Sunday, June 9, 2024

1982 – Jackson wins annual ‘Miller 100’

Ron Jackson of Burlington won the annual Miller 100 race for charity at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa (June 9, 1982) – Call them what you want – wily and crafty fit. Fast is a word that fits too.

Ron Jackson of Burlington, Iowa and hometown favorite Darrell Dake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ran off and hid from the rest of the field Wednesday night in the annual Miller 100 late model stock car classic at Hawkeye Downs.

Jackson, who recently replaced Ken Walton in Dewayne and Cle Schneider’s car out of Iowa City, Iowa, took the lead on the 29th lap and was never headed although Dake got close enough several times to keep the issue in doubt until near the end. The final margin of victory was a little over seven seconds.

Four other drivers finished on the same lap as Jackson and Dake, but their fierce battle for third-place took place nearly a half-lap behind the two veteran racers, who’ve raced in seven decade between the two.

Defending Miller 100 champion Leon Plank of Eau Claire, Wis., finished third ahead of Billy Moyer Jr. of Des Moines, Dick Schiltz of Waterloo, Iowa, and another veteran, Roger Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa.

For Jackson, it was only his eighth time behind the wheel of his new ride but marked his third straight feature victory in the car after a clean sweep at 34 Raceway in Burlington and Lee County Raceway in Donnellson.

“I’ve said all along, this is the best ride in Iowa,” Jackson said afterward. “My part was easy. The car was set up to win when I climbed in it…all I had to do was drive.”

Jackson has raced jalopies, semi-supers, super modifieds, sprints and late models over the last 21 years he’s been involved in racing. Now 40, it was Jackson’s first-ever 100-lap victory.

“That’s right,” Jackson said. “I’ve won some big races through the years, but this is the first 100-lapper I’ve ever won. It’s a big thrill.”

Dake, who started back in the fifth row, moved steadily through the field and challenged Jackson as the two raced in traffic with less than 20 laps to go.

The event was postponed a day because of heavy rain on Tuesday, the original scheduled date for the race. This posed some problems for Plank, the defending champion. Plank had won the first two races of the four-race Wisconsin Super Dirt Series a week earlier on Wednesday and Thursday. He planned to race the Miller 100 on Tuesday and head back to his home state for the final two races of the series on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I was between a rock and a hard place,” Plank remarked. “We came down here on Tuesday and it was a tough decision on what to do. We decided to stay here because the forecast was for possible rain back home. I’d sure rather drive here then drive home and be rained out. But then again, if they do race up there, I could be in trouble in the series.”

Moyer led the first two laps of the race from his pole position, and then Tom Hearst of Wilton, Iowa, the Midwest’s hottest late model driver right now, took over. Hearst lead until Jackson powered past him on lap 29. A couple of laps later, Hearst pulled to the pit area with car problems.

Sabotage was blamed for Hearst’s departure.

“We’ve got a filter half-full of sand,” Hearst pointed out. “We ran five laps and I knew we were in trouble…it was detonating.”

Whoever dumped gas in Hearst’s gas supply, if that was the case, got the job done. A particle of sand partially clogged one jet on his carburetor, and it burned a piston., sidelining the Central Region NASCAR Winston Racing Series point leader.

Moyer’s quick time, 23.305 seconds, was just a shade better than Jackson’s 23.354. Hearst won the trophy dash.

Denny Miller of Cedar Rapids, Greg Hunter of Independence, Iowa, Kevin Gundaker of St. Louis, Mo., and Dick Schiltz were heat winners. The 15-lap B-main winner was Ron Pallister of Wapello, Iowa.

Results –

1. Ron Jackson, Burlington, Iowa
2. Darrell Dake, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Leon Plank, Eau Claire, Wis.
4. Billy Moyer Jr., Des Moines
5. Dick Schiltz, Waterloo, Iowa
6. Roger Dolan, Lisbon, Iowa
7. Ken Walton, Viola, Iowa
8. Ed Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
9. Kevin Gundaker, St. Louis, Mo.
10.Duane Steffe, Colona, Ill.
11.Roger Bruggeman, Dubuque, Iowa
12.Jim Thruman, Freeport, Ill.
13.Rick Wendling, Hazelton, Iowa
14.Bill Zwanziger, Waterloo, Iowa
15.Mike Klinkkammer, West Branch, Iowa
16.Karl Sanger, Waterloo, Iowa
17.Dan Dickey, Packwood, Iowa
18.Curt Martin, Independence, Iowa
19.Bob Fisher, Vinton, Iowa
20.Steve Keppler, Marion, Iowa
21.John Engelkens, Morrison, Ill.
22.Bill Breuer, Wapello, Iowa
23.Johnny Johnson, Morning Sun, Iowa
24.Gary Webb, Davenport, Iowa
25.Red Dralle, Evansdale, Iowa
26.Larry Kelley, Walford, Iowa
27.Tom Hearst, Wilton, Iowa
28.Mel Morris, West Liberty, Iowa

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