Larry Lappe – Track Preparation

Fresh out of high school, Larry Lappe’s first experiences in excavation and working with dirt occurred when he began work at Everett Brothers. “I ran heavy equipment for 14 years and then ran a dirt crew after that. I think I worked there for over 25 years,” Lappe recalled.

When Interstate 80 was under construction during President Eisenhower’s ambitious plan to construct the nation’s interstate highway system, Lappe got plenty of chance’s to hone his skills and make more money. “I remember making $1.90 per hour and then when we started working on the interstate, I got $2.85 per hour. We worked seven days a week for a year. We didn’t take any holidays off, either, he recalled.”

He later drove semi-truck for many years, retiring from over-the-road hauling with 3M Corporation in 1999. A year later, track promoter Joe Ringsdorf asked him to run the grader and do much of the track preparation at his speedways.

In 2019, Lappe is still doing track prep at the Kossuth County Speedway. “It’s my 19th year, 17 of which were done here at Algona. When Joe had all his other tracks, I did track prep at all of them.”

His stints at other tracks included Mason City for 10 years, Fairmont eight years, Britt for two years and Owatonna for one year.

“When Joe (Ringsdorf) took over Mason City, the track surface was shot. They were building the Fleet Farm nearby and we took a lot of that dirt to the track and I reshaped that entire speedway then.”

Asked why he’s kept at it all these years, his answer was simple. “I really enjoy running the grader. And, I got to know a lot of local racers and those that ran NASCAR. When Rusty Wallace raced modifieds at Fairmont, I got to know him. He’d get us hot passes for NASCAR races and we’d go to Daytona, Bristol, Kansas and several others. It was fun meeting Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and others.”

“A hobby of mine at those races was to touch each car that went out through tech. Our passes let us go anywhere in the garage. However, after one of the races, they put the top-5 cars in the tech area and I walked right in to look around. I quickly learned I wasn’t supposed to be there and got the worst ass-chewing of my life,” Lappe laughed.

During Lappe’s tenure of track prep, Algona and surrounding speedways have enjoyed some of the best racing surfaces in the Midwest.

Today, Larry continues to do track prep at Algona and drives semi-truck for multiple organizations when time allows.

Lappe is a 2019 Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame inductee.