Monday, May 15, 2023

1955 – White Cops Corn Belt Title

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 15, 1955) – Don White of Keokuk, a veteran in IMCA late model stock car racing, carried off top honors at Hawkeye Downs on Sunday in the 100-mile Corn Belt Championship.

He won the title in the first race event of the season before one of the largest crowds in several years, an estimated 10,000, who filled the fairgrounds’ facilities.

The unexpected large crowd caught race officials short and long lines of cars jammed roads heading towards the fairgrounds and double lines of ticket seekers stretched for several blocks. The program was an hour late in starting.

White won the 200-lap feature in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 23.8 seconds, leading home Cedar Rapids’ Robert “Doc” Narber by nearly two laps. There were no serious accidents but about 15 laps were run under the caution flag.

Driving a 1955 Oldsmobile, White ran fourth in the early going as Narber, one of IMCA’s newest stars, led the race for the first 85 laps. Narber won the pole position in his 1955 Chevrolet with the fastest time of the day, 31.13 seconds.

He dueled with another Chevrolet, driven by Marvin Copple of Lincoln, Neb., through the early laps. But Copple was nearly rolled out of the race when Bill Harrison of Topeka, Kan., bumped him on the 64th lap, and both drivers wound up in the pit area with mechanical issues.

White moved up after that point to challenge Narber but was unable to pass the Cedar Rapids driver until the 85th lap, when White’s brother-in-law, Ernie Derr of Fort Madison, battled with Narber while White slipped past both drivers easily.

Derr, who made a total of three pit stops, was several laps out at the time and was never in contention for Sunday’s top prize as he finished fifth.

Although losing out to the IMCA point leader, Narber turned in one of his finest performances to date, taking second easily ahead of Russell Gross of Quincy, Ill. Delmar Donnellson of Burlington was fourth with Derr taking fifth.

Two cars, a ’53 Hudson driven by Gross and a ’55 Oldsmobile piloted by Donnellson, made no pit stops. White and Narber might have finished without a stop but White came in briefly on lap 167 during a caution period for a splash of gas and Narber also stopped a lap later to check on clutch trouble.

All told, 22 cars made 39 pit stops with only 11 cars running at the end.

Results –

1. Don White, Keokuk
2. Robert Narber, Cedar Rapids
3. Russ Gross, Quincy, Ill.
4. Delmar Donnellson, Burlington
5. Ernie Derr, Fort Madison
6. Bob Brown, Springfield, Mo.
7. Archie Nepstad, Rochester, Minn.
8. Ben Prietzel, Macomb, Ill.
9. Marvin Copple, Lincoln, Neb.
10.Bob Beason, Cedar Rapids
11.Wayne Chadwick, Des Moines
12.Ted Keith, Kahoka, Mo.
13.Gordon Howard, Aurora, Ill.
14.Carroll Hilmer, Waterloo
15.Gene Richmond, Springfield, Mo.
16.Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle
17.Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
18.Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
19.Tubby Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
20.Tiny Lund, Harlan
21.Red Droste, Waterloo
22.Froggy Droz, Ottumwa

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