Story By: CAMDEN PROUD / PROUD MOTORSPORTS – OSWEGO, NY – It all began when Proud brought out a Dan Dennie Storm Chassis to make his racing debut with the Limited Supermodified division in 1994.
All these years later, not much has changed at Proud Motorsports as a Small Block Super still sits in Proud’s shop today, competing each and every week at the ‘Big O.’
Proud, now 48, spent his first four seasons at Oswego running part time in the Limited Supermodified ranks, first with the Storm Chassis in 1994, before debuting his original 1995 self-built ‘Proud Chassis’ creation a year later and running with that car until the year 1997. As car owner of the No. 04, which sported three different schemes as part of his Limited days, Proud started a total of 21 regular feature events plus one ‘Limited Supernationals,’ recording nine top ten finishes, four top fives, and two heat race wins.
After a successful beginning, 1997 sparked another new journey when Proud was offered the open seat behind the wheel of the illusive Skip Matczak No. 3 Supermodified, which was driven to a track championship one season earlier by Doug Didero. It was a popular ride for the two-time most popular driver, as after being Didero’s teammate for an evening, Proud decided it was time for a Supermodified of his own. That’s when chassis builder Howard Page received a call to put together the green No. 22.
In 1998, Proud debuted the new Page car late in the season, but struggled, and decided to turn the controls over to Limited Supermodified standout Mike Bond, who won Rookie of the Year with Proud as car owner in 1999 when Tim spent time on the sidelines with wife Debbie and his newborn son. During that time, Bond mustered three top ten finishes in the No. 22 as part of his rookie run while also qualifying for the ‘99 International Classic.
A year later, Proud was back behind the wheel in 2000, and despite only having the chance to make fourteen Supermodified starts of his own, he did rather well, starting the season in the Jim Shampine Memorial which he lead the first lap of before being passed by Tim Snyder and going on to finish thirteenth after contact with Bobby Smith.
In July of 2000, a nasty crash in turn three put the beautiful yellow and purple No. 22 out of commission for awhile, but Tim was up for the challenge on Classic Weekend and very much impressed, qualifying 19th for his first career Bud Classic 200 at a lap of 17.326 seconds and out timing several of Oswego’s finest including the likes of Lou Cicconi, Todd Stowell, Jamie Moore, Bentley Warren, Danny Soule, Bob Bond, Snyder, and ironically, defending Supermodified track champion Dave Shullick Jr.
Contact with Cicconi while running inside the top fifteen in the early stages of the 200 would put Proud out of the race after hopes were high for a strong run, but Tim wasn’t quite done yet, and followed his impressive Classic qualifying effort with a career high 11th place run on Opening Day of 2001, still as the No. 22. Another hard impact coupled with lack of funds just one race later ended Proud’s hopes for a breakout third season.
By 2002, Proud had worked for nearly a full year to repair the car and debuted it with a beautiful new look at the track’s May open practice session. It was the first ride for the yellow No. 04, but unfortunately, after mechanical issues on Opening Day and a vicious heat race crash in the Jim Shampine Memorial, Proud decided to temporarily retire and turn attention over to his son’s racing career.
From 2003 to 2012, Tim remained busy in the sport fielding quarter midgets for Camden while also crewing on his 2001 ‘Proud Chassis’ creation, driven to seven feature wins by his brother Chris. Proud appeared once more as driver in 2004 behind the wheel of Chris’s No. 3, winning his heat race and finishing fifth in the NORA Race of Champions event in September.
After a successful nine years wrenching on quarter midgets, by 2013, Proud returned to Oswego as car owner again, debuting another brand new self built chassis with Chris as the driver, earning three more top ten finishes and one top five that year before the controls were handed down to Camden for his rookie campaign in 2014.
The past four seasons, as we know it, are history. In 52 career starts, Camden, the ‘14 SBS Rookie of the Year, has driven to thirty six top ten finishes, twelve top five finishes, seven podium finishes, and six heat race wins to add to his father’s career total.
Two seasons ago, Tim returned to the driver’s seat again in an eye opening drive to a heat race victory on Race of Champions Weekend of 2016, turning laps consistently at 18.9 seconds. Just a year ago, Proud competed once again with the Lighthouse Lanes SBS Series at Evans Mills Speedway and drove to a ninth place recovery effort after being spun out while contending for his first career SBS win.
In what will be his fifteenth season as a car owner, Proud now approaches Opening Day on May 26 with 76 career main event starts in regular shows as an SBS owner and 82 events including the Limited Supernationals and Bud Light Classic 75.
Opening Day will mark Proud’s 107th career feature event as a car owner between both the SBS and Supermodified divisions at Oswego while June 16th’s show will be his 110th.
The ‘Retro Night’ 30-lap event for the Small Block Supers on June 9 will mark Proud’s 90th career start overall with the division as car owner. By midway through the 2019 season, Proud will enter his 100th career SBS event as an owner at Oswego Speedway.
While Camden will be busy racing for a track championship in 2018, Tim will be busy behind the wheel too, racing the most he has since the 2000 season with at least four Lighthouse Lanes SBS Touring Series events carved out in his busy schedule.
The 2018 season for Proud Motorsports will begin on Saturday, May 12 at the Evans Mills Speedway in a 30-lap Lighthouse Lanes SBS Series main for Tim. A week later, Oswego will swing the gates open for ‘Open Practice’ on May 19 ahead of the track’s 68th annual ‘Opening Day’ on Saturday, May 26 featuring the 35-lap Tony White Memorial for the Pathfinder Bank SBS and the start to Camden’s season.
To assist in funding the team’s busiest schedule yet, the 2018 Camden Proud Chicken BBQ Fundraiser is set for Sunday, April 8th at Lighthouse Lanes in Oswego. Pre-sale tickets are available for the price of $10 and include a choice of either a chicken bbq or pulled pork dinner as well as a side and dessert. Several raffle items, door prizes, lotto boards, giveaways, entertainment and more all planned as part of the event located inside the Hall of Fame Lounge at Lighthouse Lanes.
To pickup a pre-sale ticket, be sure to stop at either Ken’s Body Shop or Step One Creative during the months of February and March. The fundraiser will run from 1pm until sold out on April 8th, but all pre-sale orders must be picked up by 2pm in order for remaining dinners to be sold.