Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Nathan Rachui close to first win in Factory Stock

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When a race team makes that extra effort, when they dig down deep and take in as many races at as many tracks as possible during a season, it’s going to improve their program. The learning, the adapting, that competing against the big guns, it all builds skills they need to win. 

For 35-year-old driver Nathan Rachui, the 2022 season has been packed full of learning. He and his family-based race team hit the highway last summer, and it helped. In 21 starts thus far, he’s earned nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, and he’s right on the cusp of that first Factory Stock victory. 

“We were originally a two-man team, me and my younger brother,” Rachui explained. “Towards the end of last season, he decided to focus more on his career this year. So my Dad and I got together with my cousin, who helps us out a lot, decided to pool our money and do some traveling. 

“We wanted to go compete against those big teams up north, and try some tracks we’ve never been to before. We wanted to race on tracks of different lengths, varying degrees of banking, and on various type of dirt surfaces. I’m a South Texas guy, but this year we worked hard to broaden our horizons.” 

From the moment he passed under that first green flag last Spring, it’s been a giant learning experience.

“We started the season at Cotton Bowl Speedway, it was my first-ever time on that beautiful track. We came away with a second-place finish, which was pretty awesome. That boosted our confidence, so we hit the road some more. I figured if I race against the best, maybe some day I’ll be the best.”  

That hard work has paid off in terms of speed and consistency. Next stop, Victory Lane. 

“We’ve had some pretty solid finishes, but it’s been an up and down year overall. I’m super happy about it, really. As for what it will take that go that next step and get into Victory Lane, man, I’m digging and working hard every week. I’ve already put the car on the scales after our last run. We’ll get there with a little more effort.”

Now in his ninth year of racing, Rachui came up through the right way and has paid his dues. 

“It’s very much a family deal around here,” he explained. “I grew up around dirt track racing; my Dad ran stock cars back in the day long before I entered this world. When I was about eight years old, he got back into it with a Modified. He even did a little asphalt racing in Karts on the road course.

“But there came a day when he stepped away; he got rid of all his stuff and we took a five or six-year hiatus. I finished out college, and got me a great job right after graduation. We were completely out of racing at that point, but one day I called my Dad and told him I just bought a race car. He was excited.”

Nathan’s own driving career has produced some memorable moments and taught him a lot. 

“When I bought my first car in 2012, it reignited Dad’s passion for racing. It was EMod, a class that Owen (Pittman) created. About a year or two later, my brother bought one as well. We competed in that class together for four of five years, and it taught us both well. 

“I won several features and a couple of championships at South Texas, and my brother also won a title. I moved up to Pure Stock after that, just trying to advance my career. I got one win there, then moved up to Factory Stock. I’ve been here three or four years now, and am starting to make some progress.”  

It’s no secret that the level of competition Rachui faces throughout South Texas is pretty intense. 

“It’s definitely tough in this division across South Texas,” he said. “Any top-10 car can win a feature on any given night. This past Saturday night at South Texas Race Ranch was a good example. When you have guys like Brian Rye and Jared Maupin on the front row, it’s going to be a tough night. 

“I definitely don’t count myself out when listing the legit threats to win, but starting position sure has become critical today. I struggle in heat races a little bit, and it’s kind of hard to start up there on the front row when you don’t qualify well. The talent is deep down here, and they all go at it pretty hard.”

When Rachui puts on his safety suit, grabs his helmet and gets ready to race, he climbs into a nice car.

“We have a 2020 Destroyer chassis,” he explained. “It’s a very good piece, we like it so much we’ve just put in our order for a new one. It’s how we’ll get to that next level. As for horsepower, our motor is from Bruce at Ace Automotive Machine. It makes all kinds of power and has been very reliable for us.”

Along with his immense natural talent behind the wheel, Rachui also has several key people and valued sponsors in his corner who keep his program on-track and make it more successful. 

“I want to thank my father, Glenn Rachui, who is the heart of this race team,” he said. “I’ll also thank David Rachui, Britni Hicks, Joey Heinaman, Kristin Repka, Junior Repka, along with the rest of my family and fans. I couldn’t do this without their support. 

“I also want to thank our great sponsors, including DarPro Commercial Construction, Meyer Oilfield Sales, Service, Rentals and Parts; All American Chevrolet of Killeen, Ace Automotive Machine Shop, Ace Transmission, KH Suspension, Destroyer Chassis, KD Graphix and Flanagan’s Muffler Shop. I’m blessed to have them and grateful.” 

With the regular season now in the rear view mirror and ‘Big show’ season officially here, Rachui has a few more events circled on his calendar that offer a chance to bag that first Factory Stock victory. 

“We plan on hitting The Clash at Texana, and we’ll be at the Shootout at South Texas Race Ranch this fall, as well,” Rachui concluded. “I might go to the Texas Grand over at 105 Speedway, I’m not sure. 

“We weren’t trying to race for points this year; but I’m leading by 12 over Chuck Perry at STRR, so I just feel like I owe it to my Dad and my cousin to sew that up for them. They’re so critical to my success.” 

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer

Photo by Rachel Plant/Cotton Bowl Speedway