Friday, July 14, 2023

1957 – Burdick Cops Iowa International

Bob Burdick (left) is presented the Iowa International trophy by Al Sweeney, president of National Speedways, Inc. Gene Van Winkle presents the checkers as Burdick’s proud father looks on. – Arnold Gore Photo

Des Moines, Iowa (July 14, 1957) – Bob Burdick, the 22-year-old youngster from Omaha, Neb., set a record for 150 miles in capturing the 300-lap Iowa International stock car race before 15,000 fans at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The winner’s time for the race, slowed six times – once for a serious crash and twice for rain showers – was 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 33.52 seconds. It beat the International Motor Contest Association’s listed mark of 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 16.5 seconds for that distance over a half-mile track set in 1951 by Eddie Anderson of Grinnell, Iowa.

Burdick, who drove a 1957 Ford, powered by a 260 cubic-inch motor with a dual four-barrel carburetor, made only one pit stop during the long grind and it was some sort of record for brevity.

His crew refueled, cleaned out a clogged radiator and washed his windshield in 33 seconds.

Finishing second was Johnny Beauchamp, the 33-year-old Harlan, Iowa, star who lost his lead to Burdick on lap 270 when he made a brief pit stop.

Third place went to Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, who took the lead away from 22-year-old Chub Liebe on the 82nd circuit to set a new track record for 50 miles with a time of 53 minutes and 21.62 seconds.

The only serious casualty was Harold “Tubby” Harrison, a 45-year-old Topeka, Kan., veteran. He suffered a fractured left collarbone when his car flipped over the wall in the west turn on lap 140.

Bill Reno of Omaha blew a front tire coming out of the northwest turn and swerved into Harrison, who went into a skid on the track made slippery by a light shower that hit just as the field of cars hit lap 114.

Reno, who finished 11th, also had a tangle later with Bob Guffey of Des Moines on the same turn on lap 266. Guffey banged into the inside guardrail and had to quit.

Twenty of the 33 starters finished the race.

Burdick, who started on the outside of the fifth row, gradually worked his way up to third place at the end of the 63rd lap as he, White, Beauchamp, and Burdick’s uncle, Bud Burdick, also of Omaha, chased Liebe through the early laps.

A caution waved on lap 79 and when the green flag waved again for the restart on lap 82, Liebe was caught napping and both White and Burdick roared past the Oelwein, Iowa, youngster.

White retained the lead until Burdick passed him on lap 137. White made a pit stop shortly thereafter, and Beauchamp caught up with Burdick and held the lead briefly until lap 151. Then Burdick took over again and led until lap 198 when the Harlan, Iowa, driver crowed the leader against the northeast wall to regain the lead.

Results –

1. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
2. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
3. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Shorty Eberts, Avondale, Mo.
5. Frank Richards, Marion, Iowa
6. Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
7. Carl Lilienthal, Anita, Iowa
8. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.
9. George Miller, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10.Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
11.Bill Reno, Omaha, Neb.
12.Bruce Nystrom, Oshkosh, Wis.
13.Al Warrender, Harlan, Iowa
14.Bud Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
15.Don Wolfe, Lexington, Neb.
16.Ken Elliot, Des Moines

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