Hi Everyone —
In this week’s blog, I would like to talk about a family that is very important to me. That family is the Bahre family. They brought big time auto racing to the Northeast. Bob Bahre built a wonderful sporting facility that is now known as New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and that’s where we are racing this weekend.
It all started when they owned Oxford Plains Speedway. When I first started driving in 1985, Dick Bahre and his family took me to the Oxford race. I actually got to race in it. I ran a qualifying race. There were 40 cars in it. When I took the green, the leader was right behind me. That’s how little the bullring was. It was such a prestigious event. My brother raced there along with Harry Gant and the Bodines. Everybody has gone up there including Dale Earnhardt. Because of the area’s fan base, and because of what Bob saw going on at Oxford Plains, he wanted to build a bigger track. Bob built the track with his own money. He didn’t use tax dollars. He was just a guy who wanted a track. Dick even helped build the track with his own hands. He was on a bulldozer doing the grading. He put the tunnel in. All the work that went into New Hampshire Motor Speedway was Dick’s passion to help his brother.
Looking back on my Cup driving career, Dick was my car owner when I started. My first start was in 1985. He remained a part of my racing all the way up through my Bahari Racing days. He made many sacrifices and did a whole lot so I could race a car. In 1987, Bob sponsored me in the Daytona 500. I drove the Oxford Plains Speedway Chevrolet. I finished eighth or ninth in the qualifying race. I went on to finish 22nd in the Daytona 500.
I love the Bahre family. They are special people. I just want to say thank you to them. I want to say thank you for everything they did. This weekend, I am going to show them my appreciation by placing decals on the No. 00 car driven by Michael McDowell and my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. The decal says, “Thank You Bahre Family.” I just think sometimes in the shuffle of big business we call NASCAR; we forget the reason why we race up in the Northeast. It is all because of one family. That’s the Bahre family. They are near and dear to my heart. Dick has been battling an illness. My heart goes out to him. I just can’t wait to see the family when we get up there.
The Bahre family has been a friend to the sport, and certainly, a friend of mine. I owe them a lot. So when you watch the races from New Hampshire this weekend, know that a good family built that facility with their hearts and souls for the most important people in the sport … the fans.