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In Their Words - Volume 6 - "Courtesy of Chateau Speedway History" Facebook Group Page

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May 27, 2019

In Their Words – Volume 6

In our latest “In Their Words” we sit down and visit with Dave and Mark Noble.  Dave after living all those years in Blooming Prairie is now living in the Metro Area in a care facility.  We got a chance awhile back to ride along with Mark up to see Dave and visit with both of them about Chateau Speedway and Racing in General.  It was an enjoyable three way visit with Mark directing most of his comments to his dad.   It was just announced that Dave will be one of the Inaugural Members in the New Chateau Speedway Hall of Fame.

Webpage: What do you remember about the start of the track Dave?

Dave: Well it was built by Howard and Art Smith.  First feature winner seems like it was somebody from Mankato.  Can’t think of the name for sure. 

Mark: We got those old movies of yours; think Lloyd Krell was filming them.  If I remember, we’ll have to get those movies, because at the start of it somebody was holding up a big sign that said what year it was.  Kind of neat.  That was the first year they raced there I remember you and the Yentsh’s, Ernie and Donnie Yentch.  They raced than, or one of them did.  Mert was probably there (Dave: Oh Ya) and  Verlin (Dave:  mmm hmm).  Verlin, he just lost his wife, did you know that? I think I told you, Sharon, it’s been a few months – October or something.   Verlin was lucky enough to go on and race a lot of big tracks, win a lot of big races.

Webpage: Vivian Brua just passed away here in the last month as well.

Dave: YA, Ole he was a good driver

 Mark:  Oh ya, always, he was very good – you and him run good together.  I think Ole’s in that old movie of Chateau. I’ll have to bring it up here again so we can watch it and you can tell me who was who.

 Dave: Ya I can. 

Webpage:  A lot of good times out there – how much work did you put in to getting the car ready each week?

Dave:  Oh yes …..Quite a bit, ya quite a bit

 Mark:  Either towed em with a chain or drove em there (Dave laughing ---Ya we did)

Webpage:  Did you have much of a pit crew?

Dave: Ya a few, George Schumacher, and Doug Beckman, haven’t seen them for awhile, maybe Doug has passed away now because he use to call me almost every week.

 Mark; Ya he just quite calling, I don’t know, all we know is he was in Florida.  Wasn’t there a Leachman from Austin that helped quite a bit?  And Scotty was a chef at Lansing corners he helped a little. 

 Dave: Nick Leachman, Nick worked at Hormel.  And then the Wytaske’s Don and Darrell.

                                Pause to Look at Old Stock Car Pics on the Wall.

Mark:  This is Elko, the very first year they raced dirt in the winter, didn’t you Dad.

Dave:  ya, I raced at Independence Iowa the year before this and was Champion.  Charlie Hansen decided to build a track that you’d race year round, so we raced on the dirt in the winter and the asphalt in the summer and I was the first Champion on the dirt at Elko, 1965.

Webpage: What year did you start Dave?

Dave:  1954 --- We raced Austin, Owatonna, Rochester, St Charles, got to Northwood and Albert Lea.

Webpage: Did you enjoy those half mile fair tracks or like the shorter tracks?

Dave: I preferred the bigger.  There were too many small tracks and once they made em a little larger I preferred that. 

Webpage: You raced The State Fair a few times.

Dave: Ya I did.  I remember Mert Williams won the last race on the dirt track at the State Fair.   Than it was asphalt. 

 Mark:  Ya went to asphalt; it was a 300 lap race wasn’t it?

Dave: Ya it was a big one. 

Mark:  They use to have a 300 lap race and a 500 lap race on Labor Day. 

Dave:  Right

Webpage: Did you like the long races?

Dave: Ya I did, you just had to pace yourself, take it easy all the way and do the best you can at the end. 

Webpage: You take your own pit crew to service you during the long race?

Dave: Ya George Schumacher and Doug Beckman

Mark: John Fletcher one time.  Ya they made pit stops and just had a five gallon can and a funnel.  Some of the guys were just starting to get those big fancy fuel cans (Dave Laughs)

Webpage: Remember how many trips up there?

Dave: Quite a big on the dirt than just a little bit on the asphalt.

 Webpage: Do much other asphalt driving

Dave: Ya, Lacrosse, and Raceway Park in Shakopee, than Elko.

Mark: the last feature that you won was at Elko on asphalt.  (Dave: Ya) can’t remember what year it was. Tim Bloomquist, that’s Gary Bloomquist son, reminded me of that.  He was there, I was racing somewhere else.

Webpage: Did you have 2 cars or change up the one?

Dave: At first we just changed the tires, but as the years went by you had to change a lot of things.

 Mark:  Changed gears the old fashion way.  Back than we had a Pontiac Oldsmobile rear end, they were same as the Ford; they’re a little heavier gear.  My dad worked at the Pontiac GM dealership so when everyone else was running a Ford nine inch we were running the other. They looked kind of the same they were just a little heavier, stronger gear.  We still got some of them old gears.  You still have everything, from the rod and main bearings to gaskets. You could build a whole engine (Dave laughs)

Webpage:  You still have your old Salvage yard.

Dave: I don’t go out there much, just once and awhile.  Somebody looking for something, sometimes I sell something, sometimes I don’t.

Webpage: You both are known for being very competitive on the Track.

Mark: It don’t matter if it’s a heat race or a Feature or whatever if you win it it’s just a good feeling.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a Chateau or down in Florida you just beat everybody who was on the track weather it was 8 cars of 28 cars

Webpage: You had a few Track Championships at Lansing

Dave: Ya I had 3 of them.  1963, 1969, and 1977

Webpage: You still have those trophy’s?

Dave: Ya I do.

 Mark:  They’d be in the house somewhere.  Got a lot of em upstairs, and downstairs,

Dave: in the garage too.

Mark:  Remember we had that fire lost maybe 70 trophy’s or so

Webpage: Remember much about those championship years and the cars?

I remember just about every one.  We didn’t make a new car every year, maybe every 2 years sometimes.

Webpage: Seems you were pretty loyal to Chateau, did you travel around much?

Dave: Not that many

Mark: Only if they were local

Webpage: Mark you were one of the first three 2nd generation drivers

Mark:  I started in 73.  Think Pfeifer would have been after me as he’s younger than me.  David might have been after me I’m not sure.  (*further checking found David Wytaske started first, had a Championship in 1971, Greg Pfeifer started in 73 also)

 Webpage: How did you get your first car Mark?

Mark: Well my first race was at Morristown at Cannon River.  Dad had a 57 Chevy out in the salvage yard.  Ya know he really didn’t want me to race, so I just started working on it myself out there.  When he came out and seen I was getting it all screwed up (two of them laugh) he said bring it into town and work on it in the driveway, so I did. Naturally he got it straightened around, so he set it up, it was a good handling car from day one.  We wanted to go to Morristown, I was having trouble getting it on the trailer, naturally we’re always late.  Dad says just leave it home we got to get going. (More laughter) I missed the heat race because I got there too late.  There were 24 cars in the B feature and I started last, and I won the B feature.  Then started in the back of the Feature, can’t remember if I got 4th or 5th.  I remember that was Friday night, so Saturday we went to Lansing and that was my first Feature win, at Lansing, 73 you know.  Lucky enough to go on from there, but it all comes down to because I had such a good handling car; all I had to do was drive it.  I worked on it but I didn’t know nothing about suspension of course

Webpage: Dave how come didn’t you want him to race at first?

Dave: His mother was afraid.  (Both laugh)

Mark; Ya, I pushed myself into it.  That’s what I wanted to do.  I know when I started racing my mom quit going.  She let my dad go all the time but she wouldn’t watch me.  She always wanted me to quit, I don’t know maybe I should of

Webpage: Mark you had a few Track Championships yourself at Chateau, Hobby Stock 75, Sportsman in 81 and IMCA Mod 86

Mark: Well ya the Hobby Stock and Sportsman, well they weren’t the same the Sportsman was a Limited Late Model type.   They were just my dad’s cars and you know they ran good.  The Modified car that’s kind of when I went out on my own.  I mean he’s always helped me, but I had my own deal going than.  It was a Lou Fegers car, $695 for a roller (both laugh).  Ya rollers now you can’t get em for $695, not even $6950 dollars, there 18-20 thousand now. Times were different of course

Webpage:  Track Closed for awhile during those years, what did you do for Racing then?

Dave:  I’d get to as many races as I could.

Mark: There were other times the Track struggled. They had a drives association at one time and had Pete Glynn run the track.  He was just the promoter and the drivers, I remember it was you and Mert, Wendell Kuehn, maybe Saterdalen, Leroy Scharkey, formed an association and tried to run the track themselves and hired Pete as a promoter.  He did a good job, he was a good guy.

 Dave: Oh ya  … 

Webpage: You guys were on the track against each other a few times. What was that like going up against your son?

Dave: He did better than me…

Mark: Ah he was always worried about if I was doing ok.  I was driving my race of course and wanted to win and he was trying to look out for me.  (Laughing)  you know one night in the IMCA Modifieds it was double features and he had bought my very first modified so he raced it and I had a new one.  They had the double features and I think my Dad won the first feature and I won the second one. 

Dave: Right  

Mark;  it was at Lansing, think there was a rainout or something , cant remember why they had double features but I remember you won one and I won one.  I got second behind you.  In the one I won I think you got top 3 also.  But that was a fun night both winning Features the same night.  We did it in Mason City too, but you had the Late Model and I had the Hobby Stock.  Always a lot of fun but I could tell whenever I was racing against him he wanted to know where I was at all the time.  I kept thinking don’t worry about me I’m coming up through here, you driver your racer and ill drive mine.  1984 was my first Modified I only run that first Modified a year and then you bought it because I got a new one.  I was trying to sell it and well he bought it right away because he wanted to race it. 

 

We stopped to watch the Truck race replay where Mark rolled a few weeks before:

 

Webpage: Dave does that make you nervous to watch that?

Dave: Ya it does  

Mark: Something’s never change

Webpage: You enjoy watching the truck race of Marks

Mark: Ya, he explained it pretty well  

Mark; Lucky to do it, we get to race at a lot of famous tracks.  I work for Kruckenberg Motor Sports.  He drives a truck and I drive one and now Doug Hillson drives one.  There’s a fourth truck different people drive.  We kind of mix the truck racing and drive the Modified as much as we can when were not racing the trucks.

Webpage: Tell us about the rollover in the truck.

Mark: Well I was upset more than anything, I didn’t get hurt.  You know I rolled my modified quite a few times and when you roll a semi truck its a little slower but it lands hard you know where a Modified rolls a lot faster and your tumbling.  As long as you don’t hit anything real hard you just tumble to a stop.  Think I’ve rolled my modified four times at least at different tracks, and the truck just once and hopefully once is enough.  (Laughs)

Webpage: Dave you ever roll, get hurt?

Dave: Ya we did… when my clutch exploded at Kasson it cut part of my middle toe off 

Mark: Tore his foot up pretty bad, I remember when that happened that was a bad bad deal, he was off work.. Then you backed it into the wall at Elko, you were running good and a guy hit you from behind.   Back in those days you exited on one, so going into turn one a guy hit him and he spun backwards and hit that opening in the wall, cracked some vertebrae’s in your neck.  Lucky to walk and talk after that one.  It was a bad crash.  Back then you didn’t have the really good racing seats, no headrest of nothing and when you hit your head goes back a long ways.

Webpage: Not like cars are built today

Dave:  That’s right (Laughs) 

Mark: Very brave to get in one and drive it as fast as it can possibly go.  Now I’ve got a $2000 dollar seat you know, but there safe.  Before they’d find any old seat and bolt it in the car.

Webpage: Mark you ever get injured before

Mark: Ya once I broke a knuckle, and only because a big rock came through the screen and hit it.  In Saline Oklahoma I had a real bad roll over there and got hauled to the hospital.  I must have been knocked out awhile because I remember getting back in the ambulance.  I mean I got in there on my own, totally wrecked the car.  At Deer Creek there was a real bad crash, about 10 of us, I cracked 3 ribs, I was pretty much in the middle of it.  Once at Arlington I went through the wall and hit the county road and totally wrecked that car.  Didn’t get hurt but it was a really bad crash, got the wind knocked out of me, that’s about it.

Webpage: What were the conversations like the day after a race.

Mark: He would talk about how the car handled, good or bad, 

Dave: We sat around and had a beer

Mark: Ya back than I would.  Than we’d work on our own, or each other’s whoever needed the most.  He was always concerned about how the car was handling, never told me how to drive.. 

Webpage: When you ran different classes did you get to watch each other’s races during night

Dave:  I’d watch when I could but I was busy too. 

Mark: Me too, I’d try to watch but if you had something to do to get ready for the Feature you had to do it. Like I say, from my first car they always handled good, back than you worked on your own stuff, you were kind of your own engineer, try to make things faster. 

Dave; Ya that’s right. 

Mark: if you wanted to do good you had to have a good handling car

Webpage: Dave how hard was it for you to make your decision to quit?

Dave: It was real hard, I still want to race today.

Webpage: Go to many races after you quit?

Dave: I went to Lansing some

Mark; I don’t know, when I decide to quit I probably won’t go to the races for awhile.  It’s hard to go watch now, I’m not comfortable just sitting watching.  It’s been awhile since you’ve been to a race. 

Webpage: We talked about your Dad’s asphalt racing Mark, you ran some asphalt also.

Mark: Ya that was still my dad’s car he bought from a guy up in the cities that raced asphalt.  I had hopes to go on and race NASCAR or whatever and I thought if I could race asphalt and do well somebody will pick me up or help me out.  We had some good years, I won quite a few Features.  It takes more than that, you got to have money to be able to travel if you want to move up.  It takes a lot of money, even if you’ve won a lot of races.  To move on you got to be able to bring sponsor money with you or pick up sponsor money and it’s hard.  But that asphalt racing was fun, we did it two years.  Got second in points once, almost won it.  Then I went back to dirt, think it was the late 90’s, I was still racing my Modified.  Than I was driving the ARTCO car, I was in charge of it, but it was a whole different world.  We ran good, qualified 2 different times on the front row but never won an ARTCO race, won some dashes and qualifying races but never a 100 lap feature.  We got to race with Matt Kenseth at that time, Joe Scheer, Trickle wasn’t around than, I got to race against a lot of good people.  Of course Matt went on to NASCAR but they had a plan for him, a lot of people behind him.  But he earned his way.  It just got so expensive, I could only afford to do that for three quarters of a year and I just plain run out of money and went back to running the modified.

Webpage: How about the day you have to hang it up what’s that going to be like?

Mark: I’ve thought a lot of it the last few years. Thought about it being my last year.  Now working where I’m working, driving the race trucks, it’s just one year at a time.  I’m gonna race this year and I’ll decide at the end of this year if I’m gonna race next year. Just been lucky to do it for many years, I grew up watching it and always wanted to do it

Webpage: It’s a Second family.

Dave:  Ya it is ….

Mark: you get to know em all, their families

Webpage:  Thanks for the Visit Guys.