2010 Huset's Speedway Hall of Fame Inductees:
2010 HUSET'S SPEEDWAY HALL OF FAME
ALL PHOTOS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE FROM THE INDUCTEES OR THEIR FAMILIES.
Bios written by Rob Ristesund
Bruce Conley is an award-winning sports writer who covered auto racing for the Argus Leader newspaper for about 20 years.
Conley began writing about racing for the paper after joining the sports staff in 1962, covering local racing events and writing feature stories. He also wrote the popular "Cam Chaff" column - which offered a variety of racing information that was a must-read for racing fans - that ran every Sunday in the paper during the racing season.
Conley became a fan of auto racing as a child when his father took him to the IMCA late model and open-wheel races at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds and later to Soo Speedway and the early days at Huset's.
Conley was twice named South Dakota sports writer of the year. He has received a number of prestigious awards for his involvement and contributions to high school athletics. He has served on the O'Gorman High School, Augustana College and South Dakota Hall of Fame committees and is a past member of the Huset's Hall of Fame committee.
Conley left the Argus Leader after 28 years of employment in 1990 to become the news information director for Augustana College. He will retire from that position at the end of this month.
Don Jones was involved in local auto racing as a driver, car owner and official for about 35 years.
His first involvement in racing was as a car owner in 1959. A few years later he served as the flagman at Interlakes (later Lake County) Speedway for two years. In the mid-1960's, he built and drove his first race car in the "jalopy" class at Interlakes.
Several years later, he competed with the car in the "modified" class at Huset's before eventually upgrading his equipment as the track's top division evolved into "super-modifieds." He later competed in sprint cars when that division became the featured class in local racing. For the most part, Jones built and owned the cars he drove.
Jones won a number of feature events during his career, which also included competing at Brookings, Hartford and Jackson speedways. He was the 1983 Limited Sprint Car champion at Huset's Speedway in his final year as a driver. The following season, he accepted the position of competition director at the track, which he retained through 1994.
Jones is also the only remaining original member of the Huset's Hall of Fame committee that was formed in 1988.
Art Nordstrom was a longtime official, promoter and sponsor of local auto racing.
He first became involved in racing as a pit man in the 1960's and then became an official at Huset's later that decade, a position he held until his retirement in 2005.
He helped pioneer a number of new classes at local tracks, most notably the Street Stock class, for which he built the first car in 1976. Nordstrom spent a great deal of his own time guiding that division as it evolved into one of the most popular classes at the track. He also built the first cars for the "Deuces Wild" and "Wild Ones" front-wheel drive classes and was instrumental in creating the one-on-one and enduro races.
Nordstrom also spent a substantial amount of money sponsoring races. After initially giving Street Stock drivers bonuses following the racing season, he created the popular "Dash-for-Cash" race, which paid out thousands of dollars annually for the special event that ran for 10 years.
Many fans associated Nordstrom with his customized tractor - which featured a Ford Mustang engine with over 450 horsepower - that he built as a push vehicle and showcased at Huset's and at the fairgrounds Cheaters Day race for many years.
During his involvement in racing, Nordstrom began a small used auto parts business on the side at his farm near Garretson. With the help of his family, Nordstrom's Automotive has grown to become known across the country as one of the industry leaders in auto recycling.
Loren Woodke achieved his dream of owning an engine-building shop shortly after his discharge from the Navy in 1946. From that small shop in Lakefield, Minn., would eventually come some of the most powerful engines in sprint car racing.
By the 1960's and into the next decades, Woodke engines powered Huset's drivers to hundreds of victories. And his powerplants not only dominated racing in the Upper Midwest, they also won at major events across the country.
In 1981, Doug Wolfgang drove a Woodke-powered sprint car to a second-place finish with the World of Outlaws and recorded wins at prestigious events in Florida, Texas, Ohio and New York. A Woodke engine was also under the hood when Don Mack won the biggest sprint car race on asphalt, The Little 500, in 1978 near Indianapolis.
Local sprint car drivers who utilized Woodke engines include Daryl Dawley, Roger Larson, Harry Torgerson, Bill Mellenberndt, Bill Rook, Guy Forbrook and a host of others.
Woodke also owned a sprint car that was driven by a variety of drivers to numerous victories. His car won the Jackson Nationals three times - twice with Jack McCorkell - and scored clean sweeps with Victor Dicks behind the wheel at the South Dakota and Minnesota State Fairs and the Clay County (Iowa) Fair. A few of the other notable drivers who steered the Woodke sprinter include Jan Opperman, Roger Rager, Ray Lee Goodwin, Kevin Frey and Bob Geldner.
Loren Woodke passed away in 2009, but L.L. Woodke Engines remains in operation today under the guidance of his son, Bryan.
Of all who have raced at Huset's, Bill Weinkauf would have to be considered as one of those most dedicated to competing at the track.
Weinkauf became involved in racing as a teenager in the early 1960's as a crewman for fellow Pipestone, Minn., resident Johnny Martens. That enjoyment soon ended, however, when Weinkauf was drafted into the Army.
Upon his discharge after two years of service in Texas and California, Weinkauf began working as a machinist in southern California with plans of racing himself.
But the local racing scene there wasn't as enjoyable as he had experienced back home, and Weinkauf made the decision to build a car that winter and return to Huset's, this time as a driver.
That spring, he quit his job and hauled his new racecar back to compete at Huset's. When the season ended, he returned to California, beginning an annual ritual. For the next ten years, Weinkauf would usually build a new car over the winter, quit his job in the spring to race at Huset's, and return to his old job or find new work in the fall.
He spent the summers on the family farm and used his skills as a machinist to make racing parts such as torsion bars and wheels to sell to racers to help him make ends meet.
After finally settling in California year-round, Weinkauf built a sprint car that he raced at the local tracks and in Arizona. Following his marriage and starting a family, he competed for the last time at Ascot Park near Los Angeles in 1981.