For Mark Woody and his relatives, Saturday evenings at East Lincoln Motor Speedway have become a family affair.
The Dallas resident and owner of Under Water World in Lincolnton took up dirt racing this year after watching his brother-in-law and friend tear up the track.
â€œI figured if they could do it, then I could do it,â€ said Woody.
In his short time behind the wheel, Woody has taken home four first place finishes and nine top four finishes in the 15 rookie level races he has competed in.
He is currently second in the points category out of 18 – 20 racers and hopes to take home the top overall trophy at the end of the season in September. Woody has nine more races to make that goal happen.
â€œJust so I can say that I am the champion,â€ he said.
Next year he will move up to the pro level with his brother-in-law Johnny Toney and friend Tony Taylor. The threesome arenâ€™t too competitive and help each other out getting their cars ready for the next race.
â€œWe work together to get back on the track next week,â€ said Woody.
Woody also gets a lot of support from his father, Charles, who spends a good amount of time making sure all the car parts, which Woody purchases from junkyards and other racers, are working. He is currently saving his winnings to buy a new motor.
Besides help with his vehicle, Woody has cheerleaders in his wife, Heather; mother, Teresa; and children, Ashley, 8, and Justin, 6, who go to all his races.
â€œBefore I got into it the kids would go with my mom to see my brother-in-law,â€ said Woody.
Ashley most enjoys seeing her dad cross the finish line first.
â€œI think itâ€™s great because he won four trophies,â€ said Ashley.
Justin prefers seeing the action during the race.
â€œI like the wrecks because they flip,â€ said Justin.
Woodyâ€™s wrecks havenâ€™t been that bad, however. His family hopes that never happens.
â€œWe enjoy it. If he had a wreck, it would scare me, but we havenâ€™t encountered that yet,â€ said Teresa.
Woody has even found a way to include his business in his racing. His race car bares the Under Water World logo.
Although Woody has racked up trophies and prize money in his short career, he doesnâ€™t do it for the rewards, but for pure enjoyment. That doesnâ€™t mean he would pass up the opportunity to race in the big leagues, however.
â€œIf I had the opportunity I wouldnâ€™t turn it down thatâ€™s for sure,â€ Woody said.
Races take place at the East Lincoln Motor Speedway, 1873 Mariposa Road, Stanley, every Saturday AT 7 p.m. For more information, call (704) 263-5347.
To sponsor Woody, call Under Water World at (704) 736-0966.
by Mary Williams