2008 Huset's Speedway Hall of Fame Inductees:
2008 HUSET'S SPEEDWAY HALL OF FAME
ALL PHOTOS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE FROM THE INDUCTEES OR THEIR FAMILIES.
Bios written by Rob Ristesund
After being a fan of local auto racing, Clarence Rubin became directly involved in racing in 1956 when he built a stock car that was driven by Bud Berger, beginning a friendship between the two that still lasts today.
Eventually, Berger moved on to the modifieds while Rubin once again took a place in the grandstands at Huset's, where he and his family rarely missed a race.
Rubin was a share holder in the Sioux Falls Stock Car Association, which owned the speedway, and later became a member of its board of directors. In 1987, the decision was made by the board to put the track up for sale.
Rubin had noticed a short-coming in the track being governed by an association. It was often difficult to get members to agree on different agendas, which often led to little being accomplished.
He felt that he and his family could do a better job of running the speedway and he put together an offer to purchase the track. Another party also placed a bid, but Rubin's bid was the higher of the two and he and his family became the new owners of Huset's in 1988.
Many of the structures at the track had fallen in disrepair, but the Rubin family worked countless hours in repairing buildings, replacing bleachers, building VIP booths and improving the general facility. The speedway soon became known nationally for its quality facility and entertaining racing.
After 15 years, Rubin stepped aside and turned the full ownership over to his sons, Greg and Steve, while continuing to help out when needed.
Today, 11 members of the Rubin family are actively involved with the track. Their patriarch takes pride in their efforts, citing their compatible working relationship as a major factor in the success of Huset's.
Tom Savage attended the first race at Huset's on May 23, 1954, and rarely missed a racing event at the track for nearly the next half-century.
An avid follower of racing since his childhood, Savage eventually held a multitude of positions in the sport throughout his life and became one of the most respected authorities on the history of open-wheel - and in particular, sprint car - racing in the country.
Savage spent much of his time writing about racing. Throughout most of his life and still continuing today, he wrote stories for a number of national racing periodicals, including National Speed Sport News and Hawkeye Racing News newspapers and Open Wheel and Flat Out magazines, on a regular basis. He wrote, edited and published his own weekly racing paper, Dakota Area Racing News, as well as the Dirt Track Fury yearbook. He also wrote the book Jim, a racing biography of Huset's Hall of Fame member Jim Matthews.
Savage was also a regular on the radio, hosting a weekly local racing show for 25 consecutive years with special broadcasts from the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals for over a decade. He took racing to television for a couple of years, hosting a weekly racing program.
His voice was heard behind the microphone as he announced races at a number of tracks, including Knoxville, Jackson (Minn.) Speedway and the old Hartford Speedway.
With a keen interest in remembering and preserving the history of racing, Savage was a charter member of the board of directors of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. He served as the emcee for its first 11 induction ceremonies, welcoming many of the biggest names in racing into the Hall. He also organized the Huset's Hall of Fame and directed it for its first five years.
Savage would begin each racing season with a new "steno-style" notebook, taking notes at every racing event he attended. Many of those notes remain as the only documentation of some of local racing's early days.
Doug Wolfgang rose from the humble beginnings of racing a super-modified at Huset's to become regarded by many as one of the greatest sprint car drivers in the history of the sport.
"Wolfie", as he is known to many, won more than 500 feature races in 24 states. He scored victories at nearly all of the major sprint car events, collecting prizes of up to $100,000. He twice was name the national Sprint Car Driver of the Year and is a five-time winner of the sport's most prestigious event, the Knoxville Nationals.
His break-out year in sprint cars came in 1976, when he won 23 features for Iowa's Bob Trostle. The following year saw the pair score a record-breaking 45 victories, including their first Nationals win. In 1985, Wolfgang drove the sprint car of Pennsylvania's Bob Weickert to 55 wins in 85 starts, including 17 wins in a row. Four years later, he set another milestone by winning 44 races and approximately half-a-million dollars in prize money behind the wheel for Tennessee car owner Danny Peace.
In that era, Wolfgang became known as one of the "big three" in sprint car racing as he, Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell packed grandstands from coast to coast.
While appearing to be at the pinnacle of his career in 1992, Wolfgang was critically injured in a fiery crash in Kansas City. The same determination that created his success in racing also led to his miraculous recovery from the near-fatal accident.
He eventually made a return to 410 sprint cars until suffering another serious injury in a crash in Illinois in 1997, ending his career has a driver.
Wolfgang has been inducted into a number of racing Hall of Fames around the country and in 2007 he became the first person from auto racing to be inducted into the S.D. Sports Hall of Fame.
He remains involved in racing today, building sprint cars in his shop and also aiding his son, Robby, with his motorcycle and sprint car racing efforts.