Wednesday, May 3, 2023

1971 - Derr Romps in Missouri 200

Ernie Derr is joined by starter Woody Brinkman after winning the IMCA-sanctioned Missouri 200 at I-70 Speedway. – Beetle Bailey Photo

Odessa, Mo. (May 3, 1971) - Ernie Derr, the 11 – time IMCA late-model stock-car champion, moved closer yesterday to taking permanent session of I-70 Speedway as the racing veteran won the third annual Missouri 200 stock-car race before a crowd of 7,151.

It also was the third victory here for the 47-year-old veteran from Keokuk, Iowa, in this $5,500 race. His share of the purse was $1,000.

From the 100-lap mark on, it was simply an easy Sunday afternoon drive for Derr in his 1971 Dodge Charger. There were never more than a dozen cars on the track the final 50 miles as the machinery was unable to stand the pace the drivers desired. Down the stretch about half of the drivers were racing and the other half just getting in laps.

Irv Janey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, finished second in a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner, but the Iowan was over two laps behind the Keokuk master. Ron Hutcherson, also of Keokuk, was third in 1969 Torino. He was two laps behind Janey.

Rounding out the top 10 at the finish; Don Cooper, Sedalia, Mo.; Vernon Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.; Butch Streicher, Denver; Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.; Joe Hull, Muskogee, Okla.; Dan Wilson, Excelsior Springs, Mo.; and Jim Hagar, Independence, Mo.

There was no official time given for the race because 35 laps were run under the yellow caution flag. Derr took the lead for keeps on lap 18 when early charger Gary Martin from California, Mo., went to the pits because of front suspension difficulty. Derr held the lead for all but one remaining lap. Janey lead when Derr stopped for fuel.

Trouble started on the first lap six cars skidded out of control between turns three and four on the high banked, half-mile paved track. Jerre Wichman of Kansas City went out after crashing a hard into and breaking the concrete wall. Ralph Bowlen of Marshall, Mo., broke his radiator in the mix up.

On the restart, with 26 of the original 28 cars in the lineup, Terry Bivins of Shawnee, Kan., the polesitter, led for two laps, but his 1971 Monte Carlo suffered a broken right rear axle.

Derr, who was now in the process of winning the 295th race of his career, swept by the field from his third row starting position, but Martin zeroed in on Derr and took the lead on the fourth lap by passing high between turns one and two. Martin led until he made the first of several pit stops on lap 18. The front and of his car went out completely on lap 110 and Martin crashed into the wall entering the main straight away.

Hutcherson survived a mix up with Fred Whisler of Liberty, Mo., to earn third place. Their crash on lap 18 put Whisler out and Hutcherson spent several laps in the pit area.

Harold Young of Kansas City, Kan., was involved in the day’s worst mishap. He and Janey had dueled several laps per second place in both appeared to be gaining on Derr. On lap 55, while almost flying down the back stretch, Young's Camaro blew the clutch. Then, in rapid succession, the broken parts and pieces took out the bell housing unit in transmission and then more pieces pierced the fuel tank and the entire car appeared to be in flames. Young said afterwards that the pressure plate snapped off the accelerator pedal and another part broke his steering. Young said he locked his brakes and hope for the best. He skidded towards the infield and leapt out of the car uninjured.

Results -

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Irv Janey, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Don Cooper, Sedalia, Mo.
5. Vern Mondry, Lake Elmo, Minn.
6. Butch Streicher, Denver, Colo.
7. Lewis Taylor, Shawnee, Kan.
8. Joe Hull, Muskogee, Okla.
9. Dan Wilson, Excelsior Springs, Mo.
10.Jim Hager, Independence, Mo.

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