Woodrow E. “Woody” Brinkman was born February 8, 1924 in Winner, South Dakota and lived there until moving to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1932. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he was discharged in February, 1946 to pursue a working career and his love affair with the automobile.
In 1947 while traveling to races with Russ Biegley of Lincoln and his midget, Woody kept goading Russ to “let him drive”, finally Russ relented and Woody spent several years racing midgets for various owners. His racing career was somewhat interrupted by the Korean War, although Woody managed to do some driving in the Seattle area when he was back in port. Returning to Nebraska, he continued to race and found time to marry Elizabeth (Betty) Estes in 1952.
In 1953 Woody started a long relationship with IMCA and National Speedways, Inc. He started working for Al Sweeney, performing advance work for race meets; this included traveling ahead, putting up posters and general public relations with the newspapers and radio stations in the area. When time permitted, Woody would drive back to the town of a current race and help work the race performing a number of tasks. It was a relationship that would last for more than 20 years until in 1978 Woody decided to retire from the trials, and tribulations and fun of officiating at race meets.
During this time, Woody became more and more involved with NSI, and in 1954 or 1955 flagged his first race at Fargo, North Dakota, and went on to become one of the most respected starter/flagman in the business. He became a Vice President of National Speedways, Inc (NSI) on September 9, 1970 purchasing a one-half interest in the organization with Gene Van Winkle. In 1977, when NSI was sold to a group in Iowa, he continued working as a consultant for the new owners for another year, before retiring from the sport.
In addition to criss-crossing the country ever year promoting and flagging countless races, Woody also owned ABC Delivery Service, specializing in local deliveries for many years. Woody also had a long career in auto sales, for 22 years with Fred King, Jr. operating out of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Woody and his wife, Betty still live in Lincoln, Nebraska.