Tuesday, September 5, 2023

1962 – Derr Easily Wins 50-lap Stock Feature

IMCA's Al Sweeney (right) and Gene Van Winkle (right) present Ernie Derr with his trophy after the Keokuk, Iowa, driver won the 50-lap feature at the Nebraska State Fair. 

Lincoln, Neb. (September 5, 1962) -There is an old saying among stock car drivers on the International Motor Contest Association circuit.

It goes something like this – “When Ernie gets on top, the race is over.”

The 9,000 plus fans on hand at the Nebraska State Fair auto program Wednesday saw why.

Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, led wire to wire in thee 50-lap feature to best the field of 18 and help pave the way as he seeks an unprecedented fourth straight national stock car driving championship.

It was a frustrating race for the rest of the field in general and Bob Reynolds of Edmond, Okla., in particular.

Reynolds dogged Derr from start to finish, but as usual, Derr didn’t make a single driving miscue.

In racing lingo…Derr drove the heart right out of the track. In other words, the only way Reynolds was going to get around was to go to the outside.

For some 30 laps Reynolds drove almost bumper to bumper with Derr. Late in the race in a desperation move, Reynolds did try to go to the outside and as expected the result was he lost more ground and made the victory for Derr that much easier.

Ramo Stott, also of Keokuk, Iowa, finished third in Wednesday’s feature after beating Derr earlier in a 10-lap match race. Another Keokuk driver, Dick Hutcherson, had to settle for fourth after a pair of spin out mishaps. Hutcherson had won the 10-lap inaugural dash.

Former IMCA national champion Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, won the pursuit race and in a special added attraction, Bill Sullivan of Sacramento, Calif., drove his Chevrolet to a new 10-lap record of 5 minutes and 31.13 seconds in the third heat.

Results –

Time trials – Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa (35.94)
Heat #1 – Dick Hutcherson
Heat #2 – Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
Heat #3 – Bill Sullivan, Sacramento, Calif.
Match race – Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
Pursuit – Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
Feature –
1. Ernie Derr
2. Bob Reynolds, Edmond, Okla.
3. Ramo Stott
4. Dick Hutcherson
5. Gerry Harrison, Topeka, Kan.
6. Phil Cronin, Dallas, Tex.
7. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
8. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Newt Bartholomew, Carlisle, Iowa
10.Ed Birkey, Groveland, Ill.
11.J.B. Martin, Richmond, Mo.
12.Froggy Groves, Ottumwa, Iowa

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