Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – SHEFFIELD, MA – There’s very little in this sport that Andy Bachetti hasn’t accomplished.
The Sheffield, MA driver’s won 13 different championships at Lebanon Valley Speedway, three at Orange County Fair Speedway, a trio of Short Track Super Series titles, a smattering of crowns at other tracks and amassed over 200 career wins.
Even with all that, there are still things he’d like to achieve before he hands up his helmet and fire suit.
Could 2022 give him a shot at one of them?
The last two seasons, Bachetti has been the man to beat in the Big Block Modified division at Lebanon Valley. He’s had multiple wins each year and captured the track title in both seasons.
However, with the turning of the calendar, Bachetti’s uncertain if he’ll return to the High Banks.
Why’s that, you ask? There are some pretty big carrots at another facility that has drawn his eye. That track being the Orange County Fair Speedway, a place he’s a three-time 358-Modified champion, but never with the Big Block.
Chris Larson, Brett Hearn and the team at the Middletown, NY oval recently announced their weekly purse structure and point fund payout for the 2022 season and it’s very attractive.
For Bachetti, that’s something hard to ignore.
“We haven’t decided yet where we’ll be racing on Saturday night’s this year,” Bachetti said. “I’ve loved my years at Lebanon Valley but what Chris and Brett are offering at Orange County is very enticing.”
There are a lot of factors that go into a decision like this for Bachetti, but ultimately, it’s all about the bottom line.
“As a full-time racer, seeing a weekly purse and point fund they have for ’22 may be hard to pass up,” he said. “I really like the Valley and love the fan base we’ve built there, but the money at Orange County really makes that place somewhere I seriously have to consider.”
When it comes to Friday nights, last season saw Bachetti make a return to weekly competition at the Utica-Rome Speedway. He was able to capture a feature victory on August 20th and came home second in the final Modified standings behind Matt Sheppard.
The “Wild Child” will return to Utica again this season for Brett Deyo’s second year as promoter. Andy likes racing at the facility and loves what Deyo’s doing for the sport.
“Utica-Rome is a great place to compete at,” he said. “They pay very well and Brett’s got that place going in the right direction. We really enjoyed last year there and can’t wait to get back.”
During the 2021 racing season, Bachetti’s record was simply amazing at both of his weekly tracks. He captured multiple wins at Lebanon Valley to go along with both the DIRTcar Big Block and 358-Modifed championships while finishing runner-up in points to Sheppard at Utica-Rome.
What does that type of success do for a driver like Bachetti’s confidence, especially when he and his team head out on the road?
“If my cars are good, our engines are strong, and my team is excited, we do pretty well,” he said. “No matter where we race, that’s key. However, we need luck on our side. That’s the bottom line. Racing is all about luck.”
Fans will also have the chance to see Andy and his team following the Short Track Super Series North Region this season as well as the brand-new Elite Series. As stated before, Bachetti races for a living, so chasing big money events plays perfectly into his plans.
“If you’re racing a Dirt Modified for a living, or for fun for that matter, there’s no better series out there than Brett’s new Elite deal,” he said. “They’re paying a minimum of $25,000-to-win and $1,000 for 16th. That’s amazing.”
Bachetti had high praise for what the Elite Series and the Short Track Super Series’ team is trying to do.
“Many have tried to create a high-paying series like this but have never gotten it to work,” he said. “Brett’s very smart and not lazy, and so are the people that help him. Even the people behind the scenes are awesome to deal with. They’re all just real-life, down-to-earth people.”
For 2022, Bachetti and company will have a fleet of race cars ready to do battle. They’ll have some new bullets in the gun while also updating some of their existing equipment.
“We’ve got three brand new Bicknell frames this year and have two that are like new,” he said. “We should really be on point with our equipment. Our engine program is strong and we’re really working close with Aaron Lambert and Dave Reedy from Penske Shocks to get our team up to speed anywhere we go.”
Bachetti understands his racing operation isn’t successful because of one man. He knows it takes an entire group to get things done and he’s extremely thankful for the people who believe in him.
“Mike Garrity (Garrity Asphalt Reclaiming) and my family make all of this possible,” he said. “I’m so grateful for their support and to all of my dedicated crew and our amazing sponsors. I’d be nothing without them.”
While he is appreciative of his team, Bachetti stated that he could still use more help, both in the shop and on the road.
“We’ve got some key players here on this team, but I’ve been struggling for help for a while,” he said. “When you run the road as much as we do, you need people to fill certain positions to keep the equipment top notch for every show.”
As he searches for additional help, Bachetti’s grateful for those who support his racing efforts.
“My crew guys are dedicated and committed to our team and winning races,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for their hard work. I’m also truly thankful them and people like Mike Garrity, my mother and father, my wife and my kids, all of which are huge parts of our team. They’re all amazing.”
He couldn’t forget his sponsors, though.
“I also have to give a big thanks to my sponsors,” he said. “Some of them have been with me forever. We’ve got a few new ones for this year like G&J Smith and Greenacres Landscaping as well as a lot of people behind the scenes that make all of this possible. I couldn’t do it without them.”
No matter where Andy Bachetti’s team races this season, you know he’ll be up front contending for checkered flags. The team will be ready, and rest assured, so will the driver.
Now…just to make a decision.