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Forum: Minnesota Dirt Track Racing Forum (go)
Moderators: StanM

Topic: Who was Minnesota's best sprint car racer?
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SprintsONLY
March 11, 2011 at 08:44:28 PM
Joined: 03/17/2008
Posts: 36
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In my opinion Barry Kettering was the best sprint car driver from Minnesota. Jerry Richert and Don Mack are a close 2nd & 3rd.



JimmyK
March 11, 2011 at 11:30:02 PM
Joined: 12/19/2004
Posts: 98
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This message was edited on March 11, 2011 at 11:34:35 PM by JimmyK

A tough, but fun choice. I like:

Barry Kettering, fan and kid favorite, dominated Princeton in the late 60s and early 70s. My first race hero outside of my Dad.

Jerry Richert Sr.: had the honor of being on the same track with him in the early 80s and he was still a contender to win.

John Stevenson: From his early days at Princeton, then North Star (my Granny was his trophy girl once). John was nearly unbeatable when I started racing in the 80s. Excellent driver, clean, hard and fast. Wow.

Roger (the Racer) Rager, learned more from this man about on track racing than anyone else. hard driver, fair (at least always to me and Joe). his success was far and wide like JR Sr.

Don Mack: Had Loren Woodke's respect and classed by him as the "perfect" sprint car driver. Good enough for me, altough I barely remember seeing him actually drive.

Honorable Mention:

Marv Dewall, single handedly respsonsilbe for me racing at Huset's and Jckson through my early years. Mr. Smooth at Huset's a pleasure to watch work the track.

Guy Forbrook: A very exciting driver and driven to win. Cocky, but talent to back it up. His driving career was way too short.

Tim Monson: Very talented, agressive and consistent driver (despite the fact I wanted to turn him into hamburger his rookie year). Excellent man and racer.

Matt Spies: Who can conted his record of wins and championships in a time when competion was intense and cars where plentiful. No one drove "Rocky" and Jackson like he did.

Cliffr Kodial: (sorry on the last name spelling): next To Roger, I learned the most from Cliff, his patience, smoothness and skill always inpired me. From him, I learned the art of the dry-click track.

Doug Wolfgang. Yep, not a Minnesotan, but did so much for racing in this area and still does, that his legacy cannot be overlooked. Also, one of the "young guys" our Dad thought really had it when he first watched him at North Star in the 70s.

Joe Kouba: the main and real motivation that I ever sat a sprint car. He did the most with the least at North Star. Never really had luck on his side, but always had some of the best on track instincts I've ever watched. He was a late bloomer in terms of on-track success, but when he did come into his own, he was awesome and fun to be around. (Yes, I'm partial)

Off, but near topic; the two sprint car drivers Earl (Dad) most admired: Jud Larson and Tommy Hinnershitz. When working with Joe, he really liked the looks of Wolfgang. In my years, he liked Stevenson and Dewall, and thought Forbrook really had a touch when watching him wheel the Fransen 22x around Huset's.

A fun stroll, thanks for the post and opportunity to remember how lucky we've been with the quality of talent we've been able to watch, race against and admire.



dakob
March 12, 2011 at 07:54:26 PM
Joined: 12/02/2004
Posts: 148
Reply
Reply to:
Posted By: JimmyK on March 11 2011 at 11:30:02 PM

A tough, but fun choice. I like:

Barry Kettering, fan and kid favorite, dominated Princeton in the late 60s and early 70s. My first race hero outside of my Dad.

Jerry Richert Sr.: had the honor of being on the same track with him in the early 80s and he was still a contender to win.

John Stevenson: From his early days at Princeton, then North Star (my Granny was his trophy girl once). John was nearly unbeatable when I started racing in the 80s. Excellent driver, clean, hard and fast. Wow.

Roger (the Racer) Rager, learned more from this man about on track racing than anyone else. hard driver, fair (at least always to me and Joe). his success was far and wide like JR Sr.

Don Mack: Had Loren Woodke's respect and classed by him as the "perfect" sprint car driver. Good enough for me, altough I barely remember seeing him actually drive.

Honorable Mention:

Marv Dewall, single handedly respsonsilbe for me racing at Huset's and Jckson through my early years. Mr. Smooth at Huset's a pleasure to watch work the track.

Guy Forbrook: A very exciting driver and driven to win. Cocky, but talent to back it up. His driving career was way too short.

Tim Monson: Very talented, agressive and consistent driver (despite the fact I wanted to turn him into hamburger his rookie year). Excellent man and racer.

Matt Spies: Who can conted his record of wins and championships in a time when competion was intense and cars where plentiful. No one drove "Rocky" and Jackson like he did.

Cliffr Kodial: (sorry on the last name spelling): next To Roger, I learned the most from Cliff, his patience, smoothness and skill always inpired me. From him, I learned the art of the dry-click track.

Doug Wolfgang. Yep, not a Minnesotan, but did so much for racing in this area and still does, that his legacy cannot be overlooked. Also, one of the "young guys" our Dad thought really had it when he first watched him at North Star in the 70s.

Joe Kouba: the main and real motivation that I ever sat a sprint car. He did the most with the least at North Star. Never really had luck on his side, but always had some of the best on track instincts I've ever watched. He was a late bloomer in terms of on-track success, but when he did come into his own, he was awesome and fun to be around. (Yes, I'm partial)

Off, but near topic; the two sprint car drivers Earl (Dad) most admired: Jud Larson and Tommy Hinnershitz. When working with Joe, he really liked the looks of Wolfgang. In my years, he liked Stevenson and Dewall, and thought Forbrook really had a touch when watching him wheel the Fransen 22x around Huset's.

A fun stroll, thanks for the post and opportunity to remember how lucky we've been with the quality of talent we've been able to watch, race against and admire.



Tommy Milton two time winner of the Indianapolis 500.



StanM
MyResults MyPressRelease
March 13, 2011 at 08:22:52 AM
Joined: 11/07/2006
Posts: 4140
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Reply to:
Posted By: dakob on March 12 2011 at 07:54:26 PM

Tommy Milton two time winner of the Indianapolis 500.



LOL, now there's a trump card. He was from St. Paul, you can't get much more Minnesotan than that. ;)


Stan Meissner

sprntr
March 13, 2011 at 11:58:32 AM
Joined: 12/05/2004
Posts: 465
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Reply to:
Posted By: dakob on March 12 2011 at 07:54:26 PM

Tommy Milton two time winner of the Indianapolis 500.



Did they even have Sprint Cars when he retired in 1927?

This is a great thread.



dakob
March 13, 2011 at 02:27:27 PM
Joined: 12/02/2004
Posts: 148
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Reply to:
Posted By: sprntr on March 13 2011 at 11:58:32 AM

Did they even have Sprint Cars when he retired in 1927?

This is a great thread.



Yes, but they were not called sprint cars but referred to as 'BIG CARS' I will not tell you how old I am but we always went to the BIG CAR races at Winchester, Salem and Ft. Wayne in Indiana and Dayton and Greenville in Ohio and several state and county fairgrounds half mile dirt tracks.



Lanman
March 13, 2011 at 07:16:36 PM
Joined: 11/30/2004
Posts: 205
Reply

OK, being a South Dakota guy, I know my vote doesnt count, but I am rather surprised that no one has even mentioned Keith Fratzen or Craig Dollansky. Now I realize Craig has much of his carrer left, but he's not too bad of a shoe. Then there is the Frantzen clan.....well, that's another story in itself. I am in no means saying either one of them is the best ever, but am relativly surprised neither name has come up so far. Just sayin......



Murphy
March 13, 2011 at 11:00:29 PM
Joined: 05/26/2005
Posts: 978
Reply

I saw Jerry Richert Sr.'s last sprincar race at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds racetrack. He tangled with Gabby Lusk going into turn #1 on the big half mile track. They crashed and rolled for-ever! (Jerry was OK, but retired from racing.)After the races, I walked the track. I paced off 300 feet from the time Richert's car first rolled over to the place where it came to rest. Very scary.



sprntr
March 15, 2011 at 06:49:05 PM
Joined: 12/05/2004
Posts: 465
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Reply to:
Posted By: dakob on March 13 2011 at 02:27:27 PM

Yes, but they were not called sprint cars but referred to as 'BIG CARS' I will not tell you how old I am but we always went to the BIG CAR races at Winchester, Salem and Ft. Wayne in Indiana and Dayton and Greenville in Ohio and several state and county fairgrounds half mile dirt tracks.



What was the difference between "Big Cars" & Indy Cars of that era?



sprntr
March 15, 2011 at 06:54:56 PM
Joined: 12/05/2004
Posts: 465
Reply
Reply to:
Posted By: Lanman on March 13 2011 at 07:16:36 PM

OK, being a South Dakota guy, I know my vote doesnt count, but I am rather surprised that no one has even mentioned Keith Fratzen or Craig Dollansky. Now I realize Craig has much of his carrer left, but he's not too bad of a shoe. Then there is the Frantzen clan.....well, that's another story in itself. I am in no means saying either one of them is the best ever, but am relativly surprised neither name has come up so far. Just sayin......



The original post said before the WoO, before Wings & before TV.

I don't thing Craig is quite that OLD!

I don't know why your vote wouldn't count. It say "Minnesota's best sprint car racer", not "Minnesota Voters".



dakob
March 15, 2011 at 08:20:26 PM
Joined: 12/02/2004
Posts: 148
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Reply to:
Posted By: sprntr on March 15 2011 at 06:49:05 PM

What was the difference between "Big Cars" & Indy Cars of that era?



The biggest difference between big cars and Indy cars of that era was tires and mud. Crews changed tires for the brick surface at Indianapolis and knocked the mud clods off the front of the car. Not an attempt to be funny but basically that was the exact formula to run Indy. Very few of the early day,1920-1940 era, cars were built to run at Indianapolis exclusively. Indianapolis was the ONLY paved track for the cars and most of the cars were built to run the dirt tracks. The story of Wilbur Shaw is a good overview of that era. Shaw built his own Indy car in the spring of 1937 and won the 500 mile race. He later ran the same car at every stop on the championship AAA circuit and all of these tracks were dirt. In the spring of 1938 he converted not only tires but stiffer suspension and ran the exact same car in the 500 once again finishing second to Floyd Roberts in a genuine 'dirt' car that closely resembles todays sprint cars. Shaw won the 500 two more times 1939 and 1940 and both of these wins came in the Boyle Maserati, one of the very first cars built to run ONLY at Indianapolis.



Terry Enter
March 16, 2011 at 08:58:46 AM
Joined: 02/10/2005
Posts: 42
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Reply to:
Posted By: sprntr on March 08 2011 at 05:52:25 PM

Nice try, but Jan Opperman wasn't from Minnesota



I missed the Mn. part so i,m switchin to Bobby Geldner Don Mack is from ND



Terry Enter
March 16, 2011 at 09:05:03 AM
Joined: 02/10/2005
Posts: 42
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Reply to:
Posted By: sprntr on March 15 2011 at 06:54:56 PM

The original post said before the WoO, before Wings & before TV.

I don't thing Craig is quite that OLD!

I don't know why your vote wouldn't count. It say "Minnesota's best sprint car racer", not "Minnesota Voters".



Not Craig but Wild Bill Dollansky was no slouch in a sprint car.



LEV PROMOTIONS
March 16, 2011 at 06:40:04 PM
Joined: 12/06/2004
Posts: 292
Reply

How about Jack Mc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about Jack McCorkell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



sprntr
March 17, 2011 at 08:12:12 AM
Joined: 12/05/2004
Posts: 465
Reply
Reply to:
Posted By: dakob on March 15 2011 at 08:20:26 PM

The biggest difference between big cars and Indy cars of that era was tires and mud. Crews changed tires for the brick surface at Indianapolis and knocked the mud clods off the front of the car. Not an attempt to be funny but basically that was the exact formula to run Indy. Very few of the early day,1920-1940 era, cars were built to run at Indianapolis exclusively. Indianapolis was the ONLY paved track for the cars and most of the cars were built to run the dirt tracks. The story of Wilbur Shaw is a good overview of that era. Shaw built his own Indy car in the spring of 1937 and won the 500 mile race. He later ran the same car at every stop on the championship AAA circuit and all of these tracks were dirt. In the spring of 1938 he converted not only tires but stiffer suspension and ran the exact same car in the 500 once again finishing second to Floyd Roberts in a genuine 'dirt' car that closely resembles todays sprint cars. Shaw won the 500 two more times 1939 and 1940 and both of these wins came in the Boyle Maserati, one of the very first cars built to run ONLY at Indianapolis.



I probably should have asked the difference between Big Cars & Champ Cars (as in the cars that ran for the AAA National Championship). News reports of that era generally refer to Midget drivers moving up to the Big Cars in AAA or IMCA, with little or no mention of Sprint Cars.



StanM
MyResults MyPressRelease
March 17, 2011 at 05:02:03 PM
Joined: 11/07/2006
Posts: 4140
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Reply to:
Posted By: sprntr on March 15 2011 at 06:54:56 PM

The original post said before the WoO, before Wings & before TV.

I don't thing Craig is quite that OLD!

I don't know why your vote wouldn't count. It say "Minnesota's best sprint car racer", not "Minnesota Voters".



Craig's first race was at Centuria (Kopellah) in the early 80's but I'm not sure if they were running wings by then.


Stan Meissner

dakob
March 18, 2011 at 07:46:16 PM
Joined: 12/02/2004
Posts: 148
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Reply to:
Posted By: sprntr on March 17 2011 at 08:12:12 AM

I probably should have asked the difference between Big Cars & Champ Cars (as in the cars that ran for the AAA National Championship). News reports of that era generally refer to Midget drivers moving up to the Big Cars in AAA or IMCA, with little or no mention of Sprint Cars.



Most of the midget drivers who moved up to eventually run Indianapolis came in the post war era of 1946-1954. As you correctly stated they first moved up to the 'big cars' of AAA and IMCA. For some unknown reason the IMCA called these cars 'speedway cars' to further confuse the identification of the evolution to sprint cars. I do not know, althought I have read a lot of versions, where the name of sprint car had its origins but I think the first time I ever heard them referred to in that manner was at the Little 500 in Anderson, Indiana in the mid 1950's when the cars from California began to run that race.



sprint 82
March 18, 2011 at 10:31:02 PM
Joined: 12/31/2008
Posts: 551
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Posted By: apprentice on March 09 2011 at 08:06:57 AM

I can't really narrow it down to just one driver, so I'll give a top five. In no particular order I would have to say :

John Stevenson(the "pumpkin eater" special)

Jerry Richert

Jerry Richert Jr.

Barry Kettering

Don Mack



I'M with these guy's right here!


A Bad Day Of Sprint Car Racing Is 10 Times Better Than 
A Good Day At Work!

grp
March 26, 2011 at 05:19:48 PM
Joined: 12/06/2004
Posts: 713
Reply

That is a difficult question, one which I have thought about for several weeks since the first post was made. Often times personal favorites come into play, and I guess that would only be natural. Here would be my top five.

1. Jerry Richert, Sr.

2. Barry Kettering

3. John Stevenson

4. Don Mack

5. Marv Dewall (until he moved to SD) otherwise Jack McCorkell

If you want to take it through the 1980s era, then move John Stevenson up one notch just a tick behind Richert. Very touch choices, and several good quality names are not even mentioned in my top five.

As for Opperman, he could have lived just about anywhere. Beaver Crossing, NE was one of my favorites for his hometown.



grp
March 26, 2011 at 05:29:13 PM
Joined: 12/06/2004
Posts: 713
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Reply to:
Posted By: dakob on March 13 2011 at 02:27:27 PM

Yes, but they were not called sprint cars but referred to as 'BIG CARS' I will not tell you how old I am but we always went to the BIG CAR races at Winchester, Salem and Ft. Wayne in Indiana and Dayton and Greenville in Ohio and several state and county fairgrounds half mile dirt tracks.



Maybe some under this sanction? Hope you can view this.

 



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