Sunday, December 8, 2013
WISCASSET -- Ken Beasley wants to be known as a nice guy, and while that may help him maneuver through life it does him little good on a race track.
READY TO WIN: Ken Beasley of Richmond poses with his No. 28 Chevy Impala Pro Stock car Wednesday afternoon at Wiscasset Speedway. Beasley is looking for his first feature win in the division.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
"I know," he said, "but I can't help it. I know the whole nice-guys-finish-last thing, though."
That's just where he ended up Saturday night at Wiscasset, finishing dead last in a 40-lap Pro Stock race that featured just seven cars.
Beasley, 54, of Richmond, can see the end of his racing days on the horizon. The soft-spoken Beasley knows he's in a race against time to grab the one thing that's eluded him year after year: A feature victory in a Pro Stock division.
"I'm getting kind of old," he said. "I'm thinking I can do this maybe a couple more years, I'd like to win a feature just once. It'd be nice. If I can't, then a top-three would be nice, too. I haven't won in this division.
"But even above all that the guys know I give them respect out there. I don't get in their way if I'm not right, if the car isn't right. I race them clean. I always have. A lot of times I'm just too nice, but I'd rather be too nice then have a bunch of guys mad at me."
The nice-guy image doesn't suit most in a sport often dominated by tough and edgy characters.
But it suits Beasley, a former Richmond High School junior varsity girls basketball coach, just fine.
"It's how I choose to be out there," Beasley said. "I give guys room. I just always try to be a nice guy."
Beasley, like a lot of local drivers, operates on a thin budget. He saves what he can, receives help from friends and makes it to the track most Saturday nights.
Wiscasset Speedway, under new owners Richard and Vanessa Jordan, alternates divisions every other week.
The off weeks give Beasley and others plenty of time to make needed repairs to their cars before racing again.
"It's been a hard experience but we know what it takes to come and race here," Beasley said. "We know we have to have a certain amount each week to race. I figure I have to have $350 in my pocket to go racing every week. If I don't have it, I won't go racing. But I've had a few friends buy me a tire here and there."
Beasley has raced at just about every track in the state during the last 20 years. He had some success in a six-cylinder charger class at Speedway 95 about 10 years ago, recording a few top-10 finishes.
Beasley also helped Bill Penfold on the Busch North tour in the early to mid-1990s. Penfold, who resides in Litchfield, also races in the Pro Stock division at Wiscasset. He won the 40-lap feature last Saturday.
"We've had a real good friendship for a long time" said Penfold, 51. "Even if we get out there banging and beating on each other we're still good friends. We were together on the Busch North tour for quite awhile, maybe eight or nine years. We never got any wins but we did a second and a third and some fourths. We had a ball doing it.
"He's the calmest, mellowest guy I know. Me, I'm right off the wall. They call me "Animal" for a reason. Ken tries to keep me calm. It works pretty good."
Added Beasley: "Everyone used to shy away from Bill, but it was hard to do that when you're parked right next to him. We're just the opposite. Bill is firecracker and when it snaps, it snaps. Everyone says I am calm and quiet, that I won't say much. It's OK. It's who I am.
"I'm having a lot of fun. I used to play a lot of sports and am not used to losing, but I always was a good loser."
With just three more Pro Stock races remaining at Wiscasset this season, Beasley will try to finally become a good winner.
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640