Saturday, June 22, 2024

1975 - Stover Drops Radiator, But Wins

Stan Stover

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 22, 1975) - "Just lucky" was the way Stan Stover of Reinbeck paraphrased his victory, in the 25-lap late model stock car feature Sunday night at Hawkeye Downs.

Stover was being modest in one sense, but in another he wasn't kidding. You see, just as the 35-year-old chauffeur picked up the checkered flag, the radiator dropped out of his 1972 Chevelle.

"I couldn't believe it; I guess I'm just lucky," said Stover, while sporting a wide grin loaded with satisfaction.

"The side mounts on the radiator broke and I noticed it smoking on the last lap."

Stover led the full 25 laps and earned $500. Stan was only the 14th fastest qualifier, but he was on the pole due to the draw that inverted the 14 fastest cars from time trials.

So Stan "was just lucky" to be on the pole, as he put it, "and all I had to do was hold off the rest of the drivers."

Well, that was no easy task, to be sure, as no less than four other drivers took shots at the leader during the tours on the half-mile dirt track.

Don White of Keokuk, the winningest stock car driver in United States Auto Club history, was a close second. White had the crowd of 3,842 on its feet as he charged from fifth place in the final five laps and his Chrysler Kit car was less than car length behind Stover at the finish.

Rounding out the top five were Fed Horn of Marion, Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, and Ed Sanger of Waterloo. Sanger, the current point leader, was the fastest qualifier with a 25.18 second clocking, but had to start the feature in the 14th spot due to the invert.

Sanger had captured three straight features at the Downs prior to Sunday night.

Stover's victory was his first in six years of racing at the Downs. He had finished second three times, but the big one had always eluded him. Until Sunday night…

"I've always wanted to win here," he said. "This is the fastest track, and the competition makes it the hardest place to make money."

Heat wins went to Dake, Tim McDonough of Cedar Rapids and Martelle's Bill Beckman, who also won the semi.

Results –

Heat #1 - Bill Beckman, Martelle
Heat #2 - Tim McDonough, Cedar Rapids
Heat #3 - Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids
Semi-main - Bill Beckman
Feature - 
1. Stan Stover, Reinbeck
2. Don White, Keokuk
3. Fred Horn, Marion
4. Darrell Dake
5. Ed Sanger, Waterloo
6. Phil Reece, Des Moines
7. Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo
8. Lem Blankenship, Keokuk
9. Ron Hemsted, Lone Tree
10.Mike Frieden, Fairfax

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