This employee profile article is republished from our Featherlite Employee Newsline.
May 12, 2023 – In 2006, Featherlite employee Steve Holthaus stepped aside from racing to let his stepson and fellow Featherlite employee Chris Hovden take over the wheel of his racecar. Needless to say, that only lasted for one season. Steve was back on the racetrack the next year, and ever since it’s been a full family affair with Steve and Chris battling it each week.
Although the season is young yet, it’s already had its milestones. This year, Steve, who has been racing since 1985, will have his first brand new purchased chassis. Chris is leading in national points in USRA Hobby Stocks as of May 10. And for both, they are looking forward to racing weekly at Deer Creek Speedway near Spring Valley, Minn., which is adding the Hobby Stock class to their weekly schedule.
Steve’s passion for racing began when he was 18 years old, and he attended his first race ever and watched a good friend race. He said he was hooked after that and got in his own car the following year. Winning the feature race in West Union the first night he ever raced didn’t hurt either.
Steve married Chris’ mother, Kim, when Chris was a young boy. “I went to the races with my mom all the time,” Chris said. “It just became a family thing. I don’t know anything else.”
When Chris started racing back in 2006, it only took him three nights to record his first feature win. “I’ve always enjoyed the competitiveness of racing,” Chris said. “It takes a lot of hand/eye coordination, and I enjoy that you never stop learning each week when you’re racing.” Both agree they love the adrenaline rush.
“We do almost everything ourselves as far as building and maintaining the cars,” Steve said. “When you do good, it’s a good feeling knowing you did that yourself.”
One could say Steve and Chris can be described as more than just “good.” Steve’s stats, as of May 10, include 24 track championships and 177 feature wins, while Chris boasts 12 track championships, 127 feature wins and a national championship in 2009.
Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wisc., is their favorite track to race at currently. Chris travels to tracks all over the region to race, while Steve says he races at tracks a little more closer to home these days.
Both are excited this year to be racing at Deer Creek Speedway, which Featherlite has been a long-time sponsor of, along with the annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree. Although Steve’s class previously wasn’t a regular feature at the track, he has a history there as well. He raced in the first ever race at Deer Creek Speedway and finished in 2nd place in an Outlaw Special they held.
As of this interview on May 10, Chris was already leading the USRA Hobby Stock national points, while Steve was awaiting his first race. Both are also just looking forward to a fun summer of racing that has become a family affair.
“It’s a good family-oriented sport where you learn a lot about sportsmanship,” Chris said, whose wife Chelsey and three children have embraced the same passion for the sport that he has. Steve echoes that by saying his nine grandchildren all enjoy looking for Grandpa and Uncle Chris’s numbers (70 for Steve and 07 for Chris) and colors each week.
Steve agrees about the importance of sportsmanship and said he always taught the kids to never boo during the races. “Racing is really a family,” Steve said. “Whenever someone needs it, you go over and help.”
Chris’ twin brother Kyle, who works in the Featherlite Custom Service Center, is probably one of their biggest fans and plays a key role in the pits, helping both with whatever work needs to be done on the cars. “There’s a lot of hard work that goes into racing,” Kyle said. “It’s rewarding to watch it pay off.”
“Both [Steve and Chris] push each other to be better, and they really enjoy racing against each other,” Kyle said.
We know Steve and Chris have a lot of fans within the Featherlite family, and we wish both a great racing season!