Saturday, September 2, 2023

1956 – O’Conner Wins Sprint Feature at Du Quoin

Pat O'Conner

Du Quoin, Ill. (September 2, 1956) – Pat O’Conner of North Vernon, Ind., moved into the lead for the Midwest sprint car championship of the United States Auto Club by capturing the 25-mile race at the Du Quoin State Fair.

O’Conner had the fastest qualifying time of 38.19 seconds on a heavy track and also won the first heat.

Tommy Hinnershitz of Oley, Penn., who started on the outside of the front row, grabbed the lead on the first lap, but O’Conner got it back on second circuit and led the rest of the way in the Dale Estes Special.

Finishing behind O’Conner was Van Johnson of Los Angeles, Eddie Sachs of Indianapolis, Tony Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill., and Hinnershitz rounding out the top five.

O’Conner earned 50 points for his championship victory and 10 points for his heat win, which boosted his total to 214 points. That allowed him to move ahead of Elmer George of Speedway, Ind., who was shut out in the feature but gained 8 points by finishing second in his heat.

A crowd of about 6,000 saw the accident-free program which was a prelude to a 100-mile USAC national championship event for big cars.

Results –

1. Pat O’Conner, North Vernon, Ind.
2. Van Johnson, Los Angeles
3. Eddie Sachs, Indianapolis
4. Tony Bettenhausen, Tinley Park, Ill.
5. Tommy Hinnershitz. Oley, Penn.
6. Jimmy Davies, Pacoima, Calif.
7. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.

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