Ken Walton (left) broke the track record in qualifying then won the 50-lap feature at the Pepsi-Mountain Dew Special in Oskaloosa. Trophy dash winner Bill Beckman (center) and semi-main winner Al Druesdow (right) joins Walton in victory lane.
Oskaloosa, Iowa (July 18, 1979) – The Pepsi-Mountain Dew Special at the Southern Iowa Speedway is becoming a Ken Walton benefit.Walton, who won the 1978 version of the race, repeated that win on Wednesday night before a packed grandstand of race-goers – and he did it in convincing fashion. He came from his fifth starting position on the grid and stayed in fifth through the first five laps.
Then he moved rapidly to the front, taking over fourth on lap 6, moving to third on lap 9, grabbing second on lap 12, then scooting past race leader Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo on lap 14, never to be headed again.
Walton steadily built up his lead for the remaining 37 circuits, slowed once by a red flag on lap 21.
Actually, the red flag waved twice in the race. The first time came on lap 9 when Bill Beckman of Monticello, running among the leaders and running the outside groove alongside Walton, lost his A-frame on his car and smashed head-on unto the guardrail at the exit of turn four.
Although somewhat shaken, Beckman remained at the track. His car was heavily damaged.
The second time the race came to a halt was on lap 21 when Denny Hovinga of Pocahontas and Don Hoffman of Des Moines brushed in turn three after a heated battle between the two veterans. Hovinga’s car came to a rest on top of the guardrail while Hoffman’s ride landed on it’s top. Neither driver was injured but their cars were done for the night.
The red flags were just temporary delays for Walton.
Zwanziger held on to take runner-up honors while Dick Schiltz of Waterloo took third, passing Gary Crawford of Independence with only a couple of laps left. Denny Osborn of Cedar Falls rounded out the top-five.
Walton set fast time for the night, blitzing the half-mile in 22.640 seconds, and becoming the first driver to break the 23-second barrier. He literally smashed the old record of 23.04 seconds he set at last year’s Pepsi Special.
Bill Beckman won the trophy dash while Gary Webb of Davenport was the first heat winner. Al Druesdow of Omaha won the second heat and Tom Bartholomew of Waterloo was the third heat winner. Druesdow also won the semi-main.
1. Ken Walton, Viola
2. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
3. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
4. Gary Crawford, Independence
5. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
6. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
7. Larry Rice, Des Moines
8. Larry Wasserfort, Waterloo
9. Gary Webb, Davenport
10.Darrell Sells, Waverly
11.Rick Wendling, Hazelton
12.Ken DeGood, Hills
13.Joe Kosiski, Omaha
14.Al Druesdow, Omaha
15.Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo