Saturday, June 24, 2023

1962 – King Cops Winchester Sprint

Bobby King

Winchester, Ind. (June 24, 1962) – Bobby King of Muncie, Ind., wheeled his Shahl Brothers Offy to a convincing win in the inaugural International Motor Contest Association big car sprint race at the new Winchester Speedway in a Sunday afternoon program that saw a host of records, including a new world mark, written into the record books.

Johnny White of Warren, Mich., established a new world’s record in time trials by turning a lap of 18.14 seconds, which figures out to 99.818 miles per hour. The old mark of 18.28 seconds was set by Don Branson of Champaign, Ill., in Dayton, Ohio, in 1960 in a United States Auto Club sprint car race.

King’s winning time in the 30-lap feature was 9 minutes and 38.77 seconds (a shade over 93 miles per hour), eclipsing the old mark of 10 minutes and 33.31 seconds set by Buzz Barton in 1954.

In a wholesale assault on the previous IMCA and Winchester half-mile record, eight drivers bettered the old mark of 19.14 seconds, set by Jim McWithey in 1954.

King, who posted the second fastest qualifying time of 18.29 seconds, grabbed the lead on lap 14 when the front-running White blew a motor, ending his chances.

King was immediately challenged by Johnny Rutherford of Fort Worth, Tex., for the lead but the local speedster extended his slim margin to about 75 yards at the checkered flag.

Following King across the finish line were Rutherford, Mickey Shaw of Berea, Ohio, Arnie Knepper of Belleville, Ill., and Calvin Gilstrap of Salem, Ind.

After White posted his new qualifying record and won his 7-lap heat race with a new IMCA record of 2 minutes and 13.35 seconds, bad luck set in for the likeable Michigander.

But White, apparently enthused after pocketing $500 for his world record effort, persuaded Tom York of South Bend, Ind., to give up his bright red Pontiac Special so that White, the current IMCA point’s leader, could fatten his point lead (and his wallet, with another $500 at stake for the feature winner).

But apparently it wasn’t White’s day because the borrowed machine belched a large cloud of smoke on the backstretch of lap 14 as the engine let go, allowing King to take over the top spot.

White provided most of the thrills for the 4,000 in attendance as he started the last in the eight-car heat and barreled his orange Offy into the lead as the pack passed the grandstand on the first lap. He won the race by almost a straightaway.

Results –

1. Bobby King, Muncie, Ind.
2. Johnny Rutherford, Fort Worth, Tex.
3. Mickey Shaw, Berea, Ohio
4. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
5. Calvin Gilstrap, Salem, Ind.
6. Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
7. Harvey Konkel, Milwaukee, Wis.
8. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
9. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
10.Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
11.Curly Boyd, Indianapolis
12.Buzz Rose, Palo Verde, Calif.
13.Bill Kimball, Louisville, Ky.
14.Jigger Sirois, Indianapolis
15.Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
16.Chuck Yost, Elyria, Ohio

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