MOORESVILLE, N.C. – The LFR Driver Development Group is ready for its first major event of the year, as it gets set to compete in the prestigious 50th Annual World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway. The LFR Team will be well represented during the nine nights of short track racing with Christian Eckes, Tanner Gray, Riley Herbst and Quin Houff all set to compete.
“New Smyrna Speedway is a great experience for all of our young drivers,” explained Rob Fuller, team owner. “I’m really looking forward to working with each driver to figure out their tendencies and habits so that we can have a strong showing in 2016. I’ll have Jeff Fultz down at the track me, as well as Tony Eury Jr. And Tony Eury Sr. This way at the end of the World Series the four of us can sit down back at the office and figure out which driver partners best with which LFR team member. It’s also a great chance for our drivers to work with myself, Tony Jr., Jeff and Tony Sr. to see what we all look for in practice, qualifying and race situations. It’s a long week for sure, but it’s well worth it and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Christian Eckes, a 15-year-old Greenville, N.Y. native, will be piloting the No. 15 LFR Super Late Model at New Smyrna. Eckes previously secured one Top-10 finish in two starts for the team last year in the CARS Super Late Model Tour. During a visit to New Smyrna with the LFR team in late January to compete in the Orange Blossom 100, Eckes finished seventh while learning a lot about the track and how it races.
“I’m very excited to be back to racing!” said Eckes. “I’m really looking forward to returning to New Smyrna and racing for so many days in a row. It will be challenging in that I’ll always have to keep tomorrow in mind and know if I put myself in a tough spot, it could affect the points for the series. The Orange Blossom 100 was a really good learning experience for me on this track. It was a lot of fun and I can use my experience from last month to do better this time around. I really believe we can pick up a win or two while there this time, and maybe even come home with the championship. I know we have the team and car to do it!”
Alongside Christian Eckes will be Tanner Gray in the No. 40 for the LFR Driver Development Group. The 16-year-old driver from Artesia, N.M. just recently made the switch from dirt to asphalt racing and looks forward to gaining a lot of experience while competing in the seven races of the World Series of Asphalt.
“We went down to New Smyrna in January with the team to compete in the Orange Blossom 100 and it was definitely an eye-opener for me,” explained Gray. “It was a challenging race, but I’m very excited to go back down to that track and apply what I learned during that event. Having raced there previously, I now have some knowledge about what lines work best on the track and where to run. It’s tough coming from dirt racing. There’s a lot of little differences – like the restart procedure – but I feel like the World Series of Asphalt is a great way for me to learn a lot about asphalt racing in just a little bit of time.”
Also competing for the team in the major short track racing event is Riley Herbst, a 16-year-old driver from Las Vegas, Nev. Herbst, who will drive the No. 19 for the team, made the step up to Super Late Models last year after showing his talent in the Late Model and Speed Truck divisions. After competing in the Orange Blossom 100 in January, the young driver is ready to get back to the track and succeed in the World Series of Asphalt.
“I’m so ready to get this season started. It was a long offseason!” stated Herbst. “New Smyrna is a fast track! We had a great learning experience out there in January, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there and grabbing some good finishes during the World Series. I would consider it to be a great week of racing if I just get better and better each time we hit the track. That would be a success for me.”
Quin Houff, driving the No. 17 for the LFR Driver Development Group, will also make an appearance in the World Series of Asphalt, as he is set to compete in the final two nights of racing. The 18-year-old Weyers Cave, Va. native had a breakout year with the team last season in the CARS Super Late Model Tour, securing one win, five Top-5’s and 7 Top-10 finishes. He also competed in the Orange Blossom 100 in January and took home a Top-3 finish for the team.
“I’m very excited to be running in the two final races of the World Series of Asphalt,” said Houff. “I’ve never been to this event and it always sounds like a fun one. I learned a lot from the Orange Blossom 100 on where to run and how to pass on the track. I think we should have won that race. We ran second for most of it, and I just couldn’t get around them in the end. But I’m really looking forward to going back and proving how strong our team is. I’d love to win that final race on Saturday night!”
The World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway kicks off on Friday, February 12. Fans can keep up with all the action from the LFR Driver Development team by visiting LFR Chassis on Facebook or on Twitter via @LFRChassis. Fans can also follow each driver on Twitter for updates via @ChristianEckes, @TannerGray5, @RileyHerbst and @P1_Houff.
-LFR Driver Development Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com