There Is Always
Hope Says Pure Stock Racer Todd Baier by Rebecca Richards
Todd Baier, pure stock racer from Triadelphia, West Virginia used to watch
races with his buddies Paul Ritchea and Jerry Prince, and thought, "Hey I
can do that!"
In 1999 the Todd, Paul, and Jerry formed a race team, and built a 1981
Camaro and headed to Cannonball Speedway.
That first race was quite an experience! Future wife, Darlena recalls, it
was her first time to attend a dirt track racing event and Todd's first
She became alarmed when she couldn't find him in the pits, and finally she
spotted him, parked way in the back, sitting on his car.
Worried she asked Todd, "What's the matter? Are you sick or something?"
"No, I'm wondering what I've gotten myself into!" he replied.
After the first night of rookie jitters they became hooked on dirt and
making many lasting friendships that both cherish.
Todd ended up winning several heats, a feature and placed 5th in points
his rookie year at Cannonball!
2000 would have the team traveling to more race tracks including Tyler
County Speedway. Todd was leading the points until disaster struck! During
a race, Todd was wide open when a car spun out in front of him, went into
the infield and back onto the track-totalling his race car. Not to be
discouraged, the team loaded up the car, and sat it in Todd's front yard.
There the family project began. Darlena, Todd and their five year old son
tore the car apart. It needed a new subframe, and was out of action for 3
weeks, but still Todd managed to finish 10th in points at his home track.
Todd decided that it might be time to try a full framed car and a new
group of guys as a team. These new team members were very important
people! Father, Ron Baier and Paul Ritchea was still with him. Co-team
owners, father Ron and Patty Baier, Todd and Paul built a 1974 Monte Carlo
bought by Uncle Rich
It was a lot of hard work but it paid off by taking first place at the
mall show prior to the racing season. The new outlook would give Todd a
brighter attitude in his racing endeavors, inspiring him to keep the flame
of hope alive. After racing the car one time, Todd couldn't get a feel for
the heavier frame and went back to the lighter #3 Black 350 Chevy Camaro.
The car sponsored by Bob Robinson Chevrolet, Crow's Auto Salvage,
DeCarlo's St. Clairsville, Bonanza Steak House, Wanda's Bargain Barn and
Tobacco Outlet, Dave's Plumbing Service, Debbie Green 5K, Line-X Bedliners,
Kanyuch Motorsports, DJ Entertainment, NTB-National Tire&Battery, and Ohio
City Crew is a fan favorite and the racer, well, Todd is a very popular
guy! He has a reputation of his charity work for children, which the kids
and parents love.
Meanwhile, future wife, Darlena decided racing was not just for men and
hopped into the car for a powder puff race and won!
Todd's third year in racing would bring more changes to his team, a new
crew chief and good friend, Jeff Kanyuch.
Jeff, wife Liz and her daughter Karielle are big race fans and while
watching a race, Jeff told his wife Liz, "I know that name!" The couple
went to the pits and hunted Todd down and introduced themselves. Much to
Todd and Jeff's surprise they had attended school together! One thing led
to another and soon Darlena and Liz became friends as well.
The third year was a good year in many respects for the new team and
friends! As the season wore on Jeff became more active while Liz and
Karielle rooted and helped in any way they could along with Darlena. Liz
at first thought Todd was a little over aggressive on the track, and had a
bad handling car, yet husband Jeff feels it was set up problems in the
first part of the third season. They all agree though that Todd is an
excellent racer and a great guy!
Todd would travel to other tracks to race and still finish 4th in points
at Cannonball. Darlena had found racing to be in her blood as well, and
continued to race in powder puff races, finishing last in one after
spinning out while running in third.
The fourth year, Todd and Jeff thought about reskinning the old car but
decided it would be easier to build a new one. Not wanting to jeopardize
his point lead or destroying the new car at other tracks, Todd and Jeff
made the choice to run only at Cannonball.
Jeff remarked on this past season,"This season was a good time. We had
the car dialed in from last season, anticipating a good season this year
and both of us agreed that we were going for a points championship at
Cannonball Motorspeedway. We also agreed we would only run at different
tracks for big events. Todd led the points for 7 weeks in a row there,
very little mechanical failure or engine troulbe and lots of smart driving
on Todd's part. Toward the end of the season we fell short of a
championship but we finished 3rd in the points". Darlena had a good season
too! She finished 4th in the powder puffs!
Jeff and Liz purchased a Street Stock in 2003 and Todd ran it a few times
to get a feel for it this past season to be ready for the 2004 season.
That was the plan for 2004 was to jump up to the Street Stock class and as
Jeff says about Todd's advice to other racers, "Never give up, even on a
bad night, gives it your best effort to finish good".
Todd has high hopes to get back in a race car, even if it means a special
neckbrace to go one step further. He also has learned to investigate race
tracks reputations more thoroughly before planning on racing at a
facility. If he returns to racing as he hopes, he will continue at his
home tracks Cannonball Speedway and Tyler County. And you never know, he
may be spotted at Muskegum too!
Crew Chief, Jeff says if Todd wants to race the team will go up to the
Street Stock Class full scale for 2004.
Since the unfortunate accident at Midway Speedway, Todd is recovering from
a broken neck and will need an undetermined physical therapy period. Even
the best of Doctors cannot estimate the length of time for his recovery.
Many dirt trackers have sent donations and Christmas gifts for the
children to assist this family and they are deeply grateful.
His web page is
The Todd Baier Fund:
Todd Baier Benefit Fund
Wesbanco Bank Inc.
1 Bank Plaza