Stan Riedel – Driver/Daredevil

Stan Riedel

Stan Riedel has his elbows up as he wheels around Algona Raceway. He was the 2002 thunder truck champion. Riedel and five others will be inducted into the Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame on August 6th.

By Chad Meyer

Stan Riedel’s interest in going fast and the Kossuth County fairgrounds started when he could compete in the bicycle and potato sack races at the fair. As a youngster, earning the $18.75 for winning each of those races was a big deal and helped set in motion a lifetime dedicated to motorsports and thrilling fans.

Fresh out of the service in 1946, Riedel took a ’38 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and started cross-country racing at a track in Yetter, Iowa. His interest in racing motorcycles began to wane however, after witnessing two motorcycle racing fatalities at the Algona track.

After paying Dwight Cook $75 for a stock car, Riedel went racing again. He raced at tracks around the area and the highlight of his stock car career came when he earned the 1955 track championship at the Wright County Raceway in Belmond.

It seemed there were two tracks that were special to Riedel. He was raised in Algona and the Kossuth County track is dear to his heart. In 1959 though, he purchased the Wright County Raceway and promoted racing events at that track for several years.

Stan RiedelIn 1961, Riedel was the flagman at the Algona track, working for then promoter Lamont Wellendorf. Like so many that attended the first weekly event of ’61, he vividly recalls the fiery accident that claimed the life of driver Larry Cordes.

Later in Riedel’s career, he developed an affinity for truck racing. Even before the trucks made their appearance at Algona Raceway, Riedel was crossing the country racing one. He says that winning the first truck race at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines was certainly a highlight, as was racing a truck on the dirt at the fast I-70 Speedway at Odessa, MO.

When the truck class began at Algona, Riedel was a top competitor, earning the track championship in 2002.

Not only did Riedel thrill fans behind the wheel of race cars and trucks, he was recently honored by the Ricksonian Daredevil Museum as the world’s oldest performing daredevil. He earned this lifetime achievement award for performing stunts across the country for over 54 years. He says he started doing daredevil stunts for fun, and most appreciated all the great people he met over the years.

Stan RiedelHis latest stunt came at the I-35 Speedway in Mason City, jumping a school bus that cleared eight cars in 2010. It was one of the finest moments for the then 83 year old, even though the result of the jump had him being pulled from the bus by rescue crews on a stretcher. Though he was knocked out due to the impact, he was back to work the next day at his truck shop, like nothing happened.

Through all the thrills, spills, feature wins and championships, Riedel recalls his favorite nights of racing as when he and his family raced six buses against each other at the Fairmont, Algona and Mason City tracks. He says having his family around him and thrilling fans gave him the most happiness.

Today, Riedel lives in Rowan, Iowa, operating his long time truck sales and repair business.