Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Feder Family Hobby

Steve Feder’s number 45 modified has been a fixture at the Lernerville Speedway for the past seven seasons. When he takes to the track at the Sarver, PA oval on Friday nights he does so with his family watching him in the stands and when he returns to the pits his family is there to help him wrench on the car.

Feder’s family has been there to help out since the beginning and they continue to help out on the car today.  

“My Dad, Mom, Brother, and Sister all help out on the car not only on race nights, but during the week in the shop too,” Feder said. “It’s a big family activity. It keeps us all together.”

Steve’s dad Harold, his mother June, his brother Matt, his sister Jennifer and Matt’s fiancee Liz all play a role on the team.

“My Brother, a buddy of mine and I put the motors together and my dad and mom help out with tires,” Feder said. “At the track my sister does the record keeping and does tire pressures and shocks. My brother’s fiancée does a lot of the social media work and my little nephews help out washing the car. My brother-in-law and cousin help out too.”

Feder first got into racing when he took to the track in a lawn mower at the former Shadetree Speedway in Butler, PA. He raced lawn mowers for two seasons (2004-05) and then moved into the modified ranks.

“My dad had worked on Tim Temple’s modified back in the day and he was still running a little bit so we started going to the races with him and then I met Dave Murdick who helped me start looking for a car to run,” Feder said. “Knowing people in that division kind of steered me in the direction of getting one."

Feder purchased a modified in the fall and worked on his car through the winter with help from Murdick. He made his debut in the spring of 2007 at Lernerville Speedway.

“I remember the first night it was my Dad, my brother and me,” Feder said. “None of us had much experience as far as working on the car and I had never really driven anything as far as a race car goes. The first night was really a whirlwind tour because there was so much to do that I almost didn't have time to get nervous.”

The rookie season was a solid one for Feder. He won Rookie of the year honors for both Lernerville and the BRP Modified Tour.

The team continued to gain on the learning curve with more experience, but there were bumps along the way.

“As we got faster we had some challenges and tore some equipment up," Feder said. “Sometimes though, when you learn some lessons the hard way you tend to remember them better.”

Those lessons started paying off for Feder and the 45 team late in the team’s second season and into the third year when the results starting coming from the work they had been putting in.

“We bought a car from Gary Risch that upgraded our equipment going in our second year,” Feder said. “When we got our first top ten it got us feeling that we were getting up to speed and going in the right direction. The fourth year is when we started running faster and even more competitive.”

The team continued to get faster and Feder purchased his first new car in 2011, a Bicknell chassis, but engine problems kept them from getting that car on the track for the season.  It did however make its debut in 2012 and it was fast right out of the gate.

“We were really in the hunt trying to get that first win all season,” Feder said. “We had a couple heartbreakers at Lernerville. We got passed on the last lap for the win after leading all the laps of the feature and things of that nature.”

The hunt for that first win came to an end on September 1, 2012 and in a big way. Feder was able to defeat a strong field of cars in the Russ King Memorial, a BRP Modified tour race at Sharon Speedway.

“I hadn’t been to Sharon much at all,” Feder said. “We started fourth in the race and the car took off and we went forward. It was definitely unexpected to get our first win. The whole family was there so that was an awesome experience. The Russ King Memorial is one of the highest paying races in our area so that was a great win to get let alone my first win.”

Feder backed up his first win by winning again at Sharon the next time the modifieds raced there a few weeks later.

“We started on the outside pole and led every lap,” Feder said. “I know sometimes that second win can elude people for a while so it was good to get that out of the way.”

Feder is coming off a season where he finished 6th in the Lernerville point standings and 12th in the BRP Modified point standings. A win at the famed Lernerville track has evaded the Butler, PA driver to this point, and it is something that he would like to cross off the list in 2014.

“That’s the goal this year,” Feder said. “We’re still chasing it there. It is the place I've turned the most laps and it is the home track. The competition is pretty steep there, but I think we can do it.”

Feder plans on racing at Lernerville weekly as well as running the BRP tour races when he can. They also plan on running at Sharon some too.

The 45 car will have Johnson’s Auto Service of Butler, PA, who has been with Feder since he started racing a modified, as a sponsor this year as well as Starr Graphics, who does all the wraps for the car, JNJ Sports Media,, who does the wrap designs for the car, McLafferty Heating and Cooling,, who will be back for their second season on the car, and Steve’s Auto Body of Butler, PA who helps with painting the car and helps on the crew as well.

Feder plans on having his car at the Lernerville Clearview Mall car show on March 20-22 so you can check out his car there as well as many others that weekend.

You can follow the Feder Racing team on Twitter by going to or @FederRacing.

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