Dauzat pairs with Cup team owner, renowned engine builder Rahilly at Daytona

Dauzat pairs with Cup team owner, renowned engine builder Rahilly at Daytona

TOLEDO, Ohio (Feb. 4, 2017) - Bryan Dauzat is originally from Alexandria, Louisiana but he's camped out in Charlotte, North Carolina these days where business is booming.

"Business is great...that's why I'm able to go to Daytona," said Dauzat, who's a building contractor by trade.

The 57-year-old Cajun is also about to become a race car driver for the 54th running of the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona Int'l Speedway coming Saturday, Feb. 18.

Dauzat has entered his own No. 57 O.B. Builders Chevrolet for Daytona. If he makes the race, it'll mark his fourth ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start. He's got two already at Talladega and one at Daytona. He finished a career-best 15th twice...once at Talladega and once at Daytona.

"We're excited...we feel really good about being able to make the race. Went down for the test...had a pretty good test."

The "we" part includes his crew chief and renowned engine builder Bob Rahilly. Rahilly co-owned a NASCAR Cup team with Butch Mock (RahMoc Enterprises) from 1978 through 1993. Some of his drivers included Neil Bonnett, Morgan Shepherd and Dick Trickle to name a few. Rahilly maintains all of Dauzat's racing equipment, which includes the cars he races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

"I'm just glad that Bryan is giving me an opportunity to do some more ARCA races," said Rahilly.

Rahilly's first race at Daytona as a competitor was 1974, and he was there since '66 as a spectator. In addition to his Cup tenure, Rahilly has ARCA connections that go way back.

"We were actually building ARCA engines for Phil Finney back in '79-'80. We nearly won Daytona...we powered that car. I can remember selling engine parts to Frank's (Kimmel) dad. No matter what I was doing on the other side, I've always made it a point to go see my friends over there (ARCA).

"I love to go back and do the ARCA races...it's a friendly atmosphere...it's a real pleasure. I always feel like I'm among friends in the ARCA garage. Everyone's so approachable. The officials are helpful, kind, honest...there aren't so many layers of bureaucracy. I don't feel like I'm just a number...I absolutely love it. Life's too short to not enjoy this. I'm 64...I think if I can go till I'm 70, that'd be quite a career...and if I finish up in ARCA, that's fine by me."

Rahilly brings years of experience to the table for Dauzat, who's still getting familiar with bigtime stock car racing. But, with just a few ARCA starts, Dauzat is surprisingly calm about going 200 at Daytona.

"The first time at Daytona the nerves were popping, but I'm pretty calm now...just excited more than anything," Dauzat said. "But I didn't start racing till I was 45...till I could start affording it."

Dauzat bought his ARCA superspeedway car from JR Motorsports. It's equipped with the ARCA Ilmor 396 engine. He's got another speedway car, but no back-up engine, so Dauzat will wing it with one hot rod at Daytona.

He is, however, planning to beef-up his ARCA schedule in 2017.

"We're attempting to do seven ARCA races this year. We know we're running Daytona, Talladega and Pocono...we haven't really picked out the others...I think probably Kansas at the end of the year."

When it comes to racing, Dauzat says he's got another couple years left in him.

"I think I've got a couple more years in me, then it'll be time to quit. I don't want to spend all my daughters' inheritance...at least that's what they're telling me. I told 'em, 'the only one I want crying at my funeral is the banker because I owe him money.' "

The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire is live on FS1 Saturday afternoon, Feb. 18. ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring and live chat of all on-track activities, including practice Thursday and Friday and pole qualifying Friday afternoon.

Don Radebaugh

Otis B Driftwood

good luck