Grassroots 51: Bobby Measmer, Jr. by Mike Twist
Rookie of the Year, Hard Charger of the Year and a Championship - All in One Season!
Bobby Measmer, Jr. and his father celebrate a victory. (Pat Simmons / CMP Photo)
Grassroots 51 is a new Speed51.com feature that will highlight a different short track racer with a story every month. We'll look to the local tracks for the drivers that we feature instead of the touring series that we typically cover. If you have any ideas of who would be good to focus on in a future installment, drop us an e-mail and tell us why you think so by clicking here.
Up to a point, Bobby Measmer, Jr.’s racing career mirrors those of any short track racer doing it right. Start in a division at your local track, win in that division. Win more in that division and then move up to repeat the process. That is what Measmer did in the Hornet division at Concord Motorsport Park (NC), where he won his first race in his rookie season of 2002, backed that up with a championship in 2005 and won plenty of races along the way.
When Measmer moved up into Limited Late Models though, he didn’t take the same “walk before you run” approach though. In his rookie season of 2007, Measmer won the Rookie of the Year title, the Hard Charger of the season award and the championship. Measmer accomplished this by winning three races and only finishing outside the top five twice during the entire season.
Even the driver of the #14 Limited Late Model didn’t expect to post those kind of numbers.
“At the beginning of the year, we [almost] didn’t even have a motor to start the first race with,” said Measmer. “We purchased a motor on the Wednesday before our first race at Concord. At the beginning of the year, I never thought that I’d have all of these Hard Charger Awards plus Rookie of the Year and the championship.”
Like many other grassroots racers from coast to coast, Measmer spends most of his evenings working on racecars. Unlike most of his fellow racers, Measmer also spends his days working on racecars as well. He punches the clock everyday at the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team of Haas Racing.
“I work in the aero shop,” said Measmer. “I build parts, build hoods and deck lids.”
You might think that Measmer would get worn out working on racecars that much. But even by the time he starts working on his own equipment, he’s still full of enthusiasm.
“I grew up around this and it is what I love to do,” said Measmer. “It can cause heartaches at home with family and girlfriends, but it is what I love. It’s a whole lot easier at the end of the day going home and knowing that I’m working on my own stuff. I look forward to the weekends. Knowing that I’m going to get into the car and try to win a race keeps me going, along with my Dad and the rest of the crew.”
Measmer says that the jump from Hornet four-cylinder at Concord to a Limited Late Model wasn’t quite as major as one might think. In fact, he finds that the Limited class is a relatively economical division.
“It was [a big move up], but once we bought the car, it wasn’t bad,” said Measmer. “The initial price of the car was more, but it costs about the same to run them. When you tear something up, it does cost more because you can’t go to the junkyard and buy parts. For a hobby stock, we could make some of the parts at home. Now, we can’t do that. We have to buy from vendors.
“With the used tires that they use in the Limiteds, our tires are basically paid for when you start a race. With a Late Model, if you don’t have a financial backer, it isn’t worth it. [For us] It’s just the money out of my pocket, some money from my father and a few other people who help out. We’re not out to make money, but we’d like to try and break even instead of losing $500 or $1,000 every week.”
Measmer is not sure what his next career step will be. Measmer made his UARA-STARS Late Model debut this past weekend at Concord and not only did he qualify for that event, he brought home a top-10 finish. Does that mean that he’s poised to move up to a touring division next season? Maybe. Maybe not. Finances dictate what could happen next in his career a lot more than his talent level.
“I have a lot of things that I’d love to do in the future, just like any other driver. I’d love to make it big time and have an opportunity given to me to get into a Truck ride or ARCA ride, but now a days it all falls back on the driver’s financial backing, or his family’s financial backing. I don’t have that, so even though I have a lot of things that I’d love to do, the Limited deal at Concord is about as far for my pocketbook that I can go. Next year, I’m going to try to run two or three times a month instead of racing weekly, and travel to some different race track with a Late Model Stock Car.”
Measmer's #14 Limited Late Model
And Measmer, even though he races primarily at Concord, is far from being a One Track Jack.
“We’ve run the four cylinder car at Friendship Speedway, Hickory and Tri Country. Then with the Late Model, we raced at Concord, Myrtle Beach and Hickory. I like going to different places.”
Although Measmer’s car is mostly bare, he does have one important backer. Midway through the 2007 season, Kevin Hughes of Racing Electronics dipped into his own pocket to help fund the #14 team.
“He’s helped me a great deal,” said Measmer. “He came to me about halfway through the season and said that the car looked awfully blank. My Dad’s two colors are white and red and that’s what the car looked like. I pointed to a Racing Electronics sticker and that was the only one on the fender. From then on, he has paid for my tires and helped us get through the season. It was greatly appreciated.”
Measmer in a familar place - victory lane at Concord.
“I’ve run my own cars for quite awhile and helped out Tab Boyd and Jimmy Simpson as well,” said Hughes. “I knew when I raced what it took to get out there and I knew how tough it was to get people to help out. I’ve known Bobby for awhile and I know that it is just him, his Dad and his uncle working on the car. They’ve never asked me for anything and I get hit up for sponsorship 10-15 times a week. I appreciate that and wanted to help him.
“They good representatives of people who race hard and work hard. Bobby calls me every week and tells me how things went. I thought that he deserved some help more than most and he’s proven that.”