Sunday, August 20, 2023

1972 – ‘Farmer’ Ross Grabs Feature Race

Iowa State Fair secretary Kenneth Fulk presents the trophy to David Ross after the Kansas pilot won the 40-lap IMCA sprint car feature at the Iowa State Fair. Larry Shipley presents the checkers. – Beetle Bailey Photo


Des Moines, Iowa (August 20, 1972) – Jetmore sounds like it should be the hometown of a race car driver.

But not many residents of the small Kansas community near Dodge City race.

One who does, David Ross, a 29-year-old farmer of 1,360 acres, led all the way in the 40-lap International Motor Contest Association sprint car feature at the Iowa State Fair Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 7,200.

It was the first time he’s ever won an IMCA-sanctioned event in the seven years he’s competed in the organization.

While there may be joy in Jetmore, there was a gloom in the pit area of car owner Dave Van Patten. His driver, Dick Sutcliffe of Greenwood, Mo., said he was quitting racing.

After running fourth and fifth during the feature, Sutcliffe was sidelined on lap 17 with his “third blown engine in three days.”

“I’m just disgusted,” Sutcliffe said afterwards. “I’ve just had too much bad luck all season long and the pressure of these point races is getting to be too much.”

Sutcliffe still managed to secure second place in the IMCA point standings on Sunday although point leader Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City increased his lead.

Sutcliffe crept past defending IMCA national champion Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., who is sidelined for the remainder of the season with injuries.

“I don’t race much until the fair circuit starts,” Ross said. “I got started this year at the beginning of August and now I’ll keep it going until the end of the season.”

Ross said he made some changes on his Chevrolet-powered racer this season.

“I figured most of the races would be run during the afternoon on dry-slick tracks and that’s how I set the car up,” he remarked. “It has a 327 horse-powered engine which is lighter than what most guys run.”

Ross collected $800 for his victory. Eddie Leavitt of Kearney, Mo., finished second with Jay Woodside of Kansas City taking third and Ray Lee Goodwin coming home in fourth.

Goodwin had qualifying issues, with the point leader not able to get his car fired up for time trials. His mechanic changed the magnetos and two set of wires, but he managed to qualify only 26th fastest.

He hopped into a car driven by Roger Larson of Solomon, Kan., who was tenth fastest in time trials.

“That’s my old car,” Goodwin said. “I won 26 features in that car in 1970, then Roger bought it from last year.”

Results –

Time trials – Dick Sutcliffe, Greenwood, Mo. (24.34)
Heat #1 – Dave Ross, Jetmore, Kan.
Heat #2 – Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
Heat #3 – Earl Wagner, Pleasantville
Consolation – Johnny Babb, Ottumwa
Feature –
1. Dave Ross
2. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
3. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
4. Ray Lee Goodwin
5. Earl Wagner
6. Gene Gennetten, Gladstone, Mo.
7. Ron Perkins, Des Moines
8. Larry Cramblet, Wood River, Ill.
9. Ralph Parkinson, Kansas City
10.Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
11.Dean Shirley, Middletown, Ill.
12.Bill Hudson, Montezuma
13.Duane Stoneking, Oquawka, Ill.
14.Steve Schultz, Chillicothe, Mo.
15.Burt Sonner, Des Moines
16.Dick Sutcliffe
17.Johnny Babb
18.Sonny Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.
19.Larry Kirkpatrick, Wood River, Ill.
20.Mike Thomas, Des Moines

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