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NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series News
LOCAL LEGENDS: 'Beech Boys' Still Having Fun After All These Years
Apr 20, 2009 - updated Apr 20th, 2009 8:26pm
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Bilodeau And Crew Prepared For 34th Season
By Paul Schaefer, NASCAR
April 20, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is filled with drivers who have achieved tremendous success at their home track, running week in and week out over the years. These are the drivers that have become synonymous with the tracks where they collected wins and championships. Throughout the season, NASCAR will profile these local legends that make up the cornerstone of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
A popular Hall of Fame driver is gearing up for what could be one of the most competitive of his 34 seasons.
Bub Bilodeau, 52, of Standish, Me., enjoys the challenges of racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, a .333-mile paved oval in Scarborough, Me.
His success in stock car racing continues to bring him many honors, topped by enshrinement in the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. He also has three NASCAR Pro Series Division track championships at Beech Ridge and two NASCAR state titles.
Bilodeau sums up the key to his success with two words: “team work.”
“The pit crew is what keeps us running,” Bilodeau said. Crewmen include Tom Nason, Jason Iman, Mike Wardell and Bruno Anderson.
The volunteer crew keeps the Adams & Fogg Oil Equipment/Pit Stop Fuels Chevrolet on track week in and week out.
There are other keys to success at Beech Ridge.
“You can have no motor but a good handling car and do well here,” Bilodeau said. “Beech Ridge is a finesse track. You can’t hustle a car or you’ll slip and slide. One year Richie Evans came here with a big engine in a Modified and finished last. The next year, he came back, lapped the field and won. I asked him what he changed in the car and he said he ran the biggest steering wheel he could find and drove it like he had an egg under the gas peddle.”
“Beech Ridge is just a great place to be. A lot of us grew up there and it’s got a family atmosphere. People aren’t in a hurry to leave when the races are over.”
Bilodeau believes the economy will benefit the competition at Beech Ridge this year. Some traveling teams will stay closer to home and that could bring regular event fields in excess of two-dozen.
“It’ll be competitive on Saturday nights at Beech Ridge,” he said.
Track operator Andy Cusack agrees with Bilodeau’s assessment, but he’s observed the driver’s rise to the top.
“I remember watching him when he was starting out in the Street Stocks more than 30 years ago,” Cusack said. “Now he’s at the top of his game in our top division. He’s a tenacious competitor. He’s serious about what he does on the track. At the same time, he enjoys it and has fun with it. They’ve got everything figured out at Beech Ridge.”
Cusack expects a major shake-up in the dynamics of NASCAR Pro Series Division at Beech Ridge this year.
Bobby Babb, who has split wins and championship with Bilodeau over the last five years, is stepping out of his car to focus on the Pro Series Division efforts of his teen-age son Bradley. In addition, another top name in Maine stock car racing, Mike Rowe, has registered to compete full-time at Beech Ridge this year.
“Mike is the Richard Petty of Maine racing,” Cusack said. “This will be the first time Mike and Bub have raced together for a track championship. Mike’s crew chief is Dick Fowler, and he’s won titles here with Mike Johnson and Mike Maietta.
“Age and experience are going to keep things really competitive at Beech Ridge this year.”
Be sure to check www.nascarhometracks.com often for all the news about the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
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