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December 22, 2000

Unselfish Acts of 2000

Christmas is almost here once again. It seems nearly impossible that a whole year has gone by and by so fast but it has. 2001 (I can't help but remember the movie) is almost here. So with the biggest birthday celebration coming up soon, I would like to share with you some of the past year's racing kindnesses.

Alot of people think that racers, when it comes to their cars and parts, are selfish people. This is probably the biggest untruth that I know of. Time and time again, I have seen strangers offer cars, parts, and help to another stranger just to help someone race a race. And this is not just in the lower divisions, it is also in the upper divisions.

This year at New Smyrna Speedway, during whatever we use to call SpeedWeeks, I saw Travis Kittleson give his Super Late to a Wisconsin driver because his car was totalled and he was in the points race for the Championship. This was Travis's first adventure into the 9 straight nights of racing and he and his crew spent quite a few sleepless nights working on a wounded car. Travis did well for a rookie but the Wisconsin driver had done very well but lost his car the night before the big l00 lap final race. Travis very unselfishly did not race and gave the Wisconsin driver his car. That was a very unselfish act.

I have always believed that any act of kindness will be rewarded. At my first Florida Pro race this year at Florida Speed Park, I went to cover a good race and my daughter went to watch her friend Jonathan Brown race. During tech, it was discovered, that Jonathan had the wrong carb to race. Luckily one of his fellow racers had an extra carb, just the right one, and loaned it to Jonathan for the night. Without this kindness, Jonathan would not have raced nor finished in the top five that night.

The Governor's Cup race this year was one of the best I have ever seen. We had the "Best of the Best" in the field. For B.J. McLeod winning the Cup race is right at the top of his list of "I Want To Do's" so we was looking forward to this race. But mechanical problems with the engine kept him from racing that night. But something happened in those pits that I have seldom seen an that was B.J. was offered an engine to race by his friend Jonathan Brown. If you know these two young men at all, you know that most think them unfriendly to each other because of their kart racing together, but usually that is only someone wanting to stir up gossip and trouble. Jonathan's act was genuine, he wanted B.J. to race and he wanted to race against him but the engine would not fit.

Engines and carbs are one thing but to give your whole car to a stranger is not an easy thing to do. Two Strictly Stock drivers did this at the last race of the year at Orlando SpeedWorld for a grudge match between male and female. The two drivers never got any practice on the track or in the strange cars before the race so you can imagine how nervous the owners felt. But still they did this. And because of their unselfish acts, their cars were fine.

When Rick Bristol told everyone about his children's homes and what he was doing, I saw many tracks come together and help. Giving is always better than receiving and that is exactly what the racing families of our great Florida tracks did - GIVE. They gave their time, their money, and their love to these children.

Time and time again, racers have given. To hurt drivers, to driver's families they have come together to help. They also came together to save a track - Hialeah. Drivers, crews, fans, track personnel have all worked hard because just like you, they love their track.

We talk alot about the bad things in racing but there are alot of good things also. A few bad apples will never spoil this great family that we have. And all you have to do is watch and you will see for yourself the magic that comes from the hearts of this sport.

-Jane Smith

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