Dan Haugland – Driver

By Chad Meyer

When asked about where Dan Haugland’s path to racing and ultimately the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame started, the answer is all about family.

“My mom and dad took us to races since we were little,” Haugland remembers. “Every weekend we went to Fairmont on Fridays, Webster City Saturday and to Mason City on Sundays. If it rained on Saturday and Webster didn’t race, we’d sometimes head to Boone to watch.”

When the Hancock County Speedway opened in 1995, Dan was there with a 1975 Chevelle. “We bought that car from Danny Johnson from Albert Lea. It was a good car and it handled well.”

Dan Haugland’s first race car.

Finding victory lane nearly happened for Haugland in his rookie year. “I almost won at Britt that first year. They had nearly 40 hobby stocks in Britt. I was leading a feature and there was a yellow. On the restart my engine stumbled, and second place got around me. We found later that the timing [of the engine] changed and that’s why we didn’t win.”

“It took us almost four years to find victory lane after that,” he said. Haugland’s first win came at the Kossuth County Speedway in 1999. He won four times that year in Algona, including the fair race.

It was a fellow 2023 inductee into the hall of fame that helped get Haugland faster. “What really got us going was that we learned more about the cars as we went and lined ourselves up with the right people. Ed Wolf really taught us a lot about how to set up a car. He was so instrumental in getting us in the right direction.”

At speed at Algona Raceway in 2007.

Another Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame inductee was also a big help in Haugland’s career. “Our last two cars were built by Craig Gray, and I owe a lot to him. He built some great cars and that last car we had won some 30 races. That car drove itself.”

“I always felt my biggest win was the Fall Futurity at Webster City, which was held after Algona closed. My dad didn’t want to go, but we talked him into it. There were so many good cars there in the hobby stock class that night. I beat Steve Meyer, who won so many races in a hobby that year, and after the race he came over and looked at all the win stickers on my car, and said ‘Whew, I’m glad you beat me, because I had no idea who you were. You are good!’” laughed Haugland.

A happy Haugland victory lane, with family and friends.

Another veteran racer stopping by after that race made a lasting impact on Haugland also. “Larry Embrey came over long after the race and shook my hand. He said he was happy for me and that meant everything because Larry won everywhere.”

Haugland says a couple memories of Algona stand out. “Algona was always our focus. I won races at Britt, Mason City, Webster City and Fairmont, but Algona was always what we focused on.”

“In 2007, we were behind in points at Algona. But I told my dad and my brother Kent that if we won the last three races, I think we can get the title. The last [race] night we were tied with Calvin Lange in the points and dang if we didn’t win the last three races to get the title,” Haugland remembers.

Haugland after winning at Fairmont Raceway.

Running down and beating Josh Hohensee at the flag stand for a win at Algona is also fondly remembered by Haugland. However, racing with his family was just as or more important. “Heading to Johnny’s in Wesley after the races with my brother and dad was always so much fun.”

Though Haugland’s career stopped in 2008, he still ranks 11th all-time in wins at the Algona track with 36. He was the 2006 and 2007 track champion and earned the 1999, and 2006 Kossuth County Fair Race wins. He also scored the 2007 Schattschneider Memorial at his home track. He has 56 total wins in his career.

Haugland in victory lane with flagman Grant Oskvig.

August 9, 2008 was Haugland’s last win at Algona and was his last race. “We won and the very next day I sold the car, I think. It was just time. Our kids were small, and it was time to move on. That car changed hands several times and I think I was the only one that won with it. It was still racing up until a couple years ago.”

Haugland still attends races in the area, lending a hand to his brother Kent who races in the IMCA SportMod Division.