Cole Schill would prefer not to be organizing a special race this summer. After his dad Howie Schill died last December, though, Cole couldn't imagine a better way to honor the River Cities Speedway veteran.
On Friday night, RCS' late model race will be the Howie Schill Memorial, a Northern Late Model Racing Association special. The winner will receive $1,404, a nod to Howie's No. 4 racecar.
"We're honored that the family chooses RCS to honor him," Grand Forks late model driver Brad Seng said. "He was very young to be passing away and left behind a great family and a great racing family."
Seng said the track expects around 35 late models for the event.
"We kind of got through the hard grieving process and sometime in February messaged (Seng) and said can we do something in honor of him," said Cole, who lives in Horace and has raced at both RCS and Fergus Falls' track during his career. "(Howie) was very well-liked in the racing community."
Cole hopes the event can become an annual occurrence.
"I think it'll be a pretty good event and hopefully years to come ... I'll finish up details with Brad ... but hopefully it's bigger and better every year to honor dad," Cole said. "He wasn't just a racer or father but a friend to so many and willing to help anyone. If he had it, he'd give it to them. He was that way. To me, there's no better way to honor him than an event honoring what a man he was."
Cole plans to race in the event.
"There's a lot of emotion with it," he said. "Even leading up to it there's emotion. We've been reached out to by people who are coming and friends we haven't seen in a while that are coming to watch. It's very emotional because there's so much support on the back side that people don't realize with an event like this. It's humbling, to say the least."
Overall, Howie won 33 feature races including 12 at RCS. He also served as NLRA president from 2004-09.
Howie's late model career began in 1994 and ran for 20 years before assisting with Cole's racing.
Howie's brother Troy Schill and cousin Lance Schill are also RCS regulars.
Racing begins at 7 p.m. with sprints, Advantage RV Mod Tour and Rebel Midwest Mod tour also on the schedule.