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Tatum back on track after scare

From staff reports

McDonough's Gary Tatum had a scare two weeks ago at Thursday Thunder, passing out in the garage area and experiencing sharp pain in his chest and shoulder.

Tatum, who had already decided not to race that night because he was feeling lightheaded, was transported to Henry Medical Center with those classic heart attack symptoms. He later received the good news that tests revealed he hadn't suffered a heart attack after all.

"I had just been diagnosed with diabetes two days earlier, and they gave me some medicine to take," Tatum said. "Well, I hadn't eaten all day and was pretty lightheaded, and then I just passed out. I guess I landed on my shoulder, and that's what gave me all the pain in my arm and chest n a badly pinched nerve."

After a couple nights in the hospital, Tatum was recuperating back home. He returned to Thursday Thunder last week as a spectator but ended up driving the pace car all night.

"That was fun n I was glad to help out," Tatum said. "I drove with my knee most of the night since I couldn't move my right shoulder too much, but I had it figured out by the end of the night."

Tatum started physical therapy on the shoulder Monday and said his doctor has already cleared him to return to racing this week. Regularly a Pro division competitor, Tatum will start at the back of the Chargers division on Thursday.

"I'm just going to ride around some," Tatum said with a chuckle. "I'll just be glad to be there and get back in it."

Rookie Roadster rules: Jim Egloff is on track to winning his first Roadsters division championship. With just one race remaining, he is nine points ahead of defending champion Jim Gresham. He would need to finish four places behind Gresham this week to lose his position in the standings, which doesn't seem likely for this seasoned rookie.

A Canadian resident for the past 18 years, Egloff moved to Georgia this year to be near his daughter. No stranger to racing, he ran modified sprint cars in the World of Outlaws series.

Perhaps that racing experience is what has helped him excel this season. Egloff has won five races and finished second twice more, never finishing worse than third. It has been an excellent season by any standards, but especially for a rookie.

Get the goodies: As is the tradition for Thursday Thunder, this week's final night of competition will be Fan Appreciation Night, this year sponsored by Papa John's and 96 Rock. The first 1,500 fans through the gate will receive goody bags from Papa John's and AMS.

This week, grandstand announcers Chipper and Zu will also empty out their prize closet, giving everything they've got to the fans via games, contests, trivia and more.

Fans can also finish up the 2004 Thursday Thunder campaign with cash, race tickets or Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride-alongs. Again this week, fans need only to register once to win tickets to this October's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend, RPDE ride-alongs, a $50 voucher from Washington Mutual, a shopping spree from Tanger Outlet Centers and racing merchandise.

Finally, don't miss the all-driver autograph session and pace lap (on the 1.54-mile track) before the racing action gets started this Thursday.

Thursday Thunder is a fun and affordable activity for the whole family. Admission for adults is just $5, children 6-11 are $1, and children 5 and under are free. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the racing action will start immediately.

For more information call (770) 946-4211.