When Jacob Ebert bought his first race car from his uncle in 2008, the $3,000 asking price was a lot of money for an 18 year old. But, even though it was his first time racing, he had a special incentive to be successful right out of the gate.
“If I won a race he’d take $50 off. If I got second, third, or fourth he would take another $15 or $20 off,” Ebert said. “That was the way I basically paid for it the first year I raced… That definitely adds a little bit to it, especially when it’s trying to pay a car off. I worked out of his shop also so it’s not like I was getting away from it or anything.”
In the 13 years since, Ebert has had enough wins at Central Missouri Speedway to more than make up for that $3,000 car payment. He won his fifth championship at CMS – a NASCAR-sanctioned high banked .375-mile clay oval track in Warrensburg, Missouri – last season, and currently sits on 49 career wins in the track’s B Modified Division.
If his success this season is any indication, getting to No. 50 should happen sooner than later. In three races at CMS this season, Ebert has two wins and finished second in the other. He currently has a nine point lead in the track’s B Modifieds division.
“It’s been a really good start to the year so far,” Ebert said. “Honestly probably just work over the winter preparing, I feel like we’ve been more prepared this year than we probably ever have been to start a season off. We’ve got the car we’ve had for a few years now and we’re finally getting it dialed in, so I definitely attest a lot of that to it.”
CMS is only about 30 minutes from where Ebert grew up and currently lives with his wife and two daughters. When he was growing up his dad raced motorcycles and modifieds. His uncles also raced motorcycles, and the uncle who sold him the car raced modifieds and street stocks at CMS.
“Ever since then I always wanted to race and go with them and enjoyed it,” Ebert said. “That’s always been a part of my life since I was born, really.”
Family is still a big part of racing for Ebert. His dad, Charlie, is still heavily involved, going to the shop and racetrack every week. His father-in-law, Buddy Thompson, has been Ebert’s car owner for the last five years.
Ebert’s oldest daughter, Ellie, 6, is also growing into a race fan. Ellie always wants to go to the shop and every race, helps wash the car every week, and loves when her dad brings home a trophy.
“She’s always wanting to know what happened and all that kind of stuff,” Ebert said. “She loves her racecar T-shirts. If she could wear that every day to school that’s what she’d be wearing. She likes to wear dresses and look like a pretty little girl and all that fun stuff, but when it gets down to it I think she likes racecar T-shirts better.”
Ebert and those closest to him have several little rituals they do every time he wins, like Ebert’s wife, Jamie Thompson, always putting the feature win sticker on his car for good luck.
Jamie and Ebert just welcomed another daughter, Ava, about five weeks ago.
Having family around makes celebrating wins that much more meaningful.
“I would say for me, now it’s almost as important as being successful, knowing that they have my back,” Ebert said of having his family around the track.
“Makes celebrating wins more fun.”
Every win Ebert adds to his total at CMS becomes more surreal. And reaching 50 would be a lifelong dream come true.
“I never would have dreamed watching my dad race there and growing up at that race track. My wife went to that race track all the time, my father-in-law and dad raced each other for years and years and years at CMS. I would have never dreamed of winning and having that much success there. As a child I would have never dreamed of that. It’s pretty surreal, really,” Ebert said.
“Growing up you play sports… like baseball and basketball or all that, which I did growing up, but I always wanted to go to the race track. It’s just something I’ve always loved and I don’t know if I’ll ever get out of it, honestly. It’s something about it. It’s something about the atmosphere, the fans, your family being able to go to it and cheer you on. Really once you’re in the racecar it’s like an addiction. Everything goes away. There’s no worries in the world. As crazy as 2020 has been and 2021 and all that, when you’re in the race car you don’t even think about anything like that, it all goes away.”
Racing will return to Central Missouri Speedway this weekend for two nights of racing. Saturday is Lightning Sprint Nationals first night. A-Mod Qualifying and $500-to-win Scramble, plus Super Stocks, B-Mods & Pure Stocks. Sunday, is Seeburg Muffler Night at the Races. Lightning Sprint Finale plus $3,000-to-win A-Mods. Also running B-Mods and Super Stocks.