The 15-year-old from Kingsport recently qualified for the Rocky Mountain AMA Amateur National Motorcross Championship at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills.
Commonly referred to as the “Lorettas,” the Sullivan Central student made it to the national championships by qualifying at the Southeast Area Regional Qualifier at the South of the Border MX in Hamer, S.C., on June 14-16.
Eads first started racing at age 10 at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series. Baseball was his first sport and the first race came after three travel-ball games that day.
Once on a KTM 65cc bike, however, he was consumed by motocross.
Thanks to friends, the Cochran family, he began to practice at a track in front of their Blountville home. Former AMA national champion Mike Brown soon took an interest in Eads, and the young rider improved his skills through multiple camps, weekend training and private sessions.
He has ridden multiple times at Matt Walker Training Facility, considered the nation’s premier motocross and supercross facility. The training has paid off. Eads, who now races on a KTM 85, dominated action in the FMF Indoor Winter Series, winning three championships over the 2018-19 season. He followed it up with three championships in the 2019 MEGA Series.
Despite all his success, Eads remains humble and emphasizes he doesn’t win on his own. He credits his family as well as Litz Racing and Jim’s Motorcycle Sales for their support.
“Much love and endless thank you’s to my parents, my grandparents (especially Papaw Mack Eads), my sister Carley, my friends on and off the track, and all my sponsors,” he said. “And giving God all the Glory!”
For his part, Eads has put in a ton of work into becoming a champion. Over the past few years, there have been thousands of hours spent practicing, doing research, studying videos and other training. Strong in his faith, a lot of prayer went into achieving the goal of reaching the national championships.
There has been a lot of travel as well, as Eads has raced up and down the East Coast from Pennsylvania to Georgia to achieve the goal. His reward will come at the national championships scheduled July 29 through Aug. 3 at the legendary country music singer’s ranch.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock division returns to action this Friday at Kingsport Speedway. Nik Williams of Chuckey leads Gray driver Joey Trent 234-219 in championship standings. Defending track champion Zeke Shell of Johnson City is third, six points behind Trent.
It’s “Chevy Street Night at the Races,” and fans can drive their Chevrolet vehicle around the 3/8-mile concrete oval on the track during the parade lap.
The Mod Street, Mod 4, Pure Street and Pure 4 divisions are also in action.
After rain washed out racing at Volunteer Speedway last weekend, racing is scheduled to return to the 4/10-mile dirt track Saturday. It is “Free Fan Saturday,” with the first 30 adults admitted free. The next 50 fans will receive a voucher for a free hot dog from the concession stand.
Racing is scheduled for six divisions — Crate Late Model, Sportsman Late Model, Modified Street, Classic, Street Stock and Mini Stock. An open practice session is scheduled for Thursday.
The DER Bracket Series returns to Bristol Dragway this weekend with a test-and-tune on Friday and races for Saturday and Sunday.
It has been a tough season so far for the local drag racers, with rain canceling most weekends.
There is a tie currently atop the Super Pro standings as George Ballou and Joey Ramsey each have 99 points. Another tie is in the Motorcycle division with six-time track champion Jerry Turner and Russell Justus with 88 points.
Ethan Ford of Jonesborough leads the Junior Dragster’s Division-3 standings by 22 points. Behind him is a four-way tie.