Monday, April 24, 2023

1971 – Morris Wins MVSC Opener

Mel Morris won the Mississippi Valley Speed Club season opener at Columbus Junction. 

Columbus Junction, Iowa (April 24, 1971) – Mel Morris of West Liberty charged from his fourth row starting position to pick up the checkered flag at the Mississippi Valley Speed Club races here on Saturday.

Morris trailed Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa, early on in the contest but took the lead midway when Blankenship was forced to retire with mechanical problems.

Mel’s Dodge Charger hadn’t been running well in earlier events although he did have second fastest time in qualifying, but when feature time rolled around, he ran away from the field.

Finishing second behind Morris was Ron Prymek of Iowa City who also took over the lead in the MVSC point standings. Pokey West of West Chester, Iowa, who came on strong towards the end of the race, finished third and Mark Mosier of Washington, Iowa, who got far behind early but passed cars steadily to take fourth.

The rest of the evening belonged to Pokey West. He won all three events, starting with time trials with a time of 26.57 seconds around the big half-mile. Morris posted a time of 26.74 seconds and Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree, Iowa, was third fastest at 27.23 seconds.

West won a tension-packed trophy dash from Prymek. Prymek led as they took the white flag, but West came down low in turn three and the two drivers came out of turn four side-by-side. Pokey beat Prymek by a bumper at the finish line.

In the first heat, Pokey worked his way up behind Blankenship, then picked hi favorite corner - turn four - and gave race fans and instant replay of the trophy dash.

Mark Mosier of Washington, Iowa, looked like he would pick up the victory in the second heat until he spun on lap 6, allowing Larry Jenkins of Wilton, Iowa, to score the win. Bryan Buchele of Muscatine, Iowa, took top honors in heat three.

Mosier would try again in the fourth heat and succeed, winning handily. Gary “Tex” Redlinger of Wellman, Iowa, won the 7-lap consolation.

Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa, started on the pole of the 15-lap semi-main and stayed in front the whole way.

Results –

Time Trials – Pokey West, West Chester, Iowa
Trophy Dash – Pokey West
Heat #1 – Pokey West
Heat #2 – Larry Jenkins, Wilton, Iowa
Heat #3 – Bryan Buchele, Muscatine, Iowa
Heat #4 – Mark Mosier, Washington, Iowa
Consolation – Gary Redlinger, Wellman, Iowa
Semi-Main – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
Feature –
1. Mel Morris, West Liberty, Iowa
2. Ron Prymek, Iowa City, Iowa
3. Pokey West
4. Mark Mosier
5. Ray Guss, Milan, Ill.
6. Bill Newman, Burlington, Iowa
7. Ron Perdock, Washington
8. Earl Wagner
9. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree, Iowa
10. Don Morgan, Muscatine, Iowa

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