Comeback kid
Lowry's second-half surge snares Pro Division title

HAMPTON - Covington racer Kyle Lowry never dreamed it would happen.

With five weeks left in this summer's Thursday Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 18-year-old trailed Billy Fulson by 35 points in the Legends Pro Division.

"No, I didn't think it was possible (to win the championship)," Lowry said. "I was going to try to get everything I could, but I didn't have any plans set on winning the championship."

It's funny how things can change in just five weeks.

On the strength of two victories and three second-place finishes in the final five races, Lowry edged Fulson by one point on Championship Night to claim the title last Thursday.

In fact, Lowry started Championship Night trailing Fulson by four points.

However, he won the first of two races that night to forge a two-point advantage over Fulson. It was Lowry's third victory of the season and fifth overall in Thursday Thunder competition on the flat quarter-mile track on front stretch of AMS.

In the second race that night, he finished second, one spot ahead of Fulson to wrap up the title.

"During the day before the races, I was a little bit nervous. But, in the races, I

didn't feel like there was any pressure on me," Lowry said. "Basically, I just wanted to run my normal race and whatever happened would happen. My goal for the first race was to win the race and my goal for the second race was to win. I really couldn't control the rest.

"It did get very interesting. I knew it would be a good race and I would come down to racing him (Fulson)."

Lowry feels consistency and smart driving were the keys to his comeback.

"I think the big key was just being consistent and running smart, not getting all worked up about where I was (in a race), doing the best I could and not over driving," he said. "My dad (Mike) just tried to keep up with the car and make sure it was right. It was good every week because of my dad."

Winning a championship in the Pro Division at Thursday Night is not easy.

The likes of NASCAR drivers Reed Sorenson, David Ragan and Joey Logano have cut their teeth at the track as well as Casey Roderick, who recently signed with the Bill Elliott Driver Development Program.

In fact, Roderick won five times in the Pro Division this summer at AMS.

"The pro division has some great drivers," Lowry said. "Casey Roderick is very good and to win races against him and Billy, with it being my first year in the division, it's just a great feeling to know I can compete with those guys."

With Thursday Thunder over, Lowry has his sights set on a couple upcoming events, if he can find some sponsorship.

"We really need sponsors. We've been racing all summer out of our pocket. We could use some sponsorship from local people or companies," Lowry said.

"There's a big $3,000 to win race next in Cordele next weekend, then if we can get sponsorship, there's the nationals in Elko, Minn., on Oct. 2-4. We'd like to go and we're going to try hard. Anybody can help us out. If they spend the money, we'll put their name on the car."

In the future, Lowry would like to give late models a shot. His ultimate goal is to race in a NASCAR division.

"As of right now, I'd like to get in the big cars. I'd like to start running late models and see what I've got in there," he said. "If I can do well, I'd like to keep moving up. Ultimately, I'd liked to race in some type of NASCAR division."

All in all, Lowry's come a long way in just one year. Last June, he won his first race at AMS in the Semi-Pro Division.

"I think I've come a long way since my first win. We put a lot of effort into the car," Lowry said. "My dad and I both work, but he makes time for the race car. He puts that much into it. The first win shows you that you've got what it takes, gives you confidence and makes you try harder.

"But I really have to thank my poppa (grandfather Leon Lowry) and my dad and my family a lot. Without them, I wouldn't be doing this."

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie @rockdalecitizen.com.