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  .: 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees :.


2017 Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame Induction.  August 12, 2017.
From left; Shawn and Chad Mahder and Shawn's Son, Levi accepting for their father and grandfather Duane Mahder (Driver), 'Butch' Madsen accepting for Clayton 'Groovy' Hargrave (Promoter), Paul Harelstad (Driver), Terry Folz (Promoter),  Joe Lapcinski (Promoter) and Jim Rude (Driver)

Jim Rude
1 Jim began racing at the Rice Lake Speed Pit, as the track was called then, in 1959 driving a 1934 Ford for which he paid the huge amount of $500 for. He settled on the #18 for his race car because he was eighteen years old when he started racing. If you have not seen a picture of that race car, grab this week's Rice Lake Chronotype and check out the Sports section for a great picture of that car thanks to Sports Editor Dave Greschner.

Along with many others that are members of this Hall, he credits Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer Russ Laursen as providing the influence that helped him get into racing and is grateful for the help he received over the years from Don Dostal and Gary Gransee.

Jim raced mainly in the Late Model class and consistently could be counted on to place in the top ten in track points every year. Steadiness behind the wheel and always being among the front runners were trademarks of Rude's racing careeer.

He also raced with success at Milltown and many of the other area tracks, some of which are no longer active race tracks.

One of the most frightening experiences of Jim's long racing career occurred on July 29, 1967 at Rice Lake when he pulled into the infield of the track and his car burst into flames. Track officials used up several fire extinguishers before the stubborn flames could be subdued.

Jim does not have a long list of race wins and Season Championships to list like some of the other members of the Hall of Fame. In fact, he won just one feature race during his time racing at the Rice Lake Speedway. However, and most importantly, he is remembered as a driver who raced hard and with success for many years at the track. Week after week and year after year, Jim could be counted upon to be in attendance with his sharp looking #18 and help to provide a quality show for the fans in attendance while being one of the most popular drivers at the track. Drivers like Jim were and are the backbone of short track racing on the dirt and without drivers like Jim, this sport would have withered and died many years ago. The Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame is proud and pleased to help Jim celebrate his long tenure behind the wheel of a Late Model and thank him for his service to the track.

Jim raced for twenty years before retiring in 1979.

A life long resident of Cameron, Jim farmed for many years before retiring in 2003 at the age of sixty two. Jim and Mary, his wife of fifty seven years, continue to live on the farm in rural Cameron.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Jim Rude.

Paul Harelstad
1 Paul Harelstad began his racing career at the ripe old age of eight, when in 1973 he began racing mini bikes. He continued racing mini bikes and moto cross for eighteen years and in 1988 he qualified to race at the amateur nationals held at Loretta Lynn's ranch in Tennessee where he finished twelfth in the nation.

His first dirt track stock car racing action took place in 1991 when he starting racing in the Mini Stock class here at Rice Lake. This class, which produced so many talented drivers like Harelstad, Jimmy Randall, Jason Gross, Ashley Anderson, Brandon Bolin and others, proved to be a good way for “Harley” to break into dirt track racing. In his first year in the class he won eight feature races and followed that up with another seven wins the following year in a 1989 Ford Mustang that was put together for $1,000.

After two successful years racing Mini Stocks, Paul jumped right up to the Modified class where he was named Rookie of the Year in 1993. It took him until 1994 to win his first feature race in the Modifieds, but shortly after the wins started coming in bunches, and not just at Rice Lake.

His remarkable record shows feature wins in twelve of the thirteen years he raced Modifieds from 1994 to 2006 and his total of forty one Modified feature victories is second on the all time list. Along with his fifteen Mini Stock feature wins, his fifty six total feature wins is fifth on the all time feature win list at Rice Lake. He also broke the long time record of Modified feature wins held by Buddy Mayala for years with Harley's record later being eclipsed by Kevin Adams.

Along the way he won point championships in 1991, 2002, 2003 and 2004, season championships in 1991, 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2002 plus a Midseason Championship 2003 and received the Best Appearing car award in 1992 and 1996.

Harley is very proud of his accomplishment of winning consecutive point championships in 2003 and 2004 at all three of the area tracks, Rice Lake, Red Cedar and Eagle Valley. In what may have been his finest year, in 2003 Paul also won the WISSOTA National point championship in the Modified class with a remarkable record that included thirty one feature wins and forty five heat race wins.

But there is more to Paul Harelstad than just the numbers show. He may have been the most high energy driver to ever race at the Rice Lake Speedway and his rambunctious manner both on and off the race track endured him to many and caused a few to tear out their hair. His driving style could best be described as “balls to the wall” and there is not a track in WISSOTA that probably doesn't have a mark left in its wall or rail from his free wheeling up against the cushion and beyond. Known for always having a spectacular looking race car, he was nevertheless not afraid to mix it up but he could “take it just as well as he would dish it out.” His legion of fans was extensive and they were just as free wheeling as the driver of the #1, because as Paul says, “What other number is there?”

Paul's most memorable race was in July of 2002 when he started nineteenth in the feature race, and racing up against the cushion by himself, he began passing cars, in his own words, “like they were on jack stands” and by the halfway point he was in the lead of the race.

Don Fossum from Chetek got Harley started in racing and some of the special people and sponsors that have helped him over the years include Tim Ludwigson, Kenny Skar, affectionately known as “Darkhead”, Jason Wendt, Mark Younk and Jamie Sevals. The tales his pit crew could tell of the road trips they made while chasing the national title are the stuff that videos are made of.

A 1983 graduate of New Auburn High School, Harley was a two time all conference running back in football and a pitcher on the baseball team.

For twenty seven years Paul has been a union Operating Engineer running a bulldozer and states that in perhaps about three years he will be ready to retire and who knows, maybe get a race car again?

Paul is single but has his dog Magnum and two horses to keep an eye on him. His full time residence is in Bloomer but we thank him very much for returning from Ohio where he has been working this Summer to help us celebrate this night.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Paul Harelstad.

Duane Mahder
1 Duane's passion in life was auto racing. Carrying on a family tradition started by his father Robert, Duane was a superior talent behind the wheel of a race car, whether it was on the frozen lakes in the Winter or the dirt tracks anywhere in the upper Midwest come Summer.

Whether it was a local Saturday night show or a battle for bragging rights among the best the sport could offer, Duane was always right in the hunt driving his famous and familiar #55.

From 1972 until 1981, Duane raced on the ice full time but even intermittently continued to race in that venue through the 1990's.

He began dirt track racing in 1984 and was involved in that aspect of the sport for the rest of his life as both a driver and then as a mentor to his sons and others after he retired from the sport.

Duane won twenty eight feature wins at the Rice Lake Speedway, all driving the Late Model #55. He is sixth in the all time Late Model feature win category, trailing only Hall of Famers Dave Morgan, Bud Havel, Don Brown, Dave Adams and Dick Briesemeister. Along with those feature wins, Duane won point championships in 2001, 2003 and 2006. He also won Season Championship races in 2003 and 2005 and a Mid Season Championship in 2001. His first feature win at Rice Lake was during the 1986 season and during a stretch from 2000 to 2007, he won at least one feature race at Rice Lake for eight consecutive years. His feature win totals at Rice Lake are perhaps the highest for any track that he raced at and his biggest win at Rice Lake was a Challenge Series victory where he started sixteenth and made the winning high side pass with just a few laps to go, a move that literally had the crowd on its feet as their roar could be heard over the sounds of the high powered race cars.

During this same time period, Duane won numerous feature races, track titles and invitational titles at tracks throughout the Upper Midwest and perhaps his greatest achievement was in winning the WISSOTA Challenge Series point title in 2001 and his biggest individual win was the Dakota Rumble in Aberdeen South Dakota where he won ten thousand dollars. The sight of Mahder chugging up and down the highways of the Upper Midwest with his old Suburban towing an open trailer and likely just his sons along with him as his pit crew is an enduring memory for many race fans. Duane retired from racing in 2009 but remained active in racing, often seen in the pit areas at area tracks helping his son and others.

Duane was a “talker” and he loved to tell stories about racing and his experiences in the sport. Duane had a very distinctive laugh and it's been missed in the pits at area tracks since he left us. If he could tell us tonight, I'm sure that he would say that some of his best memories of racing were from his later years in the sport when both Chad and Shawn were racing Late Models too and the three of them would battle for the same piece of real estate in corner number one right here at Rice Lake and then they and the Redetzke Racing Team would relive those moments into the wee hours of the night.

Duane was born and raised in Eau Claire and was a 1970 graduate of Eau Claire North High School. He also earned as Associate Degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College.

As stated earlier, the racing tradition runs deep and wide in the Mahder family. Duane's brother Ron was a top notch racer driving in several different classes and won many feature races and awards himself before retiring from the sport and his son Cory continues to be one of the best Modified drivers in the area, driving yet another #55 race car.

Duane passed away on November 7, 2016 as the result of a tragic work related accident at the age of sixty four. His death shocked the area racing community greatly. Perhaps the greatest tribute to his memory was the establishment of the race in his honor, the Duane Mahder 55 which was held just last night at the Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie.

Accepting the award for Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer Duane Mahder is his grandson Levi.

Terry Folz
1 Terry Folz started her long association with the Rice Lake Speed Pit, as it was known then, way back in the mid to late 1960's as a little girl. Her parents were deeply involved in the operation of the race track and she tagged along with them to the track, whether it was race night or some other night during the week when work was done at the track.

Over the course of the last fifty years, she has been involved with and done virtually every conceivable job at the speedway. During the 1970's, Terry and Ione Harrington handled ticket sales for all races. Terry has worked registering drivers at the track, helped with the evening's draw and redraw and handled the evening pay off to the drivers. For years, she was the one person that the drivers saw to get their cash after the night's racing had been completed. All these tasks she did for many years at the track.

Interestingly, this was done at a time when Terry had to be escorted into the pit area itself since women weren't allowed in the pits at that time. Even today, Terry can be counted on to step in where needed to help the track if called upon to do so.

She has served the track as a member of the Board of Directors for the association that owned the track and for decades rarely missed a Monday night meeting of the association from 1970 through 2000.

Working on some activities with Mary Lawrence, another Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame member, The list of things she has been involved with over the years is staggering. A partial list would include organizing the Spring radio show, helping train new employees, organizing the Queen pageants and parade appearances, helping with bike giveaways, organizing the mechanics. pit man's races and old timer's races, organizing and supervising the car show , the 50/50 program and the Christmas party held by the club. Some of these activities are no longer done but some have been built upon after Terry was instrumental in getting them started.

Her children have made her proud by also helping out the track in a variety of ways, particularly when the club still owned the speedway. They did such things as help lap count, sell race papers, assist with track maintenance and whatever else needed to be done and another set of hands would help.

Other family members have long been a part of the speedway too. Her husband Don “Poo Bear” Folz successfully raced at the track for over twenty years and in 2016 her father George Cook was inducted into the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame making her family the second two member family to be a part of the Hall of Fame.

She likes to travel to other tracks to watch races too and has always been a strong ambassador for the Rice Lake Speedway with other people while critiquing the racing here at Rice Lake and making suggestions to the ownership on how to improve the experience for fans and competitors.

In 2016 she received the “Thanks A Lot” award at the banquet of the Rice Lake Speedway from Adams-Hansen and is also a member of the Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Fame selection committee.

Her greatest joy now and entertainment is to be the “bag lady” for her grandchildren when they go from driver to driver as a part of the speedway's Kid's Night activities.

Terry and her husband Don reside in Rice Lake.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Terry Folz.

Clayton Hargrave
1 Known to most everyone as simply “Groovy”, Clayton began attending races at the Rice Lake Speed Pit as a teenager in the early 1960's and joined as a member of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association.

In 1965 he gave racing a try and drove a 1950 Plymouth in the Rice Lake Stock class.

In February of 1966, “Groovy” felt the need to serve his country and he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the elite 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles division in Viet Nam. Upon his return to Wisconsin, he served as a pit man intermittently for Dave Morgan during the 1970's.

In 1985 “Groovy” was elected as the Vice President of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association and was elevated to the Presidency of the club before the season was completed. He was then elected President of the club for the next four consecutive years, an unprecedented stretch in club history of leading the organization.

During these years, “Groovy” was the driving force behind many significant changes involving the track. He helped usher in the National Dirt Racing Association(NDRA) for the Late Models and the track joined WISSOTA to sanction the Modified class. It was “Groovy” who proposed and got started the concept of the two day, Labor Day weekend special with the inaugural Labor Day special first run in 1985, a tradition that continues to this day.

He also founded the first hog roast during the Labor Day races that was held as a fan appreciation gesture and that continued through the years that he was the President of the club.

On Saturday, September 14th, 1985 he helped promote a two hundred and fifty lap enduro event for the Bomber class at Rice Lake in which fifty three cars started the race and only nine finished with Mickey Nosser of Shelton(and now from Phillips) winning the event that saw only one caution flag waved.

On September Twenty seventh and eighth of that same year, 1985, the Speedway concluded a season that ran the most events in one year in track history by hosting a two day NDRA Late Model Invitational. The track ran twenty three events that year.

Under “Groovy's” leadership, in 1987 the first high rise booths that now virtually surround the race track were built by Hall of Famer Bud Ellis, Terry Busch, Dick Jacobson and Rick Linder. In 1989 new and modern restrooms were constructed on the hill behind the main grandstand and cement work and landscaping were done in front of the freshly painted bleachers.

As a tough but fair President, “Groovy's” proudest accomplishment during his tenure at President of the club was for it to become debt free. As evidence of that, “Groovy” carried around the bank note stamped “paid”, with him for years. A plain speaker and never one to mince words, “Groovy” was able to accomplish much charge at the track during his time as a Club officer.

He has also been a part owner of race cars and since 1990 has been involved in drag racing.

An owner of his own auto body repair and refinishing business for the past forty years, Clayton and his wife Cheryl reside in Rice Lake.

Clayton is unable to attend tonight's ceremony as he is part of a drag racing pit crew that is in the midst of a ten day meet in Brainerd Minnesota. Accepting the award for Clayton “Groovy” Hargrave is another Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Butch Madsen.

Joe Lapcinski
1 A visionary, a “go getter” and a promoter who thought “out of the box” are all phrases various people have used to describe the tenure of Joe Lapcinski at the Rice Lake Speedway.

Joe's involvement with the Rice Lake Speedway began in 1983 as he served as a pit crew member for the legendary Dave Morgan, the “King of the Rice Lake Speedway.”

Two years later Joe gave racing a try, participating the Pick Up Truck class at the track in 1985 and '86, a class that while short lived was also years ahead of its time and long before NASCAR ever considered racing trucks.

In 1989 the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association still owned and ran the race track. Joe served the track as Treasurer and was appointed chairman of an ambitious improvement project.

Among the accomplishments of that group was the construction of the long awaited modern restrooms, extensive landscaping in front of the main bleachers and a cement walkway, both of which are still in evidence to this night, repairing and painting of both the grandstand bleachers and concession stands and the establishment of the non-alcohol sections at the track. Among others also involved with these historic upgrades to the facility were track President at that time Clayton Hargrave, who is also being inducted in the Hall of Fame tonight, the three Morgan Brothers and their construction company and the Ellis family along with many others.

In 1993 and 1994 Joe was elected President of the Indianhead Stock Car Racing Association by the membership of the club and Joe oversaw more improvement projects for the facility. New track lights were installed in the new north hill pit parking area. The south parking lot was re-landscapped over a new culvert and a layer of rock was laid down for improved drainage. Joe and his wife Claudia took over the advertising and sponsorship responsibilities and they sold out all the nights of racing for those two years in what were some of the most aggressive and varied schedules ever seen at the track.

During those two years, the tradition of having a Track Queen was eliminated and the “white pants rule” in the pits , which now seems like just an archaic bookmark in history, was also eliminated.

But it was as a promoter that Joe excelled. He was fair in his decisions, big on details, a “straight shooter” and a bit of a gambler in that he was willing to try new things that hadn't been tried before and willing to shake up the norm.

In 1993 and 1994 he brought the United Midwest Promoters (UMP) outlaw Late Models to the Rice Lake Speedway. In 1993 the event payed $3,000 to win with a total purse of over $12,000 and in 1994 the top prize was elevated to $5,000. These were figures unheard of before at the track and set records for the speedway.

Nationally known drivers such as Billy Moyer, Steve Francis, Bob Pierce, Freddy Smith and Bill Frye raced at those events and for many local fans, it was the first time ever they had been exposed to nationally famous dirt track stars. Moyer's experiences at Rice Lake would lead him to declare that the Rice Lake track was one of his favorites to race on. Those events were huge in putting the Rice Lake Speedway “on the map.”

In 1994 Joe brought famous Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader to the Rice Lake Speedway where he made a guest appearance and raced against the local Modified drivers in a mid summer event that paid $1,000 to win out of a total purse of over $7,000. This event drew one of the largest Modified fields ever assembled for a Modified race in the country to that point to Rice Lake.

A 1975 graduate of Rice Lake High School, Joe worked for UPS for thirty three years before retiring from that corporation and he, along with his wife Claudia, currently spend their summers in the Rice Lake area and winter in the Ocala Florida area.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rice Lake Speedway Hall of Famer, Joe Lapcinski.


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