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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Boys of summers past Red Ahl, right, and Charlie Nelson on Tuesday, Red's 79th birthday, at Perkins Restaurant in Willmar.

Willmar Notebook: For Red, it was Ahl or nothin'

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Red Ahl got out of the Army in 1956 and moved from Bird Island to Willmar. He started racing stock cars at the half-mile track at the fairgrounds in Willmar.

He raced in jalopies and late models through 1976.

There was something about Red that made him one of the most popular drivers in the region.

"Well, he won a lot," said his pitman Charlie Nelson with a chuckle. "And he was always nice. He'd always stay and sign autographs."

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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