Third generation driver Christian PaHud had his dream come true by winning the 2014 PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge.
PaHud, who hails from Dayton, Ohio, has raced in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series and is pursuing his Associates Degree in Applied Science. He has more than 250 career races in his resume, starting his career in go karts on his fourth birthday.
Michael Waltrip, principal of Michael Waltrip Racing, announced PaHud as the winner in the media center at Pocono Raceway. PaHud was selected after submitting a video entry and then competing for three days in short-track, road, dirt and speedway racing, as well as in the marketing and communications arenas.
“This year, there were eighteen competitors and it became evident early on that Christian PaHud was going to be our guy,” Waltrip said. “It was obvious that he was going to be the one to beat in season two of the Stock Car challenge. He took control early in the contest and no one was ever able to seriously challenge him.”
“Our judges were Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, Danica Patrick and Jeff Burton and Ty Norris and I worked with him in the marketing area,” Waltrip continued. “Christian did a great job. That sets up season two and this was our winner.”
Clint Bowyer, MWR driver and judge, also had high praise for PaHud, who is following in the footsteps of Patrick Starapoli, winner of season one of the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge, as well as high praise for PEAK, who sponsored the program.
“First of all, just to have a sponsor give back to the sport and give someone an opportunity; you just don’t have that anymore,” Bowyer said. “For PEAK to step up, create a challenge and give someone a genuine opportunity is great.”
“Last year, with Patrick (Starapoli, last year’s winner) winning that K&N race with Bill McAnally, that really validated what we were doing,” Bowyer continued. “I’ll even admit that the first year I went into this thinking how are we going to make sure this is a real opportunity.”
“After we chose Patrick as the winner, he went on and won that race, the very races that all these team owners are watching,” Bowyer said. “There are a lot of kids right now that are on everybody’s radar so for him to go out and win that race and make the most out of the opportunity that PEAK provided was huge for me.”
“So, this year I was on board tenfold to watch Christian,” Bowyer continued. “He was the one that stood out and set the pace for everybody. It’s really neat to go through. You don’t just have to be a short-track racer or good on the big tracks. There are a lot of stations that you have to go through and duel it out with the rest of the contestants.”
Sponsor PEAK has also been most impressed by what they have seen so far in their season two dream challenge winner.
“We were very impressed with the raw talent that all eighteen finalists had this year at the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge, but Christian’s on-track ability and poise as a young driver brought him to the top,” Bryan Emrich, Chief Marketing Officer for PEAK said. “Christian has a lot of potential to excel in this sport and we’re confident that he’ll make the most out of this opportunity.”
PaHud’s first race after his dream challenge win will be at All American Speedway in California, running for Bill McAnally Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race on October 11th, 2014. Michael Waltrip will also be racing with him and PEAK will be sponsoring both race cars.
“I definitely can’t wait to get out to All American Speedway and make my first K&N debut,” PaHud said. “I can’t thank you enough for putting this on. Definitely honored to be the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge Winner and can’t wait to race.”
PaHud intends to lean on everyone that he has met along the way in the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge experience. He will also be finishing up his Associates Degree in addition to pursuing his racing goals.
“I’ll definitely lean on Patrick quite a bit,” PaHud said. “He was there during the whole competition and it was nice to know that he is there to guide us. I’ll also go to Clint with questions as I can.”
“I’ve got one more class left to take to finish my degree,” PaHud continued. “It’s not until spring semester so I will have time to race.”
Bowyer summed up the importance of the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge, likening it to the opportunity that he was given by Richard Childress to get into the racing world at the highest level.
“I remember being a short track racer trying to figure out how in the hell am I ever going to get a chance,” Bowyer said. “Those opportunities are few and far between. Everyone here at PEAK has done a great job and I think this can build and be better for the sport and our youth.”
“Richard Childress took a chance on me and I laugh about it every day of my life,” Bowyer continued. “That’s just it. This is that chance for Christian. All he had to do was submit a video and we chose the candidates which were all good. They were all strong and proven racers all across the country. I look for that to continue to grow if we can continue to do this.”
“I really do believe that the next Kyle Larson or who knows, that could be who we are sitting next to and I think it’s important to realize how big this can be.”