Sunday, March 31, 2024

1957 – Beauchamp Posts Win in ‘Pelican 300’

Johnny Beauchamp receives a kiss from Miss Physical Culture, Barbara Howell, as local oil distributor George Gallagher looks on with approval after the Harlan, Iowa, driver won the rain-shortened Pelican 300.

Shreveport, La. (March 31, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp, the Harlan, Iowa, flash, took advantage of an early break Sunday afternoon to score an easy victory in the rain-shortened Pelican “300” at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds before an overflow crowd of 9,000 race fans.

Hailed as the “Flying Frenchman,” Beauchamp lived up to his expectations, piloting his 1957 Chevrolet in fine style, and outdistancing his closest competitor, Bob Burdick of Omaha, Neb.

Beauchamp, the 1956 International Motor Contest Association national stock car champion, copped the first feature – 150 laps – of the season’s opener without any difficulty, but was pushed for a while by Burdick in the rain-halted 45-lapper.

From the start, Beauchamp made it a point to show his skill, but Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, a former IMCA champion and solid favorite with the capacity crowd, jumped in front at the beginning. However, White’s pacesetting was short-lived as he broke an axle on his 1957 Ford after only 10 laps.

The Iowa star then proceeded to make a runaway of the first 150-lapper, getting only brief challenges from Burdick.

Burdick, however, after a slow start, just maintained a steady pace in the first half with his 1956 Ford. He attempted an all-out bid to get Beauchamp in the second feature, but the rain put a quick end to it.

Finishing behind Beauchamp and Burdick were Bob Hardy, Jerry Draper, and Jimmy Martin.

IMCA officials shortened the second race when a steady drizzle quickly made the track a sea of mud. Several drivers lost control of their cars on the sloppy racing surface.

Beauchamp started the second race at the rear of the field but rocketed into second before the first lap was even completed. White, determined to try it again his repaired Ford, led for a couple of laps before engine troubles kayoed him for a second time.

Results –

1. Johnny Beauchamp
2. Bob Burdick
3. Dick Porter
4. Bob Hardy
5. Red Dowdy
6. Jimmy Martin
7. Jerry Draper
8. Don Lawson
9. Ray Albritton
10.Dick Pellow
11.Al Warrender
12.Woody Ramsey
13.Darrell Dake
14.Doc Narber
15.Don White
16.Shorty Ebert
17.Lee Pinckney

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