Steve Krapp – Owner, Builder, Track Promoter

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Steve Krapp holds the checkers, while IMCA Modified legend Dennis Hovinga takes the checkers at Algona Raceway. Krapp is a 2010 Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame inductee for his role in bringing racing back to Algona and for his many years as an owner and builder.

By Chad Meyer

Steve Krapp’s first racing recollection was being a six year old youngster who got to tag along with his father from their home in Bancroft, Iowa to watch the races at the speed plant in Algona. Krapp remembers this trip well, as he watched local legend Gene Schattschneider pick up the first place trophy that day.

In 1964 the Krapp family moved to Algona, becoming neighbors of race car owners Jim and Helen Utt. Krapp’s father soon began helping out the Utt racing team, allowing Steve to hang around their garage as well. At the time, Dick Forbrook was Utt’s driver and Krapp says he enjoyed growing up with Dick’s son Guy.

By the age of 13, he was helping the Utt’s at the Fairmont and Jackson, Minnesota speedways. The racing scene was thriving in Algona during this time and Krapp was also hanging out at Wayne Meyer’s shop and Kenny and Bill Holcomb’s DX service station.

Krapp’s role in racing picked up in the mid-1970’s when Gene Schattschneider built a 1955 Chevrolet for his son Kyle to race. With Krapp lending a hand and Kyle behind the wheel, the venture proved successful as they raced to the 1974 Road Runner point championship at the Algona track.

img344x compWhile weekly racing at the Algona racing facility was shuttered following the last sprint car show in 1975, Krapp continued chasing races. His focus shifted once again to helping the Utt’s at Fairmont and Jackson. During this time he also owned a car that Bud Petersen drove at the occasional enduro race at Algona.

Following its closure in 1975, the Algona track sat idle for 11 years. While it saw an occasional demo derby or enduro race, the Kossuth County fair board, Krapp and others set out to do something about the lack of weekly racing. During the spring of 1986, the fair board and local volunteers worked to clear the quarter mile raceway and to carve an ATV track in the infield.

With the decision to start weekly racing from scratch, Krapp as the track promoter needed cars built fast. He credits among others the Sidles, Wickman’s, Bill Cook, Ed Wolf and Gene Schattschneider as key racers who got cars built quickly to start racing again in Algona.

The first race in 1986 took place on June 6th. The racing card included ATV’s, mini-sprints and nine race cars competed on that first night. Krapp remembers that first night the track was prepared with too much water applied as seven of the nine cars racing that night got stuck in the mud. Pit passes that first year were $5 and a clean sweep paid a whopping $60!

The next week more cars and more race fans attended the reopened Algona facility and by July 4th, they boasted 40 cars. The excitement that year built to the Kossuth County Fair race in late July. With the help of many volunteers and local racer John Pletcher, the decision was made to bring a relatively new class to the fair races, the IMCA modifieds. Bob Weber recorded the first ever IMCA modified that night in front of a packed grandstand. Krapp feels that looking back, the 1986 fair race helped cement the return of weekly racing to Algona.

Krapp’s tenure as track promoter in Kossuth County lasted only one year. After helping lead the effort to restore racing in Algona, he was eager to return to building cars and helping racers. Krapp said he witnessed everyone having fun racing again, and he wanted to join the fun. The track was in good hands moving forward as Dan Danielson became the track’s promoter for the next two years.

img046xx compIn 1987, he fielded a race car with Bud Petersen once again as his driver. Soon after, Krapp made the switch the modified class, after he and Denny Strayer purchased a car and put Strayer’s son Tim behind the wheel.

Krapp later teamed up with Doug Wildin in the mods before fielding a car with Gene Schattschneider in 1991.

Over the years Krapp has either worked with many drivers as a builder, owner or support. Ron Pope drove for Krapp in 1995. Greg Marlow also benefited from Krapp’s racing experience. While fielding a modified with Wayne Rentz they won best of show in the early 1990’s.

In a Pro Chassis modified purchased from Mark Noble, Dean Schroeder and Dave Erpelding traded seat time in the early 90’s for Krapp.

Perhaps his most successful season in racing came in 1998 when Denny Anderson ran a modified out of Krapp’s Algona shop. With Myron Carlson turning the wrenches and Krapp tuning the motors, the team won the 1998 track championship at Algona Raceway. Also that year Dave Erpelding was the stock car point champ at Algona Raceway and won the season ending NCAR Nationals using a Steve Krapp built engine.

Steve KrappHe then partnered with Kyle Schattschneider on and off over the next several years in the B-modified division at Algona Raceway.

In addition to his role as track promoter, and car and engine builder, over the year’s Krapp has helped at the Algona Speedway as a track official and flagman.

Today Krapp is still involved heavily with the racing scene in the area. He spins the wrenches and builds the motors for IMCA SportMod driver Scott Cook. In 2010, under the tutelage of Krapp, Cook earned his first career IMCA SportMod feature win. He backed that win up by wining the next week.

Krapp also builds engines for IMCA SportMod wheelman Doug Cook. Krapp’s shop continues to be a hub of activity during the racing season as many local drivers lean on his years of mechanical experience.