Modified race car drivers Tim Karrick and Tom Charles are not looking back in anger after learning the reality television series they were featured on has been canceled.
“I had fun doing it. I hope everyone had fun watching it,” Karrick said.
“Heartland Thunder” debuted on the Discovery Channel on June 21. The channel aired just two episodes before deciding to pull the plug on the show.
Taping happened over an eight-week period in June and July 2009. A crew of approximately 30 people descended on Basehor to feature four race car drivers, showcasing their rivalry on the track and their lives as small-town folks. The featured drivers were Karrick; Charles; his son, Dan Charles; and Justin Boney.
The Basehor residents spend their Friday nights on Lakeside Speedway race track in Kansas City, Kan. “Heartland Thunder” episodes provided a look at how each competitor prepared for the big race at the end of the week. It also captured other details of their lives such as family and work. The men each work regular 40-hour-a-week jobs.
Karrick said each racer received $10,000 for contributing to the show.
Tom Charles said despite the show being short-lived, it gained quite a following. “I’ve gone way over 1,000 Facebook fans,” he said. “I’m meeting a lot of people and it’s been fun; we’ve got people all over the world, really.”
“Heartland Thunder” viewers watched the veteran racer and his wife celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. They also got to see how a father and son handle sharing the race track.
“They did a pretty good job,” Tom Charles said. “They obviously had to do the drama, but I think they got the technical stuff and got involved in our families.”
Looking back on the first episode, Karrick said it was interesting to see what his competitors had to say about him. “I didn’t know I was getting called a ‘punk’ and ‘Mr. Lakeside’ and all that stuff,” he said. “Not everybody likes Jeff Gordon and not everyone likes Jimmy Johnson; you’re going to have your haters.”
Tom Charles said he’s hopeful that the Discovery Channel will change its mind about the show, or perhaps another network will pick it up. But if it’s a one-time-thing, he said, that’s fine too. “I grateful,” he said. “I’m glad we had the opportunity; I’ve met a lot of cool and interesting people whom I call friends.”
You can watch full episodes and clips of the show at dsc.discovery.com/videos/heartland-thunder.