By Jeffery Armstrong
Hampton's Chris Dilbeck may have won the Roadsters Division race Thursday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, but it was Jim Egloff of Griffin who was the real champ during Week 8 of Thursday Thunder.
Just two days after major surgery, Egloff, the Roadsters points leader, competed in Thursday's race and finished in third place. That's not bad, considering Egloff was rushed to the emergency room last Friday and had a kidney stone removed this past Tuesday.
"I'm feeling a little discomfort right now, but otherwise I'm okay," said Egloff, 54. "I had planned to run a lap or two, but since there were more drivers than usual, I had to finish the race."
Egloff was determined to race at Thursday Thunder despite the surgery, which obviously sidelined him Tuesday in Charlotte. The doctors did tell him that he could race on Thursday.
"Before they even started the operation, I asked the doctors if I could race at Thursday Thunder. They said it was okay and I was glad," Egloff said. "I'm first in points now and if I didn't race tonight, I would've dropped from first to last."
Thursday's Roadsters race was different for Egloff and fellow driver Jim Gresham of Stockbridge because they actually had a "crowded" field in their race. Egloff and Gresham, the only two drivers to compete in all eight Roadsters races this season, were joined by Pro driver Dilbeck and Masters drivers Dwight Pilgram of Stockbridge and Brian Weimer of Cumming. Dilbeck, who also won Thursday's Pro Division race, was driving former Thursday Thunder champ David Moore's car.
Egloff said there is a reasonable explanation as to why he and Gresham were the only two Roadsters drivers (along with a few appearances by Dale Akridge) this year.
"Basically, we're in the heart of stock car country. A lot of people want to drive Legends cars here instead of Indy cars like the Roadsters," Egloff said. "That's why there's so few of us at Thursday Thunder. In Charlotte, there are 30 Roadsters out there every Tuesday."
On Tuesday there were only 29 Roadster racers at Charlotte since Eglogg was having major surgery. What's interesting is that the kidney stone surgery wasn't the only major operation Egloff has had in his life. He's also had his appendix, tonsils and gall bladder removed.
"I won't have any body parts left after awhile," Egloff said.
Other Thursday Thunder winners in Week 8 were Casey Roderick (Atlanta Dental Team Bandolero Bandits), Tina Johnson (Outlaws), Mahlon Winstead (Estes Heating and Air Semi-Pro), Mark Wallace (Tanger Outlet Center Masters), Brad Shelnutt of Stockbridge (Chargers) and Jason Magagna (Bandolero Young Guns).
Note: Pro Division driver Gary Tatum of McDonough was taken to Henry Medical Center before the start of racing on Thursday. Tatum, 35, complained of chest pains and EMS officials said he might have had a heart attack. They took Tatum, who has diabetes and recently switched to a new medicine, to Henry Medical for precautionary measures.