Don Hiscocks – Driver

Don Hiscocks

Don Hiscocks takes a victory lap at Algona Raceway in 1969. (Don Hiscocks collection)

By Chad Meyer

The suggestion sounded innocent enough. When Don Hiscocks uttered the phrase, “Let’s go to the races”, little did he or anyone else know that the racing bug would latch on and not let go of him or the community of Britt.

After taking in that night at the races, Hiscocks purchased a 1952 Ford with a flat-head engine from local drag racing fanatics Roger Denney and Roger Pringnitz. With the car ready to race, Hiscocks loaded up and headed to Algona Raceway for his first event.

That first season in 1967 had some rough spots, blowing two motors and getting the car upside down. Hiscocks learned enough that year though to become competitive and pick up his first win in a consolation race.

The next year saw Hiscocks paint his familiar “02” on the side of 1934 Ford coupe that had a Mercury engine between the frame rails. Racing mostly at the local track on the Kossuth County fairgrounds, Hiscocks and his brother John, who started racing in ’68, often headed out to tracks a Mason City, Boone, Webster City and Fairmont, Minnesota.

Don HiscocksWhile they emphasized fun at the track, the Hiscocks’ team earned a reputation for not taking flack from anyone. Locals still talk about the legendary scuffle between Don and rival “Shiney” Hilbert. Hilbert apparently didn’t appreciate an incident on the speedway and went to Hiscocks’ pit to discuss it.

The ‘discussion’ didn’t last long, as Hilbert commenced to pounding on the driver of the “02”. Once Hiscocks got himself free of the car, the sparks started to fly. Race officials got the fracas calmed down, and the race night resumed. The festivities on the track proved to be a precursor to action afterwards however, as Hilbert and Hiscocks ultimately settled their difference’s at the Algona establishment, Tall Paul’s.

Hiscocks notched a few heat race wins, several B-main wins and a couple of special handicap races. In 1972 though, driving his black colored car with an engine that featured three carburetors, Hiscocks scored the biggest win of his career. Holding off a very determined Gene Schattschneider, Hiscocks claimed the first place prize at Algona.

This victory was especially sweet for Hiscocks. During that time period, it seemed like Schattschneider was taking the trophy every week. Throw in other stars of the era like Butch Householder, Richard Simpson, Roy Jo Peltz, Del Stokke and many others; earning any victory at Algona was a milestone.

After the 1972 season, Hiscocks retired, at least for the first time. Flying airplanes and attending to his farming operation consumed most of his time.

Don HiscocksIn 1985, Hiscocks tried his hand at the racing game at the controls of an IMCA modified. Borrowing fellow Britt driver John Pletcher’s car, Hiscocks finished second in his heat race. The momentum of the good finish was short lived as he retired early from the feature. After racing the mod a time or two more, Hiscocks was back on the sidelines.

Ten years later, the enthusiasm for racing in the small community Britt was at a fever pitch. Once again Hiscocks was helping lead the effort to get more people involved in the sport. The Hiscocks family spent many days hauling dirt and helping prepare the new Britt track for its first race in 1995.

The track wasn’t the only thing being prepared in ’95, as Hiscocks and his brother John began building an IMCA stock car. With the car finished, Hiscocks took back to the track, competing at Britt in 1996.

After sitting out of the sport for the equivalent of 24 years, Hiscocks quickly found his racing groove. He was competitive coming out of retirement, nearly pulling of a stock car feature win late in the season.

Hiscocks decided he had enough racing excitement, retiring from racing for the final time at the conclusion of the 1996 season. He was 65 years old when he hung up the helmet.

He is remembered as a hard charger, who found victory lane at Algona Raceway. Perhaps more important, he helped cultivate an interest in racing that brought both drivers and race fans from Britt to the Kossuth County speedway.

Today Hiscocks is still actively farming and resides on the family farm near Britt, Iowa with his wife Gloria.

Don Hiscocks joins five other inductees into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.