Wagoner racer gets surprise gift in time for Tulsa Shootout
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Sunday, December 30, 2012
12/30/12 at 6:24 AM
There is nothing in the world like having good friends. Just ask 19-year-old Shane Weeks of Wagoner.
Two of his best friends, cousins Alex and Evan Sewell, secretly built a midget race car for Weeks and recently presented it to him just in time for the Tulsa Shootout that is under way this weekend at Expo Square.
Weeks had no knowledge of what the Sewells were up to and was shocked when the car was presented to him.
"I was speechless," Weeks said. "It is just awesome. They are my best friends. They are like brothers to me.
"I never expected for them to build one (a midget race car) for me."
But that is what best friends do. Weeks has battled with cancer since the age of 8, and the Sewells wanted to make his dream to drive a midget race car come true. After building the car, the Sewells lured Weeks to a party he thought was for well-known area racer Shane Stewart. But the surprise was on him.
"We walked into the room and everyone was silent," Weeks recalled. "They opened the back doors and the (car) was right there. I could not talk, and everyone in the room said that is the first time they have seen me speechless."
The look on Weeks' face was a moment the cousins had been waiting for.
"It was pretty cool," Evan Sewell said.
It was the consummation of an effort that started this past summer.
"During the summer he was having surgeries and treatments and we wanted to give him an opportunity," said Alex Sewell. "The idea was Evan and Kevin Bayer's, then it progressed into me and Evan and a couple of other people. We worked on it and spent our money. We worked over 40 hours a week for three months after we got off work.
"It was really good to surprise him with it because you might not get the opportunity again. I have known him my whole life, and he is one of my best friends. I am fortunate enough to have my own stuff and wanted to give him a shot at it."
Weeks on many occasions told Evan Sewell about his desire.
"Shane rode with me all summer and was my intern at work," explained Evan Sewell. "He always asked me about driving a midget or sprint car and I told him, 'those aren't any fun, you don't want to do that.' He said 'oh no, I do, I do.'
"I thought it was now or never, so we got it done."
The cousins worked night and day for nearly three months.
"We built a midget from the ground up from a bunch of other people's spare parts," Evan Sewell said. "I texted all my buddies from the East to the West Coast asking for spare (parts). A lot of stuff showed up. It was a project but well worth it."
"I helped get a lot of sponsors for the car and helped put it together," added Alex Sewell. "Many nights it was till 4:30 in the morning working on the car.
"We fired it up for the first time last week, and the feeling of getting it fired off felt really good. He will never forget this Shootout. There are a lot of people out there that don't get opportunities like this, and he is lucky enough to have some good friends and family to help him out."
Weeks grew up around racing and has been racing micro sprints at Port City Raceway. On Saturday and Sunday Weeks will compete in his midget. On the side of the car is a thank-you to the Make-A-Wish foundation. It is Shane's way of giving back to them.
"When I was 8 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and they granted me a wish," Weeks said. "My wish was to go to Disney World. I just cherish Make-A-Wish and decided I would give back to them."
On Saturday, Weeks finished third in his qualifying heat and is also racing in the Winged A-Class this weekend. The Sewells are even busier as Alex is racing in three classes and Evan in two, and both are helping on the midget car.
Weeks hopes to win races behind the wheel of his midget, but his biggest victory came just recently.
"I am cancer free. I found out about a month and a half ago," Weeks said.
Original Print Headline: Wagoner racer gets surprise gift from friends
9 a.m.: Grandstand opens
9 a.m.: Non-qualifier races
6 p.m.: Opening ceremonies, feature events
Pit Pass: $30
Grandstand admission: Adult $20, children 6-11 $5.
Times may vary due to vehicle count.
More information available at tulsaworld.com/tulsashootout