Butch Fedewa wouldn't trade the way he spends his weekends each February through November for anything in the world. Each race weekend you can find Butch in the NASCAR Busch Series garage hard at work on the BSR racing trailer, getting parts for...
Butch Fedewa wouldn't trade the way he spends his weekends each February through November for anything in the world.
Each race weekend you can find Butch in the NASCAR Busch Series garage hard at work on the BSR racing trailer, getting parts for Busch teams trying to perfect their cars for the upcoming race. Butch may be helping the other teams get their cars in tip-top shape, but make no mistake about Butch's favorite driver.
There's a picture of him celebrating in victory lane on the bulletin board in the trailer, and a photo of his wife watching a race from a top the pit box. And at times, you can hear the tones of his voice coming from a radio in the background.
"The car feels good right now," the voice says over the roar of the Stanley car. "It's a little loose going into the turns, but we can fix that." It's the voice of 32-year-old Tim Fedewa, a seven-year veteran of the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, driver of the No. 36 Stanley car and Butch's only son.
"Being here with Tim each weekend is the greatest thing in the world," Butch said as he watched the team roll the car out to pit road recently. "I wouldn't have it any other way. If I didn't work at the track, I would still drive here every weekend just to be here for Timmy."
And he has. When Tim got his first ride in the Busch Series in 1993, Butch still lived in Michigan but refused to miss a race. He would drive every weekend to where ever Tim was racing - whether it was Daytona or Nazareth, Pa.
After several years of driving around the country following Tim each weekend, Butch and Sharon Fedewa decided to move to North Carolina to more closely follow their son's career. Once here, Butch got a job with BSR where he would be able to travel to the Busch races each weekend and be with his son.
It's natural for the father and son to build on their relationship at the race track because that's where their close bond has blossomed over the years.
"A lot of people say it about their family, but racing is just in our blood," Butch said. "Timmy grew up at the race track. If Timmy and Terri ever have a little boy, he doesn't have a chance. He'll be in a race car before he can walk."
Tim is a third-generation race car driver, following in his father and grandfather's footsteps. Willie Fedewa, Tim's grandfather, raced motorcycles, midgets, modifieds and stock cars and won more than 400 feature races.
Butch raced supermodifieds, sprint cars, midgets and late models. He racked up about 300 feature wins between 1953 and 1982. At one time, Butch also held a world record for supermodifieds that was set on a 3/8-mile track in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Both Willie and Butch Fedewa, along with brother Gary are in the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Butch admits that he wanted Tim to be a race car driver when he grew up. But he didn't want Tim to feel obligated to be a racer just because his father, grandfather and uncle had all driven.
He wouldn't let Tim race during his early teens because Butch wanted his son to explore all the options open to him. Finally, during Tim's senior year in high school, Butch gave Tim a choice - Cadillac, new Corvette or whatever car he wanted or. . . a race car. Tim jumped at his chance and took the race car.
"We went and bought a car, put together a crew and Timmy started racing," Butch said. Tim and his dad traveled together for several years with the Artgo Series and ASA. Tim captured several victories and championships before the doors opened for him in 1993, and he landed a ride in the Busch Series.
Over the almost 20 years that Tim has raced, Butch can count the number of races he missed. They were all in 1995 when Butch had open-heart surgery. Butch doesn't watch the race because there's normally only a small stretch of track he can see from the trailer, but he intently listens to Tim and the Stanley team on the radio as they talk about the car and any needed adjustments. He admits that he gets nervous for his son every time he climbs in the car and fires up the engine.
Most of the time, Butch is the first person to Tim at the race's end.
"My dad has been my biggest supporter over the years," Tim said. "Even if I wasn't driving and was just in the garage, he would probably come every weekend so we could have this time together."
Each weekend it's easy to spot the father and son tandem. Butch will walk over to the car after happy hour. Tim will go sit with his dad at the BSR trailer on race day.
And there are always memorable father and son moments. Tim will stroll over to the BSR trailer for some words of encouragement from his dad. Tim will tell him how the car's running and how he feels about the race. Butch will place his hand on his son's shoulder, maybe give Tim some ideas on how the car could run better and then do only what a father can.
"I give him some advice, some relief. Sometimes it's just nice to have a friendly face to come and talk to," Butch said. "Tim will sit down and just tell me what's going on. He'll tell me how the car is. Sometimes I can help him, sometimes I can't."
"Dad just knows what I'm thinking because we've been doing the racing thing together for so long," Tim said. "It's nice to have him there to boost my confidence when I'm not having a good day. And he pumps me up even more when I've had a great run and I'm having a great weekend. I can't imagine him not being at the track with me."