---- — While Jeff Rine was grabbing more headlines last season at Selinsgrove Speedway, Selinsgrove resident Kyle Bachman quietly celebrated his 20th season of racing.
"I didn't want to play it up too much, I am not into all of the hoopla," he said.
It was almost his last season as well.
"We were struggling last year with DNFs (did not finish) and I was right on the edge of retiring," he said. "But my crew talked me into coming back this year."
Over the past 20 years, Bachman, who owns Bachman's Auto Body north of Selinsgrove, has been doing the same routine on Sunday mornings.
"I'm up at 7 and I spend about four hours washing the car and then at least three days during the week working on it for Saturday night," he said.
The winner's pay on Saturday for the pro stock division is $400.
"In a perfect world, you would win the championship and go out on a high note," he added. "I think we have a good car this year and we've put a lot of homework into it. We tried to correct the issues that led to DNFs last year and I have a good team behind me. We're looking forward to this year."
One issue that helped Bachman decide to come back for a 21st season was the rule changes to the divisions.
"We got the point where the frames were custom built and they were basically a limited late model chassis with a pro stock body," Bachman said. "When I first started racing, it was basically a roadrunner with an oversized tire. The track official came to our shop and the changes weren't as drastic as I thought they were going to be."
Bachman, the 2003 pro stock champion, has 35 career pro stock wins. He also raced a 358 sprint car for five years.
This season, his son Dalton has started racing in the kids kart division at Selinsgrove Raceway Park.
"I'm not going to force him into it," Bachman said. "I've seen too many parents do that. If he likes it, fine, if not, that's OK too.
"I was really nervous watching him out there for the first time," he said. "I was more nervous than asking my wife Tara to marry he."
Bachman noted that it's one thing to strap yourself into a race car, it's another thing for your kid to do it.
"You spend over 20 years racing and you have to know in the back of your head that it is dangerous and you can't think about getting hurt," he said. "It's different knowing that you have to watch your kid out there and hoping that he is going to be OK."
According to Bachman, Dalton did alright for his first time out on the track.
"He went slow and the speed will come with time," he said. "The first lap he got bumped into and that kind of shook him up and he slowed down the rest of the night. He seemed to like it."
The kids kart weighs around 139 pounds with a driver and is powered by a two-stroke 50cc engine.
"My wife was less nervous than I was," Bachman added. "She was wanting him to go faster. I was just more concerned with him getting around the track and making a couple of laps."
Bachman also helps his niece, Ashlynn Rice, age 8, in the Rookie Cage (5-8) division.
"If you ask her who taught her to race, she'll tell you it's me," he said. "She has a natural talent to race. She looks up to me."
The 21st season of racing for Bachman is off to a promising start following a second-place finish in the season-opening feature last Saturday night.
"At this point, I am going to let this season determine my career," he said about making it to 25 years. "If I feel at the end of this season, I had a great season that I can retire on, I'll think about it."
Even if Bachman decides to call it a career at the end of the season, his racing days at Selinsgrove may not be over.
"We may look at putting some young hot-shot in the car some day," he added. "I'm just not ready to give up racing yet."
n Shawn Wood covers motorsports for The Daily Item. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org