Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 18, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan blew 14 opponents and two IMCA world records off the Hawkeye Downs’ track with his 1957 Chevrolet on Sunday as late model stock car racing brought the curtain down on the All-Iowa Fair.The “Flying Frenchman,” won all three races he entered, with a blazing time of 1 hour, 38 minutes, and 53.57 seconds 100-mile tour heading his first list of accomplishments. An evening crowd of 6,000 saw him trim better than five minutes off his own IMCA record for the 200 laps.
Earlier in the afternoon, 4,000 spectators watched Beauchamp record a new 8-lap record in the second heat and win the 50-lap feature.
The Beauchamp – Burdick feud of May that left stock car fans buzzing for months never rekindled on Sunday. The 22-year-old Omahan was never in serious contention.
However, Beauchamp had all the challenging he wanted from a strong contingent of hometown drivers.
Hell for leather Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids pushed Beauchamp hard for the 100-mile record. Using everything his 1956 Ford had, Dake ran less than five seconds behind the defending IMCA champion for the last 115 circuits. However, his machine didn’t have enough to overtake the vaunted #55.
Dake, one of IMCA’s great young stars, had himself a field day. In addition to running under the world’s record on the evening program, he was third in the afternoon feature and won the first heat by a nose, edging out Bob Burdick.
The heavy-footed youngster wasn’t the only local star. The unit of Dake, George Miller, Robert “Doc” Narber and Marion’s Frank Richards provided most of the thrills.
Both Dake and Richards escaped serious damage in spinouts in the afternoon time trials. Then, in the second heat, Narber brought the crowd to it’s feet when his 1956 Chevrolet spun out on the west turn in the first lap. The veteran driver was battling Miller for the lead when he lost control. It skidded sideways with Dick Pellow of Minneapolis crashing into the driver’s side and Beauchamp wrinkling a fender.
Miller had the only close shave in the nightcap feature. The rear axle on his 1957 Pontiac broke of the 86th lap, shearing a wheel and sending the car skidding into the infield. Luckily, it didn’t overturn.
Both Pontiacs in the field failed after tremendous starts. Sonny Gross of Quincy, Ill., turned in the best time trial, circling the half-mile in 26.85 seconds. However, he failed to finish either feature. Fuel pump trouble knocked him out after five laps of the afternoon feature and after leading the first 54 laps of the evening feature, his motor overheated, and he was forced to pull into the infield.
Beauchamp and Dake proceeded to lap the rest of the field in the 100-miler. Only eight of 13 cars that started were able to finish after a blistering pace that saw the record established despite seven laps of caution for Miller’s accident.
Rain ruined the afternoon card. A heavy thunderstorm forced race officials to halt the field after 9 laps of the scheduled 100-lapper. The shower forced an hour and 45 minute delay while the track was reconditioned. When the track was pronounced ready, officials cut the race to 50 laps and was greeted with a torrent of boos from the crowd.
Time trials – Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill. (26.85)
Heat #1 – Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
Heat #2 – Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan
1. Johnny Beauchamp
2. Bob Burdick, Omaha
3. Darrell Dake
4. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
5. George Miller, Cedar Rapids
6. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle
7. Doc Narber, Cedar Rapids
8. Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.
9. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
10.Dick Pellow, Minneapolis
11.Ramo Stott, Keokuk
12.Les Dykes, Davenport
13.Frank Richards, Marion
14.Chub Liebe, Oelwein
15.Sonny Gross, Quincy, Ill.
1. Johnny Beauchamp
2. Darrell Dake
3. Bob Burdick
4. Lenny Funk
5. Frank Richards
6. Jerry Draper
7. Dick Johnson
8. Al Warrender, Harlan
9. George Miller