Thursday, August 24, 2023

1968 – Funk wins Missouri International

Lenny Funk receives his trophy after winning the Missouri International for IMCA late model stock cars.

Sedalia, Mo. (August 24, 1968) - Lenny Funk, who “just went out there to run a good race”, picked up the biggest handful of marbles Saturday in Missouri’s longest and richest late model stock car race.

His triumph in the 100-mile Missouri International was worth $1,000 to the Otis, Kan., wheat farmer who races a 1966 Ford as an independent.

Attendance at the Missouri State Fair event was 13,750.

Funk, who started the grind on the front row outside because of an IMCA rule which inverts the six fastest qualifiers (he timed in fifth fastest), slipped back to third place by lap 5 as prepared factory team favorites Ernie Derr in a '68 Dodge and Ramo Stott in a ’68 Plymouth quickly moved to the front two positions from fifth and third starting positions, respectively.

But when the mandatory pit stops began, Lenny forged ahead Stott, pitting on lap 12, killed his engine as he left the pits and lost precious time while a push truck restarted him on the half-mile track.

And when Derr made the first of two stops at the 21st circuit Lenny got a lead he never relinquished.

At lap 63, the 38-year-old father of four held a half-lap advantage over Derr, approximately the margin he claimed when the checkered flag fell. Stott, at that point, was well out of contention.

Two yellow flags in the later stages of the race, one when Wayne Johnson of Miller, Mo., lost a wheel at midpoint and another when Dean Huckaby of Kansas City, Kan., lost a wheel on lap 85, brought Ernie within a quarter lap as the field of cars compressed during the slowdown.

But when the green flew again at lap 85, Lenny set sail and was going away at the finish. His time for the 100 miles was not a record, because of the caution flags, but he turned the 50-mile point in 36 minutes and 29 seconds, for a new International Motor Contest Association world record.

Stott, finishing third, completed 97 laps. Other top finishers and the number of laps completed were Ole Brua of Albert Lea, Minn., whose '67 Ford set fast time for the day and who received the STP trophy, fourth at 96 laps, and Lewis Taylor, Shawnee. Kan., 1967 Plymouth, fifth at 94 laps.

No crashes or serious mishaps marred the program.

No comments:

Post a Comment