If you followed modified racing in western Minnesota in the late 1980s and for many years afterwards, you often saw the familiar No. 57 car battling towards the front.
That car was piloted by Dave Storck of Morris, Minn. A fan favorite and respected driver for many years at tracks like Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Wee Town Outlaw Speedway near Fergus Falls, Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo and Madison Speedway, Storck piled up the feature wins and 14 track titles in his career — with 12 coming behind the wheel of a modified. In fact, he won track championships at six different tracks in the region.
Known as a clean racer, Storck’s driving philosophy was pretty simple.
“If you want to be a good race car driver, you have to get to the front without touching anybody,” Storck said. “If I was going to be the best I could be, the only way to do that was not lean on people.”
Storck was inducted into the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame in 2012. He retired after the 2010 season.
He started out in the Thunder class which was comparable to a street stock. He won the Wee Town Outlaw Speedway track title in 1982 in that division.
“It was really stock. You couldn’t take the hinges off the hood,” Storck said. “You had to run factory rims.”
There was a trip down a swap meet at Lou Fegers Racing Equipment after the 1984 season that changed Storck’s racing career — he and a friend went together to buy a modified. After that, for more than a quarter century, he drove a car owned by Mark Anderson of Donnelly, Minn. Dave Storck handled much of the motor and chassis adjustments while Anderson worked on the body and tires.
“We had a pretty good pit crew,” Storck said.
Viking Speedway fans were treated to some of the best modified racing in the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The top contenders in those days, week-in and week-out, were often Storck, Scott Hillig of Long Prairie and Ryan Muzik of Alexandria. All three are in the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame, by the way.
“Me and Ryan and Scott raced a lot. Those guys are really talented,” Storck said. “We hardly..if we got into each other, it’d be a rare deal. It always seemed like us three towards the front. It was fun getting there.”
Another twist to his modified career was racing against his brother, Mike, another long-time modified racer.
“That was a lot of fun,” Dave Storck said. “We ever hardly traded paint. We had a good time.”
Now 65, Dave Storck works for a garbage company in Morris, and also does some grain farming in that area. He also helps out his son, Corey, who has emerged as a tough midwest modified competitor in western Minnesota — along with being a fan.
“I get fulfillment out of that,” Storck said. “I got him doing it, and he enjoys it. The last three years he has come a long ways.”
So while he piled up wins and track championships in a racing career than spanned more than three decades, the friendships he built over the years stand out as memories.
“You meet so many people…it’s just unbelievable,” Storck said. “There’s the friendships you make, especially your pit crew. You bond together and get things put together and you accomplish what you set out to to. That was pretty rewarding.”