Jerry Muenster: Still Racing and Winning at Age 83

Jerry Muenster: Still Racing and Winning at Age 83

When Jerry Muenster started racing, John F. Kennedy was the U.S. president. At the end of June, he won a heat race at Shawano Speedway in Wisconsin. Don’t tell Muenster that you can’t still be competitive and have fun when you get older.

“Life expectancy is getting longer, and there are no age restrictions at most racetracks,” Muenster, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, said. “When they keep upping the age expectancy, I hoping that is for me, too. Now, it is a proven fact that an 83-year-old can get the job done.”

Muenster started racing at age 20 and has competed in the sport every year since then.

“I’ve seen an incredible amount of change over the years,” said Muenster. “Nothing is the same. We started out with stock cars — no divisions, no classes. We ran ’30s vintage Fords, Chryslers and Plymouth coupes pulled from the fields. Power was from stock six-cylinders and small V-8s.”

Muenster moved from the stock classes into late models, racing on both pavement and dirt during his first 30 years in the sport. Then, in 1988, he and his son, Eddie, switched to what was a new division back then — dirt modifieds.

“We thought dirt modifieds would be a good class to compete in and would be a lot of fun,” Muenster said. “It proved to be just that.”

Over the course of his career, Muenster has won several track championships. However, his love for the sport keeps him coming back.

“I’ve been around for seven decades because I make racing fun first,” Muenster said. “If racing becomes a chore or job for you, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

In addition to his son, Muenster also has grandchildren racing, too, including Lauren Muenster, Jerry Vander Loop and J.J. Vander Loop.

“It’s been a good life — so far,” said Muenster. “I’m fortunate for my family and crew that surrounds me.”

Jerry Muenster currently sits third in points for the ultra-competitive modified division at Shawano Speedway. In nine features at the track, he has two top-fives and eight top-10s. The octogenarian offered the following advice for those wishing he follow his footsteps.

“Don’t sit around as you get older,” Muenster said. “I walk on the treadmill every day. I don’t do any heavy lifting. Those are the first two things that worked well for me. Lastly, keep your weight where it belongs. It will mess up your health and your car’s setup if you don’t.”