By Gary VercauterenKaukauna, Wis. (July 27, 1980) – Joe Shear withstood a final lap battle with Dick Trickle to win the second race of the Red, White and Blue State Championship Series Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin International Raceway before a crowd of 5,386 fans.
Shear and Trickle had battled wheel-to-wheel for most of the 60-lap distance. On the final lap the two leaders found themselves pinned behind Gene Mathu who was locked in a battle for 12th place with Bob Abitz.
Shear, who had a narrow lead going into the final lap, went to the outside in a three-wide formation as he attempted to lap Mathu’s car. Trickle, meanwhile, seeing that Shear was straining to get around the outside of Mathu, ducked under Abitz as the four cars strung across the raceway.
Trickle tapped Abitz’ car as he slipped past, while Shear cleanly got around Mathu’s mount. Shear then raced to the checkered flag with Trickle a mere car-length behind.
“I didn’t know it was going to happen on the last lap,” shear said of the wild finish. “Trickle was a gentleman and let me through.”
Steve Burgess led the first six laps before being overtaken by Tony Strupp. Shear then ducked inside of Strupp on lap 7 and took charge as the field entered turn one.
He opened up a four-car-length advantage and maintained a sizeable margin over Trickle until the 22nd lap. Then Shear found himself caught behind a slower car and Trickle was able to gain a few seconds, piling up on Shear’s bumper.
Trickle pulled to the outside of Shear on lap 33 and actually slipped into the lead for one lap before Shear was able to move back into the number one position.
On lap 36, Trickle again pulled even with Shear on the backstretch, but shear was up to the challenge and kept his Camaro firmly planted in the inside groove.
Shear remained inches ahead of Trickle until the 46th round when Trickle, for a third time, pulled even and slightly ahead on the backstretch. Trickle wavered slightly coming out of the fourth turn, however, which allowed Shear to regain control of the situation until the wild finish.
Alan Kulwicki, the current Fox River Racing Club point leader, finished third. He kept his car within striking distance of the two leaders, finishing three car lengths behind Trickle.
Larry Detjens placed fourth while fifth place went to Mike Miller.
1. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
2. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
3. Alan Kulwicki, Greenfield
4. Larry Detjens, Wausau
5. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
6. J.J. Smith, Appleton
7. Tony Strupp, Slinger
8. Larry Schuler, New Lenox, Ill.
9. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
10.Bob Iverson, Hyde, Mich.
11.Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
12.Bob Abitz, Freedom
13.Gene Mathu, Luxemburg
14.Terry Baldry, Omro
15.Tom Reffner, Rudolph
16.Tom Jones, Northbrook, Ill.
17.Steve Seligman, Lake Bluff, Ill.
18.Rich Somers, Minocqua