View Full Version : November 1961 - USAC National Championship Cars

Mitch G.
05-12-2009, 08:59 AM
The USAC national championship cars took to the dirt one mile oval at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, November 19, 1961 for the annual 100 mile "Bobby Ball Memorial". Al Keller sets fast time in Bruce Homeyer's "Konstant Hot Special" #19. He wins a gold watch for sitting on the pole. The track quickly falls apart and the cars and drivers are taking a beating. Keller falls back and gets lapped, coming out of turn 4 on lap 41, Keller hooks a rut, flips violently onto the chain link fence surrounding the infield. Al Keller dies of his injuries at the track. USAC restarts the race, it's getting late, the track is getting worse, Ray Crawford flips hard, now the race is getting into the late afternoon, the sun is setting. Chuck Hulse takes a bad tumble on lap 88, the race is finally called complete after 89 laps. Parnelli Jones is declared the winner. Kellers widow didn't even get the watch as some lout stole it while Keller was being loaded into the ambulance. Here is a program cover from that actual race, the entry page stats, and notes were written down that day, by my mom. My folks used to drive from Denver to Phoenix every year for that race, up until they, USAC, moved the race to the paved one mile oval at the Phoenix International Raceway.

01-05-2012, 09:33 PM
If you look close in this photo, right in the middle, you'll see the yellow #19 car that Al Keller drove on this fateful day. He is shown next to the left front tire just after climbing out the car after posting fast time. Sadly, this would be his final race. Included is the race report from the Phoenix newspaper.