Although he raced for a relatively short period of time, what Dick Briesemeister accomplished behind the wheel of a race car during those years produced the kind of results that generate legendary status. Primarily known as a Late Model driver, Dick got his start at the Rice Lake Speedway where he became a dominate driver and then moved on to race at other venues and record more successes.
A 1960 graduate of Clear Lake High School, Dick started racing in 1961 at the Rice Lake Speedway and was right in the middle of the rivalry at the time between the bordering towns of Clear Lake and Clayton, as “young bucks” from both towns raced hard to try and top each other’s achievements on the race track.
Dick won a single feature during his rookie season of racing and stayed in the Stock class for two years, driving a 1946 Ford flathead.
In 1963 Dick moved up to what was then called the Semi Modified class, a combination of modified older style cars and the newly emerging, more modern style cars. Soon that class evolved into the Late Model class, the forerunner of the Super Late Models that we see run around the area even today.
In the Late Models Dick excelled, and within a couple of years he was the man to beat, not just at Rice Lake but at all the other area tracks too. This was during an era when most tracks hosted their own “invitational” for the Late Models, and as well as dominating at Rice Lake, Briesemeister made a name for himself with his strong performances at other tracks.
Dick won a feature race in the Late Models in his rookie year in the class in 1963 driving a 1957 Plymouth, but soon after he switched over to racing Fords, and a match was made that would dominate racing in the area for years.
Between the years of 1963 and 1969, Dick would win feature races at Rice Lake every year including an amazing eleven wins during the 1965 racing season. All the wins were accomplished driving a white, #107 Ford with his long time sponsor, Leo Kadinger and Kadinger’s Auto Salvage as his main sponsor.
The history of his car number is an interesting story as when drivers in that area started to race, they took numbers in consecutive order, each driver moving up one digit from the #104, out of respect and because of their relationship with the driver of the #104, one of our Hall of Famers, Buddy Mayala. Remarkably, while all the drivers who took those numbers have retired, the #104 and its driver Buddy Mayala will be seen racing in the Modified class here tonight.
All told, Dick won thirty feature races at the Rice Lake Speedway between the years of 1961 and 1969. In the Late Model, he won point championships in 1965, ’66, and ’67 and the Season Championship in 1965. He also won the Firecracker special in 1965, ’67 and ’68.
In the later years of his racing career in the mid seventies, he raced with the IMCA Late Models and participated in racing action at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds as well as other venues.
When asked to describe Briesemeister’s driving style, other drivers of that era to a man used the word “smooth” as their first word in description. A driver that won everywhere he raced, seldom got into tangles with other racers and always brought his car home clean and unwrinkled, that was the formula for Dick’s success.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hall of Famer in the driver category, Dick Briesemeister.