Racing has Become a Family Affair for Featherlite Trailer Employees

Posted By: Samantha Darling LaCount NATM News,

For a pair of Featherlite Trailer Manufacturing, LLC employees, their jobs and favorite hobby are both a family affair. Steve Holthaus and Chris Hovden are both manufacturing supervisors with Featherlite and both are avid race car drivers.

Featherlite Trailer Manufacturing has been a member of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) since 1988. Featherlite is a sponsor and supporter of several equine, livestock, and motorsports organizations and events. This includes serving as the Official Trailer of NASCAR. 

Why Race Car Driving

Holthaus has been with Featherlite for 37 years and has been racing since 1985. He attended his first race to watch a friend. He was hooked and got in his own car the following year. He came away from his first race with a win and has never looked back, aside from a Tom Brady-esque retirement that lasted one season.

“I went to my first race when I was 18 and was hooked,” Holthaus said. “I was always into muscle cars and was always kind of a hellion. The track was a good place to have fun and not get in trouble. Ever since it has been a way of life for our whole family.”

Hovden has been a supervisor for seven years and has been with Featherlite for the past 19 years. He started racing in 2006 and won his first race three nights in. Holthaus is Hovden’s step-father. He grew up on the race track sidelines watching his dad race. 

“It was pretty cool getting to go to the races as a kid, especially since my dad was the one I was cheering for every night,” Hovden said. “I really never thought I was going to do it myself until I was older, as I didn’t start racing until I was 20 years old.” 

Featherlite is based in Cresco, Iowa, located in the northeast corner of the state less than 10 miles from the Minnesota border. Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wisconsin, is their favorite track to race. Hovden travels to tracks all over the region to race, while Holthaus says he races at tracks closer to home these days.

Competing History

Both are excited this year to be racing at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota, which Featherlite has been a long-time sponsor of, along with the annual Featherlite Fall Jamboree. Although Holthaus’ 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 second in an Outlaw Special they held.

Holthaus’ season starts later in the year and he is just getting warmed up. He says he's seen a lot of rainouts and is working on getting his new car dialed in. 

“Had some top five’s, no wins yet,” Holthaus said. 

For Hovden, the racing season starts in April and goes till October and they have races Friday, Saturday, and Sunday every weekend. Hovden says this has been one of his best seasons. 

“I have won 16 times and we are leading the USRA Hobby Stock National Points,” Hovden said. “I raced 35 times so far this year which I’ve never raced that many times this early in the season.”

Racing and Family

Winning is not the most important thing to father or son. Holthaus says racing has become a way of life for their whole family and that his nine grandchildren all enjoy looking for grandpa and uncle Chris’ numbers (70 for Holthaus and 07 for Hovden) and colors each week.

“I have three kids ages 10, 7, and 2. All of them love racing and especially watching me and cheering for me,” Hovden added. “My wife is a big part of my success as well, if she wouldn’t do what she does, I would be as successful as I am. My seven-year-old son absolutely loves racing and everything to do with it. He is really into flagging right now.”

Sharing the sport with family is easy when it’s something they both love so much. 

“It’s a good family-oriented sport where you learn a lot about sportsmanship,” Hovden said.

“Racing is really a family. Whenever someone needs it, you go over and help,” Holthaus said. “We do almost everything ourselves as far as building and maintaining the cars. When you do good, it’s a good feeling knowing you did that yourself.”

While they do most of the work themselves, it really is a family affair. Hovden’s twin brother, Kyle, who works in the Featherlite Custom Service Center, is a big fan and plays a key role in the pits, helping both with whatever work needs to be done on the cars. Hovden says his race competitors every week include his dad, uncle, and cousin as well. 

“I love how competitive the sport is and the harder you work at it the more you get out of it. I really like the people you meet racing and the friends they become,” Hovden. “My summers have always involved racing and I really can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Featherlite Trailer Manufacturing, LLC has been a member of NATM since 1988. To learn more about them visit