HoF Nominee - Leo Burkhardsmeier

Posted by John Gartner 8/10/2017 9:52:26 AM
Leo Burkhardsmeier — Bismarck, ND
Category: Modern Category

If there ever was a driver in the local area that had a career with outstanding accomplishments for any racing Hall of Fame--Leo Burkhardsmeier of Bismarck surely has the credentials. Burkhardsmeier started racing as a teenager back in 1968 at the big ½ mile Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo. The driver of the #8 always painted using the flyling eightball theme, cut his teeth racing hobby stocks against legends from the Fargo area like Big Joe Jacobson, Bobby Sagen, Rick Aukland and Jonnny Correl.

Burkharsmeier started a transmission business in Bismarck in the early 1980’s, but he continued racing in Fargo every Friday night. He built an all Mopar Super Stock using the venerable big block 440 engine that won him multiple season championships, along with hundreds of feature wins. He raced, and won, all over the region.

When the WISSOTA Modified came on the scene in the late 1980’s Burkhardsmeier adapted that same Mopar engine into a Chevrolet frame that was all but unbeatable, gaining him four consecutive national WISSOTA Modified titles in the mid 1990’s. The car was so dominant that WISSOTA sought to outlaw big block engines all together, instituting a much lower weight rule that favored small block engines.

Burkhardsmeier switched from WISSOTA Modifieds to IMCA Modifieds and raced locally until 2012 when he retired from the sport. When asked who his toughest competitors were, he singled it down to one driver who didn’t race a great deal in the eastern part of the state. Burkhardsmeier said his toughest competitor is still racing and winning races to this day. That driver is Hank Berry. “Hank early on didn’t always have the best equipment but he could drive anything well,” said Burkhardsmeier.

Leo Burkhardsmeier has been nominated in the Modern category even though he raced during all three periods of time. He will be at Dacotah Speedway on Friday, August 18 for a live interview about his storied career.
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