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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Racing has been and forever will be a family sport. Generation after generation capture the passion of motorsports. This year, a third-generation champion added his family name to the NASCAR state champions list racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Brad Babb, 20, of Windham, Maine, picked up his first track and state championships in the NASCAR Pro Series division at the .333-mile paved oval in Scarborough, Maine. He won the track title by a scant 10 points over defending track and state champion Bill Rodgers. All told, Babb collected one win, six top five and 10 top 10s in 13 starts.
Babb’s grandfather Bob Sr. won Beech Ridge championships in 1976-77. His father, Bobby, followed with titles in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2006. Brad Babb kicked off his NASCAR career with 2009 track and state rookie-of-the-year awards.
“Racing has been there in my life since I was real little,” Babb said. “As long as I can remember I wanted to be a race car driver.
“When dad won his first championship, I remember being there, but I was too young (six) to know what winning a championship meant,” Babb said. “The next season when he repeated the title, I had it all figured out. It was a big deal. I knew what was going on and I thought it was cool.”
Before age 10 Babb began racing go-karts and in 2006 ran his first races at Beech Ridge in the ‘Whiz Kidz’ four-cylinder division. He moved through Road Runners in 2007 and Sports Series division in 2008. After his successful rookie season in the Pro Series division in 2009, Babb moved on to series racing for two seasons. He returned to weekly racing at Beech Ridge this year.
“When we came back this year, that’s when we started thinking about a championship,” Babb said. “It became something we all wanted, especially my dad.”
The last month of the season provided a lot of drama, as did the night of the final race. Aaron Ricker took the points lead from Babb with four races to go, but Babb was able to reclaim the lead with two races to go.
Entering the final feature of the season Babb had a 14-point lead, but the title was still very much up for grabs.
“Realistically all the top-five guys had a shot,” Babb said. “The pressure I put on myself wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe battling for the rookie-of-the-year award gave me a little experience in dealing with pressure. I just calmed myself down, stayed focused on the race and drove the car. I thought we could do it.
“Everyone in the top five in points got caught up in an accident. Three of us were able to drive off. I knocked the toe out of the steering, so I just had to maintain the car the best I could the rest of the race. We finished eighth and won the championship by 10 points.”
Just 23 points separated the top five positions in the final track point standings. Rodgers placed second followed by Ricker, Mike Landry and Charlie Colby. Kelly Moore, the 1995 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, won the season-ending feature event over Landry, Corey Bubar, Bobby Timmons and Rodgers. An occasional racer at Beech Ridge, Moore was not a factor in the points race.
“When I got back to the pits after the race the whole crew and family was celebrating,” Babb said.
Bob Babb Sr. is the hands-on car owner and Mike Ordway Jr. is the crew chief. Team members include Bobby Babb, Dennis Dubay, Rick Williams, Dana Reed and Ryan Karkos.
Babb wasn’t the only third-generation champion crowned at Beech Right this year. Andy Cusack, 23, of Scarborough won the track’s NASCAR Finalist Division III Wildcat championship. Cusack’s grandfather Ralph is former owner of the speedway who won 12 track championships. His father Glenn won a track championship in 1982. The driver’s uncle, also named Andy, owns and operates Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Babb will be honored for his track and state championships at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards event. The ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 7 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 counted toward their states and national point totals, and the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.
Under the point structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points and so on through the field. Race winners receive an additional five points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.