Wednesday, April 3, 2024

1966 – Stott Scores Second Victory in Pelican 200

Ernie Derr (1) and Ramo Stott (0) battle for supremacy at the IMCA-sanctioned "Pelican 200" late model stock car race at the Louisiana State Fair Speedway. 

Shreveport, La. (April 3, 1966) – Rugged Ramo Stott, a guy who tries harder because he’s been second for such a long time, launched the latest International Motor Contest Association late model stock car racing schedule at State Fair Speedway under threatening skies Sunday, and you could hardly see him amidst all the smoking engines and spinning cars that littered the annual Pelican 200.

Stott, who is a garage owner and master welder by trade, gunned his 1965 Plymouth to the checkered flag in a track record time of 1 hour, 33 minutes and 57 seconds and it was more or less routine as he hauled off with the top prize of $700 of the $4,500 purse put up by promoter Frank Winkley.

Stott’s record performance averaged out to just over 65 miles per hour around the 100-mile circuit of the half-mile track, and ground into the red dust was the old standard of 1 hour, 34 minutes and 37 seconds set by Ernie Derr in October of 1961.

What made Ramo’s record-busting more impressive to the near-capacity crowd of 8,500 was that the 31-year-old veteran from Keokuk, Iowa, stashed away the record despite an enforced 30-second pit stop within the first 100 laps. The latter ruling was an innovation introduced by IMCA officials to keep a starting cast of 19 cars within striking distance of each other.

But Stott refused to follow the script. His Plymouth set the pace for all but 21 of the 200 laps and he won by at least two laps at the finish. Ernie Derr, the defending champion in this race, and another of the Keokuk “Komets,” nosed his 1965 Dodge in front on lap 67 when Ramo made his only pit stop off 30 seconds duration, but Stott swept back into the lead on lap 88 when Derr made his required stop.

Lenny Funk of Otis, Kan., last year’s third-ranked driver on the IMCA stock car circuit, finished second behind Stott while Derr coasted to a third-place finish.

Derr’s strategy backfired a bit as he tried to space his required 30-second pit stops between three lapses of 7, 12 and 11 seconds each, the last coming on lap 99. On the 93rd circuit, Ernie – who had won four of the last six Pelican races – was warned by his pit crew that he had about 15 gallons of fuel left and on lap 95, his crew signaled “Stop 11 seconds.”

But someone miscalculated because Derr’s mount ran out of gas on the final lap and Funk passed him on the fly.

It was worth an extra $100 for the wheat farmer, who was behind the wheel of a 1965 Ford. “I thought I had third sewn up,” he said. “I would have never taken him (Derr) if he hadn’t run out of gas.”

Stott, who has finished second in five of the last seven Pelican races (he won in 1961) and who has been runner-up in the point standings for the five of the last six years, said of his victory, “My car today felt really good through the corners. I thought I was generally cruising pretty fast.”

Results –

1. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
2. Lenny Funk, Otis, Kan.
3. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Butch Hall, Minneapolis, Minn.
5. Ed Negre, Monett, Mo.
6. George Barton, Luther, Iowa
7. Bob Derringer, Houston, Tex.
8. Orvil Danderson, Fair Grove, Mo.
9. Blaine Morrow, Joy, Ill.
10.Phil Atkinson, Springfield, Mo.
11.Walt Ballard, Houston, Tex.
12.Paul Feldner, Colgate, Wis.
13.Vic Elson, Ash Grove, Mo.
14.Lewis Taylor, Shawnee. Kan.
15.Tom Roller, Independence, Mo.
16.Karl Staufer, Independence, Mo.
17.George Baxter, Ash Grove, Mo.
18.Hank Melhorn, Kansas City, Mo.
19.Ole Brua, Albert Lea, Minn.

No comments:

Post a Comment