Westby native and former La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway racer Dexter Bean will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series when the series visits Wisconsin in early July.
DGM Racing announced last week that Bean would drive one of its entries in the Henry 180 on July 2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., with sponsorship from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139.
Bean will be racing in his first Xfinity Series race since July 2021, also driving for DGM Racing. The connection between Bean and DGM Racing owner Mario Gosselin spans several racing families.
Dexter puts his wife, Misty, through racing. Misty’s sister married Gosselin, a journeyman NASCAR racer turned owner from Quebec.
“Over the last few years, I’ve done a few races and gotten a lot of help,” Bean said. “My wife’s family is very involved in racing. That’s how I met her when I was racing across the states when I was younger…Fortunately, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 here in Wisconsin was able to help me out along with some family. I was able to get with Mario and pencil one of my names in for the race at Road America.”
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The sponsorship of IUOE Local 139 also has a family connection. Bean’s family has a long history with IUOE Local 139, which represents 10,000 heavy equipment operators in Wisconsin’s construction industry.
“I’m a third-generation member of the IUOE Local 139,” Bean said in a press release from DGM Racing. “Combined with my father, David Bean, and grandfather, Richard Bean, we have over 108 years of membership. Construction is our family tradition. On any given weekday I can usually be found in a machine, so being able to combine racing and my daily life in construction makes this car and partnership with IUOE Local 139 very sentimental to me. It’s truly an honor to represent them.”
Bean hasn’t had the best of luck in two prior starts in the Xfinity Series at Road America. After a 26th place finish in 2017, mechanical problems in 2019 relegated him to 32nd at the end of the race.
On top of getting prepared for the 4-mile road course, Bean is trying to get prepared to race the regulars of the Xfinity Series after nearly a year away.
“It’s tough to just jump into a one-off or even just a few races a year and compete with guys who do it week in and week out,” Bean said. “I do a lot of studying. I watch a lot of in-car videos you can find online of driving at Road America. This’ll be my third start there and I haven’t had the greatest luck the past couple of times.”
“It’s a big mental game when you go to a road course. There’s a lot of shifting and breaking and marks you have to hit. Another thing is just to stay hydrated. One thing I’ve already been doing is leaning back off the soda and starting to drink more water.”
The car Bean will drive has yet to be confirmed, but he is likely to drive the No. 90, 91 or 92 car for DGM. Bean enters with modest goals as DGM’s best car, the No. 36 regularly driven by Alex Labbe, sits 20th in owner’s points entering the Series’ race at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday.
“We want to maintain a good pace,” Bean said. “Some of the younger guys can be a little squirrelly at times and it’s a long race. You need to be there at the finish to win…Realistically, if I can come home with a top 15 or top 20 with the car in one piece, I think that’d be a great goal for the weekend.”
Bean’s best finish in 31 career Xfinity Series starts came in 2020 at Pocono Raceway with an 11th place finish. Bean previously also has one start in the NASCAR Cup Series and three starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The Henry 180 at Road America is scheduled to start at 1:30 pm on July 2 with the broadcast on USA.
James Krause can be reached by email at James.KrauseJr@lee.net or on Twitter @jkrausepro.