Don’t expect Brad Babb to count his proverbial chickens before they are hatched, but don’t expect him to not to have the math all figured out ahead of time, either.
Babb, 19, of Windham, has a 21-point lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with just six races remaining. Babb has one win on the season and has finished outside the Top-10 only once in eight starts.
“I’m definitely happy about where I’m at right now,” said Babb, whose father Bobby Babb also competes in the Pro Series at Beech Ridge. “I’ve seen my dad win five championships now. I’ve seen how he’s done it – he’s never been too rough when it counted. I’ve seen all kinds of guys get too rough and lose it in the end, too.”
Babb is the grandson of longtime Beech Ridge fixture Robert Babb Sr., and while his family has accomplished much on the Maine short track, Brad Babb is no slouch himself. He was the 2010 ACT Late Model Tour Rookie of the Year, and two weeks ago he added another impressive line to his racing resume.
Babb was named one of three finalists in the “2012 Maine Young Guns” program. The finalists will test a car supplied by Go Green Racing in August, and the winner will have the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 22.
The competition was open only to Maine drivers under the age of 21. Ten semi-finalists were named prior to the start of the season, and Babb was one of select few to make the final cut. PASS North Series driver Joey Doiron and ACT competitor Austin Theriault were the other two.
“To get a chance to test and to be considered one of the Top 3 young drivers in the state is a pretty cool deal,” Babb said. “Hopefully, we can win the thing. I am happy just to have the chance, but I won’t let it be the end of the world if I don’t win – Joey and Austin are very talented guys. Obviously I’d be happier to win it and get a chance to race another race I wasn’t planning on at NHMS.”
With that opportunity in the back of his mind, Babb will focus his attention on the next six weeks at Beech Ridge. The driver of the No. 4 Babb Wood Contractors/McGoldrick Bros. Blasting/Hall Instrument Chevrolet wants his first NASCAR-sanctioned track championship.
He finished ninth in the 45-lap main event on Saturday night after starting deep in the field as the track’s point leader, but he’s finished in the Top-5 in exactly half of the eight races thus far this season.
“I go to the track pretty much hoping to win the race,” Babb said. “But I know, no matter what, there’s a pretty good chance I’m not going to win – there are just too many cars and the field is too competitive. Even if I wasn’t in the points (hunt), if I can go out and salvage a second, third, or even a fourth-place finish, I’m happy.
“At this point in the season, if I can win a race, I’m going to win a race and if I can finish fifth, then I’m going to finish fifth. I’m not going to wreck myself for either position, and I’m not going to wreck anyone else for any positions.”
Babb has concocted a winning formula for the final month and a half of the season, too. He’s going to keep second-place runner Bill Rodgers – the 2011 track champion – in his sights every week. In that sense, Babb isn’t as worried about where he finishes each race as he is where he finishes in relation to the competition.
“I figure if I can finish on Billy’s bumper every race, I can win the championship,” Babb said. “Last Saturday, if I wanted to force the issue, I probably could have beaten him. But there’s no sense in that – he knows the same thing I know, and that’s that we’re both going to do whatever it takes to beat one another but still keep our cars in one piece.
“He didn’t race me dirty at all the other night, so I showed him the same respect. We’ve both got a lot to look at right now.”