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Keeping Pace

Havens family bring father-son act to track

Airway Heights resident Todd Havens, who grew up in Minnesota and raced street stocks in that area before “retiring” to start a railroad servicing business, and his 16-year-old son, Braeden, will compete this weekend in Sunset Speedway’s Adult Clone Engine class before wrapping up preparations for their INSSA debut set for May 22.


By Doug Pace

The Spokesman-Review

Fathers and sons have competed against each other in a variety of sports, often creating many memories for families and fans. In motorsports that can lead to a lineage of talent many Inland Northwest racing admirers know by names such as Garber, Tarr and Schweigert.

This year a new racing duo is set to debut in the Inland Northwest Super Stock Association.

Airway Heights resident Todd Havens, who grew up in Minnesota and raced street stocks in that area before “retiring” to start a railroad servicing business, and his 16-year-old son, Braeden, will compete this weekend in Sunset Speedway’s Adult Clone Engine class before wrapping up preparations for their INSSA debut set for May 22.

For the younger Havens the weekend marks the second consecutive year of running side by side with his father at the one-fifth-mile Sunset Speedway.

Their experiences have been rewarding, according to father and son.

“From the time Braeden started racing in go-karts (in 2003), I always wanted to race him,” Todd said. “I saw Dan and his son Colton Garber racing against each other in the ICAR series the last few years and decided – why couldn’t we do that? After our team got Braeden comfortable in his late model at selected events last year, we purchased a new car over the winter and I thought, ‘Why not live my dreams?’ ”

After discussing the idea with Braeden and their sponsors, Hilliard Enterprises and Power Systems International, a plan was formulated for the Havens family to join the list of fathers and sons who have raced one another at short tracks across the region.

While the father is all about racing his son, the competitor in Braeden is all about winning on the track – no matter who is running against him.

“(Racing against my Dad in late models) will be much faster and more intense then go-karts, that’s for sure,” Braeden said. “He’s still my dad and I would allow him to be a close second in our late model races, but I want to be clear that he’s running second while I aim for a win when we load up and head to the track.”

Braeden wants to live up to family expectations when it comes to competition.

“My dad pushes me to run hard in every race,” he said. “If he is in my rearview mirror when we’re out there racing in the late models, I know I’ll work as hard as possible to keep him back there while also being patient about what is going on around me.

“We’ve had a lot of fun racing in the karts and I know we will with the late models.”

The elder Havens understands he has work to do for a successful 2010.

“I know if (Braeden) has anything to do with it, I will be finishing behind him,” Todd said. “I have a very simple goal and that is to have fun racing against my son. We’ve been pretty fortunate to have David Garber and Jim Dodson come in and help get our cars ready, and to work with me on driving and improving each time we go practice.

“Heck, I’m proud of the fact that my lap times at Stateline are getting faster each practice just by driving in Dave’s line.”

While Todd aims to have fun in karts and stock cars racing against his son, it’s serious business when it comes to potential success for the younger Havens.

“Our plan is to race INSSA and have (Braeden) contend for Rookie of the Year,” he said. “If everything goes well, we plan to go back to Montana and try to make the 200 again after just missing last summer – plus do the same for the Idaho 200 – and we’re hoping to race in Las Vegas and California later this fall.”


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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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