By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Dalton Warren
FORNEY, Texas — For a couple of generations now, race fans have sat in the stands and shared the same thought, “I can do that, and run circles around those guys.” While it may be a bit cliche to say “it's way harder than it looks,” the fact remains — it's far more difficult to be fast than it appears.
For 42-year-old Kaine Buckmeyer, that reality has struck home in the past couple of seasons. While you may think he's been around for years (he has, as a sponsor and fan), he hasn't really had that much time behind the wheel. Yet in 2021, he's starting to get this driving thing figured out.
It's been a slow start, but he's learning volumes every time out. In nine starts this season, he's notched one top-five and a pair of top-10 finishes. He's been gaining traction this month, and there are more good times ahead. A student of the sport, the fun-loving driver of the No. 69x is also a car owner now.
“I had to take half of last year off because I had back surgery,” Buckmeyer said. “So I've only been in a car for a season and a half. My focus this year, along with improving as a driver, is on helping the race tracks. Buckmeyer Motorsports is the title sponsor for the Limited Modifieds at Devil's Bowl; the EcoMods at RPM; the EcoMods at Super Bowl in Greenville; and I support the DFW Late Models.”
As a car owner, Buckmeyer has a high-profile driver capable of winning races on any given night.
“I have Tommy Davis Jr. driving for me this year, and I'm excited to see what we can do together. He's won a national title two years in a row, and he's won track titles at Devil's Bowl and RPM Speedway. He drove for Robert Clark for three years, and now he'll drive new MB Customs cars for my team.”
Buckmeyer's start behind the wheel came with some guidance from longtime friend Patrik Daniel.
“Patrik sent me to Tommy and I bought a car he had for sale,” he explains. “I got in that thing, and really thought to myself that I was going to go out and win the A Main. Sure enough, I got a rude awakening right off quick. I have a new passion for the sport; it's the hardest thing I've ever done.”
While much of the attention in Texas is focused on the IMCA Modifieds and Southern Sport Mods, those who wheel the Limited Modified machines in USRA action face stiff competition, as well.
“What's been going on in the USRA is that a lot of the top-notch guys have moved up to Modifieds,” Buckmeyer said. “I was shocked that night when I finished second to Justin Vaughan at RPM and we only had 10 cars in the field. That was very unusual at that track. They usually draw 20 to 25 cars.
“When you get to Super Bowl, you better have your have your game face on because them boys are fast. The level of competition at USRA sanctioned tracks can be pretty intense, as well.”
This ambitious driver and car owner has several cars at his disposal for 2021. In fact, he just added another one to the fleet. It's a mix of brands and powerplants, yet all are from quality builders.
“I own two Modifieds and two Limited Modifieds,” Buckmeyer said. “The Western Flyer Limited Mod is powered by a Wells Racing Engine, and my IRP Limited Mod has a KS Engineering motor in it from Kevin Stoa. I have some excellent equipment, now I just need to learn how to use it.”
Due in part to his ample personality, history of supporting our great sport and positive attitude in general, Buckmeyer has a long list of folks to thank for supporting his multi-level racing programs.
“I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people, companies and race tracks behind me in this journey,” he said. “I want to thank my wife, Natalie; my mother, Debra; Tommy Davis Jr., of Tommy's Towing; Joseph Henson, of Anderson Roofing; Kevin Stoa, of KS Engineering; Morgan Bagley, of Mo Bags Suspension; Robbie Crabtree, of Dark Horse Shocks; Jason Ingalls, of IRP Race Cars; and Kurtis Allen, of Western Flyer Race Cars.
“I also need to thank Kale Westover, Donnie Gosnell, Chris Davis, Patrik Daniel, Mark Shipman, MB Customs, Joe Duval, James McCreary, of Star 1 Roofing; Steve Nabors, of Nabors Roofing; Steven Ashcraft, Marty Miller, RPM Speedway, Devil's Bowl Speedway, Super Bowl Speedway, DFW Late Model Series, Manual Scott, of Scott's Automotive, Jeff Oster, of Lone Star Accessories; Tom Lorenze, of Smiley's; Billy Vest at Dirt Defender, Honeycutt Sand and Gravel, and Abel's Truck Sales Enterprise. I truly appreciate the support I receive from each and every one.”
With summer just around the corner and races going wide open every weekend now, Buckmeyer has a clear goal in mind for his driving endeavors. He's a realist, unlike so many other oval racing dreamers.
“I have a long way to go as far as my driving,” he concluded. “I'm still struggling on a dry-slick track, but I'm not going to give up. Tommy is the one actually teaching me how to race. I have to learn how to stay more calm when it's slick, because it's an entirely different ball game. It's very frustrating for me.
“My goal for driving this year is to always make it into the A Main,” he concluded. “As long as I can get into the features and not have to settle for a B Main, that's big for me. I don't feel I'm ready to win just yet, but I'm hoping to be able to make it into the top 10 consistently. That's where I'm at in 2021.”