By KEN BRUCE
Rick Laubach has had much success over the years at Big Diamond Speedway. Laubach has a total of 25 career victories at the Minersville, Pa., dirt oval with 23 coming in small-block competition and two more in a big-block. Laubach is also a past track champion at the speedway winning the title in 2014
It has been a struggle the past couple of years at Big Diamond with his last victory coming on August 16, 2019. Last season found Laubach behind the wheel of the Dick Biever No. 14 at the speedway and the team struggled through much of the year with no wins and only a handful of top five finishes. It was definitely not a typical year for the “Quaker Shaker” at a track he has had much success on.
In 2021 at Big Diamond Speedway, Laubach will return with what he hopes will be a return to glory when he debuts the new “Shaker Motorsports” No. 20 which is a new team owned by Laubach himself and his newlywed Tara (Wean) Laubach.
“I knew Dick (Biever – car owner of the No. 14) was having some health trouble and the family decided it might be better not to do anything this year,” stated Laubach as he explained how the new deal came about. “So, when I knew about that and started to talk to my buddies, they said to me that maybe we’ll do something for this year. I told them to let me see what’s out there, option wise with cars and motor deals and such.
“I then started to talk to people and told them I could get a TEO car so we bought that, and another guy said he will take care of getting the motor for me. Now it was just a matter of getting some more sponsors to on board. I know what it costs to race for a season, and I was able to get to that number between my friends and others, so I said let’s do it and go with the No. 20 again.”
The car will feature some familiar sponsors names on the side and Laubach looks to get back to his winning ways at Big Diamond. Auger Manufacturing with Keith Roussey, Beer City with Bert Jones, Earl Fellin Mid-Atlantic are all familiar names from Laubach’s past and will once again adorn the side of the new TEO Elite Chassis. Additional sponsors on the No. 20 are Dimension Overhead Door, Searock Landscaping, Amwell Auto Body, Bilstein Shocks, Mr. Race Oil, Leindecker Race Engines, TEO, Lightning Bodies and The Shock Spa.
Owning your own team these days is a tough deal, but Laubach along with his wife Tara are determined to get it done by doing it the right way. It is a venture that Laubach is looking forward to alongside his new partner in life Tara.
“You know that I drive for all of these owners,” explained Laubach on Saturday as he was busy preparing the No. 1K for action that day in the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial race at Georgetown. “Like Ryan Kerr (who owns the No. 1K), every name on this car is him. I drive for Gary Hermann, he owns an elevator company, and his car doesn’t even have his own companies name on the car, Blinderman’s is owned by John Snider who owns a local scrapyard in my town who I became friends with by eating breakfast with at the diner and he’s the sponsor on the No. 7. So, when I go out here and win races and talk on these interviews and everybody asks if you want to thank you sponsors, I’m not going to lie.
“I am not good at it because I really don’t have sponsors, I have car owners and that’s them. Look Gary (Hermann) don’t want his name talked about and I thank Blinderman’s and Ryan (Kerr) when I win or finish good. They have all given me and are giving me a tremendous opportunity to race and I appreciate them very much.”
Laubach continued talking about the role of his wife on his new deal.
“Tara is a go getter and we wanted to start something on our own that we can call ours. We are going to run this like a professional race team. We’ll have press releases; we will advertise for our sponsors and we are doing what we should’ve been doing for years but I am out of practice because I never really had to do it. It didn’t matter if we had a sponsor or not, we were still going to race, and the sponsors help believe me.
“I always talk to people like Weaknecht Archery who have sponsored me, Blinderman’s and say yeah, these people might not need it, but it is making my job easier when you give us money because then I don’t have to ask them for stuff. I can say look, I have $5,000 and I can buy the rear or the tires to start the season and then our winnings can carry us. So, it is not like they needed the sponsors or worried about having them, but it certainly does help but now with my own team I am worried about it.”
Laubach has had a tremendous career and has driven for many of the most iconic car owners in the Modified world such as Keith Roussey, Earl Fellin, Bert Jones, Glenn Hyneman, Dieter Schmidt, Dick Biever, The Petruska’s, Norm Hansel just to name a few and it prides him to know that he could probably drive for them again if the situation presented itself.
“Of all the car owners that I have driven for in my life, I could probably drive for them again tomorrow,” stated Laubach. “Except for maybe one or two of them and that is not a bad thing and when I need something, they are there for me and that means a lot to me and when I told them what I wanted to do and they said, ‘I’ll help you, what do you need.’
“But the No. 20 team will be run like a business under the name Shaker Motorsports. We have a bank account just for this team along with a credit card and look, there goes Tara now with the credit card off to buy tires (laughingly). We, and I mean Tara and I have a good thing going here. We have a deal with Leindecker Engines deal for the motor because he is close, and we want to try and build his name and I can be hands on with the engine and that is a big part of it because when I was with Earl Fellin and Gary Spotts driving the No. 91, I was hands on with those motors and look at the good performance that we had.”
Another aspect for Laubach was going back to the No. 20 which is the number he ran back in the early days of his career. The No. 20 cars were always immaculate and that was the number which carried Laubach to many wins back in the day and it means a lot to him to be driving that number once again.
“I take pride in that number and for always having my cars look good,” explained Laubach. “I build bodies for Modifieds for a living so what does that say if about me if my cars don’t look good, and I like nice stuff and it don’t cost money to keep it nice. My cars are going to be first class, believe me. Every wheel is polished, and everything will be perfect and it’s how we want to do it and now with Tara we’re going to keep the business end of it perfect. That’s very important these days.”
He continued, “I am in a good spot in my life. Tara and I are going to start building a new race shop and we hope to get started on that in about three weeks. We are going to be doing a house remodel and addition and all that stuff is to make my life easier for my son (Matthew), Tara and racing to bring it altogether. So, we figure now is the time to start Shaker Motorsports.
“We have a two year to build Shaker Motorsports. You look at some of these guys here today, they have sponsors, but the cars are theirs and that is the route we are looking to go with at Shaker Motorsports. If I can have my own car with help from my friends, let’s do it. Running the way want to do means we have to run Shaker Motorsports as a business to keep it going because I don’t have nothing fall back on and that’s alright. I remember someone once asking Scott Bloomquist what he was most proud of in his life and his answer was that everything you see here is paid for so that is our goal here. We want to say this is all ours and we don’t owe anybody any money for it.”
You can find Rick Laubach with his new Shaker Motorsport team on Friday nights at Big Diamond Speedway in 2021. New for Laubach as well in 2021 will be him calling New Egypt Speedway his home again on Saturday nights driving for Gary Hermann in the No. 7 modified. Laubach will also be a regular on the STSS South Region behind the wheel of the Ryan Kerr No. 1K. Laubach will also be in action at other selected big races throughout the northeast.
As always, I can be reached for any comments or questions via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dirtracefan25