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Another Taves Behind the Wheel


Kate Taves by her #72 Lightning Sprint

If you’ve been a race fan in the Red River Valley for a while, the last name Taves sounds familiar.

John Taves of Detroit Lakes raced the No. 22 Wissota Modified for many years, and his brother, James Taves of Glyndon, also raced in the modifieds (and is also the Got Turkey? sponsor you see on the back of many race cars).

There is still a Taves on the race track — 14-year-old Kate from Detroit Lakes, John's daughter. She drives the No. 72 POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint. That tour races at area tracks such as Norman County Raceway, Buffalo River Speedway, Red River Valley Speedway, Devils Lake Speedway and River Cities Speedway.

Kate Taves (72) in action at Buffalo River Speedway.

The family connection helped Kate Taves, who will be a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School this fall, get the itch to start racing.

“My dad raced modified, and so did my uncle. That was part of the reason (I got into racing),” Kate Taves said. “And we live on kind of a farm and we dirt bike.”

She raced go-kart on asphalt one year — and still races one periodically at the Red River Kart Club — before jumping into the lightning sprints in 2020.

She’s improved steadily as she’s gotten more seat time. Her best finish is seventh, which she accomplished three times in 2020 — at Norman County Raceway on July 16, at Devils Lake on Aug. 15 and Red River Valley Speedway on Aug. 21.

“Going from asphalt to dirt is a big difference. There’s a lot more sliding,” Taves said. “It’s definitely a lot faster too, but really fun.”

Her dad and uncle are big influences.

“They’ve taught me everything I know about racing,” Taves said. “They’re always helping me out — but not doing it all for me, too, which is something that’s good so I can learn. I enjoy learning all about car setup.”


While she’s one of the youngest lightning sprint drivers out there, she has been welcomed by the other drivers on the tour.

“The group of lightning sprints, they’re all so nice and encouraging,” Taves said.

Her best finish on this young season is eighth at Devils Lake Speedway.

“I want to get more comfortable in the car, especially around traffic. Just getting more used to it,” Taves said. “I’m not going to push myself too much and just do the best I can.”

Driver Profile

Kate Taves

POWRi Minn-Kota Lightning Sprint #72

Age: 14

Hometown: Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Sponsor: RDO, Driveway Service, Mark Sand and Gravel

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