Stock car racing in Alexandria had its beginning back in 1953 with the West Central Racing Association (WCRA) proving the program. The WCRA, featured races in Alexandria, Morris, Fergus Falls and Wadena. The West Central Speedway Association had a seven-year run and was the only other racing organization to race in Alexandria, paving the way for the Viking Speedway, which emerged in 1965.
The first race under the Viking Speedway banner took place on Sunday, June 13, 1965 during the afternoon. Jim Johnson, driving car No. 82, won the first ever stock car race at the Viking oval, winning the opening heat race. Dick Block and Les Ekdahl followed Johnson across the finishing line on the big half-mile oval. Jerry Geris in car 1-2 won the second race followed by the late Butch Peterson, Julian Barsness, Doug Skoglund and John Loch. Geris also won the trophy dash race while Peterson won the first ever feature event, followed by Geris. Fastest time in the time trials went to Geris with a time of 36.4 seconds. A total of 10 cars from the Alexandria Area were part of the competition on the Viking Speedway lidlifter with Jim Loveland and Gordie Rachel also competing that day. A total of 275 paying customers were part of the history making season opener. The speedway did not start on good financial footing, as they had to borrow $22 to meet the first race expenses.
Geris finished the season with 527 points to walk off with the season point championship. Johnson led in most categories by recording the top time for the season with a clocking of 34.4 seconds. He also was the first driver to complete a clean sweep at the Viking oval, winning all three races during the July 4th race program. Johnson finished the season with three clean sweeps to lead all competitors and his 18 wins also was tops. He also was the leading money winner for a day, earning $45.
Races were held on Sunday afternoons during the first campaign before moving to Saturday evenings during the 1966 campaign. Officials during the opening season included flagman Frankie Herzog, Jerry VanKempen, announcer, Alan Bakke was the timer, Dallas Triebenbach was the scorer and the late Arvo Lofquist was the treasurer. Total income for the opening season was listed at $6,000. More than once drivers were not paid, with just the employees being paid. If the drivers were paid they were usually paid the same whether they registered a clean sweep of just timed in.
Other racers race fans cheered on during the first season included Jim Yager, Dave Gilbertson, Jim Bruzek, Duwayne Marquette, Jerry Rasmussen, Jim Feeks, Jim Hartman, Floyd Anderson, Jim Waldorf, Bob Week, Henry Chan, Joe Riesselman, Tom Muzik, Dave Nielson, Gerald Gau, Paul Mohawk, Frank Hughes, Larry Olson, Gary Thornborg, Jim Danielson, Gary Doering, Bill Collins, Ron Blehn, Roger Hetland, Dean Peterson and Skip Vickerman.
Since that initial season, race fans have witnesses some of the top racers in the country compete on the big oval for 48 consecutive seasons.
During the early stages of the Viking Speedway, cars had to be at least 10-years old and there was just one class of race cars.
In 1966 the speedway went to bigger engines and newer cars and attendance took off.
The Viking oval has run under several different banners including Tri-Can (racers from the Dakotas, Minnesota and Canada.
The Viking oval was also associated with NASCAR for a host of seasons and in recent years has run under the WISSOTA classification.
The Viking Oval was selected the WISSOTA Track of the Year during the 2005 racing campaign.
The Speedway has also played host to a number of special events including sprint cars and late models running on a national circuit under the UMP banner featuring some well known drivers like Billy Moyer and Gary Webb among others.
The Busch All-Star Tour was also hosted by the Viking Speedway featuring such drivers as Joe, Ed and Steve Kosciusko, Ray Guss Jr., Rick Egersdorf and Roger Dolan among others. Ken Schrader of Winston Cup and Sprint Cup fame has also raced on the big half-mile oval. The Viking oval has had a host of drivers with outstanding accomplishments as well. Geris won the first four point championships and has five overall. Jeff Hinkemeyer won five straight Late Model point crowns and has seven overall. Scot Danzeisen recorded nine straight Modified point titles and has 10 overall. He has also won a pair of Super Stock championships. Other drivers also have recorded multiple point championships.
A total of 30 individuals have been inducted into the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame including Gerry Geris, Frankie Herzog, Dean and Butch Peterson, Jim Johnson, Florian Sprinzel, Dave Gilbertson, Walt Anderson, Roy Snyder, Dick Block, Wayne Kluver, Larry Holverson, Don Domine, Ollie Buse, Bill Peterson and Jerry Kluver. Jerry VanKempen, Jim Nieland, Greg Muzik, Stu Olson, Ron Pease, Duwayne Nelson, Dave Stork, Scott Hillig, Jeff Hinkemeyer, Tom Carlson, Larry Crouse, Ryan Muzik, Gary and Randy Reents.
Currently the Viking Speedway is a one-half-mile semi-banked clay oval that races five WISSOTA sanctioned classes; Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks, Midwest Modifieds and Street Stocks every Saturday night from the end of April through Labor Day, including the Viking Fall Classic in October.
Viking Speedway is located in Alexandria, MN, approximately 3/4 mile west of State Hwy. 29 on County Road 82 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.