Eckert's father passes unexpectedly
Junior Eckert, a former racer and father of veteran Dirt Late Model star Rick Eckert, died unexpectedly on Saturday morning. He was 80.
A resident of Springettsbury Township, Pa., the elder Eckert was a Dirt Late Model winner in the 1960s before losing part of his foot in an accident in the early ‘70s at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. He returned to the cockpit in the late 1970s in the street stock division and scored numerous victories and in recent years turned racetrack laps with a vintage racing club.
Outgoing and always quick with a joke or humorous story, Junior was his youngest son Rick’s biggest fan. He faithfully followed Rick’s career, annually traveling to Florida for Speedweeks and attending events whenever Rick competed close to central Pennsylvania.
“A very sad day for me and my family,” Rick Eckert tweeted upon learning of his father’s death while preparing to compete in Saturday night’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series event at Brighton (Ont.) Speedway. “I’m in Canada for a race and my hero and father passed away.”
Rick, who currently sits fifth in the WoO points standings, was expected to return home after Saturday’s Brighton program. He would receive hardship/show-up points if he misses Sunday night’s WoO show at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway.
Junior Eckert, who owned and operated Eckert Trucking in York, Pa., for 42 years, was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Charlotte, in February 2013. He has six children, 12 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been arranged.