Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – QUAKERTOWN, PA – Rick Laubach’s ready to “Shake Up” the competition in 2024, armed with a full race shop of equipment, race cars, new crew help, and a free calendar to race.
On a sunny February Saturday afternoon at the Lightning Bodies and Race Components Shop, as the crew loaded the primary Gary Herrmann #7 Bicknell Modified into the race team hauler for the trip to Florida, I caught up with Rick on a very aggressive 2024 Schedule.
This season brings a renewed focus to the team on several fronts. Rick and Tara Laubach have finally assembled the pieces to put together a race campaign that will keep the team busy almost every night of the week. If you know Rick personally, his plate has been full the last several years caring for his parents, Shirley and Richard as Rick put racing on the side burner to care for them.
Tara and Rick went through a move that included building a spacious new race shop on the family property in which the residence is at. Adding to that busy schedule, Tara and Rick did a full makeover of the home they reside in. When I say makeover, it was gutted and completely rebuilt, along with an adding a spacious addition. Rick and Tara Laubach are hard workers, they spent countless hours participating in the remodel of their family home.
The couple is on track to move into the newly remodeled home this April. With all of the personal pieces starting to fall into place for the Laubach’s, Rick has been assembling racing pegs to build a formidable team for the ’24 season.
Rick and the Gary Herrmann #7 Race Team will depart Quakertown, PA on Sunday for the warm temperatures of Florida. The team is planning a full assault on Brett Deyo’s Short Track Super Series Sunshine Swing at All Tech Raceway, Lake City, Florida.
The #7 Bicknell with Big Block power will see action starting on Tuesday, February 6 with practice sessions. On Wednesday, February 7th the season starts with Modifieds racing for 30 laps and $5000 to win. Thursday, they return with Modifieds going 35 laps for $6000 to win, Friday, Modifieds race 40 laps for $8000 to win, and the Championship night on Saturday with 50 laps for $10,000 to win.
Rick, Tara, and the crew will enjoy a few days of rest before they head over to the Volusia Speedway for the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. The Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds return to Volusia Speedway looking for those coveted Gator Trophies.
The Big Block Modifieds will compete on Wednesday, February 14, Thursday, February 15, Friday, February 16, and the series Championship Night on Saturday, February 17th. Rick and the Gary Herrmann are looking to make a big splash at Volusia this season after leading the Saturday Night Championship event in 2023.
The team will have extra manpower in the Florida pits this season as Derrick McGrew and Derrick McGrew Jr. will be assisting Rick at Volusia. Last season, Derrick was responsible for helping Rick get the handle on the Volusia Speedway clay surface.
McGrew is well known on the NY Modified scene spending time as a Jack Johnson crew member and working for DKM Chassis. McGrew has been in Florida racing with his son Derrick McGrew Jr.’s 602 Late Model.
After Rick returns from Florida later in February it is full steam ahead for the ’24 season. You can expect to see the Shaker Motorsports #20, The Gary Herrmann #7, and the Ryan Kerr #1K at a racetrack near you. Rick is planning to do some serious race travel this season. The plans are to hit all of the Short Track Super Series South Events.
You can expect to find one of the 3 cars at any event. The SUPER Fast Ryan Kerr #1k Bicknell Modified has been completely refreshened and is awaiting a new 430 powerplant for the race season. The Kerr 1K Modified will be reserved for race duty at US13 and Georgetown, Delaware events.
The Gary Herrmann #7 Race Team has 2 Bicknell Modified Race Cars, both race cars have been completely refreshened for the race season. A Big Block Modified Car and a 358 Modified Car are ready for duty. On top of that, Gary Herrmann has purchased 6 brand new race engines from S.Y. Murray Performance LLC. 3 of the race engines are Big Blocks, and 3 are 358 race engines.
S.Y. Murray Performance LLC is a well-known established race engine building shop located in the Southern Tier of PA. They are known in the racing circles for providing engines for Alex Yankowski and Kevin Hirthler. The Herrmann team will chase DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified events in the Southern NJ, PA, and NY regions.
The team has plans to hit Selinsgrove, Big Diamond, and New Egypt Speedway DIRTcar Series events. The team is also waiting to hear the outcome on the Orange County Fair Speedway ’24 schedule, if those events are run as midweek special events, you may just find the Gary Herrmann #7 Bicknell Big Block Modified gracing the NY pit area.
The weekly schedule for Rick Laubach will look like this – Friday Nights the Shaker Motorsports #20 will be pit side every week at the Big Diamond Speedway. Rick was in the Top-5 in points all year until a DNF on the last point night dropped him of the Top-5.
The team has a brand new 2024x Bicknell Modified chassis in the race shop destined for God’s County duty. A brand new S.Y. Murray is sitting ready and awaiting installation in those frame rails. On Saturday Nights weekly this season, The team will head south to NJ’s Bridgeport Speedway for 358 Modified racing competition. The Gary Herrman #7 358 Bicknell Modified has been refreshened, the team has a brand new 358 S.Y. Murray Performance awaiting installation for those race events at Doug Rose’s Kingdom Of Speed Bridgeport Speedway.
Last season Rick won 2 events – 1 at Bridgeport Speedway and another at BAPS Motor Speedway. Both race wins came in the Shaker Motorsports #20 Bicknell.
The schedule figures to be jam packed for 24′ with Matthew Laubach starting to carve out racing career. Rick will spend Wednesday nights at Action Track USA in Kutztown, PA serving as the crew chief on the Matthew Laubach #17 Junior Slingshot.
Another season of Junior Slingshot racing action is planned for the young racing star. On Friday, February 2nd in Hershey, PA – Matthew was honored to accept the Action Track USA Junior Slingshot Championship Trophy. Matthew Laubach won 4 feature events in 2023.
In order for the team to be successful it takes a village of help to handle the workload for racing as frequently as this team plans to race. Frank Doklan, noted Rick Laubach crew chief of years past has rejoined the team and will be helping as time permits in 2024.
Frank has been with Rick for parts of 20+years while supporting many different car owners in that time. Lou Cozze, the popular former Grandview Speedway car owner for Chip Slocum, Tom Mayberry, Terry Meitzler, and a few others, has joined the Laubach race team. The experience between Frank and Lou, adding Rick Wean, Tara’s Father creates some serious Modified racing experience in that pit area.
The rest of the team includes Tara Laubach, Matthew Laubach, Eugene Hapes, Steve Cadigan, Jeff Bubori, Darryl Haycock, Pete Cox, DJ Haycock, and Buddy Morgan.
Shaker Motorsports is welcoming 2 new marketing partners onboard for 2024. American Architectural Metal Manufacturers, Inc. joins the team for ’24. American Architectural Metal Manufacturers, Inc. (AAMMI) is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned, and Woman Owned Small business, located in Allentown, PA. AAMMI’s small business designations are audited and certified through the Department of Veteran Affairs, as well as through the Woman Business Enterprise National Council, respectively.
Our core competencies are focused on fabrication of metal roof systems, perimeter edge metal systems, soffits, fascia, gutter systems, metal wall panels and rain screens. AAMMI boasts 18 years of experience and has the capability to cost effectively design and manufacturer metal systems for any size roof project. Our patented and trademarked products are fully tested to comply with all industry standards and requirements.
Our products are available through a wide range of distribution professionals. AAMMI can provide design assistance & CAD drawings to expedite the completion of any project.
The 2nd of the 2 new Marketing Partners is PROFAST Quality Construction Products. Pro Fast is a leading supplier of Concrete Anchors, Fasteners, Adhesive, and General Supplies for the commercial trades.
With three locations based in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, They have the tri-state and Central PA area covered to help serve your needs. They offer a wide variety of inventory including, Commercial roofing adhesives, productivity tools, self-drilling fasteners and accessories.
All from the best brands on the market: Leister, Garlock, and Milwaukee to name a few. With over 29 years in business, Pro-Fast has built its reputation on customer service, knowledge, and stocking quality products ready for delivery at a moment’s notice.
The Shaker Motorsports Race Team will have the following marketing partners returning for 2024: Beacon Building Products, Armada Buildings LLC, ProTek Roofing, Auger Manufacturing Specialist, VP Racing Fuels, MR. Race Oil, The Shock Spa, Lightning Bodies and Race Components, Dimension Overhead Door, 4STAR Lettering, AMWELL Auto Body, BILSTEIN Shocks, and Wenner Media Group.
The Gary Herrmann Racing Team will have the following marketing partners returning for 2024: H. Blinderman & Son, Inc., Beacon Building Products, ProTek Roofing, AMWELL Auto Body, MR RACE OIL, BILSTEIN Shocks, The Shock Spa, Lightning Bodies and Race Components and Wenner Media Group.
The Ryan Kerr 1K Modified returns the following market partners for 2024: Kerr Cattle Company, Rusty Nutz RezErectionz, BILSTEIN, Pine Creek Miniature Golf and AMWELL Auto Body.