Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame

Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Announce 2024 Class
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3/7/2024

3/7/2024

Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame


Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Announce 2024 Class

(Lincoln, Nebraska) The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Board of Directors has unveiled the seven members of the 2024 Hall of Fame Induction Class. This year’s class is made up of seven individuals that have made great impacts in Auto Racing, those individuals that will be enshrined include Jim Dalrymple of Gothenburg, Jerry Jacobs of Phillips, the late Kim Lingenfelter of Norfolk, Gale Murkle, formerly of Lincoln; the late Elmer Saathoff of Beatrice, Ron Sardeson of Greenwood and Don Vonderfecht of Holbrook.

The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Board of Directors also announced that the 2024 Gordie Shuck Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to the late Dallas Whiting. Whiting has worn many hats during his over 70 years being deeply involved in auto racing that includes driver, promotor, announcer and many other jobs that it takes to successfully resurrect a race track.

The date for this year’s 26th Anniversary Induction Ceremony and banquet has been set for Saturday, November 16th, 2024. The event will be held at Courtside Banquet Hall in Lincoln. Tickets will be available for purchase in July. Tickets are not available at the door, the day of the event.

2024 Hall of Fame Inductees:
– Jim Dalrymple:
Jim Dalrymple of Gothenburg, Nebraska became hooked on racing at a young age by helping his father Glen and his uncle Jimmy with a midget racecar that campaigned in Colorado before he reached 10 years old. Jim himself started piloting a quarter midget car in 1956-57 in New Mexico. Dalrymple would also compete in go-kart racing at a young age as well. By the time Jim reached legal driving age, he had his sights set on going fast as he started achieving success in drag racing in 1961 and 1962. Soon thereafter, Dalrymple would move to Gothenburg, Nebraska where his drag racing exploits started taking roots with class and track records at drag strips in Omaha, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Julesburg, Colorado. As he continued to achieve not only local and regional successes with class and track records into the 1970’s, Dalrymple was the runner-up at the AHRA Winter Nationals held in Pomona, California and the AHRA National event held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jim continued to be a threat to take the win light in local, regional and national events until 1978 where he quit driving and became the crew chief and head mechanic for his brother Danny Dalrymple. The Dalrymple brothers were lethal on the drag strip as they achieved accolades at National meets all across America that included winning the Bandimere Super Stock Open while advancing to the top 16 in a 128 car field in Indianapolis. Over his career Jim competed in 16 states and Canada. Dalrymple was one of the first in the United States to run a transmission brake. Into the 1990’s, Dalrymple continued to make an impact on auto racing with his knowledge and tutelage of numerous dirt track racers powerplants in central and southwest Nebraska. In 2016, Dalrymple returned to the drag strip where he still competes in select races.

–Jerry Jacobs: A picture is worth more than 1,000 words when enthusiasts see the images created by award-winning photographer Jerry Jacobs of Phillips. Jacobs started shooting racing photography in the mid 1970’s and had an illustrious career that spanned over 40 years through 2014 when he retired from racing photography. Starting small and working his way up the ladder, Jacobs first 10 years of taking photos he said were, ‘Amateur’. It was Jerry’s goal to take great racing action shots and he did that at race tracks in Doniphan and Hastings. Jacobs would also travel to Midwest Speedway, I-70 Speedway, the Belleville Highbanks, the Devils Bowl, the Iowa and Nebrask State Fair races, Hartford, South Dakota and a few World of Outlaw shows. Jacobs could also be found at race tracks in Lexington, Columbus, Albion, David City, Deshler, Red Cloud and McCool Junction with a viewfinder glued to his eyes. Jerry has contributed to publications that include Open Wheel Magazine, Hawkeye Racing Journal, Dirt Modified Magazine and Midget Magazine. Jerry’s impact on remembering yesteryear’s racers continues to bring smiles and flashbacks for racing enthusiasts, as he passed on thousands of photos to numerous webmasters and managers of Nebraska Racing websites and social media groups. Jacobs’ impact with his keen eye for photographs will continue to color memories for lifetimes.

–Kim Lingenfelter: Famed dirt track racer, Kim Lingenfelter had a love for racing that started at a young age. Kim developed an interest in automobiles as a farm boy near Plainview, which in fact was close to where he first started racing in 1969 at a dirt track in Creighton. He competed in Hobby Stock and Late Model divisions in his early racing campaigns. Lingenfelter would get his first big break in racing a few years later when he piloted an open-wheeled Modified racecar. For several years after his introduction to Modified racing, Lingenfelter achieved great success that included winning five consecutive features at Doniphan against technically superior sprint cars. That same season in 1976, Kim earned a podium finish in third place overall at the Nebraska Triple Crown held at Sunset Speedway. He also entered the same car in the sprint car division of the event and crossed the finish line in third place overall. The following year in 1977, Lingenfelter would pilot a sprint car to four feature wins at Hartford Speedway in South Dakota which helped him to a third place finish in the final points standings. He also scored feature wins that year at Mid-Continent, Jackson and Knoxville Raceway’s. During the late 1970’s, Lingenfelter continued to earn accolades in the open wheeled world of racing. In 1984, Lingenfelter would put fenders on his speedster to the tune of racing a Late Model, winning track championships at ovals in Columbus and Albion.

–Gale Murkle: Gale Murkle’s love for racing started at a young age as a spectator at Capitol Beach Raceway. Murkle’s love for the sport grew to the level that he wanted to get involved and he did just that in the early 1960’s when he started helping Hall of Fame driver Lonnie Jensen and the famed Swanson #14 sprint car. The combination of Larry Swanson, Jensen and a pit crew that included Murkle, the team won track championships at Knoxville, Eagle, BCRA, Midwest and Beatrice Raceways. To top off the year, Jensen led the Knoxville Nationals until late in the race, when he was forced to settle with third place overall. Murkle was retained as the crew chief on the Swanson hot rods that had numerous drivers during the early 1970’s that achieved some success that is until Gale teamed up with Lonnie Jensen again and the pair struck gold in winning their second Knoxville Speedway season points crowns. Murkle continued to achieve success turning wrenches for the ‘Who’s Who’ of sprint car racing in the mid to late 1970’s. Along the way, Murkle was able to tune his team’s way into the record books with record setting fast lap times. In 1979, Murkle took his talents out west, to Arizona where he continued to flourish as a crew chief for sprint car teams.

–Elmer Saathoff: Wearing many different hats, Elmer Saathoff sponsored race cars for close to 40 years and was a track official at many tracks over a span of 15 years. After serving time in the United States military, Saathoff would open up a salvage yard in 1964 named Northeast Auto, which became a heavenly location for racers. Elmer and a bunch of his siblings got involved in racing in 1964 as well, even though he had no interest in driving the race car, but he did become the car owner. From the late 1960’s until the mid 1990’s, Elmer could be seen working as a track official at race tracks all across Southeast Nebraska and into Eastern Iowa and Missouri. In 1978, it was the dynamic duo of Elmer Saathoff and Ken Parde that purchased the lease to reopen Eagle Raceway. Elmer was instrumental in the development of the Nebraska/Iowa Challenge Race which later became known as the Cornhusker/Hawkeye Challenge. As a car owner, Saathoff had many hall of fame wheelmen that included: Johnny Saathoff, Harlan Saathoff, Kenny Parde, Bob Johnson, Joe Wade, Stan Woelke, Monty Fralin, Tim Rogge and Steve Armstrong.

–Ron Sardeson: Well-Known chassis builder Ron Sardeson was at the ground floor of commercial rate race car productions. Sardeson stopped purchasing built race cars and started owning race cars that were built by himself and famed driver Kevin Larkin in the early 1980’s. Sardeson’s has built sportsman, late models, hobby stock and modified chassis and products. Ron was instrumental in the development of the IMCA Modified Cage Kits for Speedway Motors that started being built in 1992. Prior to building his own cars and hiring drivers, Sardeson was a well-respected car owner for many drivers in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. Showcasing his versatility and expertise, Sardeson started building asphalt chassis in the 1990’s. Sardeson’s impact on the racing community isn’t just as a chassis builder, but as a parts supplier as well. It has been known that over the past four decades, almost everyone who has raced in Nebraska has either piloted or purchased products from the Sardesons.

–Don Vonderfecht: Don Vonderfecht left his mark in auto racing as a driver, car owner and engine builder and continues to make an impact in the racing community. Vonderfecht has called Holbrook, Nebraska home since he was nine years old and started showing interest in auto mechanics and automobiles. Vonderfecht began his racing career in 1962 ‘en fuego’ as he won nine of the first ten races he competed in at Holdrege. Following his discharge from the military, Vonderfecht began assembling another race car that he drove in Kearney and Hastings during the late 1960’s and into the early 1970’s. After very successful campaigns in south central Nebraska, Don took to the road and achieved success in Kansas as well. During his whole career, Vonderfecht up until this point was building its own engines and chassis. After hanging up his own racing suit and helmet, Vonderfecht continued on as a successful car owner up until 1996. Vonderfecht is known best for his engine building prowess. His engines have been raced at over 125 tracks in nearly 30 states plus Australia. During his tenure involved in racing that spans over seven decades and continues today, Vonderfecht was always an innovator.

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Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame

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