Most folks in the business of racing dove into the sport at a fairly young age. Eric Gullett, on the other hand, recently embarked upon his fourth season as a drag racer at the age of 41. One might ask why Gullett waited so long in life to chase his dream. The answer is not only interesting, but is also an inspiration to many.
Eric Gullett is looking forward to getting his car fine tuned and growing more consistent throughout the remainder of the season. Photo by Chris Sears Photography.
Upon experiencing his first event, Eric Gullett fell in love with the noise, speed and sensations of drag racing.
"I ran a successful clothing company in Southern California, which back at that time was heavily involved in the exploiting counter-culture movement of surf, skate and motocross," he explained. "I guess you could say I chased after as many of life's highs as I could get - money, girls, cars, etc. . . As a young single man, that was a lot of rope, and I eventually got tangled up in it. In 2005, I had a life threatening motocross accident, and after so many highs and lows, I just struggled with what my true purpose would be," Gullett continued. "Depression, alcohol and prescription drugs led me down a dead-end path and into trouble with the law."
But with time, Gullett eventually came to the realization that his life was not going in the right direction. "In 2007, I decided that I didn't want to live like that anymore," assured the drag racer. "So I pulled the plug on everything in California and moved to Tennessee, where I got a fresh start and a new lease on life. I went through drug and alcohol recovery, started going to church and got baptized in 2008," he shared. "I've come to realize that my true purpose in this life is to love God with all of my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength; And to honor others by having a servant attitude."
After getting hooked on alcohol and drugs earlier in his life, Eric Gullett is now headed in the right direction and is engulfed in the sport of drag racing.
Not only had Gullett totally changed his mindset, but he was also on the brink of embarking upon a sport that would spark a burning desire that could not be quenched. That's right, he purchased his first, and only, drag car - A true 1969 Camaro with a steel body, stock frame rails and a fiberglass front clip.
"I've pretty much always raced something," recalled Gullett. When I was in my teens, I started road cycling. Later, I got into motocross, and with age came the roll cage (drag racing)! After my first pass, I was hooked! I instantly fell in love with the noise, speed and sensations. Ever since, it's been an ongoing process to push a little more and race in a faster class every season."
Competing in the Outlaw 5.0 Index class. the driver is still a little wet behind the ears compared to some of his fellow drivers. And as expected, his record will benefit from improvement.
In fact, modifications to the car throughout the winter months have led to a few bugs that have yet to be fine tuned. In turn, he has experienced a lack of the consistency needed to win at index racing. However, when the 2012 season was deemed over, Eric Gullett earned a win in the 5.0 class at the final Head Hunters South Big Dog Shootout.
The driver also managed to cinch six wins in the 2010-2011 season and earned the runner-up spot in the points race for the ORSCA series. That being said, Gullett was optimistic about the future. "I believe it will come back around," he said.
Mother Nature brought with her heavy precipitation and a rain-out to his most recent race, the Southern Outlaw Tour, at Montgomery, Alabama. However, the driver is looking forward to the remaining events of the season.
Referring to the most anticipated race, he said, "The Owingsville, Kentucky NOPI series. It's located near my hometown, and we're going to try to run some Outlaw 10.5 stuff, which will be an all-out 'Run what you brung' type of deal."
With aspirations of what lies ahead in his racing career, Eric Gullett is acutely aware that proper maintenance will play a significant role in his overall success. "It's of utmost importance," he explained in reference to maintenance. "You can't win anything if you've neglected your equipment, and it fails. Parts attrition will reach up and bite you at the most inopportune time."
That in mind, the driver is a strong advocate of keeping the internal components of his engine clean. In turn, he uses K&N products for his filtering needs. "I've been using K&N air filters on the street for years," he explained. "In the race car, I've used K&N oil, fuel and air filters for the past couple of seasons with great results. K&N not only makes extremely durable products, but they are always on the cutting edge with research and development. I like companies who are progressive. K&N is so involved in all forms of motorsports that there's crossover in technology. And in the end, we all benefit."
Savoring the sport of drag racing, Eric Gullett stated, " I enjoy the relationships and kinships that you develop with competitors, sponsors and promoters as you go through the highs and lows. It's a tough sport. takes up a lot of time and money, and there aren't too many people outside of it that can relate to the insanity."
In closing he continued, "Short-term, we're looking to nail down some index consistency and start running near the front again. . . Long-term, We'd really love to be running in the modified some day."