Thursday, August 10, 2023

1967 – Daniels Sets Pace in Valley Fair Sprints

Don "Itch" Daniels

Wausau, Wis. (August 10, 1967) – Honors were well distributed at the Marathon Park track on Thursday night with no driver able to win more than one event in the International Motor Contest Association sprint car races held as part of the Wisconsin Valley Fair.

Don “Itch” Daniels of St. Paul, Minn., took the lead on lap 11 and held on to win the 20-lap feature in the six-event program. Lee Kunzman of Guttenberg, Iowa, set the night’s only track record, winning the 5-lap STP trophy dash.

Kunzman circled the half-mile dirt oval in 2 minutes and 11.91 seconds, nipping Don Mack of East Grand Forks, N.D. The old record was 2 minutes and 12.72 seconds set by Bobby Grim in 1957.

Jerry Richert of Forest Lake, Minn., the three-time IMCA national sprint car champion, and a favorite of the local fans, experienced car trouble after time trials and his Chevy-powered sprinter was eliminated from further competition. Richert, who is in the thick of the battle for this year’s title, managed to borrow a car for the feature and finished fourth, picking up valuable points.

Despite unseasonably cold weather, a crowd of 4,000 turned out for the program. The start of the racing action was delayed 45 minutes because of two minor accidents.

Tom Custer of Rock Island, Ill., was hit in the eye by a rock during warmups and was taken to an area hospital, while Jerry “Haircut” Lepinski of St. Paul, Minn., hit the retaining wall during time trials and spilled fuel on the track.

Custer damaged a blood vessel in his eye and was unable to compete in the races but Lepinski was able to repair his fuel tank and return to action for the third heat. He displayed some fine driving, starting dead last and finishing second to Bob Tomlinson of Palos Park, Ill.

Jim Moughan of Springfield, Ill., also brought the crowd to their feet with some fancy driving of his own in the 10-lap consolation. Moughan came from the back of the pack to nip Ron Jackson of Mount Vernon, Ill., for first place at the finish line.

Don Mack won the first heat while Ron Belland of St. Paul, Minn., was the second heat winner.

Richert set the pace in time trials with a clocking of 24.42 seconds, while Daniels was second fastest with a time of 25.32 seconds.

Results –

1. Don Daniels, St. Paul, Minn.
2. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
3. Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
4. Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
5. Ron Jackson, Mount Vernon, Ill.
6. Don Mack, East Grand Forks, N.D.,
7. Dick Smith. Stillwater, Okla.
8. Bob Herring, Arvada, Colo.
9. Buzz Barton, Tampa, Fla.
10.John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.

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