Friday, May 3, 2024

1974 – Kirkpatrick Captures Stuart Super Win


Larry Kirkpatrick is joined by his crew and promoter Gail Miller (far right) after his super sprint victory at Stuart Speedway. - AMR Photo

Stuart, Iowa (May 3, 1974) – Gail Miller’s Stuart Speedway played host to an excellent field of the Midwest’s super sprints as the quarter-mile track opened for weekly sprint racing for the remainder of the summer months.

The previously exclusive stock car track saw some of the finest racing in the facility’s 13-year history with two life-long friends battling each other tooth and nail all evening.

When the dust settled, Larry Kirkpatrick of Wood River, Ill., captured the feature event over former Wood River resident Ron Perkins, now a Des Moines mobile home salesman.

Perkins jumped out to the initial led in the 15-lap event with Kirkpatrick right on the exhaust pipes off the Dave Van Patten #19 car. Perkins drove into turn three too hard on lap 6, sliding high into the corner which gave Kirkpatrick, driving the beautiful black Jim Springer #28, the opportunity to slip down low to take the lead.

Once in front, Kirkpatrick would not be denied and took the checkers with Perkins in close pursuit. Following Kirkpatrick and Perkin were Ralph Blackett of Des Moines, Leonard McCarl of Bonaparte, Iowa and Mike Thomas of Des Moines.

In preliminary action, Kirkpatrick outdueled the persistent McCarl to capture the first heat with Perkins winning the second heat over Bert Sonner of Des Moines. Ralph Blackett pushed Jim Utt’s Chevy to wins in the trophy dash and a special match race.

Mike Thomas, driving his own “taboo” green-colored #37, won an accident-marred consolation over Adrian Zoutte of Knoxville, Iowa. The red flag came out on the last lap when Bill Miller of Prairie City, Iowa, developed problems with a radiator hose which broke spraying hot water on Miller’s legs. Despite suffering first and second-degree burns on his legs, Miller was seen walking around the pit area after the races.

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