Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series News Release:
Contact – ROBY HELM – (865) 207-4157CHEVY SUPER SERIES DRIVER MARK DOWDY INSPIRES OTHERS WITH HIS COURAGE
CARTERSVILLE, GA – The Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series opens its 2014 season this Saturday night with a 50-lap $3,000-to-win race at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL. From the time the gates open, through the Chevy Fan Zone activities, and through the competition on track, one driver will inspire everyone there, just by his being there.
The local fans in the Chevy Fan Zone at Talladega Short Track will know and recognize their hometown heroes that will compete this Saturday night with the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series. But there is one driver they may not be that familiar with, but once they meet him, they will never forget him.
This driver has yet to win a race, post a top 5 finish, or capture a fast time award with the Chevy Super Series, but he will show you how to overcome adversity with tremendous courage and do it with a smile on his face. This driver will have the most difficult time getting to the Chevy Fan Zone compared to the other drivers, but he will be the first one there.
The Chevy Fan Zone is a pre-race meet and greet between the race fans and the drivers, who bring their race cars to the fans in the Grandstand area. All of the drivers, but one, will climb out of their race cars to meet the fans. Mark Dowdy of Waterloo, AL will sit on the door of his race car, even though he would love to climb all of the way out of his race car and stand on his own two feet.
The reality of Dowdy’s position perched on a car door in the Chevy Fan Zone is he can’t stand on his own two feet, but that is one of the very few things Dowdy can’t do. Mark Dowdy is America’s first ever paralyzed dirt late model driver.
Dowdy woke up and got ready to go to work on May 13, 2008. It was a pretty spring morning, so Dowdy decided to ride to work on his motorcycle. While going around a curve, the back wheel of the motorcycle locked up and Dowdy fought to keep the bike upright. But, it went down and slid across the highway into the oncoming lane where Dowdy was struck by a pick-up truck.
He was alive, but remained unconscious for two days. When Dowdy woke up, he learned he would live, but his life would be dramatically changed forever.
Dowdy suffered six broken ribs that punctured his right lung, and lost three and a half pints of blood. That was the good news. The bad news was that he suffered a complete fracture of his T-11 vertebrae and a severed spinal cord. The doctors told Dowdy he was paralyzed from the waist down and would never walk again.
Game over. End of racing career. A struggle to live the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Now, that’s how some people might first react after hearing such devastating news. Mark Dowdy was no exception to feeling that way, but only for a fleeting moment. Dowdy will admit he had some difficulty accepting his fate, but he did accept the fact he would never walk again.
One fact that Dowdy refused to accept was that he would never drive a race car again. Dowdy had already established himself as a successful dirt late model driver in his native Michigan, and he also competed in Ohio and Indiana. Prior to his accident, Mark was planning a move to Alabama to establish himself in South as an accomplished race car driver, welder and fabricator.
Dowdy spent six weeks in the hospital and upon his release; he began to learn how to live confined to a wheelchair. There was both physical therapy to strengthen his upper body, and occupational therapy to learn how to function and do things that people who can use their legs might take for granted.
There were new ways that Dowdy had to learn about getting out of bed in the morning, taking a shower, and getting dressed. Therapists are very good at teaching how to do those things, but there is one thing they don’t teach – how to drive a race car without using your legs.
When it came for Dowdy to reach for his lofty goal of driving a race car again, he was on his own, but not for long. Dowdy’s lifelong friend Dennis Brewer was there to help Dowdy come up with a way and the means for him to once again power slide a dirt late model at over 100 miles per hour.
The first chore was to get Dowdy in the car, and that was accomplished with a small hinged driver’s door that folded down and put him parallel to his seated position in the wheelchair. Dowdy could now hoist himself out of the chair and into the seat of his race car. The next part was a little more complicated, and that was how to operate the race car.
Dowdy and Brewer developed a steering wheel with hand controls that enabled Dowdy to control the throttle, brake and steering without ever having to take his hands off the wheel. When the 2009 racing season arrived, they were ready to “test and tune” their efforts.
In two months’ time, Dowdy was once again competitive in dirt late model racing thanks to his courage, determination, ingenuity and innovation. His talent and desire to drive a race car never left him. He just had to learn a new way to do it.
Last season, Dowdy competed in six of the seven Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series races with one ninth-place finish, and he placed 14th in the point standings. Dowdy is looking to improve in 2014, but even if he doesn’t run up front, fans are impressed with just seeing Dowdy on the race track, and are given inspiration by Dowdy through his attitude and courage he displays just to pull his race car on to the race track.
When he wins his first Chevy Super Series race, Dowdy will have accomplished a feat no other dirt late model driver has done.
If you’re a race fan, you will be impressed with the action Dowdy and the rest of the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series competitors will provide this Saturday night at Talladega Short Track. But even if you are not a race fan, come out to the track and meet Mark Dowdy. Just meeting this impressive man will be worth the price of admission, and Dowdy will make you a fan of the sport.
Joining Dowdy in the Chevy Fan Zone before the races and on the track during the event will be several Talladega Short Track favorites that include Tim Busha of Boaz, AL, the father and sin team of Ross and Adam Martin of Talladega, AL, Ted Lackey of Munford, AL, defending TST Late Model Champion Tim Roszell of Anniston, AL, Carlton Freeman of Eastaboga, AL, Steve Kirk of Munford, AL, and Dingus Griffin of Ohatchee, AL.
Busha finished second in the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series point standings last season and the won the Dega 100 for the Chevy Super Series last October at Talladega Short Track. Ross Martin is the 2013 Ice Bowl Champion at TST, and his son Adam Martin was the 2008 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series East Region Champion.
Other top entries for the 50-lap $3,000-to-win Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series race this Saturday night at Talladega Short Track include the defending series champion William Thomas of Phenix City, AL, National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame inductee Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN, Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA, Brent Barrett of Cleveland, MS, Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL, David Brannon of Elora, TN, Frank Wilson of Milton, FL, David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, TN, Jake Knowles of Tyrone, GA, Ronald Dunn of Corinth, MS, and Jimmy Crowder of Lamont, FL.
This Saturday night, the gates open at 4 p.m., with Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series Pre-Race Registration and Technical Inspection from 4 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. The Chevy Fan Zone will be open at 5:30 p.m., and the Drivers Meeting is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. with Hot Laps and Racing to follow.
Talladega Short Track is located at 4343 Speedway Blvd., Eastaboga, AL 36260. For more information call 256-831-1413, or visit the track web site at www.talladegashorttrack.com
. You can also like them on Facebook at Talladega Short Track.
For more information about the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.525superseries.com
, or visit the series on Facebook at Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series.