Through the Years….
1989 was when I raced in my first race, but racing had been a part of my life for years before that. When I was a
kid I heard the stories of my great Uncle’s Lloyd and Arnie Blessington racing at the Sac City race track by the
I remember my Dad Gary’s car sitting in the yard with “Gary’s Dairy” on the side and a big 92. I had never
attended a race however until 1989.
It all started the winter of 1989 when I went to a swap meet in Sioux City and bought a stock car. I paid $250.00
for that car. I started working on it and when the race season started I was at the Buena Vista Raceway, but not
in my car. Instead, I spent the season going around the track in the Arnold Motor Supply pack truck with my
friend Korey Kolbaum.
In between races I worked on my car, but about mid season I realized that I had gotten what I paid for and went
out and bought another car for a little bit more money. It was ready to run for the last race of the season. With
only a number 92 on the unpainted car I headed to the track. My goal was simple, don’t finish last! In the heat
race I followed the last place car til the last lap when I floored it passing him at the line. I can’t remember where
I finished in the feature, but it wasn’t last. I do remember getting a dent, but nothing serious.
Over the off season the car got a paint job and I was ready for my first full season of racing. My ‘home’ track was
BVR and I didn't miss a night. My goal was to finish the season in the top 10 in points and I finished 7th. I
traveled to Jefferson, Audubon and Denison when I could.
The season was frustrating as I didn’t feel I was getting any better, starting up front finishing towards the back I
felt I needed more horse power. A bigger motor was put in the car but I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted.
A mechanic by trade, my maintenance program consisted of setting the valves in the engine before each race.
Towards the end of the season I read a book by Steve Smith and he talked about set up and how important that
was. I tried to scale the car, but found the experience to be disasterous. In the pits I talked to Chuck Crimmins,
a well known chassis builder at that time. He had me bring the car over and he scaled it. I left with a ‘new’ set of
used springs and some new knowledge. Chuck explained to me how to drive on a dry slick track (the tracks
were prone to getting very dry back then), about how I needed to go slower if I wanted to go faster. That I
needed to focus on going into the corners smooth and keep the car straight.
The next time out on the track I had my best finish ever, finishing 3rd. I didn’t even know where the claim area
was! I was so excited you’d think I’d won the Daytona 500. To me it felt like I did. That was a true turning point
for me, as before that I was about ready to give up on racing completely. I was tired of spinning out and getting
passed all the time.
The next season I got my first professionally built chassis, a Crimmins Chassis. I focused on tire pressures and
set up and on learning to drive. I got my first win that year, winning two total that season. Every night I could I’
d load up and go racing, usually alone. I went to Harlan, Denison, Audubon and Jefferson. I knew seat time was
important and wanted to race every chance I could.
From there my racing took off, becoming a regular at Audubon Speedway as well as BVR. In 1992 we had 2 wins
at Audubon and we finished 9th in the overall points. I was also awarded the “Most Improved Driver” award. In
1993 I finished 3rd in the overall points and was awarded the “Hard Charger Award”. The next season, my goal
shifted to winning a Track Championship. It came down to the last race, but I managed to win the title at
Audubon. I finished 2nd overall at Alta.
1994 was also the first year IMCA had a stock car traveling series, called the Mac Tool Winner Series. This took
me to tracks all over the state and had me racing against the best of the best. I went to every race and finished
8th overall in the points, but even better I learned a lot about adapting to different race tracks and conditions.
In 1995 the Calhoun County Speedway in Rockwell City was opened up by track promoter Chuck Crimmins. A
small track, Chuck was a great racer friendly promoter, but the fans just didn’t show up and the track closed
down the next season. I will never forget racing with guys like Dave Baugh and Jon and Keith Conroy, Wayne
Crimmins and even Larry Portis would show up now and then as he was in the race for the National Points. I
ended up the Track Champion with a narrow lead over Wayne Crimmins.
1996 was the first year the Shelby County Speedway would run IMCA stock cars so I added that to my racing
schedule. The track was a challenge for me and it wasn’t until the last race of the season that I won a race
there and that was in a borrowed car! I’d wrecked my car on Friday nite at Audubon and Darin Madsen leant me
his car since I was in the points at Shelby. It paid off as I came home with the win and the Championship. It was
also in 1996 that I first hooked up with Wayne Larson. Wayne was racing an ARCA car at that time and I went with
him to the race in Daytona and helped on his crew. Going over the wall is an experience I will never forget, not
to mention all the knowledge I gained from Wayne himself.
1997 was a great year. My one goal was to get the track championship at Alta, having finished 2nd or 3rd for
several years. I managed to take home the title at BVR but even more amazingly I finished 1st at Audubon and
Harlan as well. I capped off the year with a 2nd place finish at the Boone Super Nationals to race winner Denny
Stoneburner. If anyone would have told me that I would win the BVR Championship for the next 7 seasons I
would have told them they were crazy and I still can’t believe it myself.
Since 1997 there have been a lot of ups and downs. I continued to run a minimum of 3 tracks a year as well as
the Winner Series.
In 2000 I decided to team up with Wayne Larson Racing Chassis and build a stock car chassis. We worked
together on the design and fabrication.
Right out of the box I felt comfortable with the car and this showed in the 2001 season when I was able to win
three Track Championships and the biggest race of my career the IMCA Super Nationals.
2002 was another good season, but 2003 was a struggle as I had to work to readjust my set up for a new weight
rule that IMCA implemented.
Some research over the winter had the car handling better in 2004 as I took home a personal record of 21
feature wins, including my 100th IMCA feature win in June.
2005 was a roller coaster, with a slow start, a great mid season run and a lot of frustrations to end up the
In looking back it is amazing how much racing has been done over the years. I never thought I’d be racing 15
years after buying that first stock car, but at this point I can’t imagine doing anything else. One thing I do know
is that I couldn’t have raced without the support of my family, friends, crew and sponsors.
Thanks to everyone that has supported me throughout the years.
Until next time,