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Ulen man at the wheel of NASCAR truck for Wednesday race

Cody Erickson of Ulen, Minn., will be racing in the NASCAR Truck Series race on Wednesday in Rossburg, Ohio. Nick Wagner / The Forum

Fargo - There’s not a trace of racing in his blood, but that has not stopped Cody Erickson.

“My dad doesn’t know a thing about racing,” Erickson said. “I picked it up over the last 10 years. When you’re interested in something, you try that much harder and try to learn and pick stuff up that much quicker.”

Now, Erickson finds his name next to the name NASCAR and in the national spotlight. The

25-year-old Ulen, Minn., native will be racing in the Mudsummer Classic – part of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – on Wednesday at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Erickson will be racing on a track owned NASCAR Sprint Cup three-time series champion Tony Stewart, and it will be televised live on Fox Sports 1.

“I’m still in awe over the whole deal,” Erickson said. “It’s the top of the rung. There’s nothing really to step up into now. I never expected this kind of an opportunity.”

Opportunity literally rang for Erickson when the Empire Racing team called to see if he would like to rent their truck and team.

“Empire Racing basically had the truck sitting there, and they had interest in doing the dirt thing, and they got some names and scouted people,” Erickson said. “It just fell right into place, and it’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty decent deal.”

Erickson has been racing in the WISSOTA Modified Series for the last five years, earning 25 feature wins to go along with two Corn Cob national wins.

What he hasn’t ever done is raced in a truck.

“First time hopping in a truck, and I don’t really have notes to go off of,” Erickson said. “I’ve only raced in dirt-track car stuff.”

Even with no experience, Erickson, who builds his own chassis after going to the University of Northern Ohio for high-performance tech and chassis fabrication, is learning as he goes and likes the results of the laps he’s taken.

“It’s a different driving style, but I think I’ll be able to adapt pretty well,” Erickson said. “Our lap times so far are right in the ballpark with some of these guys who have been running for years, and it was our first time ever.”

Erickson may not have racing in his blood, but everything started with mom and on his farm.

“He really doesn’t have any racing in the family, but I used to take him to the races when he was 2 years old, and he loved it,” Cody’s mom, Tammy Erickson, said. “He used to take the four-wheelers out on the farm and race them. Then, when he was old enough, he bought his own car.”

When Cody was 13, he put a car together with a buddy who was a senior in high school. When he would race it, he would tell people he was 15 years old, so he could be allowed to race.

Erickson won’t have to lie about his age Wednesday. From racing four-wheelers at his farm to racing on national television, Erickson has come a long way.

“I can’t explain it,” Cody said. “Never ever in my whole life would I have imagined I’d be in this position to race against some of the country’s best dirt track and asphalt drivers and in front of live TV.”

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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