It is with great sadness the World of Outlaws shares it has lost one of its family members, Rick Eshelman.

As announcer for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, Rick was known by fans around the world. Just over a month ago, he was inducted into the Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame, a crowning achievement in a career that has spanned more than 40 years. He is one of only four announcers to be inducted.

But Rick was so much more than an announcer. He was a friend to everyone at the track. His notecards on drivers were legendary, a database that rivaled anything electronic. Plus, as an Air Force veteran, Rick had a special place in his heart for the military, often acknowledging veterans in attendance at events by asking them to stand and be recognized.

Rick, who was 61 years old, grew up in Michigan attending Flat Rock Speedway. After working as a scorer, he announced his first race at Flat Rock in 1979. A year later he was announcing at Toledo Speedway in Ohio before joining the Air Force. In 2012 the Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club presented him with the prestigious Tom Carnegie Announcer of the Year Award.

“It is with great sadness and shock to know we lost our brother Rick Eshelman,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said. “Please send prayers to his family, his World of Outlaws and DIRTcar family, and his many friends across the country.”

The World of Outlaws will share more details to honor Rick at a later time.