Wayne Arndorfer & Don Hurn – Owners

By Chad Meyer

Arndorfer Hurn

The Arndorfer-Hurn owned #00 sits ready for racing action in 1961.


Fresh out of high school, car owners and Algona natives Wayne Arndorfer and Don Hurn wasted little time to make their mark in local racing. Hurn graduated first in 1958 and spent his evenings at Chet Cook’s radiator repair shop. He got his first dose of racing helping Cook on his Buick ‘straight eight’ car that raced at Algona and Fort Dodge.

Arndorfer graduated a year later and took a job at Universal in Algona. In 1961, Arndorfer and Hurn teamed up with fellow Algona High graduates Daryl Arend and Bob Arend. Their first car was old Ford with a flat head engine that featured Midwest midget star, and Algona farmer, Les Wildin as the driver.

They competed regularly at what was then the half-mile in length dirt oval in Algona and also made the tow to the Wright County Speedway near Belmond. The young team gelled quickly, proving to be fast out of the gate in 1961. With Wildin at the controls, the #00 posted a third place finish at Algona in their first night together.

Never out of the top three in the early part of the season, they posted their first win together in early July. Near mid-season, the Arndorfer-Hurn team acquired the heralded “U2” car from Estherville. This move to a proven car paid dividends as they ended the ’61 season at Algona in fine fashion, earning the season championship feature event. In the final point standings, Wildin guided the Arndorfer-Hurn-Arend entry to second in points, behind point champion Bud Fair.

The start of the 1962 season provided significant changes. Arndorfer and Hurn chose to go their own way as car owners, retaining Wildin as their driver. The track at Algona was cut down from its half-mile size to a banked quarter-mile layout, partially in response to the fiery crash that claimed the life of driver Larry Cordes in week three of the ’61 season.

The Arndorfer & Hurn #00 in the pits at Algona.

The Arndorfer & Hurn #00 in the pits at Algona.

Once again the team started fast, posting the season opener in Algona, and winning two feature events in the first four weekly nights. Wildin heated up again in late June, grabbing more wins and the point lead in Algona. They also earned wins at the Wright County Speedway and top five finishes at Dayton, IA.

As the season wound down, Wildin put the Arndorfer-Hurn car in victory lane for the team’s biggest win of the season. During the 20-lap feature, Wildin played second fiddle to race leader Gene Schattschneider. Wildin waited until the last lap to make his move and capturing the coveted Kossuth County Fair championship in front of a crowd of 2,500.

On their way to earning the 1962 point crown at Algona, they went on to win late in August and again on Labor Day. The team also finished second in the standings at the Belmond track and posted special event wins at other tracks in September.

Over the winter, Arndorfer and Hurn prepared the #00 for the assault on the 1963 season. Come April though, Uncle Sam had other ideas for Hurn as he was drafted into the Air Force, forcing him to miss the racing season.

Arndorfer, with Wildin again as the driver, had another great season. The high water mark occurred at midyear, earning the Tuesday night fair race trophy in Algona, before traveling east to capture the Wednesday special at Mason City. The team returned to Algona on Thursday for another run at the Kossuth County Fair, posting their third feature win in a row that week. They used this momentum to power their way to their second season point championship in as many years, finishing ahead of Leo Christensen.

At the conclusion of the ’63 season, it was Arndorfer’s turn to serve his country in the military. After each car owner returned home from the service, both knew it was time to leave racing in their past. Arndorfer and Hurn set out to make the most for their families and knew that racing would take time and financial resources from where they were needed most.

When asked to explain their rapid success as car owners, Arndorfer and Hurn credit driver Les Wildin. After successfully racing midget cars across the Midwest, Wildin knew what he wanted in a car and offered his advice to the team. All three were self-proclaimed gearheads who got along very well.

While their time in racing was relatively short, at a young age Arndorfer and Hurn stood at the top of the mountain. Both consider winning many races, the Kossuth County Fair events, and the season point championships at their greatest accomplishments. They are also very proud of being a race team with modest resources, who went on to regularly beat teams with many more dollars at their disposal.

Today, Arndorfer is retired, living in Algona with his wife Shirley. Hurn, also retired, resides in Algona wife Judy.

Wayne Arndorfer and Don Hurn join five others as 2012 inductees into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place August 4, 2012 during the Kossuth County Fair races at Algona Raceway.