Shreveport, La. (April 14, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp, the driving wizard who two weeks ago copped the Pelican “300,” set two world records Sunday afternoon at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds during the death-marred Southland Sprint Championships.
With a crowd of 6,283 looking on, death struck during time trials. Orville Richardson of Beaumont, Tex., was killed when his car overturned on a curve. It was the first track fatality since 1941 when Gus Schrader of Newhall, Iowa, was killed here.
But the speedsters continued at the records. Beauchamp, a smart veteran with a fuel injected Chevrolet, posted a world mark of 4 minutes and 48.73 seconds in the first heat race, and came pack to post a 5-lap record in a four-car event with a time of 2 minutes and 23.99 seconds.
However, the in the 30-lap feature, Beauchamp was forced to take a backseat to Bob Burdick, a 22-year-old driver from Omaha, Neb., with a 1956 Ford.
The feature see-sawed most of the way with the lead changing hands four times. Burdick used some fancy driving techniques to whiz past Beauchamp on the final bid. Robert “Doc” Narber of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was a close third.
The speedway was in the finest condition of it’s history with Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, piloting a brand-new 1957 Ford, setting a new fairgrounds standard for one lap in qualifying. He was clocked in 27.95 seconds on the lightning fast half-mile.
In the time trials, White, who was knocked out early in the Pelican “300” with motor issues, beat out Burdick, Narber, and Beauchamp to earn the pole position.
Beauchamp and Roxy Dancy, of Shreveport, were heat winners and consolation race went to White.