My name is Mark Holt and this is my story on how the Nostalgia Dirt Series came to fruition. I was born in 1967 in Mason City, Iowa. I guess you can say that racing is in my blood. I was two years old on the family farm; I remember seeing the white and gold ‘57 Chevrolet and the Robin egg blue old coupe that my father, uncle and grandfather used to race. I grew up through the years hearing many stories of our families racing adventures and it inspired the racing bug myself.
My Start in Racing
As a four and five-year-old little boy, I would hold a record in my hand and run around as fast as I could in circles pretending I was my dad in the car number 98. As a young teenager I took many chances driving like the wind. At 14, I had a drivers permit to drive to my Christian school, and I strongly remember having to hand my keys into the pastor there because I drove like a maniac.
I guess what sparked the start of my racing was one night in the mall parking lot. I was driving my girlfriend’s father’s car: a giant white Ford LTD. I saw a friend in the parking lot and challenged him to a race. I think I was clocked at 90 miles an hour going through a mall parking lot. Needless to say, there was a local police officer watching me the whole time, and with that my racing career was kicked off as a police officer threatened that if he ever saw me driving like that again, I would lose my license forever. He suggested that if I wanted to race I should get a race car and get on a race track. I married that girl that was with me that day and started my racing career in the following couple years.
My racing career was not a nostalgia though, but in a hobby stock division at our local Speedway. My very first race car was a 1980s Oldsmobile my brother and I built ourselves. It was once my wife’s car and she wasn’t a fan of it. I jokingly told her that I was going to turn it into a race car and I think she agreed just to make sure she didn’t have to drive it anymore. So in my backyard, my brother and I took a hacksaw after we busted all the glass out and cut the roof off. I had a friend who had raced the previous year. He had a roll cage and some other parts and made me a deal. Not knowing anything about building a roll cage, or a race car for that matter, my brother and I welded the remnants of the roll cage in the car. I thank God to this day that we never rolled over or had any accidents. The cage was below my head when I sat in the car. God was definitely watching over us as we raced that Oldsmobile.
Improving Our Racing
Later, my brother and I purchased a race car, a ‘73 Cheval. We named the new car Flipper. My brother and I had many fun times and won some races with Flipper. Flipper was a fitting name, as the car had been owned by several other owners and had been rolled over many times. The car was very beat up.
I passed on my racing fever to my children and our racing family grew through the years. My brother and both our families all raced at our local Speedway. It was kind of like a traveling circus but they were amazing times. Throughout the years, we have race hobby stocks, stock cars, late models and modified.
But I always remembered my dad’s gold car number 98, ‘57 Chevy. Over time, racing and competition had taken its toll. It became more expensive and it seemed like the next generation of drivers wanted to drive through you instead of around you. It seemed like I came home with a damaged car every week. So because of those changes, and remembering the love of my father’s racing, the North Iowa vintage racing club was born.
The North Iowa Vintage Club
Two good friends of mine were also racing enthusiasts. So I pitched the idea of putting some old bodies on modern start car bodies, and starting a vintage club. It was the perfect idea! We could make our rules for safety. We had the skills to make some amazing cars. Soon friends joined our club and started building cars. We had ‘57 Chevy‘s, ‘55 Chevy’s, Studebaker. We even had a Richard petty Plymouth that some dear friends of mine drove. For many years is a club grew and flourished we race track such as the Kossuth county speedway, The I 35 (as it is known now as the Mason City speedway), the Britt Speedway, Fairmont Speedway in Fairmont, Minnesota and many other tracks around north Iowa. Members have come in members have gone but the memories still remain and all the people that help grow the club will always be near and dear to my heart. Over the last year I have had the opportunity through the grace of God to start a new career with my passion for racing and my passion for history I am taking my club to the next level and starting the Nostalgia Dirt Series.
My vision is someday the series will be all over the United States and will aid in keeping the racing history cars and drivers alive in everyone’s mind. The track promoter and fair board in Algona, Iowa have been very instrumental in kick starting my new venture. We had a meeting in January and I pitched my idea and it was very well received. The nostalgia dirt series will welcome any and all vintage race cars we will offer Racing, as well as exhibition. I want to Nostalgia Dirt Series to honor Christ as I have put him first in my life I also want to honor veterans because I love my country and I am very thankful for my freedoms and the people who have served and are serving today. I am very excited to network with other clubs around the United States. I’m excited to see the different kinds of cars and grow the sport of nostalgia racing.
You will see many exciting things coming from the Nostalgia Dirt Series consisting of a museum a driving school and points racing and pay out I have many exciting goals and I know with the good Lord on my side I will be successful in achieving them.