Friday, April 21, 2023

1963 – Hutcherson Gets Pelican 200 Victory

Pelican 200 winner Dick Hutcherson is interviewed by IMCA secretary Mike Heffron while Bernie Carlson presents the checkers and Auto Racing Inc's Frank Winkley looks on approvingly. 

Shreveport, La. (April 21, 1963) – Dick Hutcherson, a 30-year-old dirt track veteran with some four seasons on the road already packed under his seat belt, initiated the International Motor Contest Association’s 1963 stock car racing campaign with the smell of exhaust smoke at State Fair Speedway on Sunday afternoon as he wheeled his Ford mount home in front of a 19-car field in the 10th annual Pelican 200.

The bang was supplied by the 1963 Ford Fastback with a canary yellow paint job, carrying the #3 and splashed with red stripes and blue lettering.

Hutcherson’s powerful sedan showed its rear bumper to the remainder of the pack throughout the final 146 laps.

Ramo Stott, like Hutcherson a native of Keokuk, Iowa, guided his pale blue 1963 Plymouth into second place over the 100-mile haul; Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., in a 1963 Ford, landed third; and Eddie Harrow of Corpus Christi, Tex., in a ’63 Chevrolet, tooled his cream and orange mount to a fourth place finish.

Ernie Derr, the ringleader of the Keokuk Komets, and defending champion of the Pelican 200, experienced mechanical problems with his 1963 Pontiac and retired after lap 164. He eventually ended up in 11th place.

“I couldn’t have made it another five laps,” said an exhausted Hutcherson, his overalls soaking in sweat and dirt.

Hutcherson, no worse than third in the national point standings since he joined IMCA in 1959, and runner-up to Derr last season, smashed one Shreveport record en route to his triumph. His time of 45 minutes and 30.56 seconds after 100 laps – broke the 45 minutes and 45.38 second record he posted last October during the State Fair.

Dick’s first Pelican 200 victory – putting him in a class with such notables as four-time winner Don White, two-time champion Ernie Derr, Johnny Beauchamp, Sonny Morgan and Ramo Stott – was witnessed by a crowd estimated at more than 10,000 by Auto Racing Inc’s Frank Winkley, the biggest turnout ever recorded for a Louisiana State Fair Speedway stock car event.

Hutcherson, who pocketed $700 of the $4,000 purse, rewarded the record gathering by lapping the entire field as early as the 96th circuit. Only Stott was able to get the lap back on the 170th round.

Results –

1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Eddie Harrow, Corpus Christi, Tex.
5. Jim Washburn, Keokuk, Iowa
6. Bob Reynolds, Edmonds, Okla.
7. H.B. Bailey, Houston, Tex.
8. Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee, Wis.
9. Phil Cronin, Houston, Tex.
10.Pat Henry, Beaumont, Tex.
11.Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
12.Jerry Douglas, Wichita Falls, Tex.
13.Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
14.John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa
15.Don Rittman, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

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