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START YOUR ENGINES W E TA L K TO R E D C E DA R’S TA R A P ROC H N OW A BO UT R AC I N G I N TH E C H I P P EWA VA L L EY
How’d you get involved with racing and Red Cedar Raceway? Well just growing up, my dad raced until I was 10 and my brother raced go-karts at the track south of Menomonie in Elk Mound. Growing up, you go to the races every Friday and Saturday and in the summers you travel every weekend and there’s specials during the week. So that’s what I grew up doing. And then the Red Cedar Association is all just board members donating time, so last year is when I really started helping with the board and before that I did promotional stuff at the track like being a trophy girl and that stuff. Now I’m marketing director and my brother still races. He races the biggest class you can the late models. He races Menomonie every week and we go down to Rochester every Saturday and do specials throughout the Midwest too.
Why do you think fans are so drawn to racing as a sport? I’d say just the excitement and the lifestyle of it, I guess. You know, going and watching – most people know at least one person that’s racing – but if they keep coming they get certain driv-
ers that they like. Just the competition and excitement I think. It’s different from others sports. It’s not a team. You’re running what you’ve brought, trying to get the fastest car and the best set up. I think that’s why drivers get so involved in it because they want to just keep getting better and get their car set perfectly. And it’s hard, because Menomonie is known to have a difficult racetrack to get used to just because it’s a shorter track and it’s pretty fast. So setting up for Red Cedar takes a lot of figuring out to do.
Menomonie has its own racetrack right in town. The Red Cedar Speedway offers races every Friday night from April to August. VolumeOnechattedwiththeSpeedway’smarket director, Tara Prochnow, about the track and racing in the Chippewa Valley.
It seems like you’ve been around a lot of drivers growing up. What attracts them to the sport? I think a lot of it has to do with tradition. Racing is kind of hard to get into if you don’t have a dad who does it or a cousin or an uncle. A lot of racers I know, it’s passed down in tradition. To get into it you have to have people to help you out because you can’t do it on your own. There’s so much that goes into it, building the motors and having the right set-up and everything. I think the competition attracts drivers, and the adrenaline. They get going around 100 mph at Menomonie’s track at least. And you can keep advancing. You can start out in the beginner’s class, which is less expensive and keep moving up and competition gets harder and the cars get faster. The thrill of it is definitely a lot of he reason drivers get involved.
TURN LEFT! TURN LEFT! Hundreds of spectators fill the Red Cedar grandstand every Friday night.
What’s the atmosphere of a race at Red Cedar Raceway? About 10:30, people start flooding in, and usually on the grandstand side there’s a line to get in. You get your beer, you get your food, you get ready and sit down. We do hot laps just about every night, where people are out testing the cars. It’s a family environment at Menomonie, it’s not 21-plus. It’s a lot of families and kids that come and watch whether it’s a dad or brother out there. The excitement on Friday night; just unwind and have some beers and watch some exciting races. It’s not like you have one person from each class who wins every week, it’s always a pretty fierce competition between the drivers and it gets heated sometimes. Lots of crashes too, mostly in the beginner’s classes, but we probably average one rollover every two weeks at least, if not more. Then the more cars you have, the more heats you have.
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Any tips for a first-time fan? First of all, don’t wear any kind of nice clothes because it’s a dirt track. Be prepared to get get dirt in your hair and your eyes. If you really don’t want to get dirty, sit up high. You don’t have to come early to get a spot. We have a nice grandstand, so just come and remember to bring a can coozie and be excited for the races! Afterwards, people can walk across the track to go talk to the drivers and get autographs. Almost all the drivers have driver cards, with a picture of the car that they’ll sign. It’s family fun on a Friday night, something out of the norm locally. It’s kind of hard to explain because I’ve grown up around it, but it’s something different to do and it’s pretty cheap to come and drink beer and hang out with friends. And you’ll see some heated battles and see how much goes into it.
For more info and a full schedule of events, go toRedCedarRacing.comorcallthetrackphone at 235-6318.
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motor murals Local A i R B RU S H A RTI ST brightens up the streets with color ful, custo m designs WORDS: AMANDA BOEHM TOP PHOTO: ANDREA PAULSE TH
ave you started to get the feeling that the bumper stickers you use to personalize your car are â€Śwell, a bit wimpy? Maybe itâ€™s time to give your trusty vehicle the royal treatment it deserves. Automotive Tattoos Custom Painting offers award winning artwork that will make you proud to show off your vehicle. They do many styles of artwork, custom paint, and airbrushing, while providing a wide range of automotive services from full restoration and custom upholstery to mechanical repairs. Online, Automotive Tattoos has an extensive gallery of paint jobs done on a little bit of everything that proves they have great talent. There are tons of images of artwork on motorcycles and automobiles, categorized by color scheme and subject matter. Awesome custom painted mailboxes, person-
alized helmets, and festively bodypainted models are some of the more unexpected works that can be viewed in their online gallery. Stunning vast landscapes painted on canvases make an appearance as well. For people who want to learn the tricks of the trade, Automotive Tattoos Custom Painting offers hands-on classes and lessons in airbrushing. Airbrush training is instructed by Luke Johnson and can be done in private lessons or as a group class experience. Classes are available for anyone, whether you are a beginner or someone with airbrushing experience who desires professional instruction. Class sessions can be chosen by length or by topic if there is something you are specifically interested in learning. Automotive Tattoos Custom Painting is affiliated with United Auto Body, which is near the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport at 2620 Davey St. For more information, visit AutomotiveTattoos. com or call 456-8800.
Luke Johnson at work in his studio. Johnson works on cars, motorcycles, canvases and anything else.
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The crew at Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop, helmed by Fred Kappus (second from right) pose with the Elk Mound School Bus in its current form.
wheels on the bus LOCA L rod shop renovating 1 93 0 s elk m ound school bus tell Kappus loves recounting the stories and the details of each one: The hand shaved glass of the windshield, the airbrushed logo on the dashboard, turning decorative vents into imporalking into Fast Freddie’s Rod tant pieces of the car so that nothing Shop is sort of like walking into a is wasted. museum, except a bit louder. The front And there’s a lot of details that door opens into a spacious garage come with each project. Kappus said with a gorgeous green 1970 Dodge that each car they work on has up to Challenger to your right and a decked 10,000 pieces, many of which need out black Trans-Am to your left. The to be cleaned, replaced, primped or centerpiece of the room is a bit bigupgraded to get a classic car back up ger than the sleek, aerodynamic musto shape and looking great. cle cars that litter the floor, though. Each car in the shop Towering above is the had a story behind all skeleton of a relic: a local the details. That green school bus that might have When Fred Kappus talks about cars he Challenger was a family taken kids on field trips to and his team have worked on you can tell car for years that had taken real museums back in the trips cross country with a 1930s and ’40s. he loves recounting the stories and every trailer on the back as the The bus as it stands family moved. Recently the now is just a framework detail of each one. owner wanted to restore it for what’s to come: Fred to the condition it deserved Kappus, Fast Freddie to be in, despite its years of himself, was commissioned to fix up the vintage bus from did just that, slowly building the small heavy use for his family. Or take a silteam he has now. Kappus likes keeping ver 1969 Camaro that has evolved and Eau Claire’s Student Transit. The company has been in possession of the the operation small because for him changed so much they named it just vehicle since they rescued it from a it’s all about the details, which may that: Evolved. The car is absolutely get lost when you’re trying to balance gorgeous from the outside and just as farm field in the 1970s. They had it up gorgeous inside, with a custom console and running on and off through the scores of projects at once. Currently, and a modern, Bluetooth sound system Fast Freddie’s is working on eight to years but have decided to bring it back to its original form – with a few modern ten projects at any given time, giving (that shows another evolution entirely). Or the Dodge Dart that serves as them plenty of attention. conveniences added. When he talks about the cars he the shop’s car and has been featured Kappus is a jovial guy who clearly in a number of publications and won has a passion for what he does. He and his team have worked on you can WORDS: THOM FOUNTAIN PHOTO: ANDREA PAULSE TH
started working on cars with his dad in high school, rebuilding a Camaro in their garage. He wanted to continue working with cars, but went to school for management at UW-Eau Claire instead of to an automotive program. He found himself as a business manager at a restoration shop and picked up the trade at the garage before starting his Fast Freddie’s in 2008. Despite the risk of starting his business just as the economy was falling, Kappus thought if he could make it then, he could make it for the long haul. And he
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awards left and right at shows (as well as carried its restorers thousands of miles between those shows). Each of these stories is told by Kappus through each detail and builds up to be the completely car. Kappus gets that light in his eyes when he talks about the details that’ll make the Elk Mound bus. He’ll be adding hardword flooring from a ripped up basketball court and they already molded a custom visor that’ll sit above the windshield. On top of the restoration, the team will also give the bus the more modern technology that our cars have to make it safer and a little easier to drive around. You can tell he’s excited to be involved in something new, something that’ll be in the community for years showing up in parades and at events. Those details take time, though. Kappus said he expects the bus to take up to a year finish, giving each detail the time and attention it deserves. “It’s like what they say about how to eat an elephant: Just one bite at a time.” You can find more photos of the Elk Mound school bus and other projects Fast Freddie’s is working on at FastFreddiesRodShop.com.
The team at Fast Freddies brought the bus in from Student Transit and stripped it down to its skeleton. Now, over the next year they’ll build it backupintoitsoriginalform,withsomemodernconveniencesandsafety features added. Photos and illustration from Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop.
COMING C O M I N G SOON SOON
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days and Thursdays May-Sep. • burgerkingclassiccarshows.com This is a weekly classic car show that takes place at Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Menomonie Burger Kings. Their season opener is on May 9th at the Westridge Center Burger King in Eau Claire. Keep an eye on their website for the full 2013 schedule.
Badger Car Show Usually Mid June • Washburn County Fairgrounds, Fairgrounds Rd. at West Beaverbrook, Spooner • (715) 635-3740 The Badger Car Show always as a great display of old cars, trucks, tractors, and military vehicles, as well as a flea/craft market. Call for details.
It’snofunkeepingyourprideandjoycoopedup in a garage! Bring it out to the light of day with these clubs and events. If we’ve missed you, let email@example.com at 552-0457.
Muscle Car Race Jun. 15 & Sep. 29 • 7:30am gates
open, 9am time trials, 1pm elimiations start • Rock Falls Raceway, N1790 1000th St., Eau Claire • (715) 858-0170 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www. rockfallsraceway.com These races will be for muscle cars only. See contact info for details.
CAR C L U B S
Hot Rods & Hogs Jun 22, 3-7pm • (715) 834-7822 •
Chippewa Valley Corvette Club Second Tuesdays of
every month • Pizza Ranch (Oct.-May), Irvine Park, Chippewa Falls (June-Sept.) • (715) 839-0184 • chippewavalleycorvettes.com This group of Corvette enthusiasts meet the second Tuesday of every month to discuss America’s true sports car. October through May they meet at Pizza Ranch in Eau Claire at 6pm for dinner with the meeting following at 7pm. June through September they meet at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls for a potluck style dinner/meeting at 6:30pm.
Chippewa Valley Sports Car Club Third Tuesdays
February-November • Maple Manor Cafe, 2507 S Hastings Way, Eau Claire • (715) 834-2618 • cvscc.org As a car club, CVSCC hosts and attends various auto related events, but also have a number of social events. Some past events include: road rally (timed distance), autocross, cruise & dine, car shows, ice races, pro kart racing, and factory/business tours. The club also tries to make a difference in the community by holding fund raisers for auto related charities, and scholarships for CVTC’s automotive students. Any person having a genuine interest in sports cars and who will take an active part in the club is eligible for membership. They meet the third Tuesday of every month from February through November.
Indianhead Old Car Club First Wednesdays • Location varies • (715) 832-0552 The Indianhead Old Car
MAYBE I’LL UPGRADE FROM THIS BIKE. Classic cars on display at Eau Claire’s annual Summerfest.
Club is a group for people who appreciate antique cars, collector cars, trucks, and cycles. The members have a wide variety of vehicles ranging from the early 1900’s to the start of the 21st century, however, owning an old car is not required.
evening. Races feature WISSOTA Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Mods, Street Stocks, Red Cedar Pure Stocks, and Hornets.
Red Cedar Classic Car Club Call Randy Herman for
open at 6am, tropies awarded at 2:30pm • Colfax Fairgrounds, Colfax • Call Randy Herman for more info at 715-235-0746.
more info at 715-235-0746.
C A R E VENTS
Red Cedar Classic Car Club - 34th Annual Car Show, Swap Meet, Flea Market & Antique Barns May 9, gates
Muscle Car Restorations Open House May 18, 10am-
Red Cedar Speedway Races Fridays Apr. 12-middle
of August • 5pm main gates open, 7pm racing starts • Red Cedar Raceway, 1700 block of Stout Rd., Dunn County Recreation Park, Menomonie • (715) 235-6318 • email@example.com • redcedarracing.com Racing season starts April 12th and runs through the middle of August with races happening every Friday
2pm • 11371 20th Ave., Chippewa Falls • musclecarrestorations.com Muscle Car Restorations was established in 1988 and has restored hundreds of vehicles. They have won numerous top honors for their quality and accuracy. Community members will be able to view a number of their completed and in-process projects.
Burger King Classic Car Shows Typically Wednes-
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firstname.lastname@example.org Hipps Pub-N-Grub puts on an annual car, truck, and motorcycle show. Trophies are awarded to Best of Show, Best Collector, and Best Hot Rod, among others. Attendees vote on their favorites. Door prizes available. This event is FREE to attend.
Eau Claire Big Rig Truck Show Aug. 15-18 • CVTC parking lot, 617 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire • 715-832-6666 • www.eauclairebigrigtruckshow.com Featuring tons of show trucks, truck judging, food and drink, movies, vendor tents, a light truck parade, music, classic car show, and occasional celebrtiy appearances. Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show Aug. 4, gates open at 7am • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 331 Jefferson Ave., Chippewa Falls • (715) 832-0552 • www.indianheadcarshow.com This car show features over 700 show cars, vehicle-related vendors, and food and refreshments. Cars Under the Stars Sep. 21, 3-6pm • Hipp’s Pub-N-
Grub, S7650 Wisconsin 37, Eau Claire • 715-834-7822 • email@example.com Car show featuring contests in multiple classes. Attendees vote on their favorite. Door prizes available.
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Published on Oct 18, 2013
Published on Oct 18, 2013
Volume One's guide to Chippewa Valley automobiles. The purr of the engine, your foot on the pedal, and the smooth glide from one gear to th...