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.
In the Modified class, he won the 1984 Aquafest trophy race and as a Late Model racer, Jerry won the 1973 Aquafest feature race, the 1974 Firecracker special, the 1975 Season Championship and also in 1975 , he won the prestigious Rice Lake Late Model invitational driving a 1973 Camaro against the best Late Model drivers from a five state area.
All told, Jerry won thirty nine feature races at Rice Lake, including eighteen in the Stock class, five in the Modified class and sixteen in the Late Model class. While he won feature races driving a variety of numbered cars, most prominently used numbers by Jerry during his racing career were the #504 and #30. Always a colorful competitor, the moniker of the “Dirty 30” was hung on his car, likely a commentary on his hard charging, take no prisoner aggressive style behind the wheel. Jerry also achieved much success at other area tracks and raced on both dirt and asphalt at such far flung places as Florida.
At the conclusion of his driving career, Jerry moved into the role of a car owner, owning the #30 Modified that was driven at various times by Pat Doar, Eric Pember and Brent Larson during the ten years he owned cars. During this period, Jerry’s car finished in the top five in the WISSOTA 100 race on five consecutive occasions, winning the title in 2000.
Noteworthy is that Pember won a race in 2002 in which Tony Stewart competed and Larson won a race in Winnipeg Manitoba in 2007.
Jerry resides in the Rice Lake area and is still involved in the cattle hauling business, something that he has done for many years. His son Jay is serving as a mechanic for Joey Jensen on the USMTS Modified circuit and another son Jared, an accomplished ice racer, has revived the “Dirty 30”, racing in the Pure Stock class at Rice Lake this year. Recently Jared’s son Shawn made his debut behind the wheel of the #30 car also.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hall of Famer in the driver category, Jerry Amundson.