Racing Through Life: For five decades, man has developed successful track record with cars

“Just a poor guy trying to race.”

Donald “Fuzzy” Liddell raced cars from 1974-1981, and without a high school diploma and one welding class at Hawkeye Community College, Fuzzy Liddell made a big name for himself in the racing world.

“I just loved fast cars, going fast and not getting in trouble for it,” Liddell said.

Before racing, Liddell worked at Joe’s Auto Repair and Kmart auto center, but he had always wanted to race.

“I loved cars. I was always workin’ on ’em, and I loved it.”

When he was 17 years old, he started racing and, boy, was he good. At one point in the start of his career, the people than ran the races at Tunis Speedway in Waterloo on Sunday nights stopped Liddell from racing.

“Guess I was winning so much,” he laughed. “So, I took my red car and just painted it white, went back and won some more.”

In 1976 Liddell had 27 feature wins in one season.

“It’s a natural high, makes you feel good.”

Liddell was unbeatable in ’76, many referred to him as the “king of the roadrunners.”

Liddell and others, Scott Braun and Jeff Aikey, both graduated from Cedar Falls High School, raced at Tunis Speedway as well as in Independence, Webster City and Marshalltown.

The guys also raced in Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin and Virginia.

“We were all over the place.”

Liddell won the mid season and season championship. He also participated and won a big ⅝ mile race in Minnesota, where he built his own car to race.

Through all his racing days, his parents were always involved whether it was driving him to the away races or watching him every Sunday race at Tunis.

“I messed up the rear end and didn’t have the money to buy a new one. Then one day I walked in the garage where my car was, and my dad had bought a rear end for it. Yeah, that was neat.”

Liddell also had other supporters such as his wife, MaryAnn and his three daughters Tonya, Melanie and Shelly.

Regarding why he picked his race car number, 27, Liddell chose it because one of his favorite race car drivers had 72, so he switched it around plus his middle daughter, Melanie, was born Nov. 27.

“I just liked it, had to stick with it.”

He has made long lasting friendships with other racers such as Braun and Aikey but also Corey Dripps, Kurt Martin and Jack Mitchell.

But like all throughout life, some good things must have an ending.

“It just got too expensive. It was too much with the girls,” Liddell said.

After stopping in 1981, Liddell helped other drivers by being their lead mechanic in order for them win like Jeff Aikey and Corey Dripps.

With his background in racing and working on cars, Liddell started an at home auto repair in 1984 and opened his now shop “Fuzzy’s Auto Repair” in 1986.  At 59 years old, he has become a very successful business and repairman within the Cedar Valley.

“It was lots of fun. I was all about the racing back in the day.”

In today’s society everyone believes in order to achieve success and follow tradition, a person needs to graduate high school and college to obtain a good job. Fuzzy Liddell cut his school goals short to follow his dream of racing. In the end he became a successful businessman and a local race legend.

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