Tuesday, May 14, 2024

1971 – Stock Opener to Sanger

Ed Sanger

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (May 14, 1971) – When the gates open, you walk through, according to Ed Sanger.

Sanger should know - he’s been walking through quite a few of them lately.

Friday night, it was the 25-lap late model stock car feature at Hawkeye Downs and the Waterloo dandy raced off with the season opener before an anxious crowd of 4,200.

Remarkably, it was Easy Ed’s sixth straight feature triumph of the young season in the 1970 Monte Carlo he drove to season championships at Independence and Waterloo and a third-place finish here at Cedar Rapids.

In this one, though, someone from up above must have been smiling down on Sanger, who started 10th in the 18-car field on the quarter-mile dirt track.

Polesitter Chub Liebe of Oelwein and Bill Zwanziger of Waterloo waged a bumper-to-bumper duel for the first 12 laps, with Zwanziger’s ’70 Nova holding the front spot over Liebe’s ’67 Ford.

Then, right at the start/finish line on the next tour, the two machines got together and Zwanziger spun out, nearly clipping the infield guardrail.

Sanger shot by and into the lead, as Liebe slowed considerably. Zwanziger was down nearly a lap before he was able to recover.

From that point on, it was clear sailing for Sanger, as he pocketed $350 for his victory.

Liebe finished second with Karl Sanger of Waterloo, Ed’s brother, in third, Curt Hansen of Dike in fourth and Cal Swanson of Reinbeck finishing fifth.

“When the gate’s open, you’re supposed to walk through,” a smiling Sanger said afterwards. “I had clear sailing after Bill and Chub got together, but I was picking up on them pretty good before it happened.”

“Liebe kind of got into Bill…guess that’s part of racing.”

Zwanziger was bitter and didn’t spare his feelings.

“There was only one way Liebe could get around me and that was to spin me,” he said. I was in the lead, and I had the groove - I was entitled to it.”

Red Droste of Waterloo, last year’s champion at The Downs, finished seventh behind Independence’s Glen Martin.

Zwanziger did walk off with two checkered flags in the 15-lap semi-main and the second heat. Sanger claimed the 10-lap dash and Liebe was the winner of the first heat. The 10-lap consolation went to Benny Hofer of Rock Island, Ill., after a four-year absence.

Dave Trower of Waterloo carved his niche in the sportsman division, winning his heat and the 15-lap feature.

Results –

Trophy dash – Ed Sanger, Waterloo
Heat #1 – Chub Liebe, Oelwein
Heat #2 – Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
Semi-main – Bill Zwanziger
Consolation – Ben Hofer, Rock Island, Ill.
Feature –
1. Ed Sanger
2. Chub Liebe
3. Karl Sanger, Waterloo
4. Curt Hansen, Dike
5. Cal Swanson, Reinbeck
6. Glen Martin, Independence
7. Red Droste, Waterloo
8. Bill Barthelmes, Troy Mills
9. Dr. Al Mayner, Independence
10.Joe Schaefer, Waterloo

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