ROCK FALLS RACEWAY - Drag racing may be done on a straight track, but for the Kuenster family of racers, their paths took them on a long and winding road.
Charlie Kuenster fell in love with the sport in 1964 and actively races to this day. Charlie’s sons, Steve, Dan, Jake, and Jerry, were each exposed to racing at an early age, and to understate it, it stuck.
“We didn’t golf, we didn’t fish, we didn’t hunt,” said Steve Kuenster. “We raced cars.”
Each of the Kuenster boys followed their father’s path and have continued racing each season, although their paths would never all cross in the same location. They’d manage to get two or three together for a weekend occasionally, but with family obligations, required maintenance, and other factors, never before had all five Kuenster racers run the same track on the same day.
But when the CTech Badger Classic popped up on the schedule at Rock Falls Raceway, the Kuensters had the chance to see their long, winding roads finally intersect, and they took it. All five of them finally raced together for the first time.
“It really meant everything in that, this is something that my dad has been talking about wanting to do for the last 10 years,” Steve said. “I’m very, very, very pleased that we were able to do this.”
The Kuensters are all Wisconsin based, with Charlie and Jerry (aka Hard Rock) located in Lancaster, Steve and Dan in Oshkosh, and Jake in Sun Prairie. It took some logistical management to coordinate everyone’s arrival, plus a little extra driving on Steve’s part, but they weren’t going to let anything stop their plan from coming to fruition.
“I had a friend of mine haul my car to the racetrack at Rock Falls,” Steve said. “Then I drove three hours south to our hometown, Lancaster, so that I could haul one of my dad’s race cars up to Rock Falls. Then on Sunday, I had to haul it back three hours, then get my car and drive north (to Oshkosh) three hours to get home.
“That’s kind of the extent of what we did to make sure it happened,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure that everybody made it there safe and back.”
For Charlie, it really was a dream come true to have his family all together at the track. He and his sons were also joined by his two daughters for the Father’s Day weekend event.
“We really, really enjoyed it,” he said. “Lord willing, we’ll be there again next year.”