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In Their Words - Volume 13 Larry Nelson *Courtesy of Chateau Speedway History Facebook Group Page

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March 6, 2020

                                                “In Their Words” Volume 13 – Larry Nelson

 

In our latest Installment of “In Their Words” we catch up with a long time and Loyal Chateau Speedway competitor Larry Nelson of Hartland.  Larry’s racing career ran the better part of 35 years starting when he got out of High School.  Larry shared lots of stories with us and took us around his Shop, and shared his many Hobby’s with us including his Replica 1950’sTexaco Gas Station he built for storing cars in, as well as a place for Nostalgia.  Be sure to look at the pictures we took as well as the old photos he shared with us including an interesting 1978 Minnesota State Fair Program he’s listed in.   As he will tell you he never won a Track Championship during his years but had 7 Runner-Up finishes in his career.  We found records of at least 5 off those coming at Chateau Speedway.  2005 in Midwest Mod he finished behind Greg Pfeifer JR., in 2002 in Midwest Mod he finished 4 back of Bryan Hernandez (he talks about Season Championship Night in the story but says 2 points instead of 4), in 2000 in Limited Mod he ended up 9 back of Joel Lisowski, in 1987 we find him runner up to Greg Pfeifer SR in Street Stock, and in 1986 we have him Runner up to Ray McAllister.  He also had a pair of third place finishes in point’s races, 2001 in the B Mod, and 2006 in A Mods.  As a loyal Chateau Speedway competitor and Sponsor with his business, L and D Ag, it would be hard to find anyone who hasn’t enjoyed not only his racing but just setting down and talking with him like he did with us, “In His Words”

 

Webpage: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us; you have a real nice shop here.

Larry:  Ya, when I went to the Modifieds that’s when I put the hoist in.  I went to the B Mods in 2000; I built the building in ‘98.  So ya put the hoist in pretty much right away and this is where we worked on stuff.

 

Webpage:  Old car panel on the wall. I like the one about your wife visiting someone if they hit too much.  (See photos)

Larry: I didn’t…well I knocked it off from somebody, I think it come out of Vegas it was on somebody’s.    We went to the bull ring out there, and I added the bottom line.  Well if you know my wife she can be Bucky, (Laughing) Well one person commented about that, they got behind me, they thought about it.  (Laughing)

 

Webpage:  What was your first exposure to the sport?

Larry:  1974, I’m starting to date myself a little bit here (Laughs), there was a fella in Freeborn here by the name of Hemensbergen, originally from the Hollandale area.  And so I was just out of high school, he had bought a Stock Car and so I stared helping him out a little bit.  I helped him for a year and then like so many guys I think he ran out of funds.  Then I ended up helping a guy out of Wells probably in about ‘75, helped him out for about a year, him and a buddy of mine were his pit people.  Well than a cop in Wells says why don’t you guys get your own car?  Well we figured whatever. He says, well I’ll help you out.  So, Vern Johnson was his name, sure enough about a week later he found me three.  So I guess we’ll put one together.  So that’s how I got started.

 

Webpage:  Who was your buddy?

Larry:  Mark Ignaszewski,, he and I got involved…we went to school together in Freeborn,  he’s a year older than I am I guess, anyway we got helping out the guy in Wells racing back in the early 70’s that’s when we decided let’s put a race car together.  OK, so we’re going to do that.  So we, and our old policeman buddy found us three old chassis, we drug them home.  I had a motor so Mark was doing the machine work on the motor, were getting this thing put together, were getting pretty close.  So Mark, myself and his fiancée at the time went over to Lansing on a, I suppose it was at that time it was  a Saturday night, and watching races and I said just think next week Mark that will be you out there.  He gives me a look and his girlfriend gives me a look and says what do you mean.  He says I ain’t driving, I said well I didn’t think I was driving, I just assumed, we never discussed it, I just assumed you’re a year older, you were the  driver.  So here we are we got a race car built and no driver, that’s how I ended up driving a race car.  Than were sitting there and we hadn’t come up with a number for it yet.  So were thinking about it, every number we come up with somebody else has got it either Fairmont or Mason City or Lansing.  Well than one of us said what number are we going to put on that old ‘62, it was a ‘62 Impala…hey that’ll work so that’s how I started out with the number 62. Well than my brother started racing, I wasn’t anymore so he just took the number because that’s the year he was born in 62.  So than about the time the Madsen boys took over the track we showed up with two cars.  Well there was the 62 and at that time I did 162.  They didn’t like that for scoring, OK so can’t do that guys, so the next week I had to come up with something different so that’s when I went to 61 and that sort of stuck.   Ya, first we didn’t know what number we was going to be and who was going to drive it (laughing) good organization huh.

 

Webpage: Wayne didn’t run as long as you did.

Larry:  Wayne graduated in ‘80, he had ran a couple races before he graduated, in my car, he’d helped me out a lot of the time so better let him drive a time or to.  So he ran a couple times and then he got involved, I suppose in the early 80s, put something together for Mason City, than he went to Chateau, raced there for awhile.

 

Webpage:  You started out Street Stock?

Larry:  Ya, I stated in Fairmont, this must have been the 76 season.  They actually had a couple deaths over there in the Sprint Cars and they decided they were going to cut the Sprint Cars out and put in a Street Stock Class.  At that time they had your Hobby Stocks, sort of like Supers now, and Late Models, and so than with Sprint Cars going out they brought the Street Stocks in.  So that’s what our plan was, to run a Street Stock.  Well they said you guys get your Street Stocks together, the first week you can run whatever you want, just get ‘em together , get ‘em over here we need to have a field.  So we continued putting our car together and we showed up.  It was a ‘62 Impala with headers, a four barrel and big tires and we pulled in with the Street Stock guys.  Tech inspector comes over and starts looking around.  I said first week you said we could run whatever….he says I think you boys got a little too carried away; you go over and park with the Hobby’s (Laughing).  So we were Hobby one year and then we went into the Street thing. 

 

Webpage:  How much Family was actually involved in your racing?

Larry: Nancy, I think of all the nights we raced, there might be one-two-or three that she wasn’t there out of all the years after we got married.  My Nephew was there quite a bit; my brother was there a lot. And Nancy and I didn’t have any children, got three poodles; they were at the races every week.  Even had one of ‘em born at the race in Lansing, I think you announced that up there.  That was the night Mark (Noble) got his 600th Feature win and we had puppies.  I think we had more people at our trailer than Mark did at his. (Laughing)

 

Webpage: You have much help?

Larry:  I had some good sponsors, local people, somewhat national sponsors, some bigger corporations through the business, than with the day to day work on ‘em it was Nancy and I, my nephew Dylan, and then Timmer from Lansing, Tim Weckworth, so he was real faithful.  Tim, Dylan and Nancy, they were my crew.

 

Webpage: How much time went into the cars?

Larry:  You could put in a lot.  Go back to the B Mod thing I would probably spend, well at first I would get it home, get the car washed up and cleaned up, I hate working on a muddy cruddy dirty car.  So get it cleaned up, let it dry, than probably two evenings, maybe three, if you’re running one night a week you should be able to do it with that.  The last couple years I raced, or the last year I raced that’s when Hoosier had those plastic tires I want to call ‘em, and those things were terrible, you know you had to spend an hour a tire per race night, so there’s four hours prepping tires, well by the end of Wednesday night you were so black and tired of grinding and sipping and grooving tires.  I was glad Hoosier changed their tire for the next year because it was ridiculous spending that kind of time; I’d rather be working on the chassis or something.

Webpage: When did you start at Chateau?

Larry:  I actually think I raced there once in ‘76, the first year I was racing, and then I really probably didn’t go back until, oh golly about ‘80 or ‘81, I know the track was closed there for a year (1984) ‘84 ya, I had raced there just a couple times prior to that and after the track reopened that’s when it got to become my home track.

 

Webpage:  Several years in Streets.

Larry:  Ya it was your basic Street Stock,  we were Street Stocks, we were Road Runners , we were whatever they wanted, we were sort of the base class.   This was before WISSOTA so it wasn’t sanctioned it was the entry class.  We had been running pretty decent in the Streeters over there in the late ‘80s.  Let’s see, how can I tell this,  running late 80’s, got married in ‘88, so we took off a few years and then we decided to go back into the Street thing and at that time it still wasn’t WISSOTA sanctioned so we ran Streeters on and off there for a few years.  Than ya started the B Mod thing, or Limited Mod as they were called in 2000.

 

Webpage:  Some good success in the B Mods.

Larry:  I did have a string in ‘85-‘86-‘87, somewhere in there I had five features in a row in the Streeters, ya, that was the one shining spot I had.  But ya I had my most success in the B Mod thing, I really enjoyed that class

 

Webpage:  Like you said you did skip a year or two now and then.

Larry:  Ya you know life happens, business happens and I did not want to put the race car ahead of life, home life, business, whatever, it’s a hobby, we can deal with that whenever, uh there’s other things that have to happen, especially business, if you don’t have the business you don’t have a race car.  So ya I stated about 2000 in the B Mod and ran a few years, quite a few years 6 or7, maybe took a year off than I went A Mod for two years.  Sort of a mistake….did it … than I took a couple more years off and then I made one last shot at B Mod.  I just sort of…I’d never had a skyrocket…and Cummins had an extra one laying around so I bought that from him and drove that a few nights I think in was in 2010.

 

Webpage:  Any certain races stick out in your mind?

Larry:  There’s several, and some of the dumbest reasons you remember ‘em.   In the Street Stock I remember one night I was lined up behind Mike Maas and I could not get around him, I couldn’t get around him, he was…we were the same speed…I just couldn’t get around him.  And I remember it because on the back of his car, the back panel it said Diane’s Green House, Dexter and that still sticks in my mind that Diane’s Greenhouse  Is in Dexter (laughing)  I don’t know what it was, probably finished 8th, I don’t know but it was just something I remembered.

One of the most fun and memorable races was Season Championship night against Bryan Hernandez,  Bryan was first in points and I was second and I had no way in heck I was going to catch him, I was down by like 35 points.  Well at that time we had a full field of cars, there’d be five heats some nights, well I went out and won my heat, Bryan went out in his heat and broke.  So of course WISSOTA provided points for heats so I gained on him there.  Well than for the feature Bryan and I lined up on the front row, he was on the inside, I was on the outside.   And they drop the green flag and we get to turn one … well first I made a mental note that to myself that as long as I start the race I’m guaranteed second, I can’t slip back to third …okay so they drop the green flag, we go to turn one and Bryans car didn’t turn, it just pushed right up so I just went right with him we both went off the end of the track together.  So they rerack us, drop the green flag, come into turn one, Bryan had me beat just a little bit and he pushed again.  Bryans sliding up so I’m thinking to myself see ya Bryan and I ducked underneath him and away we went.  Well about a lap later Bryan got caught up in a pretty good size wreck, well as they were towing cars off Bryan was one of the last one’s towed off and I suppose that’s where he got credited for finishing the race.  The long and short of it is I won the feature that night and I lost the championship by 2 points.   One of 7 seconds,  I finished second in points, I never won a Championship , never got one ,  won some races, finished decent most of the time.  But that night with Bryan, that was a fun race, one of those.

Darin Toot and I had a good one in the B Mods.  Don’t remember much of the particulars but it got down to me and Darin with about half the race to go and we swapped the lead every lap.  I’d lead a lap he’d lead a lap, back and forth and back and forth …well the white flag came out and of course I’m a little busy taking care of business and Darin beats me back to the flag tower.  Well what I didn’t realize is we didn’t get the checkered flag, the yellow actually came out.  Well everybody pulled off so I went over to congratulate Darin and he says what for, I says well you just won the race, he says no I didn’t you did.   I said how can that be, he says they went back a lap (to white flag – caution/checker finish), that lap I lead it.  (Laughing) So that was another memorable night.

Chateau one night, this would have been in the early 80’s, come out of turn four down the front straightaway and here comes the cows, honest to God, I’m coming to the flag tower and here’s a whole herd of Heifer’s coming across turn one into the infield, gave a whole new meaning to “Mooove” over. (Laughing)  Nobody wrecked as I recall, but ya I can deal with cars but how do you deal with a Holstein.

Another time over there, again didn’t wreck, Greg Pfeiffer and I were battling for the lead as we did a lot of times coming just about to the flag tower and the lights went out, not all of ‘em, but 80 percent of em, and of course this was back in the day when there was a couple of flood bulbs hung up there you know.  Would of been early 80’s and the lighting was so poor anyway you really didn’t know, do you keep racing or not , the flagman didn’t throw a yellow, well I think Greg and I both just started waving ‘em off and slowed down and it turned out fine.  But two times didn’t wreck, but cows and no lights.  It could have been nasty, but like I said, it went through my head there’s a little light maybe we can keep going. (Laughing)  The good old days, glad to have been a part of it.

 

Webpage:  Ever in any big accidents?

Larry:  No I never did, I never put one upside down, I got tore up a few times but nothing terrible.  Back in the early days I wadded one up; I broke a right front hub over at Fairmont and stuck it in the guard rail.  And I didn’t think I was going to be able to get the car back together so again my cop friend from Wells found another car, if you can’t fix that one put this one together.  But we got it…hooked it to the tree, took the tractor and pulled the frame back sort of where it was suppose to be.  That was back in the day when you could do dumb stuff like that.  And that’s what I had, I didn’t have a frame rack , didn’t have access to one, so you do the Sonny Van Wilgen method, the tree and the backhoe you know.  Wadded one up over in Lansing, well a Streeter and a B Mod, nothing serious but it was a week’s worth of thrashing to get it back where it needed to be.  But never put one upside down, never put one in the creek- or the river – I can’t swim so that’s a good thing (Laughing)

 

Webpage: A lot of good friendships over the years.

Larry:  Oh ya, you know, that’s one of the things I miss about not being down in the pits, all the camaraderie, the BS.  You know in a given week you talk to two or three of ‘em on the phone, or they be over here, or I’d be over to their place, so a lot of good friendships, in a lot of the classes too.

 

Webpage: Miss a lot of things about those racing days?

Larry:  There’s so many things you miss about it.  Just getting there, getting set up, seeing what the new scuttlebutt was for the week, a lot of the time … you know the internet wasn’t in existence in the early years of racing, so you find out what’s going on.  Sometimes you made some different allies or friends, it was all – well not all – but 99 percent very positive.  Sometimes something went the other way, but so was life, that’s the way it goes. 

 

Webpage: You saw big change in the cars and parts over your career.

Larry:  Oh ya, when you started in the ‘70s you went to your best local salvage yard and about the only thing I ever bought new was components to put in the motor, and I would usually go buy a new one ton Chevy crew cab front spring to put in the right front.   Didn’t know what the rating was, just knew it was a good stiff spring.  I’d buy that, but other than that it was junk, well I shouldn’t say junk, but it was just what you had out back.  Engine parts ya, I’d put in bearings and things such as that, but it was nothing hi-tech.  Nothing like what the 2000’s brought.  Now you order it out of the catalog, online, you have your motors built for you, it has really changed, and in all classes it’s changed.

 

Webpage: So you built some of your own motors?

Larry:  Ya it was all small block stuff, when I first started there were some guys running big blocks, but I had just the small block stuff.  I would do the assembly of ‘em, I had a friend of mine that helped me out, he worked in a machine shop so he would do the machining of the heads or bore a block if we went that crazy.  And then ya, as far as the assembly or the maintenance, you know switching this or switching that, ya I did it.

 

Webpage: Not regrets, but anything you wish you had done different?

Larry: I wish I wouldn’t of been so shy.  You know when I first started, you know some of the big names around were Bob Shryock and you know Mert, and Bjorge and those guys.  Well I didn’t have the guts to go talk to ‘em, you know there running these Late Models, there doing fantastic, they don’t want to talk to some snot %$# punk farm kid that doesn’t know anything.  I know they would of dog gone talked to ya and gave you good advice, I was just too timid to go do that and I really really wish I would of done that, even after I’d raced a few years.  Geez do I dare go ask Noble a question or Tommy Myer or somebody.  Well as I matured more as a person, dealing with people through the business, more employees, pretty soon you start to build a little more self assurance, well now I can go talk to these guys.  That’s the one regret I have, I didn’t buddy up to somebody, especially living out here in what I call Racer Hell.  Were 60 miles from Fairmont, 60 from Mason City, 60 from Morristown, 42 from Lansing, 45 from Owatonna, there’s not a lot of racers around here, not like if your living in Blooming Prairie, you just walk over to the next garage and there’s a race car, you know I didn’t ask enough questions,  to scared.

 

Webpage: That’s good advice for those new guys now right there.

Larry:  Oh absolutely, I don’t care if your running a Pure Stock and you got a question , you go talk to Jason Cummins or whoever,   they’ll take the time to talk to you.  Brandon Davis, these guys are all on top of their game but they remember how they got there.

 

Webpage: Fans as well shouldn’t be afraid to talk to these guys.

Larry:  Oh ya, back when we were on top of our game with the B Mod thing you know we’d have people stop down every night, some regulars, but other people you hadn’t seen before and they wanted to talk or ask about this or sit in the car or something and man, as a driver you felt great about it.  You know you go to a different track or something nobody comes down its like geez what did I do wrong.  Well they just didn’t know you yet.  So no, don’t be scared to ask somebody, try to ask pertinent questions, and don’t go in with the idea that you now it all, come with your hat in your hand and ask questions, they will help you to no end.   The one thing I found even before with sanctioning your trying to put together whatever you got to have an advantage over the next guy, but tell ‘em the truth.  I found that if the guy opted to believe me that was fine, but if you tell the truth it’s easier to keep your story straight   If they ask me what gear I’m running I’d tell ‘em, ask what spring, I’d tell em that’s what I got in, in my car that’s what works for me.  It may or may not work for you but here’s what I got.  A lot of times if they took that advice, or someone’s advice and made them a better driver, ya you helped their performance out but also I would rather race a guy that’s going straight down the track, rather than squirming all over the place, if we’re faster he’s going to be easier to pass if he’s straight than if he’s all over the place.

 

Webpage: You run many tracks?

Larry:  Not a lot.  I started out in Fairmont like I said, ran a night or two at Chateau, then …..never went to Kasson much, ran a couple times, went to Mason City pretty regular back in the ‘80s, and oh got my first win in Mason City in ‘78.  That was my first win, sort of an interesting story to go along with that too.  Than Deer Creek in later years  of course you ventured to the Fairs, I was there the day Greg had his bad wreck, went to Morristown, raced the Faribault Fair, over to Winona County, St Charles a few times, but then of course Owatonna, raced up there the two years when Dawn ran the track up there.  It was mainly Chateau.  I use to joke with Steve Clark when he was promoting that in a year’s time I went to more races there than he did because he always took off and went to Michigan to the NASCAR race one week, I was at Lansing, so I had one more night than he did every year.

 

Webpage: Back up, tell us about that first win.

Larry:  The first win. OK.  We would have been in Fairmont on a Friday night, the DeVries brothers from Maple Island, they were running tough over there, and at the time they were the guys to beat. I can’t remember if it was Kim or Lee, one of ‘em had a really bad wreck, oh it was nasty.  The guard rail use to go all the way around the track, well than they had taken the back straightaway rail out and so the rail just started going into three.  Well they put some tires or foam or something at the end of it.  Well he got crowded up and hit the end of that rail and that car shot in the air, oh I thought it was gonna kill him, but he was OK.   But the car was really hurt.  So anyway that was Friday night and they were rushed trying to get it ready for Sunday.  So we went to Mason City, we ran there most of the time and went down there and it was one of those deals they weren’t there and they were the guys to beat.  Well we were typically a second, third or fourth place car.  And they weren’t there and things just fell into shape and I had a good win.  As I recall they dropped the green and it was a white and it was a checker….we just out ran ‘em.  It was fun, sort of at their expense, Kim and Lee’s expense, but you take the first win any way you can get it.

Webpage: Clean races are nice no matter what, no cautions.

Larry: Oh ya without a doubt if you’re in the stands or if your behind the wheel.  I’ve been in those where its yellow, yellow, yellow, you get out of your rhythms and when you’re in a green white checker you become by the end of the race a better driver simply because you can now work on your timing.  It sounds stupid, it sounds like you’re talking like NASCAR guys about your timing.  Where you let off, where you set the car, just lap after lap it’s so much easier when you don’t have a yellow every three laps,

 

Webpage: You’ve seen the style of restarts change, no more single files.

Larry:  I actually think that’s great.  I think that Delaware style restart is one of the best things they ever did.  You know back in the day when you had a full field you could be starting 15th, but now ya you’re still 15th but your 7th in a line and I think it makes it a little more enjoyable for the crowd.

 

Webpage: Side by side racing is more fun for you as well.

Larry:  You have a race within a race, you’re not just racing the guy ahead of you, you’re racing the guy beside you, so now you got two races going on, and sometimes I caught myself looking too far ahead trying to figure what’s going to happen.  You know that guys going to push when you get down there so you make provisions for it. A lot of times it happened and you tried to capitalize on it but sometimes you would over think it.  Now as things changed in racing, everyone’s got younger younger younger.  I knew who had to fix the car if I wadded it up where some of these young kids, not taking anything away from them, if they wadded it up daddy would help either with the checkbook or the wrenches.   So I knew who was going to have to fix it so I didn’t put my nose in where I should of but whatever, no regrets, most times we would load her in the trailer

 

Webpage: Maybe affected those second place finishes in points?

Larry: I’m sure, ya, I know, I can’t put one particular season that that’s what happened but looking at the big picture ya, sure, I should of just not necessarily drove through it but should of drove to it rather than checking up … id just rather finish sixth than maybe get forth or wadded up .  You know

 

Webpage: Let’s talk about you starting your own business.

Larry:  Out of High School I went to Tech School up in Willmar to be a parts manager, sort of liked that type of stuff….I got to back up….when I was in High School they actually had an auto mechanics program so I did two years of auto mechanics, I enjoyed that, I’ve been mechanicing since I could hold a wrench.  Well I really liked the parts end, so I went up to school in Willmar to be a parts man.  So I started up in New Richland for a farm implement dealership for a short time.  Then I went down to Severson Ford for five years in Albert Lea.  I was just getting a little restless, I suppose I was 25 at the time, you know you know everything at that age, so I started my own shop out at my Dad’s farm doing some welding and fabricating and I enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it.  Learned how to try to make a dollar you know, I was actually so broke I couldn’t afford to pay attention, I didn’t know any better. Anyhow friend of mine came to me with the idea maybe we should sell some Sprayer Equipment, so hey ya OK, I was already doing that, I thought I better team up with him rather than lose the little business I already got so we teamed up and formed L and D Ag.  That was in ‘81, and we didn’t set it up properly, neither one of us had the experience and it was just too hastily organized, so I bought him out after 6 months.  There were some pretty lean times back there in the Ag economy and Larry’s economy, but we made it through and then it just grew and grew.  Got married, grew some more, bought some buildings , bought some real estate, grew some more, and  I think at the high point, I think 2012 I had about 29 full time employees and bought a fair amount of real estate and built some warehouses, built some shops, built and built and built and just kept going forward.  And I had two of my employees come to me wanted to know if I would be interested in selling shares especially since Nancy and I don’t have any children.  Just because you had kids wouldn’t mean they would be a good fit to run the place, but anyway Ok, and again didn’t know how to set it up but we worked at it for a number of years to figure out some way to have a succession plan, part of the way I was able to retire early, and the business was good to us.  Worked hard at it, dang hard at it, we both did, but that’s how you pay for the Chevelle, how you pay for race cars, how you sponsor tracks and race cars, and racing was our passion and that’s how it went. So we paid our dues and now we’re sort of reaping the rewards of that.  And the racing part of it, no regrets, we got a new fifth wheel camper we take to Deer Creek every weekend, a lot of times we’ll go to Lansing on Friday night and just head over to the camper.  We’re still actively involved in racing. 

 

Webpage: The business was pretty heavily involved in sponsoring racing for a lot of years.

Larry: (Laughing) One year I think I sponsored 13 race cars and 3 races tracks so ya that’s a little heavily involved.  Sometimes it’s awfully hard to say no

Another story, how do I tell this, you know mentioned we sponsored a lot of people.   Story about Jason Cummins, of course Jason is a super guy , who doesn’t like Jason Cummins, well back when we’d just gone to the B Mods, it was early 2000’s and of course Jason was running,  all he had was, hate to say it Jason but ….junk …. I mean he’d take leftovers out of his last three blown up motors and put something together.  Well somebody, the Thompson boys, I think Rich Thompson from New Richland, a local restaurant up there they put together a car show, race car show, at this particular restaurant,    So we brought our car up there and Jason was there  I didn’t hardly know him at the time, Mitch was there and a bunch of other guys, we had the cars around there and Nancy kind of took a shine to Jason, he was such a polite young gentleman, well you could see the team was needing help and so Nancy says, is there something we can do, cant we help that young guy out.  Well so that’s how we got involved with Jason, it was my wife.  We helped him out   So that year I knew he’d been struggling motor wise and I told him I’d give you “X” amount of dollars towards a Sputs motor, and not that he had to have a Sput motor but a good motor and I had worked a little with Sputs so that’s what I told him.  I told him you go get a Sputs motor and I’ll put “X” amount towards it and it was a pretty good chunk of the motor bill.   About a week later Jason called me up and said is that deal still good, I said ya I’ll put this much up and you got to find the rest.  Well he said I found the rest if you want to, I said ya I’ll write the check.  Well the rest is sort of history.  Than he got motors that would last and he got into better chassis.  Sort of proud about that one you know

 

Webpage:  Just one of many you’ve helped over the years.

Larry:  Ya financially and parts wise and advice wise.  Bryan Hernandez use to call me about every three weeks and say how do you set those valves again (Laughing) we both had Sputs motors, OK Bryan you do this this and this.  Ok I promise I’ll remember this time, three weeks later, hey how do you set them valves again.  (Laughing)  Than at the track you know lots of people borrowed parts from me, because I had parts, everything you could basically bolt onto my car I had a spare for it.  I had stuff that wouldn’t even fit my car but I thought somebody would need it.  I had the best bolt inventory at Chateau Speedway; everybody would come to me to get bolts, so it was fun.  I borrowed a guy, well I borrowed a couple motors to guys, I almost got beat my own motor one night.  My motor was in the other guys car, he was running first, I was running second….and this just isn’t right I shouldn’t get beat by my own motor.  So a little more determination I did get the job done.  So I did win it, my other motor got second.  2010 sponsored Two National Champions, Jason Cummins of course USRA Modified National Champion and Danny Hansen in WISSOTA Street Stock, National Champion.

 

Webpage:  Billboard and equipment sponsorships at the tracks.

Larry:  We had a billboard down there at Chateau, then of course we saw what these Terra-Gators can do so than I bought a Terra-Gator for Darin, it was an older one, but I bought that and gave that to him for watering the track, sort of fit with our business spray equipment.  Than we started doing stupid T-shirts, I shouldn’t say stupid T-shirts, but novelty T-shirts and that was something we cooked up one time.  With sponsoring the Terra-Gator we had this T-shirt that said “Show me your Booms”, sort of a takeoff on Mardi Gras, that caught on, everybody had to have a Boom shirt after that.  Every year we tried to come up with a different t shirt sometimes we would get a cute saying, sometimes not so much.  But the very last T-shirt, I did a Mark Noble, he had that retro T-shirt,  you know those white T-shirts with the green Mark Noble you know from back in the ‘70s or ‘80s, so we went back to our very first “Show me your Booms” and that was our swan song our last edition.

 

Webpage: Tell us about this 1970 Chevelle here.

Larry:  It started out as a Grandma’s car than a Grandson ended up getting it.  This Grandma drove it as her grocery getter until she was like 90 years old.  It’s only got 54,000 miles on it.  Well Junior stated doing some hot rodding on it.  So than I bought it, I felt the price was reasonable, and again it came with all the original pieces.  He’d put a high rise on it, holly carburetor and stuff, but it came with all the original stuff so I’m putting it back to the way it was.  Well than he had, well here’s the wiring out of it (pointing to floor), he’d really butchered the wiring, so you can get new wiring harnesses. (Points out the new one)  So what I’m doing is getting it back to original, taking care of stuff like that.  He’d put a real lumpy cam shaft in it, so I put more of a stock cam back in it, and it was one of those things that it has gotten to be a little deeper than I had figured on .  Figured I’d stick a new cam in it and be done in two weeks, ya that don’t work out.  But I’m hoping that by the end of the week I can have it pretty much buttoned up.  It’s original paint.  It’s a clean car theres no rust in it, no rot, no panels replaced.  I got the seats out.  I had to take the top off the dash to put the heater wiring in.  Ya it’s a clean car.

 

Webpage:  What else you got going on.

Larry:  Well I retired early, when I was 60.   Thanks to the guys for keep sending the paycheck, that was great. (Laughing) I always joke if I was any more retired I’d have to hire help…ya I got several classic cars, and I’ve built a Rat Rod Car Hauler.  When I was getting ready to retire I decided I’m going to build a Rat Rod, I’m gonna do that.  So I got all the parts, threw ‘em together, I got ‘em here in the other shed but I haven’t got to it yet.  I figured maybe I should have a Rat Rod Car Hauler, so I built that first so I could haul my Rat Rod.  Well than in the meantime I got an old Mercury from my father, so I should recondition that before I go into that Rat Rod thing.  Well than I had a Cutlass Convertible forever so I maybe better do that one.  Well before I started racing, you know, came off the farm, my folks had an old tractor that had engine trouble, Dad was gonna scrap it, well I kept it, stuck a 327 Chevrolet in it.  That was back in ‘75, well that restoration was sort of bad so maybe I better do that one next. So its automotive stuff, hot rods, Rat Rods, Tractors.  So I got my Rat Rod to build yet and I got a ‘35 Dodge four door Sedan I want to make into some kind of Street Cruiser.  So…my wife she just shakes her head at me sometimes, what do you need all these things for, but, well it’s a guy thing. (Laughs)

 

Webpage:  Let’s talk about your Texaco Station…..Garage up on the hill.

Larry:  We built the Texaco station.  We needed a place to store some of our cars and this space I was using before was not rodent proof and of course if you’re here in the summer time you’ll see how well Nancy decorates the place.  She has a lot of yard art, and the building she had her yard art stored in was in bad shape, so we needed to upgrade.  So let’s build a new garage and let’s make it look like a 50’s gas station so that’s what we did.  Again I got to give Nancy credit for that.  We knew we were going to build this 50’s gas station, she says we got to pick out our colors first.  Well if you’re going to pick out your colors you got to pick out your brand so that’s how we ended up with Texaco.  We knew we wanted to have red and green and the black.  And Texaco stuff, well it’s not easy to find, but the Texaco stuff is easy as any of it anymore, so inside and out its decorated like a 50’s Texaco station.   I’ll take you up and show you the interior.  There’s no race car stuff up there, none, we left the race car stuff down here in the race shop, that’s just for the cars.  We have Car Clubs come out, Car Cruises, we’ve had church groups here, we’ve had board meetings here, it’s just a little destination.  People come out, just something a little different to do.  One of the things I take pride in, its gonna sound a little bad, you get a group … we had a church group come out and a lot of times you get a church group its older folks and a lot of the ladies were walking through the station up there looking at the memorabilia on the walls and whatever, the displays we got, and they were so polite and smiling and nodding their heads and they walk around again, well about the third time they go around there standing there and you see a tear coming down there cheek.  Well I’m not trying to make ladies cry but it sparks a memory in ‘em, there husband had a station like this, or their dad had one and that’s sort of what we wanted to do.  Ya we store our cars in it but yet it’s something to be looked at, were not showing off were sharing. When I did the station I tried to make it look inside like it would of back in the 50’s. Like this every station you know had to have a girly calendar.  (Walk up to Garage)

 

Webpage:  Tell us about your Car Couch t here.

Larry:  Nancy and I were watching Dancing with the Stars one night, we were starting to build this at that time, she said we need to have a Car Couch like a ‘57 Chevy.  I said ya but you cut up a ‘57 Chevy and they’ll cut you up.  (Laughing)  So I said you gotta have a ‘59 or ‘60 so you got arm rests.  The ‘57 had vertical fins and this is a ‘60, it has horizontal fins.  So a couple days later I come home dragging a 1960 Chevy home so I cut everything off that didn’t look like a couch and did the metal work and that’s what we ended up with.  So than last year I cut the front end up for up there. (Points above door than turns head lights on)

 

Webpage: The bar is nice.

Larry:  Got it off of craigslist, that’s where a lot of this stuff come from but that came out of Egan, I liked the brass.  So once I got it, had that Saloon on there, well I still hadn’t named the place so that’s when we came up with “Shady Service”. I like to do a play on words if I can.  Of course Kory Adams races out at Chateau and he does graphics and I gave him an idea and he come up with this little guy with the checkered shorts on, knobby pair of knees with a cigar.  So take it anyway you want “Shady Service”, which way do you want it, the Shade trees or the “Shady” Service.

 

Webpage:  You have your Mercury in here.

Larry:  ‘65 mercury, that’s original body, original interior…in ‘65 the bulk of em were Breezeways, (rear window that rolls down) this one has the sport roof on it hence the checkered flag on it.  So there weren’t many of these made.  This is a Bully Special.  I found the built sheet for it.   You know Jim Chisholm from Osage, one of his supporters is Pee Wee Durbin.  Pee Wee is probably about 80 years old and Pee Wee has been here a couple times and saw the station.  So anyway I was talking to him about this old Mercury because it came out of Osage Iowa.  He knew the dealer, he knew the salesman, he knew the guy that owned it.  My dad bought it in the early 70s, for an old beater car.

 

Webpage:   Before we end tell us about this old Minnesota State Fair Program, has you listed in it for racing it 1978.

Larry:   We had Motor issues, so it just didn’t happen.  It was probably a good thing that it didn’t.  But we just about made the big time, once.  (Laughing)