Maine native Andy Santerre will begin a new chapter in his impressive auto racing career next month.
Santerre has sold his Camping World East Series inventory to the 909 Group and will work for their Revolution Racing team next season. He will be the competition director for the Camping World East Series teams. He has owned his Andy Santerre Motorsports Team since 1995. Previously, he had driven in NASCAR Busch competition and other divisions. The team inventory includes six race cars, the tractor-trailer and "everything we use for the race team including all of my equipment and tools." Santerre leased the shop itself but all of the equipment inside belonged to him. The 909 Group has taken over the operation responsibilities for Drive for Diversity and will own and operate 10 teams at different levels of racing dedicated to providing opportunities for minority and female drivers and crew members. Four of those drivers will be in the Camping World East Series and Santerre will basically oversee the operations of those teams. The other six teams will be in the Late Model Whelen All-American Series. He will begin his job Oct. 5 after the Camping World East Series concludes this weekend at Dover, Del. Rookie Brett Mofitt is driving for ASM this season and the 17-year-old is fourth in points. In addition to managing the race team, Santerre is also Moffitt's crew chief. He won't be a crew chief next season. ''I'm excited about it," said the four-time Camping World East Series points champion. "I love doing what I've been doing but trying to find sponsors and fund our team throughout the winter is really tough. We were struggling to keep the shop open from October to January. I told 1/8wife3/8 Sue I didn't want to go through that again. This was the perfect time to sell. ''My job will be to oversee the crews, the people doing the work on the cars. I won't have to turn a wrench as much as I have in the past," said Santerre, who will be doing the hiring and firing for the four teams. The 41-year-old Santerre had announced he intended to sell his inventory at Thompson International Speedway (Conn.) in July and John Story, who will serve as president of Revolution Racing, expressed interest in buying it. ''He was the only one who was serious about it. It was a fair deal for both of us," said Santerre. "I priced it fair so I could move it quickly. I'm finally seeing a return on my investment. ''I didn't want to break up the stuff. I wanted it to go to one place. I'm happy they're keeping it altogether," added Santerre, who preferred not to discuss the financial terms of the deal. He said it was also important the members of his race team be able to find jobs with him and that has occurred. ''That was a big part of my decision," he said. "I really wanted to bring the crew with me. That was definitely a big plus." The crew includes Santerre, wife Sue, fabricator Corey Williams of Boothbay Harbor; decal applicator and truck driver Warren Hamilton of Scarborough. Jerry Babb, also of Scarborough, who will be one of the crew chiefs and Massachusetts native Ed Horracks is the lead mechanic. Sue Santerre will be handling the travel itineraries and the licensing. Revolution Racing will operate a fully-equipped race shop in Mooresville, N.C. , 35 miles from Santerre's home in Harrisburg, N.C. ''Andy is the cornerstone of our program," said Story, former general manager for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. "If you go anywhere in Charlotte (N.C.) and tell someone Andy Santerre is going to be working with you, they'll tell you that you couldn't have made a better choice. He'll really kick our program into high gear. I've known Andy and Sue for a number of years and nobody has anything bad to say about either one of them. Having them with us speaks to the quality of program we're trying to build." Story said when he found out Santerre wanted to sell his assets, he wanted to first find out if Santerre would be interested in "partnering with us. ''This allows him to do what he loves and what he does best: Work on race cars and with young drivers. We want to build winners and that's what he has done his entire career," said Story. Story said he is optimistic that Santerre's reputation will help them attract more diversity drivers and some of those drivers will eventually land in the Sprint Cup series. A committee will select the drivers for the four Camping World East Series teams and the six Late Model teams at following the Drive for Diversity Combine Oct. 16-19 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. ''There will be a lot really good drivers out there," said Santerre. Story said there will be 29 drivers vying for the 10 jobs. Max Siegel, former president of DEI, heads up the Drive for Diversity program. He was formally the highest-ranking black man in NASCAR. Before he assumes his new responsibilities, Santerre will try to guide Moffitt to Victory Lane this weekend at Dover. ''We're 35 points out of third place and if we can get a top-five finish, we can get third," said Santerre. "The driver currently in third, Jody Lavender, doesn't run that well at Dover." Santerre and Moffitt will be reunited for the Toyota All-Star Showdown on Jan. 30 at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.