Saturday, August 5, 2023

1978 – ARTGO Summer Nationals Opener to Martin

Mark Martin

Oregon, Wis. (August 5, 1978) – Saturday night’s ARTGO Summer Nationals at the Capitol Super Speedway saw 19-year-old Mark Martin win the 100-lap feature over Tom Reffner and Joe Shear before a large crowd.

The Batesville, Ark., sensation took the feature lead from Bob Senneker on lap 24 of the century run and then survived a caution period 23 laps from the end for his first career ARTG victory.

A field of 46 late models swelled the pit area to near-record proportion Saturday night with Reffner shattering the one-laap record in qualifying with a 18.399-second lap around the half-mile, high-banked paved oval.

The eight car “All Star Showdown” which feature the top two ARTGO drivers, the top two ASA drivers, and the four fastest qualifiers saw Shear score a popular win as he and Martin both went three wide in the final laps pass Rusty Wallace.

Steve Burgess grabbed the lead in the feature from polesitter Fred Bender in the first turn of the 24-car event. On the ninth lap, the first yellow flew when Mike Miller broke a tie rod on the backstretch.

Two laps later, the red flag waved when Pat Schauer oiled the third turn triggering a four-car mishap which eliminated Canada’s Don Biederman.

Biederman, who replaced Junior Hanley at the last minute, had spent most of the evening changing engines prior to the feature. He joined the field on the pace laps.

Senneker passed Burgess on lap 16 for the lead with Martin getting by Burgess for second place three laps later. Martin then outraced Senneker off the fourth turn on the 24th circuit for the lead and went unchallenged from there.

His margin to the checkered was one second, although he led by more than five seconds at one point.

Martin’s win reversed an earlier ARTGO Setback at Rockford when he enjoyed a half-lap lead midway through the race only to overheat and drop out. It was his 112th feature win and first in ARTGO competition.

The race for second was very spirited with Dick Trickle, who started 17th after missing time trials, edging Senneker for the runner-up spot on the 35th lap, but Larry Detjens would claim that spot on lap 62. Reffner powered by Detjens on lap 84 but was unable to catch Martin at the finish.

Following Martin and Reffner to the finish line was Shear, who made the final pass among the leaders on the 92nd lap. Detjens settled for fourth followed by Senneker and Trickle.

Results –

1. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
3. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
4. Larry Detjens, Wausau
5. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
6. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
7. Denny Nyari, South Bend, Ind.
8. Rusty Wallace, Arnold, Mo.
9. Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
10.Butch Ledy, Matteson, Ill.

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