Monday, September 4, 2023

1960 – Babb, Derr Win Closing Fair Races

Ernie Derr is all smiles after winning the 250-lap IMCA stock car feature at the Iowa State Fair. 

Des Moines, Iowa (September 4, 1960) – A crowd estimated at 23,000 watched the afternoon and evening close-out races at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday.

Ernie Derr, the International Motor Contest Association stock car champion, won the 250-lap nightcap in the record time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 59.28 seconds, eclipsing the old record set by Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan back in 1958.

In lowering the record by nearly 14 minutes, Derr moved out front in his 1960 Pontiac and led all the way.

Derr took one pit stop for gas after 172 laps and it took less than 17 seconds to fill the tank. That’s believed to be a record as well.

Spins and pileups highlighted the afternoon super modified races, which resembled more of a thrill show than a speedway contest.

Johnny Babb of Hedrick survived a spinout to win the 35-lap championship race. Babb collected $500 for his efforts.

Earl Wagner of Pleasantville placed second and earned $400 while Des Moines’ Al DeCarlo was third and took home $250.

On lap 16, Babb’s 1932 Ford spun out and was hit by Joel Rasmussen’s car. Three cars were damaged and withdrawn.

A previous pileup occurred on the first lap, causing a five-car jam. Babb escaped this mishap.

Form and past performance mean little in the super modified races.

Babb failed to finish in the money in the three 7-lap heat races and then scored a runner-up finish in the 10-lap consolation.

Wagner, who won the first heat in the fastest time of 3 minutes and 26.41 seconds, was the path finder for the first 30 laps of the feature. He then hit a rut and went wide on the west turn, allowing Babb to slip under and take over the top spot. Babb would go on to win by two car lengths.

Jimmy Hay of Des Moines was involved in what was the most serious accident of the afternoon program. Hay’s car, coming out of a spin, was hit by Vern Carman’s Chevrolet on the first lap of the consolation race.

Hay’s car flipped twice and came to rest upright. He was taken to a first aid ambulance where he was checked and then released with bruises.

The 250-lap stock car feature was run off with only one minor incident. Eldon Scheffler of Keokuk, piloting a 1960 Ford, spun out, and in the process, hit a 1960 Ford convertible driven by Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk. At the time, Stott was running second behind Derr. He would have to pit for minor repairs but was back out and would eventually finish fifth.

Jerry McCredie, another Keokuk driver, would finish second in a 1957 Pontiac and Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., driving a 1959 Plymouth, would finish third.

Results –

Stock Car –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
2. Jerry McCredie, Keokuk
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Jerry Draper, Cedar Rapids
5. Ramo Stott, Keokuk
6. Art Brady, Peoria, Ill.
7. Mert William, Rochester, Minn.
8. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk
9. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle
10.Johnny Jones, Marshall, Minn.
11.Larry Behnken, Anita
12.Bruce Nystrom, Oshkosh, Wis.

Super Modified –

1. John Babb, Hedrick
2. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville
3. Al DeCarlo, Des Moines
4. Deo Loney, Montrose
5. Stan Crooks, Letts
6. Lee Pickney, Des Moines
7. W.R. Newton, West Des Moines

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