We have made an arrangement with the Minden City Herald to exchange stories from time to time. Nathan and Amber Mark’s weekly paper has covered the lower Thumb since 1889. This week Nathen ran a great story about a Minden native Eric Toth who is making a name for himself in local racing. We are pleased that both Nathen and Eric consented to allow us to run this story too.
Eric Toth Grew Up Racing
Minden City’s Eric Toth has wanted to race cars ever since he was a kid growing up watching his dad Mike Toth’s races. Mike raced for more than ten years until 2006. It was a family activity with Mike and his wife Teresa and their children Eric and Heather. He usually raced at Silver Bullet Speedway in Owendale, but he traveled all over the state for races.
After Heather passed away in 2001, Mike and Eric both contend it just wasn’t the same. “In 2002, I went all out, and spent a lot of money,” Mike says. “But then I realized…it wasn’t going to happen. It just didn’t feel good.” Even though he usually finished in the Top 5 of his races, without Heather there was something missing that took a lot of the joy the family experienced at racing events. After a brief attempt at getting into racing, Eric too put his dream on the backburner until last year when it finally felt right to try again.
A Restart In Racing
Getting back into racing for the first time in years, Eric started with bump and run and the derbies, and really enjoyed it. Mike was less interested, saying, “You spend all these weeks and months working on a car, and then in 15 minutes you trash it.” Eric continued with it until last year when a friend told him he found a car they could use for bullet stock racing. They were going to split the expenses.
Eric’s friend backed out of the venture, but Eric moved forward with it and bought a 1978 Camaro, which was the exact same model his father drove in his day. He got it going last year but blew a motor, so after fixing it up over the winter, he is finally going strong this year. Like his father, Eric is now doing most of his racing at the Silver Bullet Speedway.
Heading to Owndale to Race This Summer
As of June 12th, Eric is the 10th ranked racer among Silver Bullet’s bullet stock racers with 292 points; he is less than 100 points out of the Top 5. He has been in six features thus far and finished in the Top 10 four times. There will be 18 races in Owendale this year and he plans to be in as many of them as possible.
Seeking Sponsors to Keep Racing
There are a lot of expenses that go into racing. Racing fuel is $8 gallon, and with gas prices like they are, that number will only go up. Entry fees are $30 per race and new tires are around about $141 per tire. All of that along with regular maintenance expenses makes stock racing an expensive venture. As such, Eric is looking for local sponsors to help defray costs. He also hopes sponsoring him will be a unique way for local businesses to advertise as he puts their decals on his car. So far, Bischer Farms and A to B Auto Salvage are Eric’s current sponsors.
Eric is proud to be representing his hometown Minden City in his races, and he likes to stay local with his racing needs, including getting most of his auto parts from Ubly Auto Supply. His family also plays a big role in his racing pursuits, just as they did when his dad raced. The family aspect of it all is part of why he is so passionate about racing. “I’m hoping one day I can get my kids into it,” Eric says. “I hope they’ll take an interest in it.”
A Family Effort
“I’d like to build a base and then they can go farther,” he continues. Just like his father passed a love of racing on to him, he is looking forward to doing the same for his sons, Blake and Corbin. “It’s been great doing this is a family again. Dad works in the car with me. My mom and Nicole, my fiancé, work on all the lettering and stickers. Blake is always eager to help, and Corbin always wants to sit in the seat and pretend he’s driving, making all the noises.”
His dad and various friends work as his pit crew at races. Eric says the other races are almost like an extended family as well. “The guys you park next to will help you out,” Eric says. “You help them, they help you.” All the other races are happy to give a spare part or lend a hand whenever needed; the racing community is a tight-knit one and they all help to take care of each other.
Toth Looks to Keep Moving Up
While he is in the bullet stocks now, Eric says that down the line he could try to get a different car and move up to the next level. Bullet stocks are a step above street stocks and a step below pro stocks. After that would be modified stocks. The difference in each level mostly has to do with the chassis, body style, and suspension of the vehicles.
A lot of time and money, and “a lot of head-scratching from my dad” goes into racing, Eric says, but he really enjoys the time with his family and the races themselves are a rush. The racers take ten laps in the heat race and 20 in the feature for a total of about 30 miles in each race when it is all said and done. The races are pretty fast overall, but they feel like they take a long time when you are in the driver’s seat.
Now that he has gotten off the ground this year, Eric Toth just wants to keep going, and he looks forward to seeing some success on the track. He hopes to see some folks from the area come out to the races as well.
Racing at Silver Bullet Speedway in Owendale
Races at Silver Bullet Speedway in Owendale are every Saturday. Gates open at 5:00 and races start at 7:40. Grandstand admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children ages 7-14. Children six and under are free. Pit passes are $30 with children five and under being free. For more information about races at Silver Bullet Speedway, visit their website at www.silverbulletspeedway.com or call 989-678-4447.
To learn more about sponsoring Eric Toth and his racing pursuits, contact 989-551-3193.
Reprinted by permission by Nathan Marks; editor Minden City Herald. To subscribe, visit the publication’s website at MindenCityHerald.com