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  .: 2011 Hall of Fame Inductees :.


First induction class (Charter members).
Inducted August 20, 2011. From left: Chuck Robarge (representing his Father Lyle), Dean Harrington, Steve Beranek (representing Aldy Knutson), Don Brown, Buddy Mayala, Gloria Laursen (representing her Husband Russ Laursen, Butch Madsen, June Havel (representing her husband 'Bud' Havel and Dave Morgan. Missing from photo is inductee Louie Carpenter.

Don Brown
1 Don began racing in 1951 when the Rice Lake Speedway was founded. Driving his #55, he won 33 feature races in the highly competitive Late Model class during the 1960’s and countless feature races before that time in the 50’s when records aren’t available.

Don served as track President in 1967 and 1968 along with holding other track offices as well over the years. One of the greatest rivalries in speedway history over the past nearly sixty years involved Hall of Famers Brown and Bud Havel battling it out week after week, Brown driving his trademark Ford and Havel his Chevrolet.

Don maintains his interest in the sport to this day. He has had three of his sons race at various times at the Rice Lake Speedway and grandson Dusty currently races in the Midwest Modifieds. Don can be found virtually every Saturday night in the grandstands taking in the action.
Lou Carpenter
1 Lou was an original founder of the Rice Lake Speed Pit in 1952. He is best known as the track flagman, serving in that position for an unprecedented seventeen years, from 1956-1973. In those days, the flagman was located on the inside of the track, across from the judge’s stand, perched on a three foot ramp with absolutely no protection from out of control race cars.

He is remembered for his starts when he would leap into the air, furiously waving the green flag. Many is the time he would have to nimbly step aside to avoid an out of control race car or avoid an errant wheel off a race car. Along with Pit Steward Lyle Robarge, they formed a team that maintained order and presented a speedy and safe race program , Saturday after Saturday. Lou was also track President in 1956 and 1971 and was co-founder with Dean Harrington of the Fireworks display and helped set off the fireworks for over forty years. Lou had a continuous membership in the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association from its beginning to end, from 1954 to 2000.

Lou was a racer at the track when complete records weren’t available, but driving his #4511 Jr., he won numerous victories during his racing days. When he retired from flagging, he took up the position of push truck driver, and his speedy response to stalled or disabled race cars was legendary at helping to keep the race program on schedule. His loyalty and dedication to the track has been unprecedented.
Dean Harrington
1 Dean is one of the original founders of what was then known as the Rice Lake Speed Pit, which was founded in 1952. Dean was Board President of the speedway an unprecedented seven times, holding the office in 1958,1970,1972,1976,1977,1990 and 1991. He has also held all the other board positions as well, some of them numerous times. Along with his late wife Ione, they have handled virtually every job at the track at some point in time. It would be a safe bet to say that Dean has probably missed fewer races than anyone in track history over the course of the last fifty nine years and probably never missed a Monday night association meeting when the association ran the track. He was co-founder of the spectacular fireworks display that the track is now famous for, having started the first Firecracker Special in 1963.

Dean was also an excellent racer at the track. He started racing in 1952 driving the famous black and yellow #U2 with the lightning bolt on the roof. He started out racing Modifieds, then Super Modifieds and then moved to the Late Models when the Super Modifieds were eliminated from the program at Rice Lake. He was point champion at the track in 1973 and 1976 and won Auqufest Trophy races in both 1964 and 1974. While the records are incomplete dating back to when he started racing, it is a safe bet to assume that he is one of the top feature winners in the track’s history. Dean is still involved at the speedway on a weekly basis, working the infield scale following each race. When he weighs his first car of the 2012 racing season, it will mark a remarkable sixtieth consecutive year of involvement with auto racing at Rice Lake.
Melvin "Bud" Havel
Bud raced exclusively in the Late Model class at the Rice Lake Speedway for 31 years beginning in the 1950’s. At Rice Lake, Bud won the Season Championship in 1960,1967 and 1971. He also won the Points Championship in 1963 and 1968 and the Auqafest Trophy races in 1966, 67 and 69. He also won the first two Rice Lake Late Model Invitationals in 1967 and 1968 driving a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette and always in the familiar flaming #5. Affectionately know as “Honey Bear”, Bud served the Rice Lake Speedway as the track President in 1964 and 1969. He was a fierce competitor yet displayed a friendliness that made him extremely popular with the other drivers and fans as he often raced with a clenched cigar between his teeth. Bud’s love of the sport was passed on to his family as he has had three sons and now grandsons who have also raced and the flaming #5 can still be seen on the track with grandson Jason behind the wheel. Bud passed away in July of 2001.
Accepting his award tonight is June Havel.
Russ Laursen
1 The name Russ Laursen is legendary at the Rice Lake Speedway to those who witnessed his successes and to those that have heard or read about his achievements.

Russ started racing in 1951 and recorded numerous feature wins during the fifties, when records were sketchy at best. However, his achievements in the 1960’s are well documented when he won five straight point championships from 1961 through 1965 and Season Championships from 1962 through 1965.

During that time frame, he won 52 feature wins at Rice Lake driving his famous cars numbered #19 and #519. After that, Russ moved on to racing more on a national stage. He raced extensively with IMCA (International Motor Contest Association), traveling to sprint car races throughout the Midwest. He won the championship three straight years at Thunder Bay Ontario and was the second all time money winner at the Minnesota State Fair. He won over 500 trophies during his nineteen year racing career and while the number of years that he raced at Rice Lake was relatively short, his domination of the racing at Rice Lake during that time was unprecedented. Russ had three sons that tried racing, and both Brent and Steve went on to become accomplished drivers in their own right.

Russ passed away in September of 1970 following a racing crash in Minnesota.
Alton "Aldy" Knutson
1 Aldy was one of the founding members of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association and the Rice Lake Speed Pit. He raced during the fifties and sixties and won seven feature wins during the early sixties as well as a number of wins during the fifties when records are incomplete. He was also President of the track in 1962 and 1966.

A mind mannered gentleman who was respected by all he raced against, he had a natural talent for anything mechanical. Although he worked for Oliver Johnson Chevrolet as a mechanic and fixed Chevrolets and Buicks, he always raced Dodges and Plymouths. The last car he built, in either 1962 or 1963, was dubbed “The twenty five dollar wonder”, an obvious reference to how much he paid for the car, which was a 1938 Plymouth. According to Jack Shimon who later purchased the car from Aldy, he took the car next door to his friend Bud Havel, where they installed the roll cage in the morning, spray painted the #367 on the car, and raced it that night! And race it he did, winning many races with that car at a time when sweeping the boards earned him $150 while as a full time mechanic, Aldy was only taking home $85 a week! Aldy had a unique driving style. While seldom the fastest car on the track, he managed to avoid all the wrecks and his careful and skillful driving earned him many feature wins. Aldy passed away in October of 2004.

Accepting his award tonight is Steve Beranek.
Leslie "Butch" Madsen
1 If there was ever a “clown price” of the Rice Lake Speedway, it would have to be Butch Madsen. As fierce a competitor as he is off the track, he is just as free-spirited, fun loving and full of pranks off the track. Butch, who started racing in his hometown of Superior in 1960, has raced in six different decades at the Rice Lake Speedway. He has accumulated seventy two feature wins at Rice Lake, winning in four different classes of cars as Butch has raced everything from a Pure Stock to a Late Model. The diehard Ford man, Butch has won numerous season and point championships at Rice Lake. On July 4, 1997 Butch was seriously injured when struck in the head by a rock thrown at him by another race car at another area oval. However, he returned to the wheel of a race car just over a year later, with his only modification being that he switched from racing Super Stocks to Street Stocks. In fact, Butch has had some of his most successful years after his accident, wheeling his famous #94 Street Stock (the number of his favorite driver Bill Elliott). Butch is another driver willing to help out others, as many a driver has been mentored by Butch during their earliest racing days. His enthusiasm for racing, his friendliness and constant smile have long made him a track favorite and he remains to this day one of the most popular drivers on the track.

One of only two Hall of Fame inductees still racing, Butch has raced both Pure Stocks and Street Stocks in 2011 having won feature races in the Pure Stock and making the field in the highly competitive Street Stock Little Dream race held earlier this month.
John "Buddy" Mayala
1 Buddy began racing in 1954 driving a 1933 Ford coupe. He has raced at the Rice Lake Speedway in six different decades, having recorded feature wins in five of those decades. He has accumulated 44 feature wins at the Rice Lake Speedway, including twenty nine in the Modified class which ranks him at third place in the all time standings. Buddy holds the speedway record for consecutive feature wins with eight in a row at the conclusion of the 1980 season. He was the Super Modified Season Champion in 1966 at Rice Lake and won the Modified Season Championship in 1980, 1981, 1989 and 1993. He also won the points championship for Modifieds in 1993 and the Midseason Championship in 1981 and 1993. Buddy achieved international fame as well when, at the age of 22 in 1957,  he became the first American driver to win the Western Canadian Championship for Super Modifieds before a crowd of 6,000 at the Exhibition Fairgrounds in what is now Thunder Bay Ontario and then returned to win the title again in 1960.

Buddy has always been known as a gentleman driver, and the seventy five year old resident of Barron is one of only two Hall of Fame inductees who is still actively involved in sport, unloading his #104 Modified out of the trailer every week where he races as a team with his son David, who drives the #204 Modified.
Dave Morgan
1 Dave is one of the very few drivers who have been accorded legendary status at the Rice Lake Speedway where he is affectionately known at “The King.” Driving his famous #500 cars, the records he holds at Rice Lake at staggering.

He is the all time leading feature winner at the track having won 103 feature wins, seventy three of them being in the Late Model class. He won twelve feature wins in the Late Model class in both 1970 and 1971. He won six Season Championships, six Mid Season Championships, Four Season Point Championships, two Rice Lake Labor Day Invitationals, four Auqafest feature races and six Best Appearing Car awards. Dave won the first Punky Manor Memorial race and the first Russ Laursen Memorial race. In 1968 he was voted the top driver from the United States at the Canadian Dirt Track Championship in Thunder Bay Ontario. Dave has also won the Wisconsin State Dirt Track Championship.

Dave has raced at Rice Lake in five different decades and holds the record at Rice Lake for having raced consecutively for forty eight years. When the Late Model class was phased out, Dave switched over to the Modifieds and became an accomplished open wheel racer as well. Equally as great as his accomplishments on the track have been, has been his generosity off the track. He became a chassis builder of note, and many a racer started his career with a race car built in the Morgan shop. His advise and help to other drivers is legend with many a racer furthering his career with help and parts, often at a discounted price from Dave.

He has also been a huge help to the track over the years and a major volunteer to the speedway, especially in the years when the club owned and operated the track. Evidence of his service is the work that he did constructing the entire back wall on the speedway and the restrooms behind the grandstands. He and his wife Elvira have also served uncounted meals over the years to the drivers after the races at the Morgan trailer.
Lyle Robarge
1 Lyle was one of the founders and charter members of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association. In addition to helping develop the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association, he was also track President in 1974 and also held numerous other offices within the association. He raced in the Street Stock class driving the #139, but it was as a track employee that he found his niche.

As a long time pit steward for the track in the 1950’s and 60’s,  he set a standard of excellence at his position that was recognized throughout the racing community. Forming a team with track flagman Lou Carpenter, they were widely recognized for their efforts at maintaining a fair, crisply run and safe racing program for both participants and spectators. Lyle was one of the very few people that maintained a continuous membership in the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association that began in 1954. Lyle passed away in November 1986.

Accepting his award tonight is Chuck Robarge.

Class of 2011