Michael Waltrip Expresses his Gratitude for the Bahre Family at New Hampshire LOUDON, N.H. (June 25, 2008) -- When Michael Waltrip reminisces about people who have had a positive impact on his career, Dick Bahre and his family are at the top of...
Michael Waltrip Expresses his Gratitude for the Bahre Family at New Hampshire
LOUDON, N.H. (June 25, 2008) -- When Michael Waltrip reminisces about people who have had a positive impact on his career, Dick Bahre and his family are at the top of his list. Thanks to Bahre taking a chance on a 22-year-old originally from Owensboro, Kentucky in 1985, Waltrip made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut and over the years became an accomplished driver, a two-time Daytona 500 winner and an owner himself.
To show his appreciation, Waltrip will run a special decal on two Michael Waltrip Racing cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 this weekend in honor of the Bahre family.
"We want to say thanks to the Bahre family and show our gratitude by placing decals on Michael McDowell's #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota and the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota," Waltrip said.
Still today, Waltrip gives credits where credit is due to the Bahre family for his big break in NASCAR on the Cup level.
"There are a hundred people that will tell you, I would not be here if it were not for them, but my list is shorter and Dick Bahre is right at the top of it," Waltrip continued. "Dick, Bob and his son Gary, and the entire Bahre family have played an integral role in my racing career. I made my first Cup start in 1985 when I started driving for Dick Bahre. He was my car owner all the way up through the heart of my racing days. He made so many sacrifices for me so that I could race his car. To this day, he's dear to my heart and a special friend. Dick's been battling an illness here in North Carolina. My heart goes out to him."
Looking back, Bahre's brother Bob independently purchased a motorsports park in 1989 turning it into a mile track in Loudon the next year. He attracted the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the New England area in 1993.
"They are special people and they put their heart and soul into the New Hampshire track," Waltrip said. "Dick helped build it with his own hands. All the work that went into that place was his passion to help his brother. The Bahre family brought racing back to the Northeast."
Before building New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Bahre's intense interest began with the purchase of Oxford Plains Speedway.
"That track attracted late model competitors from all over and the Oxford 250 was a prestigious event," Waltrip said. "I was able to race there and so did my brother Darrell, Harry Gant and so many others. In 1987 during the Daytona 500, I was able to run the Oxford Plains Speedway car and that was pretty special. Because of what Bob witnessed at Oxford Plains, he wanted to build a bigger track and so he did."
Now a new chapter begins as the torch has been passed.
"A chapter has now turned since Bruton Smith has bought the track," Waltrip said. "I love what he's done for the sport and I am looking forward to seeing what he has in store for the facility. But, when I go to New Hampshire each time, I will have a smile on my face knowing that's the place Bob built."