Ghosts of speed: Last chapter closing on Sioux Falls' first premier auto track
Former Soo Speedway paramount in region's auto-racing advancement
The sound of rumbling motors and cheering fans cascade from Huset’s Speedway nearly every summer evening in the Sioux Empire.
But about three miles southwest of the Brandon-area, auto-racing complex are the remnants of the Sioux Falls area’s first premier circle track that helped advance the region’s motorsport scene to where it is today.
And racing buffs and historians alike this summer are looking back on the now-abandoned and grown over Soo Speedway track as the city of Sioux Falls and a private developer look to turn the old racing grounds near 10th Street and Six Mile Road into a residential development.
“It’s gone; let it go,” said Tom Savage, Sr., an 84-year-old auto racing historian from Brandon who this week walked The Dakota Scout through the Soo Speedway track’s storied saga.
‘The place to race’
Both Huset’s Speedway and Soo Speedway opened for racing in 1954. But where the Brandon track was simply a circle of dirt in a field, Soo Speedway and its five owners — led by the late Bob Van Anne — built a racing complex with all the modern bells and whistles: Guard rails, bleachers, concessions and a public address system.
Savage said Soo Speedway started slow, with the track struggling to get more than 20 cars to enter each week. But as the summer progressed and word got out, the track was drawing as many as 30 or more cars on race night by the end of the 1954 season.
And, thanks to a feud between a Sioux City track and drivers from that area, Soo Speedway the following season began to draw racers from not just the immediate region.
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