Family Rivalry Takes Local Racer to Victory Lane
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
¿The Tortoise and the Hare¿ claimed slow and steady wins the race, but 17-year-old Chris Dilbeck of Hampton knows slow and steady won¿t get you anywhere but the back of the pack.
Since his dad bought him a Bandolero car four years ago, Dilbeck has been a contender on tracks all across the southeast, winning the 1999 Bandolero Georgia Dirt Track Championship and 2001 Young Guns Georgia State Championship.
Now a Legends driver in the Pro division, Dilbeck still peddles the car his dad bought ¿ at least at some of the tracks, including Lanier and Senoia.
But for racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, Dilbeck takes his other car ¿ the one owned by his mom.
The ¿Mom¿ car vs. ¿Dad¿ car debate, in fact, has sparked a little intrafamily rivalry. But there¿s no love lost between the rivals. Brent and Deborah have been happily married for more than two decades and make sure their competition remains friendly
¿We know it¿s all just out of love, but my mom calls dad¿s car ¿Slug¿ because when we got it the car was all junky and beat up,¿ Dilbeck said. ¿It was gray and horrible looking ¿ it really looked like a slug.
The car, however, never ran like a slug. They won races with the car before they even had a chance to repair and repaint the body.
Slug¿s been running well this year, dominating at Lanier National Speedway and never finishing outside the top 5 in the Pro Legends division at Lanier. Dilbeck has won two races and is currently second in points at the Braselton track.
His mom¿s car, typically the ¿hare¿ of the pair, had been off and on this season. Dilbeck won three races with it at Atlanta Motor Speedway last season but managed just a sixth-place finish in the first week of competition this year. He followed that up with a commanding win last week in the Pro division, leading every lap and taking over the points lead.
Dilbeck is ranked 10th nationally in Pro points, and the rivalry over his cars could be helping to push him to the front of the pack.
¿It¿s mostly a joke, but I think sometimes they really want their car to win, so they push me to run better when I¿m in their car,¿ Dilbeck said. ¿I just go out and run as good as I can and don¿t really care whose car I¿m in.¿
No matter whose car Dilbeck is driving, both mom and dad make sure they make it to the track to see their youngest son race.
¿Racing is a family thing for us,¿ Dilbeck said. ¿So no matter whose car I¿m driving, they are right there cheering for me. They want me to charge through the pack every race. I wouldn¿t be anywhere if they weren¿t both behind me 100 percent.¿
Dilbeck will defend his latest Atlanta Motor Speedway win this Thursday during Rhubarb¿s March Across Georgia Night presented by Eagle 106.7 FM and Gresham and Associates. on Thursday, June 19. Thursday Thunder continues each Thursday through Aug. 7. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets for adults are $5, ages 6-11 are $1 and children under 6 are free. Call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 770-946-4211 for more information.