Hoosier Charges South To Race Legends Series
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
When 15-year-old Tyler Flick looked for a summer job, he found more than he bargained for with Mark Wallace, who co-owns Dave Blaney¿s No. 77 Jasper Engines Winston Cup machine with Flick¿s father Doug Bawel.
Not only did Flick find a job with Wallace, he also found himself in the seat of one of Wallace¿s two Jasper Engines and Transmissions Legends cars racing in the Thursday Thunder series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
¿Tyler¿s a long way from home, but they live in southern Indiana where there¿s not a lot of racing,¿ Mark Wallace said. ¿Tyler loves racing, so Doug asked me if I would help him out. We¿re just going to work through the summer and see if this kid¿s got any talent or not.¿
While the pair run in different divisions on the Thunder Ring, Flick said racing against his boss and car owner wasn¿t totally out of the question.
¿He has a lot more experience than I do racing and he¿d beat me,¿ he said. ¿But I¿m hoping by the end of the summer I¿ll be running at least almost as good as he does. Our cars are almost exactly the same.¿
Flick hopes to run midget cars in Indiana and Ohio next year and eventually work his way to the American Speed Association or Hooters Pro Cup. Of course, his ultimate goal is Winston Cup.
Wallace could easily help Flick achieve his goals ¿ he owns cars in the Hooters Pro Cup series as well as the Winston Cup ride. Flick, however, doesn¿t want the assistance.
¿The association with Mark is nice, but I want to have earned my job, not get it because my dad gives it to me,¿ Flick said. ¿So it¿s not really Dave Blaney¿s job I¿m after, but it¿s somebody¿s.¿
Flick traveled from his home in Jasper, Ind. to move in with Wallace in Griffin, Ga. last month. Wallace plans to keep his protégé busy until Flick returns to Indiana for school in the fall.
¿I¿m working my tail off,¿ Flick said. ¿But so far it¿s been great ¿ I get to work on the farm all day and then play with our cars all night.¿
On the weekends, Flick has been traveling with Wallace¿s Hooters Pro Cup team, lending a hand where he can.
¿I¿ve been doing everything for Mark that you can imagine, from checking air pressures to doing normal farm work,¿ Flick said. ¿I¿m working really hard, but this is an experience I¿ll never forget and one I doubt I could get any other way.¿
While Flick¿s summer job may have become more about the experience than the paycheck, he¿s hoping this summer will help him rake in the big bucks in the future.
¿I want to race, and this is the best opportunity to get my career started I¿ve had, really,¿ Flick said.
Flick, Wallace and the rest of the Thursday Thunder competitors run every Thursday through Aug. 7 in Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder series. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets for adults are just $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.