Friday, November 10, 2023

Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame inducts Windham racer for three decades of excellence

By Ed Pierce

One could say Bobby Babb Jr. of Windham was meant to be an auto racer. His dad, Bobby Babb Sr., won a feature race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway the very night he was born and passed on his love for racing to his son. That love for racing has led Bobby Babb Jr. to enshrinement in the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Retired auto racer Bobby Babb Jr. of Windham
was enshrined in the Maine Motorsports
Hall of Fame during a ceremony on 
Oct. 22 at the Augusta Civic Center.
Babb's racing career spanned  more than
three decades and included numerous
victories at racetracks in the state.
Babb Jr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame at an event in Augusta on the evening of Oct. 22, capping an illustrious career spanning more than three decades on racetracks in the state. He’s lived his entire life in Windham and graduated from Windham High School in 1981.

“I started racing the night that I turned 16 on July 3, 1979,” Babb Jr. said. “I drove through 2008 and again in 2012. I raced for 31 years, and my son Brad is in my car now.”

With his induction into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame, Babb Jr. joins his late father who also was inducted for his career accomplishments in 2007. He is the 10th racer from Windham to be inducted into the group of storied racers.

Babb Jr.’s own racing history is the stuff of legends. He raced at the Beech Ridge track in Scarborough from 1979 through 1982, and then competed on the NASCAR North Tour in 1983 and 1984. From 1985 through 1987, he competed at the Oxford Plains Speedway before returning to race at Beech Ridge from 1988 through 2008 and one final time in 2012.

All of Babb Jr.’s races came in the Late Model Sportsman Class, which eventually became what is known today as the Prostock Class. He was no stranger to taking the checkered flag, winning numerous races, and racking up five seasonal championships at Beech Ridge in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2006. Babb Jr. was honored with two “Driver of the Year” titles at Beech Ridge and was awarded as the “Driver of the Decade for the 2000s” there. He was previously inducted as the 50th member of the Beech Ridge Hall of Fame and took home five Maine State Championship NASCAR trophies during his long career.

“My biggest win was every one of them,” Babb Jr. said “It wasn’t easy to win any of them because of the competition. I competed against my father, Dick Wolstenhume, Homer Drew, Ralph Cusack, Bob Randall, Mike Maietta, Mike Johnson, and Bub Bilodeau, to name just a handful of them. They were some of the toughest racers anywhere.”

For role models he credits his father, Bobby Babb Sr., and Dick McCabe, as the inspirations whose path he wanted to follow during his racing career. McCabe is a retired NASCAR Busch Series winner, and he also won the Molson Tour twice and the NASCAR Busch North Series championship twice. He also competed in races at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire and in the Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. During a 30-plus year driving career, Bob Babb Sr. won two track championships at Beech Ridge and finished first in more than 80 feature races through the years at Beech Ridge, Oxford Plains, and the Arundel Speedway.

As a young man, Babb Jr. started working for his father’s business, Robert Babb Logging, in 1981 and he still works there today and is part of the crew team for his son, Brad Babb, who is a Super Modified racer competing at the Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire. His daughter, Kelsey, also has raced at tracks in Maine.

In reflecting upon his career in racing, Babb Jr. says his most rewarding victories came when watching his children, Kelsey and Brad, and his son-in-law, Mike Ordway Jr., win races.

“I miss trying to outthink and outdrive someone for the win, but I still live it now watching Brad going for wins, trying to figure out his next move,” he said.

According to Babb Jr. his induction to the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame was bittersweet.

“Bruce Elder called me last October and told me I was going into the Hall of Fame. It was just over a month after my dad passed away,” he said. “It was very emotional for me that night but my wife Carla had known about the Hall of Fame induction and had let my dad know about it when he was in the hospital. Before he passed, he knew about it, so I want to thank her for that. I’m very proud of being put into the Hall of Fame with my father who was inducted in 2007 and I’m honored to be in the Hall of Fame with McCabe, Drew, Wolstenhume, Seavey, Maietta, Johnson, Randall, Bilodeau, all of them.”

His advice to young drivers looking to launch a racing career is simple.

“Watch and listen to older more experienced drivers, stay focused, be determined to make it and have fun doing it,” Babb Jr. said. <

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