Having been involved in the sport, as either a driver or a car owner, for portions of seven decades, Lynn Grabill is truly a Nebraska auto racing icon.
A second-generation racer, Grabill grew up in Grand Island and strapped himself into a race car for the first time as a young 17-year-old in 1957 at the 16th Street race track on the north end of Hastings. During his early racing years, Grabill raced flat-head V8 powered Ford coupes at a variety of mostly fairgrounds race tracks in central and eastern Nebraska and northern Kansas.
When the coupes eventually progressed into what, at the time, were known as Modifieds, he became known as the successful pilot of the number 12 “Grabill Special,” which he campaigned weekly at Kearney Raceway and Hastings Raceway in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s, Grabill became the chauffeur of the popular “Touché Turtle” number 5 Sprint Car, owned by veteran car owner Mel Lammers of Kearney.
After hanging up his helmet and fire suit, Grabill became a very successful Go Kart (both dirt and asphalt), Modified Midget, Sprint Car and Micro Sprint Car owner. With his son, Kerry, behind the wheel, Grabill’s creations won Go-Kart and Modified Midget track championships in Erie, Colorado and both Waverly and Hastings, Nebraska.
Grabill was one of the original Board Members of the Central Nebraska Racing Association (CNRA) in the late 1960s, and became so respected in the Modified Midget racing world, that in 1998, he was called on to rewrite the rule book for the JayHusker Racing Association
In spite of the fact that throughout most of his career, Grabill funded his own racing operation, the Central Nebraska native raced against, and beat, some of the best in the business, including Johnny Beauchamp, “Little Joe” Saldana, Lloyd Beckman, Wilbur Hecke and Dean Ward. During his career, Grabill took checkered flags at each of the more than 60 race tracks at which he either owned or drove a competing race car, scoring victories in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and California.