Mike Miller receives the spoils for his victory in the National Short Track Championship 200-lapper at Rockford. Jody Deery (at extreme right) looks on. – Bernie Tappa Photo
Rockford, Ill. (September 30, 1973) – Young Mike Miller of New Prague, Minn., out-drove a star-studded field to win the 200-lap National Short Track Championship event for late model stock cars on Sunday afternoon.
Starting in the ninth position by virtue of his second fastest qualifying time, it took 77 laps for Miller to find his way through heavy traffic on the quarter-mile asphalt oval into the fourth spot. On lap 92, Don Leach of Beloit, Wis., who was running third, got the tail end of his Chevelle into the turn three wall. It didn’t put him out, but it gave Miller and three other cars a chance to go by him.
Miller would slip by the thundering Mustang of Wayne Stallsworth of Aurora, Colo., on lap 94 for second, putting him right behind race-long leader Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill. The red flag waved on lap 103 for the mandatory 11-minute pit stop.
When the green flag waved out on the restart, Miller jumped by Shear for the lead and from there it was his race the rest of the way.
The Saturday portion of the three-day event was very slow in getting underway. Heavy rains on Friday cut down on practice, and flooded the infield and pit area. Pumps were set up and worked steadily into the afternoon. Cars would finally get out on the track to dry it out and then it would mist again.
It was late in the evening when time trials finally got underway and it was the Wisconsin flash, Dick Trickle, that was one of the first cars out and he set fast qualifying time. The later cars seemed to be hauling mud out on the track when qualifying and the surface became slippery. When Joe Shear, the track record holder at Rockford, finally hit the asphalt, he was unable to crack the top 10 fastest.
Sunday dawned gray but thee track would be totally dry and everything went of smoothly, although a little late. Denny Falko of Aurora, Ill., and Joe Shear won 30-lap qualifying features to gain a starting berth in the 200-lap feature.
1. Mike Miller, New Prague, Minn.
2. Joe Shear, South Beloit
3. Wayne Stallsworth, Aurora, Colo.
4. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
5. Don Leach, Beloit, Wis.
6. Tom Jones, Northbrook
7. Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.
8. Danny Bellard, Beloit, Wis.
9. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis.
10. Ed Hoffman, Niles