Unbuckled: Getting to Know Rich Dubeau
Driver of the #30NH Upper Valley Stove Company Chevrolet
Hometown: Plainfield, NH
2015 Season: Finished 10th in ACT Late Model Tour points; ACT Rookie of the Year
What are your favorite off-season hobbies?
I would say snowmobiling – although I haven’t had much of a chance to do that this year – and flag football. One of my friends had been asking me for years to play, and because of racing I put it off and told him I didn’t have time during the season. But last year he finally convinced me to do it, and it was a ton of fun, so I’m going to be doing it again next year.
What do you do for work?
I work at Upper Valley Stove Company, which is owned by one of the guys on my crew. We mainly specialize in pellet stoves and gas stoves, and I work as a service technician.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment so far is simply racing on the ACT Tour. As a kid, I always dreamed of racing on the Tour, and just being on the Tour is probably my biggest accomplishment. That and winning a Late Model championship at Twin State Speedway (in 2014).
What are your racing plans for 2016?
We’d like to run the full season on the Tour, but we’re going to see how the first few races go before we commit to the whole season. The hope is run the whole year though.
What race(s) are you most looking forward to in 2016?
Probably the Bond Auto ACT Invitational at Loudon. Last year’s race was awesome; even though we didn’t finish the best, it was amazing just being there. It was a lot of fun.
What was the highlight of the 2015 season for you?
My first ever race on the ACT Tour at Oxford, when we started last and finished 9th.
It was an eventful weekend before that, wasn’t it?
It certainly was. (Laughs) You’re talking about the scales, I’m assuming.
Yes indeed. What exactly happened?
I pulled up to tech during the practice day, and I think I wanted frame height checked and some other stuff under the hood – just to make sure everything was set on the car – and I had no idea the scales were even there. I’d never noticed them. An official said they weren’t doing tech right now, so I drove off, and apparently the scales were pretty much right in front of me. (Laughs) It was a rough start, but luckily we ended the weekend much better.
You went to a lot of tracks in 2015 that you’d never been to as a driver. What was the experience like?
Obviously there was a learning curve at every track. Each track was pretty unique. But it was fun; it was kind of exciting going to each track not knowing what our potential was. I felt like I picked up the tracks pretty well as a driver, for the most part. It was interesting to try to set up the car for each track.
How did you get started in racing? How did you come to join the ACT Tour?
My step-dad got me into racing; he used to race on a dirt track, and I’d go every single week to watch. Then when I was 13 or 14, I really wanted to do it, and he ended up selling his race car and buying me a go-kart. I raced go-karts for several years, and then progressed to a Super Street and then a Late Model. We had success in a Late Model at Twin State Speedway, and I decided that I wanted to try the Tour out, and luckily I had people backing me up to do it. It’s been quite the ride.
Do you have anyone that you consider a hero or try to emulate?
In NASCAR, Kevin Harvick is my favorite driver. As far as emulate or take after, I would actually say Wayne Helliwell, Jr. He’s smooth and he’s clean; he’s a pretty good driver.
Tell me about your family?
My Dad passed away about five years ago, but there’s my Mom, I have an older sister, and a younger brother who’s part of the pit crew. My sister doesn’t really go to a lot of the races, but my brother is big-time into it – he’s a big part of the crew, and he’s also my spotter.
Who is your biggest supporter at the track?
I don’t think I have one person that stands out. It’s honestly my whole crew that supports me as much as they can. I don’t want to say any one person supports me more than the other. There’s my best friend Nick, my brother David, and then Sean – who’s my sponsor and boss – and my girlfriend.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?
I would say my step-dad, before he passed away four years ago. He was in love with racing himself, and did it every single year – every week he would go to the track. And he dropped everything so that I could get started in it. He was the one who’d pull all-nighters to make sure I’d make it to the track. He’s the one that kept me going.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I’m a New York Jets fan. I didn’t really have close family that was into football, but I started watching it, and basically it was a dislike of the Patriots type of thing. (Laughs) To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really care for some Patriots fans, so I decided to like the rival team instead.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully I’ll still be a part of racing. It’s hard to say – I would hope to still be on the Tour though.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would still race, and I think there’d be a lot more traveling in the offseason. (Laughs)