2009 Huset's Speedway Hall of Fame Inductees:
2009 HUSET'S SPEEDWAY HALL OF FAME
ALL PHOTOS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE FROM THE INDUCTEES OR THEIR FAMILIES.
Bios written by Rob Ristesund
Marty Barber began racing at the age of 17 in the first year of the street stock class at Huset's, when the race cars were little more than street cars with the glass removed. He soon attracted a legion of fans with his aggressive driving style along with his antics behind the wheel and outside of the race car.
As the street stock class evolved into a division of true racing machines, Barber left his own car in the early 1980s to drive for Ben Nothdurft, beginning what would eventually become one of the most successful owner-driver relationships in local racing.
Except for driving one year for Kenny Moe and another season for the Fisher brothers, Barber drove the Ben's Bargain Barn car through the 1999 season, amassing local racing records that will be difficult to match.
Barber is the all-time leading winner at the now-closed Lake County Speedway with 67 victories along with nine championships. He is second to Terry McCarl on the Huset's win list with 52 feature wins, including seven track titles. He won three track championships each at I-90 and Rapid speedways. He also won features in Wagner, Jefferson and at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.
Most notable was that, in an era of inverted starts, nearly all of Barber's wins came after starting either near or at the back of the field.
Barber also showed that his driving skills weren't limited to stock cars. In his only year behind the wheel of a sprint car in 1990, he won multiple features at Huset's, I-90 and Rapid and collected the I-90 championship.
Barber always gave credit for his success to his long-time friend Jim Schmidt, who built the engines that provided the horsepower and reliability for all of his track championships.
Racing part-time in 2000, Barber drove the Plimpton-owned street stock to a win at Huset's. While being interviewed by track announcer Tom Savage following his victory, Barber removed his firesuit and handed it to Savage, announcing his retirement.
Today, Barber can still be found on the infield at Huset's every Sunday night as well as at other tracks while assisting his son, Tommy, who now drives the familiar number 75.
Darryl Dawley began his racing career in the 1950s, competing in drag racing. The following decade, he moved onto the local dirt ovals, building and driving his own modified stock car.
Dawley found success in the modifieds and later in the super-modifieds, collecting wins at Huset's and a number of other tracks along with championships in Jackson, Minn., in 1968 and 1969 and in Fairmont, Minn., in 1969.
But the Sioux Falls transmission shop owner wasn't satisfied with racing modifieds. For him, they had too many rules and he often butted heads with local tracks in regards to the restrictions and requirements they placed on the racing machines.
In 1970, Dawley became one of the first local drivers to move up to the sprint cars. Although there were few sprint car tracks near the Sioux Falls area, Dawley was willing to travel to be able to race in a division that provided high speeds and few rules.
Dawley eventually competed at tracks that stretched fromNorth Dakota to Florida to Texas to California. He enjoyed racing against the best drivers in the country, wherever they competed. For a five-year period, his regular weekend racing schedule included racing in Topeka, Kan., on Friday, Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday, and Minneapolis on Sunday.
He was as tough a racer as any, often enduring hard crashes while continuing to race despite injuries and pain. In Arizona in 1977, Dawley broke both wrists, his arm and collarbone in a violent crash but returned to race a couple of months later.
His career was highlighted by victories at the Winter Nationals in Tampa, Fla., Cheaters Day in Sioux Falls and four wins at Knoxville, a track he considered the toughest regular racing program in the country.
Dawley's final win at Knoxville came at the track's Mid-Season Championships on June 30, 1979. One week later at the track, the 38-year-old driver was involved in a multi-car crash at the start of the main event. Dawley perished in the accident, which also took the life of Huset's Hall of Fame member Roger Larson.
Dawley's racing legacy lives on today. He was a mentor and friend to a number of young men who later went on to establish their own paths in racing that still continue today, including Doug Wolfgang, Doug Clark, Rich Giadone and Vance Peterson.
VIRGIL "SWEED" KOEPKE
Sweed Koepke first became involved in racing as a crewman on his brother-in-law Gary Remme's modified racer in 1964. Two years later, Koepke got behind the wheel of his own modified and began racing at Huset's while also competing in Madison, Brookings, Huron and at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.
Koepke immediately became a fan favorite and was liked and respected by his fellow drivers. He was good-natured and often wore a smile as he enjoyed the competition as well as the friendships he found in racing. His personality and clean driving on the track earned him the Sportsmanship award at Huset's.
Koepke moved to the newly formed Six-Cylinder Modified class in 1974. In 1975, he debuted a new Nance car that was one of the best-appearing machines on the track.
With his new car, Koepke drove to one of the most dominating seasons seen at Huset's. He won eight feature races in a row while usually starting last in the field and won the points title by a landslide.
Koepke abruptly retired from driving on the opening night of racing at Huset's in May of 1976 at the age of 38. It was that evening that Gary Bott, who had begun his racing career at the same time as Koepke, lost his life in a racing accident at the track.
After being uninvolved in the sport for a period of time, Koepke became active in racing again in 1997, assisting his son, Mike, when he began competing.
In 2005, Mike won the non-wing sprint car championship at I-90 Speedway. The title was extra special as it came on the 30th anniversary of Sweed's championship at Huset's.
Now 71-years-old, Sweed still remains involved in racing and can usually be found on the infield whenever his son competes.