DAVIDSON – It didn’t take Barry Bodine long to figure out that he was a car enthusiast.
Bodine, the 35-year-old son of 1986 Daytona 500 champion Geoff Bodine, followed his father into racing and honed his skills as a driver from a young age.
The younger Bodine’s talent got him to the NASCAR Nationwide Series by the time he was 20, and although he’s on longer a full-time racer, Bodine’s work with Draco Performance continues to fuel his passion for speed as well as business and car service.
Bodine founded Draco Performance, an automotive performance facility, in Cornelius in 2002. Draco specializes in working on Japanese, European and domestic street and tuner cars for racing purposes or personal use. The company also offers window tinting, interior upgrades, cruise control and chassis upgrades to various makes, including Subaru, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Nissan and Honda.
Other services include performance engine builds, track support and fabrication.
Bodine moved his shop to Rolling Hills Road in Mooresville two years ago. Last year brought about more change.
Bodine was forced to move operations to Connelly Springs – roughly 75 minutes west of Lake Norman – for the short term.
“We hope to be back in or around Mooresville soon,” Bodine said. “For now, (moving was) a business decision that we’ve had to make.”
Draco Performance’s goal is to maximize the potential of its customers’ cars, a trait Bodine developed when he was a competitive racer. He specializes in working with Subaru cars, with positive racing results backing up Bodine’s work.
Autocross racer Adam Benaway piloted a Draco Performance-sponsored Subaru in last year’s AutoX Series season. In March, Benaway was featured in the SPEED Channel show, “R U Faster than a Redneck?” driving a Draco-tuned car.
For Bodine, life hasn’t slowed down since he left NASCAR.
Owning a car performance business became the perfect lifestyle for Bodine, whose passion for cars and driving hasn’t waned a bit since his last NASCAR start, a Camping World Truck Series race in 2002.
He also hasn’t given up going to racetracks.
Bodine joined the Subaru-PUMA Global Rally X race team, a rallycross – closed, mixed-surface racing – series operation last year.
Business, however, has proven to be a different sort of challenge than racing.
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce President Bill Russell said startup companies like Bodine’s have a 1-in-10 success rate. But in a region full of car enthusiasts, it’s not much of a surprise Bodine’s twice-relocated business still operates.
“That (success ratio) does not deter many Lake Norman entrepreneurs from pursuing their dream,” Russell said.
As for Bodine’s decision of wanting to return Draco Performance to the Lake area, Russell said it’s a good business decision.
The proximity to Mooresville, also known as Race City, U.S.A., is another attractive reason for Bodine’s business to return to the area, due to the available experienced fabricators and crewmen.
“Quite simply, the Lake Norman region is simply a great place to live and do business,” Russell said. “It makes sense.”