Orie Shipler – Driver

Orie ShiplerBy Chad Meyer

Orie Shipler got his start behind the wheel, almost by chance. A frequent spectator at the Algona track, it wasn’t until another driver found himself on the wrong side of the rules that Shipler got his chance to drive.

“One of the car owners had a driver that was only 16 years old. I told the owner that if his driver ever got caught and he needed a driver, I would love the chance, ” remembered Shipler. Shipler’s opportunity came late in the 1962 season, competing in the last three events of the year.

The next year, Shipler built his own car to race in the new hobby stock class in Algona. He adapted quickly, earning the season point title in 1963.

In 1964 Shipler found even more success. “We won several races that year. I remember that the point title came down to the last race of the year between me and Jim Edgington.” Shipler ended the year by winning the season championship feature, securing his second point’s title.

“In 1964 we went over with Jim Edgington and Don Doocy to Mason City and Cresco to race quite a bit,” Shipler said. Even though Lamont Wellendorf promoted all three of those tracks, Shipler got banned from racing in Cresco.
“We had quite a few technical innovations on our car. Quick steer was one of them. Wellendorf told us our car was fine unless someone complained. Well, that happened in Cresco and we got booted out,” Shipler recalled.

Shipler continued racing around the area until he moved to Colorado in 1969. It didn’t mark the end of his racing career, however. He competed in a few NASCAR super-stock type races at the Erie, Colorado track.

Orie ShiplerAfter a long hiatus, Shipler returned to racing 2005. “My son in Texas retired from the military and purchased his own mini-stock in 2004. A year later he called and asked me if he bought another car, would I drive it,” Shipler said.

He raced the mini-stock a few years, before moving up to an IMCA Stock car that he raced on limited basis, flying to Texas a few weekends a year. “We raced in Killeen and Waco and were competitive, getting a few Top 10 finishes.”

Shipler retired from racing for good at the conclusion of the 2013 season, at the age of 75.

Looking back on his time in Algona, he is proudest of racing against some of the best. “I considered Les Wildin to be the best racer I ever seen and I tried to pattern my style after his. He was a great mentor to me too. It was privilege to race with him, Richard Simpson, Gene Schattschneider and many others.”

He remembers that Schattschneider was a very good driver and even better at building a car. He said if you could catch Simpson, he was the toughest to pass.

“Kenny Holcomb was vital to my success in racing,” Shipler said. “Over a three year stretch, he helped me a bunch, keeping my car running. He had a heart of gold and I don’t know what I would have done without him.”