GRANDFATHER'S GUIDANCE LEADS TO SECOND BES TITLE FOR MIKE OLSEN
Stub Fadden Helped Olsen Break Into The Sport
In sports, terms like “patriarch”, “icon”, and “living legend” are reserved for those who have excelled, and who have stood the test of time. Among the competitors and fans of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series, all those accolades and more apply to Stanley “Stub” Fadden.
Soon he adopted the number “16” and joined the trend to late model stock cars that swept across the northern tier of states in the mid-60’s. Campaigning a long string of Chevrolets on the grueling NASCAR North circuit of the 1970’s he went wheel-to-wheel with future Busch East Series stars like Dave Dion and Bobby Dragon five nights a week during the summer, scoring an estimated 220 feature wins and numerous track championships. It was a colorful and exciting era which eventually led to touring series competition and to the founding of the Busch North Series (now Busch East Series) in 1987.
Fadden was in the lineup when the new series debuted in Oxford, Maine in April 1987 and he would be a regular for a dozen years, scoring four wins and pacing in the top-10 finish of the final standings on eight occasions. Along the way he found the time to help launch his grandson’s career and inspired many others.
“My dad and I put my first race car together but Stub built the engine,” Olsen recalled about his first teenage racing ventures. “We did that for two years and then Stub gave me a Busch car. I think it was Charlotte, my grandmother, that suggested he give me the opportunity,” Olsen continued. The two would soon become teammates as Fadden enjoyed his best years on the Busch East Series, including a career-best fifth in points in 1992. Running a team that was clean and professional as well as competitive, both would soon enjoy major sponsorship with NAPA Auto Parts joining Fadden in 1994 and Little Trees, his championship sponsor today, coming aboard with Olsen in 1996. Little Trees remains one of the longest-running sponsorships in all of NASCAR.
When it came time to step away from regular competition,
Stub Fadden did it firing on all cylinders. His last full
season in 1998 produced five top-10 finishes, headed by
a pair of sixth place runs at Stafford (Conn.) Motor
Speedway. As Olsen had become established with the
number “61”, reversing the digits of Stub’s trademark, a
lifelong Fadden fan who had just joined the Busch East
Series applied for his hero’s number. That driver, Kip
Stockwell, still carries it today.
In recent years, Stub Fadden has faced health issues
which have limited his ability to attend the races. But
back home in North Haverhill, he remains a vital part of the
team. According to Olsen, “He comes out the shop just about every day and checks things out. It’s mainly for moral support.” He might have added, the support that can come only from a true living legend.
Olsen begins his title defense when the Busch East Series opens its 2007 schedule April 28 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C.
A leading racer in northern New England for nearly 40 years, the lifelong resident of North Haverhill, N.H., became mentor and car owner to his grandson, Mike Olsen, while maintaining his own stature as a top-10 contender until he retired following the 1998 season. Twice more, in 2001 and 2003, he pulled out the helmet and fire suit to race at his home track in Barre, Vt., finishing ninth on the lead lap in his final appearance at age 70.
On December 15, he will celebrate as the team he founded and which still carries his name is honored along with Olsen as Busch East Series champions for 2006 in the annual awards ceremony at the Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Conn.
Stub started racing with a modified coupe in 1961, clenching between his teeth the cigar that gave him his enduring nickname.
Mike Olsen (at right) celebrates his 2006 Busch East Series championship with family and crew members, including his grandfather and New England racing legend Stanley "Stub" Fadden (center right). Click photo to download. (Howie Hodge Photo)