‘Classic Moments’ Countdown: #27 The Infamous 45 Car Consi – 1962 International Classic

Prior to the 1962 running of the International Classic, a 45 car consolation event was contended to fill the final six spots in the starting lineup.

Prior to the 1962 running of the International Classic, a 45 car consolation event was contended to fill the final six spots in the starting lineup.

OSWEGO, NY – As the countdown officially begins toward the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway on Sunday, August 31, we look back at the Top 30 moments in International Classic history, with the assistance of George Caruso’s ’50 Most Memorable Moments of the International Classic.’

With 27 days remaining until the International Classic, the countdown continues with No. 27, looking back on the infamous 45 car consolation race prior to the 1962 International Classic.

Prior to the 1962 running of the International Classic, a 45 car consolation event was contended to fill the final six spots in the starting lineup.
Prior to the 1962 running of the International Classic, a 45 car consolation event was contended to fill the final six spots in the starting lineup.

With the dawn of the Supermodified age at Oswego Speedway in the early 1960s, word quickly spread around the Midwest and Canada that the rich International Classic was easy pickings for experienced Supermodified teams of the day, as the Speedway’s local competitors had very little Supermodified knowledge.

As a result it was deemed that the Oswego contingent was no match for the Supermodified aces of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Toronto. Teams from these surrounding areas came in droves to Oswego in 1962 in search of the rich Classic purse that had been raised to $15,000 total with $3,000 going the Classic champion.

A record 72 cars showed for the one day International Classic event, with 24 cars qualifying through time trials.

With three cars being declared out for the night after time trials, 45 cars remained to take on one consolation event to fill the remainder of the ’62 Classic starting field.

In an effort to ‘stay on schedule’ track officials opted to run only one consi, instead of splitting the field in two. The results would be disastrous.

The race was green flagged, followed quickly by a red flag, as cars began crashing at the start/finish line all the way into the first turn.

Billy Blum, driving the Sam Virgo C47, had eventually worked his way into the lead of the enduro style consolation, but on one of several restarts Blum jumped the green flag of starter Clyde Rowlee.

The furious and frustrated Rowlee did not wait for Blum to get back to his original starting spot and threw the green flag the next time the field came by.

Blum and car owner Virgo protested the result at the conclusion of the one hour plus consolation, but did not get the result they were looking for. The large Classic crowd booed vehemently in total support of Blum and Virgo, as they were not allowed to run the Classic.

Norm Healy would go on to be declared the winner of the infamous 45 car consi.

A consolation of that magnitude has never again been attempted at Oswego Speedway.

Dave Paul, of Berrien Springs, Michigan, would go on to claim victory in the 1962 International Classic after battling two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Gordon Johncock.

Johncock, who started on the outside of the front row, would have to settle for fourth in the Classic trailing Paul, Dick Good, and Nolan Swift across the stripe.

Nellie Ward, Harry Jones, Ronnie Wallace, Al Smith, John McRae, and Wayne McGuire filled the top ten runners in the ’62 International.

To purchase tickets for Budweiser International Classic Weekend and the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200, call the Speedway’s box office today at (315) 342-0646.

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