Wednesday night is a special night in the Beale household.
That’s when Danielle Beale, her husband, Travis, and their two sons, 7-year-old Austin and Spenser, who will soon turn 4, head to Speedway 95 from their Hampden home for Wacky Wednesday racing.
Travis and Danielle have raced against each other in the past, but this year, Danielle is doing the racing while Travis builds a new race car for 2019.
Danielle, the 2015 Modified Enduro points champion at Speedway 95, is having another impressive campaign. She won last Wednesday after finishing third and fourth in her first two races.
She was second in points behind Keith Drost of Stetson going into Wednesday night’s race.
Racing is a family affair for the Beales.
The Beales, including the boys, work on the race cars along with Danielle’s father, Don DeLuck, who is a former racer. Travis’ father, Keith, checks tire pressure in the pits on race nights.
Austin has been racing go-karts at Speedway 95 every other weekend the last two years.
“It’s family fun,” Danielle said. “We are a racing family, every single one of us. If we don’t go racing, the boys get upset.”
“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Travis said.
Danielle used to go to the track with her father, and her then high school boyfriend, Travis, raced cars.
“I tried it once and I was hooked,” said Danielle, a Hampden Academy graduate who was 18 when she first drove around Speedway 95’s one-third-mile oval in 2007.
She competed in the Ladies Division for a few years, but there were only three or four drivers in the class.
“It lost its excitement,” said Danielle, who moved on to the Modified Enduro class where virtually all the other drivers were men.
“At first, a lot of the guys didn’t like being beaten by a girl,” Danielle said. “But they accept it now.
“I had to move a guy out of the way during a race last year. He came over after the race and shook my hand and said, ‘I like how you drive. You don’t drive like a girl. You’re aggressive and you stand your ground. You don’t take any crap,’” she said.
Another driver, Josh Merrill of Corinth, said Beale is one of the best female drivers he has seen.
“She’s aggressive. She definitely holds her own out there,” said Merrill, who is third in points.
“She doesn’t back down, that’s for sure,” said Travis, who is originally from Winterport. “If someone runs her dirty and rubs her, she’ll rub them right back. She used to take it, and we’d bring back cars with bent rims and destroyed front ends. But she’s more aggressive now.
“She knows how to keep her composure. She picks and chooses when to make her moves,” Travis continued. “She’s a lot smoother than I am. I go right out and show what my car has at the beginning of the race. She’s just the opposite. She conserves the equipment so she’s right there at the end in every race.”
Last Wednesday, she nursed the No. 3 car to Victory Lane despite having a ball joint that was ready to fall out.
“They told me it was so far gone, they didn’t know how it stayed together,” Danielle said.
Danielle said she has had to pay her dues driving in the Modified Enduros division.
“I’ve had to earn my respect,” said Danielle, who enjoys racing the men. “I’ve had to show I’m not going to put up with anything [dirty]. I’m not going to race them any differently because I’m a girl. If they [bump] me, I’ll give it right back to them.”
“She’s a pretty good racer and she races you clean. I like how she races,” Merrill said.
Danielle explained that top-three finishers one week must start the following week’s race from the back of the field. That means more maneuvering through in a 20-lap race.
“I’ve always had a need for speed,” Danielle said. “I’ve got an athletic mindset. If a man can do something, I’ll do my best to prove I can do it, too.”
The 29-year-old said winning the 2015 championship was amazing. She did so after Travis took the title the previous two years.
“And we won in three different cars,” Travis pointed out.
Danielle’s parents, Don and Roberta, bought her a Chevy Cavalier in her second season to replace her first car, an underpowered Ford Mustang.
Beale, who works in home health care, said racing provides her with an inner peace.
“It’s my time when I’m out there. It’s quiet. It’s just me and the sound of the race cars. I don’t have to listen to anyone talking in my ear,” she said.
The Beales also prefer racing on Wednesday nights rather than driving in another class as part of the Saturday night program.
“I like racing on Wednesday nights to keep the weekends open for family time. Austin races every other weekend, and we like to go up to Moosehead Lake,” Danielle said.
They have a family camp there and they also own a camper.
Danielle said she doesn’t emphasize winning and pursuing a championship.
“I just go out to have fun,” she said.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.