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  .: 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees :.


Second induction class. August 11, 2012.
From left: Louis Foss, Jack Shimon, Ben Ryba, Don Drew, Dave Palmquist, Dave Adams and speedway co-owner Mitch Hansen.

Dave Adams
1 Dave Adams began his distinguished racing career in 1971 driving a 1967 Ford Fairlane powered by a small block Ford motor as he started right out in the Late Model class. Partnering with Rick Kurshinsky from Cameron, who would go on to be a notable chassis builder in his own right, Adams selected the number #40 for his race car based on the fact that no other local driver was using that number.

Over 40 years later, and that number would still be synonymous with the Adams family’s racing endeavors, both in remembrance of Dave’s long and many varied achievements and also with son Kevin having taken over carrying the torch for the family on the area dirt tracks.

Dave didn’t win a feature race that first year of racing as the local stock car action was being dominated by another Hall of Famer, Dave Morgan. However, after the 1971 season the Fairlane was sold for $800 and a new car, a 1968 Ford with a big block 427 cubic inch engine more designed for dirt track racing was built and the results were immediately noticed.

They raced that car fifty six times during the 1972 season all over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada and along with breaking Morgan’s win streak, they won the championship at Rice Lake, the first of nine Late Model championships Dave won at Rice Lake. He also picked up sponsors that included Kohel Implement, Crossroads Café, Woody’s Bar and Rice Lake Glass & Door that he would retain throughout his long racing career.

Dave won the last Late Model race staged at the track when it was a fifth mile oval before it was expanded to a quarter mile track for the 1978 racing season.

However, the winds of change were in the air. In 1979 the talk began about a new, low cost form of racing that was just starting in Iowa and several folks in the Rice Lake area, including Jerry Curnow, Don Smith and Al Hajdasz were interested in getting the class started in Rice Lake. Along with Adams, they convinced the local track to start the Modified division in 1980. Curnow had Kurshinsky build one of the cars for the new class for $2,500 and when it was done, they had no driver for it at the start of the season.

Adams agreed to drive it and he won both the heat and feature the first two weeks of the season, thus being the winner of the first ever Modified races conducted out of the state of Iowa. Rice Lake went on to continue to run the Modified class to this day, and proudly claims that they were the second track in the entire United States to run the Modified class which now has grown into thousands of race cars and hundreds of tracks across the country that run the division every week.

Dave’s racing achievements at the Rice Lake Speedway are many. Along with nine track championships , he also won season championships in 1977, 1986 and 1988. He won thirty seven feature races in the Late Model class, the last of which was during the 1988 season. He also won fifteen times driving a Modified with the last win coming during the 1993 racing season. He also won feature races in thirteen of the seventeen years that he raced at the Rice Lake Speedway.

During this time, he also gained much notoriety for his skills as an engine builder for racing cars. His Adams’ Automotive Racing Engines shop in Cameron, located right next door to his home, continues to this day to turn out championship caliber racing engines that are delivered to racers all over the United States and Canada.

However, as much as he is known for his skills on the race track and under the hood, his longest lasting legacy may involve something else that he has done for the local racing community in recent years.

In 2010 the Rice Lake Speedway was facing a dire situation. The track was for sale, and if the owners didn’t sell the track, they didn’t plan to open it up for the racing season which would have created a huge void for the local racing community and could likely had led to the end of racing forever in the Rice Lake area, a situation the local dirt track racers hadn’t faced since the track was opened in 1952.

However, Adams with a friend and fellow Cameron businessman Mitch Hansen formed a partnership, and in the Spring of 2010 Adams-Hansen Inc. purchased the speedway. With only 10 days to get prepared, they opened the 2010 racing season right on time in April and in the three years that they have run the track, the speedway has prospered since. Despite a challenging economy and skyrocketing fuel prices, the new owners have made many improvements to the track, strengthened the weekly racing program and brought in more special events than in many of the preceding years combined and they have continued plans to do much more in the future as they are in for the long haul.

Driver, engine builder and now track owner; Dave Adams can truly say that he has done it all when it comes to his involvement with the Rice Lake Speedway.
Don Drew
1 Don began racing at the Rice Lake Speedway in 1986, racing in the Bomber class. In his first year of racing he won three feature races. Then, in 1987, he set a track record with ten feature wins in the Bomber class.

In 1989 Don moved to the Super Stock class and raced for seventeen years in that class. During that time, he won an unprecedented fifty seven feature wins at Rice Lake in the Super Stocks before retiring after the 2005 racing season. His seventy feature wins in total ranks him third on the all time feature win list at Rice Lake. Between 1990 and 2005, a period of sixteen years, Don won at least one feature win at the speedway each year, an all time track record.

Known as “The Flying Farmer”, Don won seven point championships at Rice Lake in the years of 1987, 1990, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He won four Season Championships in the years of 1987, 1994, 1996 and 1998 and was the winner in five WISSOTA Super Stock Invitationals at Rice Lake in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2004.

Exclusively driving the #21 car, Don’s car was always one of the sharpest on the track and he garnered many Best Appearing Car awards during his racing career. Every year, race fans would anxiously await the annual car show to see what spectacular looking  creation Don had put together during the off season.

Don also enjoyed much success racing at other speedways throughout WISSOTA, but particularly the Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie. He also set the standard for local racers with his constant and repeated success at invitationals and also in the WISSOTA national point races. Eight times during his Super Stock career he finished near the top in the national point standings, highlighted by a second place finish in 1996 and third place finishes in both 2002 and 2003 and in 2004 he also won the Super Stock feature at the WISSOTA 100.

During the years that Don raced with WISSOTA and traveled to tracks all over the region, he was widely known as one of the toughest competitors around and dazzled competitors and fans alike with his hard charging yet smooth driving style.

Don currently works as a heavy equipment operator and resides in the Rice Lake area with his wife Tammy.
Louie Foss
1 For the casual race fan of the Rice Lake Speedway, the name Louie Foss might not ring any immediate bells, but for the insiders at the track and those people interested in preserving the long and rich history of the speedway, Louie has been a giant in what his contributions have done for the speedway.

Elected in the Friends of the Speedway category which includes those people that have been involved with the speedway as car owners, sponsors, track officials and supporters of the track, Louie is one of the few members of the Speedway Hall of Fame never to have turned a lap in competition at the track.

However, in terms of what his presence has done for the speedway, and in documenting its long and rich history, his accomplishments stand tall.

Louie started his involvement with the speedway as a fan who came out and watched the Saturday night races. He wondered why the speedway didn’t have a program, so he asked why and the next thing he knew, he had volunteered to put together a weekly race program.

For the next sixteen years he served as editor and contributing writer of the “Keepin’ Track”, the weekly free race paper provided by the speedway, a tradition recently revived by Dan Adams after several years of not having had the paper.

A meticulous and exacting individual, Louie always strived to write the best possible program, keeping everyone informed about the present and past track history and to give the drivers, their pit crews and owners and their sponsors the recognition they deserved.

During those sixteen years, he wrote more than 250 programs, year end summaries, special event programs and track trivia questions, a fun activity still done presently.

He also was a track official and served on the board of directors of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association during the 1980s. 

When interest was expressed in starting a Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame, Louie was at the forefront of those contacted and one of the first willing to step forward and get this worthwhile endeavor started. Louie’s expertise and his extensive history of the speedway through all his exacting research were key in both getting the Hall of Fame started and making informed selections of the members inducted.

While Louie will always minimize his importance to the speedway, if not for his extensive research and fact checking, much of the history of the speedway would have been lost forever.

Louie is also deeply involved in the community of Rice Lake and is an important member of another Hall of Fame, the Rice Lake area athletic Hall of Fame.
Louie is retired from the Rice Lake Post Office and is currently working for the Rice Lake Parks & Rec. Department.

Louis and his wife Sharon reside in Rice Lake.
Dave Palmquist
Dave served in the U.S. Army for three years as a Medic in Korea, and when he returned to Wisconsin in 1969, he started his racing career. Teaming up with Gene Larson, they built a 1957 Ford two door stock class car powered by a 292 cubic inch engine. The car was numbered #27 because Dave was twenty seven years old when he started his racing career.

Success came quickly in his racing career and three weeks into his rookie season, he won his first feature race. Although he didn’t win again in 1969, he raced another 1957 Ford the following season and again won a single main event.

In 1971 the Late Model class was the place to be if you were a driver looking to go faster and race for more money, and Palmquist moved into the class that year. He purchased a 1969 Ford Torino with a small block 302 cubic inch Ford Boss motor from well known race car owner and scrap metal dealer Leo Kadinger. With Fred Johnson and Floyd Engelking turning the wrenches, they quickly became one of the top Late Model race teams in the local area.

He then teamed up with Cameron’s Rick Kurshinsky to race a 1972 Chevrolet Nova and in that car he won his first feature race in the Late Models at Rice Lake in 1973. He later went on to win the track points title, the season championship and the first Late Model invitational held at Rice Lake in 1974.

In 1976 Dave came out with what eventually became one of the most famous race cars in Rice Lake Speedway history. In an era when the same Late Model race car could run equally as adept on both dirt and asphalt tracks, Palmquist bought a Bemco chassis Camaro from one of Wisconsin’s asphalt racing legends, Nekoosa Wisconsin’s Marv Marzofka.

After racing that car on the dirt all summer, when the Labor Day weekend approached, the pit crew changed the tires to asphalt “slicks” and he raced the car at the Minnesota State Fair’s half mile asphalt track. Qualifying against a field of nearly ninety cars, Palmquist made the main event and finished twelfth against a field of asphalt track specialists in the four hundred lap main event. They then changed the tires again and he went back to dirt track racing.

Dave won twelve Late Model feature events at Rice Lake between the years of 1973 and 1979 with the last win coming in ’79.

After the 1979 season his plan was to get away from racing, but he was lured back to the sport part way through the 1980 racing season by Jerry Curnow, who had put together a top quality ride for the new Modified class that debuted at the track that year. Jerry didn’t have a full time driver for his car though, and Palmquist agreed to start driving the open wheel car, even though he didn’t have any previous experience in open wheel cars.

The results were spectacular right from the beginning and for the first few years of the class at Rice Lake, it was Palmquist and another Hall of Famer, Buddy Mayala who battled it out for the win virtually every race night until the competition started to improve. Dave’s biggest year in the Modified and at the track as a whole was in 1982 when he won thirteen feature races at Rice Lake in the Curnow car, and set a record for wins in that division that wasn’t equaled until twenty nine years later, until Kevin Adams tied the record in 2011. Dave won the points title and the Season Championship that year. He also entered the car in an asphalt race at Rockford IL and won the National Short Track Championship there. Even more amazing, the day after the win in Rockford, they towed all the way back to Rice Lake, changed the tires on the race car and won the invitational at the Rice Lake Speedway too. Added to those wins were Auqafest Trophy wins and Midseason and Season Championship titles too.

All together, Dave won twenty five Modified feature wins at Rice Lake with the last coming in 1986. He was also responsible , along with Curnow , of advancing the Modified class in this area by taking the car to numerous other race tracks and showing off the Modified car to prospective racers.

Overall, Palmquist won a total of thirty nine feature wins at Rice Lake in the relatively short time that he raced. He also made a name for himself in both the Late Model and Modified ranks as both cars were raced all across the Midwest and he won many special events against quality competition. His was a very smooth driving style and one that was rare in that his ability to adapt to both dirt and asphalt tracks equally as well was very unusual. He could probably have been just as an exceptional asphalt track driver as a dirt driver if the circumstances had been different.
 
Ben Ryba
1 Ben Ryba had one of the shortest careers in racing of any of the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame members, but what he accomplished in his few short years of racing at Rice Lake no doubt makes him worthy of Hall of Fame induction.

Ben burst on to the local racing scene in 1973 and as a rookie driver won eight feature wins in the Street Stock class. He followed that up with another eight feature win season in 1974.

In 1976 he switched to the Super Stock class and recorded three feature wins. In 1977 he had a monster year winning thirteen feature wins and setting a record for most feature wins in a single season in the Super Stocks.

In 1978 he was on the move again, switching to the new Hobby Stock class at the speedway and he won a division high six feature wins in the class. And in 1979 he broke another record as he won seven more times and set the standard for most yearly wins in the Hobby Stock class.

In all, Ben won forty five feature wins in three different classes of competition in seven years of racing.

During those seven years he won five point championships at Rice Lake in the years of 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1979. Ben won the Midseason Championship three times, and interestingly, all three were split between the three classes he raced in during those seven years. He won in a Street Stock in 1974, a Super Stock in 1977 and in a Hobby Stock in 1979. In addition, he won one Season Championship race and two Auqufest Trophy feature races.

Always driving the #7 car, in five of the seven years he raced he led the class he was racing in, in feature races won.

Ben and his wife Dorothy reside in Cameron and Ben owns and operates Cameron Auto Body.  
Jack Shimon
1 Jack raced during four different decades at the Rice Lake Speedway. He began his racing career in 1955 at the age of sixteen. During the years that Jack raced, he ran in four different classes. He started out in the Stock class, then in 1973 moved to what was known as the Rice Lake Stock class, and then in 1976 switched to the Super Stock class. Finally, in 1980 he became one of the initial racers during the first year that the Modified class was started.

Between 1961 and 1984, Jack won forty five feature wins at the Rice Lake Speedway. That total would surely be higher except for the fact that prior to 1961 the records for the speedway are incomplete. Jack won feature wins in sixteen different years at the speedway, with his last win coming in 1984 in an open wheel Modified.

Jack was particularly successful winning Auqufest Trophy events as he won a Rice Lake Speedway record seven of them coming in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974 and 1976. He won four point championships with those coming in 1964,1965,1968 and 1971. He also won three Season Championship features in the years of 1964,1965 and 1971.

Jack, who exclusively used the #29 during his long racing career, drove a 1938 Plymouth in 1964 and 65 when he won both the points and season championships.

Jack, who on the track was known as “Black Jack Shimon”, raced with a very aggressive style throughout his racing career and was constantly right in the middle of the action both on and off the track as he was one driver the spectators always wanted to keep their eyes on.

With his prominent handle bar mustache, steely glare and aggressive racing style, he surely must have intimidated many a racer on the track over the course of his career. He is certainly one of the most memorable racers in Rice Lake Speedway history.

Jack is a retired Barron County employee and he and his wife Gail live in the rural Cameron area.

Class of 2012 | Class of 2011