"Medical Screening Poster Boy" Stivers Targets Top Ten Finish in Vegas LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 25, 2010) - The inaugural NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series started with a kick in the gut for Lexington, Ky.-native Rick Stivers,...
"Medical Screening Poster Boy" Stivers Targets Top Ten Finish in Vegas
LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 25, 2010) - The inaugural NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series started with a kick in the gut for Lexington, Ky.-native Rick Stivers, but the veteran drag racer has fought back all season long and is anxious to move into the top ten in this final race and set the stage for his 2011 tour in his Trane-sponsored 2006 Stratus Pro Mod.
Stivers suffered a huge personal setback just before the Pro Mod season started at Gainesville, Fla. in March. While undergoing a routine annual colonoscopy a week before the event, he was found to have cancerous polyps that required emergency surgery. Then, what was scheduled to be a laparoscopic procedure turned into an operation called a "right hemicolectomy," requiring a 14-inch incision from sternum to pelvis and ultimately led to the removal of more than a foot of both his intestine and colon. The surgery, which might have kept him sidelined for more than half the season, only cost him one race thanks to a severe case of "stubbornitis" and four-week break in the schedule before the second race in Houston. Still, even after being cleared by physicians to compete, Stivers said although his body was ready, he had trouble getting his head into the game.
"You've got to think that taking out a foot of your colon is going to take a while to heal, which it did, but even after the wound healed, I was very cautious behind the wheel - overly so, and my performance record this year shows it," Stivers said.
In all, in the eight races he has run, Stivers has one semi-final finish, three second-round finishes, and three first-round finishes along with one DNQ. He is currently 12th in points, just 11 points out of the top ten.
"When you look at the races, you can see that we just didn't get any breaks at all, and in this sport, you've got to MAKE your own breaks most of the time. The extra fraction at the starting line, the little extra caution that made me lift off the throttle instead of riding out some tire shake - it all plays into where we are now.
"I never set out to be a medical screening poster boy, but getting that colonoscopy really saved my life and kept me from an awful bout with cancer. I guess I can live with the season, knowing the alternative," he said.
"I'm a fighter, though, and I at least get into the top ten this weekend in Vegas. I love the town, I love the track, and I know we've a great car. I haven't felt this good in a very long time, so I'm ready to go out and do some real trick-or-treating. I think I can get well up into the rankings, maybe into the top five with the way the points are going into the race. I'm only 61 points behind third place - which means everyone is within reach.
"I'm really glad that stuff is behind me now, and all I know is that this Trane is headin' to Vegas with something to prove, and it'll take a whole lot to try and stop it," Stivers said.
-source: rick stivers PR