DA NANG, South Vietnam — Cpl. Don Wermter piloted his 8-horsepower go-kart to victory in the 2nd annual Memorial Day Da Nang 500, the Marines' answer to the Indianapolis racing classic.
There wasn't any prize money for the winner, just a kiss, a pat on the head and a big glass of milk dispensed by Miss Da Nang 500 — Winda Dufford, a pretty USO girl.
There were no spills but lots of thrills as the drivers fought the wheel on the tight turns of the 10-lap, one-eighth-mile track outlined with old tires on the Maintenance Battalion athletic field.
The cars were built from salvaged and obsolete parts by the Marines in their spare time and ranged from 7 to 30 horsepower.
Rules of the race allowed each car a two-man pit crew that was permitted to assist in starting the go-karts and "to push their cars across the finish line if necessary."
It was impossible to determine if any new records for the track had been set because, as noted in the program, "information on last year's race not available due to personnel rotation."
The race was part of big Memorial Day celebrations at the base that featured foot and comic races, a giant tug-o-war and carnival booths.
Proceeds from the carnival booths and the sale of food, along with donations, went to help support two orphanages in the Da Nang area.