SHATTUCK — When tire shop owner Bryan Purgason answered a late-night call from the Ellis County sheriff's office a few weeks ago to help a stranded motorist, he never envisioned the call would result with his business' name on a car that will race in NASCAR's Nationwide Series at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.
“I'm just this small-town guy — not really one to boast — we just try to take care of people and get them what they need,” Purgason said.
The Purgason Tire logo will appear on the driver's side door post of car No. 23 driven by Robert Richardson Jr. as a show of gratitude after Purgason helped a customer out of a bind.
Skateboard manufacturer Lane Segerstrom was hauling a fifth-wheel trailer behind his pickup on his way from the Texas Panhandle to Oklahoma City on an isolated stretch of U.S. 60 between Shattuck and Higgins, Texas, when he had a blowout.
“This tire was completely shredded — there was no repairing this tire,” Segerstrom said.
Segerstrom is the founder of Stalk It Longboards, a company that makes longboard skateboards out of corn board — an alternative to plywood comprised of recycled corn stalks and husks. The company, based in McKinney, Texas, manufactures its longboards in northwest Oklahoma City. The firm also sponsors Richardson's No. 23 car.
About 8:30 p.m. on a cold, wet Saturday, Segerstrom's tire exploded — about 20 miles from the nearest town. He tried for hours to have his roadside assistance service find a tow truck to help him but eventually had to call the Ellis County Sheriff's Department for help. It was nearly midnight when Purgason responded to the call.
“This guy Bryan was a dream — it was the best customer service in the middle of the night,” Segerstrom said.
Segerstrom had a spare tire but no wheel key to access the tire. The blast from the blowout also had cracked the rim on Segerstrom's wheel.
“I've been doing this for 12 or 13 years — usually, I can help people out, but I've never seen somebody have so many problems as this guy,” Purgason said.
The tire shop owner drove back to his shop and took the wheel off his own truck to put onto Segerstrom's disabled vehicle.
Back at Purgason's shop, he let Segerstrom plug in his RV and stay for the night. After a drive to Woodward the next morning for some lug nuts, Segerstrom was back on the road.
In gratitude, Segerstrom offered to place Purgason's tire shop logo on the car.
“I think he thought I was just saying that, but I meant it,” Segerstrom said. “It was how I could say, ‘Thank you.' I was really, really fortunate to be helped that night.”
Both business owners, Purgason and Segerstrom have become friends.
Purgason was in Daytona Beach, Fla., Friday with his 6-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, to meet Richardson and watch the race Saturday.
He still marvels at how answering a late-night call for a flat tire has given him a new friend and some free advertising.
“I did a good job for him, and he paid it forward — it's pretty cool,” Purgason said.