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 Columns & Editorials

May 14, 2003

Eau Gallie Speedway Reunion was Like Going Home Again after a long Absence

by Jane Smith

On a warm, really hot, Sunday afternoon which also happened to be Mother's Day, I watched a family that had not seen each other for 30 years or so come together again.

I saw the mean bad #98 (never knew his class), come and register to the tune of "hey, that bad #98 is here." I saw widows of drivers come and sign the book for their husbands who raced long ago at Eau Gallie Speedway.

Lou White, wife of driver Johnny White, said it best. "When you walked into Eau Gallie Speedway, it was like coming home. It just felt right. No other track has ever made me feel the way Eau Gallie did." And that my friends, was the sentiment of most everyone.

What made that track so special?? Was it the food, was it the asphalt, or was it the family inside that track that actually did consider themselves family??

Children who grew up at Eau Gallie Speedway watching their dads race have never forgotten the feeling they had of enjoying numerous parents. Just think, if you got into a bunch of trouble not only would you get it from your parents but from all your second parents. You can end up with endless hours of lectures why you should not do that. But hey, it only meant you were loved.

The Eau Gallie Speedway Reunion not only brought drivers home but mechanics, car builders, consession stand workers even Ms. Diane who did the weekly programs. It was a time when racing costs very little and to watch a race might have been $2.00.
It was a "golden" time.

When friends of 30 years or more get together, what do they do?? They remember everything in the past. Scrapbooks adorned tables, posters from racers worn by time and yellowed, photo albums with black and white pictures of drivers and races everywhere. Names that we have heard of and names that won't be forgotten.

A race track is not just an oval of asphalt or dirt, a race track is a home. Beyond that pit gate entrance is a family like no other and time does not make it less so. There is a magic there, hard to explain to someone who has never felt it. Unspoken words between drivers, crews, owners, promoters, that you can count on me when the times are hard.

Eau Gallie Speedway is nothing but weeds and alittle asphalt but in the memories of all those that attended the Eau Gallie Speedway Reunion on Mother's Day, it is still home and nothing can ever break their bond.

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