"The Inside Track"
He's known as "The Flying Dirt Farmer".Thats Don Mack from East Grand Forks,Minnesota.During the
week he drives tractors and on the weekends he drives race cars.Quite a contrast but he does quite well at
both.This husky fellow has been racing all over the midwest for 14 years now,with many wins and awards and achievements accumalated.A
fellow by the name of Curt Soblik from Grand Forks,North Dakota is credited as Dons first real contract with racing in the
area.In 1960,Curt stopped by Dons to get some parts for his race car.He invited Don to come and race the next weekend.Well
in only one week ,Don was out on the track with a "B" class car and racing like crazy.
From that time on Don moved
up steadily in the ranks among professional drivers in the midwest and also had quite a following of fans.He raced the "B"
car for one year and then moved up to super modifides the next year and raced those for several years.Recently when super
modifides became super sprints with tube frames,fiberglass bodies and fuel injection Don wasnt gonna pass that up and made
the switch. Doug Howells from Hunter,North Dakota is the car owner and the mechanic whom Don has been driving for most of
his racing days.Max Cambell from Oslo,Minnesota was the owner of his chevy powered car a few years ago.Mack has driven plymouth
powered sprints almost every year for Doug Howells but this year has switched to cheverolet power.Mack reasoned "The plymouth
was a preety good engine,but parts are hard to get and availability for cheverolet is quite a bit easier". Thats the big reason
we made the switch". "We've had trouble with it (the plymouth) and it'd just take to long to get parts.If a guy went
down to the races and some little thing broke,nobody else had a plymouth,so we had to sit out."If a guy has a cheverolet ,everybody
has parts fpr them". How do his fans like the change? Mack said." I have a sneaky suspicion it will probably make a few people
mad.I had a few guys who were preety proud of that plymouth.
Not many people in the upper midwest are
noted for world records.Especially with world speed records.Don set the world record on a semi-banked one half-mile
track.He acomplished this feat back in 1969 with a time of 21.70.The record still stands.Mack set the record in Max Cambells
chevy powered sprint.Mack also set the world speed record for 10 miles ( 20 laps) in 1968 at West Fargo.
With a driver of his stature,ideas from
in car owners minds to have their drivers race in other states.One of the bigger races for Mack over the years was "The Little
Indy 500" held in Florida.For those of you that arent familiar with this particular race.A bit of background is necessary.Cars
from all over the United States and Canada attend this race and try get into the top qualifying positions.Only 33 cars make
the final and most important race.The cars lines up 3 abreast and eleven rows back on the 1/4 mile track.Mack has always qualified
for the top positions.When the checkered flag drops ,there is nothing but flying wheels and cars for the first part
of the race.Mack stated " I made up my mind to hang back for about 30 laps for things to get scattered out."Then I started
charging". Don finished 7th,8th and 11th the last three years he attended there,but last year he had gas tank problems and
had to make too many pit stops,and he was too far behind to gain back the lost laps.But, as mack commented rather modestly,"In
the last 250 miles,I lapped the leader 5 times".
Don has raced in many states,with IMCA for
awhile,in the little Indy,but he still likes the competition in the North Dakota and Minnesota areas, "If you take Dave Skari
or Gordy Lamb or Bucky Peterson and other guys with good chassis and cars,we can run anywhere", Mack further stated,"
In places like Iowa and Pennsylvania and places like those,all that some of those guys do is race and they have the best equipment
money can buy". Don dosent attribute all of his success to his car however.He acknowledged." The biggest thing in racing is
the mechanic.I feel preety fortunate to have Doug Howells work for me because he could have gone to work with some professional
guys."Jerome Drogen of Page,North Dakota and Russell Umsted of Fargo,North Dakota are the other members of his pit crew.
After all those years in racing,Don has established
quite a system of driving.His techniques are based on good driving and common sense.Mack said,"If the track is hard,it's hard
to get in and do lots of hard charging right away,but sometimes if I feel a good cushion up high," I'll just take off
' to beat all heck".Sometimes a person can pass alot of cars on the first lap or two,In my opinion thats where alot of races
are won; in the first lap or two".The competition is stiff in sprint car racing,and mack has his views on this also." There
is no way you can catch a equal car if they get a quarter lap ahead of you.But,if you come thru and keep up the pressure and
sometimes they make a mistake,and sometimes they dont." Don chuckled about that.He likes those mistake moments just like any
Like all sprint drivers.Don Mack is a devoted
suporter of their breed of drivers and cars.It has been good to him over the years.Supermodified cars have been around for
along time and Mack feels it will they will stay." I'd hate to see either class ( sprints and stocks ) completely die down.What'd
I'd like to see is everybody get together and put on one good show....I've been thru practically every kind of promotion there
is and I really feel that of every type of racing I've seen, a club run organization is the best".