Book signing draws large crowd
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
Racing fans and drivers were swapping autographs and stories during a two-hour get-together on Egan Ave. on Saturday, as Gale Pifer of Madison had his book "Thunder Over the Plains" (the history of Interlakes/Lake County Speedway) on sale.|
Besides purchasing a book, racing fans were able to see several different types of race cars parked along the street in front of The Madison Daily Leader office.
One of the cars that drew a lot of attention was the restored car which Gib Bohlman drove in the early days of the track. Bohlman drove a Hudson. The car was restored by his son Gib Jr., and when he fired it up on Saturday, it cackled just like the old race cars did during the early days of local racing.
Carol Bohlman, Gib's wife, recalled sitting with Dave Dedrick at the track many times.
"He always wished that Hudson would beat Harold Petree," she said. "We also met a lot of nice people at Interlakes Speedway, and Gib enjoyed racing here more than at Huset's Speedway."
Don Jones, who competed at Interlakes Speedway, thought the track surface was good and he always had fun at the speedway, except for one portion of the track.
"The water around the track around the north corner really scared me," he said.
Madison racer Chuck McGillivray, who chalked up the most wins in the history of the rural Madison track, recalls all of the good times he had at the speedway.
"The good times after the races and the people that were always at the track," he recalled...
Doug VanLiere, who began racing at the track in 1985 in the Bomber Class, knew about Madison long before he started racing here.
"I watched my uncle race at the track while I was growing up," he said. "The first night I raced here, I never slept after the races."
It took VanLiere a long time before picking up a win at the track; his first win came in 1996.
Marlyn Hanten, an early driver at the track who suffered an injury during a devastating wreck, recalled all of the friendships he made at the track.
"This was my favorite track," he said. "During a championship night, I was leading the race and the mud started to knock off the spark plug wires. I finished third in the race."
Jim Gonyo, a former driver, thought the Madison race track was the best in the area.
"There was a lot of room to run on the track," he said.
Gonyo also raced at Sioux Falls, Watertown, Rock Rapids and Brookings.
Another racer who began his career at the track was Aaron Penning. He started in 2001 in the front-wheel drive class. He moved up to the Hobby Stocks and in 2007 moved to the B-Modified class. He won the Hobby Stock division in 2006. Even though Penning remembers all the crashes he was involved in, the track was his favorite.
Going to the races at Interlakes/Lake County Speedway was a ritual for many drivers and fans throughout the summer months, and many of the memories were shared on Saturday morning, knowing they will live on for a lifetime in the book "Thunder Over the Plains."
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
Send us your community news, events, letters to the editor and other suggestions. Now, you can submit birth, wedding and engagement announcements online too!
Copyright © 1995 - 2013 madisonet.com All Rights Reserved.