Norm Wiemers – Driver

By Chad Meyer

Norm Wiemers

Norm Wiemers is strapped in and ready to fire off at Knoxville Raceway. Wiemers is a 2013 inductee into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame.

Born November 13, 1934, Norm Wiemers first taste of racing happened at the half-mile speedway near Rockwell City, IA when he was 14. Fellow Manson native Lee Bacon raced there and at Sports Park in Fort Dodge.

Wiemers started racing in 1950, but not before he had to produce a handwritten note from his mother, documenting her permission for him to compete at the age of 17.

Wiemers says the first car was five-window coupe that ‘was built like a tank’. He recalls, “My first race was at Fort Dodge, at the old Sports Park track. The car was so heavy and slow and there were always at least 80 cars there. I couldn’t ever qualify for the feature.”

Over the next winter, he went to work. The car was stripped down, inside and out, to save weight. A new roll cage was installed and a new flat-head Ford engine was built by Leo Rost.

The improvement in performance was substantial. Wiemers raced nearly every week the next year at Rockwell City, Sports Park and the Belmond track.

Norm WiemersFrom roughly 1953 until he retired from the sport in 1983, he never focused on one track or chasing a point title. “I just didn’t see a reason to stay at one track and get a little trophy. We went all over, went where ever we felt like, fairs, specials or just a track we wanted to race at.”

In all, he remembers competing at 34 different race tracks in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, scoring countless victories.

He remembers the first time he raced at Algona, when he was driving Leo Rost’s Mercury four-door. “Algona’s track was a long half-mile at the time. I started near the back of field, but when the race started, it was like the seas parted. I passed a lot of cars right up the middle on the first lap, but never made it to lap two”, he recalled.

When the field got back to turn one, a car in front of Wiemers crossed up, causing him to flip, destroying the car. “I never had any small accidents, just big ones”, he said.

“I was in the number X-15 car out of Dayton for a while at Algona. Though we were racing against some of the best in Gene Schattschneider, Stacy Redmond, and others, we won a lot of races,” he remembers. “That car won every race it finished, but it broke a lot.”

Norm Wiemers

Norm Wiemers said the X15 car ‘won every night it finished’.

His best season, which came at the controls of the No. 38 Model A coupe, had him running off 27 consecutive wins, at several tracks. “That was a great year. We raced Webster City, Mason City, Knoxville and Jackson, MN,” Wiemers said.

“I started racing Knoxville because people complained that I won too much around here. I got rid of most of trophies over the years, but you kept the ones from Knoxville. You earned them there.”

He started competing at Knoxville in 1958, with the highlight coming in 1961. “We qualified for the first ever Knoxville Nationals. Even then, it was a big deal, and is even bigger today,” he said.

He ran a partial schedule at that track in ’62, saying “It was hard to outspend and beat the drivers that came up from Kansas City.” Wiemers also competed at the Nationals that year plus 1973.

In 1963, a terrible crash at Webster City left Wiemers with burns over 65% of his body. “I was very lucky,” commented Wiemers. There were only three burn wards in the U.S. at that time. The closest was in Iowa City. The rest were a long ways away.”

Norm WiemersShowing the same determination that he had as a racer, he was out of the burn unit in three months. “I could’ve been there a year. I knew I had a crop to plant in the spring. It took a lot of help to get the crop in the ground, but we got it done.” Within two years, he was back racing.

The modifieds of that era transitioned into sprint cars, and it was harder to find tracks to race near home. Ultimately, he began running late model stock cars, but not before being offered one of the best sprint car rides in the country. “I had the chance to drive the Frank Wagner No. 63 sprinter, before Jerry Richert got the ride. I had just started farming and we started having children, so it would have been hard to be gone all the time.”

Though it was difficult to turn down, Wiemers has no regrets. “I’m happy with my career, and don’t regret opting to take care of business at home and raising my family.”

He has memories of the colorful promoters during his career. “Dick Simpson was one of the best I race for. He was a good fella and he took care of the racers,” he remembers.

Norm Wiemers

Wiemers ready to go at a vintage race. He won an amazing 27 races in a row with this car during his career.

Lamont Wellendorf earned a special nickname from Wiemers. “I called him ‘Honest Lamont’. I could make $400 to $500 a night racing at Webster City. Lamont kept bugging me about racing his big money show at Mason City. He called me three times that week.”

Wiemers said he finally gave in and decided to race his special event. “We were running late. We pulled in and seen all the fast cars from Sioux Falls and Jackson, MN. I was having second thoughts about being there.”

He set fast time, and then won his heat, dash and the feature. “I was supposed to get $500, but got $200 less than that. I confronted Lamont, but all he said was ‘that’s all there is’. I think he paid the rest to the Sioux Falls cars for appearance money.”

He was also known for his occasional temper. “I lost my cool one night at Denison. I went up to chew out the flagman. I didn’t like his answer, so I threw his flags on the track. I later found Wellendorf sitting in the top row of the bleachers and stormed up there,” Wiemers said.

When he asked the promoter if he was going to do anything about his flagman, the response was classic Wellendorf. “Nope, if you keep doing this, you’ll make the crowd bigger next week.”

Wiemers retired from farming in 1993. He and his wife traveled and sold Indian Jewelry for a few years before moving to Arizona for 16 years. Today, he and his wife Sandra are retired and live in Manson.

Wiemers is an inaugural member of the Sports Park and Hamilton County Speedway Racing Association’s Halls of Fame.


Norm Wiemers joins five others as 2013 inductees into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place Saturday, August 3rd at Algona Raceway.