Friday, September 1, 2023

1968 – A Handicap for Larry Dickson?

Larry Dickson 

Dayton, Ohio (September 1, 1968) – United States Auto Club supervisor Russ Clendenen yelled at the man in the winner’s circle.

“We’re going to have to put some sort of handicap on you,” he said.

“I don’t know,” answered Larry Dickson, about the only guy who visits the winner’s circle these days. “Those guys are so hot after me, look at my pants.” The seat of Dickson’s pants bore a large hole.

It’s for certain that Dickson didn’t wear out his britches by dragging bottom. His victory on Sunday afternoon was his 11th sprint car feature of the season the USAC trail.

Dickson’s victory was about the only expected thing that happened at Dayton Speedway in the Dayton 99 – three 33-lap sprint car races.

It was only 10 days ago that Johnny Parsons Jr. said (knocking on wood), “I’ve been racing quarter midgets since I was eight years old, and never once have I got upside down on my head.”

Sunday was the day, as Parsons took a spin in Ray Smith’s #4, the car which Dickson has driven to eight of his victories. During qualifying, Parsons lost it in the second turn, clipped the guardrail and landed on his roof.

Then, in the second 33-lapper, mayhem ensued. When it was over, six cars were eliminated, and Parsons knew what it was like to view the world from an upside-down race car.

“Chuck Engel bumped me twice,” said Dayton’s Al Smith. “I recovered the first time but hit the fence the second time. He hit me so hard, it cracked the rear end on the car,” he added, pointing to A.J Watson’s somewhat bruised $30,000 Ford racer.

Smith bounced off the fence in turn four and across the groove, sending cars scurrying like mice after cheese. Steve Krisiloff slid sideways, leaving Parsons no room. Parsons climbed over Steve, leaving a tire mark on hiss helmet, and flipped over.

“My roll bar snapped in half,” Parsons explained. “I had no place to go, babes,” he told Krisiloff afterwards.

That wasn’t all, though. Unlucky 13 laps later, Greg Weld did four half-gainers off the high banks after running over Bob Seelman.

“Herman Wise lost it in front of me,” Weld explained later after a trip to the hospital.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Bruce Walkup
2. Gary Bettenhausen
3. Wib Spalding
4. Karl Busson
5. Jerry Poland
6. Bob Pratt
7. Tom Bigelow
8. Dean Mast
9. Jerry Daniels
10.Sam Sessions

Feature #2 –

1. Cy Fairchild
2. Rollie Beale
3. Larry Dickson
4. Charlie Masters
5. Herman Wise
6. Bill Puterbaugh
7. Aldo Andretti
8. Don Thomas
9. Bob Seelman
10.Greg Weld

Feature #3 –

1. Larry Dickson
2. Bruce Walkup
3. Charlie Masters
4. Herman Wise
5. Wib Spalding
6. Karl Busson
7. Rollie Beale
8. Jerry Poland
9. Tom Bigelow
10.Dean Mast

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