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09-06-2012

Mark Dowdy Selected As COMP Cams® Top Performer For June

In 2012, weekly racers are being randomly recognized as the COMP Cams® Top Performer of the Month. The winner for June is Alabama driver Mark Dowdy.

The racer chosen to be the COMP Cams® Top Performer for June is Michigan transplant Mark Dowdy, who currently resides in Waterloo, Alabama.

The 42-year-old competitor pilots his No. 88D Limited Late Model at tracks throughout North Alabama and Middle Tennessee. He utilizes Warrior Chassis and a Maniac Racing Engine.

While Dowdy has been racing for more than 24 years, his career took a sudden and unexpected turn four years ago in Michigan. On Tuesday, May 13th, 2008, Mark was riding his motorcycle to work in the early hours of the morning.

While approaching a gentle right hand curve the rear tire of his motorcycle locked up, causing him to crash to the pavement and slide across the curve on the road.

Unfortunately, while in the road, another driver was coming from the other direction, and hit Mark head on with a Dodge Ram truck.

Mark awoke on Thursday of the same week in the hospital to learn of his injuries. He was left with six broken ribs on his right side, a punctured lung, a T-11 burst fracture of his vertebrae and a severed spinal cord. He had lost 3 1/2 pints of blood and was breathing with the help of a tube that had been inserted into his lungs.

The doctors came into the room and informed Mark that he would never walk again, as he was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Mark ultimately accepted that fact, although not without some difficulty.

"I mean let's be honest, that's some of the worst news that you can ever receive,” Dowdy says. “It was really devastating, and it took some time to get a grip on the entire situation. One thing for sure though is that I knew there was no way I was just going to give up on life.”

While Mark knew that he had to accept that he would never walk again, he was not willing to accept that he would never race again. Mark had worked to become a fairly successful regional dirt track racer in the Great Lakes region of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. He won numerous races in the IMCA & UMP Open Wheel Modified division during the 1990s.

In 1999 Dowdy made the switch to the Late Model class and continued his winning ways. He always prided himself on the fact that that he was not a "one-track" racer. He would travel from track to track every weekend and hone his skills. It was not uncommon on any given week to see him race anywhere from Michigan to Alabama.

During his career Mark has competed at around 112 race tracks throughout the midwest and the south, claiming over thirty feature wins, including a $3,000 victory in the Great Lakes Nationals at Crystal Raceway (Crystal, Michigan).

"I loved racing, and I was bound and determined to find a way to get back on the track, and prove all the naysayers wrong. No matter what it took I was going to get back on the track again,” Dowdy explains.

With this drive to continue racing and still be competitive residing firmly in his mind, Mark was released from the hospital six weeks after his accident. Shortly after being released he completed his move to Alabama, which had been planned before his injury. Once fully relocated to his new state, Dowdy began devising a way in which he could continue to race. With the help of his long-time friend and crew member Dennis Brewer, and after several failed attempts, the duo finally came up with a steering wheel that would allow him to control the throttle, brake and steering, all without ever lifting a hand from the wheel.

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