Racing is a dangerous business.
Even though safety is being emphasized more and more, racing is still a risky undertaking.
Every time a driver gets into a racecar he is risking life and life and limb.
A case in point was Friday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway during qualifying for an American Speed Association race.
One of our local guys, McDonough's Doug Stevens, was preparing to qualify Friday and was just completing a warm-up lap when he crashed. He was coming out of his warm-up lap and was ready to take the green flag for his qualifying lap when he wrecked.
He was going at full-speed into turns 3 and 4 when he crashed into turn 4. The incident is being investigated by the ASA but a cut tire is believed to be the cause of the wreck.
Stevens broke several bones and is currently being treated at Kentucky Medical Center. Later this week, he should be able to fly back to the Atlanta area, where he is expected to be transferred to Piedmont Hospital.
When I first heard about the wreck Friday evening from WSB's Herb Emory, it came as a shock.
I have covered racing for the past four years now and even though I've seen some wrecks, none of the local drivers that I know had been seriously injured until Stevens' wreck in Kentucky. When you're around racing for any length of time, you know that wrecks are going to happen but you're not quite prepared to deal with it when someone you know gets seriously hurt.
Most of the local drivers I have gotten to know over the past few years are good guys and Stevens definitely falls into that category.
"He's a nice guy," Emory said. "I have never heard a harsh word out of him and he's always willing to help us out with our Toys for Tots every year. He's helped with the Toys for Tots every year he's been driving the big cars."
He has helped numerous local Legends car drivers through his Advanced Technology Motorsports race shop in Lovejoy.
If you attend any local Legends races, it's a good bet that Stevens and mechanic Andy James have worked on many of the cars you see out on the tracks. If you go into the garage areas at local races, you'll see Stevens behind-the-scenes working on other guys' cars and giving them advice on how to race better on the track.
"I've known Doug ever since I got into Legends racing," Chris Dilbeck said. "When I was racing Bandoleros, I would watch him race and then when I got into Legends, me and him became like brothers?he's an all-around great guy."
Saturday at Lanier National Speedway, a lot of the drivers were definitely thinking about Stevens as they had ?Get well soon Doug' stickers on their cars and they signed an oversized get-well card to send to Kentucky.
Even though Stevens faces a tough road ahead for the next several months, he has a lot of folks rallying around him and cheering him on, hoping his recovery goes as smoothly as possible. Racing fans can also show their support for Stevens on-line. Fans who want to send Stevens get-well wishes can do so in the guestbook section of the www.dougstevensracing.com website.
Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his columns appear Wednesday. He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org