Today, Baillie Lowe races late models in the Dirt2Media American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products. As a baby, this seemed far out of reach as he was diagnosed with severe autism. Fortunately, through the intervention of his mother, he received the help he needed so that he could excel in life.
School officials in his hometown of Fairview, North Carolina, wanted to put him in special education classes. Baillie’s mother, Aimee, battled with teachers, counselors, and school administration to keep her son in general education classes.
“No one can tell I was once on the [autism] spectrum,” Lowe said. “I was lucky I had an outgoing mother who took charge. She pushed for a lot of therapy for me from when I was four until I was in fifth grade.”
Although now well spoken, Lowe didn’t utter a word as a child.
“I was in therapy four or five hours a day, learning how to talk, learning how to be social,” said Lowe. “Mom fought harder and harder to keep me in mainstream classes. Teachers didn’t understand me and did not know how to teach me.”
Lowe confounded his instructors at times.
“I could think through problems differently than everyone else,” Lowe said. “One time, in math class there was a difficult problem no one could figure out. I figured it out my way and amazed the teachers.”
By high school, there Lowe exhibited no signs that he was once on the spectrum. Today he operates a welding and fabricating business. He learned those two trades from his father, Barry, who worked for NASCAR teams.
“I overcame the stigmatism,” said Lowe. “Autism affects my racing in a positive way. I am detail-oriented. I worry about every little thing on the race car. I’m putting my car’s rear end back together within the specified tolerances, exactly the way the manufacturer calls for.”
This weekend, Baillie Lowe heads to two events sanctioned by the Dirt2Media American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products. On Saturday, May 27, Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tennessee, holds a $3,000-to-win event. The following day, Sunday, May 28, Wythe Raceway in Rural Retreat, Virginia, hosts a $5,000-to-win event.
Baillie Lowe remains thankful to be able to race, considering where he was as a young child.
“I’m here today from what my mom did for me years ago,” Lowe said. “I give her all the credit.”
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 51st year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.