Eric has been around racing and high performance vehicles his entire life. At only a few months old he was at the drag strip while his dad raced a 1968 Nova. His dad raced at several Kansas and Nebraska tracks such as Midwest Raceway in Manhattan, KS, Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, KS, and Nebraska Motorplex in Scribner, NE from 1980 until 1991. Some of his earliest memories are the sound of a solid roller cam 454 and the smell of the rubber that he picked off the rear quarter panel between rounds. A weekend at the drag races was the norm for him until the age of 7 when his dad sold the Nova.
Exposure to cars and all things automotive didn’t end there, however. As a young boy, Eric followed his dad around, working on engines, carburetors, cars, trucks, tractors, and anything that needed fixed around the farm. Every winter his dad would rebuild engines and carburetors for local farmers and Eric was there to learn and help out any chance he got.
In his early teenage years, Eric and his father decided to build a sand rail buggy. Starting with a bare sand rail frame, they built it from the ground up including custom bending stainless steel brake lines, assembling AN braided hose, wiring, and more. This project served as an excellent starting point for him to grow from, and the result was fantastic. They won a best-in-class award in 1999 at the German Fest car show in Marysville, KS. It was an absolute blast to tear through the pasture and tackle the sand dunes.
His next project was a 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass, which started out in pretty sad shape. The previous owner swapped out the original diesel engine for an Olds 350 gas engine which had terrible overheating issues. Eric spent an entire summer working on the car at Rock’s Body Shop in Marysville, KS. He sanded the sun baked, cracked paint down to bare metal and completely disassembled it for paint. Once the paint was finished, the engine and transmission were replaced with a Chevy 350 they completely rebuilt, as well as a TH350 transmission. Every mechanical item on the car was either repaired or replaced. Once it was complete, A/C and all, you would have assumed it came from the factory with a Chevy engine.
During his summer working at the body shop, the guys there were building a race car to compete at Beatrice Speedway, a 3/8 mile dirt track in Beatrice, NE. This sounded like a new and exciting adventure to Eric, so he frequently checked in on the project throughout the winter. Once spring came, he tagged along to help out in the pits every chance he could. By the end of that racing season, he started a plan to build a car of his own.
At the age of 15 Eric built his first circle track car. It was a 1983 Impala, purchased from a racer who was retiring. The car need some new body panels, an engine, transmission, and a host of odds and ends. Eric and his dad built a new engine for it and had the car race-ready for the 2000 season at Beatrice Speedway in the Factory Stock division. The first couple races were a struggle, to say the least, but by mid-season, he was frequently qualifying for the A feature in a field of nearly 40 cars. In June of that year Eric won his first A feature and from that point on he was hooked on circle track racing.
For the 2001 season Eric built a different car, a 1979 Monte Carlo with a Cutlass body, to compete in the Pro-Am division at Beatrice Speedway. This step up brought more power, more suspension options, and a much faster car. In the first year with this car, his success was limited to a few heat race wins. By the end of his second season with the car, he had two A feature wins. The 2003 season in Pro-Am proved to be the most successful with twelve top five finishes and four A feature wins, earning him a fourth place finish in the points standings at Beatrice Speedway.
After three seasons racing Pro-Am, following the elimination of that division, Eric decided to build an IMCA Modified for 2004. Eric always aspired to build a Modified and now the time was right. Eric started out in a Sardeson chassis with a swing arm (Z link) rear suspension, which was great to learn with, but the rear suspension was dated. In his second season with this Modified, he purchased a brand new 2005 BMS chassis with all the current suspension options. Eric had some success with that car in the following three years, including many heat race wins and top 5 finishes. He raced at tracks in northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska including Beatrice Speedway, Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, KS and Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, NE. Over the next 10 years Eric raced several different chassis in the Modified division on a part-time basis, with several second place finishes but never pulling off that elusive A feature win.
In the fall of 2018 after 19 years of racing, Eric decided to sell the race car and equipment since he no longer had enough time to dedicate towards it. He now has a 1969 C10 truck with a 406 engine from his Modified that he tinkers with. He also gets a little bit of racing action in as crew chief for his stepson, who races a cage kart in the JR1 Cage division at Tuxedo Park Raceway in Crete, NE.
Eric started out with Speedway Motors in our call center fielding sales calls and quickly moved into a Race Tech position. His extensive racing background and general automotive knowledge proved to be a tremendous asset to the Tech Sales department in our call center. Eric is now a Technical Content Specialist for our Ecommerce team and works on improving part listings on our website as well as writing buyers guides.