Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – WATKINS GLEN, NY – For Eric Webler, the journey to lose weight has been challenging.
When the calendar turned out of 2020, the Binghamton, NY native was at a weight of around 400 lbs.
“Enough was enough,” Webler said.
But Webler didn’t want to create a New Year’s Resolution.
“I didn’t want to say ‘new year, new me’ because that’s never worked when I say that.”
So he became a better person by simply walking.
— Eric Webler (@EricWebler) June 22, 2021
“I want to be a healthier person. If I’m able to do that, it’s going to be better for all my friends and family. Everyone has wanted me to get healthy. It was hard to find something that worked,” Webler told RPW.
By June 21st, Webler was down 49 lbs, a change of 12.4%.
But Webler had another idea that same day.
He tweeted a video to Pocono Raceway and NASCAR asking if he could walk a lap around the “Tricky Triangle.” The tweet blew up, receiving nearly a thousand likes, 219 retweets, and over 41k views.
Managing director for racing communications at NASCAR Mike Forde wrote back on Twitter and said, “Only if I can join you.”
A day later, the two worked something out, and Webler got the opportunity to walk around. But a couple of other people wanted in on this opportunity.
Noah Gragson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted to join in on the track walk through Twitter. Webler was speechless.
Can I join? https://t.co/YoRAurIRgD
— Noah Gragson (@NoahGragson) June 26, 2021
— Pocono Raceway (@PoconoRaceway) June 27, 2021
“To hang out with Dale. We talked about a bunch of different things. We’re both Washington Football fans,” Junior even gave Webler a goal similar to what Dale was on. “He was telling me 172. I want to get down to that.”
A week after that, Webler reached out to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Twitter. Instead of walking a lap, though, he wanted to walk three laps, with New Hampshire being a mile long. He got to do that but had one more goal in mine.
His home track of Watkins Glen International, just under a 90-minute drive from his hometown.
“Watkins Glen International, I’m coming to you guys next. What do you say?” Webler tweeted.
Webler said through text messages that his plan to walk was put together, but things were changing because of COVID-19.
But there was an alternate idea.
Watkins Glen International created a walking trail earlier this year for IMSA, consisting of a two-mile path that starts and ends at their souvenir stand. Webler announced on his Twitter page the day before the Cup race that he was walking the trail.
Come walk with us on the Cayuga Health Walking Trail! Starting at 9:30! pic.twitter.com/TPaiNFO2mp
— Eric Webler (@EricWebler) August 8, 2021
“It’s cool to do something like what we’re doing now on the trail. It’s able to get people involved. That’s what everyone has wanted to do. I’m only me. I can only do so much. It’s cool that this is something that any of the fans can just join and be a part of.”
Racecar driver Brad Perez, who made his first ARCA start last Friday, is a friend of Webler’s and has been following his weight loss story. Perez joined Webler on the trail walk.
“We met each other on the internet doing online racing,” Perez explained. “Once he started doing his journey, it’s crazy the amount of traction that he got, but I was like ‘man, I want to help push this,’ so I tried to reach as many people as I could. I’m so glad he got in front of Dale Jr. and a bunch of people because he deserves it.”
Webler planned this being his last track of the season but is willing to walk anywhere.
“If any track wants to do something, let me know, and I’ll make time. I’ll get out there,” Webler responded.
Since his weight loss journey began in January, Webler has lost around 60 lbs and is not stopping. He still plans on walking The Glen next season, but not just the short NASCAR course. He wants to add the boot that IMSA races on.
“Walk that and get 3.4 miles in,” Webler said.
I need your help one last time #NASCAR Twitter! This video needs to get to @WGI & @theglenprez!!! I’ve been on a weight loss journey this year losing 55lbs so far by just eating less and walking. I’d like to walk 1 lap around WGI some time during next weekend’s @NASCAR races! pic.twitter.com/WLwmjJey1L
— Eric Webler (@EricWebler) July 30, 2021