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1940 CSRA Big Car Championships


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#1 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 19:45

I continue working away on old championship points tables, in order to check for race results, and while many remain tantalizingly close to being complete, every once in a while I get lucky. Like with the 1940 CSRA (Central/Consolidated States Racing Association) Championships, for which I found reasonably complete point lisitngs in a local paper, and since there were only twelve races that year (for reasons I touched on in the 1946 AAA thread, and which I may expand on later here) it was possible to reconstruct the missing parts and correct the inevitable mistakes that creep into daily newspaper coverage. There's still a few issues with the table which I will explain, but to start off here is the complete points table:

 

1940-CSRA-points.jpg



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#2 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 20:30

A few general words: point distribution in CSRA was pretty simple, and doesn't seem to have changed (much) over the years, but (as ever) the devil is in the detail: generally, it was 30-25-20-15-10-5 for first six in main events, and 15-10-5 for top three in heats - so far, so good! There were a few extras, however, and I think I have them figured out as follows: consolation races paid 10-8-5-3 for top four finishers, and heat races sometimes paid 3 points for fourth if (and that is now guesswork on my part) the top four finishers transfered to the main event for any reason. Special heat races (like trophy dashes or match races) paid 6-4-2 for the top three (although that doesn't seem to have been the same for all years), whiler longer main events (the standard was about ten miles) paid out points on a different scale, (especially) if there were no heat races: in 1940, for example, there was a fifty-miler at Dayton that apparently paid 75-55-35-20-15-10-8-5 for positions one to eight, while the 100-miler in 1938 paid out 150-125-100-90-80-70-60-50-40-25-15-5 for the top twelve finishers. So far, though, I have no further corroboration for that.

 

Unfortunately, though I have found evidence that there was an Owners Championship, I was never able to find any point standings, so car assignments are and remain a problem area. There is plenty of info to be found for the top drivers at least, and the occasional entry list with starting numbers from which to work out the rest, but last-minute changes are generally not reported in newspapers, so that info always remains somewhat vague. Still, I will try to post individual race results later on, but for now a simple list of race dates and winners will have to suffice (cancellations and postponements will also have to wait for a later post, as there was a lot of political wrangling involved):

 

1 - Apr 28, Funk's Dayton Speedway, Dayton/OH, 10.8 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Miller '34', 74.21 mph

2 - May 5, Jungle Park Speedway, Rockville/IN, 10 mile feature, Johnny de Camp (IN), Johnston=Duray/Miller '37', 72.99 mph

3 - May 12, Greenville Motor Speedway, Greenville/OH, 10 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Miller '34', 72.53 mph

4 - May 26, Funk's Motor Speedway, Winchester/IN, 10 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 73.53 mph

5 - Jun 2, Funk's Dayton Speedway, Dayton/OH, 54 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 67.23 mph

6 - Jun 9, Fort Wayne Speedway, Fort Wayne/IN, 12.5 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39'

7 - Jun 16, Greenville Motor Speedway, Greenville/OH, 7.5 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 72.87 mph

8 - Jun 23, Jungle Park Speedway, Rockville/IN, 10 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 71.39 mph

9 - Jun 30, Funk's Motor Speedway, Winchester/IN, 10 mile feature, Johnny de Camp (IN), Johnston=Duray/Miller '37', 68.25 mph

10 - Jul 4, Uniontown Speedway, Hopwood/PA, 15 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 76.05 mph

11 - Sep 7, Du Quoin State Fairgounds, Du Quoin/IL, 10 mile feature, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 65.33 mph

12 - Sep 22, Greenville Motor Speedway, Greenville/OH, twin 7.5 mile features, Jimmie Wilburn (CA), Morgan/Offenhauser '39', 71.98 mph & Elbert Booker (MI), Iddings/Hal '36', 68.85 mph


Edited by Michael Ferner, 26 October 2021 - 15:42.


#3 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 21:53

Now to the remaining issues with the points table:

 

- Johnny de Camp (I believe that's the correct spelling - all names and hometowns in the list are from the period sources, and I will comment where necessary) was credited with only 35 points for the second Winchester race, when he should have scored 40. Sometimes, errors like that crept in and were often corrected at a later stage, but this one was not yet rectified after Uniontown, and in later standings de Camp was missing because he died late August in a non-sanctioned race at Belleville/KS - though there were no fatalities in CSRA sanctioned racing in 1940 (except for a stock car driver in practice for a support race at Fort Wayne), four of the drivers who won CSRA points in 1940 died in racing accidents during the year, and were thus struck from the point standings, a practice which may sound odd today but was pretty much standard procedure back in those years. The reason was probably just pure pragmatism, as point standings were mostly of interest to the promoters in advertizing (as in "see the top ten in CSRA points this weekend racing at..."), and any gaps in the standings because of deceased drivers were simply considered counter productive! So, the "official" top ten (as published in 1940) read: 1 Wilburn, 2 Booker, 3 Webb, 4 Woodford, 5 Dinsmore, 6 Crone, 7 Salay, 8 Schlosser, 9 Shackleford and 10 Zalucki (I don't know why von Holten was also missing, as I have him entered for a 1941 race, but I don't have much info about him anyway). Bottom line, I can't be sure whether this was just an undiscovered error, or if de Camp was maybe docked those five points for any reason.

 

- Harold Shaw was credited with 10 points at the Greenville opener, where he scored only 5 points in his heat. He was seventh in the main event, though, and I figure he may have protested the finish, with the officials maybe trying to avoid the hassle of an official protest going all the way to a contest board meeting, and paying out purse and points for sixth place twice - this is not without precedent, and the only way I can expalin the discrepancy.

 

- Johnny Shackleford is credited with 5 points for the Winchester opener, where he wasn't mentioned in any of the reports and results I found of the event, and where no point winning position is vacant. I can't offer any explanation for that.

 

- at Fort Wayne, I only have the top three finishers of the main event, and the winners of the three regular heats - I reconstructed the remaining finishing positions and the consy results from point winnings, and am reasonably confident of the results

 

- at Greenville in June, there was probably an unreported consolation race - it's the only way I can make the points fit!

 

- at Du Quoin, I only had the winner of the main event and the trophy dash, and had to reconstruct all the rest from the point winnings, which due to the points structure leaves quite a few questions unanswered (e.g. Booker could have scored his 30 points by finishing second in the main and third in a heat, 3rd in the main and second in a heat, or by winning a heat and coming fourth in the main!). This doesn't affect the points table, however.

 

- Buck Whitmer (19th in points) of Northern California (I don't know why he was listed under El Centro!) never appeared in CSRA racing results in 1940, but a "Jack Wilson" instead which turns out to be an alias used in several independent races in the Midwest that summer, while Whitmer was trying to get a career going in AAA on the East coast - he must've been "thrilled" to see the CSRA listing him under his real name in the point standings, and with the ploy busted (and him presumably barred by AAA) he resumed racing under his given name in IMCA later that year. Also, "Jimmy Weldon" (37th) was really Paul Craver from Chicago, who kept up with these shenanigans for many years, in fact pretty much his whole career which lasted from the late thirties to the early fifties! He flew mostly under the radar because he was rarely fighting for the lead, but photographs exist today which show how remarkably alike "Weldon" and Craver looked - those who have the "Rim Riders" book of Buzz Rose can check for themselves, comparing "Weldon" (p110) and Craver (p216, incorrectly spelled Kraver)!


Edited by Michael Ferner, 20 October 2021 - 22:26.


#4 Jim Thurman

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 20:53

:clap: Bravo Michael! Many familiar names in those standings.

 

You must be a glutton for punishment in trying to sort out points standings for racing associations that didn't seem to worry much about accuracy   ;) I have never wished to tackle this sort of thing myself, having run across too many horror stories. When Greg Fielden did his NASCAR books in the 1990s, he ran across many points discrepancies, some owing to drivers being stripped of some or all points for competing with other associations, as you've run across. At other times, he ran across tallying errors and inconsistencies.

 

Re: Buck Whitmer. I chalk this up as another typo. It should be El Cerrito instead of El Centro. In the Bay Area instead of down near the border with Mexico.

 

So, another Bob Hahn situation (Chico when it should have been Chino).

 

One letter can put you 400+ miles off in California  :)



#5 Michael Ferner

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Posted 24 October 2021 - 18:04

Yes, I am a glutton! :)

 

Initially, I thought I'd be able to write up the story of the 1940 CSRA Championship, but I realize there's lots that I don't know which I thought I did - anyway, I'm going to fill in with something nice and easy, a few words about the drivers involved:

 

About Jimmie Wilburn, I already elaborated a bit on another thread, so here's just a few basics relating to his 1940 CSRA campaign. Wiburn was, at once, the association's biggest asset, and its biggest liability! As the star driver of the circuit, he was a crowd magnet wherever he went, of course, and people flocked to the race tracks to see him win, or in the hope of witnessing one of his rare defeats. On the other hand, more and more car owners wearied of swallowing his dust and playing second fiddle, so that promoters started worrying about short fields as a consequence of his total dominance at the races. To counter these developments, the CSRA introduced measures in 1940, like inverted starts for the heat races and a 250 cubic inches limit on the size of the engines - the first led to Wilburn losing a few heat races as a result, which due to the points structure (as explained above) had quite a bit of an effect on the points battle, but dind't change the overall situation much. The engine limit, however, had more lasting consequences: first of all, it drove away a number of entries with war-surplus Hispano-Suiza aircraft engines, which had always been very popular in the area, while Wilburn simply reverted to his spare car with a Miller marine engine, and kept on winning much as before. As a consequence, the engine limit was lifted again after just a few races, and Wilburn continued to win with his primary car and its 270 ci Offenhauser, while a few of the "Hissos" returned to the tracks, and more of the Ford-based specials stayed at home! The whole situation came to a head on June 30, when promoter Frank Funk was hoping to celebrate the "Silver Anniversary" of his home track at Winchester/IN in grand style - as an aside, the track was really only 22 years old at the time, but that didn't worry anybody unduly. With 10,000 people in the stands, the irascible farmer-turned-race promoter was not at all impressed with the short field that arrived, forcing him to cancel two of the five scheduled heat races - it was the straw that broke the camel's back. Within a month, he withdrew his entire circuit of four tracks, on which seven of the nine CSRA races so far had taken place, from the association's racing calendar, and aligned with the rival IMCA instead!

 

That left the CSRA with a thoroughly depleted schedule, and at the end of the racing season it faced a very uncertain future with all of its old problems still intact: the fields remained woefully short all year, and Wilburn dominated as usual - more than ever, actually: of the twelve points-paying races, he won ten and finished second twice - once by half a car length, and the other time after leading easily before running afoul of unspecified mechanical problems in the last three laps. According to an advertizement feature by the Bowes Seal Fast Corp., Wilburn competed in 68 races in 1940, winning 43 of them, finishing second 19 times, and third six times - with no finishes worse than that, and no retirements! This may sound like an embellishment, but I believe the figures are actually true, when counting all the heat races with the main events! According to my limited research, I have 21 wins, 8 seconds and three thirds in main events, plus 19 wins, 9 seconds and one third in heat races for him, and indeed no finishes outside the top three, and no retirements. The only time that I can see when his equipment let him down was in the very first race meeting he contested that year, the opening day of the Florida State Fair races, where a con-rod failed during his time trial - a fellow (midfield) driver then offered to loan his car, and Wilburn proceded to win the main event, still - what a driver!



#6 sramoa

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Posted 17 November 2021 - 09:36

Michael, I have some info from Bailey's collection about 1940 CSRA events:

 

https://ibb.co/7VtmsXH

 

Also I have some more notes from CSRA history:

 

-The first full championship season was in 1935 and it's crown was the Dayton 100 event, what was won Bud Henderson. Yes the champion was Henderson too.

-The Year of the 1942 was very difficult for me. It wasn't only one CSRA championship. Were Hankinson Circuits, Funk Circuits(AAA loyality) and Midwest-Central (kind of IMCA for me)

-The Year of 1945 were Nunis Circuits and Funk Circuits(AAA loyality)

-The Year of 1946 were only six events!!!

 

P.S.: If you have IMCA scheduled events in 1940, you will find some of "Class B" CSRA events were under IMCA sanctioned too. (Like Davidson or Ionia) also Dayton and Winchester events were IMCA sanctioned too.


Edited by sramoa, 17 November 2021 - 09:47.


#7 Michael Ferner

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Posted 17 November 2021 - 19:43

There was indeed a CSRA "Class B" circuit (sometimes called "Class C") for cars of (from memory) 214 cubic inches racing in Michigan - I have a few more race dates, but not very much in terms of results. Those races had no bearing on the "Class A" ("National") championship, and neither had the two different CSRA Midget circuits (one for Offies and one for Fords, if I recall correctly). As explained above in the Jimmie Wilburn post, Frank Funk moved his entire "circuit" of four tracks (Winchester, Dayton, Fort Wayne and Jungle Park) from CSRA to IMCA sanction in July. The two clubs had a "working agreement" since May 8 of 1940, so that the car and driver roster didn't change much (though engine rules did change!), but those races were no longer part of the CSRA championship in 1940, and not in 1942 or '45 either. I don't think CSRA and IMCA co-sanctioned any events, and there were defintely more than six CSRA events in 1946. As for the Hankinson and "Midwest-Central" circuits, read the (as of yet incomplete) story I wrote at https://forums.autos...ason/?p=8797699 where it is all explained in detail. And remember, if you are going to re-post articles or posts of other persons in part or in full, quote your sources or don't post at all, are you good with that? Because I wasn't very happy with the way you handled those things in the past, and if you don't agree with this very basic act of courtesy I don't want you to re-post anything I wrote, and I hereby expressiy forbid it - understood?


Edited by Michael Ferner, 17 November 2021 - 21:00.