Tuesday, May 30, 2023

1953 - Derr Wins Downs Stock Race in Close Finish

Ernie Derr

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 30, 1953) - Fifteen late model stock cars raced for 100 laps at Hawkeye Downs Saturday, but the winner wasn't determined until the last eighth of a lap in an incident which threatened trouble and brought 6,000 fans to their feet, many of them streaming onto the raceway.

Here was the picture…

Shorty Perlick of Minneapolis, the defending stock car champion of the International Motor Contest Association, had been leading since the 60th lap.

Ernie Derr of Keokuk was riding second as they entered the final turn. The cars were bumper to bumper and as Perlick's machine came out of the turn, it got a jolt from Derr’s bumper-riding car. Perlick spun and Derr roared over to take first with his 1953 Oldsmobile.

Derr took the checkered flag from the starter and went on his victory lap. Meanwhile, Perlick spun his car around and, as he finished his half-mile jaunt, Perlick drove straight at Derr.

The Keokuk winner dropped the checkered flag, grabbed the steering wheel with both hands and spun away.

IMCA officials, pit crews and fans converged on the scene with IMCA officials ordering both drivers to stay in their cars or be disqualified.

Don White of Keokuk led the race for 60 laps until a blown tire forced him to the pits. Then it was Perlick in the lead and Derr second with Derr several times riding side-by-side but unable to pass the IMCA champion.

When he returned to action, White almost “stood on the accelerator” and got up to third, edging out Chris Skadal of Des Moines.

Perlick chalked up a new IMCA 15-lap record in the second heat race when he turned the Downs oval in 8 minutes and 05.65 seconds, bettering the previous mark of 8:16.35.

White won the first heat in 8 minutes and 18.80 seconds with Les Snow of Bloomington, Ill., providing the main attraction as he moved his 1952 Hudson from the seventh-place start to second place money.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
2. Shorty Perlick, Minneapolis, Minn.
3. Don White, Keokuk
4. Chris Skadal, Des Moines
5. Dick Murren, Minneapolis
6. Les Snow, Bloomington, Ill.
7. Wally Dahl, Minneapolis, Minn.
8. Loren Fox, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Jerry Draper, Silvis, Ill.
10. Don Burdette, Carthage, Ill.
11. Matt Perlick, Minneapolis, Minn.
12. Gordon Howard, Marshalltown
13. Mike Gleeson, St. Paul, Minn.
14. Sonny Helm, Des Moines
15. Charles Magnison, Minneapolis, Minn.

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