2000 Huset's Speedway Hall of Fame Inductees:
2000 HUSET'S SPEEDWAY HALL OF FAME
by Tom Savage
Sunday night racing at Husets Speedway has been a constant for 46 years. The weekly program has outlasted Offenhausers, spring loaded front ends and wire wheels on sprint cars. Since racing first started at Husets we have had eight Presidents of the United States, we completed the dams on the Missouri River, built the maze of twin ribbons of concrete of the Interstate Highway System, put a man on the moon, the population of Sioux Falls has more than doubled and west 41st Street went from a two lane gravel road to the present six lane busiest street in the state.
Automobile racing at Husets is almost a study in the evolution of a race car. Modified stock cars, pre-war coupes and sedans, were the first race cars in action. The cars were blue smoke belching, wobbly wheeled, steaming and hissing crates but they provided keen competiton and developed a strong fan base. The modifieds slowly, ever so slowly, crept to the stage of the supermodifieds. The supermodified was 'unoffically' spawned in 1964 with the advent of the newer OHV engines. The 'supers', a combination of wide tired, tall geared and fiberglass bodied little bombs, were just a deep breath away from a sprint car. The 'supers' ran a 100 inch wheelbase and were fueled by carburetors. Since 1980 sprint cars, those magnificient machines with fire puking headers, churning, digging right rears that deposit cushion weekly in the waters of Split Rock Creek, have been regulars at Husets. Stock cars also have graduated from humble 1958 beginnings, when some of the class were so stock that they were driven to the speedway and back home again. The original 'strictly stock' division was later upgraded to 'sportsman' stock cars that allowed a few more modifications that the strictly stock class. The current late model stock cars have evolved from the sportsman class and are well built and bullet fast machines. In 1954 a sub 20 second lap was the benchmark. Now the outlaw sprint cars circle the 3/8 mile oval in 10 1/2 seconds and the 9 second lap is on the horizon. We have come a long, long way but we must never forget those who paved the way for what we now enjoy. The Husets Speedway Hall of Fame was started to remember, to honor, to dedicate and to preserve the rich history of the speedway and the people involved. Tonight is the third annual induction ceremony into the Husets Speedway Hall of Fame and each new member is deserving of the honor. These five new inductees will join the 10 members already enshrined and they include: TIL HUSET, who built the speedway in a former soybean field in 1954. FRED BUCKMILLER, who served as the promoter of Husets from 1958 until his death in 1982. MARSHALL GARDNER, who competed in the first race at Husets on May 23rd, 1954 and later became a track champion. JIM MATTHEWS, who raced at Husets the first year of 1954 and later became the 1968 supermodified champion. PAUL STOGSDILL, who won the very first feature event at the speedway on that May 23rd, 1954. ARNIE NIMMERFROH, who also ran the first race in 1954 and later became a two time 1959-1960 champion. HAROLD PETREE, also ran the first race in 1954 and was a two time 1963-1965 champion. AL FIEDLER, a car builder / owner whose car raced in the first race in 1954 who also built 38 cars and served as a Huset official. BILL MELLENBERNDT, who was a two time 1971-1974 supermodified champion. HARRY TORGERSON, who was a three time 1972-1973-1975 supermodified champion.
ALL PHOTOS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE FROM THE INDUCTEES OR THEIR FAMILIES.
Glenn Anderson was a car owner / builder and was recognized as a genius with an internal combustion engine. He could solve any mystery in the innards of an engine and his expertise was shared with the racing fraternity. Glenn was a maverick, not in the mainstream of conventional thinking, and would attempt different methods as well as different engines. He experimented with flathead six cylinder Chrysler, Hudson, AMC and GMC engines and made them all very competitive. When the popularity of the new V-8 OHV engine by Chevrolet swept the country, Glenn experimented with 350 and 454 Oldsmobile horses and put them in the winners circle. When Husets Speedway opened on May 23rd, 1954, Glenn Anderson had a car in the field with Joe Volsch at the wheel. Glenn built modified stock cars, supermodfieds, sprint cars and late model stock cars and they all had the trademark Anderson number 98 and were either painted or trimmed in blue. From that humble 1954 beginning when Volsch steered a 1938 Plymouth coupe to the current number 98 late model of Dan Jensen, Glenn has owned, built or had a hand in a race car at Husets every year. In that 46 year tenure in addition to Volsch and Jensen Merwin Hanten, Dan Everetts, Chuck Anderson, Amos Hahn, Earl Thomas, Hall of Famer Harry Torgerson, Jerry Boulais, Glenn Anderson Jr., Robin Dump, Glen Kenyon, Chuck Fee, Steve Lund and Bob Zitterich have driven for Anderson. Glenn passed away in the fall of 1998 and his funeral was held on the 9th day of September, the date was 9-8-98.
Gerald Bruggeman, 'BOOG', started his career in 1951 in Wayne, Nebraska when he sold his Harley-Davidson to build a race car. His first race car was a 1938 Plymouth sedan and he won his very first race he entered. He ran that same sedan for four years and won season titles at Clearwater and Albion, Nebraska. He later built a Plymouth coupe and won the track championship at Columbus, Nebraska. In 1957 he suffered a shoulder injury at Norfolk, Nebraska and spent four years on the bench before returning to action in 1961. He again was the track champion at Columbus as well as Doniphan. "Back in those days a lot of guys raced just for something to do. Not me, Hell man I went to win every time". In 1971 Boog drew the driving assignment in the Willy Hecke super and went on a tear. He ran the car an incredible 65 times and won 32 A features and the track championships at LeMars,Iowa, Scotland, Yankton and Interstate in S.D. and Norfolk, Nebraska. He ran a sprint car for the first time in 1972 and ran at Eagle, Nebraska against the Lloyd Beckman, Eddie Leavitt, Roger Larson and Huset Hall of Famer Bill Mellenberndt. He also ran the Knoxville Nationals in 1972 before returning to the supermodifieds. Boog first ran Husets on July 5, 1976 and finished a modest 3rd in the B feature, but he was just getting warmed up. Armed with the Don Maxwell built supermodified, Boog made a shambles of the competition at Husets with three consectitive track titles in 1977-78-79. He became the first driver to win three supermodified titles in a row and the first driver to win six supermodified features in a row during the '77 season. Boog retired after the 1980 sprint car season and settled in Phoenix, Arizona. Gerald and Ruth Bruggeman celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past June.
Dave Engebretson raced in
Husets first event on May 23rd, 1954. His race car was a
1937 Ford tudor sedan that he purchased for $40.00 and
made summertime payments to satisfy the debt. He won his
first race that same summer in Mitchell,SD driving Red
Hartford's 1937 Ford coupe and raced at both Husets and
the old Soo Speedway throughout the mid to late 50's. In
the early 60's, Dave drove a 1937 Ford coupe powered by a
Ford 292 c.i. OHV engine and ran Jackson,Minnesota and
the old Minnesota State Stock Car Association. He won the
Minnesota Association title twice as well as the Jackson
championship. Dave drove for Mel Hagberg, Marlyn Hanten
and Marlo and Jay Egge during the 1963 season at Husets.
Marlo and Jay built a new car for the 1964 season. It was
a new lightweight, cut down '32 Ford sedan, powered by a
Ford 289 c.i 'Cobra' OHV horse and Dave was selected as
the driver. He responded by winning four features in a
row and the season track championship. It was also the
year that Dave stepped into a sprint car for the first
time. He drove a cageless Chevrolet powered car owned by
Hank Hannestad in selected IMCA races and it was a hectic
season. Dave would run the sprint car on Sunday
afternoons and hot-foot it back to Husets for the Sunday
night races. After the '64 season the car returned to
California where another young driver got his first
chance at sprint car racing.
Gil Haugan had one of the shortest yet most successful careers in driving race cars. Gil started on May 22nd, 1955 at the old Soo Speedway in a 1938 Plymouth coupe built by himself and his brother Vern. "I was upside down four or five times that first year, but we finally figured it out" . Gil and Vern built a new Plymouth coupe for the 1956 season and Gil won his first of many features on May 22nd. He won four more features and the season track championship in only his second year of competition. He defended the championship title again in 1957 by the widest point margin ever recorded with nearly 350 points over second place. In 1958 the Haugan #4 Plymouth was again the point leader at Soo when the track closed down in July. Gil and Vern towed the red and white car to Jackson, Minnesota for the remainder of the '58 season and won that track championship. Gil raced only part time in 1959 and recorded one feature win at Husets and two at Jackson. In 1960 Gil and Vern again ran at different tracks in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa and did not concentrate on one track. But in 1961 they arrived at the Huset opener with hammers cocked with a new Plymouth coupe and won the season championship title. They also won at the Clay County Fair in Spencer and decided to elevate their racing endeavors to the next level.That winter they drove to Level Cross, North Carolina and purchased a 1961 Plymouth NASCAR stock car from Lee and Richard Petty. Following some Haugan reworking of the late model, they campaigned the car on the IMCA late model circuit for two years. Gil retired from racing at the end of the 1963 season to concentrate on his business of Gil Haugan Construction Company. Today that company is the largest volumn general contractor in the state of South Dakota. His competitive nature wasn't confined to racing automobile. With his 'I like to win' attitude Gil was a five time South Dakota State Tennis Champion. Gil is a veteran of the Korean War with the Marines and received the Silver Star for heroism under fire.
Harold Krull was a car
owner / builder that got his start in 1958 while living
in Ft. Pierre. He ran at Miller, Winner and Pierre with
driver Marty Robbins. At Miller in 1958 Harold
thought he could do a better job than Robbins and entered
a race. After 4 laps he returned to the pit area and gave
the helmet back to Robbins and never again