Dan Ingram has been around AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series racing as a competitor since the early '80s and as a result could be considered one of the 'old horses' of The Rolling Thunder Show, but after near-career ending injuries at the Springfield Mile in 1993 was forced out of the sport that he dearly loved and relished racing in, and much earlier then he was ready for.
Fast forward some 20 years, and the Clermont, Indiana resident is healed up and ready for more, more then proving in his return in the 2012 season that he had something left on the table after being forced to retire due to his head injuries suffered at the Illinois State Fairgrounds some two decades earlier. Testing the waters while doing some testing during the 2011 season for several teams, Dapper Dan was finally back in his element when slinging a leg over a flat track motorcycle and ended up back in the saddle at the onset of the 2012 season.
After accumulating enough points to satisfy the powers that be in charge of AMA Pro Flat Track while racing in several 'outlaw' and indoor series events, he was given his Expert license after competing in the Pro Singles Series at Daytona at the start of the season and was set to head to the Memorial Day Weekend round at Springfield to ride a Twins Series mount against the best-of-the-best in the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world. And in his first Twins Series event, Ingram showed the crowded house he was back where he belonged when he qualified for his first major event by virtue of his 3rd-place finish in this semi, and going on to card a solid 11th-place finish in the 25-lap National main.
Racing for the Tom Cummings Racing team (TCR) with the help of long-time sponsor Zanna Racing and Indy Southside H-D, Ingram raced a partial schedule riding for TCR and also a one-off ride at one of the west coast rounds with the Dodge Brothers Racing XR750 team.
It was at his hometown race at the Indy Mile in August 2012 where he finally made his way back to the elusive podium via winning his semi race to qualify for one of the biggest races of the series' schedule, in front of a wild and roaring hometown crowd and a host of European fans in town for the weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP (pictured above being interviewed by AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone and Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour camera crew of Kenny Sargent and team, aboard the #31J TCR/Zanna Racing/Indy Southside H-D-sponsored XR750.)
Unbeknownst to all-including Dan-he suffered a broken wrist during his heat race-before his semi win-that would eventually force him out for the remainder of the season after the Indy round. But the itch was still there, and be damned if he wasn't going to at least try to continue for the 2013 season.
With the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season in the foreground, Dan worked feverishly to hook-up with a team that was capable of fielding a rider of his aged, yet still young-at-heart-and-abilities talent in order to compete in all 11 of the Twins Series events for the year. And in the newly renamed Brush/Eaken Racing team, Ingram found the team that could help him, again, return to the track and the sport he truly loved.
With the tragic passing of long-time tuner to the stars, Skip Eaken late last summer, team members and cohorts Dave Brush and Bart Addis were looking for the right set of skills and riding abilities to put on the team's Brush/Eaken Kawasaki and their fleet of Dick Ford-owned and George Roeder-maintained Harley-Davidson XR750s. The team was without former rider, Australian Luke Gough, after his terrible crash at the Peoria TT back in early August '12, and had campaigned top riders Rob Pearson and Cory Texter for the remainder of the 2012 season. The new season ahead would prove to be a fresh start for all, again, and that's where Ingram was able to bring his talents to the team to go along with it's stellar mounts ready for action for the new year.
Speaking with Dan on Saturday, May 4, he was really excited and looking forward to heading to round 3 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season at the Stockton Half-Mile on May 11. At first, the lack of funds was looking to keep them away from the first west coast round of the year. "We just weren't going to be able to make it happen, but my long-time friend Dan Laxen started a new Facebook page called 'Dollar Bill Racing' and after just a few weeks time, we've collected enough money, thanks to the generous donations of a bunch of fans that we got the money to contest the Stockton round," stated Ingram.
"In just our first month or so of donations, we had enough to rent a van to haul us and the two Dick Ford-owned XRs and the team out to Stockton and also purchase a couple of tires for some of the upcoming rounds," continued the elated Ingram, " so we're planning on rolling out on Tuesday (May 7) and heading west for Saturday's race.
"I couldn't be happier and I've been working hard at getting into racing shape, working on my endurance so this 48 year old man can keep up with the young guns. With Dave Brush (the main man behind the team, and nephew to the late Skip Eaken) taking care of building the Kawasaki and getting it ready for Springfield, and Dick Ford owns the team's XRs and takes care of the costs of maintaining the H-Ds which are built and wrenched by George Roeder.
"We also have help in the pits and on the team from Rick Roberts, all of which has helped to be possible thanks to my buddy Dan and Dollar Bill Racing. I've got a new set of leathers that D's Leathers put together for me that we're going to have shipped to Sacramento by Debbie Johnson from D's that we'll pick up on Friday, " Dan stated. "We've got all of our new sponsors and patches on for the new season, and I've only worn the leathers three times, actually."
The team will be coordinating in Sacramento the day before round 3 after spending this past weekend getting things readied and packed. "We're setting up a mock-pit area just to make sure we have everything laid out and ready for next weekend," continued Ingram, "as I sure don't want to drive all the way to the west coast to find out we missed something while packing up. Dave's based in Columbus, Indiana so I'll be going down there to set-up, which is convenient since it's only about 45 minutes from me here in Clermont.
"Then we'll load it all up and hit the road around Noon on Tuesday. We wanted to give it enough time to where we weren't rushing to get there and be able to get some sleep along the way. I've got to thank Dan Laxen for getting Dollar Bill Racing started on Facebook or none of this would be possible," stated Dan, "otherwise Springfield would have been our first event. We haven't had the time or money to do any testing yet, so this will be a true test when we roll out on Saturday. I also have to thank another of my main contributors, Josh Chisum, for all of his help and support. He's going to meet us in Sacramento on Friday and also help out at the track on Saturday."
The #65 Dick Ford/Eaken Racing Kawasaki 650R mount of Cory Texter sits in the pit area at the Indy Mile during round 10 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season on August 18 alongside the #27 Dick Ford/Roeder Racing/Eaken Racing H-D XR750 of rider Rob Pearson.
Texter missed the field at Indy, and Pearson ended up with a 7th-place finish on the bike after switching-off from the XR after making his was into the main earlier in the evening on the XR.
Dave Brush, the late Skip Eaken's nephew, who is based out of the Columbus, Indiana area, has been building the Kawi since the start of 2012 when Eaken's health started to fail. Dick Ford owns the two XRs as campaigned by the team, and they are maintained by George Roeder in Ohio. Thusly, the team has been rebranded as Brush/Eaken Racing for the 2013 season.
According to Ingram, the Kawi will be ready for action at the Springfield Mile I, round 4 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season on May 26.
Dave Brush and Bart Addis watch over the team's #27 Dick Ford/Eaken Racing Kawasaki prior to the start of the Springfield Mile II on September 16, 2012, where Rob Pearson rode to a 14th-place finish.
Dave and Bart will have the help of Rick Roberts throughout the season at the races, and Ingram's long-time friend and contributor Josh Chisum will be helping out this coming weekend in Stockton.
Ingram gets suited-up for his first return to a Twins Series event in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series at the Springfield Mile I on May 27 on the #31J TCR/Zanna Racing/Indy Southside H-D-backed XR750. Ingram qualified for the 18-rider main in his first time back in The Rolling Thunder Show after taking a 3rd-place finish in his semi behind Henry Wiles and Shawn Baer. He ended the day in the 11th-place spot after the 25-lap National main was over.
Dave Woods is getting ready to hand-off the #31J (which in 2013 will just be the #31 with Dan getting to drop the letter thanks to his 11th-place finish at Springfield) to Dan prior to the first practice session of the day. "I rode Dave's XR750 earlier to a win at the Circleville, Ohio Half-Mile," according to the Clermont, Indiana resident.
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Ingram went on to say, "I've really got to thank all of my sponsors and all of the fans who have contributed to the cause on our Facebook page, Dollar Bill Racing, otherwise none of this would be possible.
"Everyone that contributes to Dollar Bill Racing will be entered into a special drawing we are going to have for the winning fan to help roll the bike out to the grid at the Indy Mile on August 17, 2013 (providing we make the main, ha-ha!)
"Whomever wins will get a special wrist band to come down to the pits and help us roll it out to the starting line for the National main the weekend of the 6th Annual Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP and Indy Mile race.
"We've been talking with AMA Pro Flat Track director Dan Johnsen, who is going to help us make this happen for that lucky and special fan. We're going to have the drawing the day of the race, so make sure you let everyone know that if they contributed, to be sure and be there in case they win the draw and the opportunity to roll the bike out on the line that night."
You can find out more about Dan Ingram's Facebook Dollar Bill Racing here and get yourself a chance to get in on the drawing.
Anyone who contributes $5.00 or more gets their name in the hat for a chance to help Dan return to the Indy Mile grid at round 11 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season on August 17.
You can also donate by going to PayPal & enter firstname.lastname@example.org. Any donation $5 or more gets you entered in the "Push the Bike Out" drawing at Indy or you can send a donation to:
10920 E US Hwy 136
Clermont, IN 46234
"I also want to thank all of my sponsors from the past and for this year for all of their help. We couldn't do any of this without you!" Dan stated in closing.
Dan's sponsors are:
Brush/Eaken Racing, Dick Ford, Josh Chisum Racing, Zanna Racing, H-D of Bloomington, IN, Indianapolis Southside H-D, Tucker-Rocky, Dollar Bill Racing, Stay Racing, & Bill Allen Racing.