Sunday, May 26, 2024

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

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