FORT LORAMIE — For the third time in the last six years, the local Redskin Motorsports Racing Team of Fort Loramie has brought home the championship trophy. The team tallied the most points in the 8-race Main Event Racing Series throughout Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, to capture the crown.
On Sept. 25, in Sandusky, the nine-man team finished atop the leader board for the third time since 2011. The club also garnered championships in 2011 and 2012.
This year, driver Bud Perry of Edgerton, drove his way to the winners circle five times in the eight Main Event races. Factoring in other top-ranked finishes in the series involving Outlaw Super Late Model vehicles, the team amassed a winning total of points.
Capturing the trophy at the final race was the Super Bowl for the team. Their racing season typically runs from April through September. On average, the team competes in 12 to 24 races throughout the year.
Founded in 1991 by Rick Eilerman of Fort Loramie, the Redskin team began driving open-wheel modified cars. Ten years later, the group decided to switch to running the Outlaw cars. It’s a move that keeps them quite busy as maintenance is a year-round activity at the headquarters located at State Route 705 and Friemering Road, just west of Fort Loramie.
“Things slow down somewhat over the winter, but it really ramps up when it gets closer to the (racing) season,” said Randy Gaier of Fort Loramie, a team member who refers to himself as a “wrench guy.”
Referring to crew members being jacks-of-all-trades, Jerry Holthaus of Fort Loramie added, “We’re all wrench guys. We just do what has to be done to get ready for the race.”
Other team members include Jeff Gaier, Greg Quinlin, Mark Richards, Chad Fiessinger and Jim Brandewie, all of Fort Loramie.
Gathered in the social portion of the facility recently, the walls adorned with racing pictures, banners and a large-screen TV, the men told of their time being on the team. Watching sports, enjoying beverages and exchanging banter are included with engine overhaul, tire inspections and fender work.
Activities have slowed at this point, but working up to three hours a night every day of the week is not uncommon as racing season approaches.
The consensus of the team is their interest was peaked usually through family activity in their younger years. Many attended races as youngsters or had family members racing locally. The speed of the cars, the roar of the race and getting close to the competitive nature of racing continues to spark their focus.
Fixing and repair of the main car and backup vehicle, loading and transporting, preparing for a qualifying race and maintaining a pit area, are some of the team activities.
Perry drives up to 100 laps in some races. He has reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour as the team has held track records in several locations.
The 45-year-old Perry was motivated to enter racing by his late father, a Hall of Fame racer in Indiana. He has been driving since 1995.
In 1997, Perry was driving against the Redskin team. But when he needed engine work, Perry called upon Greg Quinlin of the Fort Loramie team, creating a lasting professional relationship.
Late 2003, Eilerman needed a driver at a late-season race in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Perry agreed to take the wheel. A few months later, Perry became the team’s full-time driver.
Perry said hours of preparing for a race can be undone in the blink of an eye. He commended the work of the entire team in answering the bell with great passion.
This past Labor Day, at a weekend race at Midvale Speedway in New Philadelphia, the primary car used in a practice lap had developed engine trouble. It was the final practice to qualify for the next day’s race.
“They were checking it out when I had a drivers meeting,” said Perry. “When I came out they were getting the backup car out of the trailer. We basically had 20 minutes to switch the shocks, springs and tires, and qualify for the race. The next day we had the fastest time and won the race.”
Perry said while the races are competitive, those involved do have a kinship that results in helping others out at times. The team agreed to loan their backup car to NASCAR Truck Series driving champion Matt Crafton when his vehicle malfunctioned at a race.
The team is funded by race winnings, fundraising efforts and sponsorships.
The club’s annual hog roast will be held on Feb. 25 next year, the day before the Daytona 500. Sponsors include Keyhole Pizza, Continental Express, Seger Trucking, Meyer’s Garage in Newport, Boerger Electric, Logan Heating and Air Conditioning and Rapid Development.
For more information, Eilerman may be contacted by calling 937-726-1588.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News