Catching Up With: Viking Speedway Hall of Famer Scott Hillig
The late 1980s and into the 1990s is what west central Minnesota racing fans could say helped establish Viking Speedway in Alexandria as a premier modified track. Long Prairie, Minn., driver Scott Hillig was one reason why. Driving the familiar #98H modified for several years, Hillig was one of the drivers who set the standard in the class in that era, along with Ryan Muzik and Dave Storck. All three drivers are in the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame. The often-packed grandstands at Viking in those days also saw one of the best rivalries the track has ever known between Hillig and Alexandria driver Ryan Muzik in his #23 machine. There were the fans who pulled for Hillig and those who pulled for Muzik and often, their racing — sometimes with some sparks flying — ignited the crowd. Throw in Storck, another top runner at Viking and you had some memorable battles up front. All three drivers, by the way, are in the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame. “Everybody was super competitive, yet we respected each other stuff,” Hillig said. “You had your contact; racing that competitive you’re going to be close together. Everybody respected one another. It was fun to come to the racetrack and know those guys were going to be our main competitors. It kept you working hard…we put on a lot of really good racing.” Hillig was a three-time modified track champion at Viking Speedway, winning three straight titles from 1991-93. He finished in the top 10 in points 18 times at the track and also won dozens of feature races.
“I had a good racing team. I had a good group of people (helping me),” Hillig said, who says his father, Marv, and wife, Becky were key parts of the racing team. “I had three consistent pit guys all the time. Everybody had their job they took care of. We worked very hard at it and spent a lot of time at it. The hard work paid off. We had a lot of fun.” Marv Hillig raced snowmobiles and stock cars at Viking. Hillig’s first time behind the wheel was a mechanic’s race at age 15, driving long-time driver Ron Flynn’s car. He won that race. “After that, you’ve got to race,” Hillig said. He started out in the sportsman class but quickly found a home in the modified division, and that is where he made a name for himself. On most occasions, Hillig could be found flying around the high side of the half-mile oval -- and usually found towards the front. “I preferred running the top line,” Hillig said. “You had to go where they weren’t to get to the front. I was more comfortable there and I liked the momentum factor.” Hillig retired in 2005. He and Becky own Hillig Auto Center, a business that started in 1998. “We were really busy, we were in business for ourselves,” Hillig said. “And I didn’t have the drive to do that like I did before. I thought it was time.” A few years later after retiring, there was an interesting twist — Muzik, who was still racing modifieds, called Hillig to fill in for him at Viking one night while he was on vacation. “That hit me strange,” Hillig said.
How did that night go? Hillig won his heat race and finished in the pack in the feature. Hillig ran a late model for a while at Viking as well and finished second in the points one year to Jeff Wildung. At that time, he was racing both at Viking and I-94 Speedway in Sauk Centre before the track was paved. “Sometimes we ran both cars at both places,” Hillig said. “It was an awful lot of fun and we won a lot of races.”