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From Roy High to the Raceways – Mike Eames

Brandon Garside

Sports Reporter

WEST VALLEY — When he was 12 years old, Roy native and general manager of Rocky Mountain Raceways Mike Eames got his first job. But instead of bagging groceries or delivering newspapers, Eames was working on the drag strip at Bonneville Raceways.

“I handed out the ET (elapsed time) slips at the end of the drag strip,” said Eames. “After you finished your run, I was the little crumb cruncher that gave you your ticket. That was really my first job. I worked here all through high school.”

The love of racing came from being involved at an early age, which was a family affair.

“My parents literally have been involved in street rods and racing forever,” Eames explained. “For the last 40 years my parents have published a book called Mountain West Street News that comes out every other month, and it basically tells everybody on the Wasatch Front where all the street rods, rod runs, car shows, cruise nights, all that fun stuff is. They were always around racing.”

The Eames family worked at Bonneville Raceway from its opening in 1968 to the mid 70s.

”I love racing. All racing. Whether it’s motorcycles, go-carts, I don’t care what it is,“ Eames said. ”Anything that makes noise, goes fast, turns, goes straight, I don’t care what it is.“

Spencer Young bought the facility in 1995, tore it down, and built up what is now known today as Rocky Mountain Raceways.

Eames and and his brother were racing announcers, but wanted to make a return to their old stomping grounds by pestering now directional manager Ron Craft about helping out down at RMR.

“I always asked Ron all the time, ‘Hey if you need announcing help … we came down to a lot of races,’” Eames recalled. “We hounded them all the time, ‘Hey, if you need announcing help, we’re 40 minutes away.’ We were born and raised in Roy.”

The persistence eventually paid off.

“The week before Memorial Day in 2005, I get this weird phone call, and it was a number I didn’t recognize,” said Eames. “It was Ron Craft, the direction manager. I picked up the phone and he says, ‘Are you serious’ and I was like , ‘Am I serious about what?’ And he said, ‘About announcing. I really need some help. Can you start next week?’”

For five years, Eames and his brother announced the events at RMR, and then a more intriguing position became available.

“In 2010, the general manager job became open,” Eames said. “This is really where I was raised. I went through the interview process and Spencer Young offered me the job, and it took me about a millisecond to say ‘Yeah absolutely, I’m ready.’”

With the recent news of Miller Motorsports Park potential to close this year, Eames looks at the situation as being negative not only for the sport of racing, but for the state of Utah in general.

“There should be more race tracks, not less of them,” he said. “Miller Motorsports Park is a world class facility. I know they’ve had a real tough go of trying to make that thing profitable. If it does close, it’s a real loss — not only for racing but for Utah. It sucks that a venue like that is possibly going to shut down.”

Fortunately for Eames, RMR is still profitable.

“Our spectator count continues to grow, our sponsorship numbers continue to grow every year that I’ve been here,” he said. “I think we do a pretty good job because we continue to grow. I think we have a good product to sell. We pride ourselves on being a unique entertainment experience and suitable for the entire family. Between the 100 events that we put on in our three venues, there really is something for everyone.”

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Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at, on Twitter @BGarsideSE, and on

Lucas Oil Modified – Driver Bio

eric rhead ina

The way Eric Rhead looks at it, when you’re going racing you need to check your attitude at the pit gate.

“If you’re not having fun doing this I don’t know why you’d be doing it. That’s the gist of it,” the Lucas Oil Modified Series rookie from West Jordan, Utah, said. “There’s no reason to have a sour attitude or a bad attitude about it. If you can’t have fun I don’t know what you’re doing out here, realistically. If you can’t put a smile on your face you’re in trouble.”

Rhead smiles and laughs a lot. The 31-year-old who runs the diesel engine shop for sponsor Redbone Trucking isn’t having quite the kind of year he hoped for in the West’s best short track touring series. He’s 20th in the point standings and has two top 15 finishes as the series prepares to kick off the second half of its 10-race season Juiy 25 at Rocky Mountain Raceways, but even when he talks about the challenges of running a new series his enjoyment is obvious.

Like so many others Rhead has had trouble adjusting to the 8-inch Hoosier 700 tire used in the series. “I don’t like this tire. Me and it are not friends,” he said during the Las Vegas weekend in May. Then he laughed and said he had a solution, though. He was “just going to start parking by the smart guys that know the tires.”

His home track is Rocky Mountain Raceways and he’s raced many of the tracks in Idaho and Washington, but except for The Bullring at Las Vegas most of the Lucas Oil Modified tracks are new to him. That means having to learn how to drive the track and how to get there, and finding out that Google Maps said it should take 12 hours to get to Madera, California, when it actually took more than 15.

Rhead thought the rookie class would have a different demographic, too. “I didn’t think I was going to be the old guy. I feel young. But apparently I’m old,” he said while talking about the talent displayed by a handful of rookies under 21.

Rhead’s perspective perhaps is helped by his realization that while he once had thoughts of racing on a national level his age now makes that unlikely. As a result, he said, “we do it as a hobby. It’s something that I love to do and we put a lot of heart and soul and money into it.

“We’ve accomplished a lot. I didn’t think we were going to accomplish near what I have. It’s hard for me to tell you that now because it’s like ‘you’re in the back (of the field), you ain’t accomplished nothing.’ But I’m real proud of last year. We won the (Rocky Mountain) Challenge Series championship and that was a huge accomplishment for us. We had an awesome year last year.”

Rhead got his first race car, a Super Stock, when he was 16. “Then I found out how much racing cost and got about three jobs to pay for it and did that for a couple of years and then backed off and didn’t run for a couple of years and kind of dabbled back and forth.”

Rhead drove the Super Stock for five or six years, along with a little Figure 8, then bought the Late Model he drove to the Rocky Mountain Challenge Series title last year, when he also bought a Modified and finished fourth in Rocky Mountain Raceways’ Maverik Modified series. Then he sat down to decide where to race this year and opted for the Lucas Oil Modified Series.

“It’s a financial deal,” he said, “and these guys are the best show in the West.

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve been impressed with how clean everybody runs with how many cars there are and how much respect they give each other. That’s a huge thing. There’s so much money in these cars and I hate going out and tearing them up. It’s racing and things happen but that’s been the biggest eye-opener – you get 30 or 40 cars and everybody out there has respect for each other.

“Before the race in Las Vegas we were meeting (STR car builder) Steve Teets to set up the car and (fellow driver) Pat Petrie, who I didn’t even know, offered a shop and then wouldn’t take any money. It’s good to see a big group of people that will help each other. That’s just a huge thing.

“Other than that I can’t tell you that I love Modifieds because we haven’t been competitive yet. Maybe when we’re competitive I’ll tell you I like more things, but not right now,” Rhead said.

Then he laughed.


  • Age: 31 (18 February 1984)
  • Lives in: West Jordan, Utah
  • Marital status: Married; wife’s name is Candyce. They have a daughter, Izabella
  • Occupation: Manager of Redbone Diesel
  • Car number: 66
  • Type of chassis: STR
  • Engine: Chevrolet
  • Crew Chief: Self
  • Sponsors: Redbone Trucking
  • Years in racing: 16
  • Divisions raced: Super Stocks, Figure 8, Maverik Modifieds, Rocky Mountain Challenge Super Late Models, Lucas Oil Modifieds
  • Titles and awards: Super Stock champion, 2009, 2013; Rocky Mountain Challenge champion, 2014; Rocky Mountain Raceways Sportsman of the Year, 2014
  • Series point standings: T66 (2014)



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From the Corner Office

2012-rmr-logo_300Mash on the gas and/or a twist of the wrist! 

Dear RMR racing fan,

A busy couple of weeks here at Rocky Mountain Raceways including what can only be called the hardest we have ever seen it rain here at our facility on the Saturday night of Funny Car Fever.   We all now know what “pink” on the radar means.  It means duck and run.

We start by congratulating current NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car points leader Steven Densham in setting a new track record on June 5th.  His Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car covered 1,320 feet in just 5.843 seconds, besting the old mark held by Dan Horan.  That is getting after it in a hurry.

Dan McCoy followed up his Maverik Modified 100 lap main event win on May 30th with another checker flag run last Saturday.  The Modifieds put on a fantastic show, with just two cautions and 50 laps filled with wheel-to-wheel racing.

Curt Stewart’s Motocross track had more than 300 riders last Friday night with a great crowd to watch!  They have another race coming up Friday night.

This weekend brings one of our favorite events on the season as Horsepower Heaven comes to town!  Both the America First Credit Union and the Young Kia Drag Strip will be in action!  We will have Jets, NITRO, and we close the show with American Daredevil “Mr. Dizzy” performing the always entertaining School Bus Jump!  A full schedule can be found on the front page of the RMR website,!

I always welcome questions and comments.  My e-mail is:

Go fast and be safe,


Mike Eames

General Manager