Many short track racing fans were unfamiliar with the name Christian PaHud prior to him winning the Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge last year, but people quickly started to pay attention. After winning the challenge, the Dayton, Ohio native made his way to California to make his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start. He won the pole. He won the race.
Since then he hasn’t really been heard from. But this weekend he’s returning to the race track to run the Late Model Stock portion of the CARS Tour doubleheader at Orange County Speedway (NC) on Saturday, April 18.
“We were trying to make the first race at Kenly but we just kind of ran out of time on getting the motor ready,” PaHud told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We were wanting to run the CARS Tour either way and we figured this would be a good race to shake the car down before going to Tri-County or Hickory.”
PaHud, 22, doesn’t have a whole lot of Late Model Stock experience. He’s the first to admit that. He has plenty of Limited Late Model experience, but those low-powered machines only help so much in preparing for a Late Model Stock race.
“I’ve really only run one Late Model Stock race and you can’t even really consider it a race,” PaHud said. “We tried to run the Myrtle Beach 400 but we didn’t make it because we made a few mistakes on some motor stuff we were trying. We didn’t really get a good try there. The Limited stuff is going to help, but having never been to Orange County and never running a Late Model Stock with this much motor is definitely going to be a different animal.”
He also doesn’t have much of a team helping him at the race track. PaHud’s race “team” isn’t a big time operation with a bunch of people working on the car. He doesn’t get to sit back and watch his team work on the car, because he doesn’t exactly have a team.
“We’re just a mom-and-pop deal,” he said. “It’s usually just me, my mom and my step-dad going to the race track. Now it’s just me and my step-dad because my mom has to go out of town. I have to find a spotter when I get there to be honest with you.”
It’s not a stretch to assume that PaHud doesn’t have much money that he’s pouring into this operation. He doesn’t have a big sponsor that gets him to the track every week. That’s why his goal for this weekend isn’t to duplicate the success he saw in that one K&N West race at All-American Speedway (CA). His goal is to make sure he doesn’t tear up his race car. PaHud plans to run a bunch of races on the CARS Tour this year, and keeping his car in one piece is the only way to do that.
“It just kind of depends on money and how the races go,” he said. “If we tear the car up we’ll be done for a while.”
And that’s part of the reason why, aside from winning the deal, that Pahud so enjoyed the Stock Car Dream Challenge experience. He got to do things with a race car that he normally never would have been able to do because of the financial impact.
“You could just go out, have fun and just show what you can do,” said PaHud. “That was the cool part about it. Just having fun driving the crap out of other people’s stuff and not having to worry about it.”
But for now he’s back in his own car, with his step-father working on it with him. The gong-show event is in the past, the K&N West win is in the past, and a race at Orange County Speedway is what lies ahead of him. He isn’t looking to win it. What he considers to be a successful weekend is different than what others may look for.
“Just making the race with the names that are there would be a success,” PaHud explained. “Once we make the race a top 10 would be a huge success. Anything above and beyond that would just be awesome.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Christian PaHud Facebook