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 Columns & Editorials

April 22, 2005

Tunnels of Life and Racing

This was written way back when but it seems to apply more today.
We are all going thru tunnels right now but the sun will come back out and the darkness will fade.

by Jane Smith

Have you ever been in the tunnel in Mobile, Alabama? As a child, it felt like that tunnel lasted for miles under the river. Sometimes in racing, we go thru tunnels. Some are short, others long but we long to see the sun again. It may take awhile but eventually the sun does come back and the warm light of day touches the face.

Any amount of time in racing when you feel like you are in that tunnel is hard. We all work hard to race and when week after week something happens to your car, sometimes it feels like it will never be okay.

You build a brand new engine, put more money into it than you should have, and 17 laps later, it blows up all over the track. The tunnel is very dark now but if you want to race, you must work your way back to the surface.

Then you are leading the race, your first win hopefully, and your tire blows out. Straight into turn 4 wall we go, no one can stop you or help you. It was not your fault or any one else's but once again a tunnel appears and you go in it.

But tunnels won't last forever. Just ask George Hall, III. one of our Classic car drivers. When he had a stroke at a very young age of 27, he had a long tunnel to fight thru and he did. Because even though he was not l00% himself, he got back into that Classic car and he raced with all his friends and it did not make any difference to him where he finished, it was that he could do it.

His tunnel was no longer dark and his face felt the warm sunshine once again. Even though we try to feel what he must have felt, we really can't but the joy he had that night showed and everyone could feel that.

Mike McLaughlin, a Busch driver, was in a firey accident last year at Homestead. He had to work his way back into racing and almost one year to the day, he won his first race from that firey accident.

LeRoy Porter never got to race again from his firey accident but you can find LeRoy at the tracks still, crew chiefing for a friend, and still loving racing but promoting safety for sure. His tunnel now has plenty of sunshine.

We all have tunnels in life. We all have tunnels in racing. Even though at times it feels like we will never get out of that darkness, we will. Tunnels teach us to appreciate the sun just alittle more.

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