Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame
Saturday, July 07, 2012
KNOXVILLE, IA – (July 7) Four new members were inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame during the evening of racing at Knoxville Raceway. The 34th annual ceremonies brings the total to 164 inductees since the first event in 1979.
Dwayne Robuck – Knoxville – Dwayne has been around Knoxville Raceway since 1959 but has witnessed racing here prior to that in the ‘50s. Early on he helped Ralph Grabow with track prep as well as manning the Shell wrecker and a push truck. In the 1960s he became involved with the car of Adrian Zoutte but it was the early ‘70s that he became more involved with Mike Brooks at this track with several other men. By the mid-70s he and son Mike bought their own sprinter and fielded a car here for nearly thirty years. Their hard work produced a highlight moment when they won the 2002 Friday night Nationals A Main with Don Droud Jr. as their driver. A second highlight saw Danny Lasoski pilot their car to a third place finish at the Perth, Australia World Cup Race in the late 1980s. Dwayne was honored by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame with the Heritage Award in 2002. He has been a Knoxville track official in turn 3 for many years and was a Marion County Fair Board member for 37 years.
Mike VanderEcken – Melcher-Dallas – Mike saw his first race here at Knoxville in 1968 when his father brought him here as a five year old. He was 15 in 1978 when his family became involved in the Jordan Brothers sprinter. 1986 saw Mike become a silent partner with the Jordan Brothers’ car in a relationship that lasted through the 1989 season. He became an owner with Bob Trostle in the 410 division when they fielded the #20 car that next season. Then from 1991 to this present day he has campaigned his own equipment with the familiar #10 on the sprint tail, a car number “given” to him by Bob Tuttle. His cars finished in the top 5 in season point standings 7 times and as an owner he has 6 feature event wins, gaining the track’s Owner of the Year award in 1997. A highlight for Mike was the 1995 second place finish with Skip Jackson in the Wednesday night Nationals opener.
Skip Jackson – Knoxville – Skip began his racing career in 1985 in Australia. This “Sydney-sider” joins Jamie Moyle in becoming the second Aussie to be inducted into this hall. He was a quick learner as in 1991 he traveled to Knoxville taking third place in the track points standings and finishing 14th in the Knoxville Nationals. In 1995, 1997 and 1998 he won the World Challenge at the Knoxville Nationals. He was the Knoxville track champion in 1997 and 1998. In 1998 he was named Sportsman of the Year at Knoxville and then went on to win the Lyle Boyd Hard Charger award here in 1999. He has been a Nationals participant 20 times, qualifying 6 times for the Nationals A Main. At Knoxville he can claim 25 feature event wins which is 9th in the all-time list. In fourteen of his fifteen seasons here he never finished outside the top 10. During the time that he drove here he was honored six straight years as Most Popular Driver by the Jr. Fan Club of this raceway, a fete that may never be broken.
Ken Hesmer – Marshalltown – Ken and his son David are the 5th father and son to be inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame with David preceding him in 2006. When David was in high school they began a love affair with racing in the mini sprint division. At this time Ken became involved with Marshalltown Speedway when it was at the point of being shuttered. With the help of two other individuals the track was saved and Ken became a fairboard member there for 30 years. In 1987 he brought his Action Auto Racing team to Knoxville for the first time and finished second in points in the 360 division with Terry Thorson. The following year he put son David in the car and they captured their first feature event win on their second night out. They also finished the year by winning the point championship and capturing the 1st 360 Knoxville Nationals. Their success then spawned a 5-year partnership with Harrold Annett and yet another successful stint this time with Archie Ergenbright as they won the track title in 1997 and the 360 Nationals as well. 1998 & 1999 saw two more track titles with Action Auto Racing. In all, father and son claim 44 feature event wins together and have held nearly every 360 track record at one time or another. They made the A Feature at 360 Nats 8 times and were an 11-time participant in that event. Saturday nights now find Ken working with and helping Clint Garner here at Knoxville.