Toledo Speedway 50th Anniversary: A Look Back at 1980


Perennial favorite Bob Senneker and "Captain Sizzle" Mark Malcuit each posted $5000 victories by taking the 150-lap segments of the season-ending Gabriel 300 at Toledo Speedway. Track promoter Sonny Adams greeted the joyous winners on-track, paying each driver in fresh $100 bills in front of the huge, enthusiastic crowd on a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon.

In the first segment, it was younger Senneker brother Terry taking the lead and pacing the action for 39 laps until Dave Simko muscled past. Simko was hounded by the hard-charging Malcuit, who took the point on lap 78. Simko tangled with Bob Senneker one lap later, sliding into the infield and sending both to the rear of the field. Young Bobby Tinkham, who shattered the track record in qualifying with a lap at 16.09 seconds, was also an early casualty when he crashed into the backstretch wall. Malcuit led the remainder of the event unchallenged, followed by Butch Miller, Bob Senneker from the back, Bob Renz and Bob Sibila.

malcuit70.jpgThe final segment was full of action throughout, with all the drivers pressing hard for the large payday. Butch Miller jumped from the outside of row one to lead the first 3 laps. Bob Senneker then powered by, only to be overtaken on lap 12 by Simko, who was again fast. The race was stopped on lap 50 when Jerry "The Bear" Makara, driving a car prepared for Joe Ruttman who had to forgo Toledo in favor of a USAC Stock Car Series race, took a hard hit. Simko led until lap 72 when Malcuit blasted by and it looked like the bearded, long-haired Ohio speedster was headed for an impressive sweep of the day's racing. Bob Senneker, however, never to be counted out of long distance affairs at Toledo Speedway, paced himself during the second segment. Senneker saved his tires for a late race charge and passed Malcuit on lap 100 to lead the final laps for a popular win. Following Senneker to the checkers were Malcuit, Miller, Chuck Roumell and Simko.

Billy Kuhn, Dick Barker and Kent Stauffer each posted 10-lap heat race wins. Mark Johnson captured the 20-lap last chance race over Jim Terrill, Barney Brant and Bob Wood.