The Cowley County Fairgrounds
Marble Wall of Fame For Auto Racing

A – J

     Several drivers raced on the Cowley County Fairgrounds racetrack at Winfield, Kansas as a stepping-stone on their paths to stellar careers in many forms of auto racing.  Of those known to have participated at Winfield, seven appear in Who’s Who in Auto Racing – The Blue Book of Speed published in 1936; six went on to race in the Indianapolis “500” a total of 17 times; fourteen have been inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas; ten have been inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa; one has been inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa; one has been inducted into the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri; two have been inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame; seven have been inducted into the Big Car Racing Association Hall of Fame in Lincoln, Nebraska; four have been inducted into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kansas; thirty-two have been inducted into the "81" Speedway Hall of Fame in Park City, Kansas; two raced in NASCAR’s Grand National Division which is now known as “Sprint Cup”; and two broke world land speed records for automobiles.  Among those of special note are:

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George Barringer in the Barringer Special

 

George Barringer in the Gulf Miller Special

   GEORGE BARRINGER (1906-1946) was born either in Kansas or at Wichita Falls, Texas and raced at Winfield in 1931.  He set 14 international Class D land speed records and 16 American Class D land speed records in the Gulf Miller Special at distances ranging from one kilometer to 500 miles on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in July of 1940.  He also appeared in the Indianapolis "500" six times between 1934 and 1946 with his best finish there being sixth place in 1939.  He was fatally injured in a racing accident at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia, the same crash in which the 1946 Indianapolis "500" winner, George Robson, lost his life.  Barringer is buried in the Riverside Cemetery at Wichita Falls, Texas.

George Barringer

 

Orval Beckel

     ORVAL ALFRED BECKEL (1917-1967) was born at Larned, Kansas and moved with his family to Wichita where he owned Beckel Auto Salvage.  Orval won a record four A features at Winfield between 1954 and 1957 driving Hudson stock cars owned by Kenny Neely of Wichita and Lawrence Brooks of Arkansas City, Kansas.  He set the three-lap track record at Winfield of 1:29.5 on Memorial Day, 1956, a record that stands to this day.  In the 1960s, Orval promoted stock car races at the Frontier Speedway west of Wichita.  Orval was inducted into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame in Wichita in 2002.

     Orval is buried beside his parents in White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita.

Orval Beckel with a 1932 Hudson sedan he

drove for Kenny Neeley

 

 

     W. W. BOWEN,  along with his partner, Don C. Onley both of San Antonio, Texas organized and promoted auto races at Winfield under the name Bowen Auto Races on July 30, 1927 and again on August 1, 1931.  Bowen was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa in 2011.

 

W. W. Brown

     WILLIAM WAYNE "W. W." BROWN (1886-1958) a.k.a. “Cockeyed”, “Bill”, “Brownie” of Kansas City, Missouri, raced at Winfield in 1912 and 1913 finishing second to Glenn Breed in a Buick at Winfield on July 4, 1913.  Brown was a noted car owner and engine builder, as well as driver.  He attempted to qualify a De Chesneau for the Indianapolis "500" in 1915 but failed.  He returned to Indianapolis in 1919 and qualified 17th in C. L. Richards' Brown/Hudson/Brett #5.  His effort lasted only 17 laps as the engine threw a rod giving him a 32nd place finish.  In later years, he served on the technical committee at AAA racing events and was owner of W. W. Brown Machine Works in Kansas City, Missouri.

     W. W. Brown passed away in Kansas City, Missouri and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City.  He was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame in Belleville, Kansas in 2004.

W. W. Brown in a De Chesneau.


 

 

Roy Bryant with a jalopy

 he drove for owner

K. O. Christian

     ROY CORNELLIUS BRYANT (1937-2009) of Wichita, Kansas raced at Winfield on Memorial Day, 1956.  He went on to race sprint cars with IMCA and BCRA winning the championship of the latter organization in 1967 and 1968.  He qualified for the main event at the Knoxville, Iowa Sprint Car Nationals in the first two (1966 and 1967) of his four trips there.  Roy drove super modifieds on the NCRA circuit in the 1970s and was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame in Belleville, Kansas in 2001.  He passed away in Wichita and is buried in White Chapel Memorial Gardens in Wichita.

Roy Bryant

 

Joie Chitwood

     GEORGE RICE "JOIE" CHITWOOD (1912-1988) of St. Joseph, Missouri who drove his first auto race at Winfield on July 28, 1934.  He went to participate in seven Indianapolis "500" races between 1940 and 1950.  His best start in the Indy "500" was from ninth in 1950 while his best finish there was fifth place, a feat which he accomplished three times (1946, 1949, and 1950).  Joie is credited with being the first driver in Indy "500" history to wear a seat belt during the race.

     After ending his racing career, Joie toured the country with his own automobile "thrill show".

     Joie is buried in the Showman's Rest Cemetery in Tampa, Florida.  He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame at Knoxville, Iowa in 1993 and into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2004.

Joie Chitwood at Indy in 1949.

 

 

 

Oscar Coleman

     OSCAR LLOYD COLEMAN (1905-1938) of Dallas, Texas was two-time defending Southwest Racing Association champion when he set quick time in time trials at Winfield in his family owned dual overhead cam Cragar Ford on July 28, 1934.  He was not able to capitalize on his fast pace though as damage from a crash with Cotton Grable in the fast heat race put Oscar out of competition for the remainder of the program.  Oscar was named in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing in 1936.  He was fatally injured in an accident while racing a midget at Sportsman Park Raceway in Dallas, Texas in 1938 and is buried in Restland Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.

Oscar Coleman in his

family owned

D. O. Cragar Ford

 

Pat Cunningham in the B & B Special supercharged Frontenac

    PATRICK “PAT” CUNNINGHAM (1903-1972) of St. Joseph, Missouri raced at Winfield in 1935.  Pat campaigned big cars successfully all over the Midwest and did equally well racing midgets in California.  He was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2000.

Pat Cunningham

  

Lou Durant

     LOUIS "LOU" DURANT (1910-1972) was born at Topeka, Kansas and raced at Winfield on July 28, 1934.  He timed in with the sixth fastest time and then won a heat race that day.  Durant also qualified sixth fastest at 118.97 m.p.h. for the 1946 Indianapolis "500" in an Alfa Romeo owned by Milt Marion.  Durant completed all 200 laps in that race placing in sixth place.  He also drove in relief of other drivers in the Indianapolis "500" in 1941 and 1948.

     Durant's real name was Durant Lewis.  He is buried in Victor Valley Memorial Park at Victorville, California.

Lou Durant

 

Loren Fondoble

    CHARLES LOREN FONDOBLE (1907-1996) was born in Kansas and resided in a number of places in Kansas during his lifetime including Palco, Arkansas City, and Wichita.

     He started racing in 1929 and won his first race at Quinter, Kansas two years later.  Loren raced his Model-B Ford with a four-port Riley head mostly in Kansas including at Winfield on July 27, 1935.  He qualified ninth quickest that day and won the second heat race.

     Always a top competitor, he was named in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing in 1936.  After retiring from driving, Loren spent many evenings in the pits at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas assisting young mechanics with the setup of their racecars.

     In his last years, Loren made his home on a 700-acre farm at Washburn, Missouri.  He is buried in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Loren Fondoble in his Fondoble Special at Dodge City, Kansas c1930

 

 

Red Forshee with his sprint car

 

   ERNEST L. "RED" FORSHEE (1916-2002) of Wichita, Kansas drove a stock car co-owned by M. B. "Junior" Smith and Jack Walker, at Winfield in 1953.  He also entered cars at other Winfield races in the 1950s for drivers J. D. Cox and Harold Leep.  Red was well known for his sprint car that he campaigned throughout the Midwest winning the BCRA car owner title in 1967 and 1968.  He is buried in the Resthaven Garden of Memories in Wichita and was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 1999.

Red Forshee

 

Johnny Gerber

    JOHN BRYAN "JOHNNY" GERBER (1896-1979) filed an entry for the races that were to be run at Winfield on September 27, 1927.  That program rained out and it is unknown if he ever returned to race at Winfield again.

     Johnny was a top "outlaw" sprint car driver in the 1920s and early 1930s.  After giving up driving, he continued to own race cars and build specialized connecting rods for racing engines.  His wife, Rose, kept meticulous records of his racing career.  They became the basis of his autobiography, Outlaw Sprint Car Racer which was published in 1992.  That was the same year Johnny was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.  He was also inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2004.  John is buried in the Stanwood Cemetery at Stanwood, Iowa.

Johnny Gerber in his Chevrolet powered "Whippet Special

 

 

Cotton Grable at

Anthony, Kansas in 1934

    AUGUSTUS FULLER “COTTON” GRABLE (1898-1962) a.k.a. the “Houston Hell Driver” was, of course, from Houston, Texas but resided for a time at Arkansas City, Kansas in the early 1930s.  He brought a Chrysler powered big car with him from Texas that was owned by W. J. "Willie" Mahovel of Houston, Texas.

     Cotton’s first known appearance at Winfield was on August 1, 1931 but even though he was sixth fastest in time trials, he did not qualify for the feature that day.  He returned to Winfield with a blue #5 big car on July 28, 1934 and set third quick time in time trials but a tangle with Ben Musick in the fast heat regulated Cotton to the consolation race, which he won.  He raced at Winfield again on July 27, 1935 and managed to time in fourth fastest.

     The following year, Cotton campaigned a D. O. Hal car owned by Charlie Hogwood of Dallas, Texas and was named in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing that same year.

     When Cotton retired from driving just prior to World War II, he returned to Houston where he became the flagman at Playland Park Speedway.  In 1950, he appeared as himself playing a flagman in the MGM movie To Please a Lady which starred Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck.

     In the late 1950s, Cotton served as an official for the Texas area with both IMCA and NASCAR.

     Cotton is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

Cotton Grable

Cotton Grable at

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

 

 

Bud Heehn

    CURTIS CLINTON "BUD" HAEHN (1935-1993) of Wichita, Kansas followed his brother-in-law, fellow Winfield Wall of Fame inductee Jack Petty, into the sport of auto racing on racetracks in the Wichita area in the early 1960s.  He won the semi-late model A feature race at Winfield on September 24, 1967 and continued to compete at Winfield, racing in the last race ever run here on July 25, 1971.  Bud and his car owner, John Rush, won the semi-late model season points champion at 81 Speedway at Wichita in 1969.  Bud also competed in the National Modified Jalopy Championships at Hutchinson, Kansas driving super-modifieds owned by Pat Sisk and George Hibbs.  What was probably his biggest victory in racing came in an IMCA sanctioned late model stock car race at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson on September 23, 1972 while driving an A.M.C. Javelin that he owned himself.  In all, Bud won a total of five A feature races at Hutchinson putting him in a tie for 38th place on the all-time feature victories at that racetrack.

     Bud passed away at Hoisington, Kansas and is buried in the Scott County Cemetery at Scott City, Kansas.  He was inducted into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame at Wichita in 2000.  Car owner John Rush joined him in that hall of fame in 2003.

Bud Haehn with a semi-late model stock car he drove for John Rush

  

 

Sig Haugdahl

    SIGURD OLSON "SIG" HAUGDAHL (1891-1970) was born in Tiller, Norway and immigrated to America in 1910.  He made his home at Albert Lea, Minnesota before moving to Florida in the 1920s.  He started his racing career on motorcycles in 1912 but switched to automobiles in 1914.  Sig won the feature race at Winfield on May 13, 1915 in a Mercer.  He was the first automobile driver to obtain the speed of 180 m.p.h. doing so in the Wisconsin Special at Daytona Beach, Florida in 1922.  His feat was not recognized as the world record it was though, as Sig was not a member of the American Automobile Association when he made the run.  Sig went on to win six consecutive IMCA national championships 1927-1932.  He also built the first manned rocket powered car which ran for the first time at the Bo Sterns Racetrack north of Wichita, Kansas in 1932.  Sig retired from driving in 1934 but laid out a four-mile oval race course on the beach at Daytona, Florida and promoted a race there in 1938.  One of the competitors in that event was Bill France who went on to form NASCAR.  Sig was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa in 1994.  He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

Sig Haugdahl in his record setting Wisconsin Special

  

Sig Haugdahl’s rocket powered car

 

 

 

 

Tom Holden

    TOM LUTHER HOLDEN (1906-1987) of Denver, Colorado drove his Chrysler 70 Special in races at Winfield in 1928 and 1929.  He set the Winfield track record for 6 laps at 3:38.0 on October 9, 1928.  Four days later, he returned to set the 3 lap mark at 1:52.0.  Holden also promoted a number of auto races throughout Kansas and Colorado in the 1930s and is credited with introducing midget auto racing into Kansas in 1936.  By the 1950s, he was promoting auto “thrill shows” in the Midwest.  Holden is buried in an unmarked grave in the WaKeeney City Cemetery in WaKeeney, Kansas.  He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa in 1998.

Tom Holden with his Chrysler 70 Special

 

 

 

 

 

To go to the Cowley County Fairgrounds’ Marble Wall of Fame K-Z

 

To go to page one of the History of Auto Racing at Winfield, Kansas

 

To go to page three of the History of Auto Racing at Winfield, Kansas