Racers remember the old days in Otho

OTHO – Racers from around Iowa gathered and shared stories at the ninth annual Ol’ Marty’s Racing Reunion Sunday.

Racers put old race cars on display and looked through photo albums and scrap books while telling stories of the old days of racing – when it was more fun, said Bill Hagland, the emcee.

Jim Strutzenberg, who owned the Sports Park Raceway in Fort Dodge from 1958 until 1961, recalled the “fun” days of racing.

“I used to drive my race car right on the highway and right in town,” Strutzenberg said. “You can’t do that anymore.”

For the last nine years, Marty and Nancy Pringle have hosted the reunion at Ol’Marty’s Auto and Race Museum at 603 Hayes St.

Marty Pringle, who has raced his whole life, said he has the reunion every year for the racers he looked up to as a kid.

The racers raced with Marty Pringle’s dad.

“These guys were all my heroes when I was a kid,” he said. “They all raced at the Sports Park in Fort Dodge.”

Norm Wiemers, one of the racers who attended said he had raced for more than 30 years, but doesn’t know exactly how many years.

“I just went and did my thing,” he said. .”I never kept track of anything”

He just raced.

“There were a lot of good years,” Wiemers said. “And a few bad.”

In one of the good years, he won “20 something” features, he said. But he didn’t keep track.

“(Wiemers) was fast,” Hagland said.

Wiemers said he raced all over the midwest.

“I wasn’t stuck on one racetrack,” he said.

Even though he’s done with racing, he comes back up to Otho almost every year for the reunion.

“It’s nice seeing the guys you used to run with,” he said. “It’s just enjoyable to get together with people you used to compete with.”

“You listen to their lies, and tell them a few of your own,” Wiemers joked.

Bob Flaws, another racer, has made it to the reunion every year.

He started racing after his brother took him to watch a race in 1949.

While at the race, he bought a 1937 Ford for $37.50.

“It ran good, too” Flaws said. “It was a good car.”

Flaws raced at the Knoxville Raceway, but “didn’t do very great,” he said.

He ended his racing career in 1963.

“It brings back good memories,” Flaws said of the reunion. “I think it’s great that Marty’s went ahead and done this.”

“I just do it all on my own,” Marty Pringle said.