Wednesday, June 12, 2024

1971 – 8,653 See Hoffman Snare Race in Confused Finish

Don Hoffman

Des Moines, Iowa (June 12, 1971) – There was no doubt who won the 25-lap late model stock car feature at the State Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

Don Hoffman of Des Moines did that in fine style, driving his 1969 Camaro to victory by more than a half-lap to become the seventh different winner in seven weeks of racing.

The crowd of 8,653 probably didn’t know who finished second or third in the event and officially finally decided around midnight that Ken Davidson of Des Moines was runner-up and Dave Chase of Council Bluffs was third. Dick Oldham of Des Moines was fourth.

Official scorekeepers first had Bob Hilmer of Dysart second and Ernie Derr of Keokuk in third.

Hilmer and Derr, running second and third respectively, were involved in an accident in the first turn just after the white flag waved, denoting the final lap.

Derr later said his brakes on his 1965 Dodge failed. He rode the tail of Hilmer’s 1970 Chevelle and Hilmer got pushed into the concrete retaining wall in the first turn.

Both cars were damaged extensively.

The scorekeepers first ruled the accident had no bearing on the finish but later it was determined that the finish would revert to the lineup on the 24th lap except that Derr and Hilmer were place in ninth and tenth positions, respectively.

Hoffman, the 1969 sportsman champion, moved into late model racing in 1970. His victory was his first in late model competition.

“We’ve been trying different setups all season,” he said. “I guess we got the right combination tonight.”

Late model point leader John Connolly of Delhi and second place in points Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids had to start near the end of the lineup according to the rules and they were never contenders. Dake was awarded fifth and Connolly sixth in the revised finish.

Ken Davidson of Des Moines was the initial leader in the feature with Hoffman taking over on the second lap and leading the rest of the way.

Matt Moro of Des Moines captured his second straight sportsman feature, winning over Virgil Webb and Billy Geil, both of Des Moines. Sportsman point leader Phil Reece was sidelined with engine trouble.

The sportsman division had controversy as well, even before the races started. Drivers complained to officials they wanted more money. The late model winner received $500 while the sportsman winner received $150. Despite pleas, promoter Homer Melton refused to increase the purse.

Results –

Heat #1 – Don Hoffman, Des Moines
Heat #2 – Stan Stover, Reinbeck
Semi-main – Dick Oldham, Des Moines
Feature –
1. Don Hoffman
2. Ken Davidson, Des Moines
3. Dave Chase, Council Bluffs
4. Dick Oldham
5. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
6. John Connolly, Delhi
7. Bob Bonzer, Liscomb
8. Don Davidson, Des Moines
9. Bob Hilmer, Dysart
10.Ernie Derr, Keokuk

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