Recently someone asked who had the most wins at I-70 Speedway. Instantly Hall of Famers Ron Hartford, John O’Neal Jr., Larry Phillips, Rick Beebe, and Jamie Hager came to mind. Like most Facebook posts it was a hot topic for a couple of days and then died. Interesting to note today’s inductee competed in three American Speed Association (ASA) races completing 887 laps of possible 900. Furthermore, he led six laps in those ASA races and his average starting position and average finishing position of 14th were the same. He truly was Mr. Consistency. He raced in three ARTGO races in the 90s and again talk about consistent, his average start in those races was position 9 and average finish was 11th.
Let’s look at some other stats about this winning driver.
In 1991, this driver finished behind Lakeside Speedway Open Pony Champion David Cotterman in number of feature wins, he had 7 wins to Cotterman’s 10.
In 1992 he moved to the Charger Division and again claimed 7 feature wins finishing second in feature wins to the Champion and Hall of Famer Tony Sawyer.
In 1993 he was the Lakeside Speedway Charger Champion with seven wins to the Sawyer’s one but we all should remember that was the year of the flood which engulfed the speedway starting in July and ended the Lakeside season. At I-70 Speedway this driver claimed the Charger Championship also with 12 feature wins. Other Charger class winners in 1993 included Shane Snow, Don Marrant, Tony Sawyer, Mark Pier, and Chris Reed.
In 1994, he moved to the Late Models and was victorious three times at Lakeside Speedway. Of note his brother won twice in the Late Models in 1994 at Lakeside. The last year for Late Models at Lakeside Speedway was 1996.
In 1997, this driver came back to I-70 Speedway in the Late Model class and collected three wins, which is a prelude to the number of Late Model Championships he was about to reel off. The next three years 1998, 1999, and 2000 he was the I-70 Speedway Late Model Champion collecting 11 wins in 1998, 13 wins in 1999, and five wins in 2000 finishing second in the win category but first in the points championship to Hall of Famer John O’Neal Jr who had 16 wins in 2000. In 2001, this driver claimed one Late Model victory at I-70. In 2002 this driver competing with the likes of O’Neal and young Clint Bowyer won five features, four in a row late in the season. Bowyer won the championship with only two wins. In 2003, he was again the I-70 Late Model Champion with 13 wins, in 2005 he claimed another championship and added four more wins to his resume. Unfortunately, I do not have any other statistics after 2005 for this driver.
So, let’s do a quick synopsis of this driver’s statistics – at Lakeside Speedway he visited victory land 24 times and was a Champion once. At I-70 Speedway this driver was a five-time Late Model Champion with 66 Late Model wins. We are thankful to have Bob Libbey’s records as our reference material.
Now who is this driver we have been writing about? For fans of the #2 Late Model, I probably don’t need to write anymore. However, I will, this driver was also an excellent mechanic for carburetors. At the time we had to race two-barrel motors and instead of paying thousands of dollars to purchase a Blake, you could take your carburetor to this Racingkc Hall of Fame inductee and he would rebuilt your carb for pennies on the dollar.
Also, a personal story which has been recanted many times. When he was competing in the Charger class my wife and I had run out of motors. We decided to claim a motor for her car. (We had started the year with seven motors, but a friend blew three motors in three weeks before we parted ways). Anyway, Diana was instructed to claim the motor of the winning car, it just happened to be this driver. He told me when we got home there would be a message on one of the pistons. Sure enough, there was a message, to keep it clean it was appropriate that a woman claimed this motor. It was also at this point I became a huge fan of his because this engine was a basic racing motor, nothing fancy in it. It proved to me that it is not all about the engine and the horsepower, it still takes talent to drive a racecar successfully. This driver had Jeff Gordon talent!
In fact, in stature the driver being inducted into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame today had a very similar stature to Jeff Gordon and that driver is Jeff Klem, one of the winningest drivers in Kansas City history. Congratulations Jeff!