Salem, Ind. (July 29, 1973) – Darrell Waltrip summed it up when he said, “That boy ain’t got nobody to race with him.”
Don Wilbur tried for a while. So did Waltrip. And Tiny Lund was still trying when the checkers waved.
But by the time Sunday afternoon’s 100-lap Automobile Racing Club of America- NASCAR Grand National East race at Salem Speedway was over, Gould had convinced 29 fellow competitors and a profitable record of 7,272 fans that nobody was ready to race with his 1971 Ford.
Starting from the pole position, the ARCA rookie from Cincinnati grabbed the leading heading into the first turn and stayed there the rest of the way as he beat Lund, a NASCAR veteran from Cross, S.C., who drove a Camaro, by half a straight-away.
Thus, Gould completed a weekend sweep of the three-race ARCA-NASCAR swing through Cincinnati, Toledo, Ohio, and Salem. It was also his fifth straight triumph and his 10th victory in the 14 ARCA races he’s competed in so far this season.
Turning to one of his mechanics moments after the race, Gould exclaimed, “It was working great, babe! I don’t know what you guys did to the car while I was asleep, but it never felt so good.”
Sunday’s field was shy several of the top NASCAR drivers that had been billed as entered. Dave Marcis crashed at Toledo and went home. Neil Castles, with no deal money for running his super-speedway car, ran his dirt-track machine and made the feature only after it was announced that the field had been expanded from 24 starters to 30.
Former Grand National driver Earl Balmer’s car was turned down by ARCA officials. And several NASCAR regulars – Elmo Langley, Ed Negre, Richard Childress and Vic Parsons – filed entries, then – apparently – set about readying their fishing tackle instead of their race cars.
But had all of them been present, it is doubtful that any of them could have caught the runaway Gould.
As was, Wilbur, from West Carrollton, Ohio, was the first to try. But on the sixth lap, his 1972 Chevelle slapped against Lund’s car on the front straightaway, and he dropped back to the fourth spot.
Gould was pulling away from Lund on lap 12 when Tiny’s car momentarily vapor-locked and began overheating, he pulled up briefly to le Waltrip take chase.
Waltrip, the Owensboro, Ky, driver who had won six straight at Salem, appeared to have some hope of staying with Gould, but on lap 37 the AMC Javelin he was piloting disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Wilbur dropped out of competition soon after Waltrip exited and three laps later the yellow flag flew for Ken Reiter’s Chevelle that broke a fuel line.
When racing resumed, Lund took up the chase once again, but his effort was futile. Twice in the last 30 laps, he cut Gould’s straightaway margin down to a few car lengths, but each time Gould would pull away again.
Defending ARCA national champion Ron Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, drove his Ford to a third-place finish and was the only other driver on the same lap as Gould and Lund.
Dave Dayton of Indianapolis held on for fourth, Kenny Simpson of Bedford, Ind., ran a strong fifth. Bobby Watson of Prestonsburg, Ky., finished sixth despite running the last 12-15 laps with a broke rear shock absorber. Another ex-NASCAR star, Charlie Glotzbach of Edwardsville, Ind., was sidelined with brake failure after only 12 laps.
1. Bruce Gould, Cincinnati
2. Tiny Lund, Cross, S.C.
3. Ron Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Dave Dayton, Indianapolis
5. Kenny Simpson, Bedford, Ind.
6. Bobby Watson, Prestonsburg, Ky.
7. A. Arnold, Brooks, Ky.
8. N.D. Copley, Hedgesville, Ky.
9. Tony Schiller, Frankfort, Ky.
10.Wayne Trinkle, Jeffersonville, Ind.