Hartford, S.D. (September 16, 1978) – John Stevenson of St. Paul, Minn., won the A-main on the last lap to win the third annual Hartford Open on Saturday night.It was a surprise finish as Bill Mellenberndt had just pulled into first place with Kim Lingenfelter running second and Stevenson running a distant third with only a few laps remaining.
With only two laps to go, Mellenberndt lost a tire and drifted high in the fourth turn. In the meantime, Lingenfelter was running out of gas and was helpless as Stevenson breezed by him to take the lead and the checkers.
Mellenberndt did earn the passing award as he had suffered a flat with only two laps in the books and was forced to restart at the rear of the field. Within one lap, he regained five spots and then grabbed another five positions on the next lap. At the midway point of the race, he was in fourth place.
At that point, Stevenson was in third place, having come up from his sixth row starting position. Roger Mulder had led the first half of the race with Lingenfelter in second.
Shane Carson of Oklahoma City set fast time, with a clocking of 19.25 seconds on the half-mile. Mellenberndt won the trophy dash.
Heat winners were Jack McCorkell of Redwood Falls, Don Mack of East Grand Forks, Mellenberndt, and Stevenson.
Randy Sears of Kansas City was the winner of the B-feature and Harry Thurlow of Fargo, N.D., won the consolation.
A field of 50 sprint cars were entered with many of the top names in racing there.
1. John Stevenson, St. Paul, Minn.
2. Kim Lingenfelter, Norfolk, Neb.
3. Roger Mulder, Sioux Falls, S.D.
4. Dale Moore, Independence, Mo.
5. Lonnie Jensen, Hasting, Neb.
6. Randy Ford, Elmore, Ohio
7. Jack McCorkell, Redwood Falls, Minn.
8. Don Mack, East Grand Forks, Minn.
9. Ralph Blackett, Des Moines
10.Rich Brahmer, Wisner, Neb.
11.Gerald Bruggeman, Hoskins, Neb.
12.Dave Engebretson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
13.Jerry Richert, Forest Lake, Minn.
14.Bill Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls, S.D.
15.Darryl Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.