Toledo Speedway promoter and ARCA founder John Marcum came up with the idea of
running a 200 lap Late Model invitational—the Glass City 200. Despite a 20-year hiatus of the race from
1978-1998 (when the Toledo
track was sold), the race was revived in 1999 when Marcum’s grandson, Ron
Drager, purchased the track with business partner Roy Mott.
And the race
still carries the prestige and notoriety that it once did back in the 1960’s
The 1973 edition of the 200 saw a
formidable duo team up for this race.
With Joy Fair on the sidelines due to a serious crash at Toledo in July, Joe
Ruttman was tabbed by car owner William Gillelan and Fair to drive the
now-famous #1 Ford Maverick.
Ruttman wheeled the Maverick for the
final 2 months of the season, and get this—the combo won 13 of 14 races, taking
wins throughout the Midwest not only at weekly shows, but also several big
races, including Toledo’s Glass City 200….
It would have
been pretty hard to bet against the Ruttman-Fair team for this race. 55 cars showed, with legendary car builder Ed
Howe setting fast time at 17:81. With
Howe and John Anderson, in Stan Yee’s #33, on the front row, Anderson sailed into the lead on the green
flag and would stay there for the first 47 laps. Ruttman took the point when Anderson spun in some oil, and Joe won the
first 100 lap leg over Artie Sommers, Jim Bickerstaff, Jerry Makara and Dick
Crup. Bickerstaff arrived late at the
track, won one of the consi races in his # 24 (#240 for this race), and started
24th on the field, putting on a sensational drive to take third at
the break. Harold Cook (#8 Ford Torino) took the other consi win.
crashed out early in the first 100, took over for Bickerstaff in the second 100
lap portion of the 200. Sommers snared
the lead from Ruttman for laps 101 and 102, but Joe wheeled the school bus
yellow #1 back to the front and sailed to the victory, giving him 2 Glass City
200 victories. Howe was second, Canton,
OH driver Tony Diano (#36) was third, Centerline, MI Mike Shaw (#13) was fourth
and Steve Asztalos (#81) was fifth.
Ruttman is shown with the trophy in victory lane with (left to right)
announcer Howard Williams, the Marathon Oil rep (sponsor of the race), Ruttman
Bickerstaff, Diano, Shaw and Asztalos were the overall top 5 for the 200 laps.
questioned about how good of a driver I was,” said Ruttman. “This opportunity to team with Joy and win
these races should show that I can run with anyone.” Ruttman knew that Fair was ready to get back
in the car after the Glass
City and this was
probably his last race in the Maverick.
Would you like to stay in the car?
“Oh, Lord, yes,” Joe answered.
“Any driver that has the chance to drive Joy’s car would take that and
run with it.”
The 13 of 14
win streak is perhaps one of the most noted feats in Late Model racing of that
time, and, for that fact, even today, it’s still impressive. Ruttman would go on to the big time of NASCAR
and would later race in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (as it was known) later
in his career.
Anniversary of the Great Lakes Helicopter Glass City 200 presented by Francis
Engineering, Woodville Auto Finance, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express is set
for Saturday, September 28.
As we move
closer to the 2013 edition and this special anniversary of one of top
outlaw-bodied Late Model races in the area, please check the website each day
for stories, updates, lap money sponsors, the entry list and historic notes and
photos (courtesy of ARCA historians Brian Norton and Jim Hehl) of the Glass
sponsorship and just $10 per lap and tickets are now on sale by calling