Marv DeWall – Driver

Marv DeWall

Marv DeWall stands next to his familiar number 16 modified.

By Chad Meyer

Marv DeWall began his stellar driving career in 1952 at the dusty oval in Esilline, South Dakota operating the controls of a 1934 Ford Coupe affectionately called “The Wild One”. His first feature win came in 1954 at the Mitchell, South Dakota speed plant and also started racing at the Casino Speedway in Watertown.

His trips to Casino were a family affair, as he would pack up the wife and kids in his 1940 Ford coupe. When he arrived at the track, he dropped off the family at the grandstand and then removed the headlights so he could race the coupe.  When the race was over he replaced the headlights, put the family back in the car and drove the racing coupe back home.

DeWall caught on to racing cars quickly as in only his third year he captured the Casino track championship in 1995. He successfully defended his title the next two years at that track. He was the victor of the coveted Tri-State title three years in a row (1957-1959), competing at the Watertown, Aberdeen and Fargo speedways.

Marv DeWallIn 1964, DeWall moved to Jackson, Minnesota in order to race at the historic half mile speedway. It was at the Jackson Speedway he accomplished the incredible feat of earning track championships in three different classes of race cars.

He was the 1961-62 champion in full bodied stock cars, and the 1966 and 1971 champ in supermodifieds. His next three season championships at Jackson occurred in sprint cars in 1978, 1980 and 1981.

The years 1974 and 1975 found DeWall steering Daryl Arend sprinter weekly at the Jackson, Minnesota track. The pair also competed at several sprint shows at Fairmont Raceway and at Algona plus special events at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

Arend remembers DeWall as a very talented driver, whom was also quite superstitious. There are several stories about DeWall’s aversion to peanuts in the pits and avoiding the color green. According to Arend, even the green color of dollar bills was something that DeWall avoided, as he would hand his wallet to the crew for them to hold while he raced.

DeWall was a multiple feature winner at the Algona track and a two-time Mid-Season Champion. He fondly recalls the great people in Kossuth County and how much fun it was to race here.

Marv DeWall

DeWall races Ivan Tokel at Algona. Don Smith collection.

The biggest win of his career occurred at the Jackson Speedway when he wheeled Dick Valentine’s #32 to victory in the very first sprint car Jackson Nationals in 1979. DeWall and his son Gary hold the distinction of the only father-son combination to win Jackson Nationals sprint car titles, with Gary earning his in 1991. He also won the fair features at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, the fair race in Huron, South Dakota as well as the Sioux Empire Fair trophy in Sioux Falls.

In 1980, another first occurred for DeWall as he was the very first sprint car track champion at the Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota.

He ran his last race at the track in Rapid City in 1989, ending an amazing 37 year career. The DeWall name lives on in sprint car racing with sons Doug and Gary competing in sprint shows with the familiar #16 on the wing.

During his career he raced from Winnipeg, Canada to Dallas, Texas. He took down track championships at Watertown, Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City, South Dakota, plus titles in Fargo, North Dakota and at the Jackson (MN) Speedway.

He was a 2002 inaugural inductee into the Jackson Speedway Hall of Fame and a 2002 inductee into the Huset’s Speedway Hall of Fame.

Today, DeWall and his wife Joan live in Wyoming where they raise cattle and horses.

Marv DeWall joins five other inductees into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame.