Wednesday, July 3, 2024

1958 – Race Stars Admit Use of Assumed Names at Tracks


Des Moines, Iowa (July 3, 1958) – We’ve got news for most of you 5,000 auto racing fans that jammed Pioneer Raceway on Sunday night.

That wasn't just any unheralded driver from Texas who breezed off with major honors.

The big winner, reported as “Jack Davis of Dallas, Tex.,” actually was Johnny Beauchamp, the 1957 International Motor Contest Association stock car champion.

That “Don Quinn of Long Beach, Calif.,” who won the late model feature on the same track a week ago Wednesday and placed second in Sunday’s feature, in reality was Bob Burdick of Omaha, Neb., another top ranked IMCA driver.

Both admitted too the Des Moines Register Wednesday that they competed under assumed names, “to avoid trouble with IMCA.”

The International Motor Contest Association, an organization bossed by a board of directors comprised of Midwest and southern fair secretaries, ruled Pioneer Raceway out of bounds for IMCA-sanctioned drivers two years ago by labeling the quarter-mile dirt track as an “unsanctioned track.”

A third-ranking IMCA driver, Ernie Derr of Keokuk, also reportedly competed at the previous Wednesday race at Pioneer Raceway as “Jimmy Hughes of Minneapolis, Minn.”

Reached at his home in Keokuk, Derr, a former IMCA champion, denied emphatically that he had raced there.

“I was there to see the races – that’s all,” he declared.

Beauchamp, whose home is in Harlan, said, “We just didn’t want to get fined by IMCA. We got in a little late; didn’t have time to check, so we signed in under other names”

Both Burdick and Beauchamp drove to Des Moines on Sunday from an IMCA-sanctioned meet that took place in Mason City, which Burdick won.

Beauchamp, who placed third at Mason City explained, “We assumed our appearance wasn’t in conflict with the IMCA rule on dates since we appeared at Mason City, but weren’t sure, so we just used other names to keep out of trouble.”

Burdick, currently third in points, declared, “We assumed it was the best thing to do. As I understand it, the IMCA promoters (Al Sweeney, National Speedways and Frank Winkley, Auto Racing, Inc.) don’t want us to use our regular names at meets outside the (IMCA) circuit.”

“They don’t want fans who pay $3 or $4 a ticket at big meets, to see us for $1 at some small track in the same territory.”

Burdick, Beauchamp, and Derr are expected to be at the Iowa state Fairgrounds in Des Moines on July 13 for the Iowa International 300-lap stock car race.

Marion Robinson, who promotes races at Pioneer Raceway, said he knew “13 or 14 of the 46 drivers here Sunday who signed in under different names.”

Robinson, who has a late model race at Pioneer on Friday added, “I’m not going to question them – besides, I don’t care to get into another rhubarb with Sweeney. He doesn’t want me to use his drivers.”

“The IMCA won’t give me a fair shake. When I ran late model stock cars that time (before) Sweeney chewed me out good. It’s big fight to keep going – I’ve had three shows and three rainouts.”

“We run on a percentage here with no ‘deals’. The drivers get more money here than they do at Sweeney’s meets.”

“I’ve heard they pay more,” Derr said, but Burdick declared, “I got $129 with a ‘rain crowd’ but Sunday with a full house – at least 4,000 people – I got $113 and was second in the feature.”

Robinson replied, “I wasn’t going to let them take all the money from the local guys who race here week after week. I told them they’d receive more money when they race under their right names.”

Derr, who said he’s thinking of joining the NASCAR (rival of IMCA) racing group, raced at Pioneer Raceway in several 1956 meets while under suspension for running in an unsanctioned meet at Dayton, Ohio, in 1955.

The Keokuk driver paid the $500 fine and was readmitted to the IMCA ranks. His brother-in-law, Don White, also of Keokuk, is currently first in the IMCA stock car point standings.

Lloyd B. Cunningham of Des Moines, secretary of the Iowa State Fair who is on the IMCA board of directors declared, “I will consult the book (rules) and if there is any violation it’ll be taken up immediately with the board of directors.”

“If they (drivers) want to run on those pumpkin tracks, maybe they’d better stay there.”

Asked if possible suspension would reduce the “big name” list of entries for the forthcoming meet at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Cunningham replied, “That would be Al Sweeney’s problem.”

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