Dean & Nancy Schroeder – Vendors/Speed Shop

By Chad Meyer

Dean and Nancy Schroeder began their more than two decade run providing race parts, fuel and tires to racers at the Kossuth County track in 1989. Their business, Schroeder Racing Products based in Iowa Falls came from humble beginnings.

Dean & Nancy in victory lane at the Hamilton County Speedway. (Schroeder collection)

Dean & Nancy in victory lane at the Hamilton County Speedway. (Schroeder collection)

“In the mid-1980’s I was racing IMCA Modifieds, primarily at Webster City and Mason City. One night at Mason City I brought an extra 30 gallons of fuel for another racer,” said Dean. “By the next week I had other drivers asking if I could bring them fuel. Nobody around here was bringing methanol to the track.”

Shortly after they began taking fuel to the track, the established a race tire dealership through Boubin Tire in eastern Iowa. “Then, McCreary tires were used by IMCA and we were the first around here to have tires available,” Nancy added. “The business just built from there. We upgraded from a pickup truck to the cube van full of parts that we pulled the race car with.”

They loaded the cube van with parts and pulled the race car trailer, outfitted with extra storage for race tires. Nancy recalls how challenging race nights could be. “Dean would be on the race track or getting ready to race and customers would need parts. I wasn’t familiar with where everything was at the time and had to tell to wait until Dean was done racing. It was then that we knew we had to focus more on the business.”

The early days...race car and race car supplies on the way to the track. (Schroeder collection)

The early days…race car and race car supplies on the way to the track. (Schroeder collection)

A phone call from new Algona track promoter Daryl Brayton in 1989 asking them to be at Algona each race night with parts began the process of transitioning to full-time in the racing industry.

“When Daryl asked us to service the Algona track, we knew that both of us had to be at the parts truck on race night,” recalled Nancy. “Dean still brought the race car, but had had Bob Sutherland drive it. Others raced the car too then.”

It wasn’t long after that though, that either racing or fielding a car was forced to stop. Dean says that, “It got to the point where it wasn’t fun to drive against your customers on the track. I couldn’t race the way I wanted to race, so I quit. With us building the business, it was hard to field a car then too, so I parked it.”

The focus on their business paid off. They bought their black parts trailer in 1995, the same year they built the first phase of their current building. More storage space was built in 1997 and the current office and showroom was completed in 2002.

Dean, racing Wayne Larson at Webster City. (Schroeder collection)

Dean, racing Wayne Larson at Webster City. (Schroeder collection)

Schroeder Racing Products served the Algona race track weekly until 2010. The demands of servicing the tracks in Britt, Algona, Spencer and Mason City plus weeknight specials in addition to operating their Iowa Falls location six days a week took their toll.

“We never missed a night in Algona,” remembers Nancy. “There were times we’d have flat tires, or mechanical trouble on the way, but we never missed a night in 21 years. Algona was good to us and we loved the people that raced there. We’d had several customers that never raced there, but always come to Algona to pick up parts.”

Their business philosophy was simple. “If we didn’t have it in the trailer, you didn’t need it,” Dean said. “We always tried to keep our prices fair, too, so our customers would keep coming back to us.”

They both said that they think they spoiled racers at the tracks they served. “We wanted to quit coming to Algona one year sooner than we actually did. But I told Dean we can’t stop on short notice. We felt like we owed them one more year,” Nancy said.

Though their time at the Algona track ended in 2010, Schroeder Racing Products continues to serve racers in Kossuth County. “We still do a lot of business there and we very much appreciate everyone we’ve worked with over the years,” Nancy added.

photo 1 cropDean concurred, “Everyone, racers, owners, track officials, they all treated us well at Algona. I also have to give credit to Nancy, she knows more about racing than 90% of the racers at the track. She’s the key to our success.”

Lately Dean is back fielding a modified with various drivers at the controls the last few years. “I started my career in the early ‘70’s helping a couple guys from town. Soon after I got my own car. I raced Webster City and Mason City the most, but drove on occasion at Algona in my own car, also drove Daryl Arend’s #1A modified for a time too,” he said.

“Mason City was my favorite track to race at. I always got around that half-mile real well.” 1983 was his best season as a driver, amassing several feature wins and collecting the IMCA Regional point championship that year.

Today the couple continues to operate Schroeder Racing Products in Iowa Falls.

Dean and Nancy Schroeder join six others as inductees into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame. The ceremony takes place Saturday, August 6th during the Kossuth County Fair.