“It’s a whole, new learning curve,” says Everett’s Racing Team Manager Bobby Gonneville. And it is. The organization, which sports several racing teams, is not the basic sponsorship operation it once was. If you’re driving or maintaining an Everett’s race car, you’re working on a vehicle which is owned by the team. Before 2013, Roy Andrade was in the sponsorship mode, but he wanted to become the car OWNER. The green and black Everett’s logo was already prominent on cars all over the track. Two big notables were Pro Stock helmsmen Dick Houlihan and Bobby Tripp. But Roy had dreams, perhaps of becoming a Penske, or a Roush or a Yates.
Not a name you’re familiar with? Roy Andrade owns Everett’s Auto Parts of Brockton, Mass. It was built by, and named after his father, Everett Andrade. Now the company owns the biggest race team at the speedway to date. The white cars trimmed in black and green are hard to miss. Top-flight drivers, well supported by their ownership. Two Pro Stocks, a Late Model, one Sportsman, a Sport Truck and – on Fast Fridays – a Bandolero in the Seekonk Youth ranks. “The Everett’s team is fantastic. The caliber of drivers is above the rest,” says Pangelinan. “Each week it’s always – what can we do to get better, faster, stronger.” Vinny’s wife, Katie, adds: “If we’re not winning, it’s gotta be faster.”
It was the beginning of a learning curve, as Roy likes the idea of his cars winning races, but he also wants to see his teams run like a business. As Vinny Pangelinan brought his Sportsman into the team, the business of racing began to expand. Today it includes Astle and Pangelinan as well as a second Pro Stock in the hands of Dylan Estrella, A Late Model hustled around the oval by former Pro Stock champ Bobby Tripp, who was recruited back from retirement recently by Team Manager, Bob Gonneville. This year Sport Truck driver Barry Shaw has been recruited. (Shaw responded by winning the season’s opener and a few weeks later became the first dual-winner in his division.) There’s also Ryan Kuhn racing for the team on the American-Canadian Tour (ACT). The Kuhns still own their car as does Pangelinan, but Everett’s is the principal sponsor. Ryan is running fourth in the standings and leads in points for ACT’s rookie of the year.
Houlihan and Tripp were his first two full sponsorships for Everett’s, better than two decades ago – Everett’s Auto Parts footed the entire bill for their cars, but the company did not own them.
“Roy wanted to transfer from car sponsor to car owner.” He made the arrangements with Fred Astle, Jr in 2013, and the pink slip changed hands. Now, says Gonneville, “Everything Fred touches, Roy owns.” The same is true for the whole team, from Astle’s Pro Stock to Dylan Estrella’s, Tripp’s Late Model, Vinny Pangelinan’s Sportsman and Barry Shaw’s Sport Truck. But it produces a sharper team. “They want to win for Roy. He runs that kind of organization,” says Gonneville.
It’s been good for Astle, something Fast Fred puts into words: “. . . the Everett’s Auto Parts family . . . that’s just what it is It’s a great family. Myself and my team: we’ve had the best equipment we’ve had in my 38 years in racing.”
“Come down and see us race. I’m sure you’ll be impressed,” says Andrade, at the close of the video they produced for the team. You can see the vid at http://www.everettsautoparts.com/everetts-racing-team/ “Roy is very big on how the fans perceive the organization,” notes Gonneville. Ryan Kuhn, driver of the Everett’s car on the American Canadian Tour (ACT) says, in the team video: He’s all about the fans. He loves the fans. He loves giving to the fans.” Ryan’s father, the well known veteran racer Jimmy Kuhn, says, “Obviously, you want to win races, and you like to win races. But I don’t think that’s his priority. He doesn’t have to do this.”
Then, again, perhaps he can’t help himself: Roy is a huge fan of racing. The Everett’s website says, “Roy’s enthusiasm for racing didn’t just translate to a great racing team but also a family atmosphere where all the drivers and their teams work together to succeed. He is both down in the garage seeing what the drivers need and in the stands cheering with the fans. His dedication is truly for the love of the sport.”
It hearkens after the Everett’s business, which is not your average auto parts store. It is an entire recycling operation on a mega-basis, just a stone’s throw from Brockton’s Massasoit Community College. The operation is huge and automated. They recycle an average of 3000 cars per month. There’s a self-serve area where customers can pull parts off the cars themselves, another where the company has stock that they have removed and warehoused. Fluids such as oil and antifreeze are removed and recycled – you bring your own jug and they’ll give you free, used coolant! Heavy equipment is used to disassemble cars for scrapping and crush the bodies into cubes. Metals processors come, shred the metal and haul it off to their foundries. There’s also a used-car lot.
And it is here where the race team meets big business. Though they’ve been freed from ownership, they meet a new “owner”: bookeeping. Certainly, each team has access to all the parts and tools they could need. But they need to take stock and record anything they use.
“They’re not used to anybody else buying their parts,” says Gonneville. If you break a steering box, you look in the inventory. If there’s one there you can use, you can take it. “It’s just – if you take it from inventory, you need to order another so there is one there the next time. Roy pays but you order. Teams are learning to assign someone to keep inventory and do all all their logisitics. Often their wives and significant others do it.” He gives out hats and t-shirts. But he has to inventory them, so there’s always a full supply.
Gonneville, himself, has been around, working with Tripp’s teams since way back when. He’s best known from that era as the man with a camera, and you could see him at work with it around the Tripp team. He was also visible as a member of the New Bedford Police Department for many years, photographing crime scenes.
Come up to the present, he was in Astle’s pit stall one Saturday a couple years back, and met Andrade. They talked after Astle made the introduction, got friendly and then began sitting together to enjoy the races. One thing led to another and the wily businessman recognized Gonville’s leadership skills and made him the team’s leader. He’s now the liaison between the many team members and the man they call “The Boss”.
It was about that time that they recruited Estrella into the so-far two-car team of Astle and Pangelinan. They knew Dylan’s father, Barry, as a member of Dick Houlihan’s team when Houli drove Pro Stock for Junior Caton. Making the cadre for the next season began when they chatted with Bill Bernard, who was heading the two car team which included Estrella. “Roy was impressed a lot with how he (Estrella) drove clean. “He’d finish without damage to his car. And he was always winning.”
They had a meeting in the pits. Dylan, his father and mother . . . “Roy’s a nuts and bolts guy, says Gonneville. “He wants to get to know them. Barry Estrella introduced Roy to Bill Bernard. We had a meeting in the board room (at Everett’s Auto Parts) with Bill, Barry Estrella and Dylan about what to do to make things successful the next year.
“They ironed out what Roy was going to do and what Dylan was going to do. Bill furnished the labor, car and garage. Bill had the connection with Mitch at Crazy Horse, the car builder, so he was involved as well, through Bill.
“It was a great car but it got a complete rebuild once he came on board.”
It was, indeed, a very good year. Estrella reigned as Late Model champ, that season.
The next year Roy wanted to own his own car, so they bought Dylan a new car. He finished fifth. “We could never get it to run like the Bernard car.
“Then we bought Kenny Spencer’s car for Dylan’s first season in Pro Stocks.
Bobby Tripp received the Late Model Dylan had run. That year, Bobby ran trucks and played with the late model.” Roy had sent Tripp to school for setting up cars in North Carolina when he first came aboard and has been putting the new expertise to work on the Late Model, which he is running full-time this year.
For the current season, they bought new Pro Stocks for Astle and Estrella. Fred’s came from Fury Racecars of Moreshead, NC. Estella’s came from Distance Racing Products in Fairfield, Maine. The reward came on June 29th, as Estrella worked his way to the front, then had Astle on his right shoulder for a caution restart. Estrella was able to reclaim his lead and Astle jumped onto his back bumper to chase him to the checkers. The Speedway posted a great photo with the race summary that showed the twin white cars nose-to-tail with “Estrella” clearly on his windshield-top and “Astle” on the windshield of the car behind.
It’s a ritual for the members of the team. As Andrade says, “We race every Saturday night; never fail to be there . . . always ready . . . we don’t mess around. We try out best to do the right thing and try to win.”