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Patrick family bonds through drag racing

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

Some families spend quality time golfing.

Others wet a line at one of the local fishing holes.

Stockbridge's Bill Patrick and his sons Buddy and Micah prefer something with a little more speed-- likedrag racing.

The family has become a hit inside Atlanta Motor Speedway as they participate weekly in Friday Night Drags.

Bill Patrick captured first place in the Truck Advanced Series last year and begins his quest to defend his title in his white "Milk Truck" starting tonight when the points races begin after three exhibition tune ups last month.

"We are ready to go racing for real," Bill said.

There is plenty of history behind Patrick's truck, which has become a fan favorite the past couple of seasons at Friday Night Drags.

In fact, it was the fans who starting calling the white-painted truck the "Milk Truck" even though it has never delivered milk, and looks more like a mail truck."

" I built this for my Dad 15 years ago," Bill Patrick said.

The engine goes back even further than that.

It was built when Bill, now 41, was just 17 and came out of a 1969 Camero.

"He took it out there, got a couple of tickets and parked it," Bill said of his dad who street raced it in Louisiana.

The car basically sat for 10 years until Bill stepped back in.

"I told my boys let's go to Louisiana and we are going to race this thing," he said. "We brought it back and I made some fine tuning adjustments, and it works and we are happy about it.

In the middle of the season last year, he discovered his prized truck needed a little more power and he switched to a bigger engine to get more boost.

It worked as he won the Truck Advance Division in a battle between two other Southern Crescent drivers-- Chuck Pool, who is also from Stockbridge and Jonesboro's Terry Queen.

He wants to pass on his love of drag racing to his two sons, both students at People's Baptist Academy.

If he has his way, he will defend his title in the Truck Advanced Series and then watch his son Buddy also compete in the truck as part of a stock truck class. The racing future could include an additional truck too.

"I love working and racing with my Dad," Buddy said. "I just want to make my Dad proud."

Micha was the youngest competitor last year and enjoys being out with his Dad and older brother,

"I like the adrenaline rush and the crowds," he sid.

Bill Patrick is currently building a 1955 pickup and that new toy might make its debut a Friday Night Drags.

When Micha gets a little older Bill Patrick plans to build a truck for him too.

Most recently the two sons have been content to race motorcycles.

But all three agree there is no better adrineline rush then competing on Friday Nights.

"The crowd goes crazy," Patrick said. "Anything coming off the ground, they love. These people are great out here. If I had this when I was my kids age, I wouldn't have gotten in trouble with the law like I did. There is always going to be street racing, I did it growing up, but I am trying to keep them from doing," Patrick said pointing to his sons. It is in our blood, and this gives us a perfect place to do it."

Friday Night Drags began four years ago and has grown each and every year, expanding this season to 17 dates. On average Friday Night Drags averages 225 competitors, 90 show cars, and almost 5,000 fans.

This year there will be 15 different classes, competing in street-style drag racing down Atlanta Motor Speedways pit lan drag strip.

Admission to the Friday Night Drags is $7.

The cost to enter the drag race or Show and Shine Competition is 20, both can be entered for $30.