BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — Huset’s Speedway is marking Memorial Day weekend with two nights of racing, and at least one person is sure to show up.
Chuck McGillivray has been a fixture on the local racing scene for half a century.
“We used to run Rock Rapids, Madison, Sioux Falls, and Huron, and all over,” sprint car driver Chuck McGillivray said.
A resident of Junius, South Dakota, McGillivray recently celebrated his 70th birthday.
“That’s what they tell me (laugh),” McGillivray said.
He’s also the definition of ‘age is just a number’.
“Just kind of grew up around racing and haven’t really noticed that I was getting any older, just having fun doing it,” McGillivray said.
“When I started announcing racing in the area, Chuck McGillivray was looked at as the old guy in sprint car racing. That was 23 years ago,” Neistadt said.
Shawn Neistadt is the announcer at Huset’s Speedway and says what McGillivray is doing is unheard of in sprint car racing.
“He may not be up there in the top three in the 410 sprint car class every night, but it wouldn’t be right to be at the race track without Chuck McGillivray at this point,” Neistadt said.
A 13-time track champion at the former Lake County Speedway in Madison, Chuck fell in love with racing at an early age.
“My dad used to build stock cars for several guys around the country and when I was the age of about eight I got to sweep out garage floors, clean parts, and it just kind of grew on you,” McGillivray said.
He has this advice for up-and-coming drivers when it comes to longevity in the sport.
“You’re going to have good nights, bad nights, you’re going to find yourself where you ain’t got enough money to put a tire on the damn thing but somehow you seem to get by,” McGillivray said.
As for when it’s time to permanently park his car…
“I guess when I feel like I can’t run with them anymore or can’t be halfway competitive then it’s time to quit, but so far they haven’t showed me that yet. It might turn around before the year’s over, I never know,” McGillivray said.
51 years and counting, and always with a smile.
Chuck says he’s never missed a season of racing. He opened the season last Sunday with a sixth-place finish in the class “B” feature at Huset’s Speedway.