Wednesday, May 3, 2023

1981 – Wolfgang Wins Hartford NSCA


John Stevenson (31) and Doug Wolfgang (4) battle during the National Speedways Contest Association sprint car race at Hartford (S.D.) Speedway. – Bob Mays Photo

Hartford, S.D. (May 3, 1981) – The thing Doug Wolfgang liked best about his feature win in the National Speedways Contest Association sprint car race at Hartford Speedway on Sunday was being so close to home.

Wolfgang’s hometown is Sioux Falls.

“I only have 11 miles to drive and all of you guys have to make the long trips home tonight,” Wolfgang said after he collected more than $1,000 for the afternoon’s work.

A record, standing-room-only crowd of 3,500 jammed into the small facility nestled in a valley of farmland. The track is a half-mile, high-banked dirt oval.

Wolfgang was laughing all the way to his van for the short drive home. He campaigns all over the United States and winning at home is really a treat. It was his second NSCA-sanctioned feature win of the weekend, and he has taken over the point lead in the organization’s point standings. He has won eight of none NSCA events he’s entered so far this season.

Wolfgang had a little problem in getting the lead and holding it early in the 25-lap feature, but once he did, he was home free.

Bobby Layne of Kansas City shot into the lead when the green flag waved but that was short-lived as John Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn., took charge on lap 3.

Wolfgang, who set a track record in qualifying, started on the outside of the third row. He had moved up right behind Stevenson on lap 4 and a lap later, moved into the lead.

Stevenson, who seemed to be a little faster, regained the lead on the very next lap and pulled away from Wolfgang. For the next five circuits, it looked as though Stevenson was going to run away from the rest of the field.

But, Wolfgang would mount another charge and on the 15th circuit, shot around Stevenson on the main straightaway, bringing the “hometown” crowd to it’s feet. Stevenson would get caught behind slower traffic, allowing Wolfgang to pull away and cruise to an easy victory.

Rain would start falling at the end of the contest and that evidently bothered Shane Carson of Oklahoma City, who passed Stevenson on lap 23 to take over second place while Stevenson settled for third place.

Carson was driving his car for the last time. It is owned by Dick Easter and Bob Tuttle of Des Moines. They started with Jimmy Sills of Sacramento, Calif., as the driver. Sills had to return to California but is now ready to come back to Iowa.

Carson won a feature at Knoxville last Saturday in the car and then finished second here.

“It’s just like 1979,” said the dejected Carson. “I won the NSCA title and was point champion at Knoxville and couldn’t get a ride the next season.”

Wolfgang’s record time for one lap Sunday was 17.141 seconds, which erased Sammy Swindell’s old record of 17.22 seconds set in 1979.

Results –

Time trials – Doug Wolfgang, Sioux Falls (17.141)
Trophy dash – Randy Smith, Norwalk, Iowa
Heat #1 – Jerry Johnson, Kirksville, Mo.
Heat #2 – Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
Heat #3 – John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
Heat #4 – Shane Carson, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Feature –
1. Doug Wolfgang
2. Shane Carson
3. John Stevenson
4. Keith Frantsen, Windom, Minn.
5. Don Reiners, Sioux Falls
6. Sonny Smyser
7. Bob Hop, Mendota, Minn.
8. Rick Howard, Kansas City
9. Bobby Layne, Kansas City
10.Spike Lempelius, Egan, Minn.
11.Wayne Kronk, Fulton, Mo.
12.Roger Mulder, Sioux Falls
13.Leland Van Emmerick, Salem, N.D.
14.Ron Wiuff, Martindale, Iowa
15.Randy Smith, Norwalk, Iowa
16.Tim Green, Carmichael, Calif.
17.Cliff Coidall, Duluth, Minn.
18.Jerry Johnson

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