Sunday, August 6, 2023

1977 - Hansen Collects $1,000 for Win in Midwest Open

Scott Hansen is present a sizeable trophy by Emily Graber after winning the Midwest Open Short Track Championship at Luxemburg Speedway. – Tris Thompson Photo

Luxemburg, Wis. (August 6, 1977) – Twenty-two-year-old Scott Hansen of Green Bay, came through with the first victory of his blossoming young late model career on Saturday night, winning the 50-lap Midwest Open Championship and the $1,000 first prize at Luxemburg Speedway.

Hansen, driving a 1973 Camaro, started outside of fellow townsman Roger Perrot in the front row and the youngster looked at the bumper of Perrot’s Camaro for the first 31 laps before he and Appleton’s J.J. Smith finally slipped through on the inside when Perrot drifted high coming out of the second turn.

From then on, it was the veteran Smith dogging the less experienced opponent, probing for thee slightest mistake by Hansen. But Hansen drove a flawless race and Smith found it impossible to pass him on the outside at the speed he was going on the short 1/3-mile track.

Up until three days before the $7,000 event, Hansen wasn’t even among the entries for the 42-car field. It was only when engine problems plagued one of the other entrants that Hansen was invited to fill the opening. He wasn’t sorry.

Nevertheless, Although J.J. lost out by less than a car-length in one last desperate surge, the colorful driving star still came out with $750 in his pocket. Perrot ended up a surprising third in the oldest car in the field, taking home $500. Milwaukee’s Larry Ninneman was fourth.

Several highly touted drivers could not seem to get untracked after posting faster times that the leaders and thus starting in the back of the pack.

Medina’s Jerry Smith, who leads in points at three different tracks, came up from the last row in the 16-car finale to finish fifth, with three veterans, Axel Dahlberg, Tom Steuding, and Pete Parker finishing behind him in that order.

Earlier, Parker had shattered the Luxemburg track record with a time of 17.92 seconds,

A crowd of 2,155 turned out for the event, despite the fact that the Green Bay Packers were playing their pre-season opener, just 20 miles away.

Results –

1. Scott Hansen, Green Bay
2. J.J. Smith, Appleton
3. Roger Perrot, Green Bay
4. Larry Ninneman, Milwaukee
5. Jerry Smith, Medina
6. Axel Dahlberg, Mauston
7. Tom Steuding, Altoona
8. Pete Parker, Kaukauna
9. Dave Bruggink, Sheboygan
10.Bill Strom, West Allis

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