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.

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