Monday, August 21, 2023

1960 – Derr Sets Record in Valley Fair Win


Ernie Derr receives his trophy from Miss Wisconsin Valley Fair, June Ramthun, after winning the 100-mile International at Wausau.

Wausau, Wis. (August 21, 1960) – Ernie Derr, driving a sweet running, peach colored 1957 Pontiac, was the big money winner at the stock car races held at the Wisconsin Valley Fair on Sunday afternoon.

“The Fox,” who hails from Keokuk, Iowa, demonstrated the skill which won him the International Motor Contest Association national championship in 1959. Living up to his nickname, Derr combined excellent technique with plenty of savvy. He made few mistakes and was ever alert to capitalize on those made by others.

This strategy, plus the fact that his car was the most mechanically perfect machine on the track, brought Derr the first-place trophy in the 100-mile International.

Not only did Derr win, but he also set a new record in the 200-lapper. The former record in the International was 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 45.97 seconds, set by Don White in 1958. Derr whittled that mark down to 1 hour, 44 minutes and 12.58 seconds.

The champ wasn’t the only record breaker, however. The stock car track mark for 10 laps was 5 minutes and 12.53 seconds set by Derr in 1958. Art Brady of Peoria, Ill., snapped that mark with a time of 5 minutes and 11.91 seconds.

In the race following, however, Dick Hutcherson of Keokuk, sliced the time even more, lowering it to 5 minutes and 6 seconds.

Derr won Sunday’s 100-mile grind by nine laps, but he didn’t gain his advantage until late in the race. For 152 laps, he was dogged by Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn.

Several times, Williams made bids to overtake Derr, but each maneuver was parried. Finally, on lap 152, Williams caught Derr in a rare mistake, and took the lead on the west turn. On the east turn it was Williams’ turn to miscue.

He hit the corner wrong and spun out. Though still game, Williams was unable to make up the distance lost, and finished seventh.

Finishing second was Art Brady He started the race in a Ford, took the lead early on in the race, then his car developed mechanical problems. Midway through the contest, Brady took over Jerry McDonald’s Chevrolet, and methodically worked his way back up to the runner-up spot.

Dick Johnson of St. Paul, Minn., finished third, one lap behind Brady. Hutcherson would finish fourth and Bob Jusola of Mound, Minn., rounded out the top five.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Art Brady, Peoria, Ill.
3. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
4. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
6. Wayne Lee, Burlington, Iowa
7. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
8. Jere O’Day, Wisconsin Rapids
9. Milo Van Oudenhoven, Appleton
10.Don Londerville, Wausau

1 comment:

  1. Mert Williams was a well known stock car builder and driver from Rochester mn. Tough competitor. He would always be one you would have to beat to win. Bob Jusola was another great guy and tough competitor from twin cities.