He has hired a 10-person crew including two Eastern Mainers and a crew chief who has worked with the likes of Ricky Craven, Greg Sacks and Jimmy Spencer.
He has bought six used cars and has ordered three new cars and four new engines.
Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre and wife, Sue, have been busily preparing for his debut on the NASCAR Busch South Series. That will come on Feb. 14 when he participates in the 40th annual NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway (Fla.).
The co-owners of his team are local businessmen Mike Reece and George deBidart. Santerre said their Busch South shop in Harrisburg, N.C. used to be the Bobby Allison Motorsports shop.
“A lot of Winston Cup teams don’t have a facility like this,” raved Santerre.
Santerre didn’t formally ink the contract with Reece and deBidart until two weeks ago so he has been hustling around trying to make up for lost time.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since then,” said Santerre. “We have one car completely finished and ready to test and another car is just about ready.”
Santerre will leave for Talladega Superspeedway (Ala.) today to test the Chevy Monte Carlo he will drive at the NAPA Auto Parts race.
The two Eastern Mainers he will have on his crew are Ellsworth’s Jeff Moore and Addison’s Darin Bucknam.
“Jeff will do body and paint work. He has painted my Busch [North] series cars before and the cars I used to race at Speedway 95. He has never been on a race team before,” said Santerre. “I’ve known Darin since I started racing. He used to race. He won a points championship at Wiscasset.”
Bucknam, who quit his 12-year job at Bath Iron Works to move to North Carolina and join Santerre’s team, will be a fabricator and will change tires. He may also be the catch can man.
Sue Santerre, the public relations director for her husband’s team, said Bucknam has been a part of her husband’s team since 1989.
Andy Santerre said the new owners have been “very cooperative” and have spent a lot of money on the race team already.
Kevin Caldwell will be his crew chief.
“I’m really happy with him. He’s going to be a great asset,” said Santerre. “Ricky [Craven] taught him a lot. He’s definitely focused on what he’s doing. He’s good with the guys. They all respect him.”
Santerre will drive the No. 47 car sponsored by Monro Muffler-Brake Service of Rochester, N.Y. Monro is the primary sponsor and the Santerres are still lining up some associate sponsors.
Two of the new cars should reach Santerre by the end of next week, according to his wife.