Sunday, August 27, 2023

1960 – First ‘Big’ Win for Williams at Fair

Mert Williams

Des Moines, Iowa (August 27, 1960) – Mert Williams, a 25-yearold auto body repairman from Rochester, Minn., won the first major race of his career Saturday before 10,000 fans at the Iowa State Fair.

Williams whipped the International Motor Contest Association’s top-rated drivers, wheeling his battered 1958 Ford in front of a field of 26 starters in the 100-mile feature.

Second place went of Jerry McCredie, one of Keokuk’s many drivers, while third went to Ernie Derr, the 1959 IMCA stock car champion. Art Brady of Peoria, Ill., finished fourth.

Starting sixth due to his 30.21 second clocking in time trials, Williams was no better than eighth place after 10 circuits. But he gradually moved up through the field, took the lead on lap 107, lost it on the 124th, then regained it permanently on lap 156.

It was virtually an all Keokuk affair in the early going of the race with Derr setting the pace for the first 21 laps. Ernie, however, would have to make an unscheduled pit stop to adjust his carburetor.

Dick Hutcherson, another Keokuk pilot, stood off the challenge of Keokuk’s Ramo Stott until Stott was forced to make a pit stop on lap 68.

Williams, who earlier had pulled away from McCredie in a duel for fifth place, moved into second. He stayed behind Hutcherson until the Keokuk leader was forced out with a sheared distributor pin.

Williams had a quarter-lap lead on Joe Dolphy of New Brighton, Minn., at the end of 123 laps when disaster almost overtook him.

Stott, who had returned to the race, spun out to avoid a tangle with Eddie Harrow of Corpus Christi, Tex. Attempting to back out onto the track again, Stott was hit broadside by Williams.

Williams made a quick pit stop for some fender adjustment and lost the lead to Dolphy, who stayed in front until his engine overheated at the end of 156 laps.

Williams, whose previous best finish in IMCA competition was second place, was never headed thereafter. Dolphy was forced to stop two other times, but still managed a fifth-place finish behind Brady.

Stott, winner of the 150-mile Iowa International here in July, smoked up and had to retire at the end of 169 laps.

Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, a big winner here a year ago, was under suspension for appearing at a non-sanctioned program and was not allowed to compete.

Results –

1. Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
2. Jerry McCredie, Keokuk
3. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
4. Art Brady, Peoria, Ill.
5. Joe Dolphy, New Brighton, Minn.
6. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
7. Phil Cronin, Houston, Tex.
8. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle
9. Larry Behnken, Anita
10.Carel Schmidt, Massena
11.Gene Larson, St. Petersburg, Fla.
12.Bob Riddle, Denmark
13.Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk
14.Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
15.Ramo Stott, Keokuk
16.Wilbur Robinson, Indianapolis, Ind.

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