Sunday, July 2, 2023

1978 – Senneker Wins Firecracker 101

Bob Senneker

Springfield, Mo. (July 2, 1978) – It took a bit of luck for Bob Senneker to get around Dick Trickle on the 8th lap, but once in the lead, the Dorr, Mich., driver was unbeatable in Sunday’s American Speed Association Firecracker 101 late model stock car race at Fairgrounds Speedway.

He held a comfortable margin throughout and finished well ahead of defending Fairgrounds’ champion Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., who made a charge from the next-to-late charge starting position and passed three cars in the final eight circuits.

The runner-up finish vaulted Martin into the ASA points lead past John Anderson of Massillon, Ohio, who didn’t compete in the event.

Senneker trailed Trickle, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., the first eight laps before the two encountered slower traffic in the second turn. Trickle took the low groove through the corner and had to stand on the brakes as Senneker shot past him on the high side.

Trickle fell out of the top five after the incident but fought back to regain second place in the final 25 laps.

“They’re never easy as they look,” Senneker said from victory lane. “But I think I could have run another 100 laps.”

There’s also the question if Martin could have caught Senneker. He moved into the top five by passing Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., 20 laps from the finish, then passed Rusty Wallace of St. Louis, Mike Eddy of Kawkawlin, Mich., and Trickle in his frantic charge the final eight circuits.

“I don’t know if I could have won,” Martin said afterwards. “You can answer that.”

Martin, who started so far back in the 30-car field because he didn’t finish in the top-12 in his preliminary race on Saturday, said he didn’t realize he was so close to the lead.

“At first, all I wanted to do was get past Wallace,” he said, “then I knew who the leaders were but by that time it was all over. I didn’t realize quickly enough that I was in a decent position.”

Wallace, who ran with the leaders throughout the race, was fortunate to have made the race after his crew changed motors in his car following hot laps.

Trickle wound up third with Eddy fourth and Wallace fifth. Larry Detjens of Wausau, Wis., also made a climb through the pack from his 24th starting spot to finish sixth.

The race was run in 41 minutes and 45.336 seconds at an average speed of 73.444 miles per hour on the asphalt half-mile.

Results –

1. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
2. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
5. Rusty Wallace, St. Louis
6. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
7. Bob Johnson, Joplin
8. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
9. Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
10.Wayne Woody, Marionville

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