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 Columns & Editorials

October 18, 2001

Rebirth of the Governor's Cup

By Jane Smith

In the heart of every local racer is a dream, a dream of that one big race. In Florida, we are lucky, we have three big racing events. The first is the Governor's Cup, the second is the Triple Crown, and the third is the Snowball Derby. Each has a long history of it's on but this past weekend, fans and racers alike felt the pomp and grandeur of the Governor's Cup race of years gone by, thanks in no small past to Don Nerone.

Don Nerone has been in racing for many years. He has seen the good and the bad, the grand and the small. Don knows the history of the Governor's Cup and the Triple Crown and what they use to be. This year, he set himself a goal, a goal to bring back the past and start a new present.

The first step of bringing back the past was writing to Governor Jeb Bush and inviting him to be the Grand Marshall for the 2001 Governor's Cup race. Of course other Governors in the past have been invited to throw the green but it was Governor Jeb Bush who wrote back and said "yes".

Of course Governor Bush got a lesson in what this race used to be from Don Nerone and State Senator Bill Posey, who also is a racer. The Cup use to be standing room only, reserved seats ordered at least a month before the race or you would not get a seat. And the most important information of all, the race was commissioned by a Governor thirty six years ago.

Once Don Nerone received the reply from the Governor, plans had to be made on making this "The Race" of the year. Robert Hart, owner of the speedway, had new main grandstands built, a new press box put up, new speakers wired and new fencing put up. The track took on a whole new look.

Governor Jeb Bush gets his Pennzoil racing uniform
A grand parade was planned, one that has not been seen in many years at the Cup race. Each driver was introduced first to the fans and then to the Governor. And to the Governor's surprise, he was presented his own driving suit from Pennzoil and helmet, signed by each of the Cup drivers. Don's dream was truly coming true.

The pomp and grandeur of the past is now the present. Although we may not always have a Governor to throw the green, the fans will look forward to the 37th Annual Governor's Cup race because one man cared enough that he wanted the past to come back alive.



Spend an hour with Don Nerone enjoying the racing insights and plenty of the humor of Florida's top promoter.

-Jane Smith

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