Story By – Christopher Roy, originally posted on MaineRacing.com.
A new race season and a new racing adventure as 2011 Amsoil NELCAR Legends Champion, Evan Beaulieu, changes gears and get behind the wheel of a super late model. “This season we will be racing the 56 Super Late Model at BRMS in the Pro Series for Dan McKeage and the Naughty40 Racing team. This will be my first time driving in a full size car with fenders, and I’m looking forward to the challenge and I know we can succeed in this division just as we have in anything we’ve done.”
Legends and SLM are completely different types of race cars, “The racing will be the biggest difference, with the Legends Cars you can’t just put your fender to someone and move them, you have to have different tricks to do it and execute those tricks perfectly, or you’re in for a world of hurt. In a full size car with fenders, it’s easier to lean on someone and move them and be pushed around, especially where I’m going to be a rookie I don’t expect to get too many breaks. Also, this is the top division in Maine, and everyone there is there to win, they don’t spend the money and work six nights a week on the car to finish second. The competition is what I’m really looking forward to and we need to be on our A game all season to succeed. As far as the two cars are speed wise, the Legends Cars are the next fastest car weekly at BRMS, so it’s not like the speed will be that much different between the two.”
Though Evan, did get some seat time in a late model last season, which will help as he gets behind the wheel of his new SLM. “The only late model I’ve driven is an ACT style car. Those cars are a lot like a Legends Car where a lot of it is “spec”, and it handles like a tank compared to the loose characteristics of the Legends Cars. The wider tire and added horsepower in a Super Late Model I believe will fit my style of driving a lot more, but we will see when we break it out to test next month.”
Evan’s father Todd has been and Evans Crew Chief since he raced in karts and is also making the transition to SLM this race season. “He’s still in charge of setup and our crew, he’s still the lead guy every Saturday night. The great thing about our deal with Dan McKeage is we have the car here at our shop, and we get to work on it and have him as a guide to help us through the learning process, just as we always have when we were working through the ranks. With us, we have always been new to the game, my dad doesn’t have any prior racing experience so we’ve always had to have someone to lean on, Ashline’s, Timmons, Curit and Bubar to name a few in karts, Weymouth and Kirk in Legends Cars, and now McKeage with the SLM. I’m anxious to know all I can about these cars, and even went to a school down south to learn about front end setup and shocks, and I can’t wait to apply some of what we learned to our car.”
Though Evan has done some racing over the winter it is still business as usual as Evan goes class then off to work. “I’ve been keeping myself occupied with going to school at Central Maine Community College to finish up my degree in Business Management. Along with that I’ve been running my own company Nitro Designs and have gotten to meet a lot of new people and have some great deals going forward. Also working at my great sponsor Hancock Lumber in Brunswick as well as building and setting up Legends Cars and working on the SLM. Whenever I get a break I either head to a concert in Portland or go to Maine Indoor Karting with some friends to keep up on my driving.”
Sponsors play a big part of racing, sponsoring the race teams, the race tracks, and the races. “They always do and they always will, this sport has become so money driven that we can’t go week to week without the help of our sponsors. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great sponsor in Hancock Lumber with me since 2006 in karts, and K&B Auto, my dad with Beaulieu Construction, Amsoil Four Seasons Synthetic, Mainely Motorsports, Moat Mountain and Copp Excavating. We are always looking for other companies to partner with, and I know with my background in motorsports and business that I have a lot to offer any company that works with us to get their name out there. A smart man, Steve Perry, once told me that it’s not what the sponsor can give you, it’s what you can give the sponsor.”
Wiscasset Speedway and Unity Raceway were both closed for part of the season last year, will be open and racing this season. “That’s great to see, those two and Spud Speedway all have had uncertain futures and then Oxford Plains with their new management. I’m really glad to see that all the tracks have found new management and able to continue racing. The racing community needs those tracks, and I hope they all have successful seasons. I’ve known Richard Jordan for a long time since I raced karts back at Kingsfield, and I know he’s a great guy and will be good for Wiscasset to turn that place in the right direction, that place is such a fun track. I’ve gotten to meet Jere Humphrey actually at Wiscasset last year, and he seemed to be a very ambitious guy and that’s what Unity needs to keep afloat. That place does need some revamping, but the track itself is great, I never so much looking forward going there but when we were actually racing, that’s one of the best tracks around because of all the characteristics it has with the bumps and outside line, with a few changes around the track, Jere can hit a home run there.”
You can keep up to date with us this season by visiting EvanBeaulieu.com, liking Evan Beaulieu on Facebook and following him on twitter, @EBeaulieu56.