The Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame was founded on February 28, 2011.  It was established to recognize the outstanding efforts and accomplishments of drivers and those who support and promote the Rice Lake Speedway since its founding in 1952.  The Hall of Fame is governed by its induction criteria and a committee that makes preparations for each years annual induction.

Duplicates of the hall inductee's plaques will be placed in the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame building on the speedway grounds. The building will also house racing memorabilia that details the history of the speedway. The speedway will accept donations of racing apparel, helmets, photos, programs, souvenirs, trophies, plaques, race car parts, engine blocks, tires and other historical racing items. Needed is a complete race car from the 1950s and '60s, which can be loaned to the hall.  For more information on the Speedway Hall of Fame or to donate or loan racing items, call Dave Adams at (715) 205-2861.

2014 Rice Lake Speedway Hall Of Fame Inductees

Fourth induction class. August 9, 2014.
Front, from left: Bob Heffner - promoter, Midge Kelnhofer - representing her husband Dick Kelnhofer, a promoter inductee, Patty Boortz - representing her grandfather Milo Hegna, a promoter inductee,  Megan Connors - representing her father Bob Conners, a racer inductee and Dave Zimmerman - a racer inductee. Back, from left:  Howie Olson - a racer inductee,  Don Smith - a racer inductee, Phil Strenke - a racer inductee and speedway co-owners Mitch Hansen and Dave Adams.

Phil Strenke
Phil had a racing career that spanned four decades at the Rice Lake Speedway. He first started racing in the mid to late 60s with a 1953 Plymouth with a six-cylinder flathead motor in the Rice Lake Stock Car class. He also raced in the Street Stock class and wrapped up his career running in the Modified class. His familiar number #24, with which he used to gain the majority of his feature wins, was numbered as such because his birthday is on the 24th of December, on Christmas eve.

Phil recorded a total of 53 feature wins at Rice Lake Speedway, which is sixth on the all time win list. His first feature win came during the 1972 race season and between 1972 and 1976 he won four times in the Rice Lake Stock class driving the #24 car.

His greatest success came between 1975 and 1984 when he won 35 feature races driving in the Street Stock class using cars numbered #24, #21 and #44.

He wrapped up his racing career in the Modified class, again driving the #24 car to 14 feature wins with his last win coming during the 1989 race season.

Howie Olson
Howie Olson began his racing career in 1968 at a rather old age for a first time racer of 31 years of age. Howie credits Tim Lorenz and Dick Bishop as the two people most influential in him getting into racing. Howie was building race cars and working on race cars for them, so he just decided that he might as well build a race car for himself, and he did.

He did most of his racing at Rice Lake Speedway and also at Racer’s Raceway in Bruce.

His first racing car was a 1948 Ford with a flathead motor and his familiar #1, which was on the side of every one of his winning rides, was chosen simply because it was easy to paint on! Who could have guessed what a profound decision that was? Not only did the #1 become synonymous with Howie’s record of success, that number would be carried on by another generation of racing Olsons; Howie’s son Eric is one of the top Super Stock and Street Stock drivers in northwestern Wisconsin, evidenced by his win earlier this year in the George Rhoe Classic and double feature wins just seven days ago right here at this track.

Howie’s most memorable moment at Rice Lake Speedway was when he won his first season championship in 1974. That huge honor earned him the large cash payoff of a whopping $6 and a trophy!

Don Smith
Don began racing at Rice Lake Speed Pit in 1955 which was just the fourth season of racing at the north side oval. His first car was a 1938 Ford coupe, 85 horsepower flathead powered car that he purchased from the Ben Resnick Rice Lake Auto Salvage for $15 and then he drove it home to his residence in Dallas.

His well known and distinctly recognizable #VC3 was taken from an advertisement on a box at the Ridgeland Creamery. The number was actually #V3C but when the painters inverted the numbers when they put it on the race car, Don just left it as #VC3 and thus a legendary identification was born that would follow him in his racing career for the next six decades.

During his long and storied career, Don has raced at 19 different area tracks. He also raced in several different divisions of cars here at Rice Lake. His racing records show five wins in the Sportsman class which evolved into the WISSOTA Modifieds with three wins in 1980 and two more in 1982. He is also credited with two wins in the original Modified class in 1958 and numerous other wins further back in the track’s history that have been difficult to document due to a lack of records.

Dave Zimmerman
Seldom, if ever, has there been a more athletically gifted driver that raced at Rice Lake Speedway than Dave Zimmerman. Known simply as “Z”, Dave was a three sport star at Cameron High School when he graduated in 1974.  His feats on the gridiron, hardwood court and diamond were legendary for the Comets; he displayed both tremendous athletic ability and a fierce, competitive drive to excel.

That drive quickly transferred to the dirt track and was evident the very first time he got behind the wheel of a race car in 1983. He won the very first heat race he entered that year and then came back to win the feature race that same night, a night he still claims to be his most memorable racing experience.

Dave was also fortunate to have driven for some of the top teams and most highly regarded car owners in the area. He was influenced to start driving by Rick Kurshinsky, whose chassis are still considered to be among the best available on the market for Street Stock drivers. Dave drove for Kurshinsky in the Street Stock class and then transitioned to the Super Stocks where he drove for Brad Kisling.

Dave drove the #21 in the Street Stocks - his number on the athletic field at Cameron - then drove the #6 car in the Supers, which is still used by Brad’s son Shane who currently races in the Super Stock class.

Bob Connors
Perhaps no driver that ever raced at Rice Lake  Speedway led as colorful and eclectic life as did Bob Connors. While he was one of the most successful drivers of his era at the speedway, the many and varied things he did off the race track made him the especially memorable and unique individual that he was.

Bob first started racing at Rice Lake Speedway in 1956 when he drove a 1933 Ford Super Modified for car owner Dick Kelnhofer. Kelnhofer, by the way, is also a 2014 inductee in the Speedway Hall of Fame. But it wasn't until a few years later that Bob would start to have the success behind the wheel that would qualify him for Hall of Fame status.

Between the years of 1963 and 1969 Bob won 15 feature races at Rice Lake, all while racing in the Rice Lake Stock class, which was a fore runner of today's Super Stock class and always driving the #69  car. Along with those feature wins, Bob won point championships at the track in both 1966 and 1967, the season championship in 1967, the firecracker special in 1967 and an Auqafest trophy feature in 1969. He also raced in the Late Model class in the early 1970s before retiring from racing.

While he was very successful behind the wheel of a race car, what made Bob Connors such a rare individual was what he accomplished off  the track.

Milo Hegna
In the fall of 1977 at the conclusion of the race season, a complete renovation of Rice Lake Speedway unfolded. Newly elected  association president Milo Hegna from Cameron set a daunting agenda that needed  to be completed by the spring of 1978 so that the track could open as scheduled.  Virtually everything at the track was changed, repaired or replaced.

Heading the list of improvements was the track itself which was lengthened from a fifth mile oval to a high banked, oversize quarter mile track. The front straightaway was widened 30 feet and an all new, eight-foot-high retaining wall was built that lined the front straight. Additional track lights were added and all new pit lighting was installed.

The old wooden planks that served as bleachers for many, many years were torn out and all new upright bleachers purchased from a company in Milwaukee and installed. Fans sat higher on the hill for a better overall view. The main entrance road was moved to the west edge of the property where it continues to  be today. A new concession stand was constructed in the pits and Doc's Concession Stand on the hill was replaced by a double wide prefab school house from the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The moving expenses for the enterprise were donated by Milo.

Bob Heffner
Bob Heffner never turned a lap in competition at Rice Lake Speedway. He never spun a wrench in the pits or scored a race. He never lined up a car on a restart or sold a fan a burger. But what he did and excelled at, helped raise the awareness of the track and put the track's name in front of the public at a time that was crucial to the track's survival. And due in part to that increased knowledge by the public, the Rice Lake Speedway began a boom era in the late 60s and 70s.

As the Sports Editor of the Rice Lake Chronotype, Bob developed a friendship with many of the drivers and fans of the speedway and  those friendships were just increased as Bob started covering the races at the  speedway for the Chronotype as a part of his job. His weekly reports on the races at Rice Lake including photos he shot gave the speedway coverage second to none in the area and the envy of every other track in the area who struggled to get press coverage for their events. Thus was set into motion a relationship that has endured to the present as the Rice Lake Chronotype and Rice Lake Speedway have become partners as it were. The speedway does its level best to provide the information that the newspaper needs and on schedule, and the newspaper, recognizing just what a strong entertainment and economic boost the speedway provides, gives the track outstanding coverage that most tracks would  kill for.

Dick Kelnhofer
In just two years after he graduated from Rice Lake High School, Dick got into racing stock cars at Rice lake Speed Pit, not as a driver, but as an owner of a stock car. In 1956, he purchased a 1933 Ford Super Modified with Bob Connors as his driver and Fred Levenhagen as his mechanic with the number WEE 3. For the 1957 season he owned a 1934 Ford Super Modified with Don Brown as his driver and himself as the mechanic. Meanwhile, he attended and graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a degree in journalism and political Science. He also was on the announcing staff at WJMC from 1959 through 1965 and working for his parents in the Greenhouse business. His education and radio work would become invaluable to Rice lake Speedway.

In 1958, Dick became the advertising manager of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association. In 1960 and thru the mid 1970s, he assumed the responsibility as Director of Public Relations at the speedway.  In 1960, he began writing a weekly newsletter during the season and for the ‘62 and ’63 summer races.  He also wrote and distributed the weekly racing results to all the area newspapers. In 1965, Dick and his brother Jim took over the Rice Lake Greenhouse following the passing of his father, Arnie. Around that time, Speedway Hall of Famer, Bob Heffner, took over the duties of reporting the weekly results.


2013 Rice Lake Speedway Hall Of Fame Inductees

Third induction class. August 10, 2013.
From Left: Speedway co-owner Dave Adams, Jerry Amundson, Dick Briesemeister, Phil Prusak, Doug Zimmer, Axel Dahlberg, Dean Harrington (representing inductee Dr. R.A. Doctor), 'Bud' Ellis, Florian Lawrence (representing his wife Mary Lawrence), Brandon Distel (grandson of the Lawrence's), Linda Reichert (daughter of Mary Lawrence) and speedway co-owner Mitch Hansen.

Mary Lawrence
Mary Lawrence broke the barrier of the “glass Ceiling” long before the term was ever coined. But she didn’t do it for a political reason or to advance a cause, but simply because her love for auto racing drove her to do things and go places and say things that women weren’t supposed to do in the world of short track auto racing.

Mary married into a family of auto racers and before all was said and done, at least six of her brother-in-laws and two of her family members participated in dirt track racing , either as drivers or car owners.

She even had the rare experience of owning her own race track along with her husband Florian, along with a brother-in-law and her father-in-law  as they built and ran Lawrence’s Speedway in a field west of Trego for several years in the ‘60’s where she had the opportunity to run the concession stand.

When the family moved back to Trego from the Twin Cities in 1971, her involvement with the Rice Lake Speedway began. She immediately began to get interested in the workings of the track through the club, the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association and she started attending the weekly meetings. At that time, weekly meetings for the association were held in the smoky backrooms of local watering holes, and she was almost exclusively the only female in attendance, listing to what was happening, offering opinions and suggestions and putting up with the verbal barbs of some of the less than broadminded club members.

Doug Zimmer
There’s a mound of dirt between the third and fourth turns at the Rice Lake Speedway that has been missing one of its long time residents as the 2013 racing season has unfolded.

After more than three decades of shooting photos of racing, Doug Zimmer ended his full time gig on the speedway’s infield following the 2012 racing season.

Zimmer, a Rice Lake native, spent thirty two years as a photographer at the Rice Lake Speedway, along with shooting photos of special events at other tracks in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. His photos have regularly appeared during the racing season in the Chronotye and racing publications.

Zimmer started taking racing photos in the mid 1960’s with equipment he used from the photo club in high school. But the seed of combining photography and racing had been planted when he was about five years old, he recalls, when his parents took him to see stock car racing when the track was on the south side of Rice Lake.

“I got the bug. I got to be a dirt racing fan. And I always liked taking photos. The two kind of came together,” said Doug.

Jerry Amundson
When describing Jerry Amundson as a race car driver, the words undaunted, fearless, aggressive, competent and confident come to mind. Whether it was a heat race or a feature event, drivers and fans alike would take notice and knew that wherever he was on the track, that’s where the pressure would be coming from and the action likely at.

As a young boy growing up in the mid 1950’s, he would watch and tag along with his cousins Dale and Gene Bolin as they raced successfully at Rice Lake and other area tracks. With their guidance, he began racing at Rice Lake in the early 1960’s at the age of sixteen and continued through five decades as a driver and car owner. All told, he drove for thirty eight years with his first race car being a 1938 Chevrolet. His first feature win was accomplished during the 1966 racing season driving a car numbered #504. He is reported to have won one race with his hood flipped up and another with no left front wheel.

Among his many accomplishments at Rice Lake, racing in the Stock class he won the Aquafest feature race in 1966, the 1966 and 1969 Firecracker specials, the 1969 Mid Season championship, the 1969 points championship and the ’66 and ’69 season championships.

Roger “Bud” Ellis
Some of the Rice Lake Speedway’s Hall of Famers made their presence known by their accomplishments on the race track. Some, however, have made their mark behind the scene. Such is the case with Bud Ellis.

While Bud was a racer at the speedway, it was what he did for the speedway after he hung up his helmet that has qualified him for the lofty title of Hall of Famer.

Bud’s interest in racing began as a driver at the Rice Lake Speed Pit, as the track was originally called, in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. Bud was a competitive driver in the Stock class at that time, racing for the enjoyment of the sport.  Bud also has the distinction of being one of the very few drivers that can claim that he raced at the unlighted, dusty speedway that was located on the south side of Rice Lake near where the Seventh Day Adventist church now stands on old highway 53. This track, which was the forerunner of the current speedway, only lasted for a year or so until it was shut down and Bud’s memory of the one time he raced there in the early 50’s was that he got hit pretty hard in the face by a rock, not an unusual hazard at that time.

Axel Dahlberg
With a first name like Axel, how could someone not become a race car driver? Seriously, a decision made at the age of 16 became a life changing event, and even today, just mentioning the name Axel Dahlberg brings smiles to race fans that remember that era of auto racing and revive fond memories from fans all over the state of Wisconsin.

Axel Dahlberg was a racing machine. Racing as many nights as possible at area tracks, he ran at places like Boyceville, Milltown, Eau Claire, Durand, Wausau, Stillwater, Neillsville, Shawano, DePere, Shakopee, St. Paul, Superior, Duluth and in Fort William and Winnipeg in Canada. An early circuit included Stillwater on Wednesdays, Superior on Fridays, Rice Lake on Saturdays, fair races (of which there were many) on Sunday afternoons and Proctor on Sunday nights. A typical feature race win at Rice Lake in those days paid $200 to win, a healthy amount of money in those days. Costs were a lot different back then, remembers Axel. “I had a 1956 Chevrolet with a 283 engine in it. The whole car cost $1,800 and I could make nearly a thousand dollars a week, if I ran good.”

Axel learned about engines and cars from his father, also named Axel, at the Dahlberg Garage located in Poskin. He started racing at the Rice Lake Speed Pit at the age of sixteen in 1953, the first full year that the Speed Pit raced. He started in the Stock class, driving a 1937 Ford two door numbered #56-15, which was the phone number for the family residence. In 1955 he moved up to Modifieds, driving a ’34 Ford coupe and in 1957 he drove Late Models.

Dick Briesemeister
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.

Phil Prusak
Phil Prusak’s storied career in the dirt track auto racing arena appears to have had its origins in a long standing rivalry between two neighboring communities in northwestern Wisconsin.

The Clayton Bears and the Clear Lake Warriors have long been rivals on the gridiron and the basketball court and every other area where comparisons can be drawn, so when Phil, a 1958 graduate of Clayton High School, and his friends saw the level of success the neighboring Clear Lake drivers were having at the Rice Lake Speed Pit, they felt they could do as well or better, and thus a Hall of Fame racing career began.

Interestingly, tonight’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony again brings the two communities into the forefront with Prusak, a Clayton graduate joining Dick Briesemeister, a Clear Lake alumni, also joining the Hall tonight.

Phil began racing in 1959, at the age of eighteen,  driving a 1939 Ford two door in the Stock Class. In 1960 Phil moved up and raced both a Stock Class car as well as a Late Model. In 1960 his brother Joe also began racing as the Clayton delegation at the track continued to grow.

Doctor R.A. Doctor
Doctor R.A. Doctor is probably the least known of all the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame inductees, yet without his important contributions to the track, it is likely the speedway where we are currently enjoying the racing at,  would most likely be either an industrial site or a housing complex.

Dr. Rude A. Doctor, a dentist in the Chetek and Barron area, was one of the first co-owners of the Rice Lake Speedway in 1952 of a track which was then known as the Rice Lake Speed Pit.

Along with Rice Lake businessmen Forrest Nutter, Art Shudlick, Hartferd Skrupky and Jerry Widdes, they were the first owners of the race track. As owners, they joined together with a group of local racing enthusiasts that had been meeting since 1949 and formed an organization known as the Rice Lake Speed Pit Inc. Among those enthusiasts were Lyle Nelson, Harris Johnson, Aldy Knudson, Ed Hyland, Roger Cipra, Richard Kurshinsky, Lyle Robarge, Lou Carpenter and Dean Harrington.

In 1951 the five owners purchased a former gravel pit on the north side of Rice Lake as the site for a new race track. The owners and the enthusiasts then built a lighted race track that was the first racing facility in the area equipped with lights that allowed for night racing.


2012 Rice Lake Speedway Hall Of Fame Inductees

Second induction class. August 11, 2012.
From left: Louis Foss, Jack Shimon, Ben Ryba, Don Drew, Dave Palmquist, Dave Adams and speedway co-owner Mitch Hansen.

Dave Adams
Dave Adams began his distinguished racing career in 1971 driving a 1967 Ford Fairlane powered by a small block Ford motor as he started right out in the Late Model class. Partnering with Rick Kurshinsky from Cameron, who would go on to be a notable chassis builder in his own right, Adams selected the number #40 for his race car based on the fact that no other local driver was using that number.

Over 40 years later, and that number would still be synonymous with the Adams family’s racing endeavors, both in remembrance of Dave’s long and many varied achievements and also with son Kevin having taken over carrying the torch for the family on the area dirt tracks.

Dave didn’t win a feature race that first year of racing as the local stock car action was being dominated by another Hall of Famer, Dave Morgan. However, after the 1971 season the Fairlane was sold for $800 and a new car, a 1968 Ford with a big block 427 cubic inch engine more designed for dirt track racing was built and the results were immediately noticed.


Dave Palmquist

Dave served in the U.S. Army for three years as a Medic in Korea, and when he returned to Wisconsin in 1969, he started his racing career. Teaming up with Gene Larson, they built a 1957 Ford two door stock class car powered by a 292 cubic inch engine. The car was numbered #27 because Dave was twenty seven years old when he started his racing career.

Success came quickly in his racing career and three weeks into his rookie season, he won his first feature race. Although he didn’t win again in 1969, he raced another 1957 Ford the following season and again won a single main event.

In 1971 the Late Model class was the place to be if you were a driver looking to go faster and race for more money, and Palmquist moved into the class that year. He purchased a 1969 Ford Torino with a small block 302 cubic inch Ford Boss motor from well known race car owner and scrap metal dealer Leo Kadinger. With Fred Johnson and Floyd Engelking turning the wrenches, they quickly became one of the top Late Model race teams in the local area.


Don Drew
Don began racing at the Rice Lake Speedway in 1986, racing in the Bomber class. In his first year of racing he won three feature races. Then, in 1987, he set a track record with ten feature wins in the Bomber class.

In 1989 Don moved to the Super Stock class and raced for seventeen years in that class. During that time, he won an unprecedented fifty seven feature wins at Rice Lake in the Super Stocks before retiring after the 2005 racing season. His seventy feature wins in total ranks him third on the all time feature win list at Rice Lake. Between 1990 and 2005, a period of sixteen years, Don won at least one feature win at the speedway each year, an all time track record.

Known as “The Flying Farmer”, Don won seven point championships at Rice Lake in the years of 1987, 1990, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He won four Season Championships in the years of 1987, 1994, 1996 and 1998 and was the winner in five WISSOTA Super Stock Invitationals at Rice Lake in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2004.


Ben Ryba
Ben Ryba had one of the shortest careers in racing of any of the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame members, but what he accomplished in his few short years of racing at Rice Lake no doubt makes him worthy of Hall of Fame induction.

Ben burst on to the local racing scene in 1973 and as a rookie driver won eight feature wins in the Street Stock class. He followed that up with another eight feature win season in 1974.

In 1976 he switched to the Super Stock class and recorded three feature wins. In 1977 he had a monster year winning thirteen feature wins and setting a record for most feature wins in a single season in the Super Stocks.

In 1978 he was on the move again, switching to the new Hobby Stock class at the speedway and he won a division high six feature wins in the class. And in 1979 he broke another record as he won seven more times and set the standard for most yearly wins in the Hobby Stock class.


Jack Shimon

Jack raced during four different decades at the Rice Lake Speedway. He began his racing career in 1955 at the age of sixteen. During the years that Jack raced, he ran in four different classes. He started out in the Stock class, then in 1973 moved to what was known as the Rice Lake Stock class, and then in 1976 switched to the Super Stock class. Finally, in 1980 he became one of the initial racers during the first year that the Modified class was started.

Between 1961 and 1984, Jack won forty five feature wins at the Rice Lake Speedway. That total would surely be higher except for the fact that prior to 1961 the records for the speedway are incomplete. Jack won feature wins in sixteen different years at the speedway, with his last win coming in 1984 in an open wheel Modified.

Jack was particularly successful winning Auqufest Trophy events as he won a Rice Lake Speedway record seven of them coming in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974 and 1976. He won four point championships with those coming in 1964,1965,1968 and 1971. He also won three Season Championship features in the years of 1964,1965 and 1971.


Louie Foss
For the casual race fan of the Rice Lake Speedway, the name Louie Foss might not ring any immediate bells, but for the insiders at the track and those people interested in preserving the long and rich history of the speedway, Louie has been a giant in what his contributions have done for the speedway.

Elected in the Friends of the Speedway category which includes those people that have been involved with the speedway as car owners, sponsors, track officials and supporters of the track, Louie is one of the few members of the Speedway Hall of Fame never to have turned a lap in competition at the track.

However, in terms of what his presence has done for the speedway, and in documenting its long and rich history, his accomplishments stand tall.

Louie started his involvement with the speedway as a fan who came out and watched the Saturday night races. He wondered why the speedway didn’t have a program, so he asked why and the next thing he knew, he had volunteered to put together a weekly race program.


2011 Rice Lake Speedway Hall Of Fame Inductees

First induction class (Charter members).
Inducted August 20, 2011. From left: Chuck Robarge (representing his Father Lyle), Dean Harrington, Steve Beranek (representing Aldy Knutson), Don Brown, Buddy Mayala, Gloria Laursen (representing her Husband Russ Laursen, Butch Madsen, June Havel (representing her husband 'Bud' Havel and Dave Morgan. Missing from photo is inductee Louie Carpenter.

John “Buddy” Mayala

Buddy began racing in 1954 driving a 1933 Ford coupe. He has raced at the Rice Lake Speedway in six different decades, having recorded feature wins in five of those decades. He has accumulated 44 feature wins at the Rice Lake Speedway, including twenty nine in the Modified class which ranks him at third place in the all time standings. Buddy holds the speedway record for consecutive feature wins with eight in a row at the conclusion of the 1980 season. He was the Super Modified Season Champion in 1966 at Rice Lake and won the Modified Season Championship in 1980, 1981, 1989 and 1993. He also won the points championship for Modifieds in 1993 and the Midseason Championship in 1981 and 1993. Buddy achieved international fame as well when, at the age of 22 in 1957,   he became the first American driver to win the Western Canadian Championship for Super Modifieds before a crowd of 6,000 at the Exhibition Fairgrounds in what is now Thunder Bay Ontario and then returned to win the title again in 1960. Buddy has always been known as a gentleman driver, and the seventy five year old resident of Barron is one of only two Hall of Fame inductees who is still actively involved in sport, unloading his #104 Modified out of the trailer every week where he races as a team with his son David, who drives the #204 Modified.

Melvin “Bud” Havel

Bud raced exclusively in the Late Model class at the Rice Lake Speedway for 31 years beginning in the 1950’s. At Rice Lake, Bud won the Season Championship in 1960,1967 and 1971. He also won the Points Championship in 1963 and 1968 and the Auqafest Trophy races in 1966, 67 and 69. He also won the first two Rice Lake Late Model Invitationals in 1967 and 1968 driving a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette and always in the familiar flaming #5. Affectionately know as “Honey Bear”, Bud served the Rice Lake Speedway as the track President in 1964 and 1969. He was a fierce competitor yet displayed a friendliness that made him extremely popular with the other drivers and fans as he often raced with a clenched cigar between his teeth. Bud’s love of the sport was passed on to his family as he has had three sons and now grandsons who have also raced and the flaming #5 can still be seen on the track with grandson Jason behind the wheel. Bud passed away in July of 2001.
Accepting his award tonight is June Havel.

Don Brown

Don began racing in 1951 when the Rice Lake Speedway was founded. Driving his #55, he won 33 feature races in the highly competitive Late Model class during the 1960’s and countless feature races before that time in the 50’s when records aren’t available. Don served as track President in 1967 and 1968 along with holding other track offices as well over the years. One of the greatest rivalries in speedway history over the past nearly sixty years involved Hall of Famers Brown and Bud Havel battling it out week after week, Brown driving his trademark Ford and Havel his Chevrolet. Don maintains his interest in the sport to this day. He has had three of his sons race at various times at the Rice Lake Speedway and grandson Dusty currently races in the Midwest Modifieds. Don can be found virtually every Saturday night in the grandstands taking in the action.

Leslie “Butch” Madsen

If there was ever a “clown price” of the Rice Lake Speedway, it would have to be Butch Madsen. As fierce a competitor as he is off the track, he is just as free-spirited, fun loving and full of pranks off the track. Butch, who started racing in his hometown of Superior in 1960, has raced in six different decades at the Rice Lake Speedway. He has accumulated seventy two feature wins at Rice Lake, winning in four different classes of cars as Butch has raced everything from a Pure Stock to a Late Model. The diehard Ford man, Butch has won numerous season and point championships at Rice Lake. On July 4, 1997 Butch was seriously injured when struck in the head by a rock thrown at him by another race car at another area oval. However, he returned to the wheel of a race car just over a year later, with his only modification being that he switched from racing Super Stocks to Street Stocks. In fact, Butch has had some of his most successful years after his accident, wheeling his famous #94 Street Stock (the number of his favorite driver Bill Elliott). Butch is another driver willing to help out others, as many a driver has been mentored by Butch during their earliest racing days. His enthusiasm for racing, his friendliness and constant smile have long made him a track favorite and he remains to this day one of the most popular drivers on the track. One of only two Hall of Fame inductees still racing, Butch has raced both Pure Stocks and Street Stocks in 2011 having won feature races in the Pure Stock and making the field in the highly competitive Street Stock Little Dream race held earlier this month.

Lou Carpenter

Lou was an original founder of the Rice Lake Speed Pit in 1952. He is best known as the track flagman, serving in that position for an unprecedented seventeen years, from 1956-1973. In those days, the flagman was located on the inside of the track, across from the judge’s stand, perched on a three foot ramp with absolutely no protection from out of control race cars. He is remembered for his starts when he would leap into the air, furiously waving the green flag. Many is the time he would have to nimbly step aside to avoid an out of control race car or avoid an errant wheel off a race car. Along with Pit Steward Lyle Robarge, they formed a team that maintained order and presented a speedy and safe race program , Saturday after Saturday. Lou was also track President in 1956 and 1971 and was co-founder with Dean Harrington of the Fireworks display and helped set off the fireworks for over forty years. Lou had a continuous membership in the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association from its beginning to end, from 1954 to 2000. Lou was a racer at the track when complete records weren’t available, but driving his #4511 Jr., he won numerous victories during his racing days. When he retired from flagging, he took up the position of push truck driver, and his speedy response to stalled or disabled race cars was legendary at helping to keep the race program on schedule. His loyalty and dedication to the track has been unprecedented.

Dave Morgan

Dave is one of the very few drivers who have been accorded legendary status at the Rice Lake Speedway where he is affectionately known at “The King.” Driving his famous #500 cars, the records he holds at Rice Lake at staggering. He is the all time leading feature winner at the track having won 103 feature wins, seventy three of them being in the Late Model class. He won twelve feature wins in the Late Model class in both 1970 and 1971. He won six Season Championships, six Mid Season Championships, Four Season Point Championships, two Rice Lake Labor Day Invitationals, four Auqafest feature races and six Best Appearing Car awards. Dave won the first Punky Manor Memorial race and the first Russ Laursen Memorial race. In 1968 he was voted the top driver from the United States at the Canadian Dirt Track Championship in Thunder Bay Ontario. Dave has also won the Wisconsin State Dirt Track Championship. Dave has raced at Rice Lake in five different decades and holds the record at Rice Lake for having raced consecutively for forty eight years. When the Late Model class was phased out, Dave switched over to the Modifieds and became an accomplished open wheel racer as well. Equally as great as his accomplishments on the track have been, has been his generosity off the track. He became a chassis builder of note, and many a racer started his career with a race car built in the Morgan shop. His advise and help to other drivers is legend with many a racer furthering his career with help and parts, often at a discounted price from Dave. He has also been a huge help to the track over the years and a major volunteer to the speedway, especially in the years when the club owned and operated the track. Evidence of his service is the work that he did constructing the entire back wall on the speedway and the restrooms behind the grandstands. He and his wife Elvira have also served uncounted meals over the years to the drivers after the races at the Morgan trailer.

Dean Harrington

Dean is one of the original founders of what was then known as the Rice Lake Speed Pit, which was founded in 1952. Dean was Board President of the speedway an unprecedented seven times, holding the office in 1958,1970,1972,1976,1977,1990 and 1991. He has also held all the other board positions as well, some of them numerous times. Along with his late wife Ione, they have handled virtually every job at the track at some point in time. It would be a safe bet to say that Dean has probably missed fewer races than anyone in track history over the course of the last fifty nine years and probably never missed a Monday night association meeting when the association ran the track. He was co-founder of the spectacular fireworks display that the track is now famous for, having started the first Firecracker Special in 1963.

Dean was also an excellent racer at the track. He started racing in 1952 driving the famous black and yellow #U2 with the lightning bolt on the roof. He started out racing Modifieds, then Super Modifieds and then moved to the Late Models when the Super Modifieds were eliminated from the program at Rice Lake. He was point champion at the track in 1973 and 1976 and won Auqufest Trophy races in both 1964 and 1974. While the records are incomplete dating back to when he started racing, it is a safe bet to assume that he is one of the top feature winners in the track’s history. Dean is still involved at the speedway on a weekly basis, working the infield scale following each race. When he weighs his first car of the 2012 racing season, it will mark a remarkable sixtieth consecutive year of involvement with auto racing at Rice Lake.

Alton “Aldy” Knutson

Aldy was one of the founding members of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association and the Rice Lake Speed Pit. He raced during the fifties and sixties and won seven feature wins during the early sixties as well as a number of wins during the fifties when records are incomplete. He was also President of the track in 1962 and 1966. A mind mannered gentleman who was respected by all he raced against, he had a natural talent for anything mechanical. Although he worked for Oliver Johnson Chevrolet as a mechanic and fixed Chevrolets and Buicks, he always raced Dodges and Plymouths. The last car he built, in either 1962 or 1963, was dubbed “The twenty five dollar wonder”, an obvious reference to how much he paid for the car, which was a 1938 Plymouth. According to Jack Shimon who later purchased the car from Aldy, he took the car next door to his friend Bud Havel, where they installed the roll cage in the morning, spray painted the #367 on the car, and raced it that night! And race it he did, winning many races with that car at a time when sweeping the boards earned him $150 while as a full time mechanic, Aldy was only taking home $85 a week! Aldy had a unique driving style. While seldom the fastest car on the track, he managed to avoid all the wrecks and his careful and skillful driving earned him many feature wins. Aldy passed away in October of 2004.
Accepting his award tonight is Steve Beranek.

Lyle Robarge

Lyle was one of the founders and charter members of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association. In addition to helping develop the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association, he was also track President in 1974 and also held numerous other offices within the association. He raced in the Street Stock class driving the #139, but it was as a track employee that he found his niche. As a long time pit steward for the track in the 1950’s and 60’s,  he set a standard of excellence at his position that was recognized throughout the racing community. Forming a team with track flagman Lou Carpenter, they were widely recognized for their efforts at maintaining a fair, crisply run and safe racing program for both participants and spectators. Lyle was one of the very few people that maintained a continuous membership in the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association that began in 1954. Lyle passed away in November 1986.
Accepting his award tonight is Chuck Robarge.

Russ Laursen

The name Russ Laursen is legendary at the Rice Lake Speedway to those who witnessed his successes and to those that have heard or read about his achievements. Russ started racing in 1951 and recorded numerous feature wins during the fifties, when records were sketchy at best. However, his achievements in the 1960’s are well documented when he won five straight point championships from 1961 through 1965 and Season Championships from 1962 through 1965. During that time frame, he won 52 feature wins at Rice Lake driving his famous cars numbered #19 and #519. After that, Russ moved on to racing more on a national stage. He raced extensively with IMCA (International Motor Contest Association), traveling to sprint car races throughout the Midwest. He won the championship three straight years at Thunder Bay Ontario and was the second all time money winner at the Minnesota State Fair. He won over 500 trophies during his nineteen year racing career and while the number of years that he raced at Rice Lake was relatively short, his domination of the racing at Rice Lake during that time was unprecedented. Russ had three sons that tried racing, and both Brent and Steve went on to become accomplished drivers in their own right. Russ passed away in September of 1970 following a racing crash in Minnesota.