First-Time Racer Wins – Twice!
May 2nd, 2007
By Joe Holliday
ROBERSONVILLE - Though he's raced go-carts since he was eight years old, on Saturday, April 21st, Eric Keck of Scotland Neck was in the first car race of his life.
The rookie started seventh in the UCAR ("U" Can Afford to Race) division at East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville, expecting to get some practice and learn. His dream was to just race in a car; his plan was to "keep the fenders on and finish the race."
Keck was overwhelmed when he was first to pass the finish line.
"I still can't believe it," remarked 18-year-old Keck. "It hasn't sunk in yet."
Three months ago, Keck decided to get a race car. Like others in the division, it is a stock car with street tires and a four-cylinder engine, with a cage and racing seat added.
He then learned racing tips from his father, Ernest Winslow, also a racer. His grandfather, Bobby Fleming, who won the first track race at Rockingham and worked as crew chief, also had advice for Keck.
Keck's car, "The Pig," obtained its name from the "Piggly Wiggly" stuffed animal which Keck took from an old car of his forebears, to keep the tradition alive.
Keck said he was comfortable with his experience on the track, and at one point realized he was running in third place.
"It's a thinking game," Keck described a racer working up the track. "It's a four-cylinder, so you can't just blow by somebody."
During the season, there will be anywhere from 11 to 13 other cars in each 20-lap race in his division.
He noted that one main difference between racing cars and carts is the shocks and springs a car offers. Racing carts leaves one sore on Sundays, commented Keck.
Keck is also glad all the races will be in Robersonville, as opposed to long-distance travels for the cart circuit, so family and friends are more likely to attend.
Keck is appreciative that his family attended his first race, and said it helps boost morale.
Another change from carts to cars, the racer said, is attention from media such as newspapers and the internet, which opens up opportunities for more sponsors and to get others involved in the sport.
Keck's sponsors are Winslow Turf & Compost Tea, Fleming Body Shop, Winslow T2 Compost Tea Machine, and Sticker Express.
With Keck's victory, he stated that other racers and enthusiasts were wondering who he is and where he came from. He has received calls and messages congratulating him on his win.
Keck, a student at Pitt Community College, graduated from Hobgood Academy in 2006. He moved to Scotland Neck from Danville, VA, when he was 12 years old.
In his second race, on April 28th, Keck started at the rear. In UCAR, racers draw for position, with the top three from the previous race starting at the back.
Keck emerged two for two, with his second win in as many races on the track.
There will be a total of 16 races this season. Gates open at East Carolina Motor Speedway at 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The races begin at 7 or 7:30 p.m. The speedway will be closed Sat., May 5 but will reopen for racing May 12.
For more information, visit www.ecmsracing.com online.