Tuesday, July 4, 2023

1984 - Lekander Wins Busch Bash at West Liberty

Bob Lekander won race #1 of the six-race Busch Bash at West Liberty Raceway. Promoter Larry Kemp presents the trophy to the winner. – Dick Kleindolph Photo

West Liberty, Iowa (July 4, 1984) – They ay that a gallon of fuel weighs about seven and a half pounds. If that’s the case, then four drivers were a gallon or two short after the 50-lap NASCAR Grand American feature at West Liberty Raceway on Wednesday.

Bob Lekander inherited the victory in the first race of the six-race Busch Bash Series. Rod Smith of Monmouth continued his recent hot streak by winning the street stock contest.

Rookie late model driver, Steve Watts, grabbed the early lead in the NASCAR Grand American feature and was quite impressive as he began to pull away from the field. Lapped traffic posed quite a problem for Watts, however, as Tom Hearst swept past on lap 12. Hearst held on to the top spot for six more laps before Bill Breuer and Jim Burbridge eased past the former national champion.

Breuer, who had come all the way from his sixth row starting position, had Burbridge in his rearview mirror until lap 2 when three slower cars tangled in front of the leaders and Burbridge wound up with the car of Denny Whitlock sitting on his hood. Breuer escaped unmarked but Burbridge had to retire for the evening.

From there, no driver could stay with Breuer as he took the checkered flag and the apparent victory. Lekander came across the finish line in second with Ron Pallister, Tom Hearst, and Ken Walton rounding out the top five.

The post-race weigh-in, however, revealed that Breuer and Hearst, along with Watts and Tony Stewart were all below the 2,650 pound minimum.

That made Lekander the winner with Denny Whitlock and Dave Goble moved into the top-five.

The 12-lap street stock feature was a non-stop thriller with Ron Fare leading all but the last lap. Smith put the pressure on Fare during the entire event, finally pulling to the outside on the white flag circuit. The two charged into turn three side-by-side, both drifting a little high.

This gave Don Blint a chance to make his move on the inside. In the drag race down the straightaway, it was Smith taking the win with Blint edging Fare foe second place. Scott Newman and Lance Stott rounded out the top-five.

Results –

Heat #1 – Bill Breuer, Wapello
Heat #2- Jay Johnson, Wapello
Heat #3 – Tom Hearst, Wilton
Feature –
1. Bob Lekander, Burlington
2. Ron Pallister, Wapello
3. Ken Walton, Viola
4. Denny Whitlock, Davenport
5. Dave Goble, Burlington
6. Jerry Pilcher, Bloomfield
7. Mark Keltner, Morning Sun
8. Jay Johnson
9. Steve Mullahy
10.Stan Thomas, Dubuque
11.Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
12.Jim Burbridge, Delhi
13.Frank Springsteen, Morning Sun
14.Jeff French, Mt. Ayr
15.Tom Christenson, West Liberty

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