Who is Team Shoestring?
“Recycling the Past…for a Better Tomorrow!”
A Brief History of Team Shoestring
Back in the late 1920’s, a young man named Eberhard Faber saw the opportunities within the beverage transportation industry in Kentucky. Meeting with some success, he became acquainted with a talented mechanic named Lou Castell, born Luigi Castelli of Modena, Italy. Lou had himself been a successful slot car driver with the Cox and Revell factory teams, and showed special promise in chassis and engine modifications. In their off-hours they participated in informal races with their friends on dirt tracks laid out in farm pastures.
The two were successful enough that they eventually transitioned into sanctioned events, once they had completed a brief involvement with the law enforcement community. Eberhard had earned the nickname “Fireball” after a few mishaps while transporting beverages, and the name stuck even after the duo became known as the Faber-Castell team, and finally, as Team Shoestring. Eberhard had a personal fondness for pencils, and had a few embossed with the team name. He delighted in handing these out at races, and always kept several in his pockets for his many fans. While the racing surfaces slowly changed from dirt to pavement, and then to the first superspeedways, Eberhard “Fireball” Faber made the transitions successfully.
Eberhard Junior grew up in this challenging and exciting atmosphere, and practiced in the fields and roads near home when he wasn’t accompanying Lou Castell and his father at races. He was at the tragic event at the Motorplex Speedway in McHenry, Illinois when his father’s Ford Thunderbird lost its front body clips and crashed in a spectacular series of rolls. Unfortunately, Fireball was fatally injured in that crash.
But disaster was not to stay its hand even then. A week later at the team’s shop, mourning the loss of his colleague and friend, Lou Castell was fatally injured as well. The reign of the greatest team in racing was over. It was then that the younger Faber made a solemn vow. He has never looked back.
Eventually, the team moved to the Chicago area “for the weather,” one team member asserted, and a vast research and development complex was constructed over the years under the name Team Shoestring. Race car driver and sportsman Eberhard Faber Junior has carried on the mighty legacy, and inspired thousands with his racing success as well as his convictions. He does make one small concession though: before every race, he duct-tapes one wood-cased “FaberCastell” embossed team pencil to the back bumper of his #99 Ford as a tribute to his father and to Lou. Why not to the front bumper? When asked, Eberhard Jr. smiles and winks, and says “There won’t be anybody up there to read it!”
Even after all these years, you can still look around and occasionally see one of those old racing team pencils, which shows just how spectacularly popular the Faber-Castell duo was. Racing success of course comes and goes, but one thing is certain – those momentos will continue to be around for a long, long time to come. They are now a piece of racing history.
Yet, the story does not end there. In an astounding turn of events, Eberhard “Fireball” Faber was eventually found alive! That fascinating account and much, much more are in the Audio Archives. They are definitely recommended listening!