ARCA champ Bob Brevak king of the clay in 1990
ARCA champ Bob Brevak king of the clay in 1990
(TOLEDO, Ohio – August 20, 2015) – Back in the day, if you wanted to have a good ARCA finish, it certainly helped if your name was Bob. And, in 1990, if you wanted to win at both mile dirts in Springfield and DuQuoin your last name also had to be Brevak.
Ashland, Wisconsin’s Bob Brevak, who would also secure the 1990 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards national championship, drove his No. 34 Race Glaze-VHT Buick to Victory Lane from the pole in the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield on August 19. He then followed up two weeks later with another win at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, a grinding 200-lap affair with only two drivers left on the lead lap – Brevak starring as the winner and Billy Thomas co-starring as runner-up.
Looking back down the result sheets back then, you wouldn’t have to look hard for a ‘Bob’ in the finishing order. There was Bob Strait, Bob Dotter, Bob Schacht, Bob Keselowski…Bobby Gerhart and Bobby Bowsher too, to name a few.
“I think they used to call us the ‘Bad B’s’…the ‘Terrible B’s’…maybe it was the ‘Killer B’s’, or something like that,” Brevak said. “It wasn’t just ‘Bob’ because you always had to figure in Bill Venturini…couldn’t leave him out. Billy Thomas too. They were all good racers…Bob Keselowski, Bob Schacht, Bob Strait…they were tough to beat on the dirt.”
Whether Brevak was trying to beat another ‘Bob’ or battling for 200 laps on a hot, late-summer day at DuQuoin, he loved the dirt.
“I always looked forward to the fairgrounds,” Brevak continued. “I grew up racing dirt. My dad built a dirt track in Ashland (Wis.)…ABC Raceway…a little three-eighths-mile track. I grew up there. He finally gave it to a non-profit organization that runs it today. They even built a small box there reserved for the Brevak family.
“The mile fairgrounds tracks were actually the first big tracks I was ever on, and I loved ‘em. We have a lot of great memories at the fair, especially with the kids. We always went to the fair…it was always a big deal. It wasn’t just a race for us…we went to the fair to have fun.
“I remember when we won at Springfield, we got invited to the governor’s party at the fairgrounds…governor was John Thompson back then. It was a really neat deal all the way around.”
Aside from the festive State Fair atmosphere, Brevak has a great deal of respect for the dirt tracks.
“There was no doubt you’d drive ‘em totally different. You had your hands full. It was a fulltime job to keep yourself from getting wrecked. Like I said…I loved it…I grew up on the dirt, but the other half (of the drivers) hadn’t been on dirt, so you always had to watch out for that.”
Brevak’s ARCA career stretched nearly 20 years, from 1977 to 1995 during which he made 195 career ARCA starts with five wins, 55 top-fives, 111 top-10s, four poles and a national title. He also finished runner-up in championship standings in 1989, fourth in '84 and '85, sixth in '86, '91 and '93, eighth in '87 and 10th in '83. And wouldn’t you know it…three of Brevak’s wins came on dirt tracks, adding a 150-lap victory on the Hagerstown Speedway half-mile clay oval in 1989. You may not find it hard to believe that a pair of Bob’s finished second and third at Hagerstown – Dotter and Gerhart, respectively.
And not to leave his pavement success out, Brevak earned his career-first ARCA win from the pole at Spartan Speedway in Lansing, Michigan in 1986, with Bob Strait finishing second. Brevak’s got yet another claim on fame when you factor in his victory at Salem Speedway in 1988, a grueling 500-lapper on the high-banks. There were three Bob’s in the top-five – Strait in third and Bowsher in fifth.
Although he never scored any wins on the superspeedways, he had some of his best ARCA finishes on the bigger tracks with a dozen top-five finishes at Pocono, Atlanta, Talladega and Daytona.
Despite his wide-spread success across ARCA's always diverse schedule, Brevak’s wins at Springfield and DuQuoin in ’90 were arguably his favorite.
“They meant a lot to me. First of all, we ran ‘em for so many years…had so many good finishes at the fairgrounds but no wins until that year. It was a big deal. We had a V-6 in the car at Springfield…then we came back with a V-8 for DuQuoin. Since you were going to have to pit anyway, in the 200-milers back then, the V-8 was better on dirt…it had more power. The corners were more square at DuQuoin so you had to be out of the throttle longer, but when you needed the power, you’d have it when you were ready for it.”
Beyond the great racing on the mile-dirts, Brevak loved the fairs every bit as much as he loved sliding the big, heavy ARCA cars around the clay corners.
“I even had a ‘Go-To-The-Fair’ hat…it’s a straw hat and I actually still have it, and I’d always wear it to the next county fair. But we always took time for the fair at Springfield and DuQuoin…it was a big part of the fun. There used to be a go-kart track at the fairgrounds in Springfield, and every year I had five or six kids waiting on me to take them to the go-kart track. Those kids, who are long since out of college, still talk about that.
“I remember all the entertainment at the fairs…the concerts. We’d be tearing down from the race and they’d be setting up for their show. I remember running the Milwaukee State Fair…the Bee Gees were playing…went down to Springfield and the same act followed us down. I guess they were pretty popular back then.
“There are so many great memories at the fairgrounds…my wife Shelly sang the National Anthems a couple times at Springfield and DuQuoin.”
These days, Brevak still runs the Frank Brevak & Son Trucking company his father founded.
“I’m sitting in a truck right now. Just left Cornucopia (Wis.), the farthest northern point in Wisconsin…farthest post office anyway. Headed back toward Ashland now.”
If we had to guess, Brevak probably wishes he was dusting off ole’ number 34 about now for the Allen Crowe 100 at Springfield this Sunday.
“I’m 68 now, but I still feel like I could go down and beat ‘em yet…at least in my mind.”
Don Radebaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Allen Crowe 100 winners list at Springfield impressive
Allen Crowe 100 winners include Curtis Turner (’63), Don White (’66, ’67, ’72), Al Unser (’72), Jack Bowsher (’73), Roger McCluskey (’74), Ramo Stott (’76, ’77, ’80), AJ Foyt (’79), Joe Ruttman (’80), Dean Roper (’81, ’82, ’83, ’83, ’85, ’86), Bob Keselowski (’87, ’88, ’89, ’93), Bob Brevak (’90), Bobby Bowsher (’91, ’92), Tim Steele (‘96, ’97), Ken Schrader (’98), Bill Baird (’99, ’04), Justin Allgaier (’06), Parker Kligerman (’09), and Frank Kimmel (’00, ’01, ’02. ’03, ’05, ’07, ’08, ‘12). Germantown, Tennessee’s Kevin Swindell won last year’s race in a Venturini Motorsports Toyota.
SuperChevyStores.com 100 Schedule at Springfield
Practice for the SuperChevyStores.com 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 53rd annual SuperChevyStores.com 100 starts at 1:30 p.m. All times are local.
Live on CBS Sports Network
The SuperChevyStores.com 100 will be live on the CBS Sports Network. ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activity and a live chat box throughout the day.