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Eight racing legends inducted into Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame
by Bob Mays
LINCOLN, Neb. (August 29, 2001) -- Former racing aderaries, Frank Brennfoerder, Gerald Bruggeman and Dean Ward joined five others into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame on Wednesday afternoon at the Nebraska State Fair Park Clubhouse. Brennfoerder, Bruggeman and Ward spent many night battling each other on the though Central Nebraska Supermodified circuit of the mid-seventies, racing at such tracks as Hastings Raceway, Mid-Continent Speedway in Doniphan and Riviera Raceway in Norfolk. Each was present to accept their induction into the Hall of Fame which was celebrating it’s fourth annual ceremony.

Brennfoerder got the earliest start to his career building a track roadster in 1949. He raced roadsters for a number of years while also taking many wins in the jalopy wars of the 1950s. Supermodifieds came of age in the 1960s and Frank won many races in those as well. He quit driving in 1974, but was still active in the engine building business and has always been ready with advice to younger drivers.

Bruggeman, or “Boog” as he is most often refereed, began in 1951 in the stock car ranks and has won numerous track championships in a career that spanned 30 years. He was the first three-time champion of Husets Speedway, turning the trick in 1977-78-79.

Ward got his start in 1958 in Modifieds and has driven just about every type of race car in his career, which saw him retire in victory lane at Colorado National Speedway in 1990. In between, he raced modifieds, Supermodified, sprint cars, late models and midgets.

The other 2001 inductee on hand was Ralph Foster of Los Angeles by way of Grand Island, Nebraska. Ralph started his racing career in 1933 driving big cars, but made his name as one of the toughest midgets drivers in the Midwest before World War II. in 1940 he won 40 main events and was crowned Kansas State Midget Champion. After World War II Ralph moved to the west coast and continued racing at such places as Ascot Park and Balboa Stadium.

Gary Jacobson was on hand to represent his father, Art Jacobson of Omaha. Art owned midgets starting in 1936. His cars won several championships through the 1950s with such drivers as Johnny Hobel, Red Hoyle, Kenny Crabb, Der Merkley and Leroy Nuemayer. In the 1960’s Bobby Parker won hundreds of races in the Art Jacobson Ford V-8 60. Art passed away on December 23, 1985.

Present to accept Howard Johansen’s induction was his grandson, Robert Zeiders. Howard was a true mechanical genius, who designed his own cams, fuel injection systems, connecting rods and many other engine components. He started Howards Cams in the early fifties, after moving the Los Angeles, California. Howard was in on the cutting edge of both the drag racing industry and land speed record runs at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In 1957 Johansen built the “Twin Bear” as slingshot dragster with side by side Chevy engines. With this car he won many NHRA National events through the 1961 season. Howard passed away on October 25, 1988.

Accepting for Loyal Katskee of Omaha was his son, Mike Katskee. Loyal started his racing career, racing midgets at Playland Park in 1949, but made his mark racing sports cars with the SCCA. Some of the marquees Loyal drove in his career were, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Lotus, and Porsche. He raced at some of the premier events of the 1950s, including the Sebring 12 Hours, Bahamas Speedweeks and many others. His biggest win came in the Chicago International Grand Prix in 1957, driving a Ferrari 750 Monza. Loyal passed away on November 12, 1985.

The final 2001 inductee was Don Wolfe of Lexington. Accepting for Don was his brother, Dean. Don started racing in 1950 in the NASCAR Sportsman division at Lexington Speedway. He raced Sportsman for several years, and also sprint cars, late models, and midgets in a career that went until 1964. Don passed away on June 11, 1998.

On hand for the inductions was the Governor of Nebraska, the Honorable Mike Johanns. Also on hand as the keynote speaker for the induction ceremony was noted auto racing writer and author, Dave Argabright.

Current members of the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame who were in attendance were, Woody Brinkman, Lincoln, inducted in 1999; Bob Burdick, Omaha, inducted in 2000; Bud Burdick, Omaha, inducted in 1998; Jim Gessford, Hastings, inducted in 2000; Bob Kosiski, Omaha, inducted in 1998; Bobby Parker, Omaha, inducted in 2000; and Bill Smith, Lincoln, inducted in 1998.

The annual silent auction for the Hall of Fame was held for the third year and brought in almost $800. The top items were: an autographed crewman’s shirt donated by Rusty Wallace’s Winston Cup team that went for $250; a framed photo of 1999 Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee, the late Gordie Shuck which brought $150; a framed and autographed photo of 2001 inductee, Dean Ward that bought $90; a National spring Car Hall of Fame Diecast Dirt Champ car that bought $75; and a Ron Titus numbered print which brought $40.

The Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame is a non-profit all volunteer organization committed to preserving the history of auto racing in Nebraska. To perpetuate the memory of individuals who have brought lasting fame and positive recognition to the state of Nebraska. Requirements for induction into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame include, being a resident of the state of Nebraska for at least two years, and the honoree must have been retired from their activity for which they are being honored for at least four years. Involvement can include, but is not limited to: driver, owner, car builder, engine builder, mechanic, promoter, official or media/public relations personnel. The deadline for nominating individuals who meet these criteria for consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2002 is October 15, 2001. Anyone can nominate a person for the Hall of Fame by sending the nominees and list of accomplishments to: Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Inc. 821 Driftwood Dr. Lincoln, NE 68510

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The 20th Annual Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held at the Lincoln Firefighter’s Reception Hall located at 241 Victory Lane in Lincoln, Neb., on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Tickets are SOLD OUT. There are NO TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR!! Doors open at 5 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 6:30.

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Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame