Story By: JOSH VANADA / BULLRING BASH – ATTLEBORO, MA – Sanford, ME’s Andy Austin has been named the announcer for the Battle of the Banks at N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on Sunday, June 16 as well as the Thunder in the Mountains on Saturday, August 10. The longtime Beech Ridge Motor Speedway announcer will call both the Bullring Bash Modified and Mid-state Site Development Legend Car events at the ¼-mile raceway.
“I’d been watching the Bullring Bash develop via social media and seeing some of the people who were getting involved,” Austin said. “You have Josh (Vanada) spearheading it and people like Richard Shepard and Bill Callen on staff. When you throw names around like that, obviously it’s a pretty serious race organization. Then Josh reached out to me because there was a person who was already doing the announcing, but they weren’t able to do the first event(s). My schedule was open, and it was just a slam dunk. It was a no-brainer to be involved with this.”
“I’ve never called an open-wheeled race,” he added. “But it’s exciting just to be part of something that’s completely new to the area. And then there’s the entire concept of what Bullring Bash is all about, and just being on the ground level of bringing in a new idea that also brings in some of the roots and different things that have been done in different races – kind of throwing them into a bowl, mixing them together, and seeing how it works.”
The Bullring Bash opener will be the latest auto racing adventure for a man who, by his count, has spent 25 years in the community. Austin recalled that, at age 10, he noticed a sponsor was off on a race car and pointed it out to then-Beech Ridge announcer and future track owner Andy Cusack. This led to Cusack becoming Austin’s mentor, bringing him through the ranks at Beech Ridge and eventually making him the track’s public address announcer – which is what Austin had dreamed of being as a kid.
Austin was the Beech Ridge announcer for more than two decades, becoming one of the most acclaimed auto racing announcers in the Northeast along the way. Austin stepped away from the track in 2018 partly due to a job change and partly to explore other interests outside racing.
“It’s the moments that you’re able to create,” Austin said of what excites him about announcing. “It’s the driver who wins their first race – and when you get to know these people and these teams, and the amounts of emotional, financial, and all different kinds of investments they have in their product and their passion. To see that come to fruition after so much hard work is really what makes it all worthwhile – seeing the mom or the wife or the family run down and be part of that Victory Lane photo and the entire moment come together. Or the first time being able to get a crowd excited for or to believe in a driver and a race team and carrying the story. The first time a driver gets a big cheer for what they’ve done – I know that telling the backstory had a little part in why fans connected to that driver and that team. And that’s one of the most satisfying parts of the job.”
In addition to his announcing work, Austin is also the president of the Maine Vintage Race Car Association. The organization aims to preserve the history of auto racing in Maine through projects such as the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame and various public exhibits. Austin said he was drawn to the organization both by his interest in racing history and the responsibility he felt to give back to the racing circle and make sure its stories and heritage are passed on to future generations.
“That’s what I really enjoy about Bullring Bash,” Austin concluded. “They’re basically taking a few different concepts which have worked famously in other parts of the racing world and they’re putting them in the Northeast. I don’t think anyone’s ever melded old-school and new-school the way that Bullring Bash has, and it was very interesting to me from the very beginning. I’m elated to be involved with it.”
The Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge will have additional announcements regarding registered teams, sponsors, officials, and much more in the coming weeks. To keep up with the Bullring Bash, teams and fans can visit http://www.bullringbash.com. Fans can also stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @BullringBashQMC.