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Southeastern Wisconsin Short Track Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

Todd Behling: he started the “LTN” hour radio show in 1985. 2018 is the 33rd year of the show that is also called “Let’s Talk Nascar”. Todd became track announcer at Slinger Speedway in the early 1980’s and has become known statewide for his humor and polite sarcasm describing racing events and personalities. Todd has also announced races at Madison, Jefferson, Beaver Dam, Oshkosh, Wisconsin Dells and the Milwaukee Mile. He continues as Slinger track announcer in 2018. Also did a stint as host of “The Racing RoundUp” weekly racing radio show.

Jerry Eckhardt: he started his racing career in the early 1960’s and raced weekly at Columbus, Jefferson and Madison. He is a past track champion of Columbus and Jefferson speedways. At age 75 he continues to race twice weekly, with two different cars, at Jefferson and Slinger. Over the years he has mentored many young drivers from the Lake Mills and Watertown area including Bart Reinen, Rick Zickert and Scott Null. His car number 61 comes from the year he began racing and his traditional orange paint scheme comes from his affection for Allis-Chalmers tractors, which he collects.

Howie Lettow: began his crew chief career on local short tracks with driver Pat Schauer. During his career as ASA crew chief he guided Schauer, Jimmie Johnson, Ken Lund, Ted Musgrave, Scott Hansen, Steve Holzhausen, Steve Carlson, Ricky Johnson and David Stremme to ASA “Rookie of the Year” honors. Jimmie Johnson has gone on to become a 7 time NASCAR Cup Series champion while Musgrave became a NASCAR Truck Series champion. Lettow was the crew chief in 1996 for the ASA championship team of driver Tony Raines and was crew chief for three ASA Late Model Chsallenege Series champions including Stephen Leicht in 2005, Kelly Bires in 2006 and Travis Dassow in 2007. Howie turned down several offers to move to NASCAR and remained loyal to his short track roots. Howie passed away in 2010 at age 62, leaving behind a legacy as a mentor to many young racing champions.

John McKarns: started out as a PR director and track announcer at Waukegan Speedway dirt track in the 1960’s and later at Grundy County Speedway. He was a race fan first and foremost who became a promoter extraordinaire of mid-week special events following his purchase of ARTGO in 1979 from its founder Art Frigo. John brought all the top stars in stock car racing to his signature specials all over the Midwest and especially Wisconsin and Illinois. Events such as the Wayne Carter Classic, held annually at Grundy, and the Dixieland Challenge, held annually at Kaukauna are races he founded and successfully promoted, a tribute to him to this day. His son Gregg is currently a successful racing promoter at the Madison International Speedway and is the guiding force behind the ARCA Midwest tour, similar to the ARTGO series made successful by his father. John passed away in 2010 at age 65.

Larry Ninneman: The last champion of the fabled Milwaukee Stock Car (MSC) association in 1974. Larry was a veteran of modified stock car racing in the late 1960’s who moved to super modifieds and late models during his career. Besides racing at Milwaukee area tracks in modifieds he tackled the super modified and sprint car series in the Midwest. He won races on dirt and asphalt tracks with his super modifieds and sprint cars. He founded Midwest Racing Engines in Milwaukee, a successful builder of championship racing engines for many teams locally and nationally. Currently builds engines for NascarXfinity teams residing in South Carolina.