Lamont Wellendorf – Promoter

Lamont WellendorfLamont Wellendorf started driving race cars in 1958 when he left the military. He drove Daryl Arends’ first jalopy stock car and later Tommy Paulson’s midget car. In 1961 he decided to leave driving behind and offered to become track promoter at what became Kossuth Speedway.

The first race under Wellendorf was held in 1961 when the track was still a half-mile. During that first race, a driver (Larry Cordes) lost his life in an accident in turn four.

At that time the high school football field was located inside the half-mile race track. Approximately three or four daytime races were run until Ed Rich turned the lights from shining on the football field to shining on the race track to facilitate night racing. According to Wellendorf, at one time, Kossuth Speedway was rated as the third best half-mile track in Iowa. This was during a time when Wellendorf says there were 85 half mile tracks in Iowa.

During that first year of racing in 1961, the track crew consisted of:

Lamont Wellendorf – promoter

Shirley Wellendorf – payout and front gate

Dick Simpson – pit steward

Dwight Cook – flagman

Dorthy Simpson – chief scorer

Phil Diamond – part-time track announcer

Wellendorf’s ties to the Kossuth County Fairgrounds run deep. During the Great Depression, his father gave the land that the fairgrounds sit on in exchange for tax abatement. He grew up in a house that sits just outside the race track.

In 1961 the original grandstand sat on the east end of the race track. Legendary racers such as Gus Schrader, Bobby Grim and Emory Collins raced on the half-mile track.

In 1962, Wellendorf led the re-configuration of the Kossuth track to a 1/4 mile. Wellendorf says the track was made non-symmetrical on purpose to facilitate better racing.

Wellendorf had helped form the Fairgrounds Motor Racing Association, Inc, and promoted four race tracks until he retired from track promoting in 1969 or 1970. He then sold his interest in Kossuth Speedway to Dwight Cook for one dollar.

Wellendorf later rebuilt vintage sprint cars and sprint car parts. He was also a racing historian for Vintage Oval Racing Magazine and contributed to many vintage racing history publications.

Wellendorf passed away in 2013.