BARK RIVER - Scott Beauchamp of Gladstone has the vision. He doesn't quite have the means yet, but that's not stopping him.
Beauchamp, who relishes his underdog status in the Pro Light division of TORC Series racing, hopes to make the hometown crowd happy this weekend in Bark River as he sets his sights on a top-five finish.
Beauchamp is one of a handful of local drivers looking for a big weekend at home Saturday and Sunday at the Bark River International Raceway, as the races return to the area for the second time this season.
Photo courtesy of Mike Biehn
Scott Beauchamp of Gladstone goes airborne after hitting a jump in his No. 20 Pro Light truck at Bark River International Raceway, June 19. Beauchamp will return to Bark River this weekend.
He made the leap to the pro ranks a couple seasons ago after dominating the Super Stock Truck circuit that his cousin, Dan Beauchamp, has now won in back-to-back seasons, and hopes to make a good showing in this weekend as well.
Scott Beauchamp's beginnings in Pro Light are reminiscent of his start in the Super Stock Truck class in some ways. The competition has been ratcheted up big time and one of the key changes has been the level of sponsor that drivers on the top tier have on their side.
"The main thing at this level is to land the truck sponsorships that take you to the ultimate level," Beauchamp said. "We have a good sponsor in Stewart Manufacturing, and they've been helping us out for years and have done wonders for us, but we still need that big corporate sponsor to take us to the next level. Right now, I'm trying to be a big-time racer on a privateer budget."
"There's a tier system, it's a like a well-oiled machine up at the top. We're trying to run with what we've got. You want the truck to run as fast as it can, but still be able to finish races."
That's easier said then done for the middle tier which Beauchamp finds himself in.
"You want to get the truck dialed in for qualifying. If you can qualify in the top-6, you start out in front of the pack and you have a chance to get out of the chaos," said Beauchamp. "The further back you are, the worse it is."
Beauchamp, who currently sits in 11th in the points standings, says he's starting to become accustomed to the increased challenge, and is making some headway as well.
At Crandon in late June, he secured an 8th place finish, despite some problems.
"We were running in sixth or seventh place 3-4 laps in at Crandon when we ended up burning a spark plug wire off," said Beauchamp. "We ended up finishing eighth, which was still a pretty good run for us. Hopefully Bark River treats us nice, a top-five finish is what we're hoping for.
"It's been going pretty good, but we're definitely still working out some kinks in the truck. Right now, we're getting a good grasp on the suspension aspect on the sway bar range to make the truck handle better."
Beauchamp mentioned another key change in the pro division is increased difficulty of the track.
"In the years that I ran this track in Super Stock, the track has been repetitive. This year, the TORC Series has people travel with them to do track preparation, changing the jump arrangements," said Beauchamp. "It makes the track really difficult to get set up on, suspension wise, so it challenges us on setup.
"What we're learning is that in the one practice you get, you have to make adjustments to get the truck dialed in for qualifying. The new track prep crew makes it very interesting for everybody. Bark River used to be more of a hometown advantage. Now that they switch up the track, it's more about getting the truck ready."
Weekend passes at the Raceway are $35 or $25 per day for anyone 10 and over. Kids nine and under are free. Camping is also available for $35 for the weekend.
Nightly entertainment includes the band Driver, performing Friday night from 8 p.m. (Central time) to midnight and Hot Rod Express, which will perform Saturday night from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Race schedule follows (Central times):
Saturday, July 19 and
Sunday, July 20
8-8:30 - Sportsman practice
8:30-9:15 - Qualifying for all Pro classes
9:50-10 - Opening ceremonies
10:30-10:50 - Stock Truck and Classix
11:10-11:30 - 1600 Light Buggy
11:50-12:10 - Super Truck, Formula 4x4 & Limited 4x4
noon to 1 - Autograph signing for all Pro classes
12:30-12:50 - 1600 Buggy
1:10-1:30 - Super Buggy
1:50-2:10 - Super Stock Truck
2:30-2:50 - Pro Light
3:10-3:30 - Pro 2
3:50-4:10 - Pro 4