Friday, April 7, 2023

1978 - Kosiski Takes 'Spectacular" Opening


Bob Kosiski of Omaha collected a trophy and a $1,000 check for winning Lakeside Speedway’s “Spring Spectacle of Speed” in Kansas City.

Kansas City, Kan. (April 7, 1978) – Several smoldering stock car questions were either answered or confirmed for more than 4,000 race fans who attended the Spring Spectacle of Speed late model special at Lakeside Speedway on Friday night.

First things first...

Yes, they do have tremendous dirt track racing in Iowa as more than a dozen drivers from the Hawkeye State proved. Second, Jerry Inmon of Bruce, Miss., gave proof positive that his recent victories in Florida were no fluke. Third, Terry Bivins of Wellsville, Kan., despite saying he “gets depressed” over racing, tries harder than anyone to win, and fourth, when it comes to winning big races, Bob Kosiski of Omaha is as tough as they come.

Kosiski won the 30-lap feature, and may well have anyway, because he was the second fastest qualifier. But it wasn’t until Inmon’s engine went sour that Kosiski took command. Inmon returned to the race on seven cylinders and managed an eighth place finish.

Bivins, struggling with a overheating car, almost didn’t make through the feature but a caution flag midway allowed precious minutes for his Camaro to cool off and continue.

From then on, Bivins chased Kosiski with near blinding fury until a car-crunching crash on the 23rd circuit eliminated Bivins, Kansas City’s John Oswalt and Kent Tucker of Aurora, Neb.

Kosiski was home free after that and admitted afterwards, “Once I was ahead, I wasn’t really worried. I saw some of the other cars smoking so I figured I was going to be okay.”

Oswalt said he was not satisfied with his new car, and at one point was thinking of pulling it out of the race.

“Then, I caught a hole (coming out of the fourth turn),” Oswalt said. “I was trying to keep out of the main competition by staying low. I should have pulled in.”

His late model bounced on the track and into the fence. It then bounced back into the line of traffic where Tucker was charging hard.

“I was trying to pass two cars,” said Tucker of his car being in the high groove on the straight, and then tangling with Oswalt.

The two cars were dead pigeons on the track as Kosiski and Bivins came flying around. Bivins was making up ground rapidly by using the high groove while Kosiski was going as smoothly as possible by using the middle of the track. They had been dueling bumper-to-bumper for almost four laps.

Kosiski, in front, saw Oswalt and Tucker and ducked down low to avoid them. Bivins, eating Kosiski’s dust, could not.

“I was in a mud storm,” Bivins explained after he smacked straight into Tucker’s car. Tucker was again hurled into Oswalt. “I didn’t see either of them until it was too late.”

Kosiski had a cake walk for the last seven laps after that, finishing comfortably ahead off Dave Chase of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Bob Shryock of Estherville, Iowa. Denny Hovinga of Pocahontas, Iowa, was fourth and Johnny Johnson of Morning Sun, Iowa, took fifth.

Curt Houge of Ames, Iowa, set fast time in qualifying, with a clocking of 24.723 seconds while Kosiski’s time was 25.007 seconds. Houge’s engine blew after only few laps into the start of the main event, but he did win the opening heat race.

Inmon, who last year competed in 95 features and won 54 of them, won the third heat and was dominating the feature before he had to begin his 550-mile trek back to Mississippi with a sick engine. Inmon was third fastest in qualifying with a time of 25.017 seconds.

Bill Rice of Des Moines, Iowa, who won the second heat, also pulled in during the feature with a smoking engine. Shryock, who scored 30 feature victories in 1977, won the fourth heat. Bivins won the fifth heat. Duane Steffe of East Moline, Ill., won the 15-lap consolation race.

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