Bud Fair – Driver

Bud Fair

The ‘Swea City Oil’ Hudson sits ready to head to the Algona track with Bud Fair as its driver in June 1963.

By Chad Meyer

Bud Fair was no stranger to the local dirt tracks of the day. While his first love may have been the sport of boxing, it didn’t long for him to feed his competitive side on the track.

It was about 1948, while sitting in the grandstands, that Fair was critiquing the exploits of the drivers on the track. When Fair’s friend next to him turned and said, ‘think you can do any better?’ his reply was affirmative.

After building his first car, Fair stayed closed to his Manson, Iowa home as he picked nearby Sports Park in Fort Dodge for his first run to the checkers. He doesn’t remember much about that first race, however, he vividly recalls the intense rivalries he forged while racing at the speedway in Algona.

Fair recalls fondly his rivalry with Gene Schattschneider and the other hot shoes of that era. Fair credits his biggest win at Algona as the one when he beat the famed “8-ball” of Leo Christensen for the feature win.

Once his racing career took hold, he consistently ran three tracks a week, including Algona on Friday nights, the bullring at Belmond Saturday’s and Mason City on Sunday’s. Other tracks included many nights the now defunct Sports Park in Fort Dodge and at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Other favorite memories include a race night in 1962 during the handicap event at the Algona track. As Fair entered the north turn, his car rolled over and flew threw the air before landing back on its wheels. With the body of the car completely torn off, the crowd feared the worst. While the car looked bad, Fair received only a few scratches to his face. The same could not be said for his wife, as she fainted after witnessing the accident and was transported to the hospital with her husband for evaluation.

Bud Fair

photo courtesy of Fair family.

After the nasty crash, Fair wasn’t deterred for very long. He and his crew retrieved the car a day or so later and began piecing it back together. Much to everyone’s surprise, the car and driver were better than ever as he went on to win all four events at the Mason City track two days after the crash.

Career highlights for Fair include driving the legendary “Swea City Oil” Hudson race car. He had some good years in that car, but ultimately had to vacate the seat when the team wanted to include trips to Jackson Speedway. Fair, who had to be to work early every morning, felt the long trip wouldn’t pan out well for him. This created the opportunity for Gene Schattschneider and Les Wildin to have their turns in the #88.

Fair was the 1961 season track champion at the Algona track.

Another highlight included finishing third in the 1957 100 lap

Budd Fair

Bud Fair at Iowa State Fair, 1957. Fair family photo

Semi-Modified championship at Sports Park. Fair was the 1969 season points champion at the Belmond track and was a 2006 inductee into the Sports Park (Fort Dodge) Drivers Racing Hall of Fame.

After his racing retirement, Fair, who was a top rated boxer in 1946, returned to his first love. He helped establish the boxing club in Fort Dodge and continues leading that organization to this day.

Today, Fair and his wife Angie, reside in rural Manson, Iowa.

Bud Fair joins five other inductees into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.