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BA's Bishop on the fast track
bishop racing WEB
Joshua Bishop, of Bulloch Academy, poses with his trophy and the checkered flag after winning the 16th annual Showdown in Savannah at Oglethorpe Speedway Park on Friday, Oct. 11. Bishop has been racing limited late model cars since the beginning of the year. - photo by Special to the Herald

    If any students at Bulloch Academy ever need a ride, they’d be lucky to have Joshua Bishop’s number in their phone.
    Bishop added to his already impressive racing resume, taking the checkered flag at the 16th annual Showdown in Savannah at Oglethorpe Speedway Park on Oct. 11. Running on the dirt track, Bishop qualified fourth of 21 cars, quickly moved to the front of the pack, and never gave up the lead during the 25-lap sprint around Oglethorpe’s half-mile track.
    “I pretty much went flag to flag,” Bishop said. “I got a really good jump on the start and got past everyone pretty fast. I just ran a really good race and got a huge win.”
    The race culminated a summer full of appearances for Bishop. He’s switching cars in the coming months, but sent out his old ride in style. Many of his opponents at the Showdown are full-time professional racers, with some competing in the Craftsman Truck Series.
    Even more impressive than taking on — and beating — the pros, was that Bishop had never raced at Oglethorpe before.
    “Every track is a little different and you have to drive it a different way,” Bishop said. “At the same time, I knew I was racing against some guys who are really talented.
    “Just pulling into the track, you see the haulers that are there and you know that there were some tough cars and drivers in the field. I knew they would be on their game and that I’d need my best race to stay with them.”
    Bishop has been racing limited late model cars since the beginning of the year and has had consistently good showings. Still, with a fulltime school schedule and a spot on the Bulloch Academy baseball team, he doesn’t have the advantage of older drivers who can spend more time working to finance their racing career.
    To help with the pricey upkeep of his car and entrance fees into races, Bishop depends heavily on the help of sponsors. Locally, Pope Construction and Kennedy’s Heating and Air have played a big role in keeping the car on the track.
    “I really appreciate all the help we get from our sponsors,” Bishop said. “Without their help, I wouldn’t be able to race nearly as much.”
    With a new ride on its way, Bishop likely won’t enter another race until January.
    As tough as it is to maneuver around other drivers on the track, it’s just as tricky to get comfortable with a new car. When every nut and bolt can make the difference in a tight turn and even the slightest change in steering can make the difference between a smooth ride or a crash, getting comfortable behind a new wheel is much more difficult than simply breaking in a new pair of shoes.
    Bishop is looking forward to continue his dirt track racing, but also has his eyes on bigger opportunities in the near future.
    “Right now, we’re just focusing on getting into the new car and hitting up some bigger races next year,” Bishop said. “There are some people we know who run trucks. It would be great to maybe get into one of those someday, but that will all come a little later. Overall, I’m just excited to keep on racing.”

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.