INDIANAPOLIS – Mario Clouser will join Eberhardt-Zirzow Racing to contest the full AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series schedule next year.
Clouser, of Auburn, Ill., is a veteran of 30 career starts with the series. This past season, Clouser made 12 feature starts, with a best finish of sixth in September at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
Eberhardt-Zirzow Racing has won four USAC National Sprint Car Series point-paying events, all of which came with driver Chad Boespflug in 2016.
In 2020, EZR campaigned Dave Darland on the USAC trail, and in past years, have teamed up with the likes of Tyler Courtney and Kyle Cummins.
Clouser planned to compete on the full USAC tour this year under his own Clouser Motorsports banner, but a slew of bad luck and engine issues plagued the team, erasing a large chunk of their summer racing plans.
With more resources at hand, 2021 appears to have an even brighter outlook with the combination of Clouser and EZR.
“I planned on running the whole USAC deal this past year, but we had motor issues and weren’t able to make it to all the races,” Clouser recalled. “EZR has a great stable of proven equipment to be able to run the whole season. If we would have problems, it wouldn’t be as detrimental to us.”
Team co-owners Fred Zirzow and Chuck Eberhardt are thrilled to be able work with Clouser, who will be chasing the entirety of the USAC slate for the first time in his career in a car that will retain Clouser’s familiar No. 6.
“Chuck and I at EZR racing are excited for this new adventure with Mario,” Zirzow noted. “We want to help the guy who just needs that little extra bit of help, which, in the past, we were able to do and have success with Courtney, Boespflug and Cummins. We are looking to do the same with Mario.”
Clouser hit his stride this year behind the wheel of a sprint car, winning three times in just nine POWRi WAR appearances and finishing third in the standings.
He has also made 56 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget starts in his career, and over the past few years, has steadily elevated his game in sprint cars on dirt. It’s all part of the process that Clouser anticipates will have him ready to turn it up another notch in 2021.
“Last year, I feel like I made big gains with the car,” Clouser explained. “We had Jake Argo as the crew chief in 2019 and that allowed me to focus more on driving, and we also had a good car every time we were out there. I learned a lot as far as the driving side goes, but I also now have a better idea of what the car should feel like to go fast.
“I’m getting a ton more comfortable in the car, so I’m really looking forward to the next season.”
For Clouser, it’s all about continuously gaining more seat time. Over the past few years, a limited schedule that has seen him competing sporadically in shows that fit within his racing budget, will blossom into a full slate of activity for 2021 against the USAC regulars.
Clouser welcomes the challenge.
“I’m just really looking forward to racing a bunch,” Clouser noted. “In the past, we had to pick and choose where we could run. If it didn’t make a ton of sense to go somewhere, we just didn’t do it. We didn’t have the ability to run 40 or 50 times. I’m looking forward to being able to do that this summer. Obviously, those guys who stay in the car all the time are comfortable and that makes a big difference in how you do on race days.”
Clouser and EZR’s first bout of competition will be the 12th edition of Winter Dirt Games at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., which marks the beginning of the 2021 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car season.