Short Track Hall of Fame Expands

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Last weekend we ran into well-known racer Gib Wiser who runs Wiser’s Hot Rod Fabrication in Neosho, Wis. He introduced us to Dick Melius. Dick’s father is Miles “The Mouse” Melius, a legendary racing driver.

Dick is technical director of Slinger Super Speedway and a member of the Board of Directors of the Southeast Wisconsin Short Track Hall of Fame in the Wisconsin Automobile Museum in Hartford.

We featured the Hall of Fame last year, but Dick said it’s been expanded. In the past a few cars were displayed close together in a smaller section of the building. Now there are several rooms of racing memorabilia with the cars spaced apart and plenty of room foe showcases displaying everything from helmets and racing suit to the yellow rubber duck that was driver Bernard Binon’s mascot. Framed photos of Hall of Fame inductees decorate two entire walls.

Also adorning the walls in their glass-framed beauty are historical photos from tracks such as Slinger, the Milwaukee Mile and Hales Corners showing famous cars and famous drivers from all eras of racing in the Milwaukee area. Hundreds of black and white and color images show the action and the checkered-flag-holding winners from years passed.

The 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees have also been elected. Eleven legendary racers will be inducted on Nov. 7. They include Lowell Bennett, Rich Bickle Jr., Jim Blazek, Don Goeden, Dave Moulis, Pete Ostrowski, Bill Prietzel, Ray Toft, Dave Watson and John Ziegler. John Quinn will be inducted posthumously.

The November induction ceremony will be held at the Schauer Arts and Activities Center next to the Wisconsin Automobile Museum at 147 N. Rural St., in Hartford, Wis. Tickets will be available soon through the Schauer Box Office.

Dick said the Hall of Fame’s first outdoor event will be at Cedarburg on June 6. A racing swap meet is part of this event. The entire show is free and open to the public. Anyone wishing to show a car, truck, go kart or racing car can join in the fun. Visit the Hall of Fame Website for full information about the show.

The accompanying photos show the newly-expanded Southeast Wisconsin Short Track Hall of Fame. If the collection keeps growing as fast as it has been, it might start to rival some of the biggest racing museums in America.

About John Gunnell 104 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.
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