Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – WANTAGE, NJ – After a complete season in the Sportsman in 2021, Ryan Walther is making the move up to race in the 358 Small Blocks at OCFS with some events at other tracks planned.
“it was always my plan to get into the 358 Small Blocks,” Ryan said. “I have sold my car from last year and I bought Rich Eurich’s 2021 Teo.”
The price of a new crate engine also figured into Ryan’s decision.
“We were able to sell the crate for a good price and we picked up the small block. It didn’t make sense to get another crate, especially since I had my eyes on racing in the 358’s.”
Ryan has been around racetracks all his life. His dad, Mike Walther, was a longtime crew member and friend of Eurich. When Mike got the urge to race, he brought one of Rich’s old cars and went Sportsman racing with it. And he did so quite successfully, grabbing 4 wins in the 90’s with his final win in 2001.
Ryan has also been a longtime crew member for Eurich as well. He started to put together his own racing deal as 2020 progressed and he made his debut at the 2020 Eastern States Weekend. And he did so successfully as the first time racer qualified in his heat, not an easy feat with the 75 car field.
As the 2021 season got underway, it was a struggle for Ryan. All too frequent crashes led to some costly repairs. An early season 3rd place finish was negated by a post race tech decision. It got very discouraging for Ryan and his dad.
“I was getting into some crashes and as a result, I wasn’t getting the seat time that I needed. After the crash that caused the damage to the front clip, Dad and I just sat in the shop and we talked about what we should do. We went ahead and fixed it and the results started to get better.”
The feature on July 11th last season saw Walther take the lead early on in the event and he picked up a season’s best of 4th. But the best was still to come for Ryan.
On July 30th, a very rare Friday night OCFS event, Ryan got out front early and easily outdistanced veteran racers Clinton Mills and Brian Krummel to grab his 1st career win.
“When I was out front, I was kind of waiting for either Mills or Krummel to go for the lead. But I was able to keep a safe lead on them. It was such an uplift for the team and I. We had a tough stretch, but we fought our way through it.”
Ryan points out that his time working on Eurich’s crew has definitely helped him in the driver’s seat.
“Absolutely 100%, the years as a crew member has helped. I think that it’s a great idea for all young drivers to spend a couple of years just working on cars. I believe that they will find success more quick that way.”
Walther is quick to credit his dad for the successes he’s had.
“It takes a lot of time and money to be competitive. But fortunately, my dad is a shock wizard. And that helps out a great deal.”
Sponsors for 2022 on the 10R are Victor P. Zugibe Excavating, Kowals Paving, RLST Entertainment, Midnite Auto Parts (Pine Island) and Levi Lumber (Thendara, NY).
It’s Ryan, his dad Mike and Greg Procak that do the maintenance on the car.
Ryan is hoping to make it to Bridgeport for some racing. And he would jump at the chance to go to Charlotte if the 358’s would appear on the schedule.
“I really have a busy schedule, working around 60 hours a week. It takes a good effort to keep up with the racing, but we are used it. Hoping our schedule allows me a chance to travel around a bit this season. I really enjoyed our trips to Bridgeport and Fonda last year.”
Good luck to Ryan and his team in 2022!!