By: Jason M. Neely
I’m going to start this article off as the first of a three part series. I’m going to tell you about a
unique individual who has overcome in a situation where most would give up. On may 13th 2008 race car driver Mark Dowdy was riding his motorcycle that morning, just like allot of mornings nothing unusual, little did he know when he left home that day how his life would change forever. You see Mark was hit head on by a Dodge Ram Truck which left him not only in a battle to live that day in which he lost 3.5 pints of blood but would leave him with 6 broke ribs, punctured lungs, t-11 burst fracture of vertebrae, and severed spinal cord, which actually means your paralyzed, and that’s what Marks doctors informed him while still in the hospital fighting to survive …you will never walk or race again.
Mark got involved in racing his freshmen year of high school in his native state of Michigan, he started by learning to weld and turn wrenches on cars and that planted the seed in him that he knew he would not only work on the car but eventually be a driver. From the late 80′s onthrough the 90′s until 2008 Mark had numerous wins all over the Midwest from Michigan to Alabama and has raced at well over 100 different race tracks throughout this region many IMCA and UMP modified wins as well as wins in other divisions and now doctors are telling you, that you will never walk again much less race. For most that would be a death sentence in itself but not Mark just a few months after being released from the hospital he moved to Alabama and went to work. Mark knew he would drive again and that’s just what he’s doing on any giving night especially when Thunder hill Speedway in Summertown Tn is open. Mark and his current crew chief Dennis Brewer designed a steering wheel that allows Mark to control his throttle and brake without ever letting go of the wheel and are also in the works designing a easier way for someone paralyzed to get in and out of the race car. You see race fans Mark is the first paralyzed dirt late-model driver in the country, now that’s impressive and not only does he get out there and get it on with some of the best in the southeast United States he’s as competitive and is capable of running with anybody in the country, so if you think your gonna come down here and he’s gonna be a push over your in for a rude awakening Mark will blast the #88D by you on the high side and be waiting for the photographer in victory lane!!!! I myself just recently had the pleasure of meeting Mark and let me tell you it’s a honor to call this man friend……. He’s definitely a racer!!!! and definitely a role model!!!!
I’m Jason M Neely for Amped Up Magazine
and the “Race 2 Cure Parkinson’s”