Evan Beaulieu, 24, of Durham, fresh off his best finish of the Beech Ridge NASCAR Nite season, is no stranger to the trials and triumphs that come with racing competitively.

As many drivers do, Beaulieu made his start in go-cart racing at a young age. From 2004-2007, he competitively raced go-carts. He then moved up to the Amsoil Nelcar Legends Tour in 2008, where he raced in the Legends Division at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, securing the Thursday Night Thunder Legends Championship in 2011.

Beaulieu’s began in 2013 in the Pro Series at Beech Ridge, which is the division that he still competes in today. That first year was Beaulieu’s most successful year in the series, where he scored his first career Pro Series victory. After a near two-season hiatus from racing NASCAR Nite weekly at Beech Ridge, Beaulieu is back this year with vengeance. With a growing career off-track and a wedding on the horizon to his fiance Lindsey, Beaulieu has a lot on his plate. But, he handles all of the pressure with grace and dignity; showing more strength each and every week of competition.

Luckily, Beaulieu has an entire support system there with him weekly, cheering him on and helping him get the No. 56 machine back to a competitive state.

Beaulieu’s been racing

since early childhood, and he’s always had the support of his family.

“I have such a supportive family and I’m beyond lucky to have parents that have always led me in the right direction and pushed me to follow my goals,” he said.

His father Todd is a constant figure in the pits, sticking by Beaulieu’s side every step of the way. He also lends thanks to his fiance Lindsey, his manager Bobby, Wyatt Alexander and family, and all of his crew members that have tirelessly helped him on his race car over the past five years. NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon is his ultimate driving influence, being his favorite driver growing up.

“He’s one of the main reasons I got into racing to begin with and I always appreciated how competitive he was and how they wanted to win every week.”

As far as Beech Ridge competitors go, Beaulieu has always looked up to Kelly and Ryan Moore, as well as Dan (“Naughty 40”) McKeage, cheering them on each and every week as a kid. All of these drivers combined influenced Beaulieu to try his hand at a Pro Series car, but it hasn’t exactly been the easiest journey for him.

That first year

That first season was Beaulieu’s breakout season in the Pro Series, which is where he scored his first (and only) career victory on NASCAR Nite at Beech Ridge. The years following have been a struggle for Beaulieu and his team, where they have found difficulty in running toward the front of the pack.

This past weekend, Beaulieu scored a fourth-place finish in the Pro Series 125, giving both he and his team plenty to be proud of after struggling to find momentum for so long.

“It’s been discouraging when coming up through the ranks, we were able to win at every level we raced. I know I can get the job done at this level, but it just takes a lot of preparation and precision in the setup, tires and your driving. It all has to be perfect to run well when it’s competitive,” Beaulieu said.

He also said that the 125 being a four-tire race worked to his advantage, and that Charlie Buxton and Dalton Myers were to thank for a lot of the improvements in his car. He says that he is hungry for more success and continued improvement, with his primary goal of being able to visit Victory Lane once again. He says that there’s nothing like the feeling you get after winning a race, which is a feeling that he wants to experience with his fiance, who makes a lot of sacrifices in her own life to be with him every race weekend.

Winning isn’t everything to him, though. Beaulieu says that racing every weekend isn’t just about him and his success, but about the children and families that visit the track. Beaulieu strives to be a great role model for kids looking to get their start in racing. He says that kids are the “future of our sport” and that he doesn’t waste any opportunity to jump on the “Bunny Bus” and interact with all of the kids at the track.

“We, as a sport, can’t do enough to get the kids interested and to the racetrack,” he said, also adding that he always makes sure to personalize his autographed hero cards on autograph nights and during “Happy Half Hour,” giving each kid an individualized experience that will leave them feeling fulfilled after a night at the race track.

After his competitive racing days are over, Beaulieu still wants racing to remain a big component of his life, saying, “I want to do more events with schools and automotive programs to get more people into motorsports and help new people in the sport.”

Beaulieu says that over the years, he has received a lot of great advice from his fellow competitors.

“In Legends cars, I learned a lot from my fellow competitors and some of the veteran drivers about how to race fairly and how to carry yourself when things don’t go well,”

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