Saturday, September 30, 2023

1984 - Bryan Reffner Snares Close Oktoberfest 100

Bryan Reffner scored the biggest win of his career by capturing the 100-lap late model feature in the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday afternoon at La Crosse Interstate Speedway. – Lowell Dalsoren Photo

West Salem, Wis. (September 30, 1984) – Twenty-year-old Bryan Reffner held off Ted Musgrave and his father Tom Reffner to capture the 100-lap late model feature of the Oktoberfest 200 Sunday afternoon at La Crosse Interstate Speedway.

Lyle Nowak took the lead at the start of the main event from his pole position, but John McNamara overtook Nowak to gain the top spot on lap 2. McNamara paced the 25-car field until the ninth round when the younger Reffner took command. One lap later, the first caution of the event came out.

When the race resumed, Reffner continued to lead while Terry Baldry moved up to second. On lap 15, another yellow flag flew when Steve Murgic and Bob Iverson spun in turn three.

Reffner maintained his lead after the mishap and at lap 25 was followed closely by Baldry, Steve Holzhausen, and Musgrave. Bob Weis brought out another yellow on lap 31. One lap later, Tim Cox spun, forcing another slowdown.

Bryan Reffner retained the lead through the mishaps, but Musgrave overtook Baldry for second place on lap 42.

For the remainder of the race, Reffner used the outside groove thus forcing Musgrave to try the inside of the track. A broken differential on Baldry’s car knocked the Omro driver out of the race on lap 60, while the top three; Bryan Reffner, Musgrave, and Tom Reffner, pulled away from the field.

For the final 13 circuits, Reffner held off several attempts by Musgrave to get by on the inside. The elder Reffner took advantage of the duel to gain ground on the pair and pulled right up behind Musgrave.

At the finish, the top three crossed the finish line bumper-to-bumper with the young Reffner scoring the victory. Musgrave held off a determined Tom Reffner while Steve Burgess and Rick Wateski filled out the top five.

Tom Reffner fought off Wateski for the final 18 laps to win the first 50-lap feature, which was comprised of odd-number cars. Steve Burgess scored a relatively easy victory in the second 50-lapper for even-numbered cars.

Results –

1. Bryan Reffner, Rudolph
2. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
3. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
4. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
5. Rick Wateski, La Crosse
6. Bob Gunn, Madison
7. Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
8. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
9. Tim Cox, Wildwood
10.Bob Iverson, Escanaba, Mich.

1973 - Miller Wins Rockford National Short Track Title


Mike Miller receives the spoils for his victory in the National Short Track Championship 200-lapper at Rockford. Jody Deery (at extreme right) looks on. – Bernie Tappa Photo

Rockford, Ill. (September 30, 1973) – Young Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., out-drove a star-studded field to win the 200-lap National Short Track Championship event for late model stock cars on Sunday afternoon.

Starting in the ninth position by virtue of his second fastest qualifying time, it took 77 laps for Miller to find his way through heavy traffic on the quarter-mile asphalt oval into the fourth spot. On lap 92, Don Leach of Beloit, Wis., who was running third, got the tail end of his Chevelle into the turn three wall. It didn’t put him out, but it gave Miller and three other cars a chance to go by him.

Miller would slip by the thundering Mustang of Wayne Stallsworth of Aurora, Colo., on lap 94 for second, putting him right behind race-long leader Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill. The red flag waved on lap 103 for the mandatory 11-minute pit stop.

When the green flag waved out on the restart, Miller jumped by Shear for the lead and from there it was his race the rest of the way.

The Saturday portion of the three-day event was very slow in getting underway. Heavy rains on Friday cut down on practice, and flooded the infield and pit area. Pumps were set up and worked steadily into the afternoon. Cars would finally get out on the track to dry it out and then it would mist again.

It was late in the evening when time trials finally got underway and it was the Wisconsin flash, Dick Trickle, that was one of the first cars out and he set fast qualifying time. The later cars seemed to be hauling mud out on the track when qualifying and the surface became slippery. When Joe Shear, the track record holder at Rockford, finally hit the asphalt, he was unable to crack the top 10 fastest.

Sunday dawned gray but thee track would be totally dry and everything went of smoothly, although a little late. Denny Falko of Aurora, Ill., and Joe Shear won 30-lap qualifying features to gain a starting berth in the 200-lap feature.

Results –

1. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit
3. Wayne Stallsworth, Aurora, Colo.
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
6. Tom Jones, Northbrook
7. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
8. Danny Bellard, Beloit, Wis.
9. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
10. Ed Hoffman, Niles

1962 – White Cops IMCA Championship


Johnny White is joined by car owner Dizz Wilson after winning the 30-lap IMCA big car feature at Winchester. The victory clinched the IMCA national title for White. - Wayne Bryant Photo

Winchester, Ind. (September 30, 1962) – Hard-driving Johnny White gathered all the marbles available on Sunday afternoon as he won the 30-lap Frank funk Handicap at Winchester Speedway.

White, who hails from Warren, Mich., edged Tampa, Fla., ace Pete Folse for the IMCA big car championship in what was one of the closest title contests in the 47-year history of the International Motor Contest Association.

Driving the Dizz Wilson Offy, White collected 40 points in the heat race and another 130 for winning the feature to give him a final total of 2,590 points – 105 ahead of Folse, who picked up 20 markers for his third-place finish in the consolation and 16 points for his eighth-place finish in the main event.

Folse had held a slim 29-point lead coming into Sunday’s race and managed a paltry finish on the high-banked, half-mile asphalt oval, a racing surface that Folse prefers not to drive on.

The paltry Floridian had captured the last three IMCA national titles before White “slammed the door.” Folse’s car - the Hector Honore Bardahl Offenhauser – is the same car driven to four consecutive IMCA titles by Bobby Grim of Indianapolis from 1955 to 1958.

The victory, the second for White in three attempts, was an easy one with almost half of the 30 laps run under yellow.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., ripped a fuel tank on lap 16 while running third. Fuel spilled out onto the car’s hot exhaust pipe and exploded. Blundy managed to safely guide the car to a stop on the backstretch, climbed out and assisted with extinguishing the blaze.

Bobby King of Muncie, Ind., winner of the first IMCA race this season at Winchester, was nipping at White’s rear treads throughout the first 16 circuits and made a final desperate attempt to catch the Michigan speedster when the white flag was waved on the 29th lap.

White set new IMCA marks in both time trials and his heat race. He toured the half-mile in 18.08 seconds to erase the old standard off 18.14 seconds, two-hundredths of second within the world mark of 18.06 seconds set by Parnelli Jones and Roger McCluskey at Winchester.

Results –

1. Johnny White, Warren, Mich.
2. Bobby King, Muncie, Ind.
3. Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
4. Tom McClellan, Dayton, Ohio
5. Calvin Gilstrap, Salem, Ind.
6. Bob Hayduk, Cleveland, Ohio
7. Curly Boyd, Middletown, Ind.
8. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
9. Jim McCune, Toledo, Ohio
10.Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
11.Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
12.Dean Mast, Sugar Creek, Ohio
13.Don Friend, Detroit, Mich.
14.Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
15.Zeke Ingland, Columbus, Ohio

Friday, September 29, 2023

1979 – Sanger Scores in Missouri Nationals


Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, won the $10,000 Ewer’s Goodyear Nationals at Capital Speedway. Sanger took home $1,500 for his efforts. He’s joined by his crew and the Ewer family. – Al Steinberg Photo

Holts Summit, Mo. (September29, 1979) – Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, took the lead on lap 67 of the 100-alp Ewer’s Goodyear Missouri Nationals feature event and held it the rest of the way to score the victory and the $1,000 payday Saturday night at Capital Speedway.

Sanger’s victory was no easy feat, as a hard-charging Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa, was glued to his rear bumper the entire 33 final laps, one passing Sanger on the front straightaway on lap 97 until Sanger returned the favor, passing him on the backstretch.

Jackson, who started on the outside of the front row, led the first four laps until being passed by Viola, Iowa’s Ken Walton. It looked like a runaway for Walton until lap 30 when he dropped low to pass a slower car in turn two and hit a drainage ditch, destroying his rear end.

Jackson regained the led once again as Sanger continued to eat up the distance between himself and the leader until the lead pass on lap 67. No one else finishing in the top-10 were even close to the two frontrunners.

Finishing third in the race, which was halted only once when Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., spun on lap 30, was John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa. Finishing fourth was Galen Shaeffer of Topeka, Kan., and taking fifth was Bill Rice of Des Moines.

In Friday’s preliminaries, Jackson set fast time with a 22.06 second clocking. Timing second fastest was Johnny Stevens of Jefferson City with time of 23.14 seconds.

Qualifying heat wins went to Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ken Walton, Galen Shaeffer, Mel Morris of West Liberty, Iowa, and Bill Rice.

A total of 63 of the nation’s best late model drivers turned out for the second annual event and a record $10,000 purse, prompting promoter Ed Bloom to start plans for the third annual event for September of next year.

Results –

1. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
2. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
3. John Connolly, Delhi, Iowa
4. Galen Shaefer, Topeka, Kan.
5. Bill Rice, Des Moines
6. Steve Fraise, Montrose, Iowa
7. Johnny Stevens, Jefferson City
8. John Miller, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Tim Trimble, Gilliam, Mo.
10.Ed Dixon, Washington, Mo.

1974 – Lindley Plan Pays


Butch Lindley 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 29, 1974) – While most of the race favorites found the 250-mile race too much for them, young Butch Lindley of Greenville, S.C., calmly followed his race plan and went on to win.

And for his effort, the 27-year-old received $7,000, including $1,900 in lap money for the 190 circuits he was clearly in charge of.

“After 30 laps, I felt I had the fastest car,” Lindley said in victory circle. “At first, I was holding back, but then I figured I might as well get out there and lead.”

And he did. Lindley isn’t sure – keeping score isn’t his strong point – but he believes this is his 15th NASCAR sportsman championship race of the season. One of those wins came in the STP 200 here earlier in the season which ended with this Permatex Southern 400.

The victory didn’t come without some close calls. Lindley recalled one in particular that may have been the race. On the 281st lap, Lindley and national champion Jack Ingram of Asheville, N.C., had come out of the pits under caution and Ingram leading.

Coming out of the first turn, Flookie Buford, who was running third at the time, blew an engine just ahead of the two leaders. Oil from the blown engine sent Buford skidding into the wall. Ingram could not completely stop and slammed into Buford, damaging the right front section of his Chevrolet.

Lindley was luckier.

“I saw it happening,” Lindley said. “I had planned to go high but I changed my mind and went low.” It was a fortunate decision as the high groove would have sent him into the crash.

From that point on, it was a matter of waiting to see if anything would happen to Lindley’s car. A few laps later, smoke boiled from Ingram’s car, and he had to ride the apron the rest of the race. With Ingram in trouble, Lindley was not in a lap by himself.

Wrecks and mechanical issues took a heavy toll on the pre-race favorites. L.D. Ottinger went out after a crash on lap 11. A split in the cylinder wall took Darrell Waltrip out of the running on lap 51. At that point, he was running first and had led for the last 28 circuits.

Freddy Fryar led for 131 laps but on the 245th lap, he limped to the pits. He would return to the race later, but on lap 274, slammed into the first turn wall and was done for the day.

Jack Ingram led for 40 laps and Jerry Lawley, who finished second behind Lindley, was out front for 10 laps.

Ken Worley of Fairfax, Va., who started 31st, finished in third place and Don Smith of Gurley, Ala., who started 27th, finished fourth. Ingram limped home to a fifth-place finish.

Lindley blew an engine in practice on Saturday. It took his crew and hour and 45 minutes to replace it.

The time for the race last 3 hours, 27 minutes, and 23 seconds.

Results –

1. Butch Lindley
2. Jerry Lawley
3. Ken Worley
4. Don Smith
5. Jack Ingram
6. Phil Stilling
7. Windle Webster
8. Gene Glover
9. Don Rader
10.Billy Swain

Thursday, September 28, 2023

1975 – Carter wins Salem Memorial

Duane "Pancho" Carter

Salem, Ind. (September 28, 1975) – “Pancho” Carter led all but one lap en route to capturing the 50-lap Joe James/Pat O’Conner Memorial USAC sprint car feature at the Greater Salem Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

This year’s Hulman Classic victor overhaled first lap leader Rollie Beale on the completion of the second lap and then with the exception of a near-miss involving a spinning car, breezed to a winning straightaway distance over runner-up Sam Sessions.

Carter, who opened up a sizeable lead over the rest of the field, saw his chances of victory nearly erased on lap 43 when Larry Rice spun entering turn three after brushing wheels with a slower car.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., was forced to go high on the banked track to avoid hitting Rice’s stalled sprinter. The incident brought out the only yellow flag of the afternoon and enabled the pack to close the gap as the field completed the final seven laps.

After the green flag waved for the restart, Carter had little trouble opening up a sizeable lead which he held to the finish.

Larry Dickson strengthened his hopes of an unprecedented third national driving championship with a third-place finish while his nearest competitor, Rollie Beale, finishing fifth. Marvin Carman finished fourth.

Sessions was the program’s fast qualifier, touring the half-mile paved oval in 17.09 seconds. Heat wins went to Gary Bettehausen, Jeff Bloom, Dickson, James McElreath and Tom Bigelow.

Results –

1. Pancho Carter
2. Sam Sessions
3. Larry Dickson
4. Marvin Carman
5. Rollie Beale
6. Bill Cassella
7. Sheldon Kinser
8. Joe Saldana
9. Darl Harrison
10.James McElreath

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

1980 – Gundaker takes Cornhusker – Hawkeye Challenge

Kevin Gundaker won the annual Cornhusker-Hawkeye Challenge at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Gundaker is joined by promoter John Beaman in victory lane.


Harlan, Iowa (September 27, 1980) – Shelby County Speedway closed its books on another season, Saturday night, with the successful Cornhusker- Hawkeye Challenge Cup feature event.

The 75-lap feature was won by Kevin Gundaker of St. Louis. The main event was run with only one caution flag.

Mike Niffenegger of Kalona took the early lead from his outside front row starting position. On the ninth lap, Dave Chase of Council Bluffs took over the lead until the 19th lap when he got caught in some slower traffic, and in the process of trying to get around them, suffered a flat tire.

At this point, Niffenegger regained the lead and held it until lap 55 when Gundaker passed him on the low side. Niffenegger took the lead one more time on lap 58 but Gundaker passed him on the next lap and held the lead the rest of the way.

Niffenegger pushed him for the top spot on lap 61 until his motor let go, thus ending his chances of being the second driver in the history of the event to win it a second time.

Gundaker proceeded to lap the rest of the field except second-place Billy Moyer of Des Moines. Dick Schiltz of Waterloo was third, followed by Ken Walton of Viola and Tom Hearst of Wilton.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines finished sixth after starting in the last row. Hoffman started there because of some bad luck in his heat and the consolation. He lost a tire in the heat and suffered from a broke axle in the consolation. He later found a cracked head on his motor which necessitated a trip back to Des Moines overnight to replace it. A second-place finish in last year’s race guaranteed Hoffman a spot in the feature even if he failed to qualify for this year’s main event.

Results –

1. Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
2. Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines
3. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo
4. Ken Walton, Viola
5. Tom Hearst, Wilton
6. Don Hoffman, Des Moines
7. Em Fretheim, Decorah
8. Bill Martin, Council Bluffs
9. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
10.Kenny Fenn, Washington
11.Rob Taylor, Fremont, Neb.
12.Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
13.Keith Leithoff, Omaha, Neb.
14.Pat Wancewicz, Omaha, Neb.
15.Bill Beckman, Monticello
16.Craig Spetman, Council Bluffs
17.Al Humphrey, Giltner, Neb.
18.Steve Keppler, Marion
19.Terry Buresh, Bellevue, Neb.
20.Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
21.Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn.
22.Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
23.Steve Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
24.Mike Niffenegger, Kalona
25.Rocky Hodges, Des Moines
26.Gary Hopp, Harlan
27.Kent Tucker, Aurora, Neb.
28.Glen Robey, Omaha, Neb.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

1965 – Moss Cops West Liberty Title


John Moss

West Liberty, Iowa (September 26, 1965) – “Big” John Moss of Iowa City led 49 of 50 laps to capture the season’s championship jalopy feature at the West Liberty Fairgrounds on Sunday.

The program ended the Mississippi Valley Speed Club’s events for the year.

Four area drivers were among the top-six finishers, with John Mullink of West Liberty taking second, Stan Crooks of Letts coming home in fourth, Ron Hemsted of Lone Tree finishing in fifth and Mel Morris of West Liberty grabbing sixth.

Morris rolled his car during the race but continued in competition after a restart. Chuck DeMeyer of Washington held fifth place until a spinout on the last lap.

Point champion Mark Mosier of Washington pulled his machine from the track with six laps remaining with mechanical issues. Neil Mellenger of Burlington rolled his car during hot laps. He suffered a gigantic black eye.

Results –

Trophy dash – Dick Kleindolph, Muscatine
Heat #1 – George Bishop, Muscatine
Heat #2 – Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
Heat #3 – Dick McClure, Burlington
Consolation – Bob Smith, Mount Pleasant
Feature –
1. John Moss, Iowa City
2. John Mullink, West Liberty
3. Bob Ensminger, Burlington
4. Stan Crooks, Letts
5. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
6. Mel Morris, West Liberty

Monday, September 25, 2023

1983 - Fifth NSTC Victory for Shear at Rockford

Joe Shear won his fifth National Short Track Championship late model feature at Rockford Speedway. Promoter Hugh and Jody Deery present the winner's wreath and trophy. – Russ Lake Photo

Rockford, Ill. (September 25, 1983) – Joe Shear grabbed the lead on the 40th circuit and outran Tom Reffner and Dick Trickle to capture the National Short Track Championship 200-lap super late model feature for his fifth win in the 18th running of the event Sunday afternoon at Rockford Speedway.

Shear, who started the event on the outside of the third row, worked his way into third place behind frontrunning Steve Murgic and Conrad Morgan on lap 8. Six laps later, the Beloit, Wis., pilot powered by Morgan to claim second.

Murgic maintained the top spot until the 40th circuit when Shear took command on the backstretch. Tom Reffner maneuvered past Murgic on the same lap to take over the second spot.

Shear and Reffner would gradually break away from the rest of the field, building up a huge advantage until the yellow flag waved for the mandatory pit stop on lap 103.

On the restart, Shear again took the lead with Reffner in second, Murgic held on to third, ahead of a fast-closing Dick Trickle. Trickle would move into third three laps later and by lap 121, was closing hard and fast on Reffner.

For the remainder of the race, Shear fought off Reffner while Trickle made every attempt to get around the two pacesetters. The trio raced in a tight formation until the checkered fell with Shear a car-length ahead of Reffner. Trickle settled for third with Ted Musgrave and Alan Kulwicki rounding out the top five.

“It was tough,” said Shear, who had won annual event more than any other driver. “You don’t make a mistake or it’s all over.”

Results –

1. Joe Shear, Beloit, Wis.
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
3. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
4. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh, Wis.
5. Alan Kulwicki, Greenfield, Wis.
6. Steve Murgic, Rosemount, Minn.
7. Scott Hansen, Green Bay, Wis.
8. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
9. Conrad Morgan, Dousman, Wis.
10.Rich Bickle Jr., Edgerton, Wis.
11.Jim Weber, Roseville, Minn.
12.Ed Hoffman, Bensenville
13.Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
14.J.J. Smith, Appleton, Wis.
15.Rick Smith, Columbus, Wis.
16.Burt Weitemeyer, Lansing
17.Russ Peterson, Hartland, Wis.
18.Gene Coleman, Menomonee, Wis.
19.Joe Tyrell, Sycamore
20.Tony Strupp, Slinger, Wis.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

1961 – Weatherly Captures Martinsville Race

Joe Weatherly is joined by car owner Bud Moore and the trophy girl after winning the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville. 

Martinsville, Va. (September 24, 1961) – Joe Weatherly of Norfolk, Va., took the lead for the third time on the 419th lap and kept his 1961 Pontiac up front the rest of the way to win the Old Dominion 500 late model stock car race.

The veteran driver drove the 500-lap, 250-mile distance around Martinsville’s half-mile asphalt track in 3 hours. 59 minutes and 40 seconds, an average speed of 62.59 miles per hour.

Weatherly finished about 15 car lengths ahead of 1960 Grand National champion Rex White of Spartanburg, S.C., who had won the Old Dominion the last two years. White made a spirited bid, but his 1961 Chevrolet was slowed down by gear trouble after the 400th lap.

The victory, before a crowd of 17,000, was worth $3,425 plus lap money to Weatherly. White pocketed $1,750 for his second-place effort.

Pontiacs took four of the top-five places in the race. Three drivers at the wheel of 1961 Pontiacs – Junior Johnson of North Wilkesboro, N.C., Fireball Roberts of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Ken Rush of High Point, N.C. – finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Twenty-eight cars started the race but only 16 were still on the track when the checkered flag waved. There were seven caution flags but no serious injuries.

Fred Lorenzen of Elmhurst, Ill., started on the pole and held the lead until lap 57 when Johnson whipped out in front. Weatherly took over on lap 111, Roberts on lap 127; Ned Jarrett of Newton, N.C., driving a 1961 Chevrolet, on the 130th.

Johnson went ahead again on lap 137 and held it until lap 300, when Weatherly forged in front. Johnson recovered the lead on lap 321, then yielded it to White on lap 360.

Results –

1. Joe Weatherly, Norfolk, Va.
2. Rex White, Spartanburg, S.C.
3. Junior Johnson, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
4. Fireball Roberts, Daytona Beach, Fla.
5. Ken Rush, High Point, N.C.
6. Jimmy Pardue, North Wilkesboro, N.C.
7. Emanuel Zervakis, Richmond, Va.
8. Art Malone, Tampa, Fla.
9. Larry Thomas, Trinity, N.C.
10.Bill Morton, Church Hill, Tenn.
11.G.C. Spencer, Inman, S.C.
12.Herman Beam, Johnson City, Tenn.
13.Ned Jarrett, Newton, N.C.
14.Fred Harb, High Point, N.C.
15.Doug Yates, Chapel Hill, N.C.
16.Laymon Utsman, Church Hill, Tenn.
17.Richard Petty, Randleman, N.C.
18.Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill.
19.Jim Paschal, High Point, N.C.
20.Glen Wood, Stuart, Va.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

1984 – Osborn Nets ‘Corn Belt Classic’ Victory

Denny Osborn won the Corn Belt Classic at Farley Speedway. Kevin McLane presents the checkers while Becky Weinard makes the trophy presentation. – Debbie Bohr Photo

Farley, Iowa (September 23, 1984) – Denny Osborn of Cedar Falls won the late model feature race in the Corn Belt Classic at Farley Speedway on Sunday evening.

The event had been scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights, but the second day of the program was moved to Sunday after rain washed out the Saturday portion of the show.

Roger Dolan of Lisbon took a commanding lead in the late model headliner, but his engine suffered a dropped valve after only five laps and Scott Sells of Waverly took over. Sells led until lap 31 when his engine went up in flames. Osborn inherited the top spot and led the remaining nine laps to seal the victory – worth $1,000.

Gary Crawford and Curt Martin, both of Independence, came across the finish line behind Osborn, finishing second and third, respectively. Ken Walton of Viola and Scott Braun of Cedar Falls rounded out the top-five.

During Friday’s action, Martin was the winner of the 20-lap feature with Dolan coming in second.

Sells was the quick timer at 21.825 seconds, while late model heats were won by Martin, Rick Wendling of Hazelton, Darrel DeFrance of Marshalltown, and Lynn Idler of Ionia.

In the street stock feature, Gus Hughes of Monticello led all the way but was disqualified for running an aluminum intake on his engine. That gave the feature win to Ricky Hurst of Dubuque.

Results –

1. Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
2. Gary Crawford, Independence
3. Curt Martin, Independence
4. Ken Walton, Viola
5. Scott Braun, Cedar Falls
6. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
7. Denny Ansel, Dubuque
8. Greg Hunter, Independence
9. Harley McWilliams, Platteville, Wis.
10.Bob Campbell, Dubuque
11.Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls
12.Dick Barker, Dubuque
13.Jim Burbridge, Delhi
14.Mike Geltz, Dubuque
15.Martin Bennett, Des Moines
16.Scott Sells, Waverly
17.Roger Bruggeman, Dubuque
18.Greg Kastli, Waterloo
19.Bruce Freiburger, Dubuque
20.Steve Spahr, Monticello

1972 – Trickle Captures MASCAR 300 at Odessa


Galen Doke, president of the Mid-American Stock Car Racing Association, congratulates Dick Trickle after the Wisconsin ace won the 300-lap late model stock car contest at I-70 Speedway. 

Odessa, Mo. (September 23, 1972) – Once again, Dick Trickle added to his monumental victory total on Saturday night by capturing the Mid-American Stock Car Racing Association (MASCAR) 300-lap feature for late models at I-70 Speedway.

For his efforts, the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., driver pocketed more than $5,000 of the $25,015 purse. It was his 66th feature win of the season.

Trickle had his capable hands full during the early part of the race as NASCAR modified sportsman driver Red Farmer kept his Ford Torino right on the purple tail of Trickle’s 1970 Mustang. This was Trickle’s only serious challenge and last until lap 92 when Farmer pun and slammed into the wall.

Another Wisconsin pilot, Tom Reffner of Rudolph, was the only other driver in the field who seemed capable of staying with Trickle. Reffner turned in the fastest qualifying time of more than 60 entries the previous night.

Reffner’s luck in the race was not as good, however, as he was clipped by a slower car, while running third behind Trickle and Farmer.

Reffner’s 1970 Mustang then spun in the middle of the fourth turn, was hit by another car, touching off a 7-car pileup. Although Reffner’s mount did not appear to be seriously damaged, he retired for the evening.

With his two main competitors out of the picture, Trickle proceeded to run away from the rest of the field, cruising for the final 100 laps on the half-mile paved oval.

Finishing second was Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., in a 1972 Camaro, two laps down. Michigan supermodified and late model pilot Bob Senneker of Grand Rapids was third in his Chevelle. Terry Brumley and Bill Crane, both of Springfield, Mo., finished fourth and fifth respectively.

The best finish turned in by the Green Hornet team of Ed Howe and Tom Maier, netted a sixth-place finish by Maier.

IMCA national champion Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, came home in eighth place.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
3. Bob Senneker, Grand Rapids, Mich.
4. Terry Brumley, Springfield, Mo.
5. Bill Crane, Springfield, Mo.
6. Tom Maier, Midland, Mich.
7. Don Conner, Shawnee, Kan.
8. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
9. Dave Goldsberry, Springfield, Mo.
10. Vance Cook, Jonesborough, Ark.

Two of the greatest short track drivers ever, Ernie Derr (1) and Dick Trickle (99), race each other during the MASCAR 300-lapper at I-70 Speedway. - Ivan Jackson Photo

Friday, September 22, 2023

1963 – Woolley is New IMCA Champ

Gordon Woolley clinched the IMCA sprint car crown with a victory at the Tennessee State Fair. Joining the champion in victory lane is Nashville mayor Beverley Briley, Frank Wilseck (co-car owner), John Wilson Tennessee Fair Board Manager, Gordon Woolley & Ann Woolley, Gene Van Winkle, Mrs. Sid Weinberger, and Sid.

Nashville, Tenn. (September 222, 1963) – Gordon Woolley, a balding 39-year-old race car driver from Waco, Tex., clinched the IMCA sprint car point championship as he copped the feature race at Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Woolley had his hands full in the contest before a crowd estimated at 3,000. Ray Duckworth, who won the State Fair event on here Saturday, was the early leader but Woolley passed him on lap 9.

If the race were ending at that point, it would have been a beautiful as Woolley edged ahead as the two crossed the finish line.

There were 21 laps left, however, and the Texan had to keep his foot on the gas pedal the rest of the way to hold off Duckworth.

Bob Pratt was another pursuer until his car blew an engine on the 24th circuit. Dean Mast then took that position and held it to the finish, far behind Woolley and Duckworth.

A loud roar came from Woolley’s pit crew when he took the lead and an even louder chant went up when he pulled into victory circle.

His wife was exuberant as she hugged and kissed her husband. “How about that, you’re IMCA champion,” she beamed.

Woolley stated that he had raced at Nashville once previously, finishing fifth thee years ago. He has been racing sprint cars for four years.

Results –

Heat #1 – Tom McClellan
Heat #2 – Dean Mast
Heat #3 – Don Brown
Consolation – Ray Duckworth
Feature –
1. Gordon Woolley
2. Ray Duckworth
3. Dean Mast
4. Jim McCune
5. Carl Williams
6. Pete Folse
7. Tom McClellan
8. Jerry Blundy
9. Dick Gaines
10.Curly Boyd

1957 – Burdick Leads Stockers at Muskogee

Bob Burdick 

Muskogee Okla. (September 22, 1957) – Persistence and a flash of daredevil driving paid off for Bob Burdick, the hotshot speedster, Sunday as rode home in first place in the 100-lap stock car race at the Oklahoma State Free Fair.

Time for the event, cut from 150 laps due to track conditions, was 51 minutes and 12.58 seconds.

Burdick, who is waging a nip and tuck duel with Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, for the top spot in the International Motor Contest Association point standings, dog-tailed pacesetter Lenny Funk for the first 80 laps before making his bid for victory.

The winner, driving a borrowed car for the contest, sped through an opening on the south turn on the 82nd lap to take the lead from Funk, they stay ahead to take the checkered flag and winner’s share of the purse.

Track officials said before the race, Burdick’s regular race car had been damaged and was set back to Omaha for repairs, but the 22-year-old Omahan borrowed a car from a fellow competitor in order to compete in the race after it had already been announced that he would compete here.

Funk would settle for second place for the second straight year and Darrell Dake finished third. Funk driving a 1957 Chevrolet, hails from Otis, Kan., while Dake, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also steers a ’57 Chevrolet.

The half-mile dirt track was lightning fast in the straightaways but soggy, muddy, and plenty rough and choppy in the turns.

Track officials spent all Sunday morning working on the surface to make it suitable for racing. As it was, a crowd estimated at over 8,000, had to wait until 3:45 pm for the first racing event of the afternoon.

Darrell Dake turned in the best time during qualifying, with a clocking of 31.62 seconds. Funk was second fastest with a time of 31.65 seconds and Burdick was third fastest at 31.72 seconds.

Beauchamp, the defending IMCA stock car champion, finished fifth in race, behind Dick Pellow of Minneapolis. He rode in fourth place for most of the race but then lost a position when he had to stop for water.

Burdick and Funk made the 100-lap distance without a pit stop and Dake toured 97 laps, losing three laps when he spun out midway through the race and crashed into a fence on the main straightaway. The accident cost him one position, from second to third.

Funk took the lead at the drop of thee green with Dake in second, Burdick in third, and Beauchamp in fourth, a lineup that held until the 50th lap when Dake lost ground and time in his accident.

After that, Funk set a sizzling pace, with power and skillful driving, and Burdick waged a one-two battle with Funk ahead until the 82nd go-round when Burdick pulled out front to stay.

Results –

1. Bob Burdick, Omaha, Neb.
2. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
3. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Dick Pellow, Minneapolis
5. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
6. Al Warrender, Harlan, Iowa
7. George Parson, North Platte, Neb.
8. Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
9. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
10.Jerry Draper, Moline, Ill.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

1968 – Bettenhausen Wins at Reading

Race winner Gary Bettenhausen is flanked by promoters Lindy Vicari (left) and Al Gaspari (right) after his 30-lap USAC victory at the Reading Fairgrounds.  

Reading, Penn. (September 21,1968) – Gary Bettenhausen won the United States Auto Club 30-lap sprint car Saturday night, lapping every driver in the field except Bruce Walkup, Jerry Daniels, and Larry Dickson.

The Tinley Park, Ill., pilot completed the race in 11 minutes and 57.57 seconds, two seconds slower than the track mark for the event, set by Bobby Unser in 1965.

Larry Dickson of Marietta, Ohio, set the qualifying pace with a time of 23.61 seconds around the half-mile dirt oval but blew his motor in his qualifying heat race and borrowed a car to finish fourth in the main event. Bettenhausen was second fastest with a time of 23.63 seconds.

Results –

1. Gary Bettenhausen
2. Bruce Walkup
3. Jerry Daniels
4. Larry Dickson
5. Herman Wise
6. Rollie Beale
7. Bob Pratt
8. Ralph Liguori
9. Sam Sessions
10.John Capel
11.Don Brown
12.Carl Williams
13.George Snider
14.Wib Spaulding

1958 – Zwanziger Leads Start to Finish for Title


Bill Zwanziger accepts his race trophy from Barb Custard.

Waterloo, Iowa (September 21, 1958) – Bill Zwanziger, the Cedarloo Racing, Inc., point leader, who wasn’t considered the favorite even though he was to start on the pole position, added the 1958 season championship victory to his point title at Tunis Speedway on Sunday night.

Many observers felt that Zwanziger’s late model wouldn’t withstand the 75-lap grind on the quarter-mile Tunis track, but Zwanziger grabbed the lead at the start and pushed his racer to a new track record of 23.82 minutes. The old record was set last year by Dick Krafka, who did not finish this year. Zwanziger led the mid-season championship race for 35 laps before dropping out with engine troubles.

It was the first season championship for the Waterloo pilot although he’s always been one of the top finishers every year.

Zwanziger moved into a quarter-lap lead in the early stages, leaving Harry Peterson, the mid-season champion, in second with Carroll Hilmer and Krafka on his tail. As the trio came down the front straightaway, Peterson was bumped slightly and spun around in the middle of the track. He was forced to back off the track to avoid being hit by oncoming traffic but immediately pulled back into the race and worked his way back into third place.

Krafka and Hilmer carried on their battle for second, exchanging placed several times before Krafka broke a piston in his newly built engine and exited the race on lap 31.

That left only Hilmer as a threat to Zwanziger and the Vinton driver worked his way up within three car lengths, only to lose ground in heavy lap traffic. When Hilmer finally broke free, Zwanziger was nearly half a lap ahead. Once again, Hilmer cut down the deficit, and once again, lost it in lap traffic. He finally finished about 10 car lengths behind when the checkers waved.

Gene Peterson would finish third followed by Les Johnson and Carroll Jensen.

Hilmer, Jerry Sherbon, and Les Johnson were heat winners while Howdy Hutchins won the 25-lap consolation.

A crowd of 3,575 watched the action.

Results –

1. Bill Zwanziger
2. Carroll Hilmer
3. Gene Peterson
4. Les Johnson
5. Carroll Jensen
6. Harry Peterson
7. Charlie Moffitt
8. John Mullink
9. Harry O’Deen
10.Cal Swanson

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

1970 – Bowsher Wins Sunday, Title to McCluskey

Jack Bowsher (21) won the race, but Roger McCluskey (1) won the title after the dust settled on the 250-miler at Milwaukee.

West Allis, Wis. (September 20, 1970) – Jack Bowsher won Sunday’s 250-mile late model stock car race, but second-place finisher Roger McCluskey clinched the United States Auto Club national championship for the second year in succession.

Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio, toured the paved, one-mile State Fair Park Speedway oval in his 1969 Ford Torino at an average speed of 95.483 miles per hour – good for $7,170 of the $35,725 purse.

Bowsher took the lead on lap 224 from front runner Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, whose car engine failed. White was finally forced out of the race for good on lap 231.

A.J. Foyt, Houston, Tex., ran into trouble on lap 32 when he and Bay Darnell, Deerfield, Ill., collided. Darnell’s engine failed and he was trying to cross the track into the infield when he ran into the back of Foyt’s car. Both driver’s hit the wall.

Foyt was taken to an area hospital with a neck injury and later released.

Norm Nelson of Racine, Wis., finished third followed by Lem Blankenship of Keokuk, Iowa and Butch Hartman of South Zanesville, Ohio.

Some 18,700 race fans watched Sunday’s race, postponed one week earlier because of rain.

Results –

1. Jack Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
2. Roger McCluskey, Tucson, Ariz.
3. Norm Nelson, Racine, Wis.
4. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Butch Hartman, South Zanesville, Ohio
6. Whitey Gerkin, Villa Park, Ill.
7. Bob Wawak, Villa Park, Ill.
8. Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
9. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior, Minn.
10.Billy Ries, Shakopee, Minn.
11.Larry Berwanger, Gary, Ind.
12.Dave Whitcomb, Valparaiso, Ind.
13.Lou Burmeister, Butler, Wis.
14.Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
15.Roger Regeth, Kimberly, Wis.

1963 – Reinhart is Tri-State Winner

Homer Melton, president of the Mississippi Valley Racing Association, presents the Tri-State Championship trophy to Jerry Reinhart.

Davenport, Iowa (September 20, 1963) – Jerry Reinhart is the apparent winner of the 100-lap Tri-State Championship racing special held at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Friday night.

The victory by Reinhart in the feature race was protested and a ruling was expected Saturday afternoon to clarify if the Moline, Ill., driver is the official winner.

Reinhart defeated Lloyd Caldwell of Kewaunee, Ill., for the victory with Bill Starr of Davenport finishing third.

Dean Montgomery of Milan, Ill., and Willis Franck of Rock Island, Ill., were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Heat winners were Ernie Speth of Davenport, Del Williams of Aledo, Ill., Charlie Moffitt of Stanwood, and Reinhart. Williams also won the semi-main. 

Results –

Heat #1 – Ernie Speth, Davenport
Heat #2 – Del Williams, Aledo, Ill.
Heat #3 – Charlie Moffitt, Stanwood
Heat #4 – Jerry Reinhart, Moline, Ill.
Semi-main – Del Williams
Feature –
1. Jerry Reinhart
2. Lloyd Caldwell, Kewaunee, Ill.
3. Bill Starr, Davenport
4. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
5. Willis Franck, Rock Island, Ill.
6. Red Droste, Waterloo
7. Dean Montgomery
8. Del Williams
9. John Moss, Iowa City
10.Jack Lueth, Davenport

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

1959 – Jones Wins Fair Opener

Rufus "Parnelli" Jones

Hutchinson, Kan. (September 19, 1959) - Sensational driving by Parnelli Jones of Torrance, Calif., and a spectacular end over end roll involving Bill Hobbs of San Francisco, provided ample thrills for a crowd of about 9,000 race fans at the opening track program of the Kansas State Fair, Saturday afternoon.

Jones, at the wheels of a race creation which originated around a Chevrolet engine block, blazed to triumphs in every race he entered - a 7-lap heat race, a 4-lap match race between leading drivers and the big 12-lap feature.

Hobbs won the opening heat race. He was doing well in the feature until the seventh lap. Coming out of the north curve into the straightaway, his machine apparently struck a big hole in the track.

The front of the racer leaped high. Then the rear wheel hit the hole as the front was coming down. The bump kicked the rear end high. The car crashed down on its nose, made a complete flip-over and came to rest on its wheels, crosswise with the track.

Speeding cars narrowly missed Hobbs' car. Hobbs, his protective helmet split open seemed not to move. Officials frantically waved the racing machines to a stop. Hobbs was rushed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital suffering a broken shoulder, a shoulder separation, a cut over his right eye, and possible internal injuries. His condition is considered serious but not critical.

The best race of the afternoon program was a 4-lap match race between Jones, Pete Folse of Tampa, Fla. and Jack Rounds of Huntington Park, Calif. Rounds was soon out of it, but for four laps Jones and Folse raced virtually wheel to wheel. Officially Jones won the event by the width of a tire. Spectators thought it was even closer - maybe by the width of the tread.

Folse was a second behind Jones in the feature, but he trailed across the wire by several car lengths. Arnie Knepper, of Bellville, Ill., was third and Rounds, fourth.

Results –

Match race – Parnelli Jones, Torrance, Calif.
Heat #1 – Bill Hobbs, San Francisco
Heat #2 – Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
Heat #3 – Parnelli Jones
Consolation – Arnie Knepper, Belleville, Ill.
Feature –
1. Parnelli Jones
2. Pete Folse, Tampa, Fla.
3. Arnie Knepper
4. Jack Rounds, Huntington Beach, Calif.
5. Dale Reed
6. Bob Mathouser, Gardenia, Calif.
7. Harold Leep, Wichita, Kan.
8. Jerry Shumaker, Wichita, Kan.
9. Harry Ross, Houston, Tex.
10.Charlie Lutkie, Wichita, Kan.
11.Tony Magasany, Honolulu, Hawaii
12.Buddy Quick, Tulsa, Okla.
13.Bill Hobbs
14.Tommy Vardeman, Tulsa, Okla.
15.Bert Hellmueller, Louisville, Ky.

Monday, September 18, 2023

1977 – Hansen Grabs Thunder Bay Title


Thunder Bay, Ontario (September 18, 1977) – Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, was the big winner at the Canadian Dirt Track Championships, held at Riverview Raceway.

Hansen took home $2,000 for his efforts in the 50-lap late model feature on the 3/8-mile mile dirt oval.

Sunday’s late model feature began under cloudy skies, with Hansen jumping immediately into the lead. On lap 4, Punky Manor of Altoona, Wis., bumped Ed Sanger of Waterloo, Iowa, sending them both into a spin and bringing out the yellow flag.

The race would be halted one lap later when heavy rain began to fall. The shower lasted 20 minutes but it caused a two-hour delay to dry the track.

Hansen was still on top when racing resumed, with John Jones of Thunder Bay now pressuring Hansen for the lead.

On lap 14, Axel Dahlberg of Mauston, Wis., had the engine on his Camaro blow. As he slowed to enter turn one, his car went into a spin, turning in a complete circle. A fast-approaching Ed Sanger went high to avoid Dahlberg, but the door was closed when Dahlberg slid to the outside of the track. Sanger hit Dahlberg’s driver’s side. Sanger’s car was not damaged enough and continued while Dahlberg’s car was badly damaged and unable to continue.

Hansen maintained his lead on the ensuing restart. He quickly opened up a six-car-length advantage over Jones. Sanger, who got his position back after the Dahlberg incident, would get by Jones for second place on lap 17.

He would have nothing for Hansen, however, who would increasing his lead by a full straightaway by the halfway mark and win by almost 25-car-lengths at the finish, with Sanger taking runner-up honors.

Tom Steuding of Altoona, Wis., put on a performance that was one of the highlights of the afternoon. He began the feature in the 21st starting position, having finished second in one of the two semi-features to get into the field. Steuding quickly moved through the pack to take fifth by lap 12, fourth on lap 31, and on lap 46 he got by Jones to take over third.

Following the Iowa drivers and Steuding were Jones, Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, and Red Steffen of Eau Claire, Wis.

Results –

1. Curt Hansen, Dike, Iowa
2. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
3. Tom Steuding, Altoona, Wis.
4. John Jones, Thunder Bay
5. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Red Steffen, Eau Claire, Wis.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

1978 – Reffner and Stang Capture Elko Superamerica 100’s

Dick Stang

Elko, Minn. (September 17, 1978) – Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., and Dick Stang of Prior Lake, emerged as the two winners of the twin 100-lap late model features highlighting the Superamerica 200 at Elko Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

The contests were the climax of two days of competition that began Saturday night.

Reffner easily won the first 100-lapper, taking the lead on the 14th circuit. He finished in front of Mike Miller, Jim Back, Jim Weber, and Stang.

Trickle led the second main from lap 35 until the 81st circuit when Back, who made a late charge, went in front. Stang moved up into second place and ran bumper-to-bumper with Back until the last lap when Back slipped slightly on the front chute.

Stang took advantage of Back’s lapse and passed the Vesper, Wis., chauffeur on the outside to take the lead and the victory. Back settled for second with Miller, Trickle and Reffner rounding out the top-five.

Trickle emerged as the winner of the overall title for special events this year and won an extra $1,000 besides his regular payoff.

Reffner was fast qualifier on Saturday night with Greg Arenson winning the semi-feature and Trickle copping the 15-lap dash. Dewey Gustafson captured the B-main for late models.

The only serious accident of the weekend occurred in the B-main when Joe Berthiaume hit the front stretch wall and complete demolished his Camaro. He was taken to a local hospital for observation.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Tom Reffner, Rudolph, Wis.
2. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
3. Jim Back, Vesper, Wis.
4. Jim Weber, Rosemount
5. Dick Stang, Prior Lake
6. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Feature #2 –

1. Dick Stang
2. Jim Back
3. Mike Miller
4. Dick Trickle
5. Tom Reffner
6. Bruce Sparrman, Excelsior

1955 – Bryan is Winner of 100 at Fairgrounds

Jimmy Bryan raises his hands in victory after winning the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. 

Indianapolis, Ind. (September 17, 1955) – Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix, Ariz., won the 100-mile auto race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday, outlasting Johnny Thomson of Springfield, Mass., by an eighth of a mile.

It was the second straight victory for Bryan in the Hoosier Hundred and the third for the Dean Van Lines Special In. the three-year-old event. Bryan's time was 1 hour, 11 minutes and 26 seconds for an average of 63.98 miles an hour.

Bryan passed Thomson on the 56th turn around the one-mile track and held the lead the rest of the way. Thomson had taken the lead on the 32nd lap when Bob Sweikert, the national AAA champion, and the 1953 winner, went out with engine trouble.

Sweikert, who won the pole position with a qualification mile in 38.53 seconds, was far out in front when his car died on the back stretch.

Rodger Ward of Los Angeles spun on the fourth lap, and the race was slowed for six laps. He was not injured.

The race was delayed an hour after Edgar Elder of Fresno, Calif., crashed broadside through a guard rail and fence on the second lap of his qualification run.

He was not injured, but his car was out of the race. He had run the first lap in 38.18 seconds, best time of the day.

Sweikert has the season championship clinched with 2,150 points. Bryan moved into second with 1,800 points. Thomson and Tony Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill., who had been tied for second, dropped to third and fourth with 1,060 and 1,020.

Results –

1. Jimmy Bryan, Phoenix, Ariz.
2. Johnny Thomson, Springfield, Mass.
3. George Amick, Lynwood, Calif.
4. Tony Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
5. Pat O'Connor, North Vernon, Ind.
6. Don Freeland, Los Angeles
7. Ed Elisian, Oakland, Calif.
8. Jimmy Reece, Oklahoma City
9. Andy Linden, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
10. Johnny Kay, New Britain, Conn.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

1978 - Stevenson Wins Hartford Open on Last Lap

John Stevenson

Hartford, S.D. (September 16, 1978) – John Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn., won the A-main on the last lap to win the third annual Hartford Open on Saturday night.

It was a surprise finish as Bill Mellenberndt had just pulled into first place with Kim Lingenfelter running second and Stevenson running a distant third with only a few laps remaining.

With only two laps to go, Mellenberndt lost a tire and drifted high in the fourth turn. In the meantime, Lingenfelter was running out of gas and was helpless as Stevenson breezed by him to take the lead and the checkers.

Mellenberndt did earn the passing award as he had suffered a flat with only two laps in the books and was forced to restart at the rear of the field. Within one lap, he regained five spots and then grabbed another five positions on the next lap. At the midway point of the race, he was in fourth place.

At that point, Stevenson was in third place, having come up from his sixth row starting position. Roger Mulder had led the first half of the race with Lingenfelter in second.

Shane Carson of Oklahoma City set fast time, with a clocking of 19.25 seconds on the half-mile. Mellenberndt won the trophy dash.

Heat winners were Jack McCorkell of Redwood Falls, Don Mack of East Grand Forks, Mellenberndt, and Stevenson.

Randy Sears of Kansas City was the winner of the B-feature and Harry Thurlow of Fargo, N.D., won the consolation.

A field of 50 sprint cars were entered with many of the top names in racing there.

Results –

1. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
2. Kim Lingenfelter, Norfolk, Neb.
3. Roger Mulder, Sioux Falls, S.D.
4. Dale Moore, Independence, Mo.
5. Lonnie Jensen, Hasting, Neb.
6. Randy Ford, Elmore, Ohio
7. Jack McCorkell, Redwood Falls, Minn.
8. Don Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
9. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines
10.Rich Brahmer, Wisner, Neb.
11.Gerald Bruggeman, Hoskins, Neb.
12.Dave Engebretson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
13.Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
14.Bill Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls, S.D.
15.Darryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.

1972 – Waltrip Captures USAC 200 on Nashville Banks

A smiling Darrell Waltrip speaks with his crew chief after winning the 200-lap USAC stock car race at Nashville. It was Waltrip's biggest win of his career to date. 

Nashville, Tenn. (September 16, 1972) – Darrell Waltrip, a NASCAR late model rookie, score the biggest win of his career when he outraced 1968 Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser by a half a lap to win the 200-lap USAC-sanctioned late model stock car race on the high-banked State Fair Speedway.

It was a frustrating day for the Indy-based USAC set, which started with Waltrip winning the pole position with an 18.76 clocking (110.736 mph) in his Mercury. Unser’s 18.89 second time took the outside front row slot.

Late in the contest, Waltrip took the low groove going into turn one and breezed by the leader Unser. He extended that lead to a full lap on the 5/8-mile oval before the race was over.

“I knew if I didn’t make a mistake, I had it,” Waltrip said. “He was the one I was worried about. I was getting through the corners better than he was, but he was running real well.”

Waltrip was in command from the start. He had a 20-second lead over Unser’s Plymouth at 40 laps and was carefully picking his way past the slower cars. At 70 laps, only Unser was on the same lap as Waltrip. When Unser made a pit stop for gas on lap 132, this put Waltrip two laps up on the field.

Waltrip, the last pit stop for refueling, took a long time – 30 seconds – but he reentered the fray half a lap ahead of Unser.

By the 150-lap mark, Waltrip was chasing Unser. By lap 180, he was in a lap by himself. He widened that lead to a lap and a quarter.

Waltrip admitted that a rain shower during the morning gave him an advantage. The track was supposed to open for practice at 10 am, but at that hour it was raining, and raining hard. It was 12:20 before the track was dry enough for running. This gave the USAC drivers little time to set up their cars for the unfamiliar high-banked track.

“The rain was good luck,” Waltrip remarked. “They didn’t have time they needed to get their cars set up properly.”

“Their not being familiar with the track proved to be a problem for me as well,” Waltrip added. “We didn’t know how to run together, but after a while, we all worked it out.”

Unser’s brother Al was much less fortunate. During practice, he went straight into a spin on the back stretch and limped into the pits with suspension damage. He was not able to start the race.

Waltrip won at an average speed of 109.928 miles per hour. It was the first time in the history of the track that a race of this length was completed without a caution flag.

Results –

1. Darrell Waltrip
2. Bobby Unser
3. Gordon Johncock
4. Ramo Stott
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Butch Hartman
7. Ralph Latham
8. Jack Bowsher
9. Wayne Andrews
10.Terry Ryan
11.Harold Fair
12.John Reimer
13.Paul Feldner
14.Bay Darnell
15.Ron North
16.Ray Bolander
17.Sal Tovella
18.Ken Reiter
19.Fred Zack
20.Ken McEldowney
21.Clive Smith
22.Bob Wawak
23.Bud Schroyer
24.Jim Tobin
25.Lem Blankenship

1967 – Dake Cops Late Model Title

Darrell Dake 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 16, 1967) - Darrell Dake proved why he’s the season point leader in late model stocks by capturing the 35-lap season championship race at Hawkeye Downs Saturday night.

Official attendance was 3,035.

Dake and his 1967 Fairlane picked up the checkered flag ahead of his two closest pursuers for the point title.

Verlin Eaker took second and Dean Montgomery was third, the same way they stand in the point standings. The competitive rivalry was evident as Dake and Eaker bumped each other on the 25th lap.

Dake was in the lead at the time he hit the rail on the half-mile oval, but he recovered quickly to stay in front.

Bill McDonough of Cedar Rapids won the 10-lap semi while Mert Williams of Rochester, Minn., and Roger Dolan of Lisbon walked off with heat wins. Johnny Beauchamp of Atlantic, Iowa, and the former Daytona 500 star, won the trophy dash.

Results –

Trophy dash – Johnny Beauchamp, Atlantic, Iowa
Heat #1 – Mert Williams, Rochester, Minn.
Heat #2 – Roger Dolan, Lisbon
Semi-main – Bill McDonough, Cedar Rapids
Feature –
1. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
2. Verlin Eaker, Cedar Rapids
3. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
4. Johnny Beauchamp
5. Bill McDonough
6. Mert Williams
7. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
8. Roger Dolan
9. Lyle McNall, Aledo, Ill.
10.Tom Hughes, Monticello

Friday, September 15, 2023

1984 – Matthees Captures ‘Yankee Classic’

Lance Matthees won the seventh annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Hawkeye Downs. Pictured, from left to right, Dale Fischlein, trophy dash winner, Roger Dolan, fast qualifier, flagman Bill Newman, Matthees, and a Life Investors representative. – Debbie Bohr Photo

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (September 15, 1984) – Lance Matthees of Winona, Minn., emerged victorious Saturday night in the seventh annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.

Matthees won the 100-lap NASCAR late model feature, while Mike Frieden of Cedar Rapids won the modified feature after race winner Jack Mitchell of Cedar Falls was disqualified.

Matthees started well back in the starting lineup as he qualified 17th for the main event. He worked his way steadily to the front and took the lead from Wilton’s Tom Hearst on lap 54.

After taking over the top spot, Matthees steadily increased his advantage and lapped all but the first eight cars in the field as 19 of the original 27 starters were still running at the end.

Even though Matthees started well back in the pack, Ed Sanger of Waterloo was credited with passing the most cars as he started dead last and ended up finishing sixth.

“Everyone was running high on the track, so I decided to give the low side a try,” Matthees commented afterwards. “It was the right decision.”

He finished a quarter of a lap ahead of Steve Kosiski of Omaha, Neb., while third place went to Roger Dolan of Lisbon. Hearst finished fourth and track champion Ken Walton of Viola rounded out the top-five.

Mitchell won an exciting three-car battle off the final turn of the 25-lap modified feature to edge Mike Frieden at the wire, while Frieden, in turn, edged Rick Wages of Moline, Ill.

However, shortly after completion of the event, it was announced that Mitchell had been disqualified for using alcohol instead of gasoline.

Mitchell, who is an IMCA member, said that this was the first non-sanctioned race he had won this season. IMA allows alcohol as a fuel.

“I don’t need to cheat to win,” Mitchell said afterwards. “I would’ve won using gas. Had I known I couldn’t run alcohol, I wouldn’t have run it.”

Mitchell wasn’t the only driver disqualified Saturday night. Ron Schreiner of Eleva, Wis., finished fourth in the 100-lap headliner but was disqualified for running an illegal carburetor.

Results –

Late Model –

1. Lance Matthees, Winona, Minn.
2. Steve Kosiski, Omaha
3. Roger Dolan, Lisbon
4. Tom Hearst, Wilton
5. Ken Walton, Viola
6. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
7. Leon Plank, Mondovi, Wis.
8. Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
9. Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill.
10. Scott Sells, Waverly
11.Bob Hill, Story City
12.Gary Tigges, Durango
13.Denny Osborn, Cedar Falls
14.Bill Breuer, Wapello
15.Curt Martin, Independence
16.Bruce Martin
17.Lynn Idler, Ionia
18.Rick Wendling, Hazelton
19.Dale Fischlein, Davenport
20.Les Duellman, Fountain City, Wis.

Modified –

1. Mike Frieden, Cedar Rapids
2. Rick Wages, Moline, Ill.
3. Merv Chandler, Cedar Rapids
4. Arvid Borchers, Marshalltown
5. Mike Schulte, Norway
6. Mike Cothron, Moline, Ill.
7. Bob Helm, Andalusia, Ill.
8. Mike Smith, Ellsworth
9. J. Scott Smit, Moline, Ill.
10.Dan Wertz, Anamosa

Thursday, September 14, 2023

1975 – Gerber Wears Raceway Crown


Jim Gerber

East Moline, Ill. (September 14, 1975) – The point race at Quad City Raceway was so close between Jim Gerber of Long Grove, Iowa, and Duane Steffe of East Moline, that the winner of the season championship feature would also be crowned point champion for 1975.

It would be a see-saw battle for a while.

Gerber took the lead at the start, but Steffe got by on lap 3 and seemed to have things well under control, but his car wasn’t up to the task. He had a new engine and the car had been running hot all night long. It was still running hot by feature time and Steffe had no choice but to back off a little.

Gerber sped past Steffe on the 18th circuit and then took over from there. He lapped everyone except the top-five finishers en route to an easy victory in the 50-lap feature, thus earning himself the point title.

Bob Stogdell of Silvis would get past Steffe in the late stages of the race and take runner-up honors. Steffe finished third while defending track champion Ron Weedon of Pleasant Valley was fourth. Lyle Gehn of Port Byron rounded out the top five.

Results –

Heat #1 – Doug Crawford, Geneseo
Heat #2 – Mike McGrew, Coal Valley
Heat #3 – Bob Stogdell, Silvis
Semi-main – Duane Steffe, East Moline
Consolation – Doug Crawford
Feature –
1. Jim Gerber, Long Grove, Iowa
2. Bob Stogdell
3. Duane Steffe
4. Ron Weedon, Pleasant Valley, Iowa
5. Lyle Gehn, Port Byron