DIAMOND STATE 250 May 2, 1971

Dennis Andrews
@dennis-andrews
3 years ago
835 posts

DIAMOND STATE 250

Dover Downs International Speedway

Sunday, May 2, 1971

Race #2 of the 1971 season brought the Grand American Challenge Series to Dover, Delaware for the Diamond State 250. Despite the earlier announcement of the newly created International Sedan Manufactures Championship which included the Vega, Pinto, Colt, Gremlin, Hornet, Datsun, Toyota, BMW and Renault that would compete separately yet together with the Grand American cars there were no ISMC cars entered in the Dover race.

Veteran Buck Baker averaged a speed of 128.844 mph to earn the pole position with H.B. Bailey along side to make it an all Pontiac Firebird front row for the second race in a row. Jim Paschal started third in a Javelin with Wayne Andrews in a Mustang fourth. Sonny Hutchins in a Camaro and Gary Myers in a Mustang rounded out the top six.

At the drop of the green flag the leaders quickly caught the tail end of the field with Paschal moving to the front as Tiny Lund charged thru the pack into 5 th when on lap 16 Billy Hagan spun in turn 2 setting off a chain reaction that collected Andrews, Lund, Joe Huss and Coy Blue. Though reported at the time as a wrenched knee, Tiny broke a leg in the crash when Hagan came down the banking and hit Lund in the right front. When the race resumed Paschal ran off and hid from the field, adding several laps to his lead by half way. By now James Raimey had crashed out soon to be followed by Bud Olson. Both were uninjured. Another caution came out on lap 160 when E. J. Trivette wrecked on the front straight away while trying to make a pass. He suffered cracked ribs in the crash. On lap 222 Paschal took himself out when he crashed into the wall in turn 4 with a 5 lap lead on the field. The public address announcer informed the crowd that the #30 Camaro that was running second driven by Kruger Johnston was now the new leader. Out front for the last 28 laps he took the checkered flag with a 10 lap lead over second place finisher Jimmy Capps. When the driver that climbed from the car in victory circle was wearing a Tiny Lund uniform but was obviously not Lund he had to answer as to whom he was. Frank Bradley repeated the announcer. No, Frank Brantley, the winner informed him. The school bus driver from Savannah, Ga. was also in the car at Daytona in February but the record book list the car owner, Kruger Johnston, as the driver. Brantley said they went out early at Daytona with a broken gearbox so no one noticed. Well they should notice now even as a lot of news reports still got he name wrong, they called him Brantsley. The popular late model driver that had been making a name for himself from Columbia to Jacksonville was now a NASCAR touring division winner.

Brantley collected $3,750 of the $23,500 purse. There were 4 cautions for a total of 50 laps which brought the average speed way down from last year. Only 10 of the 34 starters were running at the finish.

Tiny Lund started from the 21 position right behind Ron Trout.

The Firebirds of Buck Baker and H.B. Bailey lead the parade laps.


updated by @dennis-andrews: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
4,016 posts




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
4,016 posts




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
3 years ago
4,016 posts

Hope RR's Dave Fulton and Frank Buhrman don't object to this copy/paste job. Found Dave's comments about Frank's attending this race on a Monte Dutton blog post. Got that?
http://montedutton.com/blog/2015/05/29/the-miles-used-to-be-more-of...

My longtime racing buddy, Frank Buhrman in Pennsylvania got to Dover long before I did. 44 years ago, on May 2, 1971, at Dover, Frank watched one of the most curious races he ever attended. Below is his recollection e-mailed to me just last night:

Looking back nearly 50 years, its surprising that so many of my great race memories were from the short-lived NASCAR Grand American division, created for the original generation of Camaros, Mustangs, Firebirds, Javelins, Cougars and so on. One of those memorable GA races was the 1971 Diamond State 250 at Dover Downs.

Its most memorable element was the race winning driver being someone nobody knew was driving the winning car. Ill give my cloudy memory account and hope it serves as an interesting counterpoint to this weekends Dover activities.

My life as a race fan has centered on what is today Richmond International Raceway and dates back to the Richmond 250 on the fairgrounds dirt in 1963, but in the early 1970s I was in the U.S. Coast Guard stationed at Cape May, N.J., so Dover Downs briefly became my home track.

We saw one or two Grand National races there, but nothing could compare to the 1971 Diamond State 250 NASCAR Grand American race. It was one of those races where you were cursed as soon as you got the lead either a wreck or a blown engine was coming, soon! Misfortune overtook most of the series regulars early on, leading to more and more obscure drivers leading, at times by large numbers of laps. When else can you recall long-time loyal NASCAR independent E.J. Trivette way out in front?

Richmond modified great (and Junie Donlavey GN driver) Sonny Hutchins, driving a borrowed car, threatened to run away with everything until his ride met an untimely end. The parade of ever-more obscure leaders ended with a Camaro #30 driven (we thought) by Krueger Johnson from Georgia. So when Mr. Johnson pulled into victory lane, the announcer greeted him with something like, Well, Krueger, this is kind of a surprise to the rest of us. How does it feel to you to be the winner of the Diamond State 250?

The response was what caught all of us off guard.

The fact is, Im not Krueger Johnson, the winner said. Im Frank Brantley. Krueger got sick and asked me to drive the car. (It might have been back trouble and not sickness, but then again, for all my memorys worth, it might be his dog died.) I had actually heard of Brantley, thanks to Hank Schoolfield and Southern MotoRacing, but the mystery driver angle continues to make the Diamond State 250 one of the more memorable races Ive seen.

As I recall, Brantley drove another couple of GA races, maybe in the #30, but the team faded from sight pretty quickly maybe they had trouble figuring out who got to keep the trophy. I was really sorry when the GA division folded. Guys like Wayne Andrews, Frank Sessoms, Al Straub (a Kentuckian who at least once entered a backup car driven by a very young Darrell Waltrip), C.B. Gwyn and others had a chance to show their stuff, and they always seemed to put on a good show.

Maybe the blessing was that the division didnt stick around long enough for NASCAR to start messing with the rules and screwing it all up.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
3 years ago
9,129 posts

Thank, Chase, for crediting my buddy, Frank Buhrman's first hand account of witnessing this unusual Grand American reace.




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 months ago
4,016 posts

Brantley bump




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.