Thursday, September 7, 2023

1964 – Hutcherson Wins North Star Race

Dick Hutcherson

St. Paul, Minn. (September 7, 1964) – Dick Hutcherson of Keokuk, Iowa, won the Minnesota State Fair’s “North Star 400” and the $2,225 in first place prize money Monday afternoon in a race halted after 375 laps because of rain.

Hutcherson’s victory was his 21st feature win of the season on the International Motor Contest Association stock car circuit and third in four days of competition at the State Fair.

The 32-year-old full-time driver toured the 375 laps in 2 hours, 34 minutes, and 11 seconds as a standing room only crowd of more than 28,000 watched the eighth annual event.

Hutcherson, piloting a 1964 Ford, drove a skillful, hard race, grabbing the lead on the first turn of the first lap and never relinquishing it the entire duration of the race.

Ramo Stott and Ernie Derr, also from Keokuk, pressed Hutcherson for the lead for much of the distance. But Hutcherson would pull away in the last 100 laps and finish three laps in front of Stott, who drove a 1964 Plymouth.

Derr’s engine overheated on lap 337 and for all practical purposes this unfortunate break ended the race.

At the time, Hutcherson had only a 10-car length lead over Derr and it appeared that the two Iowans would go right down to the checkered flag in hot pursuit of the large North Star trophy and the first-place prize money.

After Derr’s incident, Hutcherson maintained his pace and continued to lead Stott, who finished second, by almost four laps.

At the final flag, Hutcherson had completed 375 laps, Stott 372, third-place finisher Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., 365, and fourth-place finisher Ole Brua of Albert Lea, Minn., 360.

Stott picked up $1,500 for his runner-up finish and Funk earned $1,000 for third. Derr, despite his difficulties, came in seventh and took home $300.

Several of IMCA’s top drivers joined Derr in the “also ran” circle because of various types of motor trouble.

Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., went out on lap 26 with rear end issues. Bob Reynolds of Edmonds, Okla., was forced to quit on lap 41 when his engine blew up. Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan, Iowa, lost his engine on lap 165 and Gil Haugen of Sioux Falls, S.D. stopped on the front straightaway when his engine began smoking and eventually caught fire.

Results –

1. Dick Hutcherson, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
4. Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.
5. Bob Jusola, Mound, Minn.
6. Sonny Morgan, Blue Earth, Minn.
7. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
8. Dick Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.
9. Ken Mattson, Minneapolis
10.Art Schmidt, South St. Paul, Minn.
11.Ralph Wilhelm, Milwaukee
12.Roland Wilson, Bedford, Iowa

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