Joe Bessey (born June 25, 1961 in Scarborough, Maine) is a former NASCAR owner/driver. He won one career Nationwide Series (then Busch Series) race before heading back to the Busch Grand National North Series in 2001, where he continues to field teams. In his driving career in that series in the mid-1990s, when he won 21 races and won two championships. Bessey is also a businessman, having started his own trucking companies in his 20's.
Nationwide Series Career Edit
Bessey made his Nationwide Series debut in 1988 at the Pennsylvania 300 at Nazareth Speedway in the #9 Pontiac. Despite an eighth place starting spot, he finished last after a crash on the opening lap. He made five other races in 1988, his best finish being 19th at Dover. He also finished his remaining five races.
Bessey made six more starts in 1989 and finished in the top-20 in four of the six races, with 14th at Dover, a 17th at Nazareth and had a pair of 20ths. He also had a top-10 start at Richmond. However, he did not finish his other two starts, but finished 45th in points. The next season, he only started four races, finishing just one of them.
Bessey made 8 starts in 1991. Driving his #9 Pontiacs and the #64 Pontiacs, Bessey finished six of his eight starts, and managed his career best finish with a 14th place at Daytona International Speedway. He also had three top-10 starts, the best being at Nazareth.
Bessey made nine starts in 1992. Bessey garnered an 11th place run at Rockingham and then his first top-10 at Richmond. He also closed the year with three straight top-21 finishes. He was 42nd in the points, his highest showing to that date.
Bessey planned to run the full season in 1993. He made all but three races en route to a 17th place points finish. Bessey had a best finish of 3rd at Rockingham and added on a 4th at Rougement. He also had an eighth and a pair of tenths. Bessey also earned his best career start of 4th at the inaugural race at Talladega.
With his success in 1993, Bessey focused more in the Busch North Series, but did manage to make 11 Busch Starts in |1994, three of which resulted in top-10s. Driving his #97 Bellsouth Chevy, Bessey finished 6th at Atlanta and 10th at Dover and Charlotte. He also had three top-10 starts.
Bessey returned for 1995. He had two top-10s: a 9th at Rockingham and a 10th at Nazareth. (driving for Jimmy Spencer) However, Bessey continued to struggle in finishing races, only running at the end of half of his starts.
Bessey, however, still went on and in 1996, he drove the #9 Delco Remy America Chevy in twelve races. For the first time since 1992, Bessey did not finish in the top-10 in any race, but did have five top-19 finishes. At Rockingham, Bessey made his debut for Power Team, a sponsorship deal resulted in a two-year deal to go Busch Racing full-time.
Bessey returned full-time 1997, driving the #6 Power Team Chevy. Bessey picked up his first win at the MBNA 200, despite being ill that day. He also had four other top-10 finishes, the best being a 6th at South Boston. He also earned his first career pole in the inagural event at Gateway, and finished 18th in points, the best run of his career.
Bessey did not win a race in 1998, but had four top-10s, the best being a 5th at Nazareth. He had a solid weekend at New Hampshire, where he won the pole and led 107 laps. However, in a late race fight for the lead with Buckshot Jones, Bessey got wrecked while Jones won the race. Bessey had 14 top-10 finishes to finish 18th in standings.
With Bessey going full-time Cup racing in 1999, Bessey only made a few starts that season. His best run was a 17th at Nazareth drivng for Geoffery Bodine and an 18th at Dover (back in his #6). He did not finish his other 3 start.
Bessey and the #6 only returned for one race in 2000. He started 26th at New Hampshire, but got crashed on the first lap and finished 43rd.
Bessey made three starts in 2001, with a 17th at Daytona, 43rd at Talladega and a 22nd at New Hampshire (where he started in the 8th position)
Bessey made his last two starts: a 25th at New Hampshire and an 18th at Nazareth. Afterwards, Bessey moved back full-time to Busch North Series as an owner, where he continues to this day.
Winston Cup Series Team Edit
Bessey moved his operation up to Winston Cup in 1999, fielding the #60 Power Team Chevy driven by Geoffrey Bodine. Bodine was eighth in the second race of the year at Rockingham. Bodine also earned a third place finish late in the year at Martinsville Speedway. Also, Bodine was able to qualify in every race in 1999, earning the team a 27th-place finish.
Bodine, however, was injured in the season opening Craftsman Truck Series race of 2000, and Bessey was sent scrambling for a driver. The team missed the Daytona 500, but Bessey's new driver, Ted Musgrave made the next five races. After a bset finish of 16th, Musgrave left and Bessey moved onto Dick Trickle, who made three starts for Bessey, before Bodine returned to the team at Richmond. Bodine had a solid run of 13th in his return, but the team continued to struggle to qualify. Bodine only made ten of the next fourteen races. Even with a best finish of 12th, Bessey released Bodine after a 41st at Richmond.
Bessey then made his Cup debut the next week at NHIS. Bessey barely made it in with a 42nd place starting position at his home track. He finished 27th.
Bessey then used drivers Trickle and Rich Bickle to finish out the year. However, the team began to struggle to qualifying with Bessey's team only making a handful of the final eight races.
Craftsman Truck Series Edit
Bessey has also made four career starts in the Truck series/. His best run came in his debut at Phoenix in 1995, where he started 5th and finished 4th in the #30 Taylor Togs Dodge. His other start in 1995 resulted in a 38th at Phoenix.
Bessey's lone run in 1996 resulted in a 4th place start at NHIS. Once again, Bessey ran a solid race at his home track and drove the #9 Chevy to a 6th place finish.