Chad Baxter thinks he may have finished in the top 10 in the national points once in his career prior to 2021. He came into the season simply looking to collect as many wins as possible and, maybe, go for a track championship in the Sportsman division at Seekonk Speedway.
But as the wins piled up, people started to notice how good of a season he was having.
“There’s a guy that I work with, he’s always looking at that type of stuff (the national points), and during our lunch breaks he was going through it and he would tell me where I was, and we kept on moving up,” Baxter said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ Eventually I was like, ‘Oh, I think we might have a shot at this.'”
By the end of the season, Baxter had six wins, 13 top fives, his first Seekonk track championship and his first NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Division III national title.
Consistency was key for Baxter and his team, as they only finished outside of the top five twice in 15 races.
The team, which consisted of Baxter, his car owner, Richard Spragg, and his brother, Joe Baxter, built a brand new car to start the 2021 season.
“We were fast when we went to the first practice,” Baxter said. “The car felt good and it stayed consistent all year long.”
While the team wanted to go for a track championship at Seekonk, located in Seekonk, Massachusetts, its focus was on just getting wins every week. As long as Baxter and Co. kept winning, the points would come.
“It was not really too much more pressure than any regular event that we were going to,” he said. “We always had our sight set on trying to win the races so it didn’t put any extra pressure on you if you’re trying to go out and get wins.
“Definitely seeing that we had good cars all the time, to be able to always have a shot at a win, the points are definitely always there in the end.”
Baxter’s only other championship in his career was a track title at Thompson Speedway. He moved to race at Seekonk in 2015.
The veteran driver grew up around racing, watching his father when Baxter and his brother were little kids. He started in the sport himself when he was 19.
During the week, it’s typically just Baxter and Spragg tinkering on the car and getting it ready for Saturday nights. Joe Baxter began helping his brother and Spragg about midway through the season. The trio would typically bring two cars to the race track every weekend.
Baxter had to fight back tears when asked what it was like to be able to call himself a national champion after so many years in racing.
“It’s a great accomplishment, and it’s something I really never pictured, or could picture it happening,” he said. “It’s still hard to believe that I was able to achieve it.
“It means a lot, because it just shows that we were able to put a car out there and be able to be consistent, and all the hard work we put in, it paid off.”
The team hasn’t celebrated the championship too much, but they plan to the make the most of their awards banquets over the offseason.
When the spring rolls around, they’ll be trying to go for title No. 2.
“We’re going to try. We’ll put another good effort into it,” Baxter said. “The competition and being able to go out and do good and be competitive is just a task of its own. It’s just something to drive to make you better.”