|Stoddard (L) and Fadden in 2003|
Stoddard and Olsen have been friends since childhood, and grew up turning wrenches and sweeping shop floors for Olsen’s grandfather, legendary northeast Late Model driver Stanley “Stub” Fadden.” Olsen went on to a noteworthy driving career of his own, claiming titles on what was then the NASCAR Busch North Series in 2001 and 2006, while Stoddard made his mark as a crew chief, working atop the pit box for Roush Racing and Bill Davis Racing for a roster of drivers that included Jeff Burton, Ward Burton and Boris Said.
Now, the Woodsville (NH) High School classmates are set to reunite for one last nostalgic ride at the track known as “The Magic Mile.”
“I thought it would be a nice thing to do,” said Stoddard today. “Oley and I have known each other since we were three years old, and for him to get one last shot in a race car – at the NASCAR Sprint Cup level – I think it’ll be a nice way for him to cap off his career.”
|Olsen is a former NHMS winner|
Olsen retired from the driver’s seat at the end of the 2009 season, before spending the next few years as a car owner. He dusted off his driver’s suit to drive in last month’s K&N Pro Series West event in Portland, Ore., however, running in the top 15 until transmission trouble ended his day. “My wife has me on the treadmill now,” he laughed. “Once she found out about this deal (with Stoddard), she said I need to get myself back in racing shape.”
He said the idea to drive the FAS Lane Ford in his home state began as a joke.
“We talked about doing this years ago, without ever thinking it would happen,” he recalled. “The idea came up again briefly last year, but when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer a while back, Frankie and I started talking seriously about it. We wanted to do this for him, while he was still here to enjoy it.”
Doug Olsen died on Aug. 5 of this year, but both men agree that he and family patriarch Fadden would approve of the idea.
“I’m pretty sure both Doug and Stubby will be smiling down on us that day,” said Stoddard, whose No. 32 pays homage to Fadden’s former No. 16. “When it came time to select a number for my Sprint Cup cars, I chose 32,” said Stoddard. “16 for me and 16 for Stub.”
The Loudon effort will be backed by North Country Ford of Lancaster, NH, a sponsor Stoddard said meshes well with his team’s family-based lineup. “They’re a third-generation business,” he said, “and if there’s one thing we’ll be thinking of that weekend, it’s family.”