By Mandee Pauch
Frenchtown, N.J., driver Billy Pauch Sr. made his mark this season at Kutztown, Pennsylvania’s, Action Track USA by collecting four victories and winning the Action Track USA SpeedSTR Championship for car owner Mike Heffner.
After his strong season behind the wheel of Heffner’s SpeedSTR, Billy Sr. will be stepping aside and passing the driving duties to his son, Billy Jr., to take the wheel of the No. 27. “I was happy Mike picked me up and let me drive his car for two years,” Billy Sr. said. “We clicked well and were able to win our fair share of features and a championship together. I wish I was 20 and racing for him but I’m not,” he laughed. “I won my first time out in a SpeedSTR for Ray Evernham and won my last one for Mike. I had a lot of fun and can’t thank everyone enough who was involved. I’m at the point in my life where I want to step aside and let my son have a shot at it.” Billy Jr. was actually instrumental in the pairing of Billy Sr. and Heffner when they first teamed up two years ago.
Heffner always looked up to Sr. as one of his heroes growing up and feels privileged that he drove his car. “I was really honored that he was able to close out his SpeedSTR career with a championship. It’s even cooler he did it in the No. 27.”
Heffner couldn’t give Sr. enough credit. “I feel honored that he drove it well and drove it to a championship. It was a pleasure to work with him and watch him race even when he hit the infield tires,” Heffner laughed.
Heffner and Billy Sr. are sad to be parting ways but they are both looking forward to seeing what Billy Jr. can do. “I feel like it’s the perfect storm. As much as I don’t want to see Bill leave I’ve always had a good relationship with Jr. He’s not only a great talent in a racecar, he’s a really good person,” Heffner said. “I know Jr. is going to be looked at as the one to beat. I like having that car on the track that people say is the one to beat. I think that is what it will be this year.”
Billy Jr. is excited to join the Heffner Racing Enterprises team and to continue his longtime friendship with Heffner. “The opportunity to race for him full time excites me. He is first class and everything he does is done right,” stated Billy Jr.
“We have had a few great seasons at Action Track USA winning two championships. However after struggling this year my car owner, Bob Lesko, decided to retire. Lesko and I still remain friends as he plans on staying with me and sponsoring my modified.”
Billy Jr. had a test drive in the No. 27 at Trail-Way Speedway to end the season and it resulted in a win on the first day out. This has helped catapult the team into the winter where they have already gotten a jumpstart on the 2017 season as they have begun rebuilding the car Billy Sr. won the championship with. “We have a great group of guys that are ready to tackle Kutztown weekly. We couldn’t do it without the help of our sponsors; Weaknecht Archery, Rocky Pizza Parlor, Lelands.com and all of those who support us.”
One of the things Heffner admires most about Action Track USA is the rivalry. “The fans are pretty passionate. They have their favorites and not so favorites. They let that be known,” stated Heffner. “I think we’re going to stir up the stands this year. Jr.’s going to be aggressive.”