Tuesday, April 30, 2024

1972 – Walkup Captures Hulman Classic

Bruce Walkup

Terre Haute, Ind. (April 30, 1972) - Bruce Walkup survived a wreck-prone start Sunday to win the rain-delayed Tony Hulman Classic for United States Auto Club sprint cars at Action Track.

The purse exceeded $22,000, according to reports at the track race day. Walkup was a happy winner as he spoke to the crowd following the 40-lap feature race.

The race on the half-mile oval was postponed Saturday by rain only to be stopped on the second lap Sunday when defending USAC national sprint car champion Gary Bettenhausen of Tinley Park, Ill., flipped three times after colliding with Carl Williams of Kansas City.

Bettenhausen had moved from 16th to ninth in only two laps. He was not injured. Walkup held the lead intermittently through the event but outdueled George Snider of Bakersfield, Calif., on the final lap. Sam Sessions of Nashville, Mich., was third.

Dick Tobias of Lebanon, Penn., also crashed but escaped injury. He flipped several times on lap 18.

Snider took last year’s initial running of the Classic by running past Don Nordhorn – just as the white flag waved – on the final lap. The same script was nearly followed Sunday before a good-sized crowd.

Walkup had led 17 laps and then Snider took the lead. He kept it until lap 23 when young USAC sprinter Billy Cassella ran into some traffic, slowing Snider just enough for Walkup to slip by for the top spot.

Walkup maintained the top spot until the third turn of the 40th and final circuit, when Snider passed him – just a few yards from where he made his 1971 move.

But Walkup wasn’t to be denied the victory, and he passed Snider in the final turn and held last year’s winner off by a hair to triumph.

The St. Paul, Ind., resident didn’t have a great 1971 season but if Sunday’s results were any indication, 1972 will be a different story for Walkup.

Results –

1. Bruce Walkup
2. George Snider
3. Sam Sessions
4. Lee Kunzman
5. Larry Cannon
6. Jim McElreath
7. Tom Bigelow
8. Don Nordhorn
9. Bill Puterbaugh
10.Larry Dickson
11.Carl Williams
12.Bill Cassella
13.Dick Tobias
14.Duane Carter
15.Gary Bettenhausen

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