Saturday, September 2, 2023

1968 – Blundy, Woolley Romp in Doubleheader


Jerry Blundy accepts his trophy after winning the IMCA sprint car feature at the Nebraska State Fair. 

Lincoln, Neb. (September 2, 1968) – Doubleheaders are usually reserved for baseball, but Lincoln’s auto racing fans received a rare treat on Labor Day as they watched the One-Third Mile National Championships at Eagle on Sunday night and then took in IMCA sprint car racing at the Nebraska State Fair on Monday afternoon.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., completed a sweep of the Midwest state fair circuit by taking the feature race at the Nebraska State Fair. Blundy had won features at both the Iowa and Missouri State Fair’s earlier in August.

He finished second in the National Super Modified Championships at Knoxville, Iowa, on August 10,

In the One-Third Mile Nationals, Gordon Woolley of Waco, Tex., passed Lloyd Beckman of Lincoln on lap 9 and then held Beckman off for the remainder of the 35-lap event.

Beckman tried to stay with Woolley, but the 327 Chevy engine of Woolley’s wasn’t to be denied. Woolley gained almost a car length each time the cars passed the start/finish line and he managed to stretch his lead into a comfortable victory margin.

National Super Modified champion, Ray Lee Goodwin of Kansas City, finished third.

Woolley, who came to Lincoln for the State Fair races, picked up $500 for his first-place finish. He was one of several IMCA drivers racing in the Nationals at Eagle. Many of the ICA drivers wanted to compete but their cars were not equipped with roll cages required for super modifieds.

“I race every year here in Lincoln and I’m being very truthful when I say I really enjoy competing here. I really believe it’s one of the finest areas of racing anywhere,” said the newly crowned champion.

In Monday afternoon’s program, Blundy started seventh in the feature field, quickly made his way to the front and was never headed. Dale Reed of Wichita, Kan., took up the chase first and followed Blundy for most of the race, before Roy Bryant, also of Wichita, found a groove on the outside and moved into second place.

Bryant ran even with Blundy for about two laps but a spinout by Reed caused a yellow flag to be thrown and Bryant had to settle for second place.

“This has to be one of the best years,” Blundy remarked, while receiving his trophy. “My car wasn’t really working well today, and I only hoped I could stay on the inside and hold off the field.”

A total of 12,000 fans saw the two programs with the State Fair’s attendance at 8,500 and the Eagle Nationals drawing 3,500.

Results –

One-Third Mile Nationals - 

Heat #1 – Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln
Heat #2 – Lonnie Jensen
Heat #3 – John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
Consolation – Hank Smith, Mt. Ayr, Iowa
B-main – Ken Gritz, Lincoln
Feature –
1. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
2. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln
3. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City
4. Roy McCain, Lincoln
5. Norm Paul, Auburn, Calif.

Nebraska State Fair - 

Time trials – Grady Wade, Wichita, Kan. (24.60)
Heat #1 – Jan Opperman, Hayward, Calif.
Heat #2 – Chuck Taylor, East Alton, Ill.
Heat #3 – Joe Saldana, Lincoln
STP Handicap – Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
Consolation – Grady Wade
Feature –
1. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
2. Roy Bryant, Wichita, Kan.
3. Lee Kunzman, Guttenberg, Iowa
4. Dale Reed, Wichita, Kan.
5. Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
6. Roger Lane, Blue Springs, Mo.
7. Norm Paul, Auburn, Calif.
8. Bill Utz
9. Ron Perkins, Wood River, Ill.
10.Chuck Lynch, Springfield, Ill.
11.J.L. Cooper, Kansas City
12.Joe Saldana, Lincoln
13.Hank Smith, Mt. Ayr, Iowa
14.Dale McCarthy, Kansas City
15.Thad Dosher, Topeka, Kan.

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