West Salem's "racing family" prepares for 26th season

WEST SALEM, Wis. - Weather pending, racing begins April 20 at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, which means there's lots of prep work to be done for four drivers that share the same garage: the Eckelbergs.

Curt, Kim, Jon and Mandi Eckelberg all race.

"With my UPS job, I'm not home much, and they're off in college now too," Curt said. "We don't see them that often but at least Saturday nights, we're all together."

Curt and Kim Eckelberg have been racing as long as they've been married: 26 years. They passed their love for left turns on to their kids.

"They kind of grew up with it, and ever since they could sit, they were at the track," said Kim, who races in the Queen Bees class.


"That's all I knew growing up, so it was normal to me," said Mandi, who races in the Sportsmen class.

"I started going to the races when I was a couple weeks old, and went pretty much every week since then," Jonathan said. "I knew that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps."

This year, Jon is doing just that. He's moving up to the highest level of racing at the speedway: the Late Models. That means for the first time, he'll be racing against dad.

"It'll be really exciting I think. I'm extremely excited about it, to be on the same track as him," Jon said.

"It's gonna be fun I think. I can't wait to lay a bumper on him," Curt said.

"He's definitely got the better car, but I'll definitely try and give him a run for his money," Jon said.

"I just hope they both do well," said Kim. "As long as they're safe. That's all that matters."

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