Jerry Weydert – Pit Crew

Jerry Weydert is recognized for his years as pit crew member for the legendary driver out of West Bend, IA, Leo Christensen. Christensen was a character who’s racing career spanned 22 years, from 1948 until 1970. Christensen was a tremendously talented race car driver, mechanic and racing innovator. He was famous for three things…his trademark cigar, the famous 8-ball race car he drove and being someone that everyone looked up to.

Christensen was also fortunate to have a great pit crew, of which Weydert was a part of. Several family members and members of the West Bend community went on to make further contributions in the sport of racing after Christensen retired from the sport.

Christensen and his crew concerned themselves with how to make the car faster and where the next race was…not keeping detailed records. However, some of the highlights of their storied racing careers include:

  • In 1962 Christensen was Kossuth Speedway Sportsman of the Year
  • In 1963 he won the first five features of the year in Algona and finished second in the points.
  • In 1963 he finished 91 total races, winning 36 times and recording 24 second place finishes.
  • One year he had six clean sweeps in a row.
  • During one event in Fort Dodge, he lost a front wheel on lap eight. He went on to win the feature event on three wheels

Some of Christensen’s racing innovations and memorable moments include:

  • The bus that he and the crew fabricated to transport the famous 8-ball. The bus was almost as famous as the car. Almost.
  • Creating an identity of his race car that is still remembered today. The 8-ball.
  • During one of the Minnesota State Fair races, Christensen made an extra-large gas tank to run the whole event. He would have won had it not been for the mandatory pit stop required during the event. He made his pit stop with one lap to go. He finished second in the event.
  • Christensen and the team seemed to excel at the County Fair Races, often showing the younger drivers how to get around the hot, dusty ovals.