Lake Region Speedway under water but not forgottenPublished 6:00am Saturday, July 21, 2007
Old-timers who drive to and from Wee Town along County Highway One can see, while looking south of the highway, remnants of what was formerly known as the Lake Region Speedway starting in 1962 — and later referred to as West Central Speedway and the Wee Town Outlaw Speedway. The speedway opened in May each year and races were held through the Labor Day weekend.
Most passers by also realize the former stock car racing site, which people flocked to in droves in order to sit in the east side bleachers in bygone decades, will likely never be reopened due to flooding.
“We had high water problems at the raceway back in 1986,” former co-owner Don Eggen said.
Built by Ray Krog 45 years ago, Lake Region Speedway was a popular spectator attraction. Racing lovers previously attended stock car races that were at the old fairgrounds in Fergus Falls, near what’s now the middle school. In those days drivers raced their vehicles around the football and baseball field.
After the raceway near Wee Town was closed for about seven years, Eggen and his partner, LeRoy Brenaman, reopened the facility in 1976 — renaming it the West Central Speedway. Eggen became sole owner a year later, in 1977, and operated the speedway until the high water problems took hold in 1986.
The speedway was closed in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
David Beckner joined Eggen in partnership and they renamed the facility the Wee Town Outlaw Speedway in 1990.
“We had our last season in 1993, and it was a sad day when things shut down for good,” Eggen said. “Simply put, we just had too much water to deal with. Little did we know at the time that water levels would get much worse. It’s hard to believe what one sees today — in 2007.”
Kent Van Meter, famed stock car racer from the 1950s fairgrounds races, watched with pride when his son-in-law raced cars at the Lake Region Speedway near Wee Town. Eggen recalls Herb Svare becoming another top racer and Ron Krog being a great announcer at the stock car races.
“Looking back, I appreciate not only the stock car drivers but also the family members and fans who supported us — and stock car racing in general — for so many years,” Eggen said. “It was great to see such good turnouts, especially Sunday evenings under the lights.”
Eggen was employed at National Tea Packing where they butchered hogs and cattle on the west side of Fergus Falls and he also worked at Mid-Am Dairy. He and others still get that stock car nostalgia feeling when they travel along County Highway One east of Wee Town.