Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 4, 1985) - With more moves than a belly dancer, Tom Hearst swiveled, swerved, twisted, and turned and had just enough left to squeeze out his first Miller American 100 stock car victory at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway Tuesday.The Miller American 100 is billed as the "biggest day of racing in Iowa” and it lived up to its billing.
There were 63 drivers from Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Missouri competing, including the current NASCAR Central Region points leader, Gene Claxton of Kansas City, Mo.
However, it was the dogged pursuit of Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., that turned what could have been a disastrous racing evening into a spectacular finish.
The 100-lap feature race suffered through 23 laps under a yellow flag and a red flag that turned into a 45-minute rain delay.
However, Hearst and Moyer along with Roger Dolan displayed their driving skills and thrilled the crowd that remained until the finish.
After completing laps 61 through 78 under a yellow flag, the field led by Hearst was given the green flag.
The driver from Wilton fired out quickly and took a comfortable lead before Moyer closed the gap and challenged Hearst on lap 85.
"They had a lot more horsepower under the hood than we did,” said Hearst after the race. "I just had to hold him off.”
The rest of the race Hearst and Moyer tangled on turns one and two. Moyer would try the low side and Hearst would cut him off. On turns three and four,
Moyer would take the high groove, but Hearst would hold him off.
This cat-and-mouse tactic worked for Hearst until he started to enter lap traffic on the 94th lap.
"There were slick parts on the track,” Hearst said. "You had to drive around them high or low or you could lose it.”
The 1982 NASCAR national champion was not going to be denied Tuesday night.
Using Mark Keltner and then Denny Rosenberg, Hearst prevented Moyer from passing and finally pulled away for the victory.
"I ran a good race,” said Moyer. "We had set up the car for a dry-slick track and the rain messed us up.”
"There was really only one groove on the track after the rain and Tom drove it,” continued Moyers.
Lisbon’s Dolan spiced the race up when he joined Hearst and Moyer on lap 91. However, with Hearst and Moyer running so tight there was not much room left for the 1983 Miller 100 winner to maneuver.
Dolan stayed close but had only one chance to challenge for the lead. Trying the low line on lap 95, Dolan was cut off and then forced back.
It was Hearst’s ninth win of the season. Moyer placed second and Dolan was third.
Last year’s Miller 100 winner, Ken Walton of Viola, failed to finish. Walton, who went back to his old car over the weekend, dropped out on lap 45.
"I felt a vibration (on lap 44) and just pulled up,” recalled Walton after the race.
1. Tom Hearst, Wilton
2. Billy Moyer Jr., Batesville, Ark.
3. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
4. Rick Wendling, Hazelton
5. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
6. Rollie Frink, Davenport
7. Bob Hill, Story City
8. Rick Egersdorf, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Dan Dickey, Packwood
10.Dave Birkhofer, Muscatine
11.Ronnie Hoover, Fulton, Mo.
12.Gary Crawford, Independence
13.Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
14.Denny Rosenberg, Grimes
15.Gene Claxton, Kansas City
16.R.J. Bruggeman, Dubuque
17.Mark Keltner, Morning Sun
18.Jerry Pilcher, Bloomfield
19.Ed Sanger, Waterloo
20.Terry Gallaher, Hannibal, Mo.
21.Curt Martin, Independence
22.Gary Henderson, Independence
23.Jay Johnson, Morning Sun
24.Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun
25.Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
26.Ken Walton, Viola
27.Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
28.Denny Ansel, Dubuque
30.Jeff Aikey, Waterloo
31.Phil Barkdoll, Phoenix, Ariz.