116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — It appears that racing may be hereditary in the Houdek family.
Patriarch Steve started taking his sons Clint and Cory to Hawkeye Downs when it was still dirt, and both boys eventually became drivers at the track once they became young men.
“I kind of grew up here with my family, and my older brother racing,” said Cory, who ran his No. 19 Sportsman with the MidAmerican Stock Car Series that visited Hawkeye Downs on Saturday night for the 1/2 Mile Extravaganza, an event that also featured the Midwest Truck Series and 602 Late Models. “I got the bug and have been doing it ever since."
Now 37, Houdek is spending his racing days trying to keep the fire alive while balancing a family that includes three children with his wife, Rachel.
“It’s my Friday Night Lights,” Houdek said. “Growing up here, guys were interested in football, or this and that, and I grew up at the track. I am slowing down a little bit, but I'm hoping to get my son into it soon.”
Houdek's oldest child, Dylan, is 9 and with daughters Molly and Lexi as well, the family is considering their options.
“He's the reason I'm still out here,” Houdek said. “He really loves it and has got that racing bug that I had. He always wants to be out here and working in the garage on the car. He's what's really keeping me rolling on it.”
The veteran racer plans on eventually changing his role with racing as his family business and aging children take more and more of his time, however, Houdek intends on remaining a fixture at the track that helped raise him.
“I have good friends who I help every night with their cars and I don't plan on going anywhere,” Houdek said. “I may not have my car, but I'll still be out here supporting any way I can because the kid sitting in the stands, as I once was, is watching these guys and looking up to them and you want to come out and enjoy the sights, the smells and the sounds. It's fun to be at the track.”
Not only does Houdek love Hawkeye Downs, he enjoys living and working in the community that his father Steve started the family business in back in 1993, and that Cory now runs with his brother Clint.
“It's large, but it's small enough that you know people here and there,” Houdek said. “It's a good community where everyone knows each other.”