Dedicated Dad Gets a Scare En Route to Thursday Thunder
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Wayne Flick is a dedicated dad. Each week, he drives the 600 miles from his hometown of Carmel, Ind., to see his son Tyler race in the Chargers division of Thursday Thunder.
Last week, Flick was looking forward to a nice respite from driving. Tyler¿s stepdad, Doug Bawel ¿ co-owner of the No. 77 NEXTEL Cup car driven by Brendan Gaughan ¿ offered to fly Wayne to Georgia for the race. Bawel was already headed down for business, and he was happy to have a companion to travel with.
But instead of a peaceful flight, Wayne Flick said he saw his life flash before his eyes as the plane¿s windshield cracked at 26,000 feet.
¿I thought, ¿Hm, I¿m going to die,¿¿ Wayne Flick said. ¿But thank goodness the pilot knew what he was doing. He stayed very calm and guided the plane down as quickly as possible ¿ but not too quickly, or the whole windshield would have blown out.¿
Flick and his traveling companions returned safely to the ground and then took a different plane to Georgia for Thursday night's races.
INJURY REPORT: Seven weeks ago, Jeremy Kalina was riding 4-wheelers with friends when he suddenly lost control and crashed the heavy vehicle. The next thing Kalina knew, he was looking down at his chest, noting that there was a bone poking his skin out at a funny angle.
Kalina, who won the 2002 Young Lions champion and was last year¿s Semi-Pro runner-up, jumped up to inspect the rest of his body, but a sudden feeling of lightheadedness forced him to lay down.
¿I was a little worried, because it was obvious something was wrong with my collarbone,¿ Kalina said. ¿But I was pretty sure the rest of me was all in the right places.¿
Just as Kalina had suspected, he had a badly broken collarbone. He underwent surgery the next day, and surgeons implanted a plate that will be taken out after five months.
In the meantime, Kalina¿s collarbone has healed, and he was cleared to race last Friday. He went immediately to the Pro Lions National Championship in Mobile, Ala., which he won.
In his return to Thursday Thunder racing last week, Kalina finished sixth in his Pro division debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
FORMER LEGEND WINS: Former Thursday Thunder champion Reed Sorenson won his first Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) race last weekend in just his second start with the series. Sorenson, in Chip Ganassi¿s Sherwin Williams-Target Dodge, finished more than six seconds ahead of second-place finisher Matt Hagans. Former Thursday Thunder competitor David Ragan was in the top 5 all day until his engine expired with 33 laps to go.
Sorenson, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate from Peachtree City, was the 1998 Young Lions champion, the 1999 Semi-Pro champion and the 2001 Pro champion at Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s Thursday Thunder.
He was signed last year as a development driver for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup owner Chip Ganassi, who announced recently that he would be starting a new in-house Busch Series team to further develop his young drivers. Sorenson will start four Busch races this season, including the Oct. 30 Aaron¿s 312 at his home track.
NEW NICKNAME: Tanger Outlet Center Masters driver Brian Weimer has the unusual distinction of being the only Thursday Thunder driver to flip twice in two seasons. And that has earned him the distinguished nickname of ¿Flipper¿ from teammate Keith ¿Breazy¿ Breasbois.
After flipping during the week 2 festivities, Weimer crawled into a backup car on Friday night and won in Anderson, S.C., then finished second the next night at Lanier.
Weimer managed to stay upright during week 3 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing second.
THURSDAY THUNDER GOES PATRIOTIC ON JULY 1: If racing and fireworks are on your July agenda, then Atlanta Motor Speedway is the place to be. In addition to the fantastic fireworks show following the evening¿s racing, there will also be special games for children and families all night. As always, admission will be just $5 for adults, $1 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and under.
WILLIAM HUNG AT JULY 15 EVENTS: Known best for his heartfelt and energetic performance of ¿She Bangs¿ on this year¿s American Idol competition, William Hung will make a special appearance at the July 15 Thursday Thunder events.
Hung will sign autographs for 30 minutes after the gates open at 6 p.m. and sing several songs throughout the night of racing.