The final chapter of Lake County (or Interlakes) Speedway has been written with the death of Eldon "Elt" Ristesund. Elt died in Howard on Nov. 23 at the age of 94.

Ristesund operated Elt's Drive Inn at the corner of SD-34 and Washington Ave. in Madison.

He was a race car driver in the heyday of jalopy or modified stock cars immediately after the end of World War II. He and some fellow racing enthusiasts began work to build a speedway southeast of Madison during the summer of 1959. It was named Interlakes Speedway. Ristesund was named president of the newly-formed Interlakes Racing Association.

The first race at the track was held on July 22, 1960. The late Harold Petree of Sioux Falls won the race. After he gave up driving race cars, Ristesund became the track's flagman.

Interlakes Speedway had ups and downs over the years but always was popular with both drivers and fans. It was said to be the "best race track" in the Midwest. It operated until the fall of 2007.

Ristesund was one of the last remaining people who brought auto racing to Madison. He will be missed.

Gale Pifer

Sioux Falls, Nov. 28