TOLDEO, Ohio — In 1968, short track stock car racing was in its heyday. With big races like late model classics — the Hoosier 200 at Illinois’ Bear Field, the Pittsburgher 250 in Heidelburg, Pa., the Steel Valley 200 at Sharon, Pa. — ending the season, ARCA founder and Toledo Speedway promoter John Marcum decided it was time to add a big race to end Toledo’s 200.
The Glass City 200 was born. Marcum was promoting races all over the Midwest, and Toledo was a prime track to stage one of these big season-ending classics.
A total of 70 cars showed up for the first Glass City event on Sunday, Oct. 6, 1968.
The man who later became a legend in these parts showed the way as Joy Fair topped Toledo driver Jim Clarke. It would be his only Glass City victory. Indiana native Dave Sorg, Pennsylvania hotshoe Tom Colella and Eastern Ohio legend Jim Bickerstaff followed him across the line. The race was a 200-lap shootout with no breaks. Ron Grana pushed his No 5 to a fast time of 18.41 seconds.
As upstart young kid with deep racing roots began to make his name in the Midwest, Joe Ruttman posted perhaps his first big victory of his career at the 1969 version of the Glass City 200. Joe’s brother, Troy, was an Indy 500 winner. Ruttman would top figure-8 graduate Jerry Makara, veteran Fran Harden, ARCA legend Iggy Katona and Kalamazoo racer Jerry Spear. Fair set quick time at 18:16 for the 47-car field. Again, the race was run 200 laps with no breaks.
Ruttman would later steer Fair’s Maverick to the Glass City win in 1973 filling in for Fair, who was injured in an accident at Toledo earlier in the summer. Ruttman took Fair’s ride on an incredible win streak the rest of the season, winning races all over the Midwest. He would later become a USAC Stock Car champion and competed on the top NASCAR circuit for many seasons before retiring from racing.
The 33rd running of the Glass City 200 will take place Sept. 18. Both the ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by Jeg’s stock-bodied late models and the Outlaw Super Late Models will be shooting for the $300 LV Alliance Fast Qualifier bonus. Each group of late models will battle in separate 100 lap main events on the fast half-mile paved oval. The CRA Jr. late models will be also be in action on the Toledo’s short track for their championship events.