THOMPSON WORLD SERIES LEFTOVERS, PART TWO by Mike Twist
Drivers and Team Show Their Class in Many Ways at Thompson
GOOD SPORTS ALL AROUND
There was plenty of good sportsmanship displays being made after the World Series at Thompson. Eddie Flemke walked over to the #48 team on pit road after the race and shook their hands, congratulating his rivals on their championship.
Hirschman was also quick to praise his competitor.
“Eddie Flemke did an awesome job this year,” said Hirschman. “His team kept us honest all year long.”
Also showing his class was defending champion Todd Szegedy, who made the rounds of the pit area after the race was over despite crashing with only a few laps to go and finishing 20th.
Szegedy walked over to Mike Stefanik’s hauler and talked about how much fun he had racing wheel to wheel with the race winner and then he walked over to Tony Hirschman and congratulated him and his team on their title.
Eddie Flemke shakes hands with the title winning #48 crew. (Howie Hodge Photo)
Because of his recent experience with winning a NASCAR Touring championship, Szegedy was also able to briefly fill Hirschman in and a few details of his visit to New York City as part of NASCAR’s Champions Week in December, where all of the national NASCAR champions from Nextel Cup down, get honored.
LONG PAYS TRIBUTE WITH PAINT SCHEME
Jim Long knows a little bit about New York City. The Modified racer is a resident of Staten Island and operates a business that covers a lot of ground in the Big Apple. He honored his hometown this weekend by showing up with a special paint scheme in tribute to the New York Police Department and New York Fire Department.
The events of September 11th hit Long especially hard because he was close to being at Ground Zero himself on that fateful day.
“I work in Manhattan a lot,” said Long. “My brother and I have a company, Priority Express Courier, that was based on the 57th floor of the World Trade Center for 15 years. My brother was on his way in (on September 11th) and I was right behind him. Fortunately for us, we raced at Chemung (NY) the weekend before and took off Monday. We were all backed up and running late. If it wasn’t for running Chemung, we probably would have been in the building. Thank God for racing because it kept me out of the building. I had a lot of cops and a lot of friends who were lost that day.”
It took a few years for Long to actually go forward and pay tribute to the fallen heroes of 9/11 on a racecar because he didn’t want the gesture to be taken the wrong way.
“We wanted to run a paint scheme like this before 9/11,” said Long. “What happened was 9/11 happened and it seemed like everyone cashed in on that idea. We didn’t want to play that down. It’s three years later now and since me and my brother we’re pretty close to being there, so we wanted to do this.”
Modified teams showed support for Meagan at Thompson. (51 Photo)
Meagan was recently diagnosed with a form on bone cancer and tumor have been found in her lungs. She has a year of treatments and surgery ahead of her.
This young lady is used to fighting though and will not be giving up. When she was just four days old, she was diagnosed with eye cancer. She underwent several difficult operations, but rebounded from that.
According to Yankeeracer.com, there is a way for people to help Meagan. A benefit fundraiser will be held on Saturday, November 20th at 6:00 PM at the Taunton VFW, 82 Ingell Street, Taunton, MA. The benefit will include a dinner, live
band and a large raffle. We are accepting donations for raffle items if anyone has any items they’d like to donate (race stuff, gift certificates etc.) For ticket or donation information, please call 508-823-3950.
Donations can also be made at the following address: The Meagan Chuckran Fund, C/O Bridgewater Savings Bank, 756 Orchard St., Raynham, MA
POLE WINNER DOESN’T STAY UP FRONT FOR START
Mike Andrews, Jr. was the surprise pole winner for the Modified Series race with a lap that may or may not have really happened (click here for the full story). He redrew the fifth position for the race, but he didn’t stay there for long.
The first time Modified Series starter elected to start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s race, sacrificing his top start. He eventually finished a solid 19th in the event.
One side of the #22 honored the NYFD and the other the NYPD. (51 Photo)
Long also hopes that the car can put NASCAR racing in a good light to help promote a proposal ¾-mile oval on Staten Island.
“Now that they’re building this NASCAR track on Staten Island, we’re trying to get some of the politicians in New York educated on NASCAR,” said Long. “Some of them are cool what it can bring. They are looking at the negatives like traffic and not the good things it can bring to New York. They don’t realize how big it is. It’s bigger than baseball or football right now and we’ll do anything that we can to help out.”
Even though Long did not qualify for the World Series, his weekend was a productive one.
“We’ve taking this car down to North Carolina (for the North South Shootout),” said Long. “This is like a test session for us to check out the motor. There are fifty cars here to qualify and it’s a tough series. I’m here with one crew member, so we just planned on coming here to see what we had. The car was good, we just missed it by a little bit.”
MOD TEAMS TRY TO HELP MEAGAN
Several teams at Thompson ran with a decal that simply said “Meagan”. The decals were to recognize Meagan Chuckran, the daughter of Dick Houlihan’s fiancé Kim.
CLICK HERE For Thompson World Series Leftovers Part 1
CLICK HERE For Thompson World Series Leftovers Part 3