There are some husband and wife duos who just can’t drive in the same car together.
One doesn’t trust the other, and one always considers himself or herself the better driver.
There’s none of those issues for Brady and Dee Bauer, though.
The married duo are right at home behind the wheel — although maybe it’s because they both have a steering wheel to hold onto.
The couple from Ness City are mainstays in the cruiser class that regularly competes at RPM Speedway in Hays. On Thursday night, the husband and wife got behind the wheels once more this season as the speedway kicked off Fall Nationals IX with cruiser and sport compact features.
“I did not think it was going to be this fun,” Dee said. “It’s a lot of fun. A lot of people ask how we did it, how we communicate, that we’re lucky that we’re still married. We have a few hand signals, but other than that, it’s all for fun. We like to win, but it’s also for fun.”
Brady is the driver, operating the steering portion of the two-seater car. Dee sits on the passenger side, although she’s equipped with a steering wheel of her own simply for her hands to hold onto during races. She’s in charge of the gas pedal in the specially designed car.
“I actually want her to do the steering, but she won’t do it yet,” Brady said. “If she wants to race next year, though, she has to switch seats.”
The Bauers, who have been married for 23 years, have three sons who also have dabbled in racing throughout the years. Josh Crombie and William and Dalton Bauer each have been behind the steering wheel in different classes, and Crombie helped run a cruiser that finished first Thursday night.
Brady raced in the 1990s and was a former national champion in the hobby stock class in 1991 — the first year IMCA officially sanctioned the class. He raced a stock car in 1992, then children entered the two’s lives.
Brady said he sat out of racing to focus on family. But when Josh started to be a “little goofball” in high school, he put him in a race car.
The other sons eventually followed. Everyone had a car but mom and dad.
Until the cruiser class popped up at RPM again.
“We heard they were coming up with the cruiser class, and we had this old car setting in the barn,” Brady said about the No. 57x they drive. “Then I talked her into it.”
“At first, yes. I was pretty nervous,” Dee said. “I’ve been around it for over 20 years, but always watched it. Then when he decided we wanted to try this, I finally said OK. Then after the first race or two, it’s a lot of fun.”
Now, it’s Dee who has the itch for racing. In fact, the two damaged their transmission two weeks ago at RPM.
“She’s hooked,” Brady said. “We wouldn’t be here tonight if she wasn’t hooked. I didn’t want to put a transmission in it.”
“I just pouted,” Dee joked.
“You know what they say: Happy wife, happy life,” Brady said.
The husband and wife finished second Thursday night, behind the car their son was serving as a replacement in. The two led the first 12 laps of the 15-lap feature until being passed.
They then tagged the back of their son’s car — he was taking the place for Shannon Maughlin who had a work commitment — and were sent to the back of the pack after both cars spun.
The Bauers rallied back to finish second at the finish line.
“It’s our relaxation. Even going down working on the car at nights until late, it will be just me and her,” Brady said. “We’re just down there, the TV on in the background. It beats setting in front of the TV at home.”
Nick Schwien is managing editor at The Hays Daily News.