Thursday, June 22, 2023

1956 – Beauchamp Thrills 5,184 With 100-Lap Victory


Johnny Beauchamp accepts his trophy and the checkers after winning the 100-lap IMCA stock car feature at Playland Speedway. 

Council Bluffs, Iowa (June 22, 1956) – Class and experience proved itself as Johnny Beauchamp lapped the field twice en route to winning the 100-lap stock car feature at Playland Speedway Friday night, before a full house of 5,148.

The points leader in the International Motor Contest Association added to his list of accomplishments by returning to the scene of his greatest triumphs and displaying both daring and skillful driving.

Beaten twice by Omaha’s Bob Burdick in earlier preliminary races, Beauchamp redeemed himself in the main event.

He started in the second row but raced into the lead ahead of Burdick after six laps. He kept increasing his margin by lapping car after car until the 33rd lap.

On this go-round, he passed fourth-place Mel Kreuger of Anita. Two laps later, he zoomed by third-place Sonny Morgan of Beaumont, Tex. By this time, he was a half lap ahead of Burdick and moving away nicely.

By lap 48 he had caught Burdick and as he lapped him on the backstretch, Burdick pulled off the track with a loose wheel. When he returned to the track nine laps later, Beauchamp was still widening the gap on the rest of the field.

The Harlan favorite, twice a local champion, continued to pad his lead ad re-lapped all but Krueger with 22 laps to go.

From there on, Beauchamp played it safe, taking all corners tightly. It was obvious that no one could beat him but himself. He passed Morgan again on the 97th tour.

After the race, he said, “You never know if it’s in the bag until you get the checkered flag. It was just a question of my car holding up.”

His Chevy held up quite nicely and his official time for the 100 laps was 33 minutes and 20.02 seconds.

Beauchamp was beaten by Burdick in the first heat, a 15-lap thriller. In the 8-lap trophy dash, Burdick busted through on the outside and passed both Morgan and Beauchamp on the last corner of the last lap to win by the proverbial “headlight.”

Before the races began, the crowd was partisan towards Beauchamp, who had set three world’s records last week at Oskaloosa, but Burdick won them over with his two victories.

Beauchamp, however, had no trouble regaining their confidence with his two-lap victory, and was mobbed by well-wishers in victory lane.

Bud Burdick, Bob’s older brother and former Playland champion, was noticeably absent. He was at home resting after an emergency appendectomy. Don White of Keokuk, the 1954 and ’55 IMCA stock car champion and Beauchamp’s chief rival, also missed the program. He was back home installing a new motor in his car.

Results –

1. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan
2. Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
3. Mel Krueger, Anita
4. Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
5. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
6. Chub Liebe, Oelwein
7. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
8. J.B. Martin, Richmond, Mo.
9. Merle Gerry, Council Bluffs
10.Chris Skadal, Des Moines

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