Robert "Doc" Narber peers out of his car after winning the 100-lapper at Hawkeye Downs. Starter Bob Brown presents the checkers to the winner.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 13, 1956) – Robert “Doc” Narber, the Cedar Rapids stock car veteran, believes in providing his own birthday present.
Monday night, for the second straight year, Narber celebrated his birthday by winning a stock car feature. And this, his 36th, came in a record-breaking performance at Hawkeye Downs before 6,000 fans at the opening grandstand attraction of the All-Iowa Fair.
Narber took the top prize in a wild and hectic 100-lap feature in 49 minutes and .0756 seconds, to cap a record-breaking night for IMCA stock car drivers in which the association’s world record for a half-mile track was lowered.
The old 100-lap mark was 50 minutes and 8.15 seconds set by Don White of Keokuk in Shreveport, La., earlier this season.
Earlier, Sonny Morgan of Beaumont, Tex., took over IMCA’s world record for a half-mile track when he turned the fast fairgrounds oval in 28.45 seconds, after the previous mark of 29 seconds flat had been lowered twice. Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, the IMCA point leader, set the first record at 28.95 seconds. Bob Burdick of Omaha lowered it to 28.80 seconds.
Monday’s red-hot field also lowered the IMCA 10-lap record of 4 minutes and 58.02 seconds, when Morgan won the first heat in 4 minutes and 54.39 seconds. It probably would have been lowered again in a sizzling second heat won by Narber, but Duane Streight of Des Moines flipped his car on the second lap.
During the feature, Morgan set a record-breaking pace for the first 60 circuits, but he was one of a group of drivers who ran into trouble.
Beauchamp challenged Morgan for the lead after Morgan had set the pace for 78 laps. On the 79th, Morgan and Beauchamp, racing side-by-side, came together in the second turn. Beauchamp missed his bid when he spun out, but he got the car back into the race before an accident occurred.
Then, on lap 80, Morgan’s car caught fire on the right front brake drum, and he was forced out temporarily as Narber, who had been running third, took over the lead. Narber and Beauchamp dueled for the top spot until lap 85, when Narber spun out on the same turn as Beauchamp did earlier.
He lost a lap but was able to continue the race before a series of accidents occurred.
Narber would regain the lead when Beauchamp’s front wheel rolled off in the first turn. On the next lap, Morgan had the same trouble, eliminating him as well.
Narber took the lead again on lap 92 and rolled to victory from there as one car after another was forced to the sidelines because of mechanical issues.
1. Robert Narber, Cedar Rapids
2. Bill Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan
5. Chris Skadal, Des Moines
6. Lee Pinckney, Des Moines
7. Sonny Morgan, Beaumont, Tex.
8. Jim Martin, Richmond, Va.
9. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
10.Chub Liebe, Oelwein
11.Bob Short, Omaha, Neb.
12.Frank Richards, Marion
13.Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
14.Glen Strellner, Cedar Rapids
15.Les Allison, Omaha, Neb.