Fourth annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 June 17 at Gateway Motorsports Park
Race sponsor Chad Dubea (right) with GMP owner and CEO Curtis Francois (left) and 2014 race winner Bubba Wallace.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will make its annual trek to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois on Saturday, June 17 for the fourth annual Drivin’ For Linemen 200. Although it is one of 20 race dates on the 2017 NASCAR schedule, it is very special to event sponsor Chad Dubea and the men who work on the line.
“This is about recognition and awareness for the guys who are keeping the lights on. I try not to beat my own drum. I don’t need, or expect, the recognition,” said Chad Dubea, of Elite Holdings, LLC. “We don’t want the focus to be on the sponsors. We want all of the attention to focus on the race and on bringing awareness to the wonderful work and sacrifices electrical linemen make every day, especially during major storms and disasters.”
For Dubea, the path from climbing power poles to standing in a NASCAR victory lane is an interesting story. Like many young men his age, the native of Lafayette, Louisiana followed in his father’s footsteps. The elder Dubea served as an electrical engineer for a utility company and sent his son out with crews during the summer when Chad was just 16 years old.
“My dad would tell the foremen, ‘Make sure you work him hard so he’ll want to go to college instead.’ ”
Dad’s plan backfired. Instead of choosing the academic path, his work outdoors with the men on the line motivated Dubea to start his own company, T&D Solutions, LLC. T&D specialized in maintenance and construction of power lines and transmission distribution systems. At its peak, before it was sold, T&D employed more than 450 people.
Dubea is so devoted to his line of work he launched and financed a multi-million-dollar, full-length feature film, Life On The Line, starring John Travolta and Sharon Stone. (Following its worldwide release last year it now is available on DVD and pay-per-view.)
“There were five things we wanted to do with that movie. We wanted to give recognition to linemen and illustrate their profession to those who don’t know what they do. We wanted the linemen to see themselves through the character in the film who gets hurt. We wanted the wives to see what these guys go through. The wives will tell you, ‘I knew it was dangerous, I just didn’t know how dangerous.’ We strive no shortcuts. It’s hazardous work but it can be done safely. And of course we wanted the foundation to be recognized.”
The foundation Dubea speaks of is known as the Fallen Lineman Organization (FLO). Founded by Dubea following the tragic loss of an employee on the line, its mission is to memorialize fallen electrical line workers, and care for the families who have lost or are impacted by a severe injury of a loved one in the line of duty. FLO strives to consolidate accident and injury information to share openly for a safer work environment. FLO also helps all fallen and severely-injured electrical line workers, including, but not limited to, groundsmen, linemen, operators, apprentice linemen, journeymen linemen, and substation mechanics.
NASCAR RACE SPONSORSHIP
Several years ago, a colleague who runs the International Lineman Museum and Hall of Fame in Shelby, N.C., called Dubea to see if he might be interested in co-sponsoring a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team that was entered at Daytona. Later, Dubea visited the team’s shops and was offered sponsorship opportunities for the entire season.
In the meantime, businessman Curtis Francois had purchased the dormant Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Gateway had been granted a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for 2014 but the event name was listed as “TBA” on the schedule.
“I saw TBA on the schedule and asked what that was about,” Dubea said. “I was told the race had not been named yet.”
Dubea made the decision to sponsor the race to garner more recognition for linemen and FLO. It was named the Drivin’ For Linemen 200. Each year the event includes a Climbin’ for Linemen competition and this year’s event has more than 200 entries to date.
Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 are on sale and may be purchased at the GMP ticket office, by phone at (618) 215-8888 or online at www.wwtraceway.com. General admission tickets start at just $36 and kids 15 and under are free (general admission).
2016 winner Christopher Bell (Michael Allio)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 & ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40
Saturday, June 17
8:30 a.m. — Spectator parking lots open.
9 a.m. — Spectator gates open.
9:30-10:25 a.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Free bucket rides in Altec’s bucket truck (infield near the tunnel).
11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m. — Final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.
1:30-2:30 p.m. — Illinois Lottery 40 ARCA Midwest Tour practice and qualifying.
2-2:45 p.m. — NASCAR driver autograph session.
2:30-4:30 p.m. — Free concert by The Band Steele on the midway.
3:30-4:30 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 qualifying.
4:45 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 qualifying.
5:45 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 driver introductions.
6:10 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 (40 laps, 50 miles, timed event).
7 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 driver introductions.
7:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 (160 laps, 200 miles).
Schedule is subject to change. Latest update: June 2.
For more information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888. Follow GMP on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
About Gateway Motorsports Park
Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. Gateway Motorsports Park’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, the 1.6-mile Circuit of St. Louis road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.