Arvin Sidles – Driver

Arvin SidlesBy Chad Meyer

2014 will mark 47 years of racing for Emmetsburg, Iowa’s Arvin Sidles. Sidles’ Racing traces its roots back to 1967, where Arvin began his career as first a builder and a car owner. The first car was a Model A that had #301 on the door and his friend Dave Clark behind the wheel.

The next car they campaigned was a Crossley purchased from local driver Gale White. While Clark was the main driver, Arvin took his first turns as driver. In 1970 Sidles built a 1957 Chevy street stock and shared driving duties with his brother Pete.

In 1973, the famous Leo Christensen 8-Ball was purchased by Sidles and competed for several seasons by Arvin, with Bunny Bunkofske and Kenny Nelson at the controls. Throughout the late 1960’s and the ‘70’s Sidles competed at Jackson Speedway.

Arvin teamed up with Doc Clinton of Ayrshire in 1978 with Arvin as the crew chief and son’s Tim and Todd on the pit crew. A year later, Joe Henkins bought out Clinton’s half of the team. The newly formed S & H Racing team featured Arvin driving #93 and Henkins in #94, competing at Alta and Fairmont, MN.

Sidles Racing began in 1983 as Arvin put his son Tim in the car previously driven by Henkins. Over the years, many Sidles family members have competed with Arvin having a hand in most of the cars. At one point, a total of six cars were racing in multiple divisions at one time out of the Sidles shop. Sons, grandsons and great-grandchildren have competed under the Sidles Racing banner.

When the Algona Raceway reopened in 1986, Sidles wheeled his car to multiple feature wins and a second place finish in the final point standings. “It’s hard to believe, but it took me 19 years to get my first win as a driver. I led the points much of that year too,” he added.

Arvin SidlesFrom the mid-80’s through the late 1990’s, Arvin spent plenty of time in the seat and even more time working on his family’s stable of race cars.

During the 1994 season, Arvin decided to try out son Tim’s backup car at Jackson Speedway. It proved to be a memorable night. “I took the other car there, just to try it out. I ended up in victory lane, winning my first feature in 27 years of trying at Jackson.”

That first win at Jackson almost didn’t happen, Sidles recalls. “The driveshaft fell out on the final straightaway. Roger Tripp pushed me across the checkers for the win.”

The 1999 season had six cars racing out of Arvin’s Emmetsburg shop, grandson Chad Krug, and nephew Ramon drove thunder trucks, grandson Timmy competed in the hobby stock class, grandson Troy Krug and family friend Randy Erpelding in cruisers, grandson Ryan in the cruisers and Arvin himself driving a B-mod.

The year 2000 was a big one for Sidles Racing. Son Greg began his career in the hobby stocks, while five other cars were raced by family members. Arvin earned the track championship in the B-mods at Fairmont Raceway.

After 33 years as a driver, Arvin says “I retired from driving after that championship. It was time to help my son Greg with his career and I had grandsons racing too.”

Though he stopped driving in 2000, the last 14 years has provided many highlights for Arvin as a car owner and crew chief. “For quite a while, several family members still raced and Greg has earned several feature wins and has track championships at Fairmont and Jackson,” he says.

His influence in local racing goes beyond just driving and turning wrenches. “When Dan Danielson was promoter at Britt, he and I came up with the first B-mod division in this area,” he recalls. “Our goal was to come up with a class of cars that was between a hobby stock and modifieds.” Arvin also helped establish B-mods at Fairmont Raceway.

Arvin SidlesArvin and other from the Emmetsburg area helped establish the kart track at the fairgrounds. “We wanted to find ways for kids to things to do and become interested in racing. It’s been a lot of work, but has been a lot of fun too,” he said.

Today, Sidles is retired and lives near Emmetsburg. He is at the track every weekend as car owner and crew chief for his son Greg in the IMCA SportMod division.

Sidles is a 2005 Jackson Speedway Hall of Fame inductee.