Friday, August 4, 2023

1963 – Hutcherson Sets Three Records, Wins La Crosse

West Salem, Wis. (August 4, 1963) - Dick Hutcherson repeated his performance of two years ago at the 7th annual La Crosse Interstate Fair late model stock car races Sunday by winning both feature events to dominate a field of 18 drivers.

Hutcherson, one of the “Keokuk Komets” from Iowa, drove his 1963 Ford to three record-shattering feats for time trials, 10 laps and 100-lap feature.

Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk and current IMCA point leader, was overshadowed by Hutcherson’s exhibition of driving. Ernie Derr, five-time national champion and all-time point leader in the IMCA, did not race because he demolished his second Pontiac, this time at Donnellson, Iowa, Saturday night. Derr is the other “Keokuk Komet.”

Hutcherson set a one-lap record on the half-mile oval dirt track with a 26.50 second clocking to better the 26.87 seconds by Bob Reynolds, Edmond, Okla., in 1961. Stott, in his 1963 Ford and John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa, piloting a 1963 Pontiac, also broke the old mark with times of 26.53 and 26.80 seconds.

Hutcherson also won the first heat and 5-lap dash in the afternoon before copping the 25-lap feature in 11 minutes and 31.50 seconds.

Not completely satisfied, Hutcherson came back at night to set a new record for 10 laps (4:26.80) breaking the mark of 4:34.78 which he set last year with a 1962 Ford and then won the 100-lapper (50-miler) in 49 minutes, 48.30 seconds, to eclipse the old mark of 51:10.55 set by Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, in the first year of Interstate racing with a 1957 fuel injection Chevrolet in 1957.

The 31-year-old racing star took the lead after five laps, lapped all but the second place car and set a brilliant new record despite 15 laps under the yellow caution flag. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa, driving a 1963 Plymouth, led the first five laps.

Hutcherson completed 100 laps, Jules “Chub” Liebe of Oelwein, Iowa, piloting a 1963 Ford completed 99 circuits and Stott 97 laps.

Hutcherson said afternoon track conditions were “rough,” but he commented favorably on the evening session.

“I felt like I was going 300 miles an hour - it felt real good,” said Hutcherson about the night racing.

There w ere some minor accidents but nothing of a serious nature.

Lennie Funk, of Otis, Kan., who led off the time trials in the afternoon, left the track on the first turn and crashed into the fence. He was unhurt, but his car was sidelined for the remainder of the day.

Erv Wangerin, Minneapolis, was injured in the novelty race, getting bumped by a car driven by Bartholomew. Wangerin was reported to be in good condition, but he was held at St. Francis Hospital for observation.

Buzz McCann of St. Paul, Minn., drove Wangerin's car in the 100-lap feature.

Hutcherson won both feature races at the Interstate Fair in 1961. His winnings for Sunday's work came to $540.

Results –

Afternoon - 

1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Chub Liebe, Oelwein, Iowa
4. John Mickey, Columbus Junction, Iowa
5. Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee
6. Johnny Jones, Marshall, Minn.
7. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
8. Bill Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Joe Dolphy, New Brighton, Minn.
10.Les Friebe, Springfield, Ill.
11.Ev Wangerin, Minneapolis, Minn.
12.Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.

Night - 

1. Dick Hutcherson
2. Chub Liebe
3. Ramo Stott
4. John Mickey
5. Buzz McCann, Minneapolis
6. Johnny Jones
7. Bill Thomas
8. Dick Johnson
9. Bob Bennett, Hortonville, Wis.
10.Chet Scott, Rockford, Ill.

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