Chub Frustrating 2009 Season Ends On Painful Note With Injury At Lowe’s Motor Speedway

BEAR LAKE, PA – Chub Frank isn’t afraid to say it.

“I’m glad the season is over,” said the veteran driver from Bear Lake, Pa. “It started out bad, got a little better in the middle…and at the very end it sucked.”

Indeed, Chub’s 2009 campaign came to an especially abrupt – and painful – close on Nov. 4 at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. During the first heat race of the evening’s postponed World of Outlaws Late Model Series Hungry Man Topless Showdown an apparent clod of thick clay smashed into his helmet, leaving the 47-year-old with a facial injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season-ending World Finals at the four-tenths-mile oval.

Chub spun his car to a stop on the inside of turn two after absorbing the blow to the head. He staggered out of his Corry Rubber/Lake Shore Paving/Hino Toyota/All-Star Performance/Corry Laser/Slavic Corporation/Custom Race Engines/GW Performance Chevrolet Impala SS Rocket Chassis No. 1* and was immediately tended to by safety crews.

“I was coming in through the middle of (turns) one and two,” Chub said of the incident. “I think that Jeff Rine was racing with the 32 car (Larry Blankenship), and they went in and kicked up something. I never seen (the clod of clay), but I know it came in the front of the car on the right side and hit me right in the helmet.

“It was a real hard hit, but I wasn’t quite knocked out. I had enough sense to hit the brakes and lock the car up.”

With the right side of his face bloodied and bruised from the impact, Chub was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Fortunately, after x-rays and other examinations determined that he was not seriously injured, he was released and returned to the track before the evening’s A-Main was postponed to the following night due to the difficult surface conditions and late hour.

But Chub was done racing for the rest of the huge meet at The Dirt Track. Doctors found he had suffered some fractured bones underneath his right eye and in his right cheek, as well as in his orbital bone, and he experienced such extreme swelling that he couldn’t have gotten his helmet on even if wanted to race.

The hard-nosed racer was disappointed to be forced from action – it marked the first time, in fact, that he had to sit out WoO LMS A-Mains since March 2004 – but he remained at the track as a spectator and socialized in the pit area following the conclusion of each night’s program. When he attended the WoO LMS Awards Banquet on Sunday night at the nearby Great Wolf Lodge to collect a $24,000 check for finishing seventh in the 2009 points standings, he still sported a major black eye but the swelling had almost entirely subsided.

Chub then got good news when he visited a specialist near his home on Wednesday: he will not need any surgery on the injured area.

“It was just a freak deal,” said Chub, trying to put the whole ordeal behind him. “Everyone knows I don’t like (The Dirt Track) anyway…I figure every time I come down (to the speedway) something happens, and we just had more bad luck.

“The track was coming apart, and the stuff (clay pieces) is like bricks when it dries. That’s basically what it felt like when it hit me. It broke the helmet, but the helmet did its job. There was a time – a long time ago – when I ran open-face (helmets), and that would’ve been real ugly.

“We’ll just start thinking about next year now,” he added. “That’s all we can do.”

Chub ended the 2009 season with his final overall stats showing 58 starts, three wins, 13 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes. In WoO LMS competition he entered 38 events and scored two wins, seven top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. His three victories came on July 18 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway (O’Reilly All-Star Series), Aug. 20 at Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio (WoO LMS) and Aug. 22 at K-C Raceway in Alma, Ohio (WoO LMS ‘Buckeye 100’ worth over $20,000).


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