Tuesday, October 31, 2023

1954 – Grim Sets New Mark at Shreveport

Bobby Grim receives congratulations from his wife Betty after he won the IMCA big car feature event at the Louisiana State Fair. – Bob Dial Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 31, 1954) – Bobby Grim took charge of things Sunday afternoon at the International Motor Contest Association big car auto races at the Louisiana State Fair. The “Hoosier Bombshell” pushed his powerful Honore Offenhauser to victories in the third heat and 20-lap feature and shattered the IMCA world’s record and a Shreveport track record.

The feature race was a red-hot duel between Grim and Jud Larson of Austin, Tex., with Larson chasing the speeding Hoosier right down to the wire. Grim turned the 20 circuits in 7 minutes and 10.29 seconds, to set a new IMCA world mark and wiping out the old standard of 8 minutes and 32.63 seconds set by Deb Snyder in St. Paul, Minn., in 1952. The record for the State Fair oval was 8 minutes and 37.07 seconds set last year by Vito Calia.

Grim also fashioned a new track record in the third heat, winning the 6-lap race in a thriller over Herschel Wagner of Hickman Hills, Mo., in the time of 2 minutes and 37.10 seconds, to beat the old record of 2 minutes and 40.87 seconds set in 1953 by Jim McWithey.

Jimmy Campbell of Bates City, Mo., opened the program by winning the first heat in a race which saw both Grim and Wagner spin out. Larson outran Bob Slater of Kansas City to capture the second heat. Larson also won the 4-lap handicap, beating Bob Cleburg of Rio, Wis., to the wire by a car length.

About 6,500 jammed the stands for the races.

Results –

1. Bobby Grim, Indianapolis
2. Jud Larson, Austin, Tex.
3. Jimmy Campbell, Bates City, Mo.
4. Bob Slater, Kansas Cit
5. Herschel Wagner, Hickman Hills, Mo.
6. Don Branson, Champaign, Ill.
7. Marvin Pifer, Adrian, Mich.
8. Curley Wadsworth, Topeka, Kan.
9. Harry Ross, Dallas, Tex.
10.Lee Drollinger, Champaign, Ill.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

1967 – Long Grove Grind goes to Adamson

Bobbie Adamson accepts his trophy after winning the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway. 

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 29, 1967) - There was never a dull moment for Bobbie Adamson as the Coraopolis, Penn., chauffer drove to victory in the fifth annual National Open before more than 10,000 fans at Williams Grove Speedway Sunday afternoon.

By virtue of his triumph, Adamson became the fifth different driver to win the event, joining Gordon Johncock, Larry Dickson, Lou Blaney and Henry Jacoby.

For the popular young winner, it was the first major triumph of his career. Only last week he had indicated that he desired a $999 win purse rather than the $1,000 which had been posted in hopes that it might change his luck. As it turned out, he didn't need this good fortune.

Adamson had qualified for the fourth starting spot in the 35-car field in Saturday’s time trials. He moved up one spot when the number two man Andy Phillips could not go in the main attraction after blowing his engine In warmups

When the green flag dropped on the field, Kenny Weld, the polesitter, charged ahead but going up the backstretch, Adamson pushed the Hawthorne Special out in front to a lead which he never gave up despite some real pressure throughout the affair. During the first six laps, Adamson opened a 10-length lead.

Then, the first of eight minor mishaps slowed the proceedings, closing up the field. At this time, Weld was running second. This is the way matters stood until the 42nd lap. Coming down the front chute, Bud Cochran slipped by Weld and took over the runner-up spot. From that point, Cochran was never more than five or six lengths behind the leader.

The two pacesetters battled it out for the remainder of the race. On the 84th circuit, Cochran pulled alongside Adamson moving through the third and fourth turns but did not have enough to push ahead. Three laps later, the two were bumper to bumper and stayed that way from then until the 92nd lap when Adamson opened daylight after slipping through lapped traffic.

As the race neared the wire, Cochran again closed on his worthy opponent, but Adamson would not be denied. He simply put his foot into it and remained at the head of the class. When Ray Dovel was involved in a mishap on the 99th lap, the yellow and checkered came out simultaneously, giving the win to Adamson but only by a scant two car lengths.

In third, eight lengths off the pace, was Ted Wise. Bobby Allen, Hanover, Penn., was fourth and Weld fifth.

Saturday, Weld recorded the best showing in the time trials with a clocking of 25.11 seconds for one lap on the half-mile track.

Results –

1. Bobby Adamson
2. Bud Cochran
3. Ted Wise
4. Bobby Allen
5. Ken Weld
6. Frank Gorichky
7. Larry Snellbaker
8. Steve Ungar
9. Dick Tobias
10.Ronnie Rough
11.Mitch Smith
12.Ed Zirkle
13.Bob Gerhart
14.Lynn Paxton
15.Joe Lingle
16.Milford Wales
17.Ray Dovel
18.Larry Cannon
19.Bill Banick
20.Johnny Crawford
21.Gene Varner
22.Ray Tilley
23.George Weaver
24.Bob Weaver
25.Dick Swartzlander
26.Gene Kohr
27.Hal McGilton
28.Rick Schmeylun
29.Bud Crytier
30.Gus Linder

Saturday, October 28, 2023

1973 – Anderson, Darkness Win in Salem’s ‘Midwest 300’

John Anderson receives the traditional winner’s kiss after winning the shortened Midwest 300 at Salem Speedway. – Brian Norton Collection

Salem, Ind. (October28, 1973) – Last year, the American Speed Association-sanctioned Midwest 300 stock car race became the Midwest 279 when a massive wreck forced one 100-lap qualifying race to be stopped on the 99th circuit and darkness halted the championship 100 after 80 laps.

Sunday, the second annual event became the Midwest 250.

With darkness about to envelop the Salem Speedway, John Anderson of Detroit, who had driven his 1973 Camaro to victory in the first 100 lap race, took the checkered flag on the 50th of a scheduled 100 laps in the championship race. He walked off with $2,250 in prize money.

In a fender-banging duel for second place, Ed Vanderlaan of Grand rapids, Mich., edged Bobby Watson of Prestonsburg, Ky. Vanderlaan collected $1,085 while Watson received $890. Terry Bivins of Shawnee, Kan., who won the second 100-lap qualifier, finished fourth in the championship finale.

Anderson, the 1973 track champion at Mt. Clemens (Mich.) Speedway, started ninth in the first 100-lapper but quickly moved though the pack to take the lead from Dave Dayton of Indianapolis on the 23rd circuit.

On lap 60, Bill Chambers of Cincinnati and James Hamm of Nashville collided in the second turn and ripped out 110 feet of guardrail. Hamm’s car scaled a tree, bent down the trunk and ended up nestled in the tree’s branches some 15 feet of the ground. Hamm suffered a broken ankle while Chambers escaped uninjured.

The race was stopped for 1 hour and 10 minutes while the guardrail was replaced. On the restart, fast qualifier Dave Wall of Shawnee Mission, Kan., who was running second at the time, spun coming off the fourth turn and triggered a 14-car smashup that delayed the race another 25 minutes.

Following the second restart, Anderson drove on to an uncontested victory.

In the second 100-lapper, Bivins jumped from his third starting position to take the lead from Jim Cushman of Columbus, Ohio, on lap 4. The race continued uneventful for the next 93 laps.

Then Larry Cope of Leroy Ind., brushed a car driven by Ed Angle of Flora, Ind., and vaulted over the turn four guardrail. The car came to rest upright outside the track and Cope was uninjured.

As the field came down the straightway to take the green flag to start the championship race, Anderson car, which was on the inside of the front row, skidded sideways. He regained control in time from wrecking, but the 12 cars piled up behind him, eliminating angle and Neal Sceva of Urbana, Ohio, before the race officially began.

Anderson was allowed to restart from his pole position and was never headed as he finished 3.5-seconds ahead of Vanderlaan and Watson before 5,150 race fans.

Results –

1. John Anderson
2. Ed Vanderlaan
3. Bobby Watson
4. Terry Bivins
5. Dave Watson
6. Dan Conner
7. John Vallo
8. Vern Schrock
9. Charlie Binkley
10.Mike Johnson
11.Mike Eddy
12.Ken Simpson
13.Denny Miles
14.Wayne Carden
15.John Sommerville
16.LaMarr Marshall
17.Ned Webb
18.Jim Hines
19.Joe Wallace
20.Ray Fullen
21.Dennis Wiser
22.Dave Dayton
23.Wayne Watercutter
24.Joe Ruttman
25.Ed Angle
26.Neal Sceva
27.Larry Cope
28.Bobby Sage
29.Charlie Glotzbach


1962 – White Drives to Victory in Dixie 400

Rex White is joined by Ms. Racing World, Jean Phillips, after he won the Dixie 400 at Atlanta. It would be White’s last NASCAR victory of his career. 

Hampton, Ga. (October 28, 1962) – Rex White of Spartanburg, S.C., “hitchhiked” his way to victory in the Dixie 400 Sunday, after a duel with Marvin Panch of Daytona Beach, Fla., ended when Panch ran out of gas on the next to last lap.

White ran his 1962 Chevrolet an average speed of 124.787 miles per hour to win the NASCAR-sanctioned event before a crowd of 30,000 at the Atlanta International Raceway.

Joe Weatherly of Norfolk, Va., took second in a 1962 Pontiac, while Panch settled for third and Richard Petty of Randleman, N.C., driving a 1962 Plymouth, was fourth. Fred Lorenzen of Elmhurst, Ill., driving a 1962 Ford, rounded out the top-five finishers.

Roberts led much of the race after starting from the pole position. He and Bobby Johns of Miami, Fla., waged a battle for the lead in their 1962 Pontiacs until lap 186 when Johns blew a tire and spun out.

With Johns out, Roberts pretty much had things going his way and the interest of the crowd soon swayed to the battle between White and Panch, driving a 1962 Ford. It was at that time that White “hitchhiked” by driving closely behind Panch, letting the vacuum created by the lead car pull or “draft” him along – thus saving gas.

Just 32 laps from the finish, however, Roberts pulled into the pit area, ostensibly for a tire check. Two laps later, he pulled in again and then ended the race driving at half-speed. His crew reported afterwards that he was running low on oil and three pistons were burned out.

White, who reported that Roberts, “just moved off and left me,” said that Panch would have been able to do the same thing if he had never pulled away. But the little Spartanburg, S.C., driver stuck to the Ford like glue until the first turn two laps from the end when he made his move and pulled in front.

Results –

1. Rex White, Spartanburg, S.C.
2. Joe Weatherly, Norfolk, Va.
3. Marvin Panch, Daytona Beach, Fla.
4. Richard Petty, Randleman, N.C.
5. Fred Lorenzen, Elmhurst, Ill.
6. Larry Frank, Greenville, S.C.
7. Gene Elliot, Shelby, N.C.
8. Buck Baker, Charlotte, N.C.
9. Jack Smith, Spartanburg, S.C.
10.Glenn Roberts, Daytona Beach, Fla.
11.Dave Pearson, Spartanburg, S.C.
12.Bob Welborn, Greensboro, N.C.
13.Elmo Langley, Wheaton, Md.
14.Ralph Earnhardt, Kannapolis, N.C.
15.Buddy Baker, Charlotte, N.C.
16.G.C. Spencer, Inman, S.C.
17.Jim Paschal, High Point, N.C.
18.Bunkie Blackburn, Fayetteville, N.C.
19.Dwayne Lund, Cross, S.C.
20.Johnny Allen, Atlanta, Ga.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

1975 – Smith is Winner in IMCA

Robert Smith

Shreveport, La. (October 26, 1975) – Twenty-one-year-old Robert Smith racked up his ninth feature win of the season but his first-ever in International Motor Contest Association sprint car competition at State Fair Speedway on Sunday.

The Tampa, Fla., youngster also won the second heat race and placed third in the trophy dash.

Skip Manning of Bogalusa came from last place to take the checkered flag in the first heat. Anning was the only Louisiana entry in Sunday’s competition. He also finished third in the feature and fourth in the trophy dash.

John Henson of Huntington, W.Va., edged out Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., to win the third heat in a spectacular race. But Henson would have to close shop early when he blew his 350 cubic inch Chevrolet on the first lap of the trophy dash. The car, built by Dave McPherson, was also driven by Sam Sessions to win the 1972 USAC national championship.

Ralph Parkinson of Kansas City, Mo., was the trophy dash winner.

With his fifth-place finish in the feature, Bill Utz was named the IMCA national sprint car champion for the second consecutive year.

Jan Opperman, Jim McElreath, and several other top drivers had entered the weekend competition, they went on to Birmingham, Ala., after the races were rained out on Saturday and rain was forecast for all day on Sunday.

Results –

1. Robert Smith, Tampa, Fla.
2. Ralph Parkinson, Kansas City, Mo.
3. Skip Manning, Bogalusa, La.
4. Bobby Marshall, Dallas, Tex.
5. Bill Utz, Sedalia, Mo.
6. Jerry Stone, Wichita, Kan.
7. Wayne McNally, Dallas, Tex.
8. John Fry, Dallas, Tex.
9. Sidney Clark, Garland, Tex.
10.Dick Standridge, Springfield, Ill.
11.Billy Ray Peters, Dallas, Tex.
12.Gene Kester, Odessa, Mo.
13.Terry Moore, Mesquite, Tex.
14.Phil Howe, Jacksonville, Ill.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

1953 -12,000 See Bryan Get Checkered Flag

Jimmy Bryan (second from left) is joined by promoter J.C. Agajanian (left), Ralph DePalma (second from right), and Troy Ruttman (right) after winning the 100-mile race at Sacramento.

Sacramento, Calif. (October 25, 1953) – Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix won the 100-mile auto race before 12,000 spectators at the California State Fairgrounds after a spectacular early crash slowed down the speed pilots.

The time for Sunday afternoon’s event was 1 hour, 15 minutes, and 12.05 seconds, considerably slower than the 1949 and 1950 races here.

Don Olds of Tacoma, Wash., took the south turn of the 13th lap too sharp, spun out, and stalled in the center of the track. Mike Nazaruk of New York, plowed into Olds’ car first and Johnny Parsons of Van Nuys, Calif., winner of the Indianapolis 500, piled up next.

The cars were too damaged to continue and were carted off. Miraculously, all three drivers escaped injury. The yellow light was on for 10 laps, slowing the speed.

Nazaruk, who won the pole position with the fastest qualifying time of 38.32 seconds for the one-mile lap, was ahead at the time of the accident. The mishap gave Bryan the chance to pull to the front. He led Jack McGrath of South Pasadena by a quarter mile with Bob Sweikert of Hayward third.

On the 33rd lap, McGrath took over as pacesetter. But McGrath, who was runner-up to Sam Hanks for the 1953 national championship, developed throttle problems on the 70th circuit. He was in the pits for 12 laps and Bryan took over once again and held his advantage until he received the checkered flag.

At the halfway mark it was McGrath, Bryan, Sweikert, Hanks, and Jerry Hoyt in the top five. At the 75-mile mark, it was Bryan, Sweikert, Hanks, Jimmy Davies, and Hoyt.

At the finish, Bryan led Sweikert by more than a mile and a quarter with Hanks not far behind.

A disappointment to the crowd was the failure of Bill Vukovich of Fresno, this years Indianapolis 500 winner, to qualify. His time of 42.64 seconds was the second slowest time of the day. Andy Linden of Long Beach was the slowest at 42.85 seconds.

Vukovich complained of handling issues, saying the front end bounced in the turns.

With his third-place finish, Hanks clinched the AAA national championship with 1,519 points. McGrath, who finished runner-up in points, had no chance to claim the title, even if he had won the race.

The victorious Bryan, jubilant over his win, was greeted at the finish line by his pretty red-headed wife who bestowed three kisses on his cheek.

“I’m awfully glad to win but I’m awfully tired,” Bryan remarked. “I like this track. It was rough but I’ve driven on tracks a lot rougher than this.”

Results –

1. Jimmy Bryan
2. Bob Sweikert
3. Sam Hanks
4. Jimmy Davies
5. Bob Scott
6. Paul Russo
7. Jimmy Reece
8. Jerry Hoyt
9. Chuck Stevenson
10.Jack McGrath

Monday, October 23, 2023

1966 – Stott Roars to Shreveport Win

Ramo Stott accepts his trophy from race promoter Frank Winkley after winning the 100-lap IMCA stock car feature at State Fair Speedway. – Bill Causey Jr. Photo

Shreveport, La. (October 23, 1966) – A colorful Iowa driver who is frequently occupied with a needle and a sewing machine for work on his uniforms when not busy at his Keokuk, Iowa, garage, scored his 14th victory of the season in International Motor Contest Association competition on Sunday afternoon, driving his 1966 Plymouth to victory in the 100-lap feature at the Louisiana State Fair Speedway.

Stott, a handsome and soft-spoken Iowan, is engaged in a national point battle with Ernie Derr, also of Keokuk, Iowa, who finished second in the feature.

Stott grabbed a world 5-lap record of 2 minutes and 7.72 seconds in the trophy dash and he established a new State Fair mark for 10 laps with a time of 4 minutes and 27.68 seconds during a preliminary race.

“I didn’t feel assured of victory until I saw the checkered flag,” commented Stott. “I feel quite lucky because a week ago I didn’t even know if I was going to race here.”

Stott had wrecked his regular car recently in Minnesota. Last week, Ray Nichels of Highland, Ind., contacted Stott and offered a Plymouth normally driven by USAC regular Paul Goldsmith.

“I think my regular car handles a bit better but this one’s a fine car.”

Stott was the early leader for the first five laps. Derr charged ahead in his 1966 Dodge on the sixth lap right at the start/finish line. Der would lose his lead on lap 37 when he made his mandatory pit stop. Stott did not pit until lap 59.

One observer made the comment that pit stops made all the difference in the outcome of the event. Stott pitted on the east side of the track, just past the start/finish lime while Derr pitted on the west side of the track. By pitting on the east side, Stott had extra time to gather speed to protect his lead.

Derr commented after his pit stop, he experienced brake issues which slowed his pace.

Stott set his track record in the first heat, winning over Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan. Derr won the second heat after taking the lead from Larry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., on the eighth lap.

Stott won the trophy dash and Bob Perry won the 12-lap consolation.

Results –

1. Ramo Stott
2. Ernie Derr
3. Lenny Funk
4. Larry Phillips
5. Paul Feldner
6. Butch Hall
7. Jim Strube
8. Phil Cronin
9. Ken Christie
10.Bob Perry
11.Joe Melichar
12.Tom Roller
13.Tony Barcelona
14.Karl Stouffer
15.Bob Foster
16.Vic Elson
17.Dale Keeling
18.Jerry Wolland

Sunday, October 22, 2023

1972 – Weld From Far Back in National Open Victory

Kenny Weld gives a wave from victory lane after winning the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway for the second straight year. 

Mechanicsburg, Penn. (October 22, 1972) - Kenny Weld tooled his Weikert Livestock #91 from far back in the pack to win the 10th annual National Open Sunday at Williams Grove Speedway and pull down $2,710 for his afternoon’s work.

Repeating his 1971 success with his 29th feature triumph of the season, Weld started his climb from 22nd spot where he was stationed when the 35-car field took the green for the 150-lap grind.

Weld was charging hard right from the start and made his way up to 10th by the fifth lap. He was in fourth on lap 26 when Smokey Snellbaker, the leader at the time, dropped out because of mechanical troubles.

With Snellbaker in the pits, Jan Opperman inherited the lead, closely pursued by Bobby Allen. However, Allen lost his drive line on the 67th circuit as Steve Smith moved up to second and Weld took third.

Then, with one lap to go before the mandatory pit stop after 75 laps, Weld slipped past Smith.

Five laps into the second segment of the event, Weld worked his way around Opperman as they roared through the third turn. Once in front, there was no stopping him although Opperman was only 1.2 seconds behind at the checkered.

Lee Osborne came on strong for third as Smith slipped back a notch. Tommy Spriggle was next, the first five finishers all in the same lap.

Weld’s car apparently had been geared wrong for Saturday’s time trials, and his clocking of 23.462 seconds was far off the new track record set by Opperman with one lap in 22.317 seconds.

Snellbaker earned the other front row berth with a time of 22.664 seconds while Smith, with a time of 22.760 seconds, and Allen, caught in 22.840 seconds, were right behind.

Opperman erased the track record of 22.606 seconds set by Bobbie Adamson last year. Adamson, also a two-time winner of the National Open, settled for sixth money in the final payoff from the total purse in excess of $13,000.

Opperman’s time for the first 75 laps was 33 minutes and 38 seconds while Weld turned the second portion in 35 minutes and 23 seconds. The overall time was 1 hour, 8 minute and 1 second. All are off track records.

Lap leaders included Snellbaker 1 to 11, Opperman 12 to 25, Snellbaker 26, Opperman 27 to 79 and Weld 80 to 150.

Results –

1. Kenny Weld
2. Jan Opperman
3. Lee Osborne
4. Steve Smith
5. Tommy Spriggle
6. Bobbie Adamson
7. Eddie Zirkle
8. Ronnie Rough
9. Lou Blaney
10.Kenny Slaybaugh
11.Sam Armstrong
12.Bill Bannick
13.Bill Wentz
14.Ed Lynch
15.Lynn Paxton
16.Ron Blazer
17.Cliff Cockrum
18.Kramer Williamson
19.Rick Ferkel
20.Gary Gollub
21.David James
22.Elmer Ruby
23.Donnie Varner
24.Bobby Allen
25.Chuck Engstrom
26.Gus Linder

Saturday, October 21, 2023

1984 – Swindell, Purvis Tops at U.S. Dirt Invitational


Jeff Swindell won the winged sprint car portion of the United States Dirt Invitational at I-70 Speedway. – Dean Malone Photo

By Tom Wilson

Odessa, Mo. (October 21, 1984) – Memphis, Tenn., driver Jeff Swindell and Jeff Purvis of Clarksville, Tenn., both started back in the pack and worked their way up to win the 30-lap championship feature races Sunday afternoon during the second annual United States Dirt Invitational at I-70 National Speedway.

The three-day invitational was accompanied by cool and rainy weather that knocked out Saturday night’s program. Fans and drivers from across the nation felt that Sunday would be a washout as well, but promoter Greg Weld was determined to save the program and retired driver Herschel Wagner climbed onto the track machinery and miraculously had the track ready to go by noon.

On the rough but fast track, the first winged sprint car start was marred when 16 cars were involved in a massive pileup coming out of turn four. Jerry Potter flipped end-over-end, lost the fuel cell, but kept driving to the pit area when his racer landed on all four wheels.

On the second start, Shane Carson jumped from his pole position into the lead. On lap 4, the red flag unfolded when Jim Grafton of Des Moines hit the wall in turn one.

Steve Kinser moved to eighth by lap 4 after starting brother Mark’s car in the last spot. Doug Wolfgang, who started on the front row opposite Carson, had his left rear tire fly off on lap 9.

By lap 11, Jeff Swindell, after starting on the inside of row four, passed Dave Blaney for second place. Coming out of turn four, he also passed Carson on the low side to take over the lead he would never relinquish. Bobby Davis Jr. would get by Carson on the last lap to take second, while Carson settled for third. Blaney finished fourth with Kinser rounding out the top-five.

Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, flew into the lead at the start of the NDRA late model finale. Schiltz, Jack Pennington, and Purvis ran neck-and-neck for the first 12 circuits. Pennington pulled low in turn two to take the lead from Schiltz on lap 15.

Pennington’s lead seemed solid until his right rear tire started going low on lap 25. Purvis was able to get by on lap 27 and widened his margin from there.

Omaha’s Joe Kosiski, who started in the fourth row, had moved to third by lap 26 and battled Pennington for the last few laps, finally getting around him when his tire shredded. Gary Webb of Davenport, Iowa, and Lance Matthees of Winona, Minn., also sneaked past Pennington on the final lap to take fourth and fifth, respectively.

Bill Martin of Council Bluffs, Iowa, won the late model consolation and Johnny Johnson of Wapello, Iowa, was the B-main winner.

The winged B-main was won by Jeff Tuttle of Des Moines. Tuttle and Junior Parkinson of Gladstone were in one of the best battles of the day throughout the 15 laps.

Sammy Swindell, who Friday set a new one-lap record of 16.10 seconds, did not want to run on Sunday. As it is with the NDRA contract as well as the World of Outlaws organization, the purse was restructured due to Saturday’s rainout. The purse was reduced 40 by less than 40 percent, with Sunday’s purse still over $80,000. Swindell leaving Sunday was a shock to everyone.

Results –

Sprint Car –

1. Jeff Swindell, Memphis, Tenn.
2. Bobby Davis Jr., Memphis, Tenn.
3. Shane Carson, Oklahoma City
4. Dave Blaney, Hartford, Ohio
5. Steve Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
6. Jac Haudenschild, Millersburg, Ohio
7. T.J. Giddings, Kansas City
8. Danny Lasoski, Dover, Mo.
9. Keith Kauffman, Mifflintown, Penn.
10.Tim Gee, Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
11.Steve Smith Jr., New Oxford, Penn.
12.Jerry Stone, Wichita, Kan.
13.Cliff Woodward, Kearney, Mo.
14.Junior Parkinson, Gladstone
15.Jeff Tuttle, Des Moines, Iowa

Late Model –

1. Jeff Purvis, Clarksville, Tenn.
2. Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.
3. Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
4. Lance Matthees, Winona, Minn.
5. Jack Pennington, Hephzibah, Ga.
6. Tom Bartholomew, Waterloo, Iowa
7. Mike Duvall, Gaffney, S.C.
8. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
9. Gene Claxton, Kansas City
10.Rick Egersdorf, St. Paul, Minn.
11.Jerry Inmon, Bruce, Miss.
12.Kevin Gundaker, St. Charles, Mo.
13.Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
14.Johnny Johnson, Wapello, Iowa
15.Joe Wallace, Kansas City

RIP - Tom Reffner


Tom Reffner
(1940 - 2023)

Tom Reffner won a total of 391 feature races in his career that began at Stratford Speedway and Wausau in 1959 before going to the first asphalt track in central Wisconsin at Griffith Park Speedway in Wisconsin Rapids in 1960. He won nearly sixty races at Capital Speedway (Madison) and picked up track championships in both 1975 and 1979.

His first track championships came in 1965 at Griffith Park and Black River Falls Speedway. He won his first race at Madison on the old quarter mile in 1968 and finished second in the points to Jim Back in 1969 after the half-mile was built and is now known as “Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile.” He came back in 1970 and was runner-up once again this time to John Ziegler.

But of all his accomplishments, the miracle season of 1975 really stands out. In that season Reffner won an amazing sixty-seven features driving an AMC Javelin. This includes sixteen at Madison, thirteen at LaCrosse Interstate Speedway, eleven at Golden Sands, nine at State Park, six at Dells Motor Speedway, three at I-70, two each at WIR and Elko, and one at Berlin, Columbus, Grundy, and Tri-County (Ohio). He also notched a track championship at Golden Sands and the ARTGO title.

His 1976 season wasn’t bad either as he won thirty-nine races and titles at LaCrosse Interstate Speedway and State Park Speedway. He also won the World Cup 400 at Odessa, Missouri.

Other racing highlights include winning the ARTGO championship in 1978, the October Nationals at Madison in 1983 and 1984, Bobby Allison Night at the Dells in 1985 and CWRA Championships in 1987, 1990, and 1993. He was also a three-time LaCrosse Oktoberfest Champion.

Besides the aforementioned championships, he also won titles at La Crosse Interstate Speedway (1976), State Park Speedway (1976), Golden Sands (1977), La Crosse Interstate Speedway (1986), Dells Motor Speedway (1987), La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway (1987), State Park Speedway (1987), Dells Motor Speedway (1990), State Park Speedway (1993) and Golden Sands (1993).   

Thursday, October 19, 2023

RIP - Roger Dolan

Roger Dolan 
(1936 - 2023)

Roger Clair Dolan, 87, of Lisbon, Iowa, died peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, at the Rehabilitation Center of Lisbon. He died of dementia (Alzheimer’s) and has donated his body to the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine for scientific purposes. There will be no services. A private family graveside gathering will be held at a later date.

Roger was born on May 5, 1936, on the family farm in Cedar County, Lisbon, Iowa, to Robert and Leona (Emerson) Dolan. He attended Coon Creek Country School through sixth grade, then to Lisbon Community School where he graduated in 1954. He and Barbara Nost were married on July 8, 1962.

After graduating he owned and operated a Standard gas station in Mount Vernon, was a truck driver, and then started his own metal fabricating business – Dolan Metal Products Lisbon. Roget held early patents on green energy, particularly for geothermal livestock watering systems. While running his metal business, he also had a great career driving late-model stock cars around the Midwest. He topped his career by winning the National NASCAR Dirt Track Championship in 1987. He has been inducted into multiple halls of fame, including the Iowa Dirt Track Hall of Fame, and in 2017 the National NASCAR Dirt Track Hall of Fame. Roger found his passion for speed in his early years with go-karts, speed boats, motorcycles, airplanes, and dirt racing cars.

He was a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He enjoyed repair work for local farmers and found friendship with all of them. He was a skillful mechanic and could figure out how to fix or build almost anything. One of his favorite hobby projects was his 1962 GMC Greyhound bus, and he enjoyed many winter trips south with Barb. He was a pilot of small planes, owned an ultralight glider, and enjoyed evening flights.

Roger is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, Ryan Dolan of Mount Vernon, Iowa, and Carrie Dolan-Heeren (Doug) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and grandchildren, Chan Dolan of Minneapolis, Minn., and Riley Dolan of Ames, Iowa.

Roger was preceded in death by his parents.

Many thanks go to St. Croix Hospice for their compassionate care. Also, thanks to all the wonderful people at the Rehab Center of Lisbon for their great care. Memorials may be directed to the Lisbon Fire Department or family.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

1964 – Nelson First at Bettenhausen

Norm Nelson smiles as he hands back a pen to an autograph seeker after his victory in the Tony Bettenhausen Memorial Hospital Fund race. 

Schererville, Ind. (October 18, 1964) – Somebody suggested that they rename it the Tony Bettenhausen Demolition Derby. “A bunch of retreads,” another chimed. “I’ve never seen such a collection of patch-ups.”

And you really couldn’t argue either point. For by the time the feature of the third annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial Hospital Fund Race got underway Sunday afternoon, there was hardly a late model stock car in the starting field that wasn’t sporting a few new wrinkles.

But it didn’t bother Norm Nelson.

Nelson is the all-time leader in late model stocks point winnings and at Illiana Motor Speedway on Sunday hiked his bid to overtake Parnelli Jones for the 1964 championship by winning the 50-mile race.

Nelson, who drives a 1964 Plymouth, trailed both Whitey Gerken and Don White, the defending USAC champion, for much of the first half of the 100-lapper. On the 50th lap, having got by White foe second place, Nelson took the lead when Gerken’s Ford blew an engine heading into the back straightaway.

From there on, Nelson was home free, winning in 41 minutes and 48 seconds.

The victory gave the Racine, Wis., driver 100 points and pulled him within 227 of Jones, who was escaping a burning sports car in another part of the country about the time the checkered flag was dropping at Illiana.

Ironically, the feature was run off with nary a hitch after the estimated 6,500 fans had been treated to a mountain of thrills by a series of mishaps in practice and three heat races.

Joe Leonard, a newcomer this year but who has already let it be known that plans to stay around a while, was the center of two spectacular entanglements. In practice, Leonard stuck the nose of his ’64 Dodge in the fence, mangling the grill, hood, and both fenders.

They peeled the crinkled metal off and Leonard was back for the first heat looking something like a debutante heading for her coming out ball minus the formal gown. Perhaps feeling he shouldn’t be the only oddity in the pack, Leonard triggered a six-car smashup in the first corner on the third lap.

When they pulled everyone apart, Leonard’s Dodge was no worse off but White, teammate Bobby Marshman, Nelson, Lloyd Ruby, and Gerken had all put a smile on the faces of the guys who do their body work. When they finished ripping off fenders, latching sprung hoods, replacing busted radiators, and wiring badly damaged doors, the place looked like a junk yard.

“For that move right there,” one of the afternoon’s commentators boomed, “Leonard gets the title of Top Eliminator.”

The second and third heats followed the same pattern. Gary Bettenhausen, son of the late great, drove his Dodge into the fence in the first corner and only three of the seven cars starting the last heat were around at the end, eight laps later.

Results –

1. Norm Nelson
2. Don White
3. Lloyd Ruby
4. Joe Leonard
5. Herb Shannon
6. Lee Drollinger
7. Rich Clement
8. Ted Hane
9. John Kilbourn
10.Bobby Marshman

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

1970 – Derr Rallies to Take Win

Ernie Derr receives his trophy from local car dealer Bob Erickson while starter Gus Henrichs looks on. – Roger Meier Photo

Davenport, Iowa (October 17, 1970) – Ernie Derr, IMCA’s top stock car driver for the past five years, charged into the lead on the 87th lap and breezed to the finish as he won the National Dirt Track Championship on Saturday night at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.

The win was worth $1,000 to the amiable driver from Keokuk, Iowa. Derr started the race in the seventh position in the field of 27 cars.

Bill Beckman of Lisbon, Iowa, led the race through the first 86 laps, often pulling out to a quarter-lap lead. His closest competition in the early going was John Connolly of Delhi, Iowa, and Jim Gerber of McCausland, plus Derr.

At the midway point, 50 laps or 25 miles, Beckman was being followed closely by Gerber and Derr. But on lap 59, Derr too second place from Gerber coming out of the second turn. It was then a duel between Beckman and Derr until the third turn of the 87th lap when the Keokuk Komet” swept to the inside, passed Beckman, and was never headed after that.

Twenty-seven machines were running at the onset but only 21 cars were still under power when the checkers fell.

One driver, Wayne Settles of Moline, Ill., was lapped a total of 52 times but in his defense, he was in the pit area for 30 of those laps.

The battle between Beckman and Derr for the lead of the feature thrilled the crowd of 3,000.

In a consolation race preceding the main event, John Connolly took the lead on lap 11 and won the 15-lap event going away. Stan Stover of Reinbeck, Iowa, held the lead for most of the race but Connolly outdueled him for the top spot.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk
2. Bill Beckman, Lisbon
3. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
4. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
5. Dean Montgomery, Milan, Ill.
6. John Connolly, Delhi
7. Mel Morris, West Liberty 
8. Jim Gerber, McCausland
9. Tom Hughes, Monticello
10.Jim Havill, Davenport

Sunday, October 15, 2023

1977 - Larry Dickson Cops Salt City 100

Larry Dickson gave car owner Russ Polak his first Champ victory at Syracuse. 

Syracuse, N.Y. (October 15, 1977) - Larry Dickson, the winningest driver in United States Auto Club Spring car history, scored his first victory in the prestigious USAC Championship division Saturday afternoon, when he cruised to an easy win in the fourth annual Salt City 100 on the one-mile dirt oval at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

The 43 USAC sprint car wins recorded by this tough 39-year-old veteran from Marietta, Ohio, still stands as the all-time career record and with Dickson being honored on Larry Dickson Day this afternoon at a sprint car event in Winchester, Ind., the $9,000 victory Saturday at Syracuse will serve as the topping on the cake.

After qualifying fourth in time trials, Dickson took over from polesitter Roger Rager after 11 laps and was never seriously challenged. The leader built up about a quarter lap margin over Billy Vukovich by the half way mark, but the only yellow of the race on the 68th lap left Vuky on Dickson's tail for the single file restart.

Vukovich, who's Dad won fame and fortune with his wins at Indianapolis, took a run for the top spot when racing resumed, but other than a slight tap on Dickson's rear bumper, Billy could get no closer and Dickson came home a winner by fifty yards over Vukovich, who hails from Fresno, Calif.

Bubby Jones from Danville, Ill., and Chuck Gurney from Livermore, Calif., finished third and fourth, respectively, and were the only other finishers to complete the entire 100 miles.

The 10th place finish of Larry Rice of Indianapolis was enough to nail down the 1977 USAC Championship Dirt title, but it wasn’t without a struggle. His regular mount suffered rear end problems in the warmups, but Ron Shuman gave up his ride in the Smith Speed Shop entry to Rice and with his nearest competitor, Sheldon Kinser, finishing ninth, the 1977 title went to the 31-year-old veteran from Linden, Indiana.

For winning car owner, Russ Polak, it was also his first Champ car win, and he was proudly showing off his newly acquired Roger Penske rear engine champ car that he hopes Dickson will put into next May's lineup at Indy.

Polak’s winning dirt car is a Ron Ward chassis, powered by a 320 cubic inch Chevrolet engine and Chuck Looper is listed as crew chief. Dickson won USAC Spring titles in 1968,'70 &'75.

Forty cars were in the pits, but five machines ran into mechanical ills after the warmups Lee Kunzman in Pat Santello’s City of Syracuse Special ran into injection problems and was forced to watch the show. Defending champ Pancho Carter had oil pressure problems on the pace lap and did not start.

The only serious incident of the day occurred during the time trials, when popular Jim Hurtubise hit the third turn wall and went through a series of wild flips. Jim quickly scrambled out unhurt, but his machine was through for the day.

Twenty-eight cars started the feature event and 11 were around at the finish. The final four starters came from a special 10-mile consolation race, which was won by Jackie Howerton of Speedway, Indiana.

Results –

1. Larry Dickson
2. Billy Vukovich
3. Bubby Jones
4. Chuck Gurney
5. Greg Leffler
6. Bill Cassella
7. James McElreath
8. Bill Puterbaugh
9. Sheldon Kinser
10.Larry Rice
11.Joe Saldana
12.Roger Rager
13.Bill Engelhart
14.Junior Parkinson
15.Mark Alderson
16.Bruce Walkup
17.Jerry Weeks
18.Jackie Howerton
19.Clark Templeman
20.Lynn Paxton
21.Jim McElreath
22.Steve Chassey

Saturday, October 14, 2023

1984 - Reffner Holds Off Back, Best Capital Nationals


Tom Reffner waves to the crowd after winning the 100-lap late model feature in the October Nationals at Capital Super Speedway. Corine Chatman, Ms. Capital Speedway makes the trophy presentation. – Russ Lake Photo

Oregon, Wis. (October 14, 1984) – Tom Reffner held off a late charge from Jim Back to capture the 100-lap late model feature Sunday afternoon in the second annual October Nationals at Capital Super Speedway.

Reffner took the lead before the halfway point of the race and went relatively unchallenged until Back applied pressure near thee end of the contest.

Reffner was able to hold off Back for the victory with Steve Holzhausen, who was married on Saturday, taking the third spot. Ted Musgrave and Danny Darnell filled out the first five positions.

Perry Redeker won the late model consolation while Chuck Green won the last chance heat.

Bob Brownell charged past Roger Otto to take the 50-lap late model sportsman feature. Dave Hunt moved up to finish third behind Brownell and Otto. Rick Nelson placed fourth followed by Robin Amato.

Darryl Smithback and Jim Wagner scored victories in the late model sportsman consolation events. Jerry Straube won the last chance heat race.

Frankie Heimerl outraced Dick Colburn to score a 20-lap modified feature victory that saw the two drivers trade the lead on numerous occasions. Willie Goeden placed third ahead of Randy Tracy and Mike Frost.

Jim Pierson was triumphant in the 25-lap mini stock main event.

Friday, October 13, 2023

1973 - Wagner is Western Winner


Western World winner Earl Wagner (with winner's wreath) is joined by runner-up Bubby Jones in victory lane. – Jeffrey Wagner Collection 

Phoenix, Ariz. (October 13, 1973) – The Western scoreboard now reads – Arizona 3, Jan Opperman 2 and Earl Wagner 1.

Earl Wagner?

Wagner, who hails from Pleasantville, Iowa, may not be a familiar name like Opperman or Kenny Weld but he drove like them to win Saturday’s sixth annual Western United States Championships before more than 8,000 fans at Manzanita Speedway.

Wagner has been driving and winning on the tough International Motor Contest Association circuit for years. He has competed in every national championship race at Knoxville, Iowa, since it’s inception with a best finish of second place.

Saturday night, Wagner wasn’t going to run second to anyone after moving to the front from his sixth starting position.

Bubby Jones of Danville, Ill., who led the first 21 laps, stayed hot the tail of Wagner’s car after losing the lead in heavy traffic.

While Jones was Wagner’s chief competition right to the checkered flag, the shadow of the 1971-72 Western champion Opperman loomed larger as the race progressed to its climax.

Despite starting in the seventh row, Opperman, who was crowned the All-Star Circuit’s first champion, expertly threaded his way through the field.

He reached the third spot behind the two leaders and appeared to have an excellent chance of winning his third straight Western.

When Clark Templeman spun on lap 46, Opperman’s chances increased.

But on the restart, Wagner and Jones poured on the coals and so did “Tiger” Gene Brown.

For the last four laps, the real race was between Brown and Opperman. Jones’ steaming Chevy didn’t have the horses to catch Wagner, who won last year’s semi-main.

Brown and Opperman were dead even on the back straight of the last lap when lady luck interfered. Brown slowly nudged ahead through turns three and four and made his third place decisive when Opperman’s Bogar Special spit and sputtered, out of gas. He coasted across the finish line, just ahead of Eddie Leavitt.

Results –

1. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
2. Bubby Jones, Danville, Ill.
3. Gene Brown, Phoenix
4. Jan Opperman, Beaver Crossing, Neb.
5. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
6. Jerry McClung, Tempe
7. Ralph Parkinson Jr., Kansas City
8. Rick Ferkel, Fostoria, Ohio
9. Ted Wise, Hubbard, Ohio
10.Roy Hicks, Socorro, N.M

Thursday, October 12, 2023

1980 - Balough Wins Schaefer

Gary Balough took the controversial "Batmobile" to victory in the annual Schaefer 200 at Syracuse. 

Syracuse, N.Y. (October 12,1980) - Performing almost as was expected, Gary Balough and his controversial “ground effects” modified stock car, completely dominated the 53-car Schaefer 200-km field Sunday afternoon at the New York State Fairgrounds as the 33-year-old veteran cruised to his record fourth victory in this $125,000 event.

Taking the lead at the outset of the 125-mile race, Balough easily pulled away from his competition on restarts following several minor tangles on the rain-slicked track. He led the first 72 circuits before being called into the pits for his fuel stop, retook the lead from former winner, Buzzie Reutimann of Zephyrhills, Fla., on the 100th lap and went on to the victory.

Despite his seeming ease in gaining the victory, it wasn't exactly a cakewalk for Balough who also won 1976 through ‘78.

“The car ran well all day,” Balough said. “But I was worried about my pit stop. I wanted to come in a lot sooner than my pit crew wanted. But they wanted to get down to about five gallons of gas, so we pitted later than the others.”

With only a few laps remaining in the race, Balough's car began skipping on a cylinder.

“Yea, it was running on only seven jugs,” said NASCAR driver, Jerry Cook, who was on a radio in Balough's crew.

The car was equipped with a 467 cubic inch Chevrolet engine, considered one of the best in racing.

For his victory, Balough carted away a record $26,557 in prize, contingency and lap money.

“This is my biggest win,” he said. “But it hurts me to hear the fans boo me and say bad things about my team. This effort started five months ago with some good men," he continued. "It was a team effort that got us here with a well-built car. We could have put another $25,000 into this car, but we didn't have the money. It did cost about $30,000 to build.

Ever since Balough tested his car on the track Wednesday, he proved it was the fastest. Following time trials Thursday, during which Balough set a track record in gaining the pole starting position, several other drivers performed overnight sheet metal jobs on their cars trying to copy Balough’s design.

For many it helped. Cars piloted by the first five finishers - Balough, Reutimann, Frank Cozze of Wind Gap, N.J., Geoff Bodine of Pleasant Garden, N.C. and Ken Brenn Jr. of Warren, N.J. - all had ground effects-type of body styles.

In a way, it was ironic that defending Schaefer winner, Jack Johnson of Duanesburg, finished sixth, the first conventional modified across the wire. Before the race he had said of the new ground effects cars, “I’m going to do the best with what I have. If I finish second to a GE car, then I'll know I had the best of conventional modifieds.”

After the race, however, Balough tried to deemphasize the ground effects in his win.

“The ground effects was only about 10 percent of my speed,” he said. “We won because we had a combination of everything working together: the builders, the pit crew, the car and the driver. But what we had going for us was the aerodynamics of the car. Air is free, you know. It doesn't cost money like a motor and there were a lot of them out there besides mine.”

Balough had a stellar crew with his car. Builder Kenny Weld is a former top sprint driver and race car innovator who said, “Don Brown, who is one of the top Indianapolis-car fabricators, really had the ground effects idea for the car. He did most of the work with me,” Weld said.

Balough's pit crew, in addition to Cook, also had Daytona and Talladega 500 winner, Pete Hamilton, calling the signals. “Pete was another big point in the win,” Balough said.

This ninth edition of the Schaefer race will always be remembered as the ground effects year. For 1981, Schaefer officials indicated that rules will be made to eliminate the aerodynamics of dirt modifieds.

The start of the race was delayed almost an hour by a rain shower that made the track slick. On the second lap two cars tangled and on two subsequent restarts more tangles occurred as drivers fought for advantages in the tightly grouped cars.

Behind Balough, the race was a battle for every spot on back. The first 12 cars all finished on the winner’s lap with 13 thru 20th only a lap down; 23 cars were running at the finish.

The race was marred by 47 laps of caution flags.

Over 30,000 fans, 15,000 in the jammed grandstand, watched the race from every nook and cranny on a cold and windy day. The infield of the New York State Fairgrounds’ one-mile oval was filled to capacity with campers and fans watching the race from the fences.

Results –

1. Gary Balough
2. Buzzie Reutimann
3. Frank Cozze
4. Geoff Bodine
5. Ken Brenn, Jr.
6. Jack Johnson
7. Charlie Rudolph
8. Dave Leckonby
9. Kenny Brightbill
10.Mike McLaughlin
11 Merv Treichler
12.C.D. Coville
13.Alan Johnson
14.Chuck Ely
15.Win Slavin
16.Tommy Corellis
17.Jay Strong
18.Ed Lynch
19.Davey Moore
20.Dick Larkin
21.Ron Tobias
22.Ivan Little
23.Gary Golub

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

1970 – Pittsburgher ‘250’ to Bickerstaff

Jim Bickerstaff

Carnegie, Penn. (October 11, 1970) – Jim Bickerstaff of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, the 1970 Pittsburgh Racing Association regular season champion, outlasted stormy weather and a determined bid by Tom Colella of Whitehall, Penn., to win the Pittsburgher 250 at Heidelberg Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

The race had to be called on the 163rd lap when intermittent rainfall came again soon after 7 o’clock. The cars were on the track, running under the caution flag, when it was finally determined any effort to continue to race would be useless.

Rain had delayed qualifications and had forced postponement of two qualifying races originally scheduled for Saturday.

Bickerstaff, who had the second fastest qualifying time in the original field of 94 drivers, took the lead on the very first lap and was never headed the rest of the way.

Norm Benning of South Park, who won the ‘250’ in 1964, was second for 29 laps but then dropped back as he experienced mechanical issues.

Bob Senneker of Grand Rapids, Mich., moved into second place when Benning faltered and stayed there until he collided with the turn three wall on lap 107.

And then Colella, who climaxed a big season last year by winning this race, moved into second place. But, before he could get a good duel with Bickerstaff, the rains came, sending the 9,100 in attendance, scurrying for cover.

Results –

1. Jim Bickerstaff
2. Tom Colella
3. Joe Ruttman
4. Dave Sorg
5. Ed Howe
6. Dick Dunlevy
7. Ed Vanderlaan
8. Bob Carnes
9. Moose Myers
10.Carl Smith

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

1971 – Allison Grabs Win in ‘National 500’


Bobby Allison and his wife Judy (to his right) enjoys the spoils of victory after winning the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Charlotte, N.C. (October 10, 1971) – Bobby Allison drives like lightning – and he struck in the same place twice.

Allison powered his Mercury to a damp victory in the National 500 stock car race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon, just six months after capturing the World 600 on the same 1.5-mile superspeedway.

The victory earned Allison $18,450 and boosted his season’s earnings to $215,785, making him the second driver in NASCAR history to earn more than $200,000 in a single season.

The race, delayed more than two hours and starting under caution because of rain and a wet track, was stopped after 238 circuits with only 357 of the 500-mile distance completed.

Allison averaged 126.140 miles per hour in the 2 hour and 49 minute contest.

But Allison was in the lead for 62 laps by the time a slight drizzle began to fall and was gradually increasing his lead over Bobby Isaac, who crossed the finish line 5.1 seconds later.

Allison’s brother, Donnie, was third in another Mercury. Plymouth driver Richard Petty was fourth and Charlie Glotzbach was fifth in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

“I think we ought to get a couple of more superspeedways and run one every two weeks,” grinned Allison, the Hueytown, Ala., speedster who snapped a record for superspeedways wins in a single season, held by Lee Roy Yarbrough, with his eighth victory.

Allison grabbed the lead for good on lap 177, overtaking Glotzbach on the second turn. Glotzbach had held the top spot of 119 laps.

Results –

1. Bobby Allison
2. Bobby Isaac
3. Donnie Allison
4. Richard Petty
5. Charlie Glotzbach
6. Buddy Baker
7. Pete Hamilton
8. Friday Hassler
9. James Hylton
10.Benny Parsons

1952 – Race Promoter Got Start by Tinkering with Clocks


By Tony Cordaro – Des Moines Tribune

Des Moines, Iowa (October 10, 1952) – As a boy, Marion Robinson, promoter of the Pioneer Raceways in Des Moines, was a tinkerer. His specialty was tearing up alarm clocks and putting them back together again.

As he grew older, Marion was willing to tinker with anything that ticked or hummed.

Thus, inevitably, young Marion progressed to automobile engines.

Now, some years later, his fondest dreams have been fulfilled. With two other businessmen, Jack Lazarus and Isadore Tucker, Robinson purchased the old Kessell Speedway, located at 2000 S.E. Fourteenth Street.

Lazarus and Tucker put up the money and Robinson provided the work and the management.

What did Robinson know about promoting automobile races?

Plenty. As a youth he served as a pitman and later as a mechanic at all of the auto races at the State Fairgrounds.

He watched the promotional ventures of J. Alex Sloan, his son John, and Al Sweeney and Gaylord White.

“I realized quickly that if you give the people a good show, they’ll keep coming back,” Robinson said.

But before the season was very old this summer, Robinson’s financial backers had begun to think they had made a huge mistake. Five of the first six programs had been rained out.

The promotion was $8,000 in the red, besides the original investment, before the weatherman gave them a friendly smile.

With warmer and drier weather, the stock car races started drawing big crowds, including over 5,000 fans for the 4th of July race program.

As it now appears, no one will lose money from the Pioneer Raceways’ function this year. The season closes Sunday with an outstanding attraction.

“But I wouldn’t have made it without the cooperation of the Moor Sports group,” said Robinson. “The two presidents, the late Carl Fields, who was killed in a racing accident on Memorial Day Weekend, and his successor, Bob Hanna, went out of their way to help me.”

“I never guaranteed a driver a nickel. They all raced for cash prizes.”

“In 48 dates this year, we drew 81,000 paying customers, and we’ll do even better, weather permitting, next year.”

Marion does not have a monopoly on all of the racing interests in the family. His wife Nadine is active in the promotion as a starter, scorer, and program organizer.

“Nadine knows more about cars than I do,” admitted Marion. “She raced until she got in a serious accident a year ago.”

Marion owns four cars himself, two midgets, one big car, and a stock car.

“Only the stock car makes me any money.”

His rebuilt 1934 Ford, with Al DeCarlo behind the wheel, has won more races than any other car this season at Pioneer.

“There’s a little interest in midget car racing now,” added Marion. “Maybe I’ll fine time to tune up the big car engine this winter and have someone drive it next summer.”