Racing fans in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will soon be getting ready to enjoy a night of festivities when ten more people are inducted to the Hawkeye Downs Speedway Wall of Fame. The induction ceremony is set to take place on Friday night, August 22.
The inductee line-up starts with Chris Economaki, a world-renowned race commentator who has enjoyed many great years in the industry. He is joined by Steve Kosiski, a Dirt Late Model driver that hails from Omaha, Nebraska. Third on the list of inductees is Mike Schulte, a 12-time Modified track champion from Norway, Iowa. And that’s just the start of the list!
Economaki may be known today on a national level, but he started his work as an announcer with the IMCA’s traveling series during the 1940s and 1950s. He was so dedicated to his work that he spent the night after his wedding in the Hawkeye Downs Speedway announcing booth at an IMCA-sanctioned event. Economaki later went on to expand his work as a commentator, slowly making a name for himself as a color commentator who regularly featured at the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. He has also since managed to become the Editor of National Speed Sport. Clearly this man is worthy of being honored on the wall of fame.
Kosiski has likewise enjoyed a stellar career, driving his Late Model to victory on more than one occasion on the Â½-mile dirt oval. He was particularly successful during the late 1980s when he managed to rack up multiple wins at HD while participating in the NASCAR/Busch All-Star Tour. Today he is a well known name in the area. Kosiski was also the last person to win the Yankee Dirt Track Classic before the Hawkeye Downs Speedway changed their surface from dirt to pavement.
Schulte is known for his skills behind the wheel in the Modified division from the late 1980s and well into the 1990s. He was the first Modified person to win the IMCA Super Nationals in 1983 and this driving champ is still going strong, taking to the racetrack in a Modified again this season.
Other names on the list are Larry Kelley, a former Hawkeye Downs Late Model Champion, Johnny Beauchamp, a legendary NASCAR star who also happens to be an IMCA champion, Dale Gegner who was once a track promoter, Leo Pfeiffer, a fair board member, Lou Holland and Cliff Blundy, who were both exceptional Sprint/Midget drivers, and Gary Gramblin, who has spent many years working hard ensure that the Hawkeye Downs Speedway continued to be a success. All ten of the inductees will be invited to the ceremony wherein they will be awarded plaques in honor of their induction. The event will also be an opportunity to rub shoulders with past inductees.