Talent, Passion and Experince Combine with Opportunity for the 2013 Racing Season
After three season opening USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series races in Florida that saw some success and one setback, Robert Ballou will pull into Lawrenceburg Speedway for the track’s season opener sitting in seventh place in points sitting on the hopes to improve on a very successful 2012. Having a slice of rogue debris cut a tire while holding the lead hasn't put a damper on his outlook of the new season which is rooted in promise. This season brings many new things but the same go get it attitude will always be packed alongside the helmet and will forever remain. After longtime supporter and car owner Dallas Mulveny announced a hiatus, the California born and current Indiana resident celebrating a year of marriage to an amazing woman, is now running the familiar bright orange number five fielded by Baldwin Motorsports. While there is a new number and a proven winning team surrounds him it will be the exact same tenacity to be the best every time out will continue to power Ballou and Baldwin as they team up for a run at a championship.
Rolling with changes and taking on new obstacles with vigor are nothing new for one of the sport’s enigmatic figures who provides a truly intriguing mixture of “veteran” based on his nearly two decades of experience behind the wheel while at the same time he is “a young gun” based on limitless drive and potential to be victorious in anything he straps in to for competition. While some superstitions remain powerful in racing, Ballou isn’t concerned at all by the number thirteen on the calendar, putting cameras on his car or taking on new challenges that his skill and experience have provided in the past. He’s most familiar in a Maxim Chassis and likes the feel of his favorite manufacturers of racing parts. Such familiarity leads to comfort behind the wheel and that inevitably leads to wins.
Speaking of the familiar Ballou enjoys an advantage that he's earned through years of nothing short of knuckle busting hard work. While the number five is primed and prepared by Robert and the talented crew at Baldwin Motorsports and is fully ready for an all out attack on the full USAC National schedule, fans need not mourn the loss of Robert’s hand built #12 that is massaged by Derrick Bye, Johnnie Smalls and a cast of other prime time players who have aided in many past successes. That same group of stalwarts may ultimately throw hands on the #5 as well. All of Robert’s friends, equipment and experience are at the ready to go if and when called upon for any local races or series that avail themselves along the way. Several substantial upgrades to his family owned Robert Ballou Motorsports team have it primed for winning as well. A two car hauler and a line on a new power plant shout “Look out, here we come” when they are added to an unmatched competitive fire and love of all things super-fast. This passion was fostered at the ripe old age of four and clearly won’t ever be extinguished. Known for being willing to stand on the throttle and run inches from any berm or wall ever built he’s a contender every time he pulls into the pits.
Before and after his permanent move to Indiana in 2007, Ballou has been a lifelong top contender on the roster of numerous series and he’s ever willing to take an opportunity to run anything on wheels after he evaluates the idea carefully. His early career was carved out of seeking every chance to race no matter what he had to overcome. Highlights of 2012 saw him put a wing on the #12 machine and make the World of Outlaw show on Memorial Day at Lawrenceburg Speedway where he wore the hat as car owner, driver, crew chief, sponsor advocate and crowd favorite. Paved track, dirt track, high banks with walls or a bullring without barriers he thrives on the challenge to master any task he takes on. He made his first driving appearance at the Chili Bowl after crewing several times previously. Enjoying driving an ultra-maneuverable shorter wheel based car that “can be abused a bit more than a sprint car” as well as the much larger Silver Crown mounts he’s had over the years is a facet of his career that is fun to watch for fans just as addicted to speed as the drivers. He’s had incredible success in racing that have been tempered by some heartbreaking finishes and some nasty looking wrecks but he’s walked away from everything with the precious knowledge that only experience can provide.
Happily suffering no long term impacts from the physical tumbles in the recent past, he’s garnered a huge fan following via his incredible runs from the back to front such as the World of Outlaws show and his incredible story at Eldora last July. After trouble in the heat race he blasted through the B-Main – won it, started on the tail of the hefty purse paying A-Main only to suffer a mechanical failure while in third and in position to move forward with a handful of laps to go. He also went for one of his wildest rides at Kokomo Speedway, spent a few days in the hospital, traded the gown for his driving suit and promptly won the next week at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
Being a long time crew chief, Robert can swing the wrenches with the best of them and that’s a big positive in terms of transferring on track knowledge to the setup but it has had its occasional drawbacks as well. “Sometimes the track changes so quickly, that’s where veteran crew chiefs can see things that I can’t and I may miss a change that having some extra eyes wouldn’t have been missed.” Such honest evaluation of a situation is a key factor in propelling a driver forward. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is an advantage that is enjoyed by USAC’s 2012 sixth place finisher. He relishes his success and truly finds joy in going to the USAC banquet, signing memorabilia for fans young and old. 2013 looks to be another exciting for fans of Robert Ballou Motorsports, Baldwin Racing and fans of guys who go wheel to wheel – all out at every turn. If he pulls into an event that you’re attending be prepared for a great ride, and stop by his pit afterwards. He will be glad to talk racing any time. Keep an eye out for Robert Ballou…it’s going to be an exciting year for a racer who is successful but never rests in the pursuit of his next victory…no matter what type of car or how many hours of work that it may require.