For as long as Bret has been driving for SRRT, Bil has been in the paddock and pits with the team. He pitches in wherever he can, and he’s on the team radio when the drivers are on the track. Tod breaks away from the shop when he can, adding to the family support.
Bil commented on being involved at the track when his son and grandson were racing: “Since day one – from karting on through. In the last 40 years, I don’t think that I’ve missed but 10 or 15 times that either one of them were on the track.
“I don’t think I’ve missed any of Bret’s. Oh, I missed one because I was in Connecticut, and they went to Sebring, and they didn’t tell me.”
Bret added, “We decided the day after Thanksgiving, ‘What are we going to do?’ ‘Let’s go down to Sebring!’ That was an experience, because Dad wasn’t Grandpa. The checkered flag came out, and nobody knew it was coming out.”
Smiling, Bil responded, “We all have our roles.”
One of those roles for Bil is to talk with Bret while Bret was on the track. Bil explained, “In karting, I’d be in his ear all the time. From the time he was 12, we had radios. If I saw that someone was taking part of the track differently and was gaining time, I’d pass it on.”
With 50 years of history as a racing family, one event stands out for Bil, Tod, and Bret. Bil Spaude explained: “In 1999, we came to Daytona to do three generations on the same track the same day, which we didn’t know if anyone had ever done before – three generations that ran at different times. It ended up that Bret won his first race. I went out, and I won. Then Tod went out and won.
“In 2000, they put that go-kart in Daytona USA, which is still there. They had a ceremony – sort of like an induction-type thing.”
Subaru Motorsports Marketing Manager James Han commented on having the Spaude and Aquilante families involved in SRRT: “Coming from multi-generations of racers and people who have had success, it is an opportunity for each of the drivers to have a really strong support system. They have that type of interesting structure, where there’s an authority figure who they also can call, ‘Pop’ – someone who’s more than just a management person.
“It’s fairly unique in our business to have two drivers in that type of structure. It’s been pretty good.”
To which Bil responded, “It’s been fun on this side.”