Story By: EARL PEARSON JR. RACING – JACKSONVILLE, FL – Earl Pearson Jr. the four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion will make his debut with a newly formed team this weekend at the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa.
After nearly four years driving for Ronnie and Terri Stuckey in the Black Diamond Chassis House Car, Earl will step into his new ride owned by Jason Papich of Nipomo, CA at the famed Knoxville Raceway sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Jason Papich a racer himself, maintains a race shop in Camdenton, MO where he will field cars for Pearson for the remaining 2021 season with aspirations to field a full time ride for Pearson in 2022 on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Papich runs his own car along with his teammate Tony Toste on the Lucas Oil Midwest Latemodel Racing Association Tour and has one win in 2021 and ranks third in the series point standings. Owner and manager of his California based businesses, Papich Construction and Sierra Pacific Materials, Jason and Earl have become friends over the past several years with Jason sponsoring Earl and the Black Diamond Chassis house car.
“I can’t thank Jason enough for the opportunity to drive for his team. He and I have become great friends and we’re very excited about teaming up. Knoxville Raceway will be a great track for our debut as I love racing there’, stated Earl Pearson Jr. “I have to thank Ronnie and Terri Stuckey and everyone at Black Diamond Chassis for the opportunity to drive their cars over the past four years. I consider Ronnie and Terri great friends and we will always be friends. We have some great memories and great wins together especially winning the Dirt Million at Mansfield Raceway in 2018 that paid over $200,000 to win. Great people and great friends always”.
With his new team and new ride a Longhorn Chassis powered by a Clements Chevy engine, Earl will have a new number which is his original number when he started racing as a young kid in go-karts, the number 46. The number 46 has a significant meaning to Earl as it was his late father’s car number when he raced during his racing career. Earl Pearson Sr. passed away back on May 16th at the age of 81 and was Earl’s biggest supporter, well known in the dirt racing community and loved by so many people.
“My dad is the reason I got into racing at an early age, from go-karts to open wheel modifieds and finally super late models. Going back to the number 46 is a way to honor my dad after losing him this year. That number has been in our family for decades with dad racing that number, then me in my early late model years and now even Trey my son has raced with the number 46. It was Jason’s idea as well to go back to the number 46 and I’m very grateful for him insisting on that number and the opportunity to drive for him”, stated Earl as he prepares his cars for this weekend’s event from their race shop in Missouri.
At age 49, Earl’s resume includes five (5) National Series Championships-2004-Stacker2 XTREME DirtCar Series, 2005, 2006, 2007 and the 2008 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championships. Crown Jewel event wins include the 2006 World 100, 2006 Hillbilly Hundred, 2009 Indiana Ice Breaker, 2009 Jackson 100, 2010 Colossal 100 Champion, 2010 Dirt Track World Championship, 2015 Indiana Ice Breaker and winning the second largest winners payout in dirt late model racing history, the 2018 Dirt Million that paid $202,993.50 to the winner at Mansfield Raceway in Mansfield, OH in 2018.
Earl also had the longest active streak of any driver in the sport with over 650 consecutive starts until May of this year when he missed his first race on the national tour since its inception in 2005 when his father passed away, and he attended funeral services. Earl ranks 5th in all-time wins on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with 39 career series wins. Earl has won feature events on numerous touring series including World of Outlaws, Southern All-Stars, Carolina Clash, STARS and Hav-A Tampa Series. Earl won his first national touring series event in 1996 winning a Hav-A-Tampa Series event at Waycross Motor Speedway in Waycross, GA, upsetting many of the national stars that day in his yellow #46 GRT Chassis powered by a FOX Engine built in Jacksonville, FL by Gene Chapman.
Earl and Jason would like to thank all their great partners that helped put this new team together. Celebrating 20 years as his sponsor in 2021, Lucas Oil Products will continue their support of Earl and his new team. Other partners they would like to thank include; Papich Construction, Sierra Pacific Materials, Tony Toste Construction, Tegeler Wrecker and Crane, Etchberger Trucking, Duvall Electric Co, Midwest Sheetmetal, Millard Family Chapels, Remi Realty, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bilstein Shocks, Hoosier Tire and Longhorn Chassis.
“I can’t thank all our partners enough for supporting me all these years and supporting this new team. Forrest Lucas and everyone at Lucas Oil Products have been like family to me over the past twenty years. It’s truly an honor to continue to fly the LUCAS OIL banner on our cars as we start this new team. We have so many great product sponsors that helped to make all this come together as well. I want to also thank Rick Schwallie and the entire staff of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for all their hard work and efforts in providing the racers a great series to race with. I want to also thank all my family and friends that have supported me during my career and will continue to support me as I move to a new team. Thanks to all the fans for your kind words and support as I look forward to being at Knoxville this weekend”, stated Earl Pearson Jr.
To learn more about Earl Pearson Jr and the Papich Race Team, visit their Facebook pages at Papich-Toste Racing and Earl Pearson Jr’s Facebook page.