English has put his career on hold to run for Rookie of the Year on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Tanner English is no stranger to the podium on the national dirt late model tour. He’s been looking for a footing on a national scale, he’s finally got that.
In recent years, he’s been jumping between rides. English caught the short end of the stick when sponsorship didn’t come through for Randy Weaver Racing. The team was forced to shut down their super late model operation after Speedweeks in 2019.
In 2019, he ran a little bit in his own equipment. Other select events were schedule in the #58 with Big Frog Motorsports. He collected four wins last year including a $10,000 payout at Lake Cumberland Speedway.
For 2020, the 27-year-old has landed on solid ground. Riggs Motorsports signed him and together, they’re out here on the national dirt racing tour. The operation is owned by Scott and Tara Riggs.
The #81E team is now consistently in the top-10, week in and week out. All while English hits unfamiliar racetracks.
Tanner English on how the deal with Riggs Motorsports surfaced
“Scott Riggs called me at the end of the year and said they were looking to get back into racing. My dad was in it a little bit last year. But, they wanted to go full-time racing,” Tanner Engllish said of his new Riggs Motorsports team.
“He just called me and asked me my plans. I didn’t really have any plans other than racing my own stuff.”
“In December, I started getting stuff ready. Kinda been wide-open ever since then.”
Risks of going national racing
How big of a risk are you taking, to go full-time?
“Pretty big,” English says.
“Pay-wise, it’s the same. I didn’t really lose any pay. From my job to here, I didn’t take a pay cut.”
“I put my heating and air career on hold. I’m in an apprenticeship. I had to organize all that where, I could come back. You know, make sure it was ok to leave for a little bit then come back and pick up right where I left off, if need be.”
How does the HVAC guy feel about it? Are they race fans?
“They are, they know a little bit about it. They’re petty supportive when I explained the situation.”
“It’s something I always wanted to do. They said, ‘Go for it.’ “
“You know, I can’t thank them enough. My Union apprenticeship deal, they really stuck their necks out and gave me a break too. It’s pretty cool.”
Does English remain on the national tour after 2020?
What determines if you stay the path?
“It’s just up to Scott Riggs.”
“When we talked about it back in the winter, we decided that it would be best to discuss that around October. We’ll evaluate things and see where we’re both at.”
What track are you most looking forward to? Or maybe it’s more of a week long stretch in a certain region?
“I like all of them.”
“I think I’m looking forward to I-80 Speedway. That looks like a heck of a place. I’ve never been there and it just looks like a fun place to race.”
Note: This interview was done ahead of the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway. English finished 10th in the $53,000 to win event
“It’s always real racey. I’m looking forward to that.”
“Places that I’ve ran good before, like Ponderosa Speedway. I’m looking forward to those too.”
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is set to visit Ponderosa Speedway on September 4th.
“All these places like Gaffney and Smoky Mountain Speedway, they’re tough to get a hold of. It knocks you back down to reality. When you go out there and race against these guys on tracks you’re not great at,” English concluded.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has landed at I-80 Speedway this weekend. Nearly, about a 1/4 million is on the line for the field.