Story By: MIKE WARREN / SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES – BARBERVILLE, FL – Volusia Speedway Park will always be memorable to Billy Pauch Jr.
For years, the Frenchtown, NJ driver grew up watching his dad Billy Pauch at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile. And now, he’ll try and create more memories with the Super DIRTcar Series at Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17.
The season opener on Valentine’s Day is the first time “The Kid’s Kid” will race at the Florida oval—a place he has fond memories of growing up watching his Hall of Fame dad.
“For so many years my dad used to park going down the hill (at the track),” Pauch said. “It was probably for 10 or 12 years. This is just something I’ve always wanted to do. We got a fresh Big Block, and everything in place to do it.
“It’s like one of those bucket list things. You look through everything through the year. There are your three big events. There’s Volusia, Super DIRT Week, and Charlotte. So, it’s really neat and a cool opportunity to be a part of it. And as soon as you say that it’s like everyone wants to go.”
DIRTcar Nationals has become a unique event because it not only attracts Super DIRTcar Series regulars, but a variety of star Big Block drivers from up and down the east coast, like Pauch. And while the New Jersey driver has only made 27 starts with the Super DIRTcar Series, he has a family on tour who can lend some advice.
Pauch’s sister, Mandee, is married to Super DIRTcar Series star Mike Mahaney, who finished fourth in the standings in 2023. Mahaney is someone Pauch can lean on when trying to build a notebook for Series events.
“He’s been really good at giving me some feedback on some things,” Pauch said. “He’s been with my sister about eight to 10 years, and we’ve always been close. But now we kind of share more than we ever did. It’s good to have someone to go back and forth with. Hopefully I can build off of his knowledge and go better.”
The Pauch name has been synonymous with racing in the Northeast, and it’s something the younger Pauch takes with him to every track. That includes a family tradition that continues at DIRTcar Nationals involving a different number than the #15 seen at Series events last season.
“My dad ran a yellow car with a red one for years,” Pauch said. “I’m going to be a red car with a yellow one this year down there. When I started racing, my dad went to the number one and I took the number 15. When my little guy started (in Slingshots), I told him I’ll take the number one and we’ll kind of switch. It’s a cool tradition.”
When the curtain rises on the 2024 Super DIRTcar Season, Pauch will take that family tradition and create another memory when he unloads in the same pit area his dad occupied for years.
He’s also hoping to add his name to the DIRTcar Nationals record books, something his dad accomplished in 2008.
“You always want to win,” Pauch said. “If you don’t go with the mindset you’re going to win, you’re not going to win. It’s Volusia right. It makes it interesting. I want to run up front, run good and have fun.
“Hopefully we get one of those little gators.”
The Super DIRTcar Series starts the 2024 season with four epic nights of action during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 14-17.