Bakersfield, CA – The last time Eric Norris made a start in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series was in 2016 at Kern County Raceway Park. In 2018 he made the trip to the Bullring at LVMS, but the 2002 ARCA Menards Pro Series West champion failed to qualify into the field. On September 16, Norris will make his first appearance in the Spears Pro Late Model Series presented by Sigma Performance Services at Irwindale Speedway (CA), in the “LiUNA Feel the Power 60”. He will be back behind the wheel of a Dave Reed Racing Pro Late Model with Southwest Tour Series legend Craig Raudman serving as Crew Chief. The Reed relationship goes all the way back to the year 2000, when Norris raced in one of Reed’s “Tour” cars at Phoenix International Raceway (AZ).
“I am so excited to go back racing with Dave and Craig” Norris told the Spears Southwest Tour Series. “Just to have Craig on my side, with all his knowledge, will help me out so much. And to have Dave spotting for me will always be entertaining. I haven’t raced at Irwindale in 20 years, so I’m hoping that I will get up to speed quick enough. But I know they will give me a good car, so that makes me very excited. I think I finished second in my last Winston West (now ARCA Menards Pro Series West) race there, but that was a long time ago.”
Norris was a multi-time winner in the now ARCA Menards Pro Series West Series. His championship in 2002 found him in Victory Lane twice in ten events, with eight in the top-five and no finish worse than 10th. He grabbed two poles that season, with his wins at Auto Club Speedway (CA) and Evergreen Speedway (WA). That season he finished runner-up at Irwindale, which was his last visit to the multi-banked half-mile speedway. He also grabbed a win at the now defunct Mesa Marin Raceway (CA) half-mile in 2000, finishing seventh in the championship that season. He followed it up with a fifth in 2001.
Norris has long been a fan of going fast. He gained his love of speed from his father, Martial Arts Expert and Television Actor, Producer and Screen Writer Chuck Norris. He honed his skills early on with his father in Celebrity and Off-Road Racing, also dabbling with Formula 2000 cars. He got his first start in the “West Series” in 1996 and made five starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1997. After several successful seasons with the “West”, he was set to take on the “Truck” series full-time, but a promising sponsorship relationship fell apart in December of 2002.
With racing on hold, Norris made the trip to Hollywood, where he became both a successful stuntman, and a second unit director. His most recent job found him as the stunt coordinator, and the director of the second unit, for the popular TV show Magnum PI. But with the recent Writers Guild of America strike, and the scheduled end of the show, Norris now jokes that he is a “professional race car driver until the strike is over”.
As Norris temporarily returns to “professional” race car driving, he will team up with Dave Reed Racing with sponsorship from C Force by Chuck Norris, Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside, Eco Solor Force, and Approved Memory. Craig Raudman will be the Crew Chief with Blaine Bergem the Car Chief. Brandon Williams, Matt Meech, and Ed Bernardo will return as crew members.
The “LiUNA Feel the Power 60” will be Round #7 of the eight-race schedule for the Spears Pro Late Models presented by Sigma Performance Services. The series has averaged over 18 Pro Late Models per event, with nearly 20 already expected to attend. Each of the teams will be gunning for Linny White, who has won the first six events of the season and leads the championship standings at Irwindale Speedway as well. The Pro Late Models will be joined by the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Super Late Models and the Spears Modified Series.