Sterling Heights, MI (Thursday, July 23, 2020) - Less than three weeks after a crash that resulted in a pair of broken wrists for Buckley, Michigan late model driver, Brandon Thirlby, the two-time American Ethanol Late Model Tour Champion is preparing to climb back behind the wheel this weekend at Tri-City Motor Speedway.
On Saturday, July 4th, Thirlby was involved in a last-lap crash during an event at Lake City, Michigan’s Merritt Speedway where he “Boe Duke-ed it”, as he explained referring to the high flying Duke Brothers from the popular classic TV show, Dukes of Hazzard, over the nose of a fellow competitor. Despite finishing the event fifth, Thirlby was well aware something wasn’t right following the race, as he and his team quickly loaded up and headed for a nearby hospital. Following x-rays, it was determined the 32-year-old had broken both wrists in the incident.
Just 19 days later, Thirlby announced on his Brandon Thirlby Racing Facebook page Thursday that he’ll be back in action Friday night at Auburn, Michigan’s Tri-City Motor Speedway for the first night of a double-header weekend for the Lane Automotive/Allstar Performance Tri-City/Merritt Speedway Late Model Challenge Series Supported by American Ethanol. For Thirlby, it’s a good time to come back, with a pair of $3,000-to-win shows on the line. As far as his track record with broken bones, he’s actually got a fairly good resume.
In 2018, Thirlby suffered an injury at work that resulted in a broken foot and a boot-cast for several weeks. He didn’t let that slow him down though, as he returned to I-96 Speedway shortly after the incident and went out and won the feature his first time back in the car. Prior to that, Thirlby had broken a wrist during his first full-time season in racing back in 2011.
When asked about his pain and ability to drive the car, Thirlby remained optimistic. “[The pain is] not too bad. These [stints] are so stiff, I can’t actually even move anything below my knuckles. I can basically just grip stuff. As far as movement and all that, it’s not too bad,” Thirlby said.
When it comes to determination and willingness to be on the track, he told Horsepower Happenings’, Zach Hiser, that he doesn’t have too many concerns heading into the weekend. “If I don’t feel like - not so much me myself - but if I don’t feel comfortable, as far as if I get in a situation, I don’t want to mess someone else’s night up. If I don’t feel comfortable I’ll load up and call it a weekend,” Thirlby concluded.
Thirlby currently sits fifth in Late Model Challenge Series Championship Points standings and is well within striking distance of fourth place Dona Marcoullier, and could overtake third place, Chad Finley, with a strong showing this weekend.
Horsepower Happenings’, Rich Frantz will be on hand all weekend long providing race day updates on the Horsepower Happenings Facebook page, as well as up-to-the-moment in race updates on Twitter @HPHpodcast.
For more stories like this and continued updates on tracks plan through COVID-19, visit horsepowerhappenings.com. Tune in to the weekly podcast premiering every Monday evening or listen anytime on-demand. Follow Horsepower Happenings on Facebook and on Twitter @HPHpodcast.
Story by - Zach Hiser, Motor City Racing Promotions
Photo - Brandon Thirlby Racing