Mert Williams receives congratulations from starter Roy Stine and promoter Floyd Lenoch after winning the Mower County Fair 40-lapper before 4,355 fans.
Austin, Minn. (August 16, 1970) - Veteran Rochester, Minn., stock car driver Mert Williams is just happy when he finishes a race.
But Sunday afternoon Williams was more than just happy, and he has a major reason to be, for he had just captured the rich 40-lap modified feature before over 4,000 fans at the Mower County Fairgrounds half-mile dirt oval.
Sunday’s modified feature won by Williams was a thriller from start to finish, and it looked for a while that Albert Lea, Minn., veteran Ole Brua was going to win the race for the second year in a row.
Brua and Williams started opposite each other on the front row, Brua in his 1964 Ford on the pole and Williams in his 1970 Monte Carlo on the outside.
As flagman Roy Stine waved the green flag to the 22-car field, Brua shot out in front and stayed as much as two car lengths in front of Williams for the first 15 laps, then Williams narrowed the gap. finally taking the lead coming out of the third turn in the 27th lap.
Brua was ahead coming down the back stretch but spun out as he came around the west end of the track. That’s when Williams pulled into the lead and built a commanding lead over the final 13 laps. Brua fought his way back to second but couldn't catch Williams.
"My only hope was to catch Brua in heavy traffic. I wasn’t making a lot of headway on the straightaways until we caught up with the pack (on their way to lapping the slower cars), said Williams, a 35-year-old machinist who has been driving a stock car for 16 years.
"He (Williams) drove a better race than me,” said Brua. I lost the lead though when I took that curve too high, and the rear end spun out.”
1. Mert Williams, Rochester
2. Ole Brua, Albert Lea
3. Dave Bjorge, Austin
4. Dave Noble, Blooming Prairie
5. Terry Messersmith, New Hampton, Iowa
6. Bob Jusola, Mound
7. Bud Helm, Brainerd
8. Al Ward, Rochester
9. Rich Olson, Rochester
10.Gerhard Wollenburg, Austin
11.Charles Hart, Mason City, Iowa
12.Norm Setran, Bloomington
13.Darrell Heuer, Chokio
14.Bill Eastman, McIntire, Iowa
15.Smoky Campbell, Blooming Prairie