Saturday, July 8, 2023

1966 – Droste Runs Away with Mid-Season Title

Red Droste (far left) and Darrell Dake (second from right) hold the trophies they won during the Mid-Season Championships at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. Presenting the awards is promoter Homer Melton (second from left) and starter Lloyd “Skip” Chick (far right).

Davenport, Iowa (July 8, 1966) – Red Droste of Waterloo beat Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids by 10 car lengths to win the 50-lap Mid-Season Championship late model modified stock car race at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Friday night because of superb driving in traffic and a automatic transmission.

Droste, the point leader who earned the pole position through previous efforts this campaign, zoomed out from his front row starting position and left everyone else in the field still fumbling for their gear shifts.

By the third lap, he was well in command, and no one was going to catch him.

“I could have raced all night and still never caught him,” said runner-up Darrell Dake, who earned $300 for his night’s work. “I couldn’t get a bite and make anything of it.”

Droste, $400 richer, used a new 301 cubic-inch engine in his 1957 Chevy but his old automatic transmission was what gave him the jump to take an early lead and keep it.

“I’ve got just a power glide transmission, but I knew if I held the pace down before we got to the green flag, I could get away quicker than the rest of the field.”

“Red’s transmission gave him the race,” Dake echoed. “I had to get wound up before I could shift into high gear and get a bite. By then, he was in the lead for good.”

Both Droste and Dake were well ahead of the rest of the field at the finish. Moline’s Jerry Reinhart finished third, caught in traffic more than a lap back.

Droste reached slower traffic slightly ahead of Dake, dropped down to the low side of the track, shot past a pack of slower cars, and was through before Dake could start his trek along the inner area of the racing surface.

With two laps remaining, Dake finally got free but ran out of laps in a sizzling attempt to catch up.

There were no serious accidents in the 50-lapper and 17 of the starting 20 cars were still running at the finish.

Results –

Heat #1 – Rick McDole, Moline, Ill.
Heat #2 – Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
Heat #3 – Red Droste, Waterloo
Semi-main – Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
Feature –
1. Red Droste
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
3. Jerry Reinhart, Moline, Ill.
4. Del Williams, Rock Island, Ill.
5. John Beauchamp, Atlantic
6. Jack Henson, Stronghurst, Ill.
7. Don Bohlander, Peoria, Ill.

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