
17.Rick Wendling, Hazleton
18.Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
19.Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
20.Joe Merryfield, Des Moines
21.Tony Stewart, Washington
22.Bill Rice, Des Moines
23.Mark Keltner, Morning Sun
24.Ed Dixon, Washington, Mo.
25.Tom Hearst, Wilton
26.Ken Jackson, Burlington
27.Johnny Johnson, Wapello
28.Lynn Idler, Ionia