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 Columns & Editorials

July 10, 2001

Races Fixed??

By Jane Smith
Message boards across the internet are alive with the word "fixed". They say that the Pepsi 400 was a fixed race for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win. If you looked at how he has done since the tragic death of his father last February, it had to be "fixed". Now if you were to believe that 42 drivers would purposely hold back, not try to win and give the race to just one certain driver, then racing will soon be a dead sport.

Every driver has bad seasons, bad races. How long did it take for Dale Earnhardt to win the Daytona 500? Was that "fixed"? How about Michael Waltrip's win last February? He had only won one other race in his racing career, the Winston. How could someone like him win the 500?? And let's not forget first wins of Steve Park, Kevin Harvick, Joe Nemechek and Jeremy Mayfield. Were they all "fixed" races or just their time to win.

To believe what message boards are saying would be the end of my love affair with racing. The one magic quality of racing is, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO WILL WIN. Sometimes in local racing you just know that if a certain driver has the pole, it is almost a sure fire win for that driver. But in Winston Cup, seldom does the pole winner win the race. He may lead some laps but having the pole does not guarantee a sure win.

Faith walks in all areas of our lives. Faith knew that alot of fans needed closure to the death of their racing legend, a son knew he needed to win to prove that he could go on without his father. But saying that is was "fixed" destroys every good thing that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. did for himself and his father's fans.

Before every Winston Cup race, there is chapel. I am sure that Dale Jr. went to the chapel and talked to God and asked him for his help to win this race for many reasons. God looked down on Dale Jr. and gave him the talent last Saturday night to fulfill his faith.

It is the history of racing that sometimes drivers that have had very bad seasons, do win. It is not "fixed", just the luck of the day. I believe last Saturday was just the luck of the day for Dale Jr. and a very special angel on his shoulder. Not for one second did I ever look at Dale Jr. and say, "it was fixed."

Jane Smith

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