Odessa, Mo. (July 24, 1977) – Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., jumped to an early lead, then outbattled his biggest threat, the heat, to win Sunday’s National Championship 300 late model stock car race at I-70 Speedway.The victory was Trickle’s third in the seven-year-old race. He won the 1971 inaugural and followed that with a victory in 1972.
The high temperatures, plus the pressure of a fast-closing Joe Shear, almost were too much for Trickle. He defeated Shear, South Beloit, Ill., by a tick of a clock after a five-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Bolivar’s David Goldsberry was in the thick of the chase before a blown right front tire sent his Camaro into the second turn wall on lap 289. Yellow flag laps were scored until the 295th and the delay to move Goldsberry’s crushed racer set up Shear’s last chance chase.
Before the accident, Goldsberry’s car was clearly the quickest on the track, and he needed only a yellow flag to close on the leaders. He had earlier passed Trickle to unlap himself.
Blown tires presented problems to two other contenders during the race of two hours. Mark Martin, the Batesville, Ark., driver who leads the point standings at Springfield’s Fairground Speedway, was running fifth when tire failure sent him into the fourth turn concrete. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich., inherited Martin’s fifth spot but pitted to change a flat right rear tire on lap 239.
Early chargers not around at the finish were Larry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., and Terry Bivins, Shawnee, Kan. Phillips, who started 20th after missing Saturday’s qualifying, moved past Dave Watson, Milton, Wis., on lap 45 but later slowed and left the race with mechanical issues on lap 70. Watson held his ground and finished third. Goldsberry was fourth and Eddy finished fifth.
Bivins was up and down early but spun through an oil-slicked fourth turn on lap 90 while running third. He came back in the borrowed car of Dave Klingsporn, Monett, but hit the second turn wall with it on lap 167 and was finished again.
Indianapolis 500 competitor Janet Guthrie, split the race with Jim Back, Vesper, Wis., and was credited with ninth place finish in his car. She started the race and drove 90 laps before Back took over, then drove the final 65 circuits.
1. Dick Trickle
2. Joe Shear
3. Dave Watson
4. David Goldsberry
5. Mike Eddy
6. Everett DeWitt
7. Steve Lutkie
8. Greg Webb
9. Janet Guthrie/Jim Back