KINCARDINE, ON- Despite suffering potentially season-ending engine failure in weekly Sauble Speedway action on August 8th, Thunder Car freshman Kevin Bridge will be back at the track on Saturday night after a week’s worth of work and a lot of help from some friends.
“We’re too crazy for our own good, that’s what this is about,” laughs a visibly exhausted Bridge while outlining the efforts that have gone into putting his No. 17 back into race-ready condition. “When you’re this deep into the season, it’s awfully hard to push away from the table. Saturday was a long night – blowing up was a tough pill to swallow. But, by the time Sunday rolled around, we were making phone calls and seeing what we could do to get back out”
Sauble’s close knit pit area was quick to act, offering support to the Rookie of the Year contender before the dust had time to settle on his late-season conundrum.
“It’s overwhelming when you go through something like this, because the response from people around you is almost immediate,” says the Kincardine, ON wheelman. “By the time the word had got out on Sunday that our motor was terminal, the calls and texts didn’t stop all day”
“Tom Gibbons pulled the motor out of his backup car to give us – and I could never thank him enough for that,” continues Bridge with a smile. “Scott McTeer got us an MSD Box, Jason Legge got us a flywheel and after some long, long nights in the shop we’re ready to roll”
Bridge has worked closely all week with Crew Chief Mike Hastings in order to have his ride operational for August 15th’s event.
“Mike has been amazing throughout all of this,” says Bridge. “He’s put his heart into this program from the moment we brought this car home, and he hasn’t stopped working since. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to have in my corner. I’m sure he’ll be able to count the hours of sleep he’s had this week on two hands by the time we roll in the gates on Saturday afternoon”
When asked about the sacrifices his team has had to make, Bridge is quick to explain that his wife Brandy has been the driving force behind his return to competition.
“I haven’t seen much of Brandy this week, so I’ll make sure to take her for a nice dinner to make up for it. She’s been insanely supportive of this whole deal. No matter how many problems we’ve had this year, or how many hours I’ve had to spend in the shop away from her, she’s been behind me all the way. I’m the luckiest man in the world to have her on my side”
“This has been a huge effort for everyone involved,” continues Bridge. “My season would have been over a long time ago if it wasn’t for the people around me”
Before turning his attention back to his repairs, Bridge makes sure to insist that after a week of all-nighters, his place on the score sheet on Saturday night will be largely irrelevant.
“It hasn’t even crossed my mind what position I’m hoping to finish in this week,” admits the rookie. “Battling back from a blown motor is a win for us. Working nonstop this week to get this car back to the track is a win. Anything else is just a bonus. If we can work this thing into the top-5, that would be amazing, but if not we can still say that we made it back without missing a single lap. And that’s pretty incredible, too.”
Kevin Bridge’s comeback would not be possible without LiUNA, Huronview Insurance, Spira Fire Protection, DK Daniel Kelly Custom Woodworking, Castrol, Saugeen Shores Transmission, ImageWraps.ca, EPIC Racewear, Bridgehaven Angus, Gilcrest Speed & Custom, Walt Fabrication, NGK Spark Plugs, DEI and Permatex.
Fans can keep up with Kevin and the team all season long by visiting the official Kevin Bridge Racing page on Facebook, and by following @BridgeRacing on Twitter.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)