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Rebecca Richards






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 race.
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   http://www.rebeccarichards.net/ToddBaier.html


The Todd Baier Fund:
Todd Baier Benefit Fund
Wesbanco Bank Inc.
1 Bank Plaza
Wheeling,WV 26003

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