Saturday night at Columbus Motor Speedway (OH) will be a special night for one the St. Amant family as the ARCA/CRA Super Series runs its 125-lap race in memory of Bud St. Amant, who passed away just a year and a half ago.
Gary, the son of Bud, and a two-time winner of the Snowball Derby and Winchester 400, is the crew chief of the two-time defending CRA Super Series champion, Travis Braden.
Gary St. Amant won the inaugural race last year thanks to Braden, who took the checkered flag last year. He wants a second win to keep the race in the family for another year, but also to enjoy it a bit more.
“Last year it was kind of a surreal feeling to win it with Travis Braden,” St. Amant told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’ve been so busy that today is the first time I’ve had a chance to even think about getting there. The cool thing is this year I have two chances to win it.”
St. Amant will also be working with 19 year-old Quinnton Bear this weekend. Because of that, Gary thinks he’s got two shots Saturday at victory lane. He was also quick to clarify that it doesn’t matter which one of them takes home the victory.
“I want them to both come across the line at the same time or first and second,” he said with that signature Gary-laugh. “It really doesn’t matter to me who ends up in front. First and second would make my night totally complete.”
This is the second year for the Bud St. Amant Memorial 125, and second as a CRA Super Series race. But, when the family decided to hold a memorial race, it wasn’t originally meant to be for a touring series.
“We were planning on just doing it on the local level because my dad had helped out local guys for years,” Gary said. “It just worked out with the scheduling that CRA would be there right around his birthday, so it was kind of natural because now we not only help out the local racers, but we have the CRA race also.”
For Gary and the family, Columbus Motor Speedway was the obvious place to hold this event each year. Bud was a fixture at Columbus for many years, whether he was racing, helping teams out like he was known to do, or just sitting in the stands as a race fan.
“My dad pretty much grew up there and I grew up there,” Gary said. “The St. Amant family has spent a lot of years at the Columbus Motor Speedway.”
While a win would be great for Gary on Saturday, his night will be made before the first green flag ever falls.
“My 11-year-old daughter, Olivia, is singing the anthem that night,” he said. “For me, when we think about it being a family night, that makes it extra special. This could be the highlight of my night, even if we finish first and second.”
Gates open for the Bud St. Amant Memorial 125 at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 27. Time trials begin at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m. ET.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo