Saturday, July 6, 2024

1975 – Bubby Jones Triumphs at Action Track

Norman "Bubby" Jones won the Bicentennial 40-lap sprint car feature at the Terre Haute Action Track. - Tom Dick Photo 

Terre Haute, Ind. (July 6, 1975) – Starting from the 13th position, Bubby Jones of Danville, Ill., won the Bicentennial 40-lap feature worth $2,500 Sunday afternoon at the Action Track.

Jones finished three cars length ahead of Dick Gaines. Rick Ferkel led the race before dropping out with mechanical problems.

Ferkel saw an apparent insurmountable lead fade and eventually disappear just eight laps away from the finish of the 40-lap feature event.

Enjoying a comfortable full turn lead over Jones entering the 30th circuit, Ferkel started to slow and frantically gestured to his crew of his impending problems. A fuel line connected to the gas tank came loose, starving Ferkel’s pale yellow sprinter out of gas and which ended in a disappointing trip to the pit area.

Ferkel had dominated the open competition event until his problem developed after jumping into the lead at the start on the slick and dusty clay surface. The 26-car field had failed to complete a full lap when thee race was halted with thee red flag due to the dusty conditions.

After a brief delay for the track to be watered, the field took the green again with Ferkel repeating his move to thee top spot from his front row starting position.

Ferkel, who had to hitch a ride to the track after his tow truck broke down, started separating himself from the field after 20 laps with only Jones and Gaines staying within reasonable striking distance. At the midway point, Ferkel enjoyed an almost half-lap lead over his two nearest competitors.

With Ferkel sidelined, Jones and Gaines staged a tight battle in the final eight laps with Jones prevailing.

“There was no way I could have caught Rick if he hadn’t broke,” Jones said afterwards. “I know how Rick must be feeling, but that’s a part of racing. It was my turn to win today.”

Sunday’s race, viewed by crowd estimated at 2,500, marked the first non-USAC sanctioned program at the local oval in more than four years and the promoters of the event said they would consider running another race, possibly next year.

In the preliminary events leading up to the feature, Ferkel captured the 5-lap trophy dash, outclassing the six-car field in leading start to finish.

Paris, Ill., driver Frank Hollingsworth lost the lead temporarily, then regained it to win the first heat. Bobby Kinser, who finished fourth in the feature, won the second heat by mere inches over Dean Shirley. Steve Schultz of Indianapolis came from the outside of the second row to capture the third heat over Mike Johnson.

Results –

1. Bubby Jones
2. Dick Gaines
3. Allen Barr
4. Bob Kinser
5. Cliff Cockrum
6. Larry Curtis
7. Steve Schultz
8. Dean Shirley
9. Doc Dawson
10.Mike Johnson
11.Larry Miller
12.Frank Hollingsworth
13.Larry Goad
14.Mike French
15.Mack Clellan

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