Wednesday, June 5, 2024

1955 – Derr Wins Met 300 at Dayton


Ernie Derr, winner of the Metropolitan 300 at Dayton Speedway, receives a trophy and congratulations from speedway president Blair Ratliff.

Dayton, Ohio (June 5, 1955) – Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, driving a 1954 Oldsmobile, won the Metropolitan 300-lap late model stock car race at the Dayton Speedway, but an accidental death in the pit area on the 250th lap, marred the program.

Killed instantly was Dave Ritchie, a 31-year-old Cincinnati man, who was working in the pit area, directly in front of the judge’s stand.

Ritchie met his death when a 1951 Ford driven by Briar Johnson of Richmond, Ind., and a 1955 Buick Century driven by Bill Rexford of Dayton brushed each other while coming down the main straightaway in front of the grandstands.

Johnson’s car, which was just ahead of Rexford’s, went into a long, sliding skid winding up in the crowded pit area. Ritchie, a member of Rexford’s crew, was pinned between Johnson’s car and the wall fronting the judge’s stand.

Rexford said afterwards that Johnson’s car appeared to stop momentarily, then swerve towards the pit area causing him to ram into the car.

Before he went to the hospital, Johnson said, “As I came out of the turn, my exhaust pipe came loose, and it locked the steering. I wasn’t attempting to pull into the pits. I felt someone hit my car from behind.”

An estimated crowd of 12,000 watched Derr push his 1954 Oldsmobile into the lead for the first time on the 190th circuit. He was never headed after gaining the top spot.

Second place went to Jack Farris of New Paris, Ohio, driving a 1955 Oldsmobile, while Herschel of Shreveport, La., piloting a 1955 Thunderbird, finished third.

Rexford was fourth and Iggy Katona of Milan, Mich., driving a 1955 Ford, rounded out the top-five finishers.

Twenty-nine cars started the race and 17 were still on the track when the checkered flag waved.

The first 50 laps saw Buchanan dominate the field. He took the lead from Rexford on lap 14 and held it until lap 48 when Farris took over. Farris relinquished on lap 170 when he pulled into the pits for fuel and four tires. Buchanan went back into the lead at that point and held it until Derr surged to the front.

Derr’s share of the $6,000 purse was $1,000.

Results –

1. Ernie Derr, Keokuk, Iowa

2. Jack Farris, New Paris

3. Herschel Buchanan, Shreveport, La.

4. Bill Rexford, Dayton

5. Iggy Katona, Milan, Mich.

6. Tommy Thompson, Louisville, Ky.

7. Bob Hunter, Indianapolis

8. Bob Coutcher, Monroe, Mich.

9. Rex Craig, Richmond, Ind.

10.Morris Lamb, Germantown

No comments:

Post a Comment