The desire to win races and compete with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series still motivates Rick Eckert.
The 52-year-old racer from York, Pa., has been out on the road a long time. The 2011 series champion and two-time runner-up is consistently in the top five in points and a threat to win regardless of where he’s racing.
Unfortunately, this has not been one of Eckert’s best seasons.
“Not great,” Eckert said. “We’ve been OK. We haven’t had very many bright spots. It’s not from lack of effort. We’ve been working hard at it. It’s just one of those years where you can’t get a break. We’ve been in some situations where we had a shot at winning.”
At the end of August, Eckert ranked seventh in WoO LMS points with seven top-five finishes. Last season, he won two races and finished fifth in the standings. Eckert’s 37 victories rank him fifth all time in the series
Although the WoO LMS season hasn’t been up to his standards, a weekend at home in Pennsylvania resulted in two big wins at Port Royal Speedway.
“We won $3,000 and $5,000 here at Port Royal, but we haven’t won a World of Outlaws race, yet,” Eckert said in late August.
Not that Eckert needs any extra motivation to want to win races, but his car owner, Paul Crowl, recently told him and the crew that this would be his final season fielding late models.
“My car owner gave us the word that he is quitting at the end of the year,” Eckert said. “He’s selling everything. I’d like to get some wins for him and me.”
As a result, Eckert’s plans for next season are up in the air.
“I have nothing lined up,” he said. “I’ve been looking around. I don’t know if anything will come up. If something comes up, great and if not, I’ll go get a job doing something different.”
Eckert has been a regular with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series since 2004, and he’s been racing around the country even longer, with his biggest victory coming in the 1999 Dirt Late Model Dream at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.
“I think I came out on the road in the ’90s, so I’ve probably been on the road 25 years now,” he said. “Maybe more than that.”
The challenge of racing and the desire to win races continues to motivate Eckert to stay on the road, but there’s more to it now.
“The lows are bad,” Eckert noted. “There’s always more lows than highs, which is unfortunate in this sport. I think that’s what makes us all come back.
“It’s always a challenge,” he added. “You always want to win. I’m pretty competitive. It’s like an addiction. It’s not the worst addiction, but it’s an addiction.”