At 72 years young, race car driver Jerry Muenster is still going strong. The Wisconsin driver says that he still feels the “thrill of driving” and enjoys the competition that comes with race day.
Most professional athletes, although racing is admittedly an exception, fall out of their prime when they hit their early 30s. Age hasn’t seemed to limit Muenster however, as he has been racing since the 1960s.
When he began his racing career in the early 1960s, he worked his way up from the local tracks around the areas of De Pere and Luxembourg Wisconsin. While in the local scene, he raced coupes, and eventually was able to work his way up to a championship at Luxembourg Speedway in 1968.
Although he still thrives on the competition of racing, he admits that the level of competition isn’t what it used to be. Back when he started, it was common for racers to keep baseball bats in their pit station in order to protect themselves should they need to. “You had to defend yourself, and back then most everyone had a baseball bat.” Humorously he jibbed that his “was usually bigger than everyone else’s because at 5’3″, [he] was one of the smallest guys out there.”
Fights aren’t as frequent in the racing scene these days, but the fierce competition remains. Perhaps as a 72 year old race car driver, he has figured out a way to simmer the heated tempers of other drivers.
The thrill of driving is still there for the 72 year old race car driver, although he admits that his driving habits are a little more cautious than they used to be. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t compete with the young guns on the race scene today, even though many of them watched him race when they were growing up.
Jerry Muenster took a bit of a retirement from racing once, back in the 1980s, and swiwtched to motocross for awhile. He was lured back to the track after a friend brought him to the IMCA modified division, taking a ride in an old-mans race with a friend. He hasn’t stopped racing since.
At an age where some people begin to limit their driving habit to a minimal amount, think of all those old low mileage Buicks you can find for sale in your neighborhood for proof, Jerry Muenster is still values the thrill of speeding down the track.
Jerry was inducted to the Shawano Speedway Hall of Fame in Wisconsin in 2010. Reflecting on how racing has evolved since his early days in the sport, he noticed that people back then had to build and assemble their cars, and often parts. Today people can simply buy the parts they need to build their ride, not that he has adjusted to those changes.
Keeping himself busy by working on his cars in his spare time, Jerry says that “honestly I’m busier now retired…than I ever was.” He keeps himself busy building aluminum car bodies both for himself and his son.
His son is a major part of his motivation to continue racing, and according to his son the 72 year old race car driver “races against [him] harder than anyone else.”
As long as he is having fun and remaining competitive, the 72 year old race car driver plans to keep on going into the future, having given no thought to retiring from the sport he loves.
An impressive feat, and inspiration to keep doing what you love as long as you can.
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The Guardian Express