BY JEFF FALK
LONG POND – When you’re driven, success can be a huge motivating factor. But so can failure.
Shoot, when you’re driven, everything can serve as a source of motivation.
On a warm Friday evening on Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle, Lebanon stock-car racer Bobby Gerhart finished 12th in the ARCA racing series’ running of the Forts USA 150. It was mostly an uneven performance from Gerhart, but still one that he and his racing team were able to extract plenty of positives from.
Young Christian Eckes captured the checkered flag from the 60-lap race, besting runner-up Todd Gilliland by more than 13 seconds. Michael Self came in third, Corey Heim ran fourth and Raphael Lessard finished fifth.
For Gerhart, it was the 61st Pocono start of his illustrious career and proved to be much better than his last – a disappointing 16th in late May that lasted only 19 laps.
“It’s close to home,” said Bobby Gerhart, of his motivation for running at a track where he hasn’t had a lot of success over the years. “It’s like anything else, it’s just what you do. You always try to come back and be better. With these new cars, we lost a step, but we got some of it back today.
“We got a little better,” continued Gerhart. “The way we are right now, we’re faster than we were five or six years ago. But it took the whole day to get there.”
“We’re just like our father (Bobby Gerhart, Sr.), we’re racers,” said Bobby’s crew chief and brother, Billy Gerhart. “You stick with it in tough times. Anybody can walk away. I guess we’re not done yet. We’re already making plans to run at Daytona in February. We’ll run some races next year, we just don’t know how many.
“We were so bad here last month,” Gerhart continued. “We brought a new car and it ran better. At the end of the race, we were two seconds faster than we were last month. We need another second. But I was pleased with the car, pleased with the progress we made. These guys we run with, run every week.”