Family, friends remember racecar driver after death at Deer Creek Speedway

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 8:22 PM CDT
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BLOOMING PRAIRIE, Minn. (KTTC) – Caleb Korpi died after suffering a massive cardiac event at Deer Creek Speedway. His family, friends, and coworkers spoke to KTTC in his honor.

“As a person, he was my best friend and the love of my life. Something I’ll never find again,” said Caleb’s widow Tami.

Caleb Korpi had a passion for racing and cars, which his family says showed in every part of his life.

“He did it all himself. He built his own motors and put his cart wrench on his car himself,” Tami Korpi said.

Tami says she was in disbelief when she found out Caleb was unconscious during a race. When it happened, she says she assumed something had malfunctioned with his car.

“I thought he hit something, and his car broke,” Tami said. “He was coming out of corner four and coming into the straightaway, then his car started slowing and slowing and then he reared off.”

Caleb and Tami were married for over 25 years, and she says he was seen as a father figure to many.

“I lived with Caleb and Tami, my aunt and uncle, for quite a bit of my life, and he was always like a father to me,” said Caleb’s niece, Brittany Ellis. “My fiancé knew how much he meant to me, so he asked for his hand in marriage for their approval.”

“Our business is like a family,” said Breauna Riewe, an owner of Koster’s Car Korner, Caleb’s employer. “Caleb’s kind of the jokester, the funny, like the Dad of our crew. Everybody called him right away. Anytime any of us needed something, we’d call him.”

Within days after his death, Caleb’s niece Ellis set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for his medical and funeral expenses, which has so far raised over $7,000.

“He was doing what he loved every day, whether it was working on his car or helping somebody out,” said Caleb’s brother Josh.

“I truly believe that he died happy,” Tami said. “Doesn’t make it easier for the rest of us, but I do believe he died happy.”