Race car driver Nick Beaver was running fourth in a Big 8 Series Feature at Elko Motor Speedway last June when he saw trouble up ahead. Two of the three cars ahead of him were losing control while the third had nowhere to go but into them.
“Cars generally spin out towards the bottom,” said Beaver, who assumed that each car had its throttle floored. In a split
second, he “burped” the throttle, and instinctively steered to the outside lane, going around the others for the win.
After running fourth for the entire race, “It came down to the last corner of the last lap,” said Burnsville VW service advisor Jim Seiler, a spectator and former racer. “He hung in there … and zoomed right in there for the win.”
Beaver said it was almost the best day of his life, one that he almost couldn’t put into words.
Father’s dream becomes son’s reality
The 21-year-old service runner at Bloomington Acura Subaru said he’s living his father’s dream to race, and dad does all he can with the car to help Nick succeed. Managing the car and serving as a spotter, Mike Beaver is high in the stands relaying race information back to Nick, who is at the wheel.
Still, even at this level, racing is as much about getting sponsors as it is about wins, and some assistance from Luther Automotive and other key sponsors can help the Beavers advance.
Hoping to go pro, driver considers steps
Elko is a NASCAR sanctioned short track, and Beaver hopes to take the next step up, to the ARCA Racing Series, where the closest track is in Newton, Iowa. In the pecking order of racing, ARCA is fourth, behind the Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The young man was 2011 Rookie of the Year at Elko, and races a fiberglass body stock car on the asphalt track. Inside a racing chassis with a tube frame, his car runs a 350 cubic-inch small block with a two barrel carburetor.
As for results, he’s had good and bad. In 2014, he finished seventh after his engine blew mid-season and the team rented another to finish it out. A few years before that, he finished fourth in points.
In this field, youth doesn’t necessarily mean inexperienced. Beaver started racing when he was 10 in quarter midget go-carts with roll cages.
Safer than on the freeway? He says so
Ask him if his pastime is dangerous and an interesting answer comes. Though the car is running just under 100 mph at the end of the straightaway, Beaver said he feels safer here than in a passenger car on the freeway. The safety equipment keeps him contained, so hitting a wall has little effect. A Hans device and helmet help protect his upper body.
Racing clean, earning drivers’ respect
With all this protection, one might think that this driver would be very aggressive. Yes and no. Beaver calls it racing clean. While others may stick their car’s nose into competitors, rub them and put tire marks down the side to gain position, Beaver said he passes people clean, with minimal contact. “Everything’s fair game,” said Beaver. “But I want to earn their respect.”
Heat races are generally eight laps and feature races vary from 25 to 30, based on the number of cars. First place in the Big 8, the second from the highest class, pays $500.
Beaver has brought new awareness to the track and his skills on his Nick Beaver Racing Facebook page, where visitors see pictures and video from his races. GoPro cameras mounted on the dash and hood capture the action. Several Luther team
members have also been at the track to cheer him on.