The Cowley County Fairgrounds

Marble Wall of Fame For Auto Racing


K – Z

 


    
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:

 (Continued from page A-J)

 

 

 

Leonard Kerbs

    LEONARD E. KERBS (1895-1960) of Otis, Kansas was known as the "Kansas Cyclone" when he drove racecars on dirt tracks all around the state.  He started his racing career on motorcycles in 1914 and switched to automobiles the following year.  He is said to have won every automobile race he entered in 1923.  Although it is unknown if Kerbs ever actually drove at Winfield, he did bring his car to a race here.  Charles Lebsack drove Kerbs’ car in July of 1927.  Kerbs brought it back in October of 1928 with James F. Pickens as driver.  Kerbs retired from driving in 1930 but continued to own cars which were driven by Sam Hoffman and Pat Cunningham among others.  Later, Kerbs became race director and flagman for the racetrack at Belleville, Kansas.  He was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2001 and into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2011.  Leonard is buried in the Otis Methodist Cemetery at Otis.

Leonard Kerbs' Garage at Otis. Kansas

 

 

 

   

Harold Leep

 

     HAROLD FLOYD LEEP (1933-2014) of Wichita, Kansas raced at Winfield in the 1950's in cars owned by Rolla Castor of Wichita, Kansas and Ernie McCoy of Arkansas City, Kansas.  Among Leep's Winfield racing accomplishments was a second place finish in the second heat race and fifth place in the A feature on Labor Day, 1953.  He also finished second in the third heat here on July 5, 1954 before winning the third heat race on Labor Day, 1954.  Leep also raced at Winfield on July 4, 1956 and probably on several other occasions.  When asked what he remembered about racing at Winfield, Leep replied that about all he could remember was that it was a very dusty racetrack.  He said he thought having raced here did help him later when he drove sprint cars on several other Midwest racetracks that were just as dusty.

Harold Leep in the #44 Pete Schmidt Offy Indy Car at the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

     Leep won the National Jalopy Championship at Hutchinson, Kansas five times: 1961, 1967, 1972, 1983, and 1984.  He won four super modified titles at Wichita in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1969; at Oklahoma City in 1969, 1971, 1972, and 1977; and at Tulsa in 1969.  He raced sprint cars with the IMCA, BCRA, USAC and NCRA from the late 1950s into the 1980s, winning the NCRA championship in 1972, 1973, and again in 1976.  In 1963, Leep passed his rookie test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but failed to qualify for the Indy "500".

     Leep retired from driving after the 1985 racing season after 35 years in the sport.  In the spring of 2000, Leep was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa and the Big Car Racing Association Hall of Fame in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame in Belleville, Kansas in 2002 and into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.  He was also inducted into the Outlaw Motor Speedway Hall of Fame at Muskogee, Oklahoma in 2009.

 

 

 

Frankie Lies

 

The #78 NASCAR 1958 Ford Grand National stock car

     FRANCIS JOHN "FRANKIE" LIES (1926-2006) of Wichita, Kansas raced stock cars at Winfield that were owned by Ernie McCoy of Arkansas City, Kansas and by Kenny Riffel of Herington, Kansas.  Among Lies’ accomplishments at Winfield was to set fifth fastest time in time trials at the Cowley County Fair in August 1950 and then finish third in the second heat race.  At the fair a year later, Lies suffered a flat tire while leading the feature but came back the next day to win his heat, the trophy dash, and the feature race. 

Frankie Lies

     On July 5, 1954, Lies won the third heat, finished third in the trophy dash, and then won another feature.  When I asked Lies what he remembered about racing at Winfield, he said his most vivid memory was seeing a car leave the track on the north turn, try to go between two trees, but hit both of them knocking the frame out from under the car.

     In 1958, Kenny Riffel built a 1958 Ford stock car #78 and entered Lies in the “Northern 500" NASCAR Grand National stock car race contested on May 30, 1958 on the one-mile paved oval on the New Jersey State Fairgrounds at Trenton, New Jersey.  The name of NASCAR's Grand National division was later changed to "Winston Cup" and then to “Nextel Cup”.  Lies qualified 27th in the 34 car field but had to drop out after only 33 laps when the hydraulic lifter cam in his engine went flat.  He was credited with 34th place finish in the race which was won by Glen "Fireball" Roberts.

     Lies won the National Jalopy Championship in Oklahoma City in 1957 and 1958 and in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1968.  He continued racing NCRA super modifieds around the Midwest winning that championship in 1974 and 1975.  Lies is buried in the Kensington Gardens Cemetery in Wichita.  He was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2006.

 

 

 

 

Charlie Lutkie

Charlie Lutkie with the Black Panther

    CHARLES JOHN “CHARLIE” LUTKIE (1918-2013) of Wichita, Kansas competed in many types of racing cars from the 1940s up into the 1970s all over the Midwest including midgets, stock cars, track roadsters, sprint cars, jalopies, semi-late models, and super modifieds.  He won the United Speedways of America (USA) sprint car championship in 1959 driving the famous Black Panther.  His biggest single race win was the National Jalopy Championship at Hutchinson, Kansas in July of 1962 while driving a car owned by Alden Davis.  Lutkie won feature races at Winfield as early as 1951 and as late as 1968.  He has been inducted into the "81" Speedway Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kansas; was inducted into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita in 2006 and into the Big Car Racing Hall of Fame in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2012.  Charlie is interred in the Mausoleum in Resurrection Cemetery in Wichita.

Charlie Lutkie

 

 

 

 

    BILL MEARS of Wichita, Kansas drove cars at Winfield owned by Pat Lucas and Ted Kammerer both of Wichita, Kansas; and Joe Collins of Winfield.

     Mears set quick time and then won the second heat, trophy dash, and A feature at the first post-war race held at Winfield on August 29, 1950.

     On Memorial Day, 1951, Mears set fifth fastest time in time trials, won the third heat and first semi-final before finishing fifth in the A feature.

     On the first day of the Cowley County Fair in August 1951, Mears set fourth fastest time in time trials, then won the second heat race and the second semi-final before placing second in the A feature.

     In 1952, Mears was named the Kansas State Stock Car champion.

     On Labor Day, 1953, Mears won the third heat, the trophy dash, placed fourth in the second semi-final, and then won the A feature.

     On Labor Day, 1954, Mears won the first heat race at Winfield but then, the following year, Mears moved his family to Bakersfield, California where he went into the construction business.  Although he returned to Kansas to visit, he never raced at Winfield again.

     Mears is the father of Roger Mears who raced in the Indianapolis "500" in 1982 and 1983, and Rick Mears, four-time winner of the Indy "500".  Mears is also the grandfather of current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Casey Mears.

     In 1993, Mears joined son Roger and grandson, Roger, Jr. to compete in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.  Bill drove a Dodge Dakota pickup truck and finished first with Roger, Jr. second. Roger, Sr. finished third and Rick Mears drove the pace car.

Left:  Bill Mears in 1953.

Right:  Left to right are Roger Mears, Jr.; Bill Mears; and Roger Mears, Sr.  This photograph was taken at Pikes Peak, Colorado in 1993.

 

Mel Montgomery with

John Hebb's 1957 Ford

right after winning the

A feature race at Winfield

on June 23, 1968.

     MELVIN LELAND "MEL" MONTGOMERY (1932-2002) of Wichita, Kansas was a well known driver before he ever raced at Winfield as he had won the semi-late model stock car season points championship at 81 Speedway north of Wichita in 1965.  He drove semi-late model stock cars at Winfield from 1967 through 1970 winning the A feature here on July 23, 1968.  Besides driving semi-late model stock cars for owner John Hebb, Mel was also co-promoter (with Dale Chase) of the races run here in 1967 and 1968.  Mel had long been respected by his fellow competitors for his clean driving style but it was in his role as co-promoter that he gained the most respect when he returned the money he won for his A feature victory to the purse to be redistributed among the other finishers here in 1968.  He said that he felt that move was warranted due to the poor fan attendance that day.

     Mel, along with his long-time-car-owner, John Hebb, was inducted into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame at Wichita in 2001.  He passed away in Wichita and is interred in a mausoleum at Resthaven Gardens of Memory at Wichita.

Mel Montgomery

 

Gary Moore

    GARY MOORE of Wichita, Kansas, drove semi-late model stock cars owned by his father, Les Moore, and by Pinky Mullens in races at Winfield from 1967 through 1971 including winning the last A feature race ever run at Winfield in 1971.  He was inducted into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame at Wichita in in 2001.

Gary Moore drove this

Pinky-Mullens-owned 1959

Plymouth semi-late model stock

car at Winfield in 1970.

 

 

 

Pinky Mullens

     PINK B. "PINKY" MULLENS (1931-2013) of Wichita, Kansas drove a semi-late model stock car at Winfield on July 23, 1967 winning the first heat race and the trophy dash on July 23, 1967; placed second in the second heat on May 26, 1968; winning the second heat and the second semi-final on June 23, 1968; sweeping the first heat, trophy dash, and the A feature on July 12, 1970; placing third in the first heat race before the rest of the program was rained out on August 16, 1970; winning the third heat and placing fourth in the trophy dash on July 25, 1971.  He was also a prolific car owner in the races at Winfield including owning four of the cars in the A feature on July 12, 1970.

     Pinky was a three-time semi-late points champion (1966-1968) at "81" Speedway in Wichita, a late-model stock car points champion there in 1973, and counts among his biggest wins the 30-lap Semi-Nationals at the National Championship Jalopy Nationals at Hutchinson, Kansas in 1965.

     Pinky was inducted into the "81" Speedway Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kansas in 2000 and into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita in 2012.

     Pinky was creamed and his remains are with his family.

Pinky Mullens

 

 

 

Ben Musick

a.k.a. “Bill Morris”

just three weeks before he raced at Winfield

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN “BEN” MUSICK (1908-1966) a.k.a. “William Morris”, “Bill Morris”, and “Wild Bill Morris”, of Dallas, Texas raced a McDowell Ford #4 at Winfield on July 28, 1934.  After setting the second fastest time in time trials but then crashing in the first heat race, he came back to win both the third heat and the “sweepstakes” events.  Ben began using the pseudonyms due to an elaborate story concocted by I.M.C.A. race promoter, J. Alex Sloan pertaining to Ben's extensive criminal past. Ben was listed in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing under the pseudonym “William Morris” in 1936.  His brother, Morris O. Musick (1909-1960), was also named to that prestigious list that same year.  Ben is buried at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.

Ben Musick a.k.a.

“Bill Morris”

 

 

 

Jack Petty

    JACKIE REA "JACK" PETTY (1934-2016) of Wichita, Kansas drove a white 1957 Ford semi-late model stock car #77 named "White Lightening" at Winfield from 1967 through 1970.  The car was owned by Orbin Mashaney of Maize, Kansas.  Petty finished third in the first semi-final before winning the B feature on July 23, 1967.  On May 26, 1968, Jack won the first heat race and the trophy dash before placing third in the A feature.  He returned to July 14, 1968 and again on September 22, 1968, both times winning another trophy dash.  Petty finished second in the third heat and third in the trophy dash before dropping out of the A feature on July 12, 1970.  Petty won the second heat and the trophy dash before the A feature was canceled due to rain on August 16, 1970.

     Besides semi-late model stock cars, Petty also drove jalopies, sprint cars, supermodifieds, and late model stock cars during his 30-year racing career.  Petty also promoted auto races at the Salina Speedway at Salina, Kansas in the 1980s.  Petty was inducted into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame in Park City, Kansas in 2000, the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2011, and the Big Car Racing Association Hall of Fame in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2013.

     Petty is buried in the Smolan Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery north of Smolan, Kansas.

 

Jack Petty in a B.C.R.A. sprint car

owned by Buddy Carroll and Al Torson

Jack Petty drove this late model

stock car owned by Larry Nulf

 

 

 

http://winfield.50megs.com/AAUpload/Posey_hd.jpg

Posey Reeves

    POSEY AVERY REEVES (1899-1959) of Oklahoma City started his racing career in 1928 and won his first major race at Amarillo, Texas the following year.  He was declared the Oklahoma City champion in 1931 but did not make an appearance at Winfield until July 29, 1933.  He was second fastest in time trials that day before winning the first heat and placing second in the championship heat as well as the day’s feature event.

     Reeves returned to Winfield on July 28, 1934 but only as a car owner having put Waldo Barnett behind the wheel of his dual overhead cam Hal car.

     Reeves was listed in Who’s Who in Automobile Racing in 1936. He is buried in Resthaven Gardens Cemetery in Oklahoma City.

Posey Reeves in his D. O. Hal

 

   

Jim Roper

Jim Roper at left with

Millard Clothier

CHRISTIAN DAVID "JIM" ROPER (1916-2000) of Halstead, Kansas was the flagman and official starter for the stock car races at Winfield on Labor Day, September 2, 1957 and possibly on other race dates here as well.  It has not been determined if Roper ever actually raced at Winfield himself.

     Roper started out driving midgets across the Midwest in the post war 1940s.  He later branched out to drive several kinds of race cars including roadsters and stock cars at Wichita's Cejay Stadium and Newton's Jayhawk Speedway for a number of car owners including Earl Mills of Newton, Kansas and brothers Marvin and Vernis Church of Whitewater, Kansas.

     Roper drove a new 1949 Lincoln owned by R. B. McIntosh, a Lincoln dealer from Great Bend, Kansas, to Charlotte, North Carolina where they painted a #34 on it and entered it in the first ever NASCAR Strictly Stock car race which was run on June 19, 1949.  Roper completed 197 of the scheduled 200-lap event and finished second to Glenn Dunnaway but a post race inspection resulted in Dunnaway's car being declared illegal and Roper is officially credited with having won that first race of what was eventually evolve into NASCAR's Nextel Cup division.  For doing so, Roper was awarded a trophy and $2,000 in prize money.

     Roper drove the same car, by then owned by Millard Clothier, in his only other NASCAR Grand National start at Occoneechee Speedway, Hillsboro, North Carolina on August 7, 1949.  He completed 190 of the scheduled 200 laps and finished in 15th place for which he collected $50.  Although he only competed in the two races, Roper still finished 16th in NASCAR Grand National points in 1949.

     Roper passed away at Newton, Kansas and is buried in the Halstead Cemetery at Halstead, Kansas.  He was inducted into the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 1999.

 

 

 

      ALVIN JUNIOR "A. J." SHEPHERD (1926-2005) of Wichita, Kansas drove a 1932 Chevrolet six-cylinder coupe #37 owned by Ray Ash of Wellington, Kansas at Winfield on Memorial Day, 1956 and again on July 4, 1956.  Shepherd won his heat race on Memorial Day and garnered a fourth-place finish in the second semi-final race on July 4th.  When I asked Shepherd what he remembered about racing at Winfield, he said, "Not much.  I've raced at so many tracks since then.  It was a dusty track though."

A. J. Shepherd

      Shepherd raced a sprint car owned by “Dizz” Wilson with IMCA in 1960 winning nine feature races and finishing third in the point standings that year.

      In 1961, Shepherd competed in six USAC National Championship races including the Indianapolis "500" where he qualified 14th fastest in Ernest Ruiz's Travelon Trailer, Watson Offy #73 with an average speed of 144.957 m.p.h. which was only 2.524 m.p.h. slower than Eddie Sachs’ pole winning speed that year.  Shepherd worked his way up to 11th place in the race before being sidelined in a six-car crash on the 51st lap.  He was credited with 26th place finish in that race which was won by A. J. Foyt.

      Shepherd showed his versatility as a driver in August of 1961 when he finished sixth in the Milwaukee “200” on pavement and fourth in the Springfield “100” on dirt on consecutive days.

      Shepherd suffered career ending injuries when he crashed the Bell Lines dirt champ car while attempting to qualify for the Hoosier "100" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis on September 16, 1961.

      Shepherd passed away at Miami, Oklahoma and is buried in Resthaven Gardens of Memory in Wichita.

A. J. Shepherd at Indianapolis in 1961

 

http://winfield.50megs.com/73_AJ_roll.jpg

A. J.'s career ending crash

 

 

 

 

 

Arthur Thurman at Indianapolis in 1919

    ARTHUR THURMAN (1879-1919) of Washington, DC filed an entry to drive a National racing car in the races at Winfield on May 13, 1915 although it is unclear if he actually started any of the races that day.  Driving his own Duesenberg #18, Thurman qualified eighteenth for the 1919 Indianapolis "500" with a speed of 98 m.p.h. but he crashed on the forty-fourth lap of that race and was fatally injured.  He is buried in the Chattanooga Valley Cemetery at Flinstone, Georgia.

Arthur Thurman

 

 

 

Jay Woodside

    JAY MAX WOODSIDE (1939-2004) of Wichita, Kansas raced a 1934 Ford sedan #34 owned by Harry Prater at Winfield, Kansas either on Labor Day, 1955, or on Memorial Day, 1956.  He had worked as a pit crewman of several other cars at Winfield before getting a chance to drive here himself.  Woodside remembered the Winfield racetrack as being a dry, dusty racetrack with no fence around it.  He said he was just learning to race when he drove at Winfield and did not finish well here.  Woodside went on to race sprint cars professionally and was named IMCA "Rookie of the Year" in 1961.  He won the "Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals" in Knoxville, Iowa in 1966 in a Chevy powered sprint car owned by Ted Hall and the BCRA sprint car championship in 1967.  He retired from driving in 1984 and was inducted into the Knoxville Hall of Fame at Knoxville, Iowa in 1985; the High Banks Hall of Fame at Belleville, Kansas in 2000; the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame at Knoxville, Iowa in 2003; the Central Auto Racing Boosters Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri and the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kansas, both in 2005.  He is buried in Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in Wichita.

 

 

 

 

 

To go to the Cowley County Fairgrounds Wall of Fame for Auto Racing

A-J

 

To go to the page one of the History of Automobile Racing at the Cowley County Fairgrounds, Winfield, Kansas website

 

To go to the page three of the History of Automobile Racing at the Cowley County Fairgrounds, Winfield, Kansas website