Wayne Funk – Driver

Wayne Funk

Wayne “Fast Freddie” Funk is shown next his familiar white #21 race car at an Iowa speedway.

By Chad Meyer

After growing up in his father’s garage and repair shop in Humboldt, Wayne Funk got the itch to go racing after he graduated from high school. A quiet guy with a heavy right foot, “Fast Freddie” as he was called, built a reputation for hard work and a fast race car.

Growing up in Funks Garage, Wayne went on to become a third generation mechanic by trade. His father taught him that when you are that the shop, you worked hard because that is how you made your living. Wayne carried this work ethic to his after hours racing.

Funk was known for winning races and being meticulous in his preparation of his car. He would spend hours making his own parts, engines, bodies and anything else that it took to go racing. Above all, the car had to be put together according to his specifications, an attention to detail that paid off in feature wins.

img172 compFunk was a regular modified competitor at the Algona race track on Friday nights and at the Mason City speed plant on Sunday nights. He was a multiple feature winner at Algona, racing against some of the regions biggest stars. Funk also held the track record at the Algona speedway for several years, a feat that was not broken until sprint cars made their reappearance at the track. (Note: Dick Forbrook is believed to have broken Funk’s track record in 1975 at Algona Raceway driving the Utt Electric #30)

On occasion, Funk’s race team ventured out to run special events across the region. They were frequent competitors during the Clay County Fair races in Spencer, Iowa, along with racing at the Knoxville, Iowa raceway, and the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Funk also raced in the Minnesota State Fair Association during the summer.

Funk soon left modifieds to build and drive sprint cars, following the IMCA and county fair trail. He found success in this class as well, even qualifying and racing in the Little 500 sprint car race at Anderson, Indiana. His driving career came to an abrupt end after a hard crash in Wisconsin, the result of which kept Funk in the hospital for several days. After taking time to recover, he returned to racing as a builder of sprint cars.

Wayne FunkHis best year as a car builder was 1976 when he partnered with local businessman Dale Hanisch to field a car with legendary Roger Larson as the driver. The team competed at Fairmont, MN on Fridays, Jackson, MN, and Saturdays and at Madison, South Dakota on Sundays. The results spoke for themselves, with the team earning track championships at each track that season.

Funk passed away in 2001 after a nine year battle with multiple sclerosis.