MARNE, MI - You’ll have to excuse Ricky Ehrgott if he shows a little emotion as the ARCA Racing Series
presented by Menards heads to Berlin (Mich.) Raceway for Saturday night’s running of the Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz.
The 24-year old will tell you that the last three years have been traumatic for him both emotionally and physically. In 2009, Ehrgott tore an artery in his neck during a qualifying session at Kokomo Speedway which saw his dirt midget hit a rut and flip 30 feet into the air before crashing to the ground. The incident immediately halted his successful career in Sprint Car racing. Since then, it’s been a slow but successful recovery for the Brandon, Florida native.
Despite the setback and lack of seat time, Ehrgott in June decided to participate in Circle Track’s Fast Track Blue Collar Driver Challenge hosted by Rockingham Speedway president and former ARCA champion Andy Hillenburg.
On the premises of Rockingham Speedway, he took on a series of challenges in a full-fledged stock car oversaw by Hillenburg on the grounds of the historic one-mile oval. Two weeks later, Ehrgott was notified by Hillenburg himself as the second winner of the Circle Track’s Fast Track Blue Collar Driver Challenge.
As the winner of the driver challenge, Fast Track Racing is providing the opportunity for the former Floridian to now showcase his stock car talent to the world by competing in the Great Lakes state behind the wheel of the No. 10 Fast Track Driving School Blue Collar Chevrolet.
“I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity with Andy,” Ehrgott, a soon-to-be college graduate stated. “I’ve been through a lot over the last couple years but I haven’t given up on my dream to drive a racecar. Thanks to Circle Track’s Fast Track Blue Collar Driver Challenge, I’m able to compete at Berlin Raceway this weekend in the ARCA Racing Series. It’s a pretty big deal.”
Thankfully, the stock car rookie has some prior experience at the .4-mile paved oval after making two starts in midgets where he finished second and third respectively.
“I know I have a big learning curve ahead of me this weekend, but it’s just a comforting feeling to know that I’m returning back to a track where I know its characteristics and line. I’ll have to adjust in a stock car no doubt – but I feel with the resources that will be available to me this weekend, I’ll be okay,” continued Ehrgott who now resides in New York, New York.
When it comes to resources, the ARCA rookie will rely on Hillenburg and close friend Tom Hessert for guidance during the one-day show. “It’s fulfilling to know that I can talk to Andy and Tom about the car, the track and other things and they will be able to answer my questions,” he sounded. “To me that type of reassurance is priceless. I’m looking forward to racing against Tom. We go way back and he’s a great friend – I think it just makes this weekend that much more special. To have someone with Andy’s credentials on my side during the race I think will be pivotal to our success. There’s story after story about what he’s been able to do with young drivers. Ryan (Glenski), last year’s winner in the driver challenge was able to bring home a top-10 finish for Fast Track Racing. I’d like to think that I can duplicate or better that finish on Saturday night.”
Technique Inc., a rapid prototyping company will join Ehrgott for his inaugural ARCA start.
“Technique Inc. is a personal sponsor of mine and they believed in me enough to help make my debut in stock cars possible – I won’t ever forget that,” he said. “I’m trying not to set my expectations too high for the weekend – I just want to bring home a finish that everyone will be happy with. Hopefully, the doors will open even further and allow me to continue this racing route down the road.”
Outside of racing, Ehrgott attends Fordham University at Lincoln Center where he’ll graduate in December with a Bachelor’s degree in economics. Previously, he attended Purdue University Indianapolis for mechanical engineering before his accident.
The Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz (200 laps / 88 miles) is the 15th of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 25th ARCA race at Berlin is a one-day show. Practice begins Saturday, August 11 with a forty-five minute practice session planned from 2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. A final practice is scheduled from 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 5:00 p.m. The event will take the green flag under the lights shortly after 8:30 p.m. The race will not be televised but additional coverage including a radio broadcast and timing and scoring will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at www.arcaracing.com. All times are local (Eastern).
Ehrgott has joined the Twitter crave. Follow and connect with him @IndyRacer500.
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