Dr. Pepper 100 winner Mark Martin chats with La Crosse Interstate Speedway promoter Larry Wehrs in victory lane.
West Salem, Wis. (June 3, 1979) – Mark Martin won both 50-lap late model features to claim the overall championship in La Crosse Interstate Speedway’s fifth annual Dr. Pepper 100 on Sunday afternoon.The victorious Martin took home $1,060 from the event’s $8,860 purse.
Tom Reffner of Rudolph, the day’s fastest qualifier, finished second in the first 50-lapper with Mike Miller third, Mark Lamoreaux fourth, and Dick Trickle fifth.
Marv Marzofka claimed second in the nightcap and was followed by Miller, Lamoreaux, and Bruce Sparrman.
Dick Stang grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting berth in the first feature, which started 25 cars with the 12 fastest qualifiers aligned in inverted order at the front of the grid.
Fred Bender moved into second place with Martin in third on lap 5 when the caution flew for oil on the track.
When the green waved again, Martin moved past Bender to take second and then passed Stang on lap 10 to grab the lead. Lamoreaux followed Martin’s example and moved past Stang on lap 12 to take over the runner-up position.
The yellow flag appeared again on lap 19 when Steve Burgess and Greg Arenson tangled.
Mike Miller, who restarted the chase in third, passed Lamoreaux on lap 22 and Reffner advanced to third place two laps later.
After annexing second on lap 28, Reffner closed in on Martin but couldn’t find a way to get around the Batesville, Ark., pilot and finished two-car-lengths behind at the checkers.
The top 12 finishers from the first race were inverted at the front of the grid. John Ziegler, who was scheduled to start from the pole, elected to start at the rear of the 25-car field because of motor issues.
Ziegler’s decision put Orv Buelow in the number one spot, but outside front row starter Tom Musgrave was on top when the field completed the opening lap.
Marzofka, who had started sixth, replaced Musgrave at the top on lap 4 but only remained in front until lap 12 when Reffner, who had started tenth, took charge. One la later, Trickle took second at Marzofka’s expense.
The yellow light flashed on lap 14 and during the caution, Reffner hurried into the pit area where his crew made adjustments under the hood of his 1978 AMX. Reffner returned to the track in front of Trickle just as the Wisconsin Rapids driver was crossing the start/finish line with the green flag on display. As a result, Trickle was scored as the leader with Reffner moved to the back of the pack, nearly a lap behind.
While the caution proved fatal to Reffner’s victory hopes, it benefitted Martin. Prior to the yellow, Martin had been running seventh, about a quarter-of-a-lap behind the frontrunner. However, the yellow enabled Martin to wipe out much of the deficit and elevated him to sixth place.
Martin took fifth from Sparrman on lap 16 and fourth from Lamoreaux on lap 18.
Trickle’s reign ended on lap 24 when a short in the ignition system forced him to pit under green, turning the lead over to Marzofka and giving Martin second place.
Two circuits later, Martin passed Marzofka, and once again, the American Speed Association kingpin romped to an easy victory.
Feature #1 –
1. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
3. Mike Miler Wisconsin Rapids
4. Mark Lamoreaux, Bloomington, Minn.
5. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
6. Marv Marzofka, Nekoosa
7. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
8. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
9. Larry Detjens, Wausau
10.Tom Musgrave, Grand Marsh
Feature #2 –
1. Mark Martin
2. Marv Marzofka
3. Mike Miller
4. Mark Lamoreaux
5. Bruce Sparrman
6. Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
7. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
8. Tom Reffner
9. Tom Musgrave
10.Dick Stang, Prior Lake, Minn.