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Team Ripper Ready to Tackle 2021 Race Season

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Team Ripper Ready to Tackle 2021 Race Season

Belleville, IL. (02/15/2020) Owners, Flea Ruzic and Steve Reynolds with Team Ripper finished the 2020 race season on some high notes, but they aren’t done yet. As the beginning of the season approaches, teams and drivers and gearing up to dominate another year with the POWRi Lucas Oil National and West Midget Leagues. With a little over 40 races scheduled for the 2021 race season, consistent runs and top finishes are what the drivers and teams strive for to lock up the Championship at the end of the season.

Last March, Team Ripper had a plan, and they were ready to tackle the 2020 Race season in full force. A few weeks later, we all were struck with a huge pandemic which cut travel plans and shut everything down. This is what Flea Ruzic had to say about the 2020 season from his viewpoint. “The season started out slow, we had a good chili bowl and planned to run Jesse Colwell for the season. Covid hit and travel didn’t work out that great. We had rookie Emilio Hoover start the season with us after Florida and it was really nice to watch him start to develop and gain speed as the year went on. By the end of the season, he was running towards the front and making good laps. He was running 3rd at the gold crown when the cushion kind of bit him and he ended up suffering a concussion from that. A few weeks later he was fighting for 2nd in a POWRi west feature and that resulted in another flip. At that point we decided his health was worth more than a top 10 points finish, and we parked him for the last few races so he could heal up properly. We tried to run McDougal a few races during the season but he ended up taking a job as a mechanic for Kevin Thomas Jr. so that left his availability limited. Amber Balcaen and Zach Daum also ran several races with us. At the end of the season, I got a call from Trey Gropp who was looking to finish out his rookie year also. We ran trey the last 8 or so races of the year and we were able to help him win the POWRi and POWRi west rookie of the year honors. We didn’t have a lot of highlights that ended up on paper, but it was still a good year for us.”

Ending the 2020 season, Team Ripper won two Rookie of the Year titles with Trey Gropp. The Lincoln, NE. native earned an overall 3rd place finish in the POWRi Lucas Oil West Midget League Championship standings. Gropp finished the season with one win, six top five and nine top ten finishes. Emilio Hoover out of Broken Arrow, OK. finished off the season in a strong note, ending his rookie season 11th in points and as well as having two top ten finishes.

Looking forward to the 2021 season, Team Ripper will field two full time drivers, Emilio Hoover and Trey Gropp. “I’m definitely ready to see how trey and Emilio develop moving forward. Like I said Emilio got going well the last few races before he got sidelined and trey and I started finding our groove the last few races as well. Trey just missed making the A at the chili bowl this year. I’m very fortunate to make a living doing what I do. Seeing Neuman win his first championship and Felker win another championship in cars that we built is really a good feeling. So being at the races to help these kids develop and seeing our customers have continued success is what keeps us doing what we do.”

Flea Ruzic, a man of many traits says he has a lot more to accomplish in his lifetime and his goals are so close to his fingertips. “I have a few things I’d still like to accomplish in racing. I would like to win a USAC Championship and I’d like to win a World of Outlaws feature. Me and Steve Reynolds started Team Ripper from scratch just 2 years ago, so it takes a lot to get to that point. We are going to keep working hard and keep moving forward.”

The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Season Opener at Monarch Motor Speedway in Wichita Falls, Tx is only a few weeks away. The two-day show will be Friday, March 19th and Saturday, March 20th. Catch Team Ripper at a track near you soon.

Photo Credits: Speed Demon

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