By Stan Kalwasinski
Washington Island, Wis.—Midwest midget racing champion Bill Krueger passed away here on January 10 at the age of 80. Krueger, racing out of Maywood and Lombard, Ill., during his career, was the champion of the United Auto Racing Association (UARA) in 1969, taking the title over Bill Kollman, Jim Gates, rookie of the year Tom Steiner and Phil Stebbins.
Krueger drove his father-in-law, Max Reichenbach’s bob-tail No. 132 midget to the championship finishing in the “top four” six times, including a feature win at Illinois’ Rockford Speedway. A noted car builder and fabricator, Reichenbach had been involved in local midget racing for many years, including being a winning car owner during the first year of UARA racing in 1947. Reichenbach & Krueger Race Car Builders was in business for a number of years. Krueger married Reichenbach’s daughter, Lois, and they had seven children.
Krueger began racing midgets with UARA in 1964 and finished 22nd in the standings in his rookie season. He was 24th in 1965 and 14th in 1966, capturing his first career feature win in the red and black Reichenbach No. 8 on September 9, 1966 at Joliet Memorial Stadium ahead of Bob Richards and John Lode. Krueger ended up eighth in the UARA points in 1967 and fifth in 1968, winning feature races at Joliet during those seasons.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Krueger enjoyed his championship season in 1969 and finished fourth in the UARA standings in 1970, winning main events at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind., and at Blue Island’s Raceway Park in the Reichenbach No. 132. He finished up his UARA career, finishing 17th in the standings in 1971 and 19th in 1972.
After his racing days were over, Krueger purchased Kap’s Marina in Washington Island, Wis., in the Door County area, which featured Ship’s Wheel Restaurant and boat and slip rentals. Krueger owned and operated the business since 1978.