Unbuckled: Getting to Know Cooper Bouchard


Hometown: Hinesburg, VT

Division: Allen Lumber Street Stocks

Car: Larry & Son Heating #7 Ford Mustang

2017 Season: Finished 2nd in Street Stock points (1 feature win)


What are your favorite non-racing hobbies?

I really don’t do much other than work on a race car, but I like to watch hockey when it’s on TV or if I’m going to an actual game. I like watching UVM play a lot, and I’m actually a Buffalo Sabres fan, so I watch them every now and then. One of my sisters lives in Buffalo, and she’s made plenty of trips up to see me, and I guess I somehow became a Buffalo fan because she lives there. She kind of forced me, I guess. (Laughs)

 What do you do for work?

I work on dirt equipment (for Wood’s CRW Corp.). I’m kind of a preventative maintenance guy. We rent out stuff for people to use, so when they’re done with it, I basically go through it and check fluids and make sure everything’s alright. I’m getting dirty regardless of whether I’m working on a race car or if I’m actually working my 9-to-5 job.

How did you get involved in that?

I did some work on state land when I was around 16, and my boss there has been working at this company for 18 years. They’ve got a couple people that are getting ready to retire, and he said that they wanted someone kind of new, that maybe didn’t have a lot of experience but had some sort of mechanical background, and that’s how I got the job here.  It worked out pretty well.

What are your current racing plans for 2018? Do you have any goals?

We’re going to be moving up to the Flying Tigers. We’re actually having a new car built, so I’m really excited for that. I’m expecting it to do pretty well – I’ve got some good help. I think everyone has the ultimate goal (of winning the championship) in their mind when they’re coming into the season. This year is going to be a lot different, obviously, with running the Tiger, but it’s better to shoot high than have a lower goal and not achieve it. But other than that, I’m going to race the full season at Thunder Road, along with any special series or anything else that comes up. I’m basically just going to get as much seat time as I can in that car.

What was the highlight of the 2017 season for you?

I think winning on double points night. I had been having a really good season all year – I told my dad at the beginning of the year, “I’m going to win the championship”, and he was like, “Well, you know, I think top-five would be a little more realistic.” And I said, “I have faith in myself – you need to have faith in me.” So I think after I won that race, I was a couple points out of the lead (Ed. Note: Bouchard was five points out of the lead after the Mid-Season Championships), and my dad said to me the next day, “You know, I never really thought we’d be here, but I’m not complaining.” Compared to my first win (in 2016), I enjoyed that one a lot more, and that was just a fun race to win.

How did you get started in racing?

I actually started racing dirt bikes at the age of seven. My mom raced when she was a kid, and I think around the time she turned 18 she got out of it. So I started racing Motocross, and after two concussions, a broken hand, a broken humerus, and a plate with seven screws in my arm, I decided that I thought I’d be better suited with a roll cage. So I raced one more full season in Motocross, and I actually won the championship that year. Then I somehow convinced my mom to let me buy a race car.

Can you tell me more about your family?

I’ve got my mom and dad – I really couldn’t race without them. They help me financially, and they’re really good motivators for me when it comes to being at the race track and having a rough race one week and having a good race the next week. I’ve got my sister Ashlee, who has a season’s pass to Thunder Road, so she’s at every single race with my nephew, who just turned two, I think. And then I’ve got my sister Ciara in Buffalo, who in my rookie year came for a whole month to watch me. The last race of the year this season, she texted me, “so you’re saying there’s a chance you could win the whole thing, right?” I said, “Yep.” And she was like, “I’m going to call Cameron out of school, and I’m going to come down and watch you.” So she drove 7.5 hours to come watch me get runner-up in the points, which kind of stunk. (Laughs)

Your dad used to race too, didn’t he?

Yes! He won the Enduro in 1992 at Thunder Road, and then he raced Street Stocks until 1997. And then my mom got pregnant with me, so she made him get rid of everything. I think he said he sold his car turn-key with everything, plus another parts car, for $500, because they just needed the money to take care of a kid. So I feel kind of bad for him.

What is your biggest life accomplishment so far?

That’s a tough one. I guess it would really have to do with racing. My goal, which I’ve said for the last two years, is that I want to win a race each year. And I’ve done it two years in a row. Going forward, I would really, really like to make it somewhere with racing, whether it be driving, working on cars, commentating – I just really enjoy the sport. I don’t think I could live without racing, as cliché as that might sound. Whenever I have free time, I’m working on a race car, so that’s what takes up a lot of my life – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Do you have anyone that you consider a role model or that you take after?

I’d have to say my grandfather and my dad. My grandfather passed away seven years ago, and he was always just one of those kinds of people that encouraged you to have fun. And if someone needed a helping hand or anything, he was always going to be the person that was there for you. I’ve had lots of experiences at the track where I’ve need a part or someone else has needed a part, and it’s kind of just instinct to give it to someone, because that’s what my grandfather would have done. As far as my dad, he’s an incredible guy. He busts his behind all the time, and he’s just got an insane work ethic, and he would do anything for me and my sisters. I hope when I’m  his age and have kids and whatnot that I can be as good of a father as he is.

What’s your dream vacation?

Oh geez, I don’t know. Most people would probably say they’d want to go to the tropics, but I think I’d just want to go to a NASCAR race. The only one I’ve ever been to is Loudon – I’ve been there twice. I think something like Daytona would be fun to just go watch some racing and have a good time.

If someone turned on the radio/media player in your car, what would they most likely be listening to?

I listen to everything, but if I had to pick, I would probably say country. I like country music because to me, it seems like it’s the easiest way to express feelings or understand how someone’s feeling in music. The lyrics in country music are a little deeper than some of the lyrics you hear in other types of music, and I kind of like listening to a song and being able to try and figure out what kind of story they’re trying to tell you.

If you were asked to appear on a TV show, which one would you want it to be and why?

It’s not on anymore, but I used to watch Overhaulin’ with my dad, and I’ve always had a dream that I would get this cool, big souped-up muscle car that someone would just kindly decide they wanted to build for me. (Laughs) My grandfather actually bought me a Camaro when I was seven, and I always hoped that one day I could get that on the show.

What sports besides hockey do you follow or play?

I did a lot of different sports growing up. My sisters played hockey, so I think that’s why I have such an interest in it. I played lacrosse for a couple years, I played baseball, I wrestled in grade school, and I was a varsity wrestler three of my four years in high school. I think that’s where I get some of my work ethic from, because my coach was probably one of the hardest-working guys too. He’d eat, sleep, and breathe wrestling, and he always trained us in a way to not only make us good on the mat, but good outside in the real world.

That has to help with competitiveness as well, doesn’t it?

Oh, absolutely. There’s no better feeling than when you’re out there, and if it’s second nature to you, it just comes naturally to go out there and win and do what you’ve been working so hard to do.

Who is your biggest supporter at the track?

I think it’s got to be my sisters. Ciara will have an off weekend, and she’ll just take a 7.5-hour drive from Buffalo to come watch me for a night, and then go home the next day. And Ashlee comes every week because she enjoys watching me race and do what I love.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?

If I had to model my driving or my style after someone that I look up to, I’d probably say Nick Sweet. He was my favorite when I was growing up, and I just loved watching him race. I hope that someday, wherever this road may take me, I can be one of those people that they’ll look back and say, “You remember this guy?” And they’ll say, “Oh my god, he did this and he did that!” like they do with Nick.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Stay humble.” I feel like a lot of people would say that, but it’s true. I don’t want to sound like I’m full of myself, but I’ve had lots of people come up to me, especially after my first Tiger race, and say, “you drove the wheels of that thing,” or “that car went really good.” And I just don’t like to brag about myself. I enjoy what I do, and I guess that fact that I may or may not be kind of good at it is a bonus.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The ultimate goal, like I said before, is to be doing something with race cars – whether I’m driving them, working on them, designing them, I don’t know. I hope five years from now, whether I be here or whether I be all the way out in California or wherever I may be, that I’m doing something that involves racing. It’s what I love, and it’s pretty much what gets me through the day every day and every week.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I’d build a really big house with a really big garage, and I’d want them both to look like a log cabin. And I’d probably build a race track in the back of my house and just drive around it and have a bunch of race cars. Something to do with racing – it’s a recurring theme. (Laughs)