Keeping it in the family
ARMSTRONG — When Armstrong Mayor Marv Dailey started stock car racing in the 1960s, little did he know he would be founding a racing dynasty.
Dailey’s son Rick took over the wheel and just a year after Marv set aside his helmet, his grandson Eric took over. Last year in the IMCA Modifieds Eric had 16 feature wins and two track championships. After finishing third out of 330 cars and taking second in the Race of Champions at the Nationals in Boone last year, competing with 100 of the best drivers from around the country, Eric is ready to start another season April 4 at Jackson Speedway.
This is Eric’s sixth year racing. And that’s at the tender age of 21 (he actually turns 22 next month).
“I grew up with it,” Eric said. “I’ve gone to the races as long as I can remember.”
Marv started racing the old-style modifieds but Eric jumped right into the A mods.
Eric remembers the first time he raced.
“I was scared. I just wanted to keep up. I didn’t want to get lapped.”
That didn’t happen, though. He was named Rookie of the Year his first year at Jackson. After 22 races he was 10th in points.
His second year he was second in total points at Jackson. He took his first feature win his third year of racing. That year he also took a track championship and three wins. His fourth year, Eric had a track championship and five wins.
This season Eric is driving a ’08 Skyrocket built by Kelly Shryock. Marv figures there’s $20,000 in the chassis and $5,000 to $7,000 in the engine. When they sell the car at the end of the year they should get all but about $3,500 back.
Eric had $25,000 in winnings last year.
If you want to figure out how much an hour that is, figure that he raced 60 nights and add on the time getting there and back.
Last year Eric raced weekly at Fairmont and Algona and for half the season at Mason City. In the last five years, he’s raced at 15 different tracks.
Eric just hopes he can do as well as he did last year when he went to Nationals which in itself is quite a feat.
So how does Eric compare to his father…and grandfather?
“He does a lot better than the old boys,” Marv said. “The first years we raced, the competition was really tough and we didn’t have the money to buy the things we needed.”
“It’s pretty much a family thing,” Marv said. “Everybody does something.”
This year Eric hopes to take a track championship and “more than a handful of wins. I think it will be almost impossible to top last year.”