By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer
Photo by: Sean Folsom
SPRING, Texas — A few of us older race fans often talk about the future of short track racing. We talk about dropping car counts, low attendance and hesitation from local businesses to invest in racing.
Yet we also talk about the upside, like that tremendous influx of new talent we're seeing all over this great nation. Down in south Texas, much like the sun, the future is pretty bright. For 17-year-old Beau Begnaud, the near future will include a trip to Victory Lane.
In 27 starts this year, the promising young driver has recorded six top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. He's right on the cusp of that first win, and he can almost taste it. Soon, he'll have his opportunity to shine.
Begnaud is a second-generation racer originally from LaPlace, Louisiana, but now calls Spring, Texas his home. Begnaud competes in the IMCA Modified division at Cotton Bowl, Heart of Texas Speedway and Texana. He's not a points chaser, just a rising star honing his skills in a highly-competitive world.
“We've hit on something here the past couple of weeks that is really working, so we know our night is coming,” Begnaud said. “We've been super close on four occasions, but something always happens to spoil our night. We haven't quite been able to close the deal, but I feel confident that day is coming.”
Begnaud is already in his seventh year of racing despite his young age. Like so many other promising young drivers today, he got his start in Karts. He first climbed into a Mini Stock at age 11, moved up to Factory Stock at age 13, and tested his father's Late Model at the age of 15. He's a natural talent, climbing the ladder one step at a time. The 2018 season was his first full-time effort in IMCA Mods.
“Every car I've driven and every different track I've run has helped me get to where I am today,” he added. “I just try to learn as much as possible in each situation, so when it arises again I know what to do. My Dad used to race, he started in Karts like me and made to a Late Model. I'm working at it.”
Every racer in the great state of Texas faces a variety of challenges as they balance work, family and racing. For Begnaud, not being able to execute and win after leading a feature is grinding his gears.
“This is probably the toughest region in the country to be racing in IMCA Mods,” Begnaud said. “The level of competition if off the charts. It's frustrating to have come so close and not held the checkers, but if we keep working hard and aren't intimidated by the veterans, we'll have a shot to get our win.
“A few weeks ago in Edna, Texas, at Texana Raceway, I think we were leading for about 13 laps or so. It all hasn't quite come together for us yet, but we hold our heads high knowing our day will come.”
As he pursues that elusive first IMCA Modified feature win, Begnaud is fortunate to have a great group of people working behind the scenes to keep his efforts moving forward. Begnaud, by the way, drives a Larry Shaw car built in 2016 and is powered by a Crate engine.
“This wouldn't be possible without my mother and my Dad,” he explained. “My father works night and day in the shop to make sure the car is all good and nothing is left to chance. I also have to thank my good friends Jeff and Charlene Hoegh, they own Hurricane Fabrication. They really help us out a lot.”
Along with a dedicated race team to relay on, Begnaud also has a fine group of marketing partners who allow him to be more competitive against the big guns.
“I'm fortunate to have a great group of folks supporting this race team,” Begnaud said. “I have to thank A-One Chemical Equipment, Inc., Performance Race Engineering, of Houston; Trackside Motorsports, Chris Brown Racing Shocks, Hurricane Bodies and Deen's Station. We couldn't do this without all of them behind us, and we sure appreciate each one.”
As the 2019 season begins to wind down, thoughts turn to what needs to be accomplished before that final flag waves. For Begnaud, that goal is about as clear as it ever gets.
“Right now our only goal is to get this car into Victory Lane,” Begnaud concluded. “we don't really chase points at one specific track, so we aren't worried about that. We all know that we're getting close to that win and it is going to feel pretty awesome when it comes. We'll keep working until we get it.”