Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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

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