Patrick Sons Continuing Father's Legacy at O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags have created strong family ties and memories that carry on this season.
Buddy and Micah Patrick's father, Bill, passed away earlier this year, devastating the drag racing community. A pillar in the community, most knew Bill by name; he was a familiar face around the track. Honoring his memory, his sons continue the tradition that bonded them so closely: racing on the pit lane drag strip on Friday nights.
"One thing Dad always said if he ever passed away was we have to keep doing this, keep racing, make him proud," said older brother Buddy. "We built both of these (cars) from the ground up. They were rust buckets. And everything on this truck, we built. Nobody else built this. We're just trying to make him proud.
"If I could win just one trophy, that'd be cool. We won all kinds of trophies last year, but this year we stepped up a class, and I wish he was here to see it. Eventually, we'll make it. We'll get a trophy."
The biggest challenge for both Buddy and Micah is continuing to race and work on the 1948 Willy's milk truck that Buddy typically drives without their father by their side.
"He was the main mastermind behind everything, and just taking that extra step to make it faster without him (is hard)," said Buddy.
Through it all, the brothers have pushed on and made a few changes to the milk truck to add speed for the rest of the season.
"We put a lot more nitrous on it, and the motor's a little bit bigger. Trying to keep it off the back bumper is a challenge. Just getting down the track safely is the main concern," Buddy explained.
The duo shared their favorite memory of their father, this sport and the milk truck saying, "We'd go out in the shop and spend about 50 hours a week just working on the milk truck and tuning on it. We got a long driveway, so we'd launch it on the driveway. The Fourth of July was actually his favorite night. He'd always do a big wheelie, a crowd pleaser and two years ago, he won. He did a wheelie and won so maybe I can do it again. We'll see."
Buddy will look to claim his first victory of the season in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Division in the milk truck in Week 11 Friday night, while Micah, currently in fifth place in the championship points standings in the Truck Division will attempt to capitalize on his recent momentum behind the wheel of his 1955 Willy's pickup that includes a division victory two weeks ago in Week 9.
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags is a street-style drag racing series featuring grassroots competition in 18 different divisions, with a massive array of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Competing vehicles range from supercharged cars to stock vehicles and daily drivers. Contenders battle in a nightly, single-elimination tournament for trophies, bragging rights and season championship points.
Drag racing is open to any driver and nearly any vehicle. Entry fees are just $20, and drivers are required to have a working seat belt and a DOT-approved helmet to race.
Spectator admission is just $8, with children 5 and under admitted free. Exterior parking is free, and infield parking is $20.
The O'Reilly Auto Parts Driver Appreciation Night will take place next week on Friday, July 17 during Week 12 of competition. Prizes and giveaways include a $50 O'Reilly Auto Parts gift card for the winner of each division and a $25 gift card for each runner up. Additionally, O'Reilly Auto Parts representatives will be handing promo items to drivers and fans alike at their display space on the infield.
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags revs up each Friday night through Aug. 28. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., prior to the Show-N-Shine competition, and racing gets underway just after 9 p.m.
For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.