A generational giant in dirt Late Model competition is still going strong at a trio of Iowa dirt tracks. Ed Sanger, 68, of Postville, Iowa, is a contemporary of two NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champions. He raced with the series’ 1982 inaugural season champion Tom Hearst; and placed second to 1983 Central Region champion Roger Dolan. Dolan went on to win the series’ national championship in 1987.
Sanger was enshrined in the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame in 2004. Among his estimated wins totaling more than 500 is the prestigious Yankee Dirt Track Classic, a rich 100-lap event at Farley (Iowa) Speedway in 1983. The track’s 2009 version of the event is scheduled for September 16-19. Almost a decade earlier, Sanger won the 1974 World 100 at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Ohio; and the Falstaff Classic at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1975.
Today, Sanger continues to race at three Iowa dirt tracks operated by Keith Simmons. Simmons owned the car in which Hearst won the 1982 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.
Sanger, who assembles his own cars and engines, sets his own pace at the tracks, and goes racing when he wants to race.
“Today I go racing to enjoy it,” Sanger said. “If it’s fun, I’ll do it. If not, I won’t. I’m having a wonderful time in my life, and I still want to win.”