The Glass City 200 has long been the top event for the Outlaw Super Late Models at Toledo Speedway (OH). A few years ago the track held the 25th running of the historic race. Heading into this year’s 27th running of the race on Saturday we decided to take a look back at a few of the historic races as recapped by track PR from years ago.
The Jump and a Landis Win
Both the 2005 and 2006 Glass City 200 races will go down in history, but for different reasons. John Doering Jr. captured the rain-shortened race in 2005, the first Glass City race to ever be cut back by the elements. And, 2006, well, who could forget? Michael Simko took off running and put a flying drop-kick on the windshield of Don St. Denis during a red flag, St. Denis scrambled from his car and the duo squared off in the infield! The incident drew world-wide attention and made news for several weeks. To their credit, both drivers have moved on and have raced against each other. In fact, both drivers are expected to be at this year’s race this Saturday.
With rain expected most of the day and evening, the decision was made to run the first portion of the 2005 Glass City 200 to lap 101. And what a great show it was! Steve Sauve, by the inversion, started on the pole and was looking for his 4th Glass City 200 victory. Scott Hantz was quick also, and stayed with Sauve early on until he made his move on lap 60 to grab the lead. Only 2 yellows for minor incidents slowed things. Harold Fair Jr. (#71) the fast qualifier for the 46 car field at 15:088, moved from 11th to third. Doering, at the wheel of Dean Hudson’s #5, got by Hantz (#72) on lap 74 to take control and with Fair now second, the duo put on a sensational show as the weather began to move closer. Fair got up to Doering’s door on the white flag but ran out of time as the lap 101 mark was completed. The rains began just as the cars made their way back onto the track and it continued for a lengthy time, bringing the race to an official ending. Doering was the winner, Fair Jr. second, Hantz third, Dave Kuhlman (#24) fourth and Freddie Campbell (#47) fifth. Tim Curry and Chuck Roumell won the last chance races. Jimmy Thiel (#6) piloted Bob Ward’s car to the B main win.
In 2006, Jack Landis (#10) was somewhat of a surprise winner in the 200 lap classic. The action was wild all day and needless to say, the “Main event” of the day was the Simko-St. Denis altercation. Again, 46 cars were on hand, with Johnny Belott (#0) posting quick time at 15:045. Simko and Jay Sommers won the last chance races, while local Joe Hawes (#53) took the B Main.
2006 was also the year that the race went back to Saturday night, which allows for a Sunday raindate if needed, the same format that is still in place today. 2003 track champ Brian Keselowski sailed into the lead and several favorites, including 2005 winner Doering, were early retirees. At lap 51, Brian darted down pit roead, handing the lead to Mike Luberda Jr. (#40). Mike ran a strong pace, with Dave Kuhlman in tow as the duo brought the field to the lap 101 break in that order.
25 of the 31 car starting field took the green flag after the break. Kuhlman nosed into the lead and held it until lap 112 when the yellow flag appeared as Sauve tagged the wall. On the restart, the fireworks began as Simko tangled with St. Denis, with Simko pounding the turn 3 wall and bringing out the red flag. Simko jumped out of his car and ran to the #20 St. Denis machine and the battle began! When racing resumed, Kuhlman appeared to be headed for that elusive Glass City 200 victory, but Dave’s day ended on lap 137 as he got collected in an incident on the main straight-away. Luberda took over the lead, but Belott was lurking around the front and took the point on lap 153. But misfortune struck Johnny as he coasted pit-side on lap 168. Somehow, Sauve remained in the hunt and took over from Belott, but a sour engine stopped his night. Landis, who also had been staying in the front of the pack, grabbed the lead and the big victory over Luberda Jr., Andy Ponstein (#00), Brent Jack (#41) and veteran Harold Fair Sr. (#81) completed the top 5.
After ending last year’s race on a sour note, Canadian superstar Jr. Hanley returned to Toledo Speedway in 2001 with his sights on only 1 goal—the win in the Glass City 200. Hanley tangled with teammate Tim Felver with 8 laps to go in the 2000 event, but he was not to be denied on this day…..
With a brand new asphalt surface, Jr. started the weekend by topping the 51 car field with a new track record of 14:817 at the wheel of the #66. A total of 32 drivers eclipsed the old mark on a superb surface on the ½ mile oval. The last chance race winners were Scott Hantz (#72) and Cord Ehrhart (#02). Bob Varney (#61) edged out Steve Tabor in a great race to win the B main.
Johnny Belott grabbed the lead at the start of the 200 lap classic, with Harold Fair Jr. in tow. Fair took the point on lap 14 and opened up a good lead as Hanley began to work his way to the front, coming from his 11th starting spot. By lap 43, the fleet #66 of Hanley was the leader and took the field to the lap 100 break. Scott Baker (#11), Dennis Berry (#6), Belott (#0) and John Grega were next in line.
The second 100 laps started with a bang as Dennis Strickland, the 2001 track champ, slammed the wall in turn 3 on the start. When the race resumed, Hanley took off and was really never challenged as the final 99 laps went green all the way to the checkered flag. Hanley’s victory marked the first time a Canadian driver had won the 200. Berry, Belott, Baker and Tim Curry (#24) completed the top five finishers.
Welcome Back Glass City 200
In January of 1999, ARCA President Ron Drager and his business partner, Roy Mott, purchased Toledo Speedway from Sonny Adams. And with the new season looming, it was time to revive a race that became known for its competition and excitement…the Glass City 200.
As if it never stopped during the 21 year hiatus, the prestige and tradition of the event was present again! 55 machines were on hand. The change of format of the race set up a 200 lap event, with a break at the half-way mark. The last-chance race winners? Hubbard, OH star Glenn Gault (#32), who won the season opener at the track, and ’99 Toledo Late Model champ Dennis Strickland—the strength of the field was here again! For this race, a B Main was also contested, with multi-time Columbus, OH Speedway champ Donnie Hill (#0) taking the top spot over Len Fritz Jr.
Dirt-track star turned asphalt racer Roger Wing (#55) ventured to Toledo for the race and surprised everyone by setting fast time at 15:65 on the ½ mile. Under brilliant blue, sunny skies, the Sunday afternoon race was highlighted by the retirement of Joy Fair’s #1 from ARCA Late Model competition. The large crowd gave a standing ovation to Fair, who was greeted by former competitiors Danny Byrd, Joe Ruttman, Jim Bickerstaff and Ed Cooper for the ceremony. The late Larry Nuber, a Toledo native and the gentleman who called the first stock car race for ESPN, was Master of Ceremonies.
Ohioan Scott Baker led the first 52 laps of the race, which went green flag to that point. Baker pitted, giving the point to Tim Ice, followed by a strong contingent of competition. Dennis Berry , going after Ice for the lead, tangled with a lapped car and hit the tires in the infield of the ¼ mile, ending his bid for victory.
Ice led at the break and continued out front when the race went back to green. Felver, applying the pressure lap after lap, finally ducked low in turn 3 with just 10 laps to go to grab the lead and the huge win for the Larry Zent/Dean Hudson #5 team. Ice (#65) was second, Joe Bush (#101) third, Doug Finley fourth (#29) and Rick Sheppard fifth, who came from 13th to take 5th and the Hard Charger Award.
The Last for a Long Time
Few knew that 1977 would be the last season for the Glass City race for a period of 21 years. Track owner Herb Koester sold the speedway to Thomas (Sonny) Adams. Adams ran the facility from 1978 to 1998, until he sold the track to Marcum’s grandson, ARCA President Ron Drager, and his business partner, Roy Mott. While Adams ran several big-time races during his stay at Toledo, the Glass City 200 was shelved.
With the move to a Saturday night in August, the number of entries fell back to 31 cars. The strength of the field, which became a trademark of each Glass City race, was still present despite the car count. The legendary Bob Senneker would etch his name in the books as the first 3-time winner of the 200 lap event….and the 21 year hiatus of the Glass City 200 began…
Senneker, as always, was at the top of his game when he rolled into any track. Bob set fast time at 16:63. Beaverton, MI resident and legendary car builder Ed Howe sat next to Senneker on the front row as the green flag fell. Howe took the lead until Senneker took charge on lap 28. As the #84 Bluebird sailed away, consi winner Bill Daniels blew an engine and Senneker found the oil. Bob spun, Ed Cooper (#24) zipped by and took the win on the final lap of the first segment. Senneker got back on the throttle and got back to second, Buddy Bennett was third, Don Gregory (#7) fourth and Joy Fair (#1) was fifth.
Bob wasted no time in the 2nd 100 lap segment, taking the lead on the start and cruised to the win over Howe, Randy Sweet (#17), Fair and Cooper. Senneker’s win sealed his name as the only 3-time winner of the Glass City 200…..that was, until Steve Sauve made history (more on Steve as we continue to re-live these events). Cooper, Fair, Sweet and Gregory rounded out the top 5 in the overall standings.
In The Yee 33
The year is 1974….an amazing record 76 cars travel to Toledo Speedway for the Glass City 200! All the top Late Model drivers in the Midwest are here, including a surprise visit by Wisconsin legend Dick Trickle. Another strong combination of driver and car owner rose up for this race, as John Anderson piloted the famous #33 of Stan Yee to victory…..
Anderson and car owner Yee had racked up some big wins in invitational races around the Midwest during the season, but their eye was keenly on the Glass City 200 crown. Another top team that was strong wherever they ran was the Fred Swing #29 Camaro, with Toledo driver Harold Cook at the controls. This duo also travelled much of the season, and at Toledo, Cook set the car on the pole with a lap of 17:55. Dick Crup (#24) and Grand Rapids, MI driver Bill Minch took the consi races.
Cook’s day was short-lived, however, as his car lost an engine just 6 laps into the event. 2-time Glass City winner Bob Senneker took the lead for just 5 laps until Anderson motored by. Trickle showed up just before qualifying, but still was 5th quick in his first Toledo run. The Wisconsin sensation spun in Cook’s oil and went to the tail of the field, and now the show was on! From the back, Trickle (#99) thrilled the crowd with his drive to the front, only to tangle with Columbus, OH driver Lennie Waldo. To the tail of the field again went Trickle, but living up to his billing, Dick again fought his way to the front, took the lead from Anderson on lap 85 and led 2 laps, only to suffer race-ending mechanical woes. Anderson took back the lead and held off Senneker by less than a car length to win the first 100 lap segment. Tony Diano, Artie Sommers and Ed Hage (#0) completed the top five.
In 1968, Toledo Speedway promoter and ARCA founder John Marcum came up with the idea of running a 200 lap Late Model invitational—the Glass City 200. Despite a 20-year hiatus of the race from 1978-1998 (when the Toledo track was sold), the race was revived in 1999 when Marcum’s grandson, Ron Drager, purchased the track with business partner Roy Mott.
And today, the race still carries the prestige and notoriety that it once did back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Let’s take a look back at the 1970 edition of the race……………
The First for a Veteran
The third running of the Glass City 200 at Toledo Speedway saw Grand Rapids, MI area driver Bob Senneker zip to victory in the 200 lap event. Driving one of the famous “bluebird” Chevelles that Bob became known for, he beat 1969 winner Joe Ruttman by 2 laps.
Track champ Joy Fair set fast time, dropping below the 18 second bracket with a lap of 17:84 to lead the 50 car field. The format for the event was changed, as a break at lap 100 allowed teams to refuel and work on their cars. Fair set the early pace for 33 laps, but a flat tire marred his day, putting Joy down 2 laps early. At lap 100, it was Senneker, Ruttman and Fair, who made up 1 lap before the break. Harold Cook, Buzz Kormos and Pete Hudson were next, all 3 laps down at the break. Danny Byrd appeared to have second spot sewn up, but had to make a fuel stop, dropping him back to ninth.
On the start of the second segment, Ron Grana got upside down, ending his afternoon. Fair was looking for a yellow flag to close the gap even more on Senneker, but the rear axle failed in his Chevelle on lap 123, ending his day. Senneker cruised along and had a late race scare when blue smoke began to trail from his machine. “It was just oil from the breather dripping on the heads,” noted Senneker. Bob led 165 of the 200 laps on his way in what was to become his first of 3 Glass City 200 titles.
-Information Taken from Toledo Speedway PR. Photo credit: Speed51.com