Wednesday, October 4, 2023

1970 - Reffner Captures Checkered Flag in Oktoberfest 200

West Salem, Wis. (October 4, 1970) – Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., piloted his 1969 Torino to first place in the Oktoberfest 200-lap race at the La Crosse Interstate Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Reffner’s winning effort earned him a $1,000 check for first place plus $341 in lap money. Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa held the lead for the first 37 laps while Jim Sauter of Necedah and Jim Back of Vesper were in second and third respectively.

Reffner was slightly off the pace and in fourth.

On the 38th trip around the half-mile oval Sauter and Back both passed Marzofka’s ’69 Torino. However, on the 48th lap Sauter and Back both tried to avoid an accident in the number three turn and crashed into the concrete retaining wall. Both cars were out of the race and Marzofka recaptured the lead.

Reffner kept at his steady pace in second place and overtook Marzofka on the 107th lap. From there on in it was Reffner all the way.

Marzofka was plagued by overheating problems and had to make frequent pit stops. He eventually finished in 16th place. Marzofka held first place for 95 laps to earn him $308 in lap money.

Following Reffner in the winning circle were Rich Somers of Stevens Point, in second, driving a '69 Torino; John McNamara of Baraboo, third, in a ’64 Comet; Bill Mueller, Shakopee, Minn., fourth, in a ’70 Plymouth; and Dennis Sobkowiak, La Crosse, fifth, in a ’65 Plymouth.

Sixty-five cars timed in and the crowd of about 4,000 race fans saw 17 of the top 33 cars entered in the big race finish.

Results –

1. Tom Reffner
2. Rich Somers
3. John McNamara
4. Bill Mueller
5. Dennis Sobkowiak
6. Kato Theisen
7. Buck Linhart
8. John Scott
9. Everett Foxx
10.Harold Mueller
11.Bill Scherer
12.Ed Nichols
13.Larry Anderson
14.Roy Schmidtke
15.Larry Sparks
16.Marv Marzofka
17.John Brinkman
18.Pete Mahlum
19.Bob Agena
20.George Thornton
21.Benny Olson
22.Mike Murgic
23.Ron Beyer
24.Roy Garr
25.Dale Kranz
26.Jim Back
27.Jim Sauter
28.Larry Detjens
29.Bill Wirtx
30.Darrell Busch
31.Homer Spink
32.Del Trusch
33.Jack Bramella

1964 - Baird Drives to Rare Late Model Victory

Jesse Baird

Ona, W.Va. (October 4, 1964) – Jesse Baird, aided by two fast pit stops, wheeled a ’64 Pontiac to victory Sunday afternoon in West Virginia Speedway’s 500-lap late model race.

In the Automobile Racing Club of America 1965 season opener, Baird scored a rare triumph for the Pontiac forces. Dick Freeman (third) and Andy Hampton (fourth) joined Baird as top five Pontiac finishers.

Jack Purcell, a cemetery lot salesman in his spare time, finished second in a ’64 Ford and Jack Bowsher was fifth in another ’64 Ford.

Bowsher, a two-time ARCA champion, was regarded as the driver to beat in the 219-mile grind witnessed by 3,500 windblown racing fans. He was running right on schedule until an extra pit stop to take on tires dropped him from contention.

Baird made but two stops - both times for fuel - and went all the way on a set of tires.

His average speed of 65.685 miles per hour was slowed by 42 laps under the caution flag. He and Bowsher started on the front row after both qualified at 78.175 miles per hour.

Baird had his Pontiac out front for the first 121 laps until his initial pit stop. Purcell took the lead only to lose it to Freeman when he pitted on lap 225. Freeman dropped back for a pit stop 50 laps later, allowing Bowsher to push his white Ford to the head of the pack.

The winner roared back into the lead for good when Bowsher made his second stop on lap 319. Baird took on fuel again at about the 375-lap stage, but Bowsher had to pit at the same time for tires.

“When I still had the lead after the second pit stop, I thought I had the race won,” said Baird, who’s in the auto parts business.

“We’ve got some good equipment although the Pontiac people are out of the racing business,” he added. In all of last season on the ARCA circuit, only one Pontiac saw victory lane in the 35 races with Dick Freeman nabbing that win.

Among the early dropouts in the West Virginia 500 were Junior Spencer in a ’64 Ford and Dick Passwater in a ’64 Studebaker. Jim Cushman had his ’64 Plymouth spin out early but got back into good shape before mechanical difficulties cropped up.

Results –

1. Jesse Baird
2. Jack Purcell
3. Dick Freeman
4. Andy Hampton
5. Jack Bowsher
6. Bobby Watson
7. George Swope
8. Wayne Kaufmann
9. LaMarr Marshall
10.Iggy Katona
11.Tom Pistone
12.Benny Parson
13.Bud Harless
14.Jim Cushman
15.Cleo Ashley
16.Homer Newland
17.Hank Teeters
18.Jim Robertson
19.Don Trees
20.Les Snow
21.Clyde Parker
22.Grant Wilmot
23.Jerry LeBlanc
24.Ken Reiter
25.Roy Wathen
26.Paul Wensink
27.Elmer Musgrave
28.Dan Arnold
29.Jack Shanklin
30.Danny Byrd

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

1976 – Senneker Wins Third Dri-Powr 400 at Winchester

Bob Senneker won the Dri-Powr 400 at Winchester Speedway for a record third time. 

Winchester, Ind. (October 3, 1976) – Bob Senneker made it three “Dri-Powr 400” titles in a row at Winchester Speedway on Sunday, beating his younger brother, Terry, by four laps.

The crowd, estimated at 9,000, was the first bona-fide sellout in the seven seasons Roger Holdeman has owned the speedway. It was the largest crowd at Winchester since Labor Day 1950, when the Mutual Racing Association staged a 200-lap event. That race drew 15,000.

Senneker set a new Dri-Powr 400 race record of 2 hours, 20 minutes, and 9.5 seconds (85.622 mph), in taking home the lion’s share of the $42,215 purse.

In becoming the first in the seven-year history of the stock car classic to win from the pole position, Senneker also became the first driver ever to win the event three times.

The handsome Dorr, Mich., plot admitted afterwards that the third win was the hardest on the high banked, half-mile asphalt.

“This one was the toughest,” he said, “because I just couldn’t slow down. I couldn’t ‘cool it,’ because there was always someone pushing me.”

Just 18 laps into the event, Larry Moore and Ray Dillon came together in the second turn and crashed through the guardrail and down a 25-foot embankment into the woods. Neither driver was injured, but it took the track crew an hour and 42 minutes to make repairs.

Consequently, the race ended at 6:31 pm, just as the drivers were running out of racing light.

“The shadows got to be a real problem up in the north end,” Senneker said. “I kept hoping they’d shorten the race because it was getting hard to see the track.”

Senneker had to chase down the Don Gregory – Lennie Waldo race team late in the race, and only a lengthy late stop to change tires and drivers kept Gregory from second and possibly first. Waldo, driving relief for Gregory, pitted on lap 327 while running second. He lost that position plus five laps and wound up fourth, seven laps behind the winner and three laps behind the runner-up. Third went to steady Vern Schrock, the 1973 winner. Lonnie Breedlove was fifth to complete a Camaro sweep of the top five.

Breedlove came all the way from his 38th starting position in the 40-car field for his fifth=place finish. Veteran Ellis Herbert, who made the race in the 40th and final starting position when Joe Bennett’s car was disqualified, finished an impressive seventh.

Senneker had taken the lead on lap 361 after a lengthy stop had cost him two laps on the leaders. He and Waldo hooked up in a “showdown at sundown,” that went on for several laps before Senneker finally caught Waldo in slower traffic and whipped around him.

Senneker took the lead at the start and held on for 14 laps before Mike Eddy stormed to the front. Senneker got back into the lead on lap 97 until giving way to hard-charging Art Sommers on lap 128. Gregory took command on lap 131 and held it until Senneker came back for laps 163 and 164 before pitting.

Terry Senneker took over at that point and led until lap 219. Lead changes got more and more frequent in the final half of the most competitive “Di-Powr” yet.

Gregory led 220 – 242; then it was Bob Senneker 243 – 251; Gregory 252 – 263; John Anderson 264 – 267; bob Senneker 268 – 273; Anderson 274; Waldo (for Gregory) 275- 360, and Senneker for the final 40 circuits.

Engine problems waylaid several favorites. Dave Sorg one of a pair of two-time winners to start the race, was finished after 174 laps with a blown engine. Exiting with the same issue were Tom Maier at 169 laps and Rodney Combs at lap 34.

It really wasn’t Combs’ engine that broke. It was Larry Moore’s. Combs came to the pits with engine woes when Moore crashed through the guardrail. Moore’s crew hauled his car out of the woods and let Combs’ crew pull the engine and put it in Rodney’s car.

Mike Eddy was out after 146 laps with a faulty water pump.

Results –

1. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
2. Terry Senneker, Grand Rapids, Mich.
3. Vern Schrock, Middlebury, Ind.
4. Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
5. Lonnie Breedlove, Indianapolis
6. Jim Cushman, Worthington, Ohio
7. Ellis Herbert, Rushville, Ind.
8. Don Lamb, Milford, Ohio
9. John Anderson, Massillon, Ohio
10.Denny Nyari, South Bend, Ind.
11.L.J. Lines, Greensboro, Ind.
12.Bob Kohlmeyer, Fort Wayne, Ind.
13.Don Seaborn, Dayton, Ohio
14.Glenn Ohlmann, Louisville, Ky.
15.John Vallo, West Carrollton, Ohio
16.Roger Herp, Byron Center, Mich.
17.Art Sommers, Warren, Mich.
18.Jigger Sirois, Hammond, Ind.
19.Bob Coffey, Indianapolis
20.Robbie Dean, Grove City, Ohio.

Gregory had relief from Lennie Waldo, Grove City, Ohio

Bob Kohlmeyer had relief from Joe Bennett, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Don Seaborn had relief from Larry Moore, Dayton, Ohio

Jigger Sirois had relief from Jeff Bloom, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

1978 - Watson Posts Convincing Victory in Oktoberfest Main

Dave Watson receives congratulations from La Crosse Interstate Speedway promoter Larry Wehrs after winning the Oktoberfest 200. – Wayne Mioskowski Photo

West Salem, Wis. (October 1, 1978) – Not even a blown engine suffered after winning the day’s second 50-lap event could prevent Dave Watson from claiming the 100-lap championship feature to take the overall title in La Crosse Interstate Speedway’s ninth annual Oktoberfest 200 for late models on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to his Sunday triumphs, Watson won the 20-lap race of champions and his dash, Saturday night, to dominate the three-day event. Watson earned $2,225 from the $20,650 purse for his efforts.

Joining Watson in the feature winner’s circle on Sunday was Doug Strasburg of Johnson Creek, who captured the afternoon’s initial 50-lap headliner.

Just after Watson had captured the second 50-lapper, his car’s engine gave way, forcing his crew to install a new powerplant prior to the 100. Fortunately, the crew had proven equipment to utilize. That same engine which Watson used to win the USAC Fair Stock 150 at the Milwaukee Mile in August, was hurriedly installed in the racer and Watson started the 100-lap finale in the ninth position.

Polesitter Joel Laufer grabbed the lead as the green flag waved but Steve Burgess, driving a brand-new 1978 Camaro, took over the top spot on lap 7.

Mark Lamoreaux, at the wheel of a Camaro he recently had purchased from Burgess, moved into contention moments later and overhauled Burgess to claim first place on lap 13.

Racing bumper-to-bumper, Lamoreaux and Burgess then pulled away from the rest of the field, with Burgess regaining the lead on lap 39.

Burgess remained in front until lap 43 when he spun in turn four, giving the lead back to Lamoreaux, and necessitating the event’s first caution flag. Burgess was able to resume racing, but the mishap dropped him from first to seventh in the standings.

Prior to the caution, Watson had been running third, about a half a lap behind the pacesetters. However, the caution permitted him to make up a major portion of that deficit and as the field readied for the restart, Watson found himself in fifth place with Pat Schauer fourth, John Ziegler third and Jim Back in second.

Another yellow came out on lap 45 when Jim Weber spun in the first turn.

After the green flew once again, Watson made his move, quickly passing Schauer, Ziegler, and Back, and then overtaking Lamoreaux to claim first place on lap 48.

Back took second from Lamoreaux 10 circuits later and Ziegler and Schauer advanced to third and fourth, respectively, on the 70th round. Two more trips around the 5/8-mile oval, Schauer took third from Ziegler.

However, no one was able to keep pace with Watson the rest of the way and at the checkered flag, the Milton chauffeur held a full straightaway advantage over Schauer, who had taken second from Back on lap 99. Back settled for third with Ziegler fourth and Burgess completing the top-five.

Earlier, Lamoreaux had dominated the first part of the opening 50-lapper, leading the first 28 circuits before Tom Reffner took over. Although his car began smoking just as he gained the upper hand, Reffner remained in front while Strasburg, and Tony Strupp battled Lamoreaux for second place.

Strasburg, who had started fifth, finally took second but seemed to have little hope of catching Reffner until the final circuit. Then, the differential broke on Reffner’s car, forcing him to slow his pace entering the second turn. Strasburg nearly slammed into Reffner’s suddenly slowing mount but avoided contact and soared into the lead.

Strupp, who had started on the pole, put on a strong closing rush but had to settle for second place at the finish. Lamoreaux paced third, Weber fourth and Reffner hung on to finish fifth.

Reffner, who had won Oktoberfest titles in 1970 and 1975, had established himself as one of the favorites for the overall title on Saturday, setting fast time (20.513) and winning the first 10-lap dash. However, racing despite the loss of oil in Sunday’s first 50-lapper damaged the engine in his 1978 AMC Concord and he lasted only two laps in the 100-lap finale.

Polesitter Bob Jusola paced the first five laps of the second 50-lapper before Marzofka, who won the 1978 La Crosse late model crown, took over.

Watson, who had started ninth, used the outside groove to pass Marzofka on lap 10 but Marzofka regained the top spot five laps later.

Remaining in the outside grove, Watson surged back into the lead on lap 17 and led the rest of the way despite constant pressure from Marzofka, who settled for second. Third place went to Schauer with Johnny Boegeman taking fourth and Jusola rounding out the top five.

Results –

1. Dave Watson, Milton
2. Pat Schauer, Watertown
3. Jim Back, Vesper
4. John Ziegler, Madison
5. Steve Burgess, Fall Creek
6. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
7. Mark Lamoreaux, Bloomington, Minn.
8. Larry Hicks, Lake Geneva
9. Dick Stang, Prior Lake, Minn.
10.John Boegeman, Shakopee, Minn.
11.Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek
12.Bob Jusola, Centuria
13.Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
14.Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
15.Jerry Eckhardt, Lake Mills
16.Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
17.Axel Dahlberg, Mauston
18.Joel Laufer, Hartford
19.Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
20.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

1984 - Bryan Reffner Snares Close Oktoberfest 100

Bryan Reffner scored the biggest win of his career by capturing the 100-lap late model feature in the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday afternoon at La Crosse Interstate Speedway. – Lowell Dalsoren Photo

West Salem, Wis. (September 30, 1984) – Twenty-year-old Bryan Reffner held off Ted Musgrave and his father Tom Reffner to capture the 100-lap late model feature of the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday afternoon at La Crosse Interstate Speedway.

Lyle Nowak took the lead at the start of the main event from his pole position, but John McNamara overtook Nowak to gain the top spot on lap 2. McNamara paced the 25-car field until the ninth round when the younger Reffner took command. One lap later, the first caution of the event came out.

When the race resumed, Reffner continued to lead while Terry Baldry moved up to second. On lap 15, another yellow flag flew when Steve Murgic and Bob Iverson spun in turn three.

Reffner maintained his lead after the mishap and at lap 25 was followed closely by Baldry, Steve Holzhausen, and Musgrave. Bob Weis brought out another yellow on lap 31. One lap later, Tim Cox spun, forcing another slowdown.

Bryan Reffner retained the lead through the mishaps, but Musgrave overtook Baldry for second place on lap 42.

For the remainder of the race, Reffner used the outside groove thus forcing Musgrave to try the inside of the track. A broken differential on Baldry’s car knocked the Omro driver out of the race on lap 60, while the top three; Bryan Reffner, Musgrave, and Tom Reffner, pulled away from the field.

For the final 13 circuits, Reffner held off several attempts by Musgrave to get by on the inside. The elder Reffner took advantage of the duel to gain ground on the pair and pulled right up behind Musgrave.

At the finish, the top three crossed the finish line bumper-to-bumper with the young Reffner scoring the victory. Musgrave held off a determined Tom Reffner while Steve Burgess and Rick Wateski filled out the top five.

Tom Reffner fought off Wateski for the final 18 laps to win the first 50-lap feature, which was comprised of odd-number cars. Steve Burgess scored a relatively easy victory in the second 50-lapper for even-numbered cars.

Results –

1. Bryan Reffner, Rudolph
2. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
3. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
4. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
5. Rick Wateski, La Crosse
6. Bob Gunn, Madison
7. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
8. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
9. Tim Cox, Wildwood
10.Bob Iverson, Escanaba, Mich.

1973 - Miller Wins Rockford National Short Track Title


Mike Miller receives the spoils for his victory in the National Short Track Championship 200-lapper at Rockford. Jody Deery (at extreme right) looks on. – Bernie Tappa Photo

Rockford, Ill. (September 30, 1973) – Young Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., out-drove a star-studded field to win the 200-lap National Short Track Championship event for late model stock cars on Sunday afternoon.

Starting in the ninth position by virtue of his second fastest qualifying time, it took 77 laps for Miller to find his way through heavy traffic on the quarter-mile asphalt oval into the fourth spot. On lap 92, Don Leach of Beloit, Wis., who was running third, got the tail end of his Chevelle into the turn three wall. It didn’t put him out, but it gave Miller and three other cars a chance to go by him.

Miller would slip by the thundering Mustang of Wayne Stallsworth of Aurora, Colo., on lap 94 for second, putting him right behind race-long leader Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill. The red flag waved on lap 103 for the mandatory 11-minute pit stop.

When the green flag waved out on the restart, Miller jumped by Shear for the lead and from there it was his race the rest of the way.

The Saturday portion of the three-day event was very slow in getting underway. Heavy rains on Friday cut down on practice, and flooded the infield and pit area. Pumps were set up and worked steadily into the afternoon. Cars would finally get out on the track to dry it out and then it would mist again.

It was late in the evening when time trials finally got underway and it was the Wisconsin flash, Dick Trickle, that was one of the first cars out and he set fast qualifying time. The later cars seemed to be hauling mud out on the track when qualifying and the surface became slippery. When Joe Shear, the track record holder at Rockford, finally hit the asphalt, he was unable to crack the top 10 fastest.

Sunday dawned gray but thee track would be totally dry and everything went of smoothly, although a little late. Denny Falko of Aurora, Ill., and Joe Shear won 30-lap qualifying features to gain a starting berth in the 200-lap feature.

Results –

1. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit
3. Wayne Stallsworth, Aurora, Colo.
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
6. Tom Jones, Northbrook
7. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
8. Danny Bellard, Beloit, Wis.
9. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
10. Ed Hoffman, Niles

1962 – White Cops IMCA Championship


Johnny White is joined by car owner Dizz Wilson after winning the 30-lap IMCA big car feature at Winchester. The victory clinched the IMCA national title for White. - Wayne Bryant Photo

Winchester, Ind. (September 30, 1962) – Hard-driving Johnny White gathered all the marbles available on Sunday afternoon as he won the 30-lap Frank funk Handicap at Winchester Speedway.

White, who hails from Warren, Mich., edged Tampa, Fla., ace Pete Folse for the IMCA big car championship in what was one of the closest title contests in the 47-year history of the International Motor Contest Association.

Driving the Dizz Wilson Offy, White collected 40 points in the heat race and another 130 for winning the feature to give him a final total of 2,590 points – 105 ahead of Folse, who picked up 20 markers for his third-place finish in the consolation and 16 points for his eighth-place finish in the main event.

Folse had held a slim 29-point lead coming into Sunday’s race and managed a paltry finish on the high-banked, half-mile asphalt oval, a racing surface that Folse prefers not to drive on.

The paltry Floridian had captured the last three IMCA national titles before White “slammed the door.” Folse’s car - the Hector Honore Bardahl Offenhauser – is the same car driven to four consecutive IMCA titles by Bobby Grim of Indianapolis from 1955 to 1958.

The victory, the second for White in three attempts, was an easy one with almost half of the 30 laps run under yellow.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., ripped a fuel tank on lap 16 while running third. Fuel spilled out onto the car’s hot exhaust pipe and exploded. Blundy managed to safely guide the car to a stop on the backstretch, climbed out and assisted with extinguishing the blaze.

Bobby King of Muncie, Ind., winner of the first IMCA race this season at Winchester, was nipping at White’s rear treads throughout the first 16 circuits and made a final desperate attempt to catch the Michigan speedster when the white flag was waved on the 29th lap.

White set new IMCA marks in both time trials and his heat race. He toured the half-mile in 18.08 seconds to erase the old standard off 18.14 seconds, two-hundredths of second within the world mark of 18.06 seconds set by Parnelli Jones and Roger McCluskey at Winchester.

Results –

1. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
2. Bobby King, Muncie, Ind.
3. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
4. Tom McClellan, Dayton, Ohio
5. Calvin Gilstrap, Salem, Ind.
6. Bob Hayduk, Cleveland, Ohio
7. Curly Boyd, Middletown, Ind.
8. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
9. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
10.Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
11.Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
12.Dean Mast, Sugar Creek, Ohio
13.Don Friend, Detroit, Mich.
14.Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
15.Zeke Ingland, Columbus, Ohio

Friday, September 29, 2023

1979 – Sanger Scores in Missouri Nationals


Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, won the $10,000 Ewer’s Goodyear Nationals at Capital Speedway. Sanger took home $1,500 for his efforts. He’s joined by his crew and the Ewer family. – Al Steinberg Photo

Holts Summit, Mo. (September29, 1979) – Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, took the lead on lap 67 of the 100-alp Ewer’s Goodyear Missouri Nationals feature event and held it the rest of the way to score the victory and the $1,000 payday Saturday night at Capital Speedway.

Sanger’s victory was no easy feat, as a hard-charging Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, was glued to his rear bumper the entire 33 final laps, one passing Sanger on the front straightaway on lap 97 until Sanger returned the favor, passing him on the backstretch.

Jackson, who started on the outside of the front row, led the first four laps until being passed by Viola, Iowa’s Ken Walton. It looked like a runaway for Walton until lap 30 when he dropped low to pass a slower car in turn two and hit a drainage ditch, destroying his rear end.

Jackson regained the led once again as Sanger continued to eat up the distance between himself and the leader until the lead pass on lap 67. No one else finishing in the top-10 were even close to the two frontrunners.

Finishing third in the race, which was halted only once when Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., spun on lap 30, was John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa. Finishing fourth was Galen Shaeffer of Topeka, Kan., and taking fifth was Bill Rice of Des Moines.

In Friday’s preliminaries, Jackson set fast time with a 22.06 second clocking. Timing second fastest was Johnny Stevens of Jefferson City with time of 23.14 seconds.

Qualifying heat wins went to Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ken Walton, Galen Shaeffer, Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, and Bill Rice.

A total of 63 of the nation’s best late model drivers turned out for the second annual event and a record $10,000 purse, prompting promoter Ed Bloom to start plans for the third annual event for September of next year.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
3. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
4. Galen Shaefer, Topeka, Kan.
5. Bill Rice, Des Moines
6. Steve Fraise, Montrose, Iowa
7. Johnny Stevens, Jefferson City
8. John Miller, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Tim Trimble, Gilliam, Mo.
10.Ed Dixon, Washington, Mo.

1974 – Lindley Plan Pays


Butch Lindley 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 29, 1974) – While most of the race favorites found the 250-mile race too much for them, young Butch Lindley of Greenville, S.C., calmly followed his race plan and went on to win.

And for his effort, the 27-year-old received $7,000, including $1,900 in lap money for the 190 circuits he was clearly in charge of.

“After 30 laps, I felt I had the fastest car,” Lindley said in victory circle. “At first, I was holding back, but then I figured I might as well get out there and lead.”

And he did. Lindley isn’t sure – keeping score isn’t his strong point – but he believes this is his 15th NASCAR sportsman championship race of the season. One of those wins came in the STP 200 here earlier in the season which ended with this Permatex Southern 400.

The victory didn’t come without some close calls. Lindley recalled one in particular that may have been the race. On the 281st lap, Lindley and national champion Jack Ingram of Asheville, N.C., had come out of the pits under caution and Ingram leading.

Coming out of the first turn, Flookie Buford, who was running third at the time, blew an engine just ahead of the two leaders. Oil from the blown engine sent Buford skidding into the wall. Ingram could not completely stop and slammed into Buford, damaging the right front section of his Chevrolet.

Lindley was luckier.

“I saw it happening,” Lindley said. “I had planned to go high but I changed my mind and went low.” It was a fortunate decision as the high groove would have sent him into the crash.

From that point on, it was a matter of waiting to see if anything would happen to Lindley’s car. A few laps later, smoke boiled from Ingram’s car, and he had to ride the apron the rest of the race. With Ingram in trouble, Lindley was not in a lap by himself.

Wrecks and mechanical issues took a heavy toll on the pre-race favorites. L.D. Ottinger went out after a crash on lap 11. A split in the cylinder wall took Darrell Waltrip out of the running on lap 51. At that point, he was running first and had led for the last 28 circuits.

Freddy Fryar led for 131 laps but on the 245th lap, he limped to the pits. He would return to the race later, but on lap 274, slammed into the first turn wall and was done for the day.

Jack Ingram led for 40 laps and Jerry Lawley, who finished second behind Lindley, was out front for 10 laps.

Ken Worley of Fairfax, Va., who started 31st, finished in third place and Don Smith of Gurley, Ala., who started 27th, finished fourth. Ingram limped home to a fifth-place finish.

Lindley blew an engine in practice on Saturday. It took his crew and hour and 45 minutes to replace it.

The time for the race last 3 hours, 27 minutes, and 23 seconds.

Results –

1. Butch Lindley
2. Jerry Lawley
3. Ken Worley
4. Don Smith
5. Jack Ingram
6. Phil Stilling
7. Windle Webster
8. Gene Glover
9. Don Rader
10.Billy Swain

Thursday, September 28, 2023

1975 – Carter wins Salem Memorial

Duane "Pancho" Carter

Salem, Ind. (September 28, 1975) – “Pancho” Carter led all but one lap en route to capturing the 50-lap Joe James/Pat O’Conner Memorial USAC sprint car feature at the Greater Salem Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

This year’s Hulman Classic victor overhaled first lap leader Rollie Beale on the completion of the second lap and then with the exception of a near-miss involving a spinning car, breezed to a winning straightaway distance over runner-up Sam Sessions.

Carter, who opened up a sizeable lead over the rest of the field, saw his chances of victory nearly erased on lap 43 when Larry Rice spun entering turn three after brushing wheels with a slower car.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., was forced to go high on the banked track to avoid hitting Rice’s stalled sprinter. The incident brought out the only yellow flag of the afternoon and enabled the pack to close the gap as the field completed the final seven laps.

After the green flag waved for the restart, Carter had little trouble opening up a sizeable lead which he held to the finish.

Larry Dickson strengthened his hopes of an unprecedented third national driving championship with a third-place finish while his nearest competitor, Rollie Beale, finishing fifth. Marvin Carman finished fourth.

Sessions was the program’s fast qualifier, touring the half-mile paved oval in 17.09 seconds. Heat wins went to Gary Bettehausen, Jeff Bloom, Dickson, James McElreath and Tom Bigelow.

Results –

1. Pancho Carter
2. Sam Sessions
3. Larry Dickson
4. Marvin Carman
5. Rollie Beale
6. Bill Cassella
7. Sheldon Kinser
8. Joe Saldana
9. Darl Harrison
10.James McElreath

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

1980 – Gundaker takes Cornhusker – Hawkeye Challenge

Kevin Gundaker won the annual Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Gundaker is joined by promoter John Beaman in victory lane.


Harlan, Iowa (September 27, 1980) – Shelby County Speedway closed its books on another season, Saturday night, with the successful Cornhusker- Hawkeye Challenge Cup feature event.

The 75-lap feature was won by Kevin Gundaker of St. Louis. The main event was run with only one caution flag.

Mike Niffenegger of Kalona took the early lead from his outside front row starting position. On the ninth lap, Dave Chase of Council Bluffs took over the lead until the 19th lap when he got caught in some slower traffic, and in the process of trying to get around them, suffered a flat tire.

At this point, Niffenegger regained the lead and held it until lap 55 when Gundaker passed him on the low side. Niffenegger took the lead one more time on lap 58 but Gundaker passed him on the next lap and held the lead the rest of the way.

Niffenegger pushed him for the top spot on lap 61 until his motor let go, thus ending his chances of being the second driver in the history of the event to win it a second time.

Gundaker proceeded to lap the rest of the field except second-place Billy Moyer of Des Moines. Dick Schiltz of Waterloo was third, followed by Ken Walton of Viola and Tom Hearst of Wilton.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines finished sixth after starting in the last row. Hoffman started there because of some bad luck in his heat and the consolation. He lost a tire in the heat and suffered from a broke axle in the consolation. He later found a cracked head on his motor which necessitated a trip back to Des Moines overnight to replace it. A second-place finish in last year’s race guaranteed Hoffman a spot in the feature even if he failed to qualify for this year’s main event.

Results –

1. Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
2. Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines
3. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
4. Ken Walton, Viola
5. Tom Hearst, Wilton
6. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
7. Em Fretheim, Decorah
8. Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
9. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
10.Kenny Fenn, Washington
11.Rob Taylor, Fremont, Neb.
12.Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
13.Keith Leithoff, Omaha, Neb.
14.Pat Wancewicz, Omaha, Neb.
15.Bill Beckman, Monticello
16.Craig Spetman, Council Bluffs
17.Al Humphrey, Giltner, Neb.
18.Steve Keppler, Marion
19.Terry Buresh, Bellevue, Neb.
20.Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
21.Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
22.Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
23.Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
24.Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
25.Rocky Hodges, Des Moines
26.Gary Hopp, Harlan
27.Kent Tucker, Aurora, Neb.
28.Glen Robey, Omaha, Neb.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

1965 – Moss Cops West Liberty Title


John Moss

West Liberty, Iowa (September 26, 1965) – “Big” John Moss of Iowa City led 49 of 50 laps to capture the season’s championship jalopy feature at the West Liberty Fairgrounds on Sunday.

The program ended the Mississippi Valley Speed Club’s events for the year.

Four area drivers were among the top-six finishers, with John Mullink of West Liberty taking second, Stan Crooks of Letts coming home in fourth, Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree finishing in fifth and Mel Morris of West Liberty grabbing sixth.

Morris rolled his car during the race but continued in competition after a restart. Chuck DeMeyer of Washington held fifth place until a spinout on the last lap.

Point champion Mark Mosier of Washington pulled his machine from the track with six laps remaining with mechanical issues. Neil Mellenger of Burlington rolled his car during hot laps. He suffered a gigantic black eye.

Results –

Trophy dash – Dick Kleindolph, Muscatine
Heat #1 – George Bishop, Muscatine
Heat #2 – Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
Heat #3 – Dick McClure, Burlington
Consolation – Bob Smith, Mount Pleasant
Feature –
1. John Moss, Iowa City
2. John Mullink, West Liberty
3. Bob Ensminger, Burlington
4. Stan Crooks, Letts
5. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
6. Mel Morris, West Liberty

Monday, September 25, 2023

1983 - Fifth NSTC Victory for Shear at Rockford

Joe Shear won his fifth National Short Track Championship late model feature at Rockford Speedway. Promoter Hugh and Jody Deery present the winner's wreath and trophy. – Russ Lake Photo

Rockford, Ill. (September 25, 1983) – Joe Shear grabbed the lead on the 40th circuit and outran Tom Reffner and Dick Trickle to capture the National Short Track Championship 200-lap super late model feature for his fifth win in the 18th running of the event Sunday afternoon at Rockford Speedway.

Shear, who started the event on the outside of the third row, worked his way into third place behind frontrunning Steve Murgic and Conrad Morgan on lap 8. Six laps later, the Beloit, Wis., pilot powered by Morgan to claim second.

Murgic maintained the top spot until the 40th circuit when Shear took command on the backstretch. Tom Reffner maneuvered past Murgic on the same lap to take over the second spot.

Shear and Reffner would gradually break away from the rest of the field, building up a huge advantage until the yellow flag waved for the mandatory pit stop on lap 103.

On the restart, Shear again took the lead with Reffner in second, Murgic held on to third, ahead of a fast-closing Dick Trickle. Trickle would move into third three laps later and by lap 121, was closing hard and fast on Reffner.

For the remainder of the race, Shear fought off Reffner while Trickle made every attempt to get around the two pacesetters. The trio raced in a tight formation until the checkered fell with Shear a car-length ahead of Reffner. Trickle settled for third with Ted Musgrave and Alan Kulwicki rounding out the top five.

“It was tough,” said Shear, who had won annual event more than any other driver. “You don’t make a mistake or it’s all over.”

Results –

1. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh, Wis.
5. Alan Kulwicki, Greenfield, Wis.
6. Steve Murgic, Rosemount, Minn.
7. Scott Hansen, Green Bay, Wis.
8. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
9. Conrad Morgan, Dousman, Wis.
10.Rich Bickle Jr., Edgerton, Wis.
11.Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
12.Ed Hoffman, Bensenville
13.Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
14.J.J. Smith, Appleton, Wis.
15.Rick Smith, Columbus, Wis.
16.Burt Weitemeyer, Lansing
17.Russ Peterson, Hartland, Wis.
18.Gene Coleman, Menomonee, Wis.
19.Joe Tyrell, Sycamore
20.Tony Strupp, Slinger, Wis.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

1961 – Weatherly Captures Martinsville Race

Joe Weatherly is joined by car owner Bud Moore and the trophy girl after winning the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville. 

Martinsville, Va. (September 24, 1961) – Joe Weatherly of Norfolk, Va., took the lead for the third time on the 419th lap and kept his 1961 Pontiac up front the rest of the way to win the Old Dominion 500 late model stock car race.

The veteran driver drove the 500-lap, 250-mile distance around Martinsville’s half-mile asphalt track in 3 hours. 59 minutes and 40 seconds, an average speed of 62.59 miles per hour.

Weatherly finished about 15 car lengths ahead of 1960 Grand National champion Rex White of Spartanburg, S.C., who had won the Old Dominion the last two years. White made a spirited bid, but his 1961 Chevrolet was slowed down by gear trouble after the 400th lap.

The victory, before a crowd of 17,000, was worth $3,425 plus lap money to Weatherly. White pocketed $1,750 for his second-place effort.

Pontiacs took four of the top-five places in the race. Three drivers at the wheel of 1961 Pontiacs – Junior Johnson of North Wilkesboro, N.C., Fireball Roberts of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Ken Rush of High Point, N.C. – finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Twenty-eight cars started the race but only 16 were still on the track when the checkered flag waved. There were seven caution flags but no serious injuries.

Fred Lorenzen of Elmhurst, Ill., started on the pole and held the lead until lap 57 when Johnson whipped out in front. Weatherly took over on lap 111, Roberts on lap 127; Ned Jarrett of Newton, N.C., driving a 1961 Chevrolet, on the 130th.

Johnson went ahead again on lap 137 and held it until lap 300, when Weatherly forged in front. Johnson recovered the lead on lap 321, then yielded it to White on lap 360.

Results –

1. Joe Weatherly, Norfolk, Va.
2. Rex White, Spartanburg, S.C.
3. Junior Johnson, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
4. Fireball Roberts, Daytona Beach, Fla.
5. Ken Rush, High Point, N.C.
6. Jimmy Pardue, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
7. Emanuel Zervakis, Richmond, Va.
8. Art Malone, Tampa, Fla.
9. Larry Thomas, Trinity, N.C.
10.Bill Morton, Church Hill, Tenn.
11.G.C. Spencer, Inman, S.C.
12.Herman Beam, Johnson City, Tenn.
13.Ned Jarrett, Newton, N.C.
14.Fred Harb, High Point, N.C.
15.Doug Yates, Chapel Hill, N.C.
16.Laymon Utsman, Church Hill, Tenn.
17.Richard Petty, Randleman, N.C.
18.Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill.
19.Jim Paschal, High Point, N.C.
20.Glen Wood, Stuart, Va.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

1984 – Osborn Nets ‘Corn Belt Classic’ Victory

Denny Osborn won the Corn Belt Classic at Farley Speedway. Kevin McLane presents the checkers while Becky Weinard makes the trophy presentation. – Debbie Bohr Photo

Farley, Iowa (September 23, 1984) – Denny Osborn of Cedar Falls won the late model feature race in the Corn Belt Classic at Farley Speedway on Sunday evening.

The event had been scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights, but the second day of the program was moved to Sunday after rain washed out the Saturday portion of the show.

Roger Dolan of Lisbon took a commanding lead in the late model headliner, but his engine suffered a dropped valve after only five laps and Scott Sells of Waverly took over. Sells led until lap 31 when his engine went up in flames. Osborn inherited the top spot and led the remaining nine laps to seal the victory – worth $1,000.

Gary Crawford and Curt Martin, both of Independence, came across the finish line behind Osborn, finishing second and third, respectively. Ken Walton of Viola and Scott Braun of Cedar Falls rounded out the top-five.

During Friday’s action, Martin was the winner of the 20-lap feature with Dolan coming in second.

Sells was the quick timer at 21.825 seconds, while late model heats were won by Martin, Rick Wendling of Hazelton, Darrel DeFrance of Marshalltown, and Lynn Idler of Ionia.

In the street stock feature, Gus Hughes of Monticello led all the way but was disqualified for running an aluminum intake on his engine. That gave the feature win to Ricky Hurst of Dubuque.

Results –

1. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
2. Gary Crawford, Independence
3. Curt Martin, Independence
4. Ken Walton, Viola
5. Scott Braun, Cedar Falls
6. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
7. Denny Ansel, Dubuque
8. Greg Hunter, Independence
9. Harley McWilliams, Platteville, Wis.
10.Bob Campbell, Dubuque
11.Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls
12.Dick Barker, Dubuque
13.Jim Burbridge, Delhi
14.Mike Geltz, Dubuque
15.Martin Bennett, Des Moines
16.Scott Sells, Waverly
17.Roger Bruggeman, Dubuque
18.Greg Kastli, Waterloo
19.Bruce Freiburger, Dubuque
20.Steve Spahr, Monticello

1972 – Trickle Captures MASCAR 300 at Odessa


Galen Doke, president of the Mid-American Stock Car Racing Association, congratulates Dick Trickle after the Wisconsin ace won the 300-lap late model stock car contest at I-70 Speedway. 

Odessa, Mo. (September 23, 1972) – Once again, Dick Trickle added to his monumental victory total on Saturday night by capturing the Mid-American Stock Car Racing Association (MASCAR) 300-lap feature for late models at I-70 Speedway.

For his efforts, the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., driver pocketed more than $5,000 of the $25,015 purse. It was his 66th feature win of the season.

Trickle had his capable hands full during the early part of the race as NASCAR modified sportsman driver Red Farmer kept his Ford Torino right on the purple tail of Trickle’s 1970 Mustang. This was Trickle’s only serious challenge and last until lap 92 when Farmer pun and slammed into the wall.

Another Wisconsin pilot, Tom Reffner of Rudolph, was the only other driver in the field who seemed capable of staying with Trickle. Reffner turned in the fastest qualifying time of more than 60 entries the previous night.

Reffner’s luck in the race was not as good, however, as he was clipped by a slower car, while running third behind Trickle and Farmer.

Reffner’s 1970 Mustang then spun in the middle of the fourth turn, was hit by another car, touching off a 7-car pileup. Although Reffner’s mount did not appear to be seriously damaged, he retired for the evening.

With his two main competitors out of the picture, Trickle proceeded to run away from the rest of the field, cruising for the final 100 laps on the half-mile paved oval.

Finishing second was Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., in a 1972 Camaro, two laps down. Michigan supermodified and late model pilot Bob Senneker of Grand Rapids was third in his Chevelle. Terry Brumley and Bill Crane, both of Springfield, Mo., finished fourth and fifth respectively.

The best finish turned in by the Green Hornet team of Ed Howe and Tom Maier, netted a sixth-place finish by Maier.

IMCA national champion Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, came home in eighth place.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
3. Bob Senneker, Grand Rapids, Mich.
4. Terry Brumley, Springfield, Mo.
5. Bill Crane, Springfield, Mo.
6. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
7. Don Conner, Shawnee, Kan.
8. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Dave Goldsberry, Springfield, Mo.
10. Vance Cook, Jonesborough, Ark.

Two of the greatest short track drivers ever, Ernie Derr (1) and Dick Trickle (99), race each other during the MASCAR 300-lapper at I-70 Speedway. - Ivan Jackson Photo

Friday, September 22, 2023

1963 – Woolley is New IMCA Champ

Gordon Woolley clinched the IMCA sprint car crown with a victory at the Tennessee State Fair. Joining the champion in victory lane is Nashville mayor Beverley Briley, Frank Wilseck (co-car owner), John Wilson Tennessee Fair Board Manager, Gordon Woolley & Ann Woolley, Gene Van Winkle, Mrs. Sid Weinberger, and Sid.

Nashville, Tenn. (September 222, 1963) – Gordon Woolley, a balding 39-year-old race car driver from Waco, Tex., clinched the IMCA sprint car point championship as he copped the feature race at Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Woolley had his hands full in the contest before a crowd estimated at 3,000. Ray Duckworth, who won the State Fair event on here Saturday, was the early leader but Woolley passed him on lap 9.

If the race were ending at that point, it would have been a beautiful as Woolley edged ahead as the two crossed the finish line.

There were 21 laps left, however, and the Texan had to keep his foot on the gas pedal the rest of the way to hold off Duckworth.

Bob Pratt was another pursuer until his car blew an engine on the 24th circuit. Dean Mast then took that position and held it to the finish, far behind Woolley and Duckworth.

A loud roar came from Woolley’s pit crew when he took the lead and an even louder chant went up when he pulled into victory circle.

His wife was exuberant as she hugged and kissed her husband. “How about that, you’re IMCA champion,” she beamed.

Woolley stated that he had raced at Nashville once previously, finishing fifth thee years ago. He has been racing sprint cars for four years.

Results –

Heat #1 – Tom McClellan
Heat #2 – Dean Mast
Heat #3 – Don Brown
Consolation – Ray Duckworth
Feature –
1. Gordon Woolley
2. Ray Duckworth
3. Dean Mast
4. Jim McCune
5. Carl Williams
6. Pete Folse
7. Tom McClellan
8. Jerry Blundy
9. Dick Gaines
10.Curly Boyd

1957 – Burdick Leads Stockers at Muskogee

Bob Burdick 

Muskogee Okla. (September 22, 1957) – Persistence and a flash of daredevil driving paid off for Bob Burdick, the hotshot speedster, Sunday as rode home in first place in the 100-lap stock car race at the Oklahoma State Free Fair.

Time for the event, cut from 150 laps due to track conditions, was 51 minutes and 12.58 seconds.

Burdick, who is waging a nip and tuck duel with Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, for the top spot in the International Motor Contest Association point standings, dog-tailed pacesetter Lenny Funk for the first 80 laps before making his bid for victory.

The winner, driving a borrowed car for the contest, sped through an opening on the south turn on the 82nd lap to take the lead from Funk, they stay ahead to take the checkered flag and winner’s share of the purse.

Track officials said before the race, Burdick’s regular race car had been damaged and was set back to Omaha for repairs, but the 22-year-old Omahan borrowed a car from a fellow competitor in order to compete in the race after it had already been announced that he would compete here.

Funk would settle for second place for the second straight year and Darrell Dake finished third. Funk driving a 1957 Chevrolet, hails from Otis, Kan., while Dake, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also steers a ’57 Chevrolet.

The half-mile dirt track was lightning fast in the straightaways but soggy, muddy, and plenty rough and choppy in the turns.

Track officials spent all Sunday morning working on the surface to make it suitable for racing. As it was, a crowd estimated at over 8,000, had to wait until 3:45 pm for the first racing event of the afternoon.

Darrell Dake turned in the best time during qualifying, with a clocking of 31.62 seconds. Funk was second fastest with a time of 31.65 seconds and Burdick was third fastest at 31.72 seconds.

Beauchamp, the defending IMCA stock car champion, finished fifth in race, behind Dick Pellow of Minneapolis. He rode in fourth place for most of the race but then lost a position when he had to stop for water.

Burdick and Funk made the 100-lap distance without a pit stop and Dake toured 97 laps, losing three laps when he spun out midway through the race and crashed into a fence on the main straightaway. The accident cost him one position, from second to third.

Funk took the lead at the drop of thee green with Dake in second, Burdick in third, and Beauchamp in fourth, a lineup that held until the 50th lap when Dake lost ground and time in his accident.

After that, Funk set a sizzling pace, with power and skillful driving, and Burdick waged a one-two battle with Funk ahead until the 82nd go-round when Burdick pulled out front to stay.

Results –

1. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
2. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Dick Pellow, Minneapolis
5. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
6. Al Warrender, Harlan, Iowa
7. George Parson, North Platte, Neb.
8. Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
9. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
10.Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

1968 – Bettenhausen Wins at Reading

Race winner Gary Bettenhausen is flanked by promoters Lindy Vicari (left) and Al Gaspari (right) after his 30-lap USAC victory at the Reading Fairgrounds.  

Reading, Penn. (September 21,1968) – Gary Bettenhausen won the United States Auto Club 30-lap sprint car Saturday night, lapping every driver in the field except Bruce Walkup, Jerry Daniels, and Larry Dickson.

The Tinley Park, Ill., pilot completed the race in 11 minutes and 57.57 seconds, two seconds slower than the track mark for the event, set by Bobby Unser in 1965.

Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, set the qualifying pace with a time of 23.61 seconds around the half-mile dirt oval but blew his motor in his qualifying heat race and borrowed a car to finish fourth in the main event. Bettenhausen was second fastest with a time of 23.63 seconds.

Results –

1. Gary Bettenhausen
2. Bruce Walkup
3. Jerry Daniels
4. Larry Dickson
5. Herman Wise
6. Rollie Beale
7. Bob Pratt
8. Ralph Liguori
9. Sam Sessions
10.John Capel
11.Don Brown
12.Carl Williams
13.George Snider
14.Wib Spaulding

1958 – Zwanziger Leads Start to Finish for Title


Bill Zwanziger accepts his race trophy from Barb Custard.

Waterloo, Iowa (September 21, 1958) – Bill Zwanziger, the Cedarloo Racing, Inc., point leader, who wasn’t considered the favorite even though he was to start on the pole position, added the 1958 season championship victory to his point title at Tunis Speedway on Sunday night.

Many observers felt that Zwanziger’s late model wouldn’t withstand the 75-lap grind on the quarter-mile Tunis track, but Zwanziger grabbed the lead at the start and pushed his racer to a new track record of 23.82 minutes. The old record was set last year by Dick Krafka, who did not finish this year. Zwanziger led the mid-season championship race for 35 laps before dropping out with engine troubles.

It was the first season championship for the Waterloo pilot although he’s always been one of the top finishers every year.

Zwanziger moved into a quarter-lap lead in the early stages, leaving Harry Peterson, the mid-season champion, in second with Carroll Hilmer and Krafka on his tail. As the trio came down the front straightaway, Peterson was bumped slightly and spun around in the middle of the track. He was forced to back off the track to avoid being hit by oncoming traffic but immediately pulled back into the race and worked his way back into third place.

Krafka and Hilmer carried on their battle for second, exchanging placed several times before Krafka broke a piston in his newly built engine and exited the race on lap 31.

That left only Hilmer as a threat to Zwanziger and the Vinton driver worked his way up within three car lengths, only to lose ground in heavy lap traffic. When Hilmer finally broke free, Zwanziger was nearly half a lap ahead. Once again, Hilmer cut down the deficit, and once again, lost it in lap traffic. He finally finished about 10 car lengths behind when the checkers waved.

Gene Peterson would finish third followed by Les Johnson and Carroll Jensen.

Hilmer, Jerry Sherbon, and Les Johnson were heat winners while Howdy Hutchins won the 25-lap consolation.

A crowd of 3,575 watched the action.

Results –

1. Bill Zwanziger
2. Carroll Hilmer
3. Gene Peterson
4. Les Johnson
5. Carroll Jensen
6. Harry Peterson
7. Charlie Moffitt
8. John Mullink
9. Harry O’Deen
10.Cal Swanson

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

1970 – Bowsher Wins Sunday, Title to McCluskey

Jack Bowsher (21) won the race, but Roger McCluskey (1) won the title after the dust settled on the 250-miler at Milwaukee.

West Allis, Wis. (September 20, 1970) – Jack Bowsher won Sunday’s 250-mile late model stock car race, but second-place finisher Roger McCluskey clinched the United States Auto Club national championship for the second year in succession.

Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio, toured the paved, one-mile State Fair Park Speedway oval in his 1969 Ford Torino at an average speed of 95.483 miles per hour – good for $7,170 of the $35,725 purse.

Bowsher took the lead on lap 224 from front runner Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, whose car engine failed. White was finally forced out of the race for good on lap 231.

A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex., ran into trouble on lap 32 when he and Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill., collided. Darnell’s engine failed and he was trying to cross the track into the infield when he ran into the back of Foyt’s car. Both driver’s hit the wall.

Foyt was taken to an area hospital with a neck injury and later released.

Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., finished third followed by Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa and Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio.

Some 18,700 race fans watched Sunday’s race, postponed one week earlier because of rain.

Results –

1. Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
2. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
3. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
4. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
6. Whitey Gerkin, Villa Park, Ill.
7. Bob Wawak, Villa Park, Ill.
8. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
9. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
10.Billy Ries, Shakopee, Minn.
11.Larry Berwanger, Gary, Ind.
12.Dave Whitcomb, Valparaiso, Ind.
13.Lou Burmeister, Butler, Wis.
14.Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
15.Roger Regeth, Kimberly, Wis.

1963 – Reinhart is Tri-State Winner

Homer Melton, president of the Mississippi Valley Racing Association, presents the Tri-State Championship trophy to Jerry Reinhart.

Davenport, Iowa (September 20, 1963) – Jerry Reinhart is the apparent winner of the 100-lap Tri-State Championship racing special held at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Friday night.

The victory by Reinhart in the feature race was protested and a ruling was expected Saturday afternoon to clarify if the Moline, Ill., driver is the official winner.

Reinhart defeated Lloyd Caldwell of Kewaunee, Ill., for the victory with Bill Starr of Davenport finishing third.

Dean Montgomery of Milan, Ill., and Willis Franck of Rock Island, Ill., were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Heat winners were Ernie Speth of Davenport, Del Williams of Aledo, Ill., Charlie Moffitt of Stanwood, and Reinhart. Williams also won the semi-main. 

Results –

Heat #1 – Ernie Speth, Davenport
Heat #2 – Del Williams, Aledo, Ill.
Heat #3 – Charlie Moffitt, Stanwood
Heat #4 – Jerry Reinhart, Moline, Ill.
Semi-main – Del Williams
Feature –
1. Jerry Reinhart
2. Lloyd Caldwell, Kewaunee, Ill.
3. Bill Starr, Davenport
4. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
5. Willis Franck, Rock Island, Ill.
6. Red Droste, Waterloo
7. Dean Montgomery
8. Del Williams
9. John Moss, Iowa City
10.Jack Lueth, Davenport

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

1959 – Jones Wins Fair Opener

Rufus "Parnelli" Jones

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 19, 1959) - Sensational driving by Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., and a spectacular end over end roll involving Bill Hobbs of San Francisco, provided ample thrills for a crowd of about 9,000 race fans at the opening track program of the Kansas State Fair, Saturday afternoon.

Jones, at the wheels of a race creation which originated around a Chevrolet engine block, blazed to triumphs in every race he entered - a 7-lap heat race, a 4-lap match race between leading drivers and the big 12-lap feature.

Hobbs won the opening heat race. He was doing well in the feature until the seventh lap. Coming out of the north curve into the straightaway, his machine apparently struck a big hole in the track.

The front of the racer leaped high. Then the rear wheel hit the hole as the front was coming down. The bump kicked the rear end high. The car crashed down on its nose, made a complete flip-over and came to rest on its wheels, crosswise with the track.

Speeding cars narrowly missed Hobbs' car. Hobbs, his protective helmet split open seemed not to move. Officials frantically waved the racing machines to a stop. Hobbs was rushed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital suffering a broken shoulder, a shoulder separation, a cut over his right eye, and possible internal injuries. His condition is considered serious but not critical.

The best race of the afternoon program was a 4-lap match race between Jones, Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla. and Jack Rounds of Huntington Park, Calif. Rounds was soon out of it, but for four laps Jones and Folse raced virtually wheel to wheel. Officially Jones won the event by the width of a tire. Spectators thought it was even closer - maybe by the width of the tread.

Folse was a second behind Jones in the feature, but he trailed across the wire by several car lengths. Arnie Knepper, of Bellville, Ill., was third and Rounds, fourth.

Results –

Match race – Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
Heat #1 – Bill Hobbs, San Francisco
Heat #2 – Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #3 – Parnelli Jones
Consolation – Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
Feature –
1. Parnelli Jones
2. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
3. Arnie Knepper
4. Jack Rounds, Huntington Beach, Calif.
5. Dale Reed
6. Bob Mathouser, Gardenia, Calif.
7. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
8. Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
9. Harry Ross, Houston, Tex.
10.Charlie Lutkie, Wichita, Kan.
11.Tony Magasany, Honolulu, Hawaii
12.Buddy Quick, Tulsa, Okla.
13.Bill Hobbs
14.Tommy Vardeman, Tulsa, Okla.
15.Bert Hellmueller, Louisville, Ky.

Monday, September 18, 2023

1977 – Hansen Grabs Thunder Bay Title


Thunder Bay, Ontario (September 18, 1977) – Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, was the big winner at the Canadian Dirt Track Championships, held at Riverview Raceway.

Hansen took home $2,000 for his efforts in the 50-lap late model feature on the 3/8-mile mile dirt oval.

Sunday’s late model feature began under cloudy skies, with Hansen jumping immediately into the lead. On lap 4, Punky Manor of Altoona, Wis., bumped Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, sending them both into a spin and bringing out the yellow flag.

The race would be halted one lap later when heavy rain began to fall. The shower lasted 20 minutes but it caused a two-hour delay to dry the track.

Hansen was still on top when racing resumed, with John Jones of Thunder Bay now pressuring Hansen for the lead.

On lap 14, Axel Dahlberg of Mauston, Wis., had the engine on his Camaro blow. As he slowed to enter turn one, his car went into a spin, turning in a complete circle. A fast-approaching Ed Sanger went high to avoid Dahlberg, but the door was closed when Dahlberg slid to the outside of the track. Sanger hit Dahlberg’s driver’s side. Sanger’s car was not damaged enough and continued while Dahlberg’s car was badly damaged and unable to continue.

Hansen maintained his lead on the ensuing restart. He quickly opened up a six-car-length advantage over Jones. Sanger, who got his position back after the Dahlberg incident, would get by Jones for second place on lap 17.

He would have nothing for Hansen, however, who would increasing his lead by a full straightaway by the halfway mark and win by almost 25-car-lengths at the finish, with Sanger taking runner-up honors.

Tom Steuding of Altoona, Wis., put on a performance that was one of the highlights of the afternoon. He began the feature in the 21st starting position, having finished second in one of the two semi-features to get into the field. Steuding quickly moved through the pack to take fifth by lap 12, fourth on lap 31, and on lap 46 he got by Jones to take over third.

Following the Iowa drivers and Steuding were Jones, Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, and Red Steffen of Eau Claire, Wis.

Results –

1. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.
4. John Jones, Thunder Bay
5. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Red Steffen, Eau Claire, Wis.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

1978 – Reffner and Stang Capture Elko Superamerica 100’s

Dick Stang

Elko, Minn. (September 17, 1978) – Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., and Dick Stang of Prior Lake, emerged as the two winners of the twin 100-lap late model features highlighting the Superamerica 200 at Elko Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The contests were the climax of two days of competition that began Saturday night.

Reffner easily won the first 100-lapper, taking the lead on the 14th circuit. He finished in front of Mike Miller, Jim Back, Jim Weber, and Stang.

Trickle led the second main from lap 35 until the 81st circuit when Back, who made a late charge, went in front. Stang moved up into second place and ran bumper-to-bumper with Back until the last lap when Back slipped slightly on the front chute.

Stang took advantage of Back’s lapse and passed the Vesper, Wis., chauffeur on the outside to take the lead and the victory. Back settled for second with Miller, Trickle and Reffner rounding out the top-five.

Trickle emerged as the winner of the overall title for special events this year and won an extra $1,000 besides his regular payoff.

Reffner was fast qualifier on Saturday night with Greg Arenson winning the semi-feature and Trickle copping the 15-lap dash. Dewey Gustafson captured the B-main for late models.

The only serious accident of the weekend occurred in the B-main when Joe Berthiaume hit the front stretch wall and complete demolished his Camaro. He was taken to a local hospital for observation.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
2. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
3. Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
4. Jim Weber, Rosemount
5. Dick Stang, Prior Lake
6. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Feature #2 –

1. Dick Stang
2. Jim Back
3. Mike Miller
4. Dick Trickle
5. Tom Reffner
6. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior