Viking Speedway: Hall of famers
By Larry Holverson
Ron Pease and DuWayne Nelson were inducted into the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame for 2011 on Saturday, August 13.
Both men have played integral parts in the success enjoyed during the 46-year existence of the local oval.
Nelson served as a crewmember for the late Wayne Kluver and was the track maintenance director, earning the reputation as one of the best blade operators in the area if not the state.
Nelson actually got involved in auto racing in 1967 when Kluver approached him, asking if he would be interested in being partners with him in building a race car.
That was the beginning of the hard charging and popular No. 9.
"We were blessed in having several outstanding pit crew members," pointed out Nelson.
They included Jim Novak, Chuck Spaulding, Don Domine, Tom Blade and Gary Vickerman.
Nelson recalled that Kluver was a very easy-going person to work with and enjoyed the success the team had.
During that time span, Kluver and his gang brought home one season championship and recorded three top five finishes.
At that point in time, Nelson dropped out of the partnership to spend more time on work and family obligations, which marked the end of his affiliation with racing.
Kluver was inducted into the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame in 2006.
Nelson returned to racing in 1980 when Jerry Chlian and Les Tschida approached him to blade and maintain the track.
Nelson enjoyed molding the big half-mile, oftentimes with less than desirable material, for the next 20 years.
He spent countless hours working on the track each week.
During that time span, Nelson served two terms on the board of directors.
His wife Barb also served as track secretary during that time and assisted Nelson in maintaining the track.
Nelson is also involved in the Runestone Raceway go-kart oval here in Alexandria.
He takes care of the track and is also a board member, a post he will relinquish following the 2011 campaign.
Pease competed at the Viking Speedway for six seasons and was also on the board of directors for nine years.
He was on the board beginning in the 1973 season and served as president of the local oval the last three years of his time on the board.
"Looking back on my years as president of the speedway, the most important change I tried to make was that of attitude," pointed out Pease.
"I knew we had to treat everyone involved better, starting with the drivers and the car owners.
"I told the board of directors I wanted our racers to be treated like company in our own homes. I put on a smile and did my best to greet everyone I came in contact with and it was amazing, everything changed," Pease recalled.
He also pointed out that the guaranteed purse helped a lot, but mostly everyone got encouraged about racing again and we all had a winning attitude," Pease noted.
"I surrounded myself with the best people I could find. The Viking Speedway's success was obtained by a lot of hard work, by a lot of folks, not just one individual."
His best season behind the wheel of his Chevrolet product was in 1974 when he recorded 31 wins while competing at the Viking Speedway, Sauk Centre and Herman.
During that season he recorded seven clean sweeps.
"We got booed a lot, it was fun," recalled Pease.
"I wouldn't trade this time for anything," pointed out Pease.
"I thank the Viking Speedway for the opportunity to serve and compete."
Pease now resides in a small town of 30,000 just south of Nashville named LaVergne, Tennessee.
He and his wife Anne moved to that community in 2002 and Pease points out they enjoy small town living.
Pease is retired but has a part-time job working three days a week at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
He is no longer involved in racing other than being an avid fan.
A total of 22 individuals are now enshrined in the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame.
2001 - Jerry Geris, Frankie Herzog.
2002 - Dean Peterson, Butch Peterson.
2003 - Jim Johnson, Florian Sprinzel.
2004 - Dave Gilbertson, Walt Anderson.
2005 - Roy Snyder, Dick Block.
2006 - Wayne Kluver, Larry Holverson.
2007 - Oliver Buse, Don Domine.
2008 - Bill Peterson, Jerry Kluver.
2009 - Jim Nieland, Jerry VanKempen.
2010 - Greg Muzik, Stu Olson.
2011 - Duwayne Nelson, Ron Pease