Flash and Stage Fright

"Matter of fact, there's only three real sports: mountain climbing, bull fighting, and automobile racing. Everything else is a game."

Kenneth Freeman says it's the element of danger that makes a sport...a sport. He should know. In 1984, he wrecked a race car at top speed. That made him realize that safety is a top priority.

"I've tried to do a lot of things to  make sure that doesn't happen again," Freeman said. "I think the cars are safer now than they've ever been."

That's why Kenneth, or "Flash" as he's been called, is still going strong. Of course, there's not many things that will stop a man from doing something he dreamed about as a boy.

"I just knew, the first time that I went to a drag strip, and I saw those cars going down the track, I just knew, man, that's what I want to do," Freeman said.

Most people would be scared to death at the thought of hurtling down a track at speeds pushing 200 miles an hour. The fear, according to Flash, is part of what makes it great, both for him and when it comes to frightening his competitors.

"The best way I can relate it is, it's like being shot out of a cannon," Freeman said. "You know it's going to happen, and then you pull that trigger on that thing and man...she's gone."

"The act of lining up the car on the starting line is called staging the vehicle. So we stage the car, and hopefully I'll give my competition stage fright."

A few minutes around Flash proves that his competition has more to be scared of than just the name of his car. But the younger racers do have one advantage over the veteran.

"There's a lot of these young guys out here, and they're really tough to beat," Freeman said. When we get later into the rounds, maybe nine or ten o'clock at night, I'm winding down and getting ready to go to bed. But these young guys are out here bouncing off the walls and man, they're ready to go."

That's a feeling that Flash, no matter what, still understands better than most.

For more information about Pine Valley Raceway, just go to www.pinevalleyracing.com.