Friday, May 31, 2024

1971 - Ohio Driver Wins La Crosse 100-Lap Feature

Tom Bowsher takes a victory lap after winning the 100-lap feature for ARCA late models at La Crosse. 

West Salem, Wis. (May 31, 1971) – Tom Bowsher of Springfield, Ohio, shot his 1971 Ford to first place in the 100-lap feature at Interstate Speedway on Monday afternoon.

Bowsher, who had previously won a 100-lap Automobile Racing Club of America race in Madison, dueled with Andy Hampton of Louisville, Ky., most of the way before surging ahead. Hampton was piloting a 1971 Dodge.

Bowsher turned the 100 laps in 39 minutes and 35.80 seconds. He also won the 4-lap trophy dash and the third heat.

Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa, drove his 1971 Plymouth to a third-place finish.

Ken Reiter of Louisville, Ky., was fourth in a 1969 Dodge. Leonard Blanchard, also of Louisville, Ky., rounded out the top five in a 1971 Ford.

Everett Fox was the only area driver to place in the top-10. The Black River Falls driver finished eighth in his 1969 Chevelle.

Results –

1. Tom Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio
2. Andy Hampton, Louisville, Ky.
3. Ramo Stott, Keokuk, Iowa
4. Ken Reiter, Louisville, Ky.
5. Leonard Blanchard, Louisville, Ky.
6. Rich Somers, Stevens Point
7. A. Arnold, Louisville, Ky.
8. Everett Fox, Black River Falls
9. Roland Van Arsdale, Indianapolis
10.Cliff Hamm, Cumberland, Ind.

1953 – Snyder Takes Downs Before 5,000

Adelbert "Deb" Snyder
The Buckeye Bullet

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 31, 1953) – Deb Snyder was several weeks late hitting the nation’s dirt tracks this year and the other drivers probably wish the 20-year veteran hadn’t made it at all.

Snyder, the Kent, Ohio, pilot of the $15,000 Miracle Power Offenhauser, entered his fourth race at Hawkeye Downs Sunday afternoon and won his fourth straight victory.

Snyder is just 50 points behind Bob Carpenter of Wabash, Ind., in the International Motor Contest Association point standings after Carpenter had built up a large margin before Deb hit the tracks.

Carpenter currently has 650 points, while Snyder, who scored 300 over the weekend with wins at Peoria, Ill., and Cedar Rapids, has 600 markers.

Many of the 5,000 fans in attendance who watched the two speedsters at the Downs on Sunday were probably yelling for Carpenter to upset Snyder, but the king-size gentleman just couldn’t get the job done.

Snyder opened up a five or six-car length lead at the opening turn and Carpenter spent the rest of the 15 laps trying to catch up. On the 13th lap, he pulled even with Snyder but lost by almost two car lengths in an exciting finish.

Snyder’s time for the 7.5 miles was 6 minutes and 51.04 seconds, far off the Downs’ record.

In the time trials, Snyder turned in a half-mile time of 24.59 seconds, just a second behind the IMCA record he set last year at the track.

Deb also romped home in the first heat, touring the 3.5 miles in 3 minutes and 2.91 seconds. He was chased home by Jim McWithey of Anderson, Ind.

One of the closest finishes of the day occurred in the consolation, a 2.5-mile sprint.

Cecil Greenly of Webster City almost lost to Fred Nelson of Minneapolis on the final turn. Nelson was pressing Greenly all the way and tried to sneak through on the inside when Greenly went into a slide on the stretch turn.

Greenly, however, got his car straightened out in time to edge Nelson by a car length.

Results –

Time trials – Deb Snyder, Kent, Ohio (24.59)
Heat #1 – Deb Snyder
Heat #2 – Bob Carpenter, Wabash, Ind.
Trophy dash – Leon DeRock, Mason City
Consolation – Cecil Greenly, Webster City
Semi-main – Leon DeRock
Feature –
1. Deb Snyder
2. Bob Carpenter
3. Jim McWithey, Anderson, Ind.
4. Harry King, Detroit
5. Ernie Johnson, Christine, N.D.
6. Stan Calloway, Hialeah, Fla.
7. Clair Cotter, Austin, Minn.
8. Fred Nelson, Minneapolis
9. Bert Hellmueller, Louisville, Ky.
10.Louis Yaeger, Austin, Minn.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

1969 – Ernie Derr Keeps Winning; Takes Topeka

Ernie Derr

Topeka, Kan. (May 30, 1969) – It took longer than usual for him to get to the front, and he had to listen to the first boos to come his way in several years, but Ernie Derr finally won the 50-lap feature for IMCA late model stock cars at the Mid-America Fairgrounds on Friday night.

It was a race which seemed to never really want to get started. Twelve of the first 20 laps were run under yellow and the first of those cautions are what rankled the 6,500 fans at Derr.

On the start, Ray Harrison’s 1968 Camaro stalled between turns one and two and in the hard braking when the yellow came out, Derr’s 1969 Dodge Charger got pinched by two other cars and the right rear tire blew out.

The field was lined up again as Derr changed the tire, and that brought out a series of catcalls from the fans. IMCA rules say when a yellow flag comes out on the first lap, there will be a complete restart.

On the restart, Lewis Taylor put his 1967 Plymouth in the lead and stayed there for 28 laps. Two more yellows slowed thee action. The longest occurred when Ray Littrell rolled, and all of his gasoline poured on to the track. The cars slowed for five laps while the fuel burned off.

The green flag waved on lap 16, but Tommy Taylor spun and Thurman Lovejoy hit him to bring out another yellow for two laps. The race was finally on for good on lap 21.

Taylor held off Derr until lap 29, when the nine-time IMCA national champion, put his Dodge Charger ahead on the backstretch and was off and running.

On lap 42, both Irv Janey and Fred Horn got by Taylor, and Janey claimed second while Horn took third. Taylor would drop out as the white flag waved with engine trouble and would settle for seventh.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr
2. Irv Janey
3. Fred Horn
4. Joe Wallace
5. Leon Bowman
6. Sandy Sandstrom
7. Lewis Taylor
8. Jay McIntosh
9. Joe Melichar
10.Dave Wall
11.Bill Schwader
12.Ron Hutcherson
13.Jerre Wichman
14.Dale Keeling
15.Gary Martin

1957 – Hanks Wins ‘500’ in 12th and Last Try

Sam Hanks waves to the fans after winning the 1957 Indianapolis 500. Hanks’ wife Alice (left) and movie star Cyd Charisse (right) join the winner in victory lane. – Steve Manning Collection

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 30, 1957) – Smiling Sam Hanks, who almost gave up last year when he finished second, “Thanks God” today for giving the Indianapolis 500 “a final try.”

For on the final try, he won the race and announced immediately afterwards it would be his last.

“I cam awfully close to calling it quits last year when I finished second, Hanks, a 6-0, 160-pounder, said. “I figured if I couldn’t do it in 11 tries, why try it again. But I decided to try it one more time – win or lose – this was going to be it. And now that I’ve won it, this is it. I’ve had it.”

When he lost out last year by 20.47 seconds to Pat Flaherty he thought that “that’s as close as I’ll ever come.” But he gave it one more shot and won out by 17.35 seconds.

It was the second closest finish in the 41-year history of the race. That 20.47 seconds he had finished behind Flaherty last year had been the second closest. The closest race was 2.16 seconds which saw Wilbur Shaw beat Ralph Hepburn back in 1937.

Not only did the crew-cut 42-year-old Hanks set a new speed record by winning the race – but he was also sure to surpass the record money winning total of $93,819 that Flaherty earned last year.

By winning the race, he picked up the first-place jackpot of $20,000. And by leading most of the 200 laps, he picked up another $21,150 - $150 a lap. That made him $41,150 and when endorsements and all other financial rewards which go to the winner come in, he should be the first driver ever to surpass the $100,000 mark.

As for speed, Hanks raced the 2.5-mile brick oval, with a Memorial Day Weekend crowd of over 125,000 looking on, in thee record speed of 135.601 miles per hour. The old record of 130.840 was set by the late Bill Vukovich in 1954. As a matter of fact, the first 10 finishers all exceeded Vukovich’s old standard.

The two former champions in the field, Troy Ruttman of Lynwood, Calif., and Johnnie Parsons of Van Nuys, Calif., never figured in the race. Ruttman, the 1952 winner, dropped out early when his car broke a piston rod. Parsons, who got into the field on a pass when Dick Rathmann was unable to drive because of an eye injury, finished far back in the field.

Hanks was never out of contention. Pat O’Conner, who grabbed the pole position in qualifying, led the first lap before Ruttman took over. It was not until the 36th circuit that Hanks took over. From that time on, he was in command the rest of the way.

Results –

1. Sam Hanks
2. Jim Rathmann
3. Jimmy Bryan
4. Paul Russo
5. Andy Linden
6. Johnny Boyd
7. Marshall Teague
8. Pat O’Conner
9. Bob Veith
10.Gene Hartley
11.Jack Turner
12.Johnny Thomson
13.Bob Christie
14.Chuck Weyant
15.Tony Bettenhausen
16.Johnnie Parsons
17.Don Freeland
18.Jimmy Reece
19.Don Edmunds
20.Johnnie Tolan
21.Al Herman
22.Fred Agabashian
23.Eddie Sachs
24.Mike Magill
25.Eddie Johnson
26.Bill Cheesbourg
27.Al Keller
28.Jimmy Daywalt
29.Ed Elisian
30.Rodger Ward
31.Troy Ruttman
32.Eddie Russo
33.Elmer George

1952 – Hard Luck Strikes Vuky; Ruttman Wins Speed Classic

Troy Ruttman and car owner J.C. Agajanian wave to the crowd from victory lane after winning the Indianapolis 500. The 22-year-old Ruttman became the youngest winner in the event’s history.

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 30, 1952) – Bill Vukovich of Fresno, Calif., moved into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history books alongside Ralph DePalma and Louis Meyer as the hard luck losers in the 500-mile Memorial Day classic.

Troy Ruttman of Lynwood, Calif., and his car owner, J.C. Agajanian of San Pedro, Calif., the winning combination, picked up a check for about $65,000.

Vukovich and his car owner, Howard Keck of Los Angeles, credited with finishing 17th, will receive $18,000 and $15,000 of that will represent Vukovich’s earnings for leading 150 of 200 laps.

Vukovich apparently had the race won when his steering shaft broke on the 192nd lap and his car brushed the northwest outer wall.

That left the 250-pound Ruttman far ahead of his nearest opponent and he won easily.

DePalma led in 1912 with less than two laps to go when his Mercedes engine failed, and Joe Dawson crossed the finish line while DePalma and his riding mechanic pushed their racer.

Meyer was leading the 1939 race, trying for the fourth victory that no one has ever won, when he lost a tire on the 197th lap. Wilbur Shaw passed him by to take the victory.

Vukovich, a former national midget champion, was 26 seconds ahead of Ruttman when the mechanical breakdown occurred, in what was the fastest “500” ever run.

Ruttman’s winning speed of 128.922 miles per hour erased Lee Wallard’s 1951 mark of 126.244 miles per hour, a mark many old-timers had predicted would stand for years. Ruttman covered the 500 miles in 3 hours, 43 minutes, and 41.88 seconds.

Jack McGrath of Glendale, Calif., made certain at the start that there would be no staid running against time. He passed Fred Agabashian of Albany, Calif., and Andy Linden of Los Angeles before the first turn.

McGrath led for six laps before Vukovich whipped past him in his Fuel Injection Special. Ruttman led on the 12th lap and then the lead shifted between him and Vukovich when they made two pit stops apiece for tires and fuel. Vukovich went ahead for the last time on the 148th circuit.

Ruttman was gaining about two seconds on the leader but that wouldn’t have been enough. Then the leader crashed.

While a dejected Vukovich, nicknamed “The Mad Russian,” cried unashamedly and groaned, “What a dirty, lousy, no-good break,” the 22-year-old Ruttman, the youngest driver in the race, was elated.

Jim Rathmann of Chicago, only 23-years-old himself, finished second in the Grancor Wynn’s Special and his speed of 126.733 miles per hour would have been a new record if Ruttman hadn’t been in front.

Veteran Sam Hanks of Glendale, Calif., was third and Duane Carter of Culver city, Calif., was fourth.

Art Cross of Brunswick, N.J., the 1951 AAA national midget driving champion, led three first-time Memorial Day contenders across the finish line. Cross finished fifth while Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix, Ariz., was sixth and Corporal Jimmy Reece of the air Corps and Oklahoma City took seventh.

Results –

1. Troy Ruttman
2. Jim Rathmann
3. Sam Hanks
4. Duane Carter
5. Art Cross
6. Jimmy Bryan
7. Jimmy Reece
8. George Conner
9. Cliff Griffith
10.Johnnie Parsons
11.Jack McGrath
12.Jim Rigsby
13.Joe James
14.Bill Schindler
15.George Fonder
16.Eddie Johnson
17.Bill Vukovich
18.Chuck Stevenson
19.Henry Banks
20.Manuel Ayulo
21.Johnny McDowell
22.Spider Webb
23.Rodger Ward
24.Tony Bettenhausen
25.Duke Nalon
26.Bob Sweikert
27.Fred Agabashian
28.Gene Hartley
29.Bob Scott
30.Chet Miller
31.Alberto Ascari
32.Bobby Ball
33.Andy Linden

1946 – Robson Surprise Winner of ‘500’

George Robson, his wife Marjorie, and chief mechanic Chickie Hirashima enjoy the laurels of winning the first post-war Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 30, 1946) – George Robson of Hollywood, Calif., crowned his racing career with a surprise victory in the first post-war Indianapolis 500.

The 36-year-old Californian pocketed $20,000 first prize plus another $13,000 in lap money.

It was Robson’s first major triumph in more than 15 years of racing. He had taken a crack at the “500” three times previously, once being crowded out of the field by a slow qualifying time and twice being forced to the sidelines with mechanical issues.

More than 150,000 fans – the largest in the 500-mile classic’s history – watched Robson tool his six-cylinder, rear-drive Thorn Engineering Special past the finish line in 4 hours, 21 minutes, and 16.70 seconds. His average speed was 114.820 miles per hour.

Robson came home ahead of nine entries, the smallest finishing field since the 1929 race.

Finishing 1 minute and 24 seconds behind the winner was Jimmy Jackson of Whitewater, Calif. Ted Horn of Patterson, N.J., driving an Italian-built Maserati was third.

Emil Andres of Chicago, driving an eight-cylinder Maserati, finished fourth and Sam Hanks of Alhambra, Calif., driving in relief for Joie Chitwood of Reading, Penn., finished fifth.

The race resolved around Robson and Jackson, the two-man duel holding the vast crowd spellbound as the two cars sped around the 2.5-mile oval almost as one. At the halfway mark, Robson’s lead over Jackson was only 3/5 of a second. With 150 miles to go, Robson would speed to a two-lap margin after Jackson was forced to make two pit stops.

Robson said the only trouble he encountered was his goggles kept slipping down.

The high number of mechanical failures were expected before the race, in view of the scarcity of wartime high-priority metals usually used in auto parts.

Results –

1. George Robson
2. Jimmy Jackson
3. Ted Horn
4. Emil Andres
5. Sam Hanks/Joie Chitwood
6. Lewis Durant
7. Luigi Villoresi
8. Frank Wearne
9. Bill Sheffler
10.Billy DeVore
11.Mel Hansen
12.Russ Snowberger/Duke Nalon
13.Harry McQuinn/Jimmy Wilburn
14.Ralph Hepburn
15.George Conner/Al Putnam
16.Rex Mays/Cliff Bergere
17.Duke Dinsmore
18.Chet Miller/Louis Tomei
19.Jimmy Wilburn
20.Tony Bettenhausen
21.Danny Kladis
22.Duke Nalon
23.Mauri Rose
24.George Conner
25.Hal Robson
26.Louis Tomei
27.Henry Banks
28.Short Cantlon
29.George Barringer
30.Rex Mays
31.Sam Hanks
32.Hal Cole
33.Paul Russo

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

1971 – Al Unser Wheels Racer into Victory Lane


Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser is interviewed by Chris Economaki in victory lane. – Steve Manning Collection

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 29, 1971) – Al Unser, charging through a myriad of wrecks and mess of racing confusion, rode his Johnny Lightning Special to victory in the 500-mile auto race Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a record speed of 157.735 miles per hour.

Unser’s triumph, for the second straight year, came after a stunning crash as the race began, when the pace car skidded sideways down the pit apron and into the photographer’s stand at the end of the homestretch. Twenty persons were injured, one of them seriously.

Unser, who celebrated his 32nd birthday with his victory, was the first driver to win the fabled race consecutive years since the ill-fated Bill Vukovich won in 1953 and 1954 – and then was killed on the track while leading the race in 1955.

Unser, who will probably earn $280,000 of a record purse estimated at 1.1 million, paced the field for the final 82 laps of the 200 which made the distance, taking over from Joe Leonard on the 118th turn of the 2.5-mile track.

It was the fifth time Unser had moved in front of the chase, run before some 300,000 spectators in great racing weather, a temperature in the low 70’s with the sun modified by light breezes.

The race, with the drivers ignorant of the pace car crash, started fast and ended fast. In between with the four yellow caution light on four times for 53 minutes, the speedsters slowed to 125 miles per hour, more than 50 miles per hour below their usual pace.

There was no slowdown when the pace car, driven by astronaut John Glenn and speedway owner Tony Hulman, slewed into the stands. The racing field got away with a burst as ambulances carted away injured spectators to the infield hospital.

Mark Donohue, who missed a record 181 miles per hour in trials by a clock’s tick, swooped by pole sitter Peter Revson on the first lap and he was going a record 166.359 miles per hour on the first lap when Denis Hulme spun on the second lap and the yellow flag waved.

The field didn’t get back to the record speed until 180 laps were completed and Al Unser was clocked at 157.844 miles per hour.

Donohue, driving one of four new British-designed M16 McLaren cars, seemed about to run off with the race as he led the first 50 laps. Then he had to stop for fuel, yielding the lead to Leonard, who in turn gave way to Bobby Unser before Donohue took charge again on the 65th lap.

Then luck ran out for Donohue. Something went wrong in the gearing, and he spun in the northwest turn. What happened to him could have been the tale of the fabulous McLarens, which dominated qualifying runs.

Gordon Johncock, driving a year old McLaren, got involved in a four-car pileup on the northeast turn which put Johncock, Mel Kenyon, Steve Krisiloff, and Mario Andretti out of the race.

Hulme kept his new McLaren in the running, despite the early spin, until he had gone 137 laps and then mechanical trouble put him out of action. Only Peter Revson managed to keep a McLaren running, and he finished second.

Unser’s victory was the third for the family at the same site which has brought tragedy to them, the death of brother Jerry in a racing accident. But Bobby won the race in 1968 followed up by Al’s back-to-back wins.

Results –

1. Al Unser
2. Peter Revson
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Bill Vukovich Jr.
5. Jim Malloy
6. Donnie Allison
7. Bud Tinglestad
8. Roger McCluskey
9. Denny Zimmerman
10.Gary Bettenhausen
11.Lloyd Ruby
12.Bobby Unser
13.Mike Mosley
14.Dick Simon
15.George Follmer
16.Cale Yarborough
17.Denis Hulme
18.Johnny Rutherford
19.Joe Leonard
20.David Hobbs
21.Rick Muther
22.Bob Harkey
23.Bentley Warren
24.Wally Dallenbach
25.Mark Donohue
26.Art Pollard
27.Sam Sessions
28.Larry Dickson
29.Mario Andretti
30.Gordon Johncock
31.Steve Krisiloff
32.Mel Kenyon
33.George Snider

1965 – King, Taylor Win Little 500

Chuck Taylor (standing in cockpit of car) and Bob King (in dark jacket and cap) combined talents to win the 17th annual Little 500 at Sun Valley Speedway. – Jack Burgess Photo

Anderson, Ind. (May 29, 1965) – Former champion Bob King of Muncie, Ind., and rookie driver Chuck Taylor of East Alton, Ill., combined their talents to drive the Nagel-Taylor Chevy machine to victory in the 17th annual Little 500 national championship sprint car race at Sun Valley Speedway on Saturday night.

A record-breaking crowd of 14,100 spectators watch the duo complete the race in 2 hours, 29 minutes, and 22.17 seconds.

Although Taylor qualified the car, King was at the wheel when the green flag dropped, and the 1953 winner of the 500-lap endurance race drove the first 300 circuits before Taylor took over in relief.

Starting 29th in the 33-car field, King worked his way brilliantly through traffic to take the lead away from Rollie Beale of Toledo, Ohio, on the 181st turn of Joe Helpling’s quarter-mile, high-banked asphalt layout.

From that point on, the race, sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association, in its Golden Anniversary year in the sport of speed, saw no other leader as King gradually increased his margin over the field and ate up the $5 per lap in prize money.

When King pitted on lap 301, Taylor stepped into the cockpit as relief driver, the Illinois-owned machine had a five-lap advantage over the field – which Taylor increased to seven laps when the checkered flag waved.

Leading a total of 320 of the 500 laps, the #35 Nagel-Taylor machine pulled down a payoff of a record-breaking purse of $12,510.

Although seven separate accidents brought the yellow out for a total of 72 laps, no one was injured.

Leon Wieske of St. Clair Shores, Mich., driving his own #51 Wieske Chevy, charged from his middle of the front row starting position at the drop of the green to take the early lead.

Dean Mast of Dover, Ohio, in the #64 Howell Transportation Chevy, led the race for one lap – the seventh – but Wieske was back on top after eight turns of the oval.

On lap 31, Dick Good of Mishawaka, Ohio, the defending champion, sent his #15 Wood Chevy into the lead and he maintained the top spot until he was passed by Wieske on lap 41.

Three turns later, Wieske lost a wheel in the east turn and crashed into the guardrail and was retired for the evening. Good regained the top spot at this point but held it for one-half mile before Norm Brown of Grand Rapids, Mich., driving the #11 J&D Motor Sales Chevy, to the front.

Brown paced the field until lap 140, at which time Beale again became the top dog. The Ohioan then led the race until King took over for good on lap 181.

Results –

1. Bob King/Chuck Taylor
2. Rollie Beale, Toledo, Ohio
3. Benny Rapp, Toledo, Ohio
4. Jim Moughan, Springfield, Ill.
5. Karl Busson, Toledo, Ohio
6. Jerry Weld, Kansas City
7. Tom Bigelow, Whitewater, Wis.
8. Oscar Fay, South Bend, Ind.
9. Jay Woodside, Kansas City
10.Ray Duckworth, Anderson, Ind.
11.Nolan Johncock, Hastings, Mich.
12.Dean Mast, Dover, Ohio
13.Dick Good, Mishawaka, Ohio
14.Darl Harrison, Tiffin, Ohio
15.Gordon Woolley, Waco, Tex.
16.Bob Coulter, Lakewood, Calif.
17.Casey Jones, South Bend, Ind.
18.Buzz Gregory, Indianapolis
19.Bob Davis, Dayton, Ohio
20.Gene Ingold, Parkersburg, W.Va.
21.Bill Puterbaugh, Roxana, Ill.
22.Norm Brown, Grand Rapids, Mich.
23.Jack Thomas, Wellsville, N.Y.
24.Ray Wright, Elkhart, Ind.
25.Charley Masters, Waddy, Ky.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

1978 - Trickle, Senneker take Capital Memorial Day Victories

Dick Trickle would win the first of two 50-lap ARTGO-sanctioned features at Capital Super Speedway. Trickle would place second in the second 50-lapper, giving him the overall title. 

Oregon, Wis. (May 28, 1978) – Dick Trickle added another feature win to his collection as he took home $2,025 of the $13,000 purse in the ARTGO Memorial Day Doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Capital Super Speedway. Bob Senneker also scored a feature victory.

Trickle was the overall winner, setting a new one-lap record in time trials, besting super-modified driver Bill Klein in the “King-of-the-Hill” match race, and copping the first 50-lap feature for the late models.

Adding a second-place finish in the final 50-lapper, Trickle moved into the all-time ARTGO point lead by 325 markers over Bob Senneker. Trickle’s check also included contingencies from Goodyear, Bemco, Brodex and Franklin.

Senneker took the lead on lap 22 of the second 50-lap main and went on to win the non-stop event over Trickle and Tom Reffner.

Larry Detjens paced the first 50-lap contest for the first 26 circuits before Trickle took the lead. Senneker, Joe Shear and Ed Hoffman ran an extremely tight race for third-place in the closing laps of the main with Senneker eventually securing the third spot. The finish saw Trickle followed by Reffner, Senneker, Shear and Hoffman with Detjens fading to a sixth-place finish.

Due to several tire changes, Shear, Hoffman and Senneker started behind Trickle in the second 50. Dave Watson led the first 10 laps before Reffner took over. Senneker, moving well through traffic, caught Reffner on the 22nd lap.

Trickle passed Reffner in the closing laps for second but was nearly a quarter of a lap behind the Michigan “Blue Bird” at the checkered. Hoffman drove a steady race for fourth followed by Steve Burgess.

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Tom Reffner, Rudolph
3. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
4. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
5. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
6. Larry Detjens, Wausau
7. Steve Burgess, Eau Claire
8. Doug Strasburg, Johnson Creek
9. Bob Strait, Flossmoor, Ill.
10.Dave Watson, Milton

Feature #2 –

1. Bob Senneker
2. Dick Trickle
3. Tom Reffner
4. Ed Hoffman
5. Steve Burgess
6. Bob Strait
7. Dave Watson
8. Fred Bender, Sun Prairie
9. Pat Schauer, Watertown
10.Danny Darnell, Deerfield, Ill.

The "Michigan Bluebird" Bob Senneker won the second 50-lap feature for ARTGO late models at Capital Super Speedway. ARTGO Racing's Art Frigo makes the trophy presentation

1961 – Foyt Wins IRP 30-Lapper

A.J. Foyt in perfect form at Indianapolis Raceway Park. This was when the Clermont, Indiana 5/8-mile track was still dirt. Foyt would win the 30-lap USAC sprint car feature and then go on to win the 500-miler at Indianapolis two days later. - Robin Miller Collection

Clermont, Ind. (May 28, 1961) - A. J. Foyt of Houston, Tex. won a prelude Sunday to his big Memorial Day ride when he took the 30-lap feature race at Raceway Park.

Foyt’s victory came after a day of numerous spinouts and a flip by another 500-mile starter, Roger McCluskey of Tucson, Ariz., McCluskey's HOW Special bounced high into the air on the second lap of the first heat and finally landed upside down. But the freshman driver, who is in the 500 for the first time this year, walked away unhurt.

The only other driver in the Raceway program also scheduled to start Tuesday's Memorial Day Classic was Jim Hurtubise of Lennox, Cal. Hurtubise didn't drive, however, and his auto was piloted by Bob Cleberg, Tucson, Ariz., who finished third behind Chuck Hulse of Downey, Cal.

The yellow caution flag was out most of the feature event because of the numerous spinouts.

But of the 18 starters, 17 finished. Mickey Shaw of Cleveland, Ohio, grabbed fourth place followed by Elmer George, Indianapolis; Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.; Joe Barzda, New Brunswick, N. J., and Bob Wente of St. Louis.

Allen Crowe had one of the autos that spun along the 5/8-mile clay track but he came back to finish in ninth just ahead of Hal Rettberg, Colonie, N. Y. The Raceway Park track, part of a just completed $500,000 auto racing facility, will eventually be asphalt.

Russ Congdon, Puyallup, Wash., won a 10-lap consolation race,

Foyt's share of the $5,700 purse was $819. Hulse won $625; Cleburg took home $487.

The three heat winners were A.J. Shepherd of Gardenia, Calif., Foyt and Blundy. Because of the yellow flag, time was kept only in the second heat where Foyt toured the eight laps in 3 minutes and 59 seconds.

Results –

1. A.J. Foyt
2. Chuck Hulse
3. Bob Cleburg
4. Mickey Shaw
5. Elmer George
6. Jerry Blundy
7. Joe Barzda
8. Bob Wente
9. Allen Crowe
10.Hal Rettberg
11.Ronnie Duman
12.Red Renner
13.Rex Easton
14.Duke Hindahl
15.Bill Earl
16.Johnny White
17.Bud Sterrett
18.A.J. Shepherd

Monday, May 27, 2024

1979 – Strupp Wins Slinger Memorial 50

Tony Strupp won his first late model feature of the season at Slinger Super Speedway, the Memorial 50. Joining Strupp in victory lane is track owner Wayne Erickson. - Marty Lemmermann Photo

Slinger, Wis. (May 27, 1979) – Tony Strupp of Slinger guided his new Camaro to his first late model feature win of the season by edging track champion Alan Kulwicki of Milwaukee in the Memorial 50 at Slinger Super Speedway on Sunday evening.

Dave Magnus of Germantown, jumped from outside row one starting position to take the lead on the first lap over Leonard Reimer of Janesville.

Bill Strom of West Allis, moved up on lap 3 and overtook Reimer for second place. The three were running close together until Al Schill of Franklin began to move up from the back of the pack on lap 6.

Schill went from third, to second, to first on successive laps. He began to build a lead as his competitors became entangled with slower traffic.

With his lead building, Schill appeared unbeatable. However, onlap 12, Schill struck Ted Dolhun of Milwaukee. While attempting to pass and spun on the backstretch, coming to rest in the infield. The damage to the car’s A-frame prevented him from continuing, giving the top spot to Jerry Eckhardt of Watertown. Who had taken advantage of the caution period to move up from the rear.

One lap after the restart, Kulwicki passed Eckhardt for the lead.

Another yellow flag came out when Tim Sandretti of Iron Ridge spun his car on the backstretch, but Kulwicki remained in first after the restart.

Strupp came up from behind Eckhardt and passed him, giving him second place. Strupp then passed Kulwicki on lap 23 and took the lead for good. Once in front, Strupp sped away, leaving Kulwicki and the rest of the field.

Kulwicki would hold off Eckhardt for second place with Willie Goeden of Kewaskum taking fourth and Conrad Morgan of Dousman rounding out the top five finishers.

Ed Evans of West Allis took the lead on lap 13 and went on to win the 20-lap sportsman feature over Bob Mueller of Milwaukee.

Results –

1. Tony Strupp, Slinger
2. Alan Kulwicki, Milwaukee
3. Jerry Eckhardt, Watertown
4. Willie Goeden, Kewaskum
5. Conrad Morgan, Dousman

Sunday, May 26, 2024

1980 - Miller's Time in Sands Memorial 100

Mike Miller 

Plover, Wis. (May 26, 1980) – Mike Miller of Wisconsin Rapids took the Memorial 100 for late models at Golden Sands Speedway on Monday.

Dan Prziborowski of Savage, Minn., led the opening laps of the feature, which saw Rudolph’s Tom Reffner sidelined after his mount’s engine starting smoking on lap 8. One go-round later, Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa pulled off with the same issues.

Larry Detjens of Wausau grabbed the lead from Prziborowski on lap 25 with Miller following behind, close to his rear bumper.

Miller seized the lead from Detjens on the 27th circuit by moving around on the outside. After that, it was a matter of how many drivers Miller could lap in the remaining 70 laps.

At the finish, Miller would win easily with Detjens finishing a distant second. Jim Sauter of Necedah would finish third and was the only other driver on the same lap as Miller and Detjens.

Ted Musgrave of Grand Marsh was fourth and J.J. Smith of Appleton rounded out the top five finishers.

Results –

1. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Larry Detjens, Wausau
3. Jim Sauter, Necedah
4. Ted Musgrave, Grand Marsh
5. J.J. Smith, Appleton
6. Dan Prziborowski, Savage, Minn.
7. Jim Derhaag, Shakopee, Minn.
8. Ken Lund, Deerfield
9. Steve Moll, LaValle
10.Pat Schauer, Watertown

1974 – Rutherford Wins ‘500’

Johnny Rutherford waves to the fans from victory lane after winning the 1974 Indianapolis 500. – Steve Manning Collection 

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 26, 1974) – Johnny Rutherford, never even able to finish here in 10 previous times, came charging all the way from his 25th starting position to win Sunday’s Indianapolis 500-mile race in a relatively eventless, smooth-run race which contrasted sharply from last year’s race, which claimed the life of one driver.

Rutherford won the 58th running of auto racing’s richest spectacle by first wearing down polesitter A.J. Foyt and then beating bobby Unser by 21 seconds.

Foyt was foiled in his bid for an unprecedented fourth Indy victory after virtually running neck-and-neck with Rutherford for 300 miles. Foyt, however, was forced out on lap 143 with a broken gearbox.

Rutherford and Bobby Unser were the only two starters to run the full 500 miles. Rutherford’s official speed was 158.589 miles per hour and Unser was clocked at 158.278 miles per hour, considerably slower than the 162 mile per hour mark set by Mark Donohue in 1972. Billy Vukovich finished third.

Rutherford, who will earned an estimated $250,000 for his victory, predicted he would win the race after officials of the United States Auto Club had denied him a front-line starting berth despite a 190 mile per hour qualifying speed. USAC officials stated that Rutherford showed up late for his turn in time trials and penalized him for his tardiness by placing him in the ninth row.

Fuel became the critical factor in this year’s race with the new USAC rule limiting each car to 320 gallons. The issue became crucial on the 175th lap of the 200-lap contest when Rutherford came in for his final fuel stop, which lasted 26 seconds.

The Fort Worth, Tex., driver lost the lead briefly to Unser during the pause but regained it when Unser went in for a 16-second fuel stop on lap 176.

Rutherford, driving a McLaren, had only a 10-second lead on Unser, a former Indy winner driving an Eagle, and they battled the remaining 24 laps for auto racing’s richest prize. At the end of 190 laps, Rutherford pushed his margin to 15 seconds and his crew signaled on a blackboard that their was plenty of fuel remaining should he need another filling.

Only 12 of the 33 starters finished the race, which lasted 3 hours, 9 minutes, and 10.6 seconds. There were seven caution lights, lasting a total of 34 minutes and 21 seconds.

Rutherford’s victory marked the furthest that a challenger had to come to since Louis Meyer’s brilliant charge from 28th starting position to win the 1936 race.

Results –

1. Johnny Rutherford
2. Bobby Unser
3. Bill Vukovich 
4. Gordon Johncock
5. David Hobbs
6. Jim McElreath
7. Duane Carter
8. Bob Harkey
9. Lloyd Ruby
10.Jerry Grant
11.Bill Simpson
12.John Martin
13.Tom Bigelow
14.Mike Hiss
15.A.J. Foyt
16.Roger McCluskey
17.Salt Walther
18.Al Unser
19.Jerry Karl
20.Tom Sneva
21.Jan Opperman
22.Steve Krisiloff
23.Jimmy Caruthers
24.Larry Cannon
25.Jim Hurtubise
26.Johnny Parsons Jr.
27.Rick Muther
28.George Snider
29.Mike Mosley
30.Wally Dallenbach
31.Mario Andretti
32.Gary Bettenhausen
33.Dick Simon

1957 – Beauchamp Leader in 200-Lap Event

Johnny Beauchamp is presented the Power X trophy by Miss Springfield, Diana Swift, after the Harlan, Iowa, driver won the 200-lap IMCA stock car feature at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. 

Springfield, Mo. (May 26, 1957) – Johnny Beauchamp, a lead-footed 33-year-old from Harlan, Iowa, simply over-powered a field of 12 cars in his 1957 Chevrolet to win the 200-lap dust-plagued late model stock car race at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoon.

Beauchamp, who moved into a tie for the International Motor Contest Association point’s lead with the victory, roared ahead at the drop of the green flag and led all the way before a capacity crowd of over 4,000.

The blue ribbon earned Beauchamp $350. He finished five second ahead of Don White of Keokuk, Iowa, and another lap ahead of third-place finisher Bob Burdick of Omaha, who now shares first place with Beauchamp in the IMCA point standings. Both White and Burdick pilot 1957 Fords.

Only seven of the 12 cars finished the race. However, since IMCA awards money for the top 12 cars, not one entry went home empty-handed.

The afternoon’s proceedings did not come off as smoothly as Beauchamp’s victory. Bill Chennault of Kansas City and Herb Shannon of Peoria, Ill., collided on the first turn of the first lap. Neither driver was knocked out of competition, but a complete restart was required.

The second time the cars got away without difficulty but before six laps were complete, the dust was so bad the starter signaled the cars off the track so the racing surface could be re-watered.

While the field was slowing down, Red Dowdy of Dallas and George Klug of Jefferson City collided in the blinding dust. Neither driver was injured in the crackup but both Dowdy and Klug’s cars were unable to continue.

After about an hour delay while the track was watered, the race began again on lap 7.

The race triumph did not belong solely to Beauchamp. He received some outstanding assistance in the pits from mechanic Dale Swanson, also of Harlan, and the rest of the crew.

Beauchamp was leading Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who set a new track record in qualifying by touring the half-mile oval in 32.75 seconds, by 12 seconds after 126 circuits.

On lap 127, Dake made a pit stop that took 55 seconds before he was able to get back on the track. He was two and a half lap behind Beauchamp when he re-entered the race.

Six laps later, Beauchamp made the same refueling stop. Race fans tough that Dake would be able to make up the difference during the pause, but they hadn’t counted on the amazing Swanson.

The mechanic poured 10 gallons of gas and one quart of oil into Beauchamp’s machine, cleaned off the windshield, and had the pace-setting driver back on the track in an impressive 17 seconds. Beauchamp had lost only three-quarters of a lap to the then second-place Dake.

Three laps later, Lady Luck decided to join Beauchamp and Swanson when Dake, who was still in contention, raced around the west turn on lap 136 and suddenly his 1956 Ford came to a halt. He had knocked a hole in his oil pan and was out for the remainder of the contest.

That moved White up to second place and Burdick in third. That was the way they finished, although they made up a couple of laps on Beauchamp, who loafed to the finish.

Results –

1. Johnny Beauchamp, Harlan, Iowa
2. Don White, Keokuk, Iowa
3. Bob Burdick, Omaha
4. Frank Richards, Marion, Iowa
5. Bob Hardy, Beaumont, Tex.
6. Bill Chennault, Kansas City
7. Shorty Eberts, Avondale, Mo.
8. Herb Shannon, Peoria, Ill.
9. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10.Clarence Bolton, Hutchinson, Kan.
11.Red Dowdy, Dallas
12.George Klug, Jefferson City

Saturday, May 25, 2024

1975 – Bobby Unser Wins Rain-Cut ‘500’

Bobby Unser sloshes through the pit area en route to victory lane after being declared the winner of the rain-shortened Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 25, 1975) – The rain was sweet and so was revenge for Bobby Unser when he beat Johnny Rutherford Sunday to win his second Indianapolis 500, a weather-shortened 174-lap race that squared the family record with brother Al at two wins apiece.

Bobby Unser was leading the 1974 race when he made a costly pit stop and Rutherford went on to win. Rutherford’s crew miscalculated the weather conditions on Sunday and decided to top off Johnny’s fuel tank on lap 165 while he was leading the race.

It would be a stroke of misfortune as Bobby Unser took command and five laps later when a caution came out when Gary Bettenhausen tapped the wall and lost a wheel.

Still riding under the caution signal, the field when another three laps when rain began to fall. A deluge developed on lap 174 and starter Pat Vidan waved the checkered flag a lap later and accompanied it with the red flag to halt the race.

Unser only led for 11 of the 174 laps completed but being in front for the last 10 circuits earned him a winner’s purse estimated at $250,000.

A.J. Foyt, the polesitter and pre-race favorite finished third as the scheduled 200-lap contest came to a premature end. He immediately left for Methodist Hospital to have his right leg examined. The neurosurgeon was called in to have his right leg examined.

“I don’t know what’s wrong,” a Foyt crewman said. “He just came out of the car limping.”

Unser said correcting tire problems and the ability to avoid heavy debris from an accident counted heavily toward his winning the race.

“We made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 159 to top off the fuel tank and decided to turn up the booster on the turbo charger to give us additional speed,” said Unser of his fortuitous decision by his pit crew.

Unser’s most anxious moment occurred while trying to avoid the wreck of Tom Sneva’s car.

“I took the low side of the track and looked for daylight. It turned out to be the right decision and I made it, but it was a very close call.”

Rutherford said he drove “just as hard as the car would go. When we made our last pit stop, we thought Bobby would have to make one more before the 200 laps were completed. But I’m still not sure if I could have caught him. Well, I guess second place is better than third.”

The most disheartened driver had to be Wally Dallenbach, who had been leading from the 97th lap but dropped out on lap 163 when dirt clogged a piston in his engine.

There were only 18 cars of the original 33 starters still on the track when the rain descended upon the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This was the second time in three years that rain forced a premature finish to the richest auto race in the world. Gordon Johncock won the 1973 running when the race was stopped after 133 laps.

Results –

1. Bobby Unser
2. Johnny Rutherford
3. A.J. Foyt
4. Duane Carter Jr.
5. Roger McCluskey
6. Bill Puterbaugh
7. George Snider
8. Billy Vukovich
9. Wally Dallenbach
10.Bob Harkey
11.Steve Krisiloff
12.Sheldon Kinser
13.Jerry Karl
14.Jimmy Caruthers
15.Gary Bettenhausen
16.Al Unser
17.Sam Sessions
18.Tom Bigelow
19.Johnny Parsons Jr.
20.Jerry Grant
21.Dick Simon
22.Tom Sneva
23.Bentley Warren
24.Elton Rasmussen
25.Bobby Allison
26.Mike Mosley
27.John Martin
28.Mario Andretti
29.Mike Hiss
30.Larry McCoy
31.Gordon Johncock
32.Lloyd Ruby
33.Salt Walther

Pat Vidan


Indianapolis, Ind. - Pat Vidan was one of auto racing’s most iconic figures of the 1960s and 1970s and one of the sport’s finest ambassadors. He was Chief Starter for the Indianapolis 500 races from 1962 through 1979 (after being Bill Vandewater’s assistant from 1958-61), as well as for numerous other major United States Auto Club races.

The nattily dressed, white-dinner-jacketed Vidan flagged races with considerable flair, grace, and showmanship. Until safety issues dictated otherwise, he worked from the actual track surface, dropping to one knee at the conclusion of an elaborate flag-twirling routine every time a competitor roared past his green or checkered flag.

The muscular, multi-talented Portland, Oregon, native resided for many years in the town of Speedway, Indiana, where he operated a health studio frequented by numerous Indianapolis 500 drivers, some of whom owned helmets painted by Vidan.

A one-time trapeze artist and motorcycle stuntman, he was much in demand as a speaker. His repertoire included a racing-related “lightning cartoon” act that delighted both children and adults.

Friday, May 24, 2024

1980 - Hoffman, Trickle Win ARTGO 50's at Illiana

Ed Hoffman receives congratulations from promoter John McKarns after scoring his first career ARTGO feature victory at Illiana Motor Speedway. - Stan Kalwasinski Photo

By Stan Kalwasinski

Schererville, Ind. (May 24, 1980) – Perennial Chicago-area late model champion Ed Hoffman and ARTGO Racing point leader Dick Trickle captured 50-lap features, splitting victory honors in the “Chicagoland Showdown” Saturday night at Illiana Motor Speedway.

The event, which marked ARTGO’s debut in Indiana, was threatened by several uncontrollable conditions, including rainy weather, dusty track conditions, and a thick fog which rolled in just prior to the start of the first 50-lapper.

For Hoffman, a five-time Illiana track champion, it was his first career ARTGO win; but for Trickle, it was ARTGO career win #19.

With a blanket of thick fog giving drivers and race officials questionable conditions, 20 cars and drivers blistered the Illiana pavement at the drop of the green for the first 50-lapper.

Michigan speedster Bob Senneker pushed his Camaro into the lead from his pole position. Senneker led through lap 6, as two-time Illiana track champion Larry Schuler moved his mount up front on lap 7.

Schuler and his Camaro stayed in front until lap 20, as both Mark Martin and Billy Kuhn, who were both running up front, slowed considerably. Senneker moved past Schuler to regain the top spot on lap 21.

Senneker was still in command when the yellow flag flew as the hood from Frank Gawlinski’s Camaro flew off, landing on the front stretch. Only one lap of green flag racing was complete when John Knaus, Steve Burgess and Pat Schauer got tangled up in turn four.

Hoffman moved past Senneker on lap 33, as the duo entered turn three.

Things seemed to be getting back to normal as lap 36 was completed, but in a wild seven-car melee in turn one brought out yet another caution. Hoffman maintained control of the situation when the green flag reappeared, with Senneker staying within striking distance.

When starter Bill Gronley’s checkered flag fell, it was Hoffman, Senneker, Schuler and new track record holder Jim Sauter.

A field of 21 competitors answered the call for the second 50, as the fog lifted, and officials had a better view of the racing action.

Dave Watson jumped out front from his pole position, opening up a commanding lead quickly between himself and his nearest competition, Joe Shear.

Watson held the number one spot with a lowly-closing Shear a distant second when the caution light flashed on lap 14. John Knaus spun and was hit hard by Jerry Kemperman. Both cars were out of action, as Watson saw his enormous lead dwindle to nothing.

Watson still looked like the man to beat, when the yellow came out again, as Senneker, Burgess, and Schauer got tangled up in turn two on lap 26.

With Watson leading, Trickle worked his way past the second place Shear and moved quickly to challenge the leader.

On lap 37, Trickle guided his Pontiac Firebird past Watson as the pair charged into turn three. Hoffman, who started the second main event in the eleventh position, also got by Watson, moving into second place and a possible shot for a clean sweep.

Trickle, who complained of handling issues in the first feature, had everything ironed out as he kept the lead to himself in a comfortable position ahead of Hoffman.

At the end of 50 laps, it was Trickle, Hoffman, Shear, Sauter and Mike Miller

Results –

Feature #1 –

1. Ed Hoffman. Bensenville, Ill.
2. Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
3. Larry Schuler, New Lenox, Ill.
4. Jim Sauter, Necedah, Wis.
5. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
6. Mike Miller, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
7. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
8. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
9. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
10.Larry Detjens, Wausau, Wis.

Feature #2 –

1. Dick Trickle
2. Ed Hoffman
3. Joe Shear
4. Jim Sauter
5. Bob Senneker
6. Mike Miller
7. Ray Young
8. Dave Watson, Milton, Wis.
9. Frank Gawlinski, Lynwood, Ill.
10.Pat Schauer, Watertown, Wis.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

1992 - Maier Wows 'em at Knoxville Limited Nationals

Garry Lee Maier waves from victory lane after capturing the Knoxville Limited Nationals A-main at the Marion County Fairgrounds. – Gordon O’Field Photo

Knoxville, Iowa (May 23, 1992) – He’s the hottest 360 sprint car driver in the central states' region if not the nation and Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway Garry Lee Maier lived up to his reputation.

He drove to a remarkable victory at the second annual Knoxville Limited Nationals.

Maier, who started on the outside tail of the event, was only able to make the championship lineup after winning the B feature, likewise from a tail end start. The Dodge City, Kan., resident lost a magneto during Friday’s qualifications and the resultant poor time trial run placed him far down the line in this first year of a point system.

The 25-lap feature saw a two-car battle develop as the defending race winner Dave Hesmer and Danny Young engaged in a torrid fight for the top spot for the first dozen laps of the event. Young captured the initial lap of the race but soon trailed Hesmer until lap 12 when he overtook the frontrunner on the back chute. A red flag for a single accident negated the position change.

During the Young-Hesmer duel, Maier had surged through traffic to pot a third-place showing at the lap 12 red banner. Maier had posted a runner-up finish at last year’s event after starting 22nd.

The restart saw another battle for the top spot develop as Maier passed Young on the 14th circuit and for five laps, he and Hesmer put on a driving clinic not soon to be forgotten at the half-mile oval. Maier took the lead for good on lap 20 when Hesmer became hindered in lap traffic.

With Hesmer exiting turn four, Maier took the checkers $3,000 richer for his amazing efforts. Hesmer, who had started on the pole with a perfect 120 score, maintained second place but was pressed at the flag by Young.

Results –

1. Garry Lee Maier, Dodge City, Kan.
2. Dave Hesmer, Marshalltown, Iowa
3. Danny Young, Des Moines
4. Billy Bell, Colfax, Iowa
5. Randy Nygaard, Hartford, S.D.
6. Dwight Snodgrass, Indianola, Iowa
7. Mike Twedt, Huxley, Iowa
8. Bill Dusenberry, Burlington, Iowa
9. Mike Chadd, Lincoln, Neb.
10.Todd Wessels, Ellsworth, Minn.
11.Chris Walraven, Knoxville, Iowa
12.Mark Wilson, Des Moines
13.Larry Neighbors, Oklahoma City
14.Duane Van Heukelom, Des Moines
15.John Hunt, Tulsa, Okla.
16.John Gerloff, Lincoln, Neb.
17.Rick Salem, Denver, Colo.
18.Tom Lenz, Strawberry Point, Iowa
19.Chad Mellenberndt, Sioux Falls, S.D.
20.Terry Alexander, Knoxville, Iowa

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

1982 – Eddy Staves Off Trickle’s Rush, Captures Volunteer 300

Mike Eddy has plenty of company in victory lane after winning the ASA-All Pro co-sanctioned Volunteer 300 at Bristol International Raceway. – Don Thies Photo

Bristol, Tenn. (May 22, 1982) – Defending American Speed Association champion Mike Eddy made his first win of the season a big one, Saturday night, holding off a resolute late-race Dick Trickle charge to take the combined ASA-All Pro Volunteer 300 at Bristol International Raceway by a car-length.

Although seven different drivers exchanged the lead 10 times during the 300-lapper, Eddy took over for good on lap 165 and braced himself for the inevitable Trickle assault.

“With 15 laps to go, my crew chief radioed me and told me Trickle was coming,” Eddy said. “So, I gathered everything up and ran as fast as I could.”

Fast took on a new meaning at the intimidating, 36-degree banked, .533-mile Bristol layout, as the ASA and All Pro cars made a mockery of all previous track records.

Rusty Wallace cranked out a 15.912-second (120.588 mph) lap in time trials to take the pole position for the race as the 36-car field averaged nearly 117 miles per hour in qualifying.

After Wallace led the first seven circuits, he was overwhelmed by Darrell Waltrip and Jody Ridley. The crowd of 8,200 hardly had time to sit down as the Waltrip-Ridley battle boiled and Neil Bonnett made a frenzied run from the back of the field after ignition problems kept him from participating in time trials.

Bonnett capped his terrific drive by putting his Mustang in front on lap 108 when Waltrip and Ridley pitted for fuel and tires.

A caution on lap 147 caused a shuffle and Trickle took the top spot away from Bonnett. Wallace would scoot by Trickle a lap later and stay in front until lap 164 when the yellow flew again.

“That mid-race caution probably won the race for me,” Eddy explained afterwards. “My right front tire was going down and I could hardly steer the car.”

Once his mount was corrected, Eddy was awesome, streaking into the lead on lap 165 but followed closely by Ridley and Bob Strait.

A devastating crash occurred on lap 209 when it appeared that Ridley darted around a slower car and as tail-ended by Strait on the frontstretch. Ridley’s new car, completed just hours before the race, climbed the wall, nearly getting out of the track while Strait left-handed inside wall hard. Neither driver was injured but incurred heavy damage.

Trickle didn’t seem to find his best set of “staggered” tires until late in the race, as evidenced by his making up nearly two-thirds of a lap deficit in the last 40 circuits. But he could not pass Eddy.

“It took us a while to get it right,” Trickle said in a post-race interview. “So, I guess I’ll be happy with second.”

Trickle has finished second in three ASA events thus far this season.

Bob Senneker was third, the last car on the lead lap.

Alan Kulwicki wound up fourth with 296 laps completed and Wallace took fifth, even though a green flag pit stop dropped him back five laps off the pace.

In the first “North-south” confrontation since last year’s ASA-All Pro co-sanctioned All American 400 at Nashville, the Northerners defintely had the edge Saturday night, takin eight of the top-10 positions.

Results –

1. Mike Eddy
2. Dick Trickle
3. Bob Senneker
4. Alan Kulwicki
5. Rusty Wallace
6. Ray Young
7. Tom Harrington
8. Kent Stauffer
9. Harry Deaton
10.Junior Niedecken
11.Randy Couch
12.Bobby Dotter
13.Dave Jensen
14.Gary Adams
15.Buddy Schrock
16.Darryl Sage
17.Butch Miller
18.Dennis Vogel
19.Jody Ridley
20.Bob Strait

ASA starter John Potts strikes a triumphant pose at the disposing of the All Pro Bull during the Volunteer 300 at Bristol International Raceway. – Don Thies Photo

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

1967 - Gerber Wins Raceway Opener

Jim Gerber is shown carrying the checkered flag after winning the late model modified feature at the season opener at Quad City Raceway. – Larry Hergert Photo

East Moline, Ill. (May 21, 1967) – Jim Gerber, the veteran driver from Mt. Joy, Iowa, led wire to wire to take the 25-lap feature race in the first IMCA late model racing program of the season at Quad City Raceway.

In the opening night draw for position, Gerber drew the pole and jumped ahead of fellow front row starter Don Bitner of Peoria at the drop of the green flag. He would continue to expand his lead the rest of the way In his 1966 Dodge Charger.

Dean Montgomery of Milan, driving a 1967 Chevrolet, started well back in the 15-car field, and moved up briskly, settling into second place on lap 16. By then, Gerber enjoyed a half-laap lead and all Montgomery could do was chip away at that huge lead.

Gerber also won a heat race, as did Montgomery and Jack Henson of Stronghurst.

Ray Cox of Davenport continued his mastery of the novice division in the area, winning yet another feature.

Results –

Heat #1 – Jim Gerber, Mt. Joy, Iowa
Heat #2 – Dean Montgomery, Milan
Heat #3 - Jack Henson, Stronghurst
Feature –
1. Jim Gerber
2. Dean Montgomery
3. Benny Hofer, Rock Island
4. Don Bitner, Peoria
5. Del Williams, Aledo
6. Jack Henson
7. Shorty Bennett, Moline

Sunday, May 19, 2024

1984 – Caution Helps Martin Nab Slinger ASA Win

Mark Martin scored his first ASA win of the season in the Coca-Cola 300 at Slinger Super Speedway. Promoter Wayne Erickson (left), Miss Slinger Super Speedway, Wendy Burnett (second from left), and Bobby Batson, Silver Creek public relations (right), join Martin in victory lane. – Al Fortner Photo

Slinger, Wis. (May 19, 1984) – Mark Martin re-established himself as a force to be reckoned with in ASA competition at the slinger super Speedway, Saturday night, as the circuit’s former three-time titlist came back from the brink of disaster to win the Coca-Cola Badger 300.

Martin let it be known in time trials on Friday night that he was out to win this one as he came within a whisker of eclipsing Dick Trickle’s world record for a stock car on a paved, quarter-mile track. Martin’s time of 11.704 seconds was just shy of the 11.658-second mark that Trickle set back in 1981.

A total of 22 car lined up for the grueling 300-lap event and when the field took the green flag from starter Johnny Potts, Trickle dove underneath Martin going into turn one to gain the lead on the opening lap. Trickle then paced the next 15 circuits, until he slid up the banking on lap 16, allowing both Martin and Jim Sauter to slip by. On the next lap, Trickle lost third to Mike Eddy.

At the 100-lap mark it was Martin still maintaining his advantage over Sauter and the rest of the pack. Positions remained unchanged until Alan Kulwicki overtook Trickle for fourth on lap 137. Two rounds later, Mike Miller dropped Trickle down to sixth.

All the leaders, except Martin, chose to pit following a caution on lap 145. Those who pitted had to make two stops under all the caution in order to change all four tires and not lose a lap.

At the conclusion of the stops, Martin was still the leader with Sauter, Kulwicki, Eddy, Miller, and Trickle in that order. It remained that way for several circuits with Martin pulling away, even on older tires. However, by lap 171, it became evident that the tires weren’t going to last much longer and Sauter began to apply pressure for the first time.

However, Martin was able to hold off Sauter’s advances as they went in and out of slower traffic.

At that point, Martin was looking for a caution and he got one on lap 209 but not the way he would have preferred. Tony Strupp was beginning to experience some handling issues and he came up out of the low groove while Martin was passing him. Martin slowed to avoid hitting Strupp but in the process, Sauter nudged Martin, sending the leader into the infield, killing the car’s engine in the process.

But Martin was able to get his car re-fired and pulled in line in the pits without losing a lap to Sauter. After two stops to change all four tires, Martin was back out, but in sixth place, well behind the five ahead of him, who stopped 60 laps before.

Undaunted, Martin began the charge to the front. On lap 228 he caught Eddy for fifth. On lap 242 he passed Trickle for fourth. Eight circuits later, Martin overtook Miller for third. But Sauter and Kulwicki were still far ahead. Martin need another break and he got it when Strupp and Jeff Schwister collided on the backstretch, forcing another caution, and bunching the field.

Two laps later, after the caution had expired, Martin moved around both Kulwicki, and then Sauter. Martin then avoided a piece of scrap metal that flew off of Strupp’s car on lap 288 and held on to the wire for the victory, followed closely by Sauter, Kulwicki, Miller, and Trickle.

The win for Martin was his first in ASA competition since 1981.

“Without the caution on lap 268, I couldn’t have won the race,” Martin said. “That caution gave me the edge because my tires were 100 laps fresher than anyone else’s.”

Results –

1. Mark Martin
2. Jim Sauter
3. Alan Kulwicki
4. Mike Miller
5. Dick Trickle
6. Mike Eddy
7. Bob Senneker
8. Mel Walen
9. Scott Hansen
10.Harold Fair
11.Jay Sauter
12.Dave Simko
13.Tony Strupp
14.Joe Shear
15.Tom Jones
16.Bobby Dotter
17.Jeff Schwister
18.Ken Lund
19.Don Collins
20.Mike Melius
21.Tim Fontana
22.Don Walter

Saturday, May 18, 2024

1985 – First ARTGO Win for Trickle at Capital

Dick Trickle recorded his first ARTGO Racing victory of the season at Capital Super Speedway. Ms. Capital, Corrine Chatman, joined the winner in victory lane. – Don Thies Photo

Oregon, Wis. (May 18, 1985) – Defending ARTGO Challenge Series champion Dick Trickle recorded his first win of the season on the circuit, as he drove to victory in Saturday night’s First Wisconsin Special 100 at Capital Super Speedway.

The 43-year-old racing legend from Wisconsin Rapids, wheeled his 1985 Firebird to the checkered flag in the 100-lap main event. It was the five-time ARTGO titlist’s 49th career feature win on the circuit.

Wrestling the lead away from pacesetter Joe Shear on the 93rd go-round, Trickle went on to take the checkered flag some four-car-lengths ahead of Shear. Rounding out the top-five were Mark Martin, Rich Bickle Jr., and Steve Holzhausen.

A field of 22 started the century grind with Tom Musgrave sneaking in from his second row outside starting position to take the lead on the first revolution. Musgrave was on top for only one laps before Holzhausen moved to the front. Holzhausen, who started on the front row, led until lap 5 when John Ziegler moved past him.

With 19 laps in the record books, the first yellow flag appeared as Jim Weber and Tom Reffner tangled in the third turn.

Lap 25 saw Ziegler still in command, followed by Shear, Trickle, Martin, and Ted Musgrave. Leading the race by about five-to-six car-lengths most of the way, Ziegler began to stretch his margin to 10 car-lengths as the event approached the three-quarter mark.

Looking to score hiss first-ever ARTGO feature win, Ziegler, however, began to slow and pulled into the infield on lap 68 when his Ford Thunderbird ran out of gas.

The race then featured a three-car battle between Shear, Trickle, and Martin, who ran bumper-to-bumper until lap 74, when Martin fell off the pace, dropping well back of the leaders.

Shear was still on top lap 75, pressed by Trickle with Martin, Holzhausen, and Bickle giving chase. After first trying outside to get around Shear for first place, Trickle snuck underneath the leader on lap 91. The pair then raced side-by-side for a couple of laps before Trickle finally took the lead away from Shear on lap 93.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids
2. Joe Shear, Lake Villa, Ill.
3. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
4. Rich Bickle Jr., Edgerton
5. Steve Holzhausen, Bangor
6. Al Schill, Franklin
7. Bob Gunn, Madison
8. Dennis Lampman, Oak Creek
9. Tom Musgrave, Mundelein, Ill.
10.Don Leach, Beloit