Chetek, WI (September 7, 2012) – After a solid a solid weekend in Bark River, privateer PRO-Light racer Eric Ruppel was looking forward to racing at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. Some of Ruppel’s biggest wins came at the “Big House” when he competed in the Sportsman division. The end result at the end of the 2012 Labor Day Classic, was one top ten finish.
The Friday practice and qualifying session had Ruppel struggle with visibility as the 1.6 mile track was dry and dusty in several corners. The #73 J & H Transmission/McGunegill Engine Performance/Motorfist Ford qualified fourteenth fastest.
Saturday – Round 11
When the nineteen PRO-Light drivers took the green flag for the landrush start into Potawatomi Turn One, Ruppel headed down the front straightaway in fifteenth position. The blue #73 Ford was involved in a couple of hard hits including getting “accordioned” during the single file restart on lap five. After nine laps Eric Ruppel finished fourteenth.
Immediately after the race Ruppel definitely was not happy with his performance. Quickly crew chief Kent Kramer went to work on the carburetor issue and the rest of the team worked on straightening the front bumper and remounting the body panels.
Sunday – Round 12
The lineup for the landrush had Ruppel nearly in the identical position on the same piece of dirt when the PRO-Light field began their nine lap battle. When field crossed the finish line the first time to start lap one, the Wisconsin native was at the back of the field. This time Ruppel began to improve his lap times as the race progressed. In fact the final two laps for the #73 J & H Transmission/McGunegill Engine Performance/Motorfist Ford would have put Ruppel up into the top five finishers. After the opening lap, Eric Ruppel made up seven positions to finish in tenth.
“Today we had a much better run,” remarked Eric Ruppel. “I need to qualify better and somehow fight through traffic quicker. We have shown some speed throughout the year, and we have fought some issues as well, but we were able to make the top ten today and got paid. Our team needs a title sponsor so we can afford to test more so we are 100% ready when we first hit the track. This year we had great product sponsors like J& H Transmission, McGunegill Engine Performance, Motorfist, A & J, and Phil’s Inc., but we need a true marketing partner to get to the next level so we can compete with the top guys in the class.”
The next race on the TORC schedule is September 29-30 in Lancaster, California.
– Mike Reusche, race report