DJ Dean Holds Off Field to Win Career First Race at the Madhouse

Dwayne or D.J. as he’s known around Bowman Gray Stadium started up front in his Stadium Stock race and fended off challenges from some tough drivers to win his first career win at Bowman Gray.

Dean is a relatively new race car driver having just started racing after coaching another Mini Stock racers children.

“I started in 2015, I was coaching baseball and Michael Tucker’s sons (Myles & Mason) were on my team,” Dean told RACE22. “We became good friends and I started going to Ace Speedway with them and watched Michael race. Then one weekend we went to Hickory for him to race down there. They took their backup car and let me drive it that night. After that race, I told my wife that I wanted to race. I used to drag race motorcycles on the drag strip back in the day, so when I told her I wanted to race cars, she said that she would rather see me in a car with 4 wheels and a cage rather than a bike with 2 wheels and nothing to protect me. So we bought my first car from the Tuckers.”

Bowman Gray has always had a popular four-cylinder division, on average there are more cars that show up in the division than the other three divisions that compete weekly. The rule for the division that was implemented in 1991, after a botched race, is if more than 26 cars show up the division will have two races with the drivers higher in points in the “A” Race and the lower in points in the “B” Race.

Dean was placed in the “B” Race of the Stadium Stock division on July 20th due to him being lower in points. He started third in the 15-lap affair and immediately from the drop of the green he floored it and jumped into the lead by lap two. Dean would then go on to battle some of the best drivers in the division like multi-time winner Billy Cameron Jr along with the pair of rising drivers in Johnny Baker and Shawn Hayes and held them all off for the remaining 13-laps to win his first race at the infamous track.

“Man this is great,” stated Dean. “This is my first career win too, this is awesome! It’s one of the most incredible feelings in the world. I was fist-pumping and hooping and hollering from the time I came out of turn four until I got out of the car. I still haven’t gotten my voice back fully yet (as of Tuesday evening). And for it to happen at Bowman Gray Stadium, there is no better place. The history of that place and now I have added my name to it!”

“When I crossed the line for 2 to go, I could hardly breathe and my mouth was so dry,” Dean said when asked about the pressure from behind. “It was awesome. I was worried about Billy (Cameron Jr), Johnny (Baker) and Shawn (Hayes). I knew they would end up lined up behind me. When Billy got to second I thought to myself, oh crap, but he ran me pretty clean. He did beat up my back bumper a lot but didn’t drive through me. I really appreciated that. He made me drive it though. I figured Shawn was going to get to second eventually, I was just hoping he wouldn’t have enough time to get to me, I really don’t know how that would have played out. We both really wanted to win bad. I was hoping Billy and Shawn would get racing side by side. When they did and I crossed the line for 2 to go, I knew I had it as long as the caution didn’t come out and I had to keep telling myself not to overdrive it. I’m glad Johnny didn’t get to me either.”

Dean knew this was his best chance to get a win.

“I was the most nervous before that race than I ever have been. I think it was because I knew that was the best chance for me to win.”

He’ll have another shot to win another B race this weekend as most likely with him being ranked 26th in points he’ll again be in the second race. Before he gets another shot this weekend Dean would like to thank some people for helping him.

“First of all, I want to thank the good Lord above. I want to thank my guys, my brother Jeremy Seeley, My dad Dwayne Dean, Steven Stoneman, Chris Long and everybody that has helped on this car. Also, a big thank you to my wife Judy Dean for putting up with it and supporting me. I want to thank my sponsors. Cox Cars Inc., Hepler Realty, Kenny’s Plumbing, and Roadway Dawgs cause without them, we couldn’t do it. I also want to give a big thank you to Josh Broome and F & N Racing Engines. I’m glad we could put that Fat & Nasty power in victory lane!”

Cover photo by Eric Hylton.

About the Author

Justin Mincey was born into a racing family and raised on both asphalt and dirt racing, but has always loved asphalt racing. Over a decade he started keeping track of Bowman Gray Stadium stats and researching the history of the track. He’s been the unofficial historian of Bowman Gray Stadium for 4 years now. He has aspirations of working in the Nascar Hall of Fame.