Thursday, September 21, 2023

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

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