Going fast is a way of life for the Rister family of Alton.
Duane and Candy Rister own a pair of auto repair facilities in Alton and Godfrey. They have two children, Abbie and Trevor. Abbie recently graduated from Alton High and Trevor is a junior this year. All of them have one thing in common — they love to be around fast motorsports.
“Fast,” in the case of the Risters, means traveling the eighth-mile in 3.69 seconds at more than 200 miles per hour. And they compete as a family. The travel together, they work together as crew members — they truly are a team.
Like so many racers, Duane started his racing career with motocross and moved into drag racing three years later.
“In high school I built a narrowed Camaro with nitrous, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said.
Before going Pro Modified racing, Duane, like so many other drag racers, started with bracket racing.
“My first bracket car was a 2000 Corvette that ran 7.70s in the quarter mile,” Duane said. The 7.70 refers to the amount of time (in seconds) it takes for the front wheels to break the starting line beam to the time the nose of the car breaks the beams at the finish line, in this case 1,320 feet later, or a quarter mile.
Currently the Risters run a Tim McAmis-built 1968 supercharged Camaro capable of speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour in just 660 feet, or an eighth mile.
Candy is the mother of two, the shop manager at the family business and crew chief for the family race team. For 26 years Duane and Candy have been racing together and working together for 24 of them.
“I have worked at our business, Rister’s Auto & Trans, since we opened it in 1991, so I have learned a lot from being there every day,” Candy said.
She knew a little about racing before she met Duane, but not drag racing.
“My first drag race was at the ‘old’ Gateway,” she said.
She has learned a lot from working at the shop every day, but her specialty is working on the race car.
“I have to; when we go racing, it’s just Duane, the kids and I,” she quipped.
Along with Duane and Candy are their two children, Abbie and Trevor. Both children are crew for the team. Both have various roles within the team. Both thoroughly enjoy watching dad drive really fast.
“I think it is cool that my dad drives a Camaro over 200 miles per hour,” Abbie said. “Just the speed alone amazes me.”
Trevor added: “It’s crazy; that’s fast.”
Abbie and Trevor love embarking on racing adventures with their family. It’s a lot of fun for the whole clan.
“I love it when we go out of town racing; it is like a vacation every time we go out,” she said.
Trevor continued: “I like going to the races. I have made several friends over the years.”
Being a member of a racing team is fun, but each member has a job to do and there is a time to do it. Trevor helps with the car before, during and after a race.
“I help load and unload the car, service the car between every round, pull the valve covers, change spark plugs, change the belt and fix anything that is broken. It takes a lot of work,” Trevor said. “After every race we have to check all the bearings and look at all the rods and usually have to fix something that has broken.”
Abbie is the team’s videographer, which puts her right on the starting line.
“We each have a certain job to do and we have to do it, otherwise we can’t make runs,” Abbie said.
Duane embraces having his family with him on racing trips. He believes it’s a good bonding experience and it motivates all of them to do a good job and have fun.
“I would not think about going racing without the support of my family. It’s just not some guy in the car; it’s their dad, so they do the best job possible,” Duane said. “I have taught them, so my crew knows what they are to do and follow through. They all have fun with the other families and crews.”
But Duane credits more than just his family for their support.
“I have excellent technicians at the shop, so that allows me to go racing,” Duane said.
Spare time for the Risters is spent working on the car during the summer months, but in the winter it’s time to snowmobile, Candy said.
They like to spend time with friends riding in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Riding snowmobiles is an activity the family has been doing for 17 years. In fact, they ride so often throughout the winter that Candy’s 2006 Yamaha Apex has more than 20,000 miles on it.
“Our kids love to ride,” Candy said.
Whether on pavement or snow, the Risters are living life in the fast lane.
Follow #ADVsports on Twitter