TRENTON, N.J. – By any measure, Billy Pauch Jr. had a very successful 2019 racing season, earning the New Egypt Speedway modified track championship and running well at both Big Diamond Speedway and Action Track USA on a weekly basis.
Pauch admits that one race he feels he should have won, the 2018 East Coast Dirt Nationals, bothers him over a year later.
The third annual Indoor Dirt Nationals returns to CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J., on Feb. 21–22 featuring nearly 100 wingless 600cc sprints on the indoor banked, clay oval.
“We ran a close second to Erick (Rudolph). He was hugging the bottom and I was trying to make something happen on the top. I got to him but by the time I did, the top of the track had changed.
“I didn’t want to dump him which was the only way I was going to pass him,” Pauch said. “It was a tough loss. You hate to let a race you feel you should have won get away.”
Also disappointing for the third-generation driver was the 2017 Nationals, a race where Pauch was again a contender but was spun from behind in the feature, breaking his car’s steering in the process, ending his race.
Pauch heads into Cure Insurance Arena on Feb. 21-22, behind the wheel of the same car he has driven in the past two races, the No. 91S owned by Pennsylvanian Lamar Schaffer. Schaffer also builds engines for his car and customers.
“I can kind of tell when I’m racing against one of Lamar’s customers,” Pauch laughed. “He’s one of the more popular builders and his stuff is reliable and fast.”
Pauch said that the track surface was different the second year from the first.
“The first year it was a little rough and wide, last year it got slick. It needed more of a top. It is great clay.”
Though many drivers run Micros in their youth, then progress to full size Modifieds or Sprints, Pauch, 32, traveled a different route.
Pauch has been Schaffer’s house car driver for eight years, starting at Kutztown when the owner, who was familiar with Pauch’s SpeedSTR exploits, offered him a ride in his Micro. Since that time, Pauch has run a double show every night at Kutztown between SpeedSTRs and Micros.
Pauch has already competed in 2020, running the three race All Tech Speedway Sunshine State Series under the Short Track Super Series banner.
“I would have liked to have stayed for the Volusia Super DIRT Series races, but this is a hectic time of the year for me,” Pauch admitted.
He is an accountant by trade and tax season is right around the corner.