Fox Sports VP Gets Greasy at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
If Hunter Nickell¿s employees could see him on Thursday nights, they would probably never recognize him. Or at least that¿s what his 18-year-old son Pete Nickell thinks.
Hunter Nickell is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fox Sports Net, based here in Atlanta. His son is a competitor in the Thursday Thunder summer racing series at Atlanta Motor Speedway. And each Thursday night during the summer, father and son can be found covered in grease, under the car in the hot and steamy garage at AMS.
¿Some of the folks who work with dad have joked about taking a picture of him out here with the grease all over him and taking it up to work,¿ Pete said. ¿I don¿t think they¿d believe it if there wasn¿t proof.¿
Pete got interested in racing when Hunter¿s Fox Sports got involved in the broadcast of NASCAR races two years ago.
¿We were both trying to learn more about the sport, and so Dad brought me down here to test drive a Legends car,¿ Pete said. ¿I fell in love with it and have been down here ever since.¿
Now 18, Pete is considering a career in auto racing, be it driving or working on the cars. He will attend Winthrop University in the fall, and for now his major will be undecided.
¿This is definitely something I want to keep doing on a consistent basis,¿ Pete said. ¿If I can one day do it as more than a hobby, that¿s great. But I want to somehow be involved, I think.¿
BIG SHOES TO FILL: Young Lions driver Trent Mayo feels for Shaquille O¿Neal. After all, he knows what the big-footed star goes through when he tries to find shoes to fit.
O¿Neal, the 7-foot star of the Los Angeles Lakers, wears a size 26 shoe. And Mayo is edging ever closer to that mark, at 15 already a size 17EEEE.
FOOD FOR PANTRY: The food drive held in conjunction with Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s first Faster Pastor event gathered three truckloads of canned goods for the Five Loaves and Two Fish Food Pantry in Griffin.
The items, donated by race fans attending the July 10 and July 17 Thursday Thunder events, will feed more than 6,000 families three meals a day for a week, according to Eddie Whitlock of Five Loaves and Two Fish.
TEAMWORK GETS RACER BACK ON TRACK: When Bandolero racer Justin Swilling of Cohutta broke a rear axle in practice on Wednesday night, he wasn¿t sure he¿d be able to race for triple points in the two sets of feature races during last Thursday¿s racing action Atlanta Motor Speedway.
¿I came bobbling down the frontstretch and I couldn¿t figure out how we were going to get it fixed,¿ Swilling said. ¿I wanted them to stay and fix it Wednesday night because I didn¿t think I was going to get to race Thursday. We just left the car at the track and got there really early on Thursday. It took a lot of teamwork, but we got it fixed.¿
Swilling, with the help of his family and Legends of Georgia Director Pete Horne, was able to repair his broken rear axle shortly before the races began on Thursday and finish both features in seventh position. He is sixth in points in the Atlanta Dental Team Bandits division.
¿Racing¿s all about teamwork even though there¿s only one of you in the car,¿ said Swilling, 10. ¿There¿s a lot of times you wouldn¿t make it on the track if the guy next to you in the garage didn¿t help you out. I guess we¿re just lucky we didn¿t break the frame ¿ when that happens no one can help you out.¿
LATE NIGHT ESCAPE STEALS SLEEP: Moore Machinery Movers Young Gun division racer Chase Moody (Griffin) missed out on a little sleep the night before last week¿s Thursday Thunder event, but it didn¿t seem to hurt his racing.
Moody¿s family runs Flint River Camp, and last week campers were treated to horseback riding lessons. The Moodys constructed a fence and secured the ten borrowed horses before going to bed Wednesday night. Or so they thought.
¿I kept hearing someone knocking,¿ said Chase¿s father Chip Moody. ¿I couldn¿t figure out who would be knocking at 3:30 in the morning. I figured I better go answer it incase someone was sick at the camp or something.¿
Moody was astonished to find the Sheriff standing on his porch.
¿He asked if we had any horses, and I told him we did,¿ Chip Moody said. ¿He said there were ten at the neighbor¿s house about half a mile down the road. I was surprised because we only had ten horses. Every one of them had gotten out.¿
The Moody family spent almost an hour collecting the Harry Houdini-influenced horses before they could return to bed.
Despite the rude awakening, Chase Moody finished in the top ten of both Young Guns features on July 17.