Wednesday, September 6, 2023

1953 – Fairgrounds Speed Mark Clipped

Bob Slater of Kansas City raises a cloud of dust at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon. A packed house watched the thrilling show.

Lincoln, Neb. (September 6, 1953) – Driving a sleek yellow Offenhauser, Bob Slater of Redfield, Kan., won the 20-lap feature event before a packed house at the Nebraska State Fair.

Slater shattered the State Fairgrounds track record for the event, winning in a time of 8 minutes and 46.5 seconds, nudging out his rival, Bobby Grim of Indianapolis by half a lap for IMCA laurels.

Slater’s time bettered the old mark of 9 minutes and 5.31 seconds set by the late Frank Luptow.

The second record to fall came in the 3-lap Husker Handicap won by Wayne Selzer of Omaha. His time of 1 minute and 22.24 seconds broke the old mark 1 minute and 25.9 seconds held by Bill Holland, the veteran Indianapolis speed king.

Slater took over the lead on the very first lap and although Grim threatened early on in the race, the Kansas driver stayed in front the entire way. Dick Ferguson of Burbank, Calif., nudged out Jimmy Campbell of Bates City, Mo., in a grueling drive for third place honors.

Grim had the fastest time in qualifying, driving the half-mile in the time of 25.78 seconds. Slater was second quickest with a time of 26.25 seconds.

Slater won the 5-lap National Speedway dash in 2 minutes and 15.71 seconds while Ferguson piloted his red Offenhauser across the finish line first in the American Triumph dash in 2 minutes and 19.51 seconds.

The 8-lap consolation went to a Nebraskan, Andy Anderson of Hastings in the Goodrich Special.

Results –

Time trials – Bobby Grim, Indianapolis (25.78)
Inaugural Dash – Bobby Grim
National Speedway Dash – Bob Slater, Redfield, Kan.
American Triumph – Dick Ferguson, Burbank, Calif.
Husker Handicap – Wayne Selzer, Omaha
Consolation – Andy Anderson, Hastings
Feature –
1. Bob Slater
2. Bobby Grim
3. Dick Ferguson
4. Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo.
5. Wayne Selzer
6. Jerry Kemp, St. Louis
7. Ben Harleman, Kansas City
8. Billy Jim, Kansas City
9. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
10.Fritz Tegtmeier, Elgin, Ill.

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