Now, it’s time to go touring. Tardiff and his father Marc, with the help of several local and one not-so-local businesses prepared another Super Late Model to go along with their Beech Ridge car. Now, they are ready to step up to the PASS Northern ranks for the full schedule and do it right.
“Basically, what we are geared for this year is getting the tour car ready,” said Tardiff. “We’re getting away
TARDIFF PROVES THAT MOVING UP TO PASS IS POSSIBLE by MikeTwist
Beech Ridge's Youngest SLM Winner Will Be a PASS North Rookie in '06
It used to be that when a young racer would have a great deal of success at their local short track, they would move up to a regional tour and maybe even to the top levels of NASCAR eventually. If the driver had talent and the right opportunities presented themselves, the ladder system worked very well for countless drivers through the years.
racecars around that came out of the shop for various hotshoes to run at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. When Alan became old enough, he started racing karts himself. That’s where he won. A lot. Then came the chance to step up into a Pro Series car (Super Late Model) at Beech Ridge. It didn’t take him long to win there either. He was 15 when he captured his first checkered flag. A few more seasons brought more wins at the Ridge.
“I’m in the record books as the oldest Pro Series winner at the racetrack,” said Tardiff. “Nobody else under 16 years old has won a race a yet. I was the youngest driver to win in the Pro Series at that racetrack and that is pretty neat. I respect that a lot.”
Tardiff waits to go out for a feature at Beech Ridge last season. (51 Photo)
cars. When I raced go-karts, he had a Pro Series car going with a driver. He’s been very loyal to me. He brought me up well.”
During the week, Tardiff works at a local car dealership. But a soft economy has forced him to cut back his hours there even. That could be a plus for the raceteam though.
“I had a full-time job as a parts specialist, but the automotive industry is kind of slow right now. They put part me on part-time so now I work Monday through Wednesday there and Thursdays and Fridays, I can work on the racecar. It’s terrible, but it’s also going to work out well. There are some races like Halifax where we have to leave on Thursday night or Friday morning.”
Tardiff's #8t. (Norm Marx Photo)
“S&T Rentals from Sydney, Nova Scotia has been with me from day one since I started racing go-karts,” said Tardiff. “They’ve been friends of the family for a long time and we got to talking. He owns his own speedway, Island Speedway in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Finally he said that he’d sponsor me but under one condition. That was that I had to run his number. That’s how I got to have the number eight.”
And of course, there’s the help that Tardiff’s father Marc gives him as owner, crew chief and mentor.
“My Dad has been very supportive all along the way,” said Tardiff. “He’s been in racing since the 70’s. He’s owned
Nowadays, moving up is a little bit of a different story. The cars that race at weekly tracks usually aren’t anything remotely the same as what goes on tour. It also takes some serious money to run those tour races and to buy specialized equipment. Some young drivers are even skipping that rung of the ladder altogether and are debuting on the road with the attitude that they are ready for the big leagues even if they are barely out of high school.
So it’s refreshing when a driver comes along and does things old school. Enter Maine’s Alan Tardiff. The 21-year-old grew up in the shadows what started out as his grandfather’s, and later became his father’s, auto repair shop in the small town of Lyman. There were always
Alan Tardiff (51 Photo)
“I believe that we can compete with them. Absolutely,” said Tardiff. “We have the same equipment that they do. I don’t think that we are lacking in that department. The only thing that we are lacking is full-time help. But I think that with the guys on our crew, we can make up for that. They get along really well and get stuff done.”
Although a patchwork of local sponsors, contractors, an auto body shop, a paver and a modular home dealer in the community back Tardiff’s racing, one of his primary sponsors isn’t even in this country.
Stan Dicks, who owns a third-mile race track in Canada, is one of Tardiff’s biggest supporters.
Tardiff’s plans for the future are ambitious. In the short term, he knows that he can run up front in PASS and plans to do just that.
“We’re looking for a win this year and I think that we can do it,” said Tardiff. “We raced five races last year and either finished in the top 10 or qualified in the top 10. We definitely can do the job.”
And for the long term, Tardiff isn’t any different than anyone else his age.
“My aspirations beyond PASS are the same as when I was a little kid,” said Tardiff. “Since I was five years old, I wanted to race NASCAR Nextel Cup. Just like anyone else, my age across the country wants to do. I have a heart for racing and want to do this for a living. That’s my goal and I’m not going to give up until the day comes when I can’t drive a racecar anymore.”
Tardiff’s season will get started on April 29th as the PASS North season opens up with the New England Dodge Dealers 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME).
Tardiff (C) and Ryan Moore (L) both got their starts racing karts at Beech Ridge (51 Photo)
from the weekly racing and geared more towards the tour racing. We have two cars and they can both run on the tour. We plan on doing that unless something drastic happens.”
Tardiff dipped into the PASS waters last season by making four starts. In the last two events of the season, he scored a top-five at Beech Ridge and a top-ten at Star. More importantly, he and his team liked what they experienced.
“The competition is great,” said Tardiff. “A touring series is more professional. Just in the races that we ran last year, I had a lot of fun. Whether we finished well or we didn’t, we had a blast. The atmosphere there and just being around those guys is nice. There’s no bickering and we enjoyed ourselves.”
Since they can use the same car and equipment that they competed with at Beech Ridge, stepping up to PASS is not an impossible task for the family-owned team. Racing on the tour might not be easy, but it can be done.
“The money is tight and you have to spend it wisely,” said Tardiff. “I can’t go out and buy a shock dyno. I have to spend the money where it needs to be spent. We as a family spend a lot of our own money. If you don’t have a business where you have money coming in the doors everyday or are wealthy, you have to watch where everything goes.”
Even still, Tardiff believes that he can compete with the top dogs of the series – like the Rowes and the Clarks. His fifth-place finish in last year’s Pullen Heavy Industries 300 at Beech Ridge proves it.
Tardiff got his number and his primary sponsor in the same deal several years back. (51 Photo)