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 Columns & Editorials

October 17, 2000

What Really Matters

Last Saturday night changed my life and the lives of many racers and fans forever. I have heard every excuse why this happened but none of them are acceptable in a civilized world.

Some say the full moon caused the violence of October 14 but who knows. No one can ever really say what was in Wayne Anderson's mind about David Rogers. Who was to blame, was there any blame? But, there is no excuse for destroying another person's car or NOT seeing that there was someone on the track at that time. If your anger is that deep, then maybe you need anger management classes just like domestic violence criminals do.

Althought I was not in the Anderson pit area when my friend, which I have known for two years and is an honest person was hurt, I have listened to numerous reasons why he almost lost his life. None of them excuse what he got, none.

Mr. Anderson was not touched in any way to cause such a violent reaction. Even if his wife and the injured man's wife had words, why would you beat the husband?? And if pits are that unsafe after a race, then maybe we all better stop racing now.

Violence in the pits

The man who was hurt was a racer, and I do mean was because after this, he says he will never race again. I have seen him wrecked, I have seen him angry but I have never seen him go after a fellow racer or fan when they came into his pits at that time. Maybe alot of you believe that your pits are "off limits" but when you have a crowd like we did last Saturday, people are going to step into your pits.

What really matters here is "was there a good enough reason for this man to have been beaten worse than a dog and left on pit road to bleed??" Why did no one help this man or his wife or friend except for a very few?? Is it that everyone is that scared of Dick Anderson since I was told no one can stop him when he is mad??

Last Saturday night has no excuses. Yes, tempers can flare in racing but if it comes to the point that it did last weekend, we all need to step back and look very hard at ourselves. Maybe it was this way every weekend years ago but thank God, I hope people are wiser and smarter now. Yes, we have seen a few push-shoves in NASCAR but someone stops it before it gets out of hand and someone pays dearly for the anger.

I happen to know that the man who was beaten is a very good father. He takes his young son to the track alot but thank goodness, that Saturday night was "date" night. But sooner or later his son and daughter had to see him, once he was out of the hospital, what do you think they thought???? How do you explain to your children why your face is half gone, why someone did this and yet, did not even know you??

I have always admired Dick Anderson and his talent. I remember the first time I saw him in a Hooter Cup race and guess who finished right behind him - David Rogers. I have never seen his temper or Wayne's or even known that they had these tempers until last Saturday and I saw Wayne go thru some pretty rough SpeedWeeks and no anger fits then. So why did this happen??

We may never know the whys and we may never agree with the excuses but when it comes to track heros and racers for my son to look up to, it won't be someone who can almost take a stranger's life. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me" is what I have taught Alex and some do give him a hard time because of his temporary disabilities.

Going back to New Smyrna and seeing where Kevin lay bleeding will be very hard. But I care about the people there, they are family and they were family to Kevin also. And maybe someday, when you get caught in a situation like Kevin and no one will help you, you will wonder where that racing family of your's is also. Remember, it is the every weekend racer that counts to all of us and not just the "big names" who come every now and then. The every weekend racer makes the track work.

What really matters now is that this never happen again.

-By Jane Smith

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