Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 31, 1975) - Affable Roger Dolan of Lisbon was nonchalant in the face of victory in the late model stock car feature which had a controversial premature ending Sunday night at Hawkeye Downs.The controversy, however, didn’t involve Dolan, who led the full 24 laps in the scheduled 25-lapper on the half-mile dirt oval.
This was the picture:
Dolan and the top point leaders, Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids and Ed Sanger of Waterloo, were running 1-2-3 when they took the white flag, signifying there was one lap remaining in the race.
But, entering turn one, Sanger, who was working on the low side, got into Dake and sent the veteran Cedar Rapids pilot spinning backwards into the guardrail. Out came the red flag, which ended the race, as it was in the final lap, and that's when the controversy ensued.
Some drivers contended, while agreeing the race was terminated, that either Dake or Sanger should be sent to the rear of the field as penalty for causing the race to be stopped.
Track officials ruled otherwise, however. They determined the race was complete after Dolan had taken the white flag and the positions held, with Dake taking second and Sanger third.
That means the battle for the 1975 point championship will go down to the wire with next Sunday’s season championship event. Dake continues to lead with 4,395 points and will start on the pole in the season-closer. Sanger is second with 4,195 and Dolan is third with 4,170.
Sanger later apologized to Dake, saying, "I tried to prevent hitting you, but there was no way I could get out of it when I locked my brakes.”
Meanwhile, Dolan ended a win famine at the Downs that had existed since 1967. But forget it if you’re of the opinion Roger was celebrating.
"It was my turn, wasn’t it?” Dolan asked. "That’s the way it seems to be here at this track."
Dolan, who is second in points at both the Eldon and Davenport tracks, started on the pole in the feature, thanks to a fast time of 25.06 seconds during qualifying and drawing a straight-up start.
Gail Brenner of Wilton captured the 15-lap feature for the sportsman division.
Heat #1 – Phil Larsen, Iowa City
Heat #2 – Mike Frieden, Fairfax
Heat #3 – Ed Sanger, Waterloo
Consolation – Ed Mellecker, Iowa City
1. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
3. Ed Sanger
4. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
5. Fred Horn, Marion
6. Lem Blankenship. Keokuk
7. Ken Walton, Cedar Rapids
8. Mel Morris, West Liberty
9. Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
10.Ron Prymek, Iowa City