For more than 50 years, a Babb has driven a race car with a big, bold No. 4 emblazoned on the sides.

It began with Robert Babb Sr., who started racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough in the 1950s.

It continued in 1988 when Bobby Babb, who started racing in 1979 at the age of 16, took over the family ride from his dad.

Now, the No. 4 has passed to Bobby’s son, Brad, a 17-year-old junior at Windham High, who is entered in the American Canadian Tour’s Big Jab 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday.

“Pretty much my whole life I wanted to race,” the youngest Babb said. “I started racing go-carts when I was 8, and I just loved it right away.”

Babb will race this summer on the ACT against some of the top drivers in northern New England and Canada.

Although Babb is a rookie on the tour, he’s been immersed in auto racing his entire life.

“I wasn’t old enough to go into the pits — you have to be 14. It was just whenever I could, I would go out in the garage and work on (the car),” he said. “I couldn’t do much, but I’d go out there and do whatever I could.”

Babb raced go-carts at Oxford Plains for five years before moving into the Whiz Kids division when he was 14. It’s a four-cylinder class for young drivers at Beech Ridge.

After spending the next season running in the six-cylinder Roadrunner division at Beech Ridge, Babb moved up to the Sports division when he was 16.

“We had a few problems with the car, but whenever it held together it was really, really good,” he said.

After turning 17 last October, Babb returned to Oxford Plains for the first time in more than four years to drive Bolduc Motorsports’ Super Late Model car to a sixth-place finish in the New England Dodge Dealers’ ACT 150.

“(OPS is) a lot like driving at Beech Ridge, where I raced all last year,” Babb said.

“It’s little bit wider and we’re running a different car, so it was a little bit slower. But it was a lot of fun going to a different track.”

Babb intends to drive at a lot of different tracks this summer.

“We’re going try to run the whole ACT tour, plus the Oxford 250, which is a non-points race,” he said. “My goal is to try to earn an invitation to the ACT race at Loudon (N.H.).”

On Sept. 18, ACT’s top 43 drivers will run in a 60-lap event at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Invitational. ACT race winners automatically are entered in the race.

“My goal is just to get invited,” Babb said.

Auto racing remains a family affair for Babb. Both his grandfather and his father are members of his pit crew.

“It’s difficult having your husband or your kid out there,” said Carla Babb, Brad’s mother. “But the whole family loves it, so you just go and support them.”

“You want to see them do well, but I always say if you’re bringing the car home in one piece and you’re OK, then it’s been a good day.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]