HAMPTON - In designing a race car, sometimes the smallest tweak can make the biggest difference on the track. For one Legend car, it was a big set of alterations that could have a lasting impact felt far from any speedway.
Braselton's Jeremy Maddox is a self-professed adrenaline junkie. When the driver's door opener with a local Legends car team, he was in.
"Without hesitation I said, 'yeah. Let's go!'" said Maddox.
That's when the serious work got started.
Maddox lost the use of his legs at 16 years old because of a spinal cord injury from a motocross accident. Since then, he's excelled in a wide range of sports, from water skiing to extreme racing.
To get in the drivers seat of a car, he partnered with owner Chris Chapman to make alterations to a car so he could just use his hands to drive.
"[It took] a lot of drawings on napkins," said Chapman. "Basically everything had to be on the steering wheel. We had to put the throttle up there, we modified the brake system to where he pushes in on the steering wheel for his break. The clutch and the gear stick are on his left hand. There's nothing in the floor, everything is controlled up top on the steering wheel."
Maddox has raced twice so far, including recently at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Winning would be great, but the real goal is racing awareness of Victory Junction, a not-for-profit camp in North Carolina, helping kids facing serious illnesses. The organization has deep ties to the racing world, especially the Petty family; and it's a cause close to the hearts of both Maddox and Chapman.
"We just really love to bring joy to people," said Maddox. "Show people with disabilities and serious medical conditions, that you are limited by some things in life, but you can still do about anything you want to do. It's just really awesome to show people what we can do, and what they can do later in life."