Though he makes it looks easy these days as he leads his NASCAR Camping
World Truck Series (NCWTS) team, team owner Eddie Sharp's rise within
motorsports was at times daunting. Rather than taking on a four-wheeled
speed demon for his introduction, Sharp took a different route, that by the
way of water, racing hydroplane boats in his native Florida.
However, it wasn't long before Sharp ventured into the cockpit of a stock
car and his career followed the familiar racing path into North Carolina. In
1993, Sharp made his NASCAR debut, running two races in what was then known
as the Busch Series. With Ken Schrader and Johnny Benson as mentors, Sharp
then started his own team in the American Speed Association (ASA), a short
track division that bred racers such as Johnny Benson, Mark Martin, and
After his stint in ASA, Sharp decided to climb out from behind the wheel and
took on the role of crew chief. In 1999 Sharp called the shots for Bill
Baird in the ARCA Racing Series en route to the championship.
Over the next few seasons, Sharp reinstated his car owner title, only this
time in ARCA. Simultaneously, he continued to crew chief, including a stint
in the Sprint Cup Series.
In 2006, Sharp envisioned his long-term goals as a team owner and began the
first steps in achieving them by purchasing a 40,000-square-foot race shop
complex in Denver, N.C. The goal was to contend, not simply compete. That
desire drove Sharp to build a five-star facility, Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR),
which is what allowed the team to quickly transition from contender to
With that approach, ESR became the place for up and coming talent. Since
ESR's inception, Sharp focused on helping to usher in the careers of Scott
Lagasse, Chase Miller, T.J. Bell, Michael McDowell, Scott Speed, and most
recently, 2009 Champion Justin Lofton.
In 2007, Sharp fielded entries for McDowell in ARCA, who went on to claim
the Rookie of the Year honors, four race wins, and a second-place finish in
the point standings. In 2008, Speed found victory lane four times, as well
as finishing within the top-five in the points. That year, Lofton also found
his way to ESR and earned his first series victory in Michigan.
The following season, in 2009, Eddie Sharp Racing became the team to watch
in stock car racing with multiple teams vying for the championship. While
Sprint Cup Series organizations funded teams and drivers within ARCA, the
independent ESR team fended off their challenges and dominated the 21-race
schedule with Lofton, Tim George, Jr., Craig Goess, Jr., and Steve Arpin,
who raced a partial schedule for ESR. Following a successful season, ESR
trucks held three of the top-eight positions in the final owner point
standings with Sharp taking home the owner's championship for Lofton's No. 6
machine. En route to his driver's championship, Lofton recorded an
impressive six races wins, 15 top-fives and 19 top-10s.
In 2010, Sharp's success continued as Goess, Jr. earned a race win in ARCA,
in tandem with the team branching off to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
competition. In 2011, Goess started off the season with Sharp, before Lofton
and Sharp decided to reunite and rekindle their success.
The duo's reunion resulted in a solid showing through the second half of the
season. Through the first 10 races, Sharp showed 23rd in the owner point
standings with a lone top-10. After Lofton returned to the team, they made
tremendous strides and jumped to 16th in the points, while adding two more
top-10s to the season tally.
In the 2012 season, Eddie Sharp Racing expands to a three-truck team in the
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Justin Lofton hopes to achieve more
success in the familiar ESR ride as he returns to the wheel of the No. 6
College Complete Chevrolet Silverado. After climbing through the late model
ranks, Cale Gale will make his official bid as a Rookie of the Year
contender in the NCWTS while driving the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado.