Photo by Derrick Mahone
Last season, Luke Behnke won the Semi-pro division at Thursday Thunder. The Fayetteville resident will race part-time this season on the summer racing series while working some NASCAR events for TNT.
Luke Behnke knows at some point that his racing career will end.
The 19-year-old Fayetteville native is now taking advantage of some other career opportunities on the racing circuit to ensure that he will be close to the sport he loves.
A year after winning the Semi-pro division in the Thursday Thunder summer racing series, Behnke will only race part-time this season because of an internship with TNT. He will work six NASCAR races on the TNT broadcast, and he is also doing some social media work for driver Andy Hogan.
“I’m looking forward to my work for TNT,” Behnke said. “I have a big passion for public relations work.”
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a hard decision to make about missing most of the Thursday Thunder series this summer. He knows that he will probably not be able to defend his title.
“It will be tough being away from the track,” said the Kennesaw State sophomore. “I realize that my racing will end one day. I’m trying to prepare myself for that day. I had a great opportunity that presented itself, so I decided to follow that.”
Last season, Behnke and William Plemons III had a competitive division showdown, which was decided on the last race of the summer. Behnke has 973 points to win the title while Plemons finished with 972 points.
“It was a lot of fun last season,” Behnke said. “Having grown up racing, it is tough not to be there during the races. I will definitely come back.”
AMS president Ed Clark, who also races legends cars, said that Behnke will do well with his internship.
“Luke has a lot of talent,” Clark said. “There are all kinds of careers available in racing for someone who doesn’t make it as a driver. He has a great personality, and I’m sure he will make a lot of contacts out there.”
Last season was the second time in his career that Behnke had won a Thursday Thunder racing series. He was the 2009 Outlaws division champion. In his first season in the semi-pro division, Behnke finished runner-up in 2010 after one win and three runner-up finishes.
“Coming out to the track is a lot of fun,” Behnke said. “I’m looking forward to this season.”