EBR INEX DIRT NATIONALS AND HURRICANE NICOLE
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11/16/2022

11/16/2022

Eric Blumer


EBR INEX DIRT NATIONALS AND HURRICANE NICOLE

HURRICANE NICOLE AND THE INEX NATIONALS

Eric and Dad made the trek to Fayetteville Motor Speedway in North Carolina for the INEX Legend Car Dirt Nationals. Eric went into the event ranked sixth in the nation out of 80 scored. It’s his first year in the Pro Division. He wasn’t going to catch first or second place drivers, but figured he might as well see what he could do.

Dad jinxed the event from the get-go, as he was invited to an important meeting during the time the pair would be away. For that invite, two weeks prior, he replied, “Only if there’s a hurricane or tropical storm will I be available for this meeting in Sun Prairie. Otherwise I will be with my son in North Carolina.”

Well, sure enough, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Nicole rolled trough the eastern seaboard, upsetting the schedule. Teams dodged Nicole’s raindrops all day Thursday and never got on the track. Pre-tech and tire stamping were completed and pit areas were set up, but at about 8 p.m. INEX called it a night. This meant Friday would be the practice day and we’d be staying until Sunday, rather than Saturday.

This track is probably most comparable to Beaver Dam Raceway. The big difference is the clay. It’s very sandy, very abrasive. The good thing was the track and its pits absorbed a lot of water. If Wisconsin had suffered the weather we had in NC, the event would have likely been cancelled and they’d have spent a day pulling haulers out of the muck.

In short, the format was the same both days. Group qualifying set the heats, and passing points set up the feature. Day-one, really had little to do with the National points and included the “Race of Champions,” for which Eric was invited. The latter event was eventually cancelled.

Among the four classes, Pro, Semi-Pro, Masters and Young Lions, there were about 120 cars. Eric’s pro class had about 25 and not everyone would make the feature.

THE RACING

The first day’s feature for Eric was last of the four classes on the night. It went green, but was called after rain started a few laps into the event. Eric started 21st for that Saturday go, and when the event resumed on Sunday morning, he finished 15th. Then it was time for more hot laps, heats and the feature to culminate the weekend.

For day-two, he was happy with his 16th qualifying spot, out of 20, as he was only about .1 seconds behind the leaders. It was a tight field. After the heats were run and passing points calculated, he found himself starting 19th out of 22 who took the green in the main.

Early in the 30 lap event, Eric was running the bottom and got collected in turn-one by a car that spun. He was close to the pit entrance and limped the 6E in. The bumper was bent to the wheel, the front hood pin was broken off and one fender was flopping. He came to the attention of the Legends Direct crew consisting of John Weber, Todd Mangold and Griffin McGrath. Dad was there to hold the flashlight and hand John a wrench, as they serviced the car. The hood was removed, the left fender was ripped off by Griffin in one fell swoop, while John and Todd (who’s actually crewed in NASCAR’s Busch Grand National division back in the day) changed the bumper in short order. Eric was back on the track in no time. Daisy was looking kind of badass with the missing parts.

From here he had a spirited battle with the other cars in the back half of the pack. He crossed the finish line 12th, but someone got DQ’d and he was officially scored 11th. The effort appears to have bumped him up two spots in the national points, where he’s now scored in 4th.

Eric had not made many big changes all weekend, but for the feature he changed his springs. “I wish I’d done that earlier,” he later noted.

After the race, the guys noticed that the tires were more worn than after any race all year. You could no longer see the “X” cut in the middle of each square pad.

SO MANY THANKS!

First, congratulations to Parker Jones on winning his feature and the National Championship for the Semi-Pro Division. Eric beat him a few times during the 2022 campaign, but finished second to the Blue Mounds driver on many more occasions.

Thanks to John, Michelle, Parker and Payton Jones for towing the 6E down and hosting us during the long weekend. Between the food, shelter at the track and tools, we could not have asked for more. It would have been really tough for us to make that haul with the equipment we have. The Jones family also told us to get on the road and they did the bulk of the loading without our help, which was above, beyond and much appreciated.

Thanks to Micheal Weber for his technical support. And thanks to the whole LD team as noted above. Without your help and giving us room on “The Mule,” we would have never been able to have all the equipment we’d have needed for the pit stop.

Thanks to the folks at Fayetteville Motor Speedway for their hospitality and to the INEX crew, including the announcers who gave a shout out to Justin during the broadcast!

Thanks again to Griffin McGrath of Legends Direct for all of his help throughout the year and welcoming us into his pit area.

Thanks to Grandpa Blumer for his support toward this weekend.

Thanks to Mom for holding down the fort under less than ideal circumstances. Some day we’ll open up about this, but suffice it to say, you don’t ever want to get a call from home telling you there were just eight shots fired outside your door, with a car speeding off, when you are 1,000 miles away. Thanks to Justin for coming over immediately to make sure things were ok(ish).

Justin and Greg put in many hours getting Daisy ready to race and we truly appreciate that!

We’re thinking the next time we have to name a car, we’ll go with, “Nicole”.

About the photos: 1.) A sunny final day during practice. 2.) After the race was called on Saturday. 3 and 4.) Shots from Sunday's main event.

AS ALWAYS:

These are the businesses and folks who are helping to keep Eric on the track through their generous support in 2022! Club LaMark; BRS Radiator, Machine & Fabrication; Northern Air Systems, Inc.; Dog Guard of Wisconsin; North Central Utility of Wisconsin LLC; East Central Coin Inc.; Ground Up Lifts; Owen Leatherberry; Sieg Law Office; OWL Graphics and Lettering; Grandpa Blumer, Legends.Direct, Mary Lybeck in memory of Denny.

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, Brian Benisch, Faith Piepenburg, Logan Stevens and Stephanie Blumer.

We salute Owen Leatherberry (U.S. Navy) and Andrew Upperman (U.S. Marine Corps.)!

Thank you all for your part in Eric Blumer Racing!


Submitted By: William Blumer

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