Auto Racing

Brad Chandler finds success in enduros

Cedar Rapids driver usually travels to race, but loves local offerings

Brad Chandler won the #x201c;Caution#x201d; themed enduro race at Hawkeye Downs Speedway on Sunday in a 2006 Acura RSX,
Brad Chandler won the “Caution” themed enduro race at Hawkeye Downs Speedway on Sunday in a 2006 Acura RSX, owned by his brother Dallas, while showing support for his brother Nate’s battle with cancer. (Justin Webster/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Brad Chandler has almost everything he needs in Cedar Rapids.

He has a wife, Shawna, he’s known and chased since their days together at Taft Middle School before graduating a year apart from Jefferson High School.

Shawna’s given him three daughters — Paisley, Novalee and Penelope — and the majority of his six siblings still live in the area. Brothers Dallas and Nate race locally.

The thing that has been missing for Brad has been a challenge on the local auto racing circuit, motivating him to travel the country to compete in big money races while still helping local guys master their setups.

“Local racing, with the rules package the way it is, I’ve done what I wanted to do,” Chandler said. “Now, I have my car built so I can travel while helping the local guys around here.”

That has led Chandler to opening a side Facebook business named BC Parts, allowing him to “provide drivers with the stuff I would be using on my car.”

The side gig has allowed him to assist 160 drivers with parts. Nine drivers he has helped earned their first victory this season.

One local series Chandler still competes in are the enduros Hawkeye Downs Speedway has hosted several times in recent years with various themes, including Sunday’s “Caution” road course.

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For the 50-lap feature, Chandler drove a 2006 Acura RSX his brother. Dallas, owns. He started behind the pre-registered cars around 50th.

“I didn’t pay for it, but it’s a $600 car with little money in it and it’s fun,” Chandler said. “It takes the car out of it. Any car can win and it comes down to the drivers and skill at making laps with some luck involved.”

While Chandler took the checkered flag on Sunday afternoon, besting the field of 59 drivers, the first time he raced went quite differently in 2007 when he got behind the wheel of a 1997 Chevy Cavalier in the four-cylinder division at Hawkeye Downs.

“I cried and I said I never wanted to race again,” Chandler said with a laugh. “My dad said, ‘Get out there and race.’ I think I finished sixth or seventh. Then I won the next two and five more that year and I was hooked.”

While winning races around the country is fun, Chandler is equally focused on growing the sport locally.

“I really love living in Cedar Rapids. I just wish people understood what kind of facility we have here at Hawkeye Downs,” Chandler said. “It is by far the nicest facility I race at. The amenities and everything we have is just phenomenal. They could put on a huge show, and I know they are working hard on it, and they are going to make it happen. We could put on shows like Rockford, Illinois, and La Crosse, Wisconsin.”

One of the many positives Hawkeye Downs has going for it is the draw the enduro races are getting, especially from out-of-state drivers.

“I think every enduro gains 10-15 cars and we’ll have 100 before you know it,” Chandler said. “I’m really excited to keep racing in them.”

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The other passion for Chandler is helping his brother, Nate, with his fight against a rare form of cancer that was recently diagnosed.

“If anyone can beat it, he can,” Chandler said. “We have a lot of help and a lot of donations supporting us. We’re going to pursue different options and after his local treatment, we plan to send him off for some specialized care in Arizona. Hopefully they can work a miracle.”

Anyone looking to support the Chandlers can donate to the family’s go fund me account titled, “Nate’s race with cancer.”

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

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