Engine Problems Slow Ruppel in Crandon -- Wins 2005 Pit Bull Rookie of the Year Honors!
After winning Round 10 at the Boss Snowplow Challenge in Bark Rive, Eric Ruppel and his #837 Phil's Inc. AMSOIL BFGoodrich Tire Swant Graber Ford F-150 were looking to build on past performances. The Saturday morning practice session went well, and the Loose Cannon Race Team was anxious for the start of Round 11.
Round 11 -- Saturday
Eric was positioned right in the middle of the front row of the "infamous" land rush start into Turn One. The middle of the 1600-foot long straightaway leading to the first turn is smooth and flat on both sides, but full of whoops and moguls down the middle, directly in Eric's path.
When the green flag dropped the BFGoodrich tires hooked up really well and the Fox Shocks sucked up most the moguls as Eric found himself in third place as the leaders headed towards the Barn Jump. With only Al Konitzer and Scott Beauchamp in front of him, the Loose Cannon Race team was looking to finish on the podium. That all ended on Lap 3, when Eric pulled off the track with a blown radiator hose which emptied all the coolant out of the engine. The team was credited with an 11th place finish.
Round 12 -- Sunday
The team replaced the "faulty hose" Saturday night and the hope of a good final round of racing was still in the air. The land rush start found Eric running in 4th place as everyone headed down the front straightaway. As Eric headed for the Precision Gear "gravel pit" turn, the a couple of trucks made minor contact, which sent #837 spinning back to tenth place. The next seven laps saw Eric and Tim Konitzer battle for position. Both drivers passed each several times, when on Lap 9 the engine blew the same radiator hose ending the season for Eric Ruppel. Officially the team finished in 10th place.
After the race the team found the cause of the excessive water pressure produced by the engine. The head gaskets were leaking allowing the pressure created by the stroke of the pistons. This additional pressure would eventually cause the weakest part of the cooling system, the rubber water hoses, to fail.
The last weekend of racing for the 2005 Lucas Oil CORR Sportsman 2 division had Eric Ruppel finishing eight overall in the standings. The team accumulated 105 points in its first of competition in the CORR Sportsman series and came home with Pit Bull Tires Rookie of the Year honors!
"Racing in CORR was the goal I set for myself several years ago when we began in the Formula 4x4 class. When we got to Lake Odessa for our first race, I knew the competition would be tough, but that was an understatement. Every time out at least six or seven trucks are capable of winning. I can't thank my wife, Deanne and my team, Jesse Davis, Kent Kramer, Nate Roske, and Steve Wickman enough. The help from other CORR competitors really was cool--. winning the Sportsman Rookie honors is a credit to all my supporters. We will be back next year and without the cooling gremlins--hopefully to contend for the championship." -- commented Eric Ruppel.
Thanks to the guy and his daughter who after meeting Eric Ruppel in Topeka, came all the way to Crandon to watch Eric race. They really appreciated the care package of racing souvenirs from Probst Motorsports, Taylor Racing, Federico Racing, The Sticker Dude, Ringers Gloves, and Phil's Inc.