Hard Work Pays Off As Blumer Scores Two Top Tens With BMARA
Things looked pretty grim, early on, for the EBR team as we kicked off a much anticipated weekend road trip of racing. We were scheduled for Gravity Park Speedway in Chilton, WI on Friday and Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday, with the #68 midget.
Eric’s won at both tracks in the Legend Direct 6E. Plus, Chilton is the hometown for Eric’s girlfriend Faith and her family. It’s also the headquarters for Bob Cullen of East Central Coin, one of Eric’s biggest supporters.
At Gravity, Eric came in after hot laps/qualifying, where he placed 14th out of the 18 cars, to find a drip in the radiator. There was not much that could be done as it was almost time for the heat race so Eric pushed off with the issue. He started on the front row and was the last car running for that race.
When he brought the car in, the temperature was still good, but the coolant was everywhere under the hood. Long story short, calls for advice were made. The Kluever and Douglas teams offered their new radiators for loan, but they didn’t fit. There was a product out there that might do the trick, if it were applied, “precisely where needed.” Fortunately, the Douglas team had some and were happy to loan it to us.
Justin, Greg and Eric took the chance and Greg applied the compound. In a, “Fans don’t try this at home moment,” what was to be a 15 hour drying period, was reduced to about 15 minutes. Either it would hold or things could get ugly. If they did nothing, we were at least done for the night, if not the weekend. If it didn’t work, we could have been done for the season.
The dynamic duo of Bill & Bill (Grandpa and Tefft) had driven up for the race and Faith had folks in the stands too. Stephanie and Logan (who’s really stepped up, to go hands on with the car), Mom and Dad, also made the trip, so the choice was made to go for it. If the car started overheating, Eric would simply pull off. It was a gamble, as the temperature gauge is difficult to read under speed.
Jace Sparks helped out with a four-wheeler strong enough to push- start the car. It fired, we got heat in the engine and the radiator appeared to be holding.
Eric started last in the feature, in what now was a field of 14. He drove a patient race, avoiding a couple of flips, including Second-Cousin Cody Weisensel’s. Cody was OK, but his car was done for the night. In the end Eric made a pass with just a couple of laps left to solidify his first top ten, finishing ninth. The #68 was in one piece and the radiator held, much to the relief of the team and credit to J-B Weld, the product used.
Afterward, EBR was treated to a post-race celebration hosted at the Piepenburg estate in Chilton. The team was in bed by about the time they would have been, had they driven back to Sun Prairie. Staying in Chilton allowed them to sleep in and start the race day later than if they’d have headed home, thanks to using the sponsor’s facility. Maintenance and cleaning were the order of the afternoon.
PLYMOUTH DIRT TRACK
The #68 qualified 16th out of 20. The radiator mend was holding. This put him on the front row for his heat where he had his best finish to date, a distant second, to Brandon Waelti.
Eric was on the pole for the feature. Justin gave him the game plan and Eric executed. The car stuck perfectly to the bottom, with Eric seldom drifting off the huggy pole. He lead the first two laps, which was a first. Adam Taylor nipped him at the line on the third circuit. Most of the fastest cars were running the high line.
Around lap ten of the 25 lap race, Eric got passed by the eventual winner, Waelti. Then he spent the next ten laps or so, holding off Todd Kluever for third. Kluever tried him low once, but Eric was on a rail there. Kluever then went high, tossing rooster tails and pulling monster wheel stands coming out of the second turn. “Every time I got a run on him, I’d screwed up,” said Kluever, with a smile after the race. With about five to go Kluever got by, putting Eric in fourth when a yellow came out.
On the restart, the 68 pushed up just enough for Cousin Cody to get by him. From there, Eric sailed to his best finish in a midget, fifth. He earned “Rookie of the Race,” honors.
Sun Prairie drivers covered four of the first five spots at the end of the race. The top three in Badger points had passed Eric, and Brandon hasn’t run every night, or it would surely have been the top four. To put the weekend in perspective, Eric’s best feature finish in the midget was 12th, at Wilmot. Eric jumped from 20th to 13th in Badger points.
This Tuesday, June 20, we are back in the Legends Direct 6E for Beaver Dam Raceway’s weekly show. We have free tickets for the following week, just hit us up!
For Saturday, June 24, we are in the 6E back at Plymouth and Sunday we are home in the midget, on the card with the USAC Sprint Cars at Angell Park Speedway. This should be a huge show!
Be it the #68 midget or 6E Legend, these are the businesses and folks who are helping to keep Eric on the track through their generous support in 2023!
BRS Radiator, Machine & Fabrication; Legends.Direct; Northern Air Systems, Inc.; North Central Utility of Wisconsin LLC; East Central Coin Inc.; Stan at Club LaMark; Ground Up Lifts; Owen Leatherberry; OWL Graphics and Lettering; Ahern; Fastenal; Grandpa Blumer; Doral Equipment Rentals; CarTopia; Melissa Dahlke in memory of Addison; Mary Lybeck in memory of Denny, honorary owner of the 68; Storage and Handling Systems; Fowler Heating; Olson Vacuums; Hypersports; The Hill Bar; Brian and Terri Benisch; The Leigel Family.
Here are the people who go hands on the 6E to get it in top shape every week: Justin Hoium, Greg Leatherbeary, Big Dumb Guy, Joe Wipperfurth, Faith Piepenburg, Logan and Stephanie Stevens, Mom and Dad.
We salute Owen Leatherberry (U.S. Navy)!
Photo Credit: What a perfect shot of night-two from Plymouth. Eric in the 68 going toe to toe with Todd Kluever in the 55. Thanks to JW'S Car & Raccing Photos for letting us use this shot of theirs!
Submitted By: William Blumer