By KEN BRUCE
After much back and forth between owner Rick Holsten and his driver Billy Pauch Jr., the decision was made to return and make New Egypt Speedway their home for Saturday night action. After barely missing out on the title last year and not completely enamored with how some decisions were made the team wasn’t sure of a return in 2019. Instead, Pauch, Holsten and the team were contemplating a move to Grandview Speedway for Saturday nights. However, the team decided to remain put and once again call New Egypt home and run for their second track championship. The team will be well prepared with three Bicknell cars available along with two spec 358 motors and an open small block all built by Morrison Performance.
“I think the biggest thing we had to answer this off-season was where we were going to race on Saturday nights,” explained Pauch. “Ricky and I spent a lot of time together this winter and we both came to the conclusion that we have to go back to New Egypt. It’s more in the facts; it’s only 20 minutes from his place, and to run Grandview would be a two hour ride for him. Either track is an hour for me, but at the end of the night we have about eight to ten guys that like to hang out after the races and drink beer and cook chili and it’s just not going to happen if you’re too far away.”
The Holsten/Pauch team have been very good at New Egypt since they got together, winning multiple races each season along with their one track championship in 2017. With their success there, it just seemed like the right decision to make although Pauch is still not onboard with some of the tracks policies.
“Everything isn’t perfect at New Egypt, but I am not going to say they’re doing a bad job,” mentioned Pauch. “I just disagree with some things they’ve done. It doesn’t make them bad people. There are just things we have disagreements on and that’s okay. You disagree, you move on, and keep supporting them. Running there is the best scenario for everyone involved so that’s what we’ll do. Ricky and I have been together there for five or six years now and we’ve won a total of 21 races together, so we’ve had a lot of success. Ricky is always a big help with my own stuff as well. He comes to many of those races to help out and it’s good to have him there to bounce ideas off of.”
Where Pauch would be calling home on Saturday nights is just a small piece of the racing pie for the very popular driver out of Frenchtown, N.J.
With his Saturday night modified track determined, Pauch’s sights will turn to the Short Track Super Series. In 2019, Pauch will once again chase the title in the South region. Pauch will utilize a trio of cars on the South series with his own No.15 big-block being used for the bulk of the series. Pauch will run the Holsten No.96 at the New Egypt race and will start out the series at Georgetown and Port Royal aboard the Bill Pascual No.3.
And for the first time in his young career, Pauch will also run the entire Short Track Super Series North region series. Running the North series will be a challenge for Pauch as he will be running on tracks, he will have little or no experience on. Pascual Racing will provide the equipment for Pauch to run in the North series and the Kid’s Kid knows it will be a learning experience but thinks they have the team to put forth a strong effort.
“It will be cool to run the entire North series this year,” stated Pauch. “With me not running the Chili Bowl this season, it has allowed me to save some vacation days to be able to do the entire series. Bill Pascual has really stepped it up for me this season. Bill really has some good equipment in his shop. Bill does use TEO cars so that will be a little different, but I really like the guy who is the crew chief for the Pascual Team, Ralph Degraw, he’s around my age and we get along very well so that will be a good thing. Bill has two big-blocks and an open small-block ready to go for this year. After getting to know each other for a few races last year, we should be in good shape for the season ahead.”
On Friday nights, Pauch is calling Big Diamond Speedway home as he will make a bid for his second track championship. Last season Pauch didn’t run the complete season at Big Diamond due to his busy racing schedule and not always having time to prepare his No. 15 the way he would like. This season though Pauch will run the complete year driving for two different teams. Pauch will run half the season in his own No.15 and the balance of the season in the Breitenstein Racing No.14. Pauch also has plans to run the Breitenstein car at all of the Grandview TOTH shows. The two teams will work together for the Coalcracker race and the Freedom 76 race and choose to use whatever car they think will give them the best chance of winning. Both teams will have new Bicknell chassis’ available for use. Pauch’s own team will have a new Morgantini 358 under the hood while the Breitenstein team will utilize a Lombardo built motor.
“I’ve known the Breitensteins for a long time and they are a good family to race for and hang out with,” said Pauch. “They stepped up to help me out at Big Diamond this year. Without them I wasn’t going to be able to run the full year. It just wears you and your crew out to have go there every Friday night with our own car because of all the racing that we do. Having them offer me their car to use for half of the season is going to work out well. They have a new car as well and when it comes to the end of the year, we’ll work together and decide whose car will give us the best chance to win in both the Coalcracker and the Freedom 76. They are both races I really want to win bad.”
If all the above is not enough, Pauch will also be traveling to many of the big paying special big block and open shows that seem to be popping up at many tracks in 2019. Pauch will have a few different options on what he will take to many of these shows but depending on the location of the track and what engine combination would work best, he could just as easily be driving for one of the other aforementioned teams.
“I really want to get to some of the Super DIRTcar Series races, but they are so far away. I really like running with them, but the travel is just too much,” explained Pauch. “I like how DIRTcar runs their shows because I think there are just too many engine combination rules out there today. If you run the Super DIRTcar Series you know you have to run a big-block and that’s it. But honestly, the big-blocks are antiquated. They haven’t produced a production car in over 20 years with a big-block motor in it. I think to get more kids involved you need to promote the small-blocks more. I hope to run at least a couple of the DIRTcar races and we will run some special shows at Bridgeport as well. We plan to be at Orange County Fair Speedway for their 100th anniversary race in August. That’ll be a huge payout. I have to say I think New Egypt did a nice thing that weekend by scheduling the Monster Trucks and giving the Modifeds off. I hope more tracks do the same so teams will have a chance to run at OCFS. I also plan to hit the Fonda 200 in September along with some of the other big paying races. Someday I would like to go back to Oswego to make up for last year’s struggles but not this year. We’ll do it again some year. The plan is to do Charlotte at the end of the year in my car if everything goes okay.”
But wait, there’s more! Pauch is returning to Action Track USA to defend his points titles in both the SpeedSTR division and in the 600cc micro sprint division. Car owner, Mike Heffner, is providing the SpeedSTR for Pauch and LHS Engines will be the supplier of the 600cc car. Pauch also is working on a wingless midget out of the Heffner stable to run at the USAC midget race in July at Action Track USA and Grandview.
“I can’t not run at Kutztown,” stated Pauch. “It’s probably the best deal going in racing right now, money wise, and we’ve had so much success. We made about $25,000 last year running the SpeedSTR in only fifteen races. I can’t give that up, it’s too good of a deal.”
It going to be a very busy season once again for Pauch with over 90 races on his schedule. It’s a schedule he could never think of doing without the support of his wife Michelle and son Billy Pauch III.
“I have a great wife who puts up with my schedule that can get pretty crazy at times,” stated Pauch. “And none of this would be possible without her support, along with my son Billy III and the support of my crew and sponsors. They give me everything I need to be successful, now it’s up to me to get the job done.”
Billy would like to thank the following owners and sponsors for their support in 2019.
Rick Holsten #96 – M&T Tree Service, K&A Excavating, ACM Tool & Die, Danny’s Pizza Pizzaz, KC Service and Phillips Garage
Pascual Racing #3 – D&M Home Improvement, R/D Customs, Tires by Anthony, Strange Oval, Fox Shocks, Scotty Signs and TEO Pro Cars
Kid Racing #15 – Atlantic Sprinkler, Growers Garden Center, Phillips Garage, Ken’s Tire, Weaknecht Archery, Degre Engineering, B&G Truck Repair, Bilstein Shocks, Art’s Radiator, Bicknell Racing Products, GME Manufacturing, Bob Hilbert Sportswear and DMI Rear Ends
Breitenstein Motorsports #14 – Dick’s Service Center, Vince’s Auto & Recovery, Rod’s Automotive & Bicknell Racing Products
LHS Racing Engines #91S (600cc) – Pioneer Pole Buildings, Rowland Performance & LHS Engines
Heffner Racing #27 (SpeedStr) – Lelands.com, Weaknecht Archery, Liv’N Green Landscaping, Berks Seal Coating & Jersey Mikes
For all information regarding Billy Pauch Jr including stats, photos and results please visit Billy’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/billypauchjr/ or at his website http://www.billypauchjr.com/