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See You At The Races!!!

by Gary "Hammerdown" Costa

"Through A Mothers Eyes" With Jo Anne Kaeding

Jo Anne, I would like to start off by thanking you for giving us fans a view of racing from a Mothers perspective.....
JK: Hey thank you Gary! Sometimes it's more about the dad in this sport.

How long have you been race chasin' now?
JK: We started going to the old San Jose Speedway when I was about nine. When I was 15, my mom married my step-dad Bob, and then it was Fremont every Thursday for the RURA races. Then San Jose on Saturday nights. Bob used to race VW's at Fremont. When I was 16, I started to race them. When I was about 7 months pregnant with Tim they made me quit. The doctors said that I could race but, everyone else made me quit.

I bet you could write a book with all the stories you have....
JK: I think that I could write a series of books with all of the stories that I have. Between being married to Brent for 15 years and now the past ten years with the boys racing. I have been personally involved in this sport for some 15 years. Heck, I knew Steve Kinser before he was married to Dana!

Another season that the boys are gettin' after it!
JK: Yes it is! This is a really big season for both of the boys with big changes in both of their careers. Tim with the full time WoO ride and Bud with his backing from Jason Leffler. Tim has really worked so hard for this chance, and it's hard for all of us to believe that it has finally come around. The biggest adjustment for Tim is that he is such a creature of habit and likes to be at home but, the Beef Packers rented a shop in Indy, so Tim has been staying with Bud. Bud's biggest change this season is financially, with the backing from Jason Leffler. As we all know in this sport money is everything. It will take a lot of pressure off of Bud and he can concentrate on racing.

I'm sure you're a proud Mother. Not just because of the boys' racing either. They're pretty neat kids....
JK: You know my kids are far from perfect, but they make me proud all of the time, both off and on the track. They're both really good people with really good hearts.

I'm sure you remember their first race. What were some of your thoughts and feelings leading up to that day?
JK: To tell you the truth I didn't even go to their first race. The nerves that were flying around our house just preparing for the event was more than I could handle. The boys were 7 and 8 and it was just a nightmare for them to get things together. Grandpa Bob and Brent took the boys. It was an indoor race at Hanford and they put soda syrup down so that it was sticky. From the stories that they each told me, I was glad that I wasn't there. There were crashes and crying and just total chaos. But, they did bring home trophies. They were hooked and the rest as they say....... is history!

Then they made the jump to Sprint Cars. Can you share a story from each of their first races. We want to know how Jo Anne was handling the pressure of seeing her boys behind the wheel for the first time....
JK: When they made the jump to Sprint Cars, it just kinda seemed natural. After I was divorced, Bud lived with his dad. I didn't go through all the turmoil and such for him getting ready. I think that is where most of the nerves come from. Bud and Tim's first race was in 1996 at the San Jose Fairgrounds with NARC. Bud raced his familiar #29 and he did well considering he was running a 360 against the 410's. I just remember being so relieved when it was over. Of course a few beers always helps! (laughs) Tim also raced that night in a car that he got in at the last minute. Frank (one of Bob's friends) got him the ride. It was a yellow #14 and if I remember correctly, he blew it up. It wasn't until a couple races into the season that Tim teamed up with Rick Wright. The deal to get into Rick's car was that Tim had to bring a frame. Tim sold his Micro and used some of the money to buy the frame. The rest as they history!

I gotta say, they're pretty tough kids, especially to put Jack Hewitt through some of the things that they did and to live through it!
JK: The boys had to be tough! I mean look at who their parents are!(laughs) They had to put up with a lot in the stands when they were younger, with the people that hated their dad. You know how it is; people either love Brent or hate Brent, their is no in between. We lived with Hewitt for 3 or 4 months in 1983, and let me tell you, that will make anyone tough! You can't be a baby around him. When we were on the road the boys were 3 and 4 and they never got to go through a shy stage. They had to make friends or they just didn't have any. Actually, the only person who had a kid was Ron Shuman, so they became pretty good friends with Casey. 

How about the things that they put you through on the race track....
JK: You know I really have been lucky with watching the boys race. They seem to do their worst crashes when I am not around. I was at Watsonville the first time that Bud flipped, and it scared the crap out of me. You have to remember that he was only 16 and didn't have a driver license yet. When he crashed at Chico, I was at home. I got a call from someone telling me that they were taking Bud to the hospital. I called Enloe Hospital in Chico and they were checking him in. They told me that he was unconcious but, there was no sign of bleeding anywhere that they could see. They kept me informed of his condition. I didn't know what to do! Do I leave now or wait until morning? I didn't want to drive in a panic, so I went up the next morning. I was on the phone with Brent most of the night for if nothing else to calm him down. When I got there Bud was still unconscious and I walked over and put my hand on his, and said "Bud mom's here." He opened his eyes and said "hi mom.'' He was unconscious in the car and they were trying to get him out, but no one noticed that his hand had fallen on the headers until it burned through his glove. He had to have skin graphs on his index and middle fingers on his left hand. He also fractured his elbow and had a concussion. He was out for awhile. In 2002 the day before mother's day, Bud crashed at Terre Haute. He was supposed to come and spend Mother's Day with me. Instead he e-mailed me a picture of someone that I didn't even recognize. His face was swollen, around his eyes were black and the whites of his eyes were filling up with blood. He didn't break the bloods vessels, they were literally filling up with blood. He looked really awful. I was living in Ohio at the time, so I went to see him. Unfortunately he was out most of the season with vision problems. Tim has crashed a few times, but has never really been hurt. As Tim says "Mom I worry about Bud, he's fragile."

They both have an extremely aggressive driving style. How do you manage to keep your cool when they're out there fighting tooth and nail....
JK: You know they do, but they both have such different driving styles. Tim has driven so many cars that weren't always setup right, that he had to learn how to drive an ill handling car. So, he can make a less than perfect car work. Bud has always had a good crew and his cars were pretty close to perfect all the time. Plus they both run different venues. Bud struggles a little with a wing now, and Tim has only run one non-winged show, so it has been a while since they have fought tooth and nail. When they both raced together more it was awful. One night at the S.J. Fairgrounds Bud was running his dad's 360 and he and Tim were in the main. Bud pulled a slide for life on Tim (and you know slide jobs, they either work or they don't) this one didn't work. Bud hit Tim and folded the front end, and Bud flipped off of turn 4! Needless to say, I was less than happy when I got to the pits. But, they were OK. I just got back from Knoxville and Tim simply amazes me. He has come such a long way from the first time he was there...Wow!

When they're both in a heat race for example, do you feel more anxiety?
JK: I used to think that the associations use to plan that they started in the same heat. It seemed no matter where we went, they would be in the same heat. The thing that was bad was, that they would forget that there were other cars on the track! Then when you would throw Brent into the mix, there were some bad moments. That was when they were younger. Now that they have come into their own, they know who they are, and they respect each other.

Scenario; They're both in the heat, Tim wins, but Bud doesn't even transfer, or vice-verse, as a Mother how do you handle the two extremes?
JK: Didn't this just happen at the Mini Gold Cup! The Mini Gold Cup was Bud's first winged race in a year. I just reminded him that it was his first winged race in a year, and that these were guys that he's not used to racing with. He was fine with it all. It used to always be Tim that I was consoling. It didn't seem to matter what he did, something would fall off the car or some other stupid thing would happen. The 1996 360 Winter Nationals at Chico was a 360 race that set people on the edge of their seats. Tim and Bud battled lap after lap for the lead. I mean back and forth from 1st to 2nd almost every lap! Tim finally got held up by lapped traffic, and slid too high. Bud won and Tim was 2nd. The announcer asked me if I had anything to say on the mic. and I had to say "no." I mean what do you say? You are so happy for one kid, and a little heart broken for the other. But, we all had a really good time that night.

They have both won some big races. Which ones bring you your fondest memories?
Tim; This one is really hard. Of course his first NARC win. I am going to have to go with one that wasn't even a win. The 2002 Gold Cup Saturday night. When Tim finished second to Steve Kinser. It's my Visa commercial; Three night of tickets $120.00, several trips to the beer stand and lost count, Steve Kinser walking down the track to hug my kid = Priceless! Of course qualifying night of the Knoxville Nationals last year. To have been there so many times, and to have never even to have made the B main before, we were all in tears.

Bud; You know Bud left California in 2000, and I have missed a lot of his wins. But when he won the Lloyd Beard Classic in 1996, it was really memorable to me. I was pregnant with Bud when Lloyd was killed at Calistoga. Most of the guys that were racing the Beard that year didn't even know who he was. Bill Spencer interviewed me and I think I had everyone, including Bill in tears. Bud will more than likely say it was the Sprint Car leg on the 4-crown at Eldora. He had flipped pretty bad there, and it was big for him to go out and win that race.

They are so determined to win and give it their all, the term "refuse to lose" comes to mind when they're on the track.
JK: The one thing that the boys are never lacking is determination. They love racing and they give it all that they have each and every time they are on the track.

It's gotta be tough when you're at home and the kids are racing somewhere.....
JK: I hate that I can't be there to watch the boys. Most of my weekends are spent listening to the races on the internet now. I am not sure if I like this internet stuff yet or not. It kills me not to be able to see what is going on. There are some nights that I have Bud's race going as well as Tim's. No, I don't have a life! (laughing). I still live with Tim, so his being gone is a little hard. Tim has raced here for so many years now, it kind of sucks to have him gone. Tim's first season in the 10 car, he and I went to every race together. One night when we got to Hanford and all of the guys were getting out of their trucks. I asked Tim, "Doesn't it bother you to go to the races and be the only guy to get out of a car with your mom?" Tim just said, "No, cuz it's you mom and that's cool." I have done some traveling with both of the boys. When Bud left in 2000, he and I got in his pickup and drove to Indiana. We also took Chico the dog. That was some bonding time. Actually, we had a really good time and I did learn that Bud is a terrible driver!

How do you deal with the dangers of their chosen profession?
JK: You know it really is dangerous, but so is stepping out of your front door everyday. I don't worry as much as I used to. Both of the boys have learned to drive with the brains more than just the gas pedal. I worry more about the other guy and what they're going to do, than I do Tim or Bud. I know that they will make the right choices. They seem to have that same nack that Brent has always had in getting through things that most drivers don't get through. I just say a little prayer each time they are on the track and ask that they be safe. What else can you do? You certainly can't stop them. This year at Knoxville, I was standing during the four abreast parade lap, I got such chills. Just the sound of the race cars and thinking, that is my kid out there! It is such a scary feeling, yet it is such a proud feeling to know that your child is living his dream.

With such a competitive nature, and having such a strong will to win as they do, their comes the times when they're down, what advice do you give your sons?
JK: Yes, they both doubt themselves at times. I just remind them that they are better than what is going on. You've gotta take the good with the bad. They have been around it so long they understand it, but sometimes they just need mom to say "I Love You." Sometimes that goes a long way.

Like we mentioned earlier, you've been around this deal for a long time. What advice can you give to the Mothers out there who's Son or Daughter is in racing or is just getting into racing?
JK: The only advice a mother needs is just to always let your children know that you love them. Raise them to be good people and know who they are. I think it is universal for moms raising kids....

Well Jo Anne, I would like to take this time to thank you, and of course I wish you and your family a safe and prosperous year. Thanks again!

JK: Thank you Gary!

*A special thanks to Jo Anne and family for all your help with the photos. I wish you all the best!*

To keep up on the latest news regarding Tim and Bud Kaeding be sure to visit Tim at or Bud at

To contact Gary






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