By Brian Bries, community contributor
BROOKLYN — In the world of Figure-8 racing, the Brooklyn Raceway is a “Field of Dreams” and host to the annual Fall Nationals.
Located a mile north of Interstate 80 near Brooklyn, the 1/8-mile figure 8 track is surrounded by cornfields on all four sides.
Almost 100 competitors from five different states took part in last weekend’s Fall Nationals.
The Brooklyn Raceway has been around since 2002 when Archie Kuntz converted his cropland into “The Figure 8 Capital of the World.” Current owner and promoter, Don Wauters has owned the track since 2011.
Wauters is a well-known and respected Figure-8 racer who grew up in the area. One of his more memorable career moments happened when he suffered cardiac arrest while pulling off the track after a feature event in 2008 and was flown by helicopter to Des Moines.
After this life-threatening event, Wauters decided to get into the promoting side of Figure 8 racing and, after a few discussions with the original owner, became the new owner of Brooklyn Raceway.
Wauters is helped by his wife, Shelley, who takes care the grandstand during race nights, including track pictures. He also has numerous family members who help out during a typical race night on both sides of the track.
The racing season at Brooklyn starts at the end of April with the Spring Nationals and ends in September with the Fall Nationals.
Jerrod Thompson of Sigourney, one of the local racers who competes every weekend in the Pro Stock class, has been racing Figure-8 cars for the past nine years. He won this season’s track championship and took home the championship belt after winning the feature event last Saturday night.
Brandon Ogolzolka of Nebraska, who has been racing Figure-8 cars for the past eight years, traveled six hours to get to the track for the national event. Ogolzolka, the Nebraska state champion in the open class, won last Friday’s main event for that division.
Other feature winners from Saturday’s show were Darin VanDee and Gene Tish (2-person cruisers), Jacob Lehman (stock), Jerrod Thompson (pro stock) and Nathan Watts (open).
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