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.
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