Editor’s Note: The following stories were featured on page two of the Oct. 13, 1971 issue of National Speed Sport News.
Jan the Hippie Sets Torrid Pace
PHOENIX — Jan Opperman, winner of the Nationals at Knoxville, Iowa, is back on top of the sprint car world after winning the tragedy-marred Western U.S. Championships at Manzanita Speedway.
In a prior consolation race of the three-day, $16,000 event, Jimmy Cox, 42, a 20-year veteran from San Diego who was returning to racing after a one-year retirement, was fatally injured in a two-car mishap which also caused various arm injuries to Dub May.
And in the semi main, Al Ervine was involved in a three-car crash in the fourth turn of the half-mile clay oval, careened over a retaining wall, rammed through a cyclone fence and landed in a crowd of fans standing near the grandstand, injuring nine.
One of those injured, a man, was critically injured. Four youngsters were seriously injured.
At the start of the 50-lap championship, Jan Opperman lost control in the first turn, spun and eight other cars either spun or crashed into the wall. The race restarted and there were no further incidents.
Buddy Taylor, the old pro from Albuquerque, set a track record in qualifying and didn’t slow down in the feature. Taylor had as much as a straightaway lead through most of the early going, but began losing his brakes midway through the event as Bob Huebner, the 1969 western winner, and Opperman began catching up.
Coming off the fourth turn in the 44th lap, Opperman made a nifty pass on the inside and was leading at the flagman. It was all over after that point as he pushed the Ruggles Twister Chevy to victory.
– ‘Green Hornet’ Stings Hot Pennsy Field
Ed Howe is batting 1.000 at Heidelberg Raceway. The Beavertown, Mich., speedster who earlier in the season captured the 150-summer national championship, pushed his 1969 Green Hornet Chevelle to victory in the eighth annual Gulf-PRA National Open late model championship.
– Leavitt and Parkins Score Big In Oklahoma
Eddie Leavitt and Ralph Parkinson Jr. captured feature events at the IMCA sprint car races on back-to-back nights at the Oklahoma State Fair.
– Wall A Winner
Jerry Wall carved out a neat Northeastern Midget Ass’n victory at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway.