Saturday, August 19, 2023

1973 - Bowsher Unhappy as Hartman Wins ‘199’

Butch Hartman

West Allis, Wis. (August 19, 1973) - Jack Bowsher said it was more than just a coincidence that the checkered flag fell when it did. Butch Hartman said it didn't make any difference; he was easing off anyway. And starter Duane Sweeney said he just blew it.

In any event, the checkered flag was dropped after 199 laps of the scheduled 200-mile late model stock car race at State Fair Park Sunday with Butch Hartman winning his third straight race on the one-mile track.

Hartman had slipped past Bowsher on the 116th lap of the race, held his lead when all the top cars pitted during a yellow flag on the 175th lap, and was leading by five seconds when Bob Brevak limped slowly down the main straight against the grandstand wall with a flat right front tire on lap 196.

Two laps later Sweeney brought out the white flag and then the checker on lap 199. He said he just made a mistake in the confusion of watching Brevak inch precariously along the wall in the groove as the other competitors whizzed past.

Bowsher, who finished second, assumed the race was called early because of the danger Brevak's car posed.

“If that car warranted that the race be stopped, it should have been stopped with four laps to go when I couldn’t have caught him, not with one lap to go when I had a chance. One more time around and I’d have had him.”

Hartman said he was backing off near the end.

"There’s no sense wearing out your racer when you're five seconds ahead," he said.

But Bowsher said he thought it was more than a mistake on Sweeney's part and implied either favoritism toward Hartman or anti-Bowsher feelings at work.

"Now I don’t know that he (Sweeney) said that,” Bowsher said of the mistake. “If I went up to him personally and asked him about it, I’m afraid he’d deny it. When you get people in a bind, they’re gonna back up.”

“But I’ve got opinions on this like I've got opinions on a lot of other things that have happened to me.”

“For instance, how come they didn't check the cars after the race last Thursday and they checked them today. Because this old Ford finished second today, that’s why. That’s the first time I can remember that they haven’t checked the car here.”

Of the first seven cars, five were Dodge Chargers, including Hartman, third-place Don White, fifth-place Paul Feldner. sixth place Ramo Stott, and seventh-place Bay Darnell, Roger McCluskey finished fourth in a Plymouth.

The victory gave Hartman 1,985 points and the lead in his quest for a record third-straight United States Auto Club stock car division championship. Stott is second with 1,755 and Darnell, Feldner, and McCluskey are next in line with 1,260. 1,230, and 1,210.

Hartman said he had “no problems whatsoever” in whizzing to his victory before 18,278 paid admissions.

“I thought I was going to have trouble early in the race when the oil pressure dropped from 75 to about 58. But it never got any worse.”

He said he ran easy for the first half of the race, which was stopped for 10 minutes at 105 laps while a rain shower sprayed the area lightly. But, after the restart, he tromped it and passed Bowsher on lap 116.

“The first half of the race I didn't push it.” Hartman said. “I figure if I can run fourth without hurting the car, why lead the race and wear the car out? And I was a little worried about my oil pressure.”

When he took after Bowsher following the restart. Bowsher held him off for 10 laps before Hartman slipped past.”

“He just went in too far on the turn.” Hartman said. “He slipped and I didn’t.”

Bobby Unser blew an engine on lap 175 while running fourth but the yellow didn't come out despite a lot of smoke. A lap Inter, however. Ron Keselowski hit the wall in turn three, followed quickly by Dave Marcis, and the yellow came out.

All the leaders pitted for one more swallow of fuel and Hartman never lost his lead. He said he stroked his way from there to the finish.

“I slowed the car down from about 7,400 rpm to about 7,000. I didn’t feel there was anybody who could catch me,” Hartman said.

Results –

1. Butch Hartman
2. Jack Bowsher
3. Don White
4. Roger McCluskey
5. Paul Feldner
6. Ramo Stott
7. Bay Darnell
8. H.B. Bailey
9. John Reimer
10.Irv Janey
11.Dick Trickle
12.Bob Whitlow
13.Dave Whitcomb
14.Bob Brevak
15.Larry Berwanger
16.Leroy Austin
17.Dave Decker
18.Ron Keselowski
19.Ray Bolander
20.Sal Tovella
21.Bobby Unser
22.Mark Dinsmore
23.Dave Marcis
24.Bruce Jacobi
25.Harry Cooper
26.Charlie Schmidt
27.Jim Ouellette
28.Harold Fair
29.Tony Bettenhausen Jr.
30.Frank Freda
31.Tiny Lund
32.John Schultz
33.Rick Kleich
34.Blackie Wangerin
35.Gary Wroan
36.Jerry Wolland

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