Lyle's Race Cars Page 2
The heat goes on, only now we're in with the "rail jobs" from Watertown, SD. I couldn't remember what we called them so I asked Tom Phillips when I talked with him. He said all he could remember was "rail jobs." When I asked Lyle, he agreed. So rail jobs they'll be.
Click on pictures to see larger images
Head Scratcher


Lots of Speculation
about the
New Car on the Block

When the word got around that Jim and Lyle were building a race car from an Indy sprint car, it really got everyone sitting up in their bleacher seats. On summer evenings people would drive out to the shop at Vic and Jim's business to have a peek and see how things were coming along. Vic and Jim were located where the Cenex C Store is now. They had the whole corner and sold trailer houses and gas.

Fans were continually asking our family members about the car and when it was announced that the first appearance would be at the 1962 Mid-Season Championship, they couldn't wait. It was kind of a Heinz Ketchup moment: Anticipation. LOTS of anticipation.

Indy Car Indy Car Rear

The Indy Sprint Car
This was a converted vintage Indianapolis sprint car that was owned by Vic Cucci and Jim Larson of Vic and Jim's. The car was completely rebuilt from the wheels up. The engine from the white '32 Ford coupe that Lyle started the season with was put into this chassis. It was a '56 Ford Thunderbird engine.

There was no transmission, just a direct drive to the differential. Compared to the old "stock" cars, it was very, very light. Vic Cucci did the lettering on the car.

The night of the Midseason Championship started out with lots of excitement when Lyle registered the fastest lap in the time trails with 27.1 seconds. That sprint car could really sprint! Fortune didn't stay on his side though because the radiator tank blew up in the second heat, taking him out for the night. This car won a lot of races and with Lyle at the wheel was the 1962 County Fair Champ.

NOTE: Lyle saved the pieces for the sprint car for many years and in 1994 it went to Iowa to be restored. Coincidentally, it was purchased by Dewey Groothaus, the man who sold Lyle the white '32 Ford coupe.

Sprint Car

Here's the car in the Monte pit area. Lyle was also driving 1/2 & 1/2. It's the car parked behind this one. Owner Jim Larson's young son, Tim, is sitting in the driver's seat getting the feel of the car. He loved racing and told me he wished he had a racier name, something like Parnelli or Mario. Tim was Lyle's most avid fan. He made a beautiful scale model of the car and gave it to Lyle.

Note that our supplies consisted of two cans of gas, a can of water, and one spare tire. A bald one at that. This was definitely a bare-bones operation.



The Jaguar Race Car
Everyone dreams of owning a Jaguar, but not everyone gets one and especially not for a race car.

Doesn't look like a Jag? Well, it was modified, but at least the chassis was Jag. This was the dream machine, another car owned by Jim Larson. Talk about recycling before its time. The old T-bird overhead that had run in the white '40 coupe and the sprint was transferred to this car and it did run like a dream. It handled better than the sprint and was probably the only race car Lyle didn't total—at least up to that time.

Lyle Hoidal Wins Fair Championship

August 30, 1962

Stock car racing at the Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo reached a new high level in quality entertainment during the Chippewa County Fair last week. A field of twenty-five cars was on hand for the near sell-out crowd.

Montevideo's Lyle Hoidal emerged as the high-point car of the evening by winning the fast and exciting A Feature. This was Hoidal's top performance at the local track this season.

Hoidal notched his first win of the evening in the second heat and then took a third in the trophy dash before nosing out Dave Engebretson (15-two ) and Jim Davis in the A Feature. The three drivers put on the best show of the racing season as they battled bumper-to- bumper, lap after lap.

Fair Championship


Hoidal the Horrible
In the seventies Raleigh Eichhorst asked Lyle if he would drive his car at the Kandiyohi Race Track in Willmar. Raleigh had a 1955 Chevrolet that was a good car. Good as it was, the car didn't make it more than a couple races when it went through the fence on the number two turn. Bad spot, that corner. A good share of the drivers went through that fence at one time or another. The guy who lived behind the fence always had his boat parked there and I think the track insurance furnished him with a new boat every year.

The guys went out to see Leroy Enevoldsen and bought his 1964 Chevelle. It was a last-minute purchase and they hurried and switched everything over from the wrecked car. No time to paint, so they put a number "7" on with tape, went out and, believe it or not, had a clean sweep. We raced that car for another year and, eventually, Lyle bought the car from Raleigh and it became Scott's first race car.

Lyle No. 7 Hoidal the Horrible

Checkered flag

Jennie Gives "Grandpa" a Trophy
Lyle's favorite little girl, Jennie Sather, presents him with the trophy at a race in Monte. Jennie and her family became part of our family back then and to this day they still call us grandma and grandpa. The official holding the flag is Lanny Ostenson. Not sure whose car he is driving. If his car was disabled he always found another ride.


Orange Camaro

The Orange Camaro
This 1972 Camaro was a beautiful car. It wasn't complete when he got it…just a shell. Because it was a unibody it was very light and handled very well. Lyle put together a 350 Chevy engine for it and ran it a couple of seasons. It was a movin' machine in a strong field of cars. Lyle edged out Clarence Washburn of Hector for the high-point car of the year in the modified class in Willmar in 1978. Clarence was a great competitor and a good friend and gave Lyle a run for his money. That same year Scott won the Rookie of the Year award. It was a fun season with both Lyle and Scott racing.

High-Point Car in Modified Class
at Willmar Track

A 1978 newspaper clipping from the
West Central Tribune in Willmar.

Willmar News Clipping
Trophy Boys

Lyle and Scott with their Willmar trophies
Picture from Montevideo American-News

A Tribute to Dick Rodeberg

Dick Rodeberg During the 1960s there was a big article about racing in the Montevideo American-News every week. There was no byline so no one really knew who the writer was. I did because he was married to my cousin. His name was Dick Rodeberg. Dick worked for the newspaper and wrote the weekly columns until he bought out a local printing shop, named it Custom Printing, and since he was no longer a newspaper employee, he didn't write any more columns. A good move for him, but a great loss to the racing community.

Dick wrote the BEST copy. People said that the announcer, Clayton Johnson, brought excitement to the races. Well, Dick brought excitement to the page with his fun and informative writing. Here are a few of my favorites from the American-News articles.
Two of the more serious mishaps sent Bob Young, driver of car No.6, to the hospital with cuts and bruises. Morrie Weflen was sent to the repair shop with fractured roll bars and a dislocated frame.

The trophy dash proved to be the race of races with some of the hardest and best driving seen this year. Once again Hoidal, Pape and Twite pushed their way to the head of the pack to take the lead. The lead changed several times during the event with the field bunched very closely throughout the race. Clayton Johnson, crowd-pleasing announcer at the local track, nearly swallowed his microphone as Hoidal, Twite and Pape roared past the stands three abreast in the fifth lap of the event. Hoidal went on to win the trophy, followed closely by Twite and Pape.

A serious mishap in the pre-race warmup eliminated Chuck Ludwig's car No. 2 from further competition that evening. Ludwig was miraculously unhurt when his machine tangled with Mel Zimmerman's Y-4, hit the concrete guard rail in front of the stands, skidded and rolled over onto the track in a mass of twisted steel and flaming wreckage.

Reading his old articles has brought back lots of great memories. Thanks, Dick. Thanks for recording our memories.
Cars on track

Lyle Hoidal Finishes as
High Point Leader
at Madison Speedway

It was the season championship at the Madison Speedway in Madison, Minnesota. Lyle was leading the point standings by just a few points. If he didn't win the feature and Jim Kellen did, Jim was the season champion. As fate would have it, Lyle's car had something happen to it the week before and since there was only one race left in the season and it was a major repair, they did not fix it. That meant that Lyle did not run that night of the season championship. Instead Scott went out and did a beautiful job of driving in the feature and ended up winning the season championship race for himself and the season point standings for his dad!

Watson Honker

The Watson Honker
We lived on a farm near Watson, Minnesota, "The Goose Capital of the World," when Lyle and Lanny Ostenson put this car together. So what other name could we call it, but a honker? Not your normal-looking car, it looks like it came from The Munsters TV show.

The car had a Chevelle chassis with a Vega station wagon body perched on it. It was powered by a big, old Cadillac engine. The car didn't last long and went to "the graveyard" at an early age when the engine died and couldn't be revived.

Rest in pieces, old Cadillac.

Vintage Racing

Vintage Racing
In the 80s vintage racing became very popular. Participants drove old race cars that had been restored or newly built. In 1996 Lanny Ostenson and Chuck Ludwig teamed up and worked hard to get the local races going. The cars had to be 1948 or older and had to be single axle. We had a lot of cars from a lot of places. Even had a woman driver from Sioux Falls.

Lyle was in his glory putting an old race car together again. This time it was a 1940 Ford with a Chevy V-6 engine. He put his signature key on the back and was off to the races.

One night after the races in Alexandria, a young man brought his son down to the pit area to meet Lyle and look at the car. He said he watched Lyle race when he was young and wanted his son to enjoy the same experience. Well, it wasn't exactly the same experience. These cars were more for "show" than "go," but they brought back some vintage excitement

Love old cars?

Frozen 1937

If you like vintage cars, then you will enjoy the works of Dale Klee, world-renowned artist from Wyoming, MN. I talked with him today and mentioned that two of our vintage vehicles had gone to Denmark and Germany. He said that a friend who owns a junkyard told him there is a huge demand for vintage parts in Europe.

Klee's website has his works for sale—everything from cards and calendars to original oil paintings and prints. Love the vintage stock car print above. It is called "Frozen '37." Junkyard Calendar

Need a Christmas gift? This awesome 2017 Junkyard Calendar is only $14 and has free shipping through January 15, 2017. Check it out.