Saturday, July 1, 2023

1977 – O’Conner Sweeps Kankakee's Firecracker 50

Jim O'Conner

Kankakee, Ill. (July 1, 1977) – Jim O’Conner regained the late model point lead by winning the Firecracker 50 Friday night at the Kankakee Fairgrounds Speedway.

O’Conner scored a sweep, as he set fast time and also won the trophy dash, outrunning Dick Potts of Morocco, Ind.

Potts did not fare as well in the feature. On the third lap, he ran his 1977 Camaro into the wall, knocking out sections of fence and demolishing the starter’s stand. Neither Potts nor flagman Raleigh Hinkle were injured.

“The first thing I did was grab the red flag,” he said, once he saw Potts’ Camaro heading his way. “I never though of jumping, I had to stop the race,” Hinkle said.

O’Conner, of Irwin, went on to a wide lead, which Al Johnson of Justice erased by lap 48. But O’Conner edged Johnson by a bumper’s length at the finish line to win.

Results –

Time trials – Jim O’Conner, Irwin (18.68)
Trophy dash – Jim O’Conner
Feature –
1. Jim O’Conner
2. Al Johnson, Justice
3. Bill Davis, Chesterton, Ind.
4. John Yearsley, Urbana
5. Lee Byers, Chicago
6. Len Girard, Monticello, Ind.

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