Eckert raced Saturday night in the Southern state of Mississippi; 15 hours after crossing the finish line he was in the Northeastern state of Pennsylvania to take the green at another one
Short track racers will go to extreme lengths. Week in and week out, racers all over the country are working hard, just to get to the track.
On Saturday night, Rick Eckert and his #7 machine were in Meridian, MS. That completed night two of a two day show at WhyNot Motorsports Park. It was the World of Outlaws Queen City Shootout were Eckert claimed finished of 6th and 13th.
From there, Eckert loaded up the car and hit the road. Overnight, himself and a friend relocated the race hauler. From the bottom of the country to the top, they landed at Port Royal Speedway.
Important to note, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made a somewhat rare Sunday appearance. Due to that, they also get things going a little earlier than usual to so the fans could get back home on a work night. Hot laps rolled off by about 5:30 pm.
15 hours and 975 miles later, Eckert made it to the pit lane with just an hour or two to spare.
How’d you do that?
“I drove until 4:30 in the morning. I had a buddy along, he drove until about noon. Then, I drove the rest of the way,” Rick Eckert explains to RacingNews.co ahead of the race at Port Royal Speedway.
That’s passion right there.
“Or dumbness, one of the two,” he says with a laugh.
Is that typical? Or that just because this race or track is special to you?
“No, this is a great race track. It’s near home and these people work hard at this race track. So, you like to try and support them.”
Just after this interview, I saw a member of the Port Royal Speedway staff walking around the pit area to thank each and every car that was in the pit area. I think that alone tells you a lot about the staff at the facility.
I know you’re close. But, how much do you race here?
“I hardly ever get here. I’ve probably raced here 10 times in my whole life,” Eckert explained.
“I raced here once or twice a year for the last two years. Then, you’d have to go back 15 years for the next one. When I raced around home, I only raced late models here twice.”
He’s based about an hour or so from Port Royal Speedway. Yet, in the 1990’s Eckert circled other tracks in the area: Bedford, Hagerstown and Winchester.
“They had different rules here at this track.”
What’s your favorite era?
“Probably the early 2000’s.”
“Probably because there was a lot less intelligent people,” Eckert says as I break out in complete laughter.
“There wasn’t as much technology. You just had to drive. Now, there’s a lot of technology involved. You could learn every day and you still can’t keep up. I’ve always been a slow learner. So, that’s not good for me.”
A lot of people see that as fun. Chasing ingenuity.
“I’ll tell you what. It’s exciting really. It’s pretty amazing, the stuff that they come up with. But, it also has a price to it.”
Last year, Rick Eckert went to victory lane as the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made their first ever stop at Port Royal Speedway. On Sunday, he finished 2nd in his heat race. In the feature, he battled for a top 10-ish position for most of the race and came across the finish line in 13th.
Eckert is currently 4th in World of Outlaws Late Model Series standings.