1987 Ponca City Grand Prix Returns

Editor's Comments: No races were held a Ponca City from 1981 through 1986. Through hard work and conserted efforts of david Odle, Patrick McKay and others the Ponca City Grand Prix was resurrected in 1987. Below is chronological documentation of this return, followed by results and a commentary on the races by Wichita region's Sherry Huxtable.

Minutes of Special Board Meeting November 11, 1986

Members Present; Harlan Farmer, Pat McKay, Walt Bower, Sharon McBride, Wiley Hunt, Frank Smith, Ricky Hunt, Leon Machechnie, Glenn Reagan

Others attending; David Odle, Don Flegal, Jerry Crew

The Special Board Meeting was called to order by Harlan Farmer at his home in Edmond, at 8:40 p. in. The topic of discussion was Ponca City. Whether or not to pursue the idea of putting on a race there again. Much deliberation ensued. Walt moved that we respond in a positive manner to a letter of intent from the Ponca City AMBUCS and their affiliated service organizations. Seconded by Pat, motion passed unanimously with the exception of Jimmy Johns and Ron Franklin not being present. More discussion followed. Motion to adjourn special meeting was made by Ricky, seconded by Sharon, Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted, Sharon McBride Secretary

 

Nostalgia by GEORGE ENGLAND

Nowadays street racing is becoming accepted by our society as a legitimate sport after many years, with a few exceptions, of being an underground activity” practiced largely by juvenile delinquents. This change of status is due, as most of you know, to the emergence of sanctioned road racing, SCCA style, onto city streets where with strict controls it is an exciting but safe sport enjoyed by millions and growing by leaps and bounds.

Those of us in the Oklahoma Region, particularly those of us who have been, members for over five years, welcome this resurgence of urban racing with nostalgic memories. We were deeply involved in street racing twenty—five years ago and I think we deserve a little credit for keeping its flame flickering for twenty years.

Our Ponca City Grand Pr ix was for its last few years, the last remaining sanctioned road race held on city streets in this country arid it drew a lot of national attention. Some of you may not realize that we raced on the streets of the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds and also put on quite a bash’ at Norman. These last two races, memorable as they were, unfortunately did rot survive but the Ponca City Grand Prix did,
celebrating it’s twentieth birthday in 1980, the last year of it’s existence.

I have recently been, informed that there is a possibility of resuming racer at Ponca City, that it is at least being seriously considered by Ponca City AMBUCS and our Board of Directors. This is exhilarating news and brings back to many of us, nostalgic memories of driving, working and officiating that classic event. For twenty years it was our premier event, it was “Our Finest Hour.” From close personal experience, I can testify as to the many difficulties we had to overcome to keep racing alive at Ponca City for those twenty years, but quoting Admiral Farragut, I say

“Damn, the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. We want Ponca City- we need Ponca City, let’s go after it and get it
This is my last article for the year and I wish to thank Editor Bill Armstrong for allowing me to express my views in the Gasket Gazette. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings through memory lane. See you at the races (Ponca City, I hope).

 

“PONCA” ALIVE

Through much hard work and a lot of time and effort of David Odle, the PONCA CITY GRAND PRIX will live again, hopefully. At the January Board meeting it was voted that the Oklahoma Region should proceed with the plans to stage the 21st running of the Ponca City Grand prix. Details are still being worked on but it now stands that the race will be a Regional/National Event. A meeting is scheduled of the Ponca City Race Committee consisting of David Odle, Dave Brown, Jerry Crew, Don Flegal, Ronnie Franklin and George England, and a group of Ponca City, headed by Gary Miles, February 5. The contract for the 1980 Race is being used as a starting place.

As a lot of you know, a great deal of preliminary work is required in order to transform the quaint park road into a challenging race course. You should start planning now to come to Ponca on June 20th and 27th to work on the transformation. As in years past refreshments will be served and a Monte Carlo rally will be held. The only way Ponca will continue to live is through the efforts put forth of the members of the Region. We have to show the people in Ponca City that we are willing to work hard and long hours and do anything necessary in order fro this historic event to continue in the tradition of past years. When you are called upon for help, please do everything possible to get the job done. If you have expertise in areas relating to past races at Ponca City, I am sure the race committee would appreciate hearing from you. We do not want to show up the morning of the race and realize we forgot to put up a timing and scoring stand.

Another very important aspect of having a successful race is the promotion of the event. Although it is not sure thing right now it does not hurt to start spreading the word. If any of you have any contacts in the media, find out what we can do the get some articles in the newspapers and maybe even some air time on TV and the radio. I do have video tapes of the last race that could be used for promotion. We also need money for the social activities that Ponca was known for. I will be working on that project and certainly welcome any ideas that you may have. I do ask that all efforts to obtain sponsorship for the event be coordinated through me. We do not want to give ‘exclusive” rights for the Friday night party to ten, different oil companies.

I don’t know why I have taken it upon myself to start writing to the editor regarding the Ponca race, unless it is because I am so fired-up about the rebirth of one of the most exciting and “neat” races I have ever had the pleasure of being associated with.

Patrick McKay, Past R.E., Past Asst R.E., t. R,E., Past Chief F&C, Past Board Member, Current Grid Marshall, Current Board Member

 

Practice! Makes Perfect?

by Sherry Huxtable, Wichita Region (Reprint from “The Wail” - Official Publication of Wichita Region SCCA)

The 21st Ponca City Grand Prix was far from perfect even though Oklahoma Region has had 20 years of practice in organizing it. However, many of the problems did not arise because of Oklahoma Region. It seems that the ever-present AMBUCS organization was up to many of its old tricks, the “farmer” once again declared his property off limits; and the weather steward got up on the wrong side of the bed both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Not to mention the always popular and infamous announcer who doesn’t know the first thing about SCCA racing.

Now that the frustrations have been vented, I must also give these people much credit (everyone except the farmer that is). Those of us in Wichita Region who are involved in Lake Afton do not under stand the problems incurred in needing to borrow a great deal of money to put on a race. The AMBUC’s must carefully watch every penny to be able to insure repayment of that loan and turn a profit as well. We also have Rainbows United which gains us open doors to trading out needs for advertising or simply straight donations to our race. If these things are taken into consideration, it makes us realize that the AMBUC’s do fairly well in helping Oklahoma Region put on an event of this size and kind.

The party on Friday night at Marland Mansion was terrific. Even better than Ponca used to be. All the free booze you could want plus grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and munchies. The scenery was luscious! Sure wish we could have wandered the inside of the mansion, but I understand why the biggest part of it was closed off.

The weather steward had some rough mornings, but did manage sunshine and steam baths for both afternoons. The track dried out very quickly once the rain stopped and afforded us some excellent and safe racing. The spectators were typical... (Some attended in spite of the weather) and were pleased by the racing. As we were packing up the corner equipment on Sunday evening we heard someone yelling. “Hey people in white! Thanks for the great race! I’ll see you at Lake Afton.” Now that’s the kind of spectator we need to see more often.

Nothing has changed about the farmer. He seemed to do okay on Saturday, but come Sunday was once again telling the Lizards crew that they could not set foot on his property. Naturally this did not make Ken Kern happy. I’m sure that I would not want to be on the wrong side of Ken, or most of his crew. They work hard and they get angry when someone upsets that schedule. Maybe the farmer thinks its part of the race weekend to get his two cents worth in. Maybe he’s right.

Then there is the announcer. What can one say about a man who has been around ever since I can remember and hasn’t learned a thing? Obviously, one has tried to educate him in our sport and just as obvious is the fact that he was not provided enough good information to help educate the spectators. His ‘Practice! Practice! Practice!” and “Race time! Race Time! Race Time!” could be heard for miles a- round and made us all wish someone with a pair of wire cutters would put us out of our misery.

The racing was very good and we were proud of our Wichita Region drivers and the showing they made. Ken Steffan and Dick Chance both set new track records; Ken Kimball, Charles Rotramel and Jim Rishel drove more smoothly and more consistently than we have ever seen them drive before; and Mike Lauer (at his first Ponca as a driver) drove his Formula Ford to a seventh place. Congratulations Mike!! Hope you had as much fun driving as we did watching you drive.

One sad note. . .John Holsonback was injured while helping another driver load his car during lunch break on Sunday. He has a broken arm and a cracked pelvis. He spent several days in the Ponca City hospital before being brought home. It will take a while to mend, but John says he’ll be as good as new in a few weeks.

Well, there you have it. The 21st Ponca City Grand Prix from the view of this corner worker.
If you missed it, plan to be there next year.

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Dash Plaques 1961-1975

  • 1965
  • 1966
  • 1975
  • 1968
  •  1972
  • 1962
  • 1964
  • 1971
  • 1974
  •  1969
  •  1970
  • 1973
  • 1967
  • 1963

Feature Winners

  • 1992 Wendell Miller Swift SE3Q
  • 1974 Bud Crout Lola T294
  • 1968 Bobby Alyward McLaren Chevrolet
  • 1967 Bobby Alyward McClaren Chevrolet
  • 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977 and 1978! Fred Parkhill, McClaren Mk8 Chevrolet
  • 1961-62 Jack Hinkle Birdcage Maserati
  • 1969 John McComb Ford Mustang
  • 1980 Neil Harrison Bobsy SR6
  • 1987 Don Flegal Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1964 Bud Morley Elva Mk7 BMW
  • 1965 Dick Durant Durant Special Chevrolet
  • 1966 Bud Morley McLaren Ford
  • 1963 Jack Hinkle Cooper Monaco Climax
  • 1975 David Jungerman Chevrolet Camaro (The only photos we have of David at Ponca are him spinning. Here he finds the limits of the braking zone at Turn Six as Jack Hodgkinson blasts by.)

Dash Plaques 1976-1992

  • 1987
  • 1989
  • 1980
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1977-B
  • 1981
  • 1978
  • 1976-B
  • 1979
  • 1977-A
  • 1976-A
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