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Profile of a Season: 1972

Greetings history fans, welcome to 1972! Before we visit the track, let's take a quick look at life and times 34 years ago: A big event on the local scene in 1972 was the opening of the north cross-state highway between Burlington and the Methow valley on labor day weekend. If you didn't make the drive, you probably heard about it on your favorite AM station. Our states governor made the inaugural cruise over the new road, chauffeured by Ted Bundy! Airline hi-jackings were getting to be a problem, prompting the first mandatory hand-screening of passengers and luggage in the U. S. Tragedy struck the summer Olympic games in Munich, and the last American ground troops were withdrawn from Viet-Nam. Watergate was just beginning to become a household word as Richard Nixon won the presidential election by a landslide. At the movies, Clint Eastwood asked the question: "Do you feel lucky, punk?" (Dirty Harry), Marlon Brando made us an offer we couldn't refuse in "The Godfather", and Burt Reynolds was a friend indeed if you happened to be cornered by a couple of mountain men ( "Deliverance").

Trackside, the overall operation of the track was under the direction of A&P sports, Headed by veteran oval racer Bill Amick, and Portland car dealer Ted Pollock. The pair also owned Yakima speedway at the time. A 32-year old Wayne Crum took a brief hiatus from figure-8 racing to manage and promote the track for the 1972-73 seasons. New for 1972 was a completely paved 1/5mile-figure-8 surface, that not only improved qualifying times, but also eliminated the problems of rocks, dirt, and mud. Fair time saw the inaugural event on the new 3/8 mile oval for NASCAR sportsman division cars, at the time comparable to today's tour group. Much of the credit for the new oval was due to the fair board, and to F.E.A.R personalities such as Wayne Crum, Larry Goe, as well as Frank Merxbauer and his group of Military sea-bees. Sunday April 9th was the season opener, with a Saturday night schedule of 6:30 qualifying, and 8 p.m. racing, beginning April 29th. Bob Sheckler won his 2nd stock-division season championship in a '62 Plymouth, and of the 25 events that F.E.A.R staged, he set fast time for 13 of them, including the first 11 weeks straight. Interestingly, that streak was broken by a 62 Dodge, driven by Ralph Lewis' partner Jim Campbell. Bob Moore had 8 weeks worth of fast time runs in a very quick 65 Olds Cutlass, the first A-body G.M. chassis to see action on the 8-track. Carl Zaretzke also claimed his second championship for superstocks, winning 11 of the 25 main events in his '57 Chevy hard-top. New drivers included Jerry Smith and Gene Lovely, and retiring at the close of '72 were Dan Knott ("Dirty Dan the sewerman"), Orrin Cox, and Dan Eastman, driver of another very fast '62 Plymouth that announcer Tom Cook referred to as the "Garbage car" (the sponsor was Eastside disposal). F.E.A.R only ran twice during the state fair, with their events shortened by competing fair activities that included numerous appearances by legendary motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel. So-long to 1972!