Thursday, May 25, 2023

1958 – Burdick Thrills Fans with Ozarks Sweepstakes Win

Bob Burdick accepts his trophy after driving to victory in the Ozark Sweepstakes. Gene Van Winkle (left) and Al Sweeney, president of National Speedways, Inc., make the presentation.

Springfield, Mo. (May 25, 1958) – Young Bobby Burdick, a chain-smoking race car driver from Omaha, Neb., ran off with the 50-lap Ozark Sweepstakes race Sunday afternoon in one of the best auto racing shows ever presented at the Springfield Fairgrounds.

Burdick grabbed the pole position by virtue of posting fast time in qualifying and his 1958 Ford was never behind as he turned the half-mile track 50 times in 26 minutes and 50.29 seconds.

However, Burdick was pushed by Sonny Gross of Quincy, Ill., in a 1957 Pontiac, which was never more than 25 yards behind the entire way.

It was the first feature win of the 1958 season for the 22-year-old, who won 40 features last season.

An estimated crowd of 3,000 watched the smooth-running program. There were five preliminary events and the feature.

Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, driving a 1958 Ford, ran off with two events, the National Speedways Dash, and the Sinclair Handicap.

Besides finishing second in the feature, Gross won the Inaugural Dash. Jerry Roedell of Peoria, Ill., won the Triumph Dash and Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., walked off with the semi-feature.

The three sport cars that entered the event didn’t fair well on the dirt track. The number one sports car on the track, and probably the crowd favorite, was Loyal Katskee of Omaha, Neb., in a 1957 Ferrari. He failed miserably in his first race but grabbed runner-up honors in the American Triumph Dash after leading nine of 10 laps. It was the first time on a half-mile dirt track for Katskee.

Results –

1. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
2. Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
3. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Eddie Harrow, Corpus Christi, Tex.
6. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
7. Jerry Roedell, Peoria, Ill.
8. Bob Short, Carlisle, Iowa
9. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
10.Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa

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